Posted inFilm

The Road to Overload

NORTH ON EVERS *** (A must-see) Directed and written by James Benning. A good many of the fine points of the film business elude me. But if I understand some of the current rules correctly, it’s poison to use black-and-white cinematography, letterboxing (for framing wide-screen formats on video), or subtitles–unless they appear in music videos […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mingus Dynasty

The music lives. Mingus Dynasty evolved out of a tribute concert held in 1979, just weeks after the death of bassist and composer Charles Mingus, and quickly grew into a going concern: a pool of his former sidemen from which six- and seven-piece groups could be plucked to perform his complex yet achingly pure music. […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Of all instruments it’s the saxophone that most closely resembles the human voice–with a potential only hinted at in the wailings of jazz players stuck in four-four time. Given this, it’s odd that the possibilities of the all-saxophone choir went relatively uninvestigated for so long. That a saxophone quartet like Rova can be so constantly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Wacky, Wondrous Thing

KLAHOMA, OR THE FARMER IN THE ASTRAL PLAINS at Randolph Street Gallery September 18 and 19 The farmer lives in a hollow tree with a slew of orphans. The farmer has lost his shoes and is calling every police department he knows, obsessively describing them. He was on his way to a funeral in Grand […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sonic Youth

It is a trenchant indication of the lowliness of Sonic Youth’s beginnings that despite consistently exponential growth throughout a ten-year recording career they’ve only very recently begun releasing listenable albums. Nineteen-ninety’s Goo, atonal and gritty as ever, nevertheless finally forwent attitude in favor of propulsion, and (over the first six or seven songs at least) […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Betty Page Story

THE BETTY PAGE STORY Prop Theatre “Warning!” says a sign in the lobby of the Prop Theatre. “The Betty Page Story contains scenes of smoking, bondage and women in their underwear. Some may find the smoking offensive.” Behind the glib joke lies an apparent statement of purpose: the creators of The Betty Page Story want […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story USA Today reported in July that doctors in China performed a direct internal-sex-organ swap between a man and a woman who were strangers to each other. The surgeons constructed all external sex organs, but another operation is necessary to complete the job. Neither person will be able to have kids. Weird Science New […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Generations/Homeward Bound

GENERATIONS Griffin Theatre Company HOMEWARD BOUND Illinois Theatre Center There’s something insidious about contemporary family dramas–the familiar situations, the archetypal family members, the soap opera undercurrents mobilized by Crisis or Christmas. Then come the routine confrontations and predictable revelations, the resolution of petty grudges that have ballooned over time, usually through the liberal laying on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ravenswood/The Ringmaster

RAVENSWOOD Quando Productions at Sheffield’s School Street Cafe Ravenswood is a funny little play about the guests at a “463-clams-a-day” retreat for neurotic couples run by an insane guru named Dr. Pepper. Don’t expect any insights about love and the human psyche. It’s a silly work, and that’s OK. Playwright Terrence McNally gives his characters […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Wiz

“Don’t nobody bring me no bad news,” growls the wicked witch Evillene in this all-black, street-smart version of The Wizard of Oz. Happily, there’s no bad news to bring: this extravagant touring revival of the 1975 Broadway hit is a joy to watch and listen to. William F. Brown’s alternately tender and wisecracking script and […]