Posted inMusic

L7–Bricks Are Heavy

BRICKS ARE HEAVY L7 Slash Records Ever since Nirvana’s Nevermind swooped out of the Pacific Northwest and up the charts, practically every band with electric guitars punched into overdrive and an address within a few hundred miles of Seattle has gotten caught up in the major-label signing frenzy. Never mind that what gives some of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cynicism and Chicanery

To the editors: What sets the ideologue apart from the honest inquirer (or the honest letter writer, for that matter) are the levels of cynicism and chicanery to which the ideologue must resort to finesse the case he’s trying to make. Take any debatable issue. An honest inquirer will lay what cards he has on […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Much acclaimed in France for its fascinating take on the cinematic apparatus, this masterpiece from Iran by the highly talented Abbas Kiarostami (And Life Goes On…) combines fiction with nonfiction in novel and provocative ways. It starts with the real-life trial in Tehran of an unemployed film buff who impersonated the celebrated filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Death of a Prom Queen

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH MARY? Xsight! Performance Group at the Josephine Louis Theatre of Northwestern University October 9 and 10 SHAWN COYLE & DANCERS at Cypher Inc. October 9 Tim O’Slynne has said he didn’t really want to be a modern dancer; he would have liked to have been a ballet or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Return of Quentin Crisp

In his preface to Quentin Crisp’s brilliant memoir The Naked Civil Servant Michael Holroyd points out: “To the English, Mr. Crisp has appeared as one of the more flamboyant inventions of Evelyn Waugh; but his world is closer to that of Samuel Beckett.” Therein lies the source of Crisp’s paradoxical appeal: behind the campier-than-camp appearance […]

Posted inArts & Culture

11 Minutes Max!

11 MINUTES MAX! Bailiwick Repertory at the Theatre Building October 9, 16, and 23 There’s always a certain atmosphere about the really good late shows, especially performance-art ones. They feel clandestine, like you’re going to a blind pig. Only the people in the know go. And those who don’t–well, tough for them. 11 Minutes Max!, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Every summer I make a pilgrimage to Spring Green, Wisconsin, about 40 miles west of Madison, to catch the American Players Theatre. This wonderful repertory theater, founded in 1979 by a band of plucky exiles fleeing the increasingly inhospitable New York theater scene, has over the years earned a glowing reputation for their intelligent, unpretentious, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Fahey

Guitarist John Fahey survived what Utah Phillips called “the great folk music scare” of the 60s to establish himself as a contemporary virtuoso of traditional acoustic guitar. He’s probably best known as a blues musician, archivist, and scholar; he was instrumental in the rediscoveries of Bukka White and Skip James, his Takoma Records eventually became […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Le dortoir

In 1988 Montreal’s Carbone 14 performance company brought its rivetingly physical yet poetic Le rail to the International Theatre Festival of Chicago. That same year founding director Gilles Maheu unveiled Le dortoir (“The Dormitory”), which only now is receiving its Chicago-area premiere in a brief engagement by the touring troupe. Specializing in an emotionally expressive […]