Posted inArts & Culture

Sense of Site

JO HORMUTH: OIL SPILLS at the Evanston Art Center On a recent afternoon the view from the windows in the Evanston Art Center’s first-floor galleries was stunning: undisturbed, perfectly white snow-covered grounds, punctuated here and there by dark bare trees, blended softly into the distant expanse of Lake Michigan, which in turn knit itself into […]

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Absent Friends

ABSENT FRIENDS Strawdog Theatre Company Alan Ayckbourn is one of the few playwrights around who can create hilarious comedies out of subjects like death, denial, nervous breakdown, adultery, and dysfunctional families. Because he’s often perceived as a mere comic writer and has been unfairly labeled the “British Neil Simon,” he isn’t always grouped with the […]

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Awadagin Pratt

Winner of the prestigious Naumburg prize, the 26-year-old pianist Awadagin Pratt commands attention with his funky, self-absorbed stage manners and unorthodox playing style–sort of a cross between Stevie Wonder and Glenn Gould. Son of parents from Sierra Leone, Pratt embarked on his musical education at age six in Normal, Illinois. Later, at the University of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Educating Cecil

To the editors: In Cecil Adams’s recent list of variations on Margaret, why the exclamation mark after Rita [Straight Dope, January 8]? Clearly, you can get Rita by shortening Margarita or Marguerite. And why the two exclamation marks after Daisy?? The Spanish and Yiddish words for “daisy” are, respectively, margarita and margaritke. There are probably […]

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The Straight Dope

You are the only person that can clear this up once and for all. What exactly is the Bilderberg Group? There have been accusations on the Larry King show that it is some kind of secret organization that has a lot of influence in shaping world events today and in the past. According to one […]

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Hubert Sumlin

Guitarist Hubert Sumlin is one of the blues most acclaimed, yet maddening, geniuses. His classic work with Howlin’ Wolf helped define postwar Chicago blues in the 50s and 60s. As Wolf moaned, bellowed, and rasped out lyrics of menace and foreboding, Sumlin spat out splintered shards of disjointed elegance, creating the landscape of nightmare and […]

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The City File

If you think county government is clean, you haven’t done any scrubbing lately. County Clerk David Orr: “Cook County government spent about $1.84 billion in 1992, but lobbyists claimed they spent only $118,263 to influence decisions. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of this total was reported by Common Cause and Chicago Metro Ethics Coalition, two reform groups […]

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Burning Bright

BURNING BRIGHT Touchstone Theatre Virtually every playwright of the 20th century has attempted to reproduce the scope of the novel by expanding the limits of theatrical convention. Thornton Wilder, for example, attempted to illustrate the universality of human experience by spreading it over time and space. In The Long Christmas Dinner, he stretches the frequently […]

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Cost of Driving

To the editors: I enjoyed the interview of Robert Belcaster of the CTA [December 11]. Mr. Belcaster does as good a job as we can expect, given the constraints on the CTA. But I reject the assumption–which he doesn’t challenge–that mass transit has to be subsidized and can’t possibly be funded out of the fare […]

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Gertrude Stein and a Companion

What is the answer?” Alice B. Toklas begs her dying companion. “What is the question?” answers Gertrude Stein with her last breath. And with that vaudevillian exchange ended the marriage of two of the most remarkable female minds of the 20th century. Win Wells’s Gertrude Stein and a Companion traces the extraordinary relationship between Stein, […]