Posted inArts & Culture

Betty Boop Scandals

This fabulous 1974 compilation of 20s and 30s cartoons by Max and Dave Fleischer, highlighting (but not exclusively) their Betty Boop cartoons, looks just as wild and as wacky as it did 16 years ago. Over the years Tex Avery has become recognized as the surrealist master of the Hollywood cartoon, and with reason. But […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Backstage Pass

BACKSTAGE PASS Shattered Globe Theatre at the Project In earlier, more literate times writers made the leap from writing for the page to writing for the stage with surprising frequency and ease. George Bernard Shaw, George S. Kaufman, Ben Hecht, even Eugene O’Neill put in time on newspapers before turning their attention to play writing. […]

Posted inArts & Culture


While Chicago boasts a slew of excellent local jazz musicians, most of them toil away in a variety of fairly anonymous settings. So when they rearrange themselves into an unexpected configuration such as Brackets, and the spotlight shifts, the rest of us are grateful for the prod to sit up and take notice. Drummer Mike […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Produce People

At 14th Place, just off Halsted, a crooked street-sign arrow that would direct traffic to South Water Market if it were straight points instead to the absence of light in the western sky. At four in the morning, the streets surrounding Chicago’s oldest and busiest wholesale produce market are dark. Only the glowing headlights and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Maynard Ferguson

The first time I became aware of technical brilliance as an artistic force was in high school, when some of the band’s trumpet players started raving about “MAY-nard.” (The first name was sufficient, although his initials were an acceptable subsititute as well as a desirable double entendre–M.F., get it?) The object of this gape-mouthed adulation […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Route One/USA

I’ve only seen about half of Robert Kramer’s 253-minute epic, but I can certainly recommend it very highly on that basis. This is a fictional documentary in which a character named Doc (Paul McIsaac), who figured in two earlier Kramer films, travels with cinematographer-director Kramer from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, looking for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scandinavian Brass Quartet

North Park College marks the start of its centennial–and the tenth birthday of its chamber music series–with a brass concert that pays tribute to its Scandinavian roots. The tribute is singularly apt since brass, more than any other family of musical instruments, has been a force in Scandinavian music since the days of the Vikings, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Art of Indonesia

Hotshot hairdresser Dixon Tabla holds a brown nude female figurine made of Indonesian hibiscus wood and turns it in every direction. He is demonstrating that because the arms and legs are spread wide apart–and just at the right angles–the sculpture can be put down on a table in any position and still stand securely. “What […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Uncensored Stories

THE UNCENSORED STORIES Blue Rider Theatre An application I once filled out asked me to write an intellectual autobiography. I laughed at the request, but quickly discovered that I actually did have an intellectual autobiography. We all develop a way of looking at the world, and this takes place imperceptibly; just as the body grows, […]

Posted inFilm

We Love It When They Lie

JACOB’S LADDER *** (A must-see) Directed by Adrian Lyne Written by Bruce Joel Rubin With Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Alexander, and Patricia Kalember. “Around twenty-four hundred years ago Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly and when he awakened he did not know if he was […]