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Posted inFilm

Teenage Wasteland

BATMAN RETURNS * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Tim Burton Written by Daniel Waters and Sam Hamm With Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Michael Murphy, Cristi Conaway, and Andrew Bryniarski. Even the title of Batman Returns is something of a lie, referring not to the fictional world of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shoot for the Contents

This essay film by the U.S.-based, French-educated Vietnamese writer and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha (Naked Spaces: Living Is Round, Surname Viet Given Name Nam) approaches Chinese culture from an outsider’s position–or, more precisely, through a series of contrasted outsider positions and layered perspectives. Shoot for the Contents, whose title alludes to a Chinese guessing game, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Class Transit

To the editors: Comments relating to Harold Henderson’s transit article published on April 3, 1992 [“Chicago Transit Atrocity”]: My observations of the way developers and agencies of government relate to public transit lead me to conclude that there is little political will in the United States, either nationally or locally, for establishing environments conducive to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

My friend Dave is trying to organize a tontine. He says it’s very simple. We each put an equal sum of money into an investment pool. Whoever outlives everybody else gets the money plus the accumulated earnings. What a strange concept! Put up your money, then hope for the ultimate misfortune to visit the other […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cousin Bobby

A fascinating and highly moving documentary by Jonathan Demme about his cousin Robert Castle, whom he hadn’t seen for 30 years when he started making this film. A 60-year-old white Episcopal minister working in Harlem with a multiracial and multidenominational congregation, Castle is a passionately committed community organizer who started out in Jersey City and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Avian Inconsistency

To the editors: I welcome diversity in pubs, but I feel a strong contradiction was shown when you just recently covered a less-invasive free-range chicken story [May 22] and now reporting on a disgusting interference with hawks [June 12]! This is an absurd hobby, and your coverage of it is similar. Desire Hoolhorst W. Warwick

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“Perhaps the next development in performance poetry will be an attempt to become more like professional wrestling,” writes Gloria Klein in Letter eX (June). “A poetry ‘slam’ is not too far from it already. What is professional wrestling if not a form of entertainment that is metaphor without language? When Cactus Jack battled Arachne Man […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Our Profane Critics

To the editors: If Achy Obejas has so little faith in the interest she can generate from one of her theater reviews that she feels the need to pepper them with Anglo-Saxonisms every week, perhaps she should find another line of work [June 5]. Buy a thesaurus, Achy, and stop throwing the word fuck around […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Death and Pancakes

DEATH AND PANCAKES at the Rudely Elegant Theater and Gallery By Albert Williams Eric Lane Barnes’s new musical about the psychic and sexual abuse of a 1970s adolescent doesn’t work as a show, but I wish more shows didn’t work this powerfully. Juxtaposing campy commentary on feel-good 70s entertainment (The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Correct Brecht

To the editors: In regard to Lawrence Bommer’s worried question as to whether Bertolt Brecht is in danger of domestication [May 15], I have no easy reassurance for him. It is, however, evident that unless I have been deceived by decades of bad translations, Mr. Brecht has already been flattened by the politically correct newspeak […]

Posted inMusic

Alejandro Escovedo

In the four years since the breakup of his acclaimed band, the True Believers, Alejandro Escovedo has retained his position as perhaps the most talented songwriter and bandleader on the vibrant Austin music scene through some restless collaborations and piercing and luminous shows with an aggregation called the Alejandro Escovedo orchestra. At the same time, […]