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Posted inArts & Culture

Chi Lives: Marguerite Horberg, HotHouse keeper

Marguerite Horberg, proprietor of HotHouse, still supports Fidel Castro, and peppers her conversation with Marxist phrases: friendships are “alliances,” issues like homelessness are “contradictions,” progressive art should “demystify” the “homogenous hegemony” of Western cultural imperialism.” Yet she comes on like Rosa Luxemburg with a gypsy soul. For more than ten years before she opened HotHouse, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Unpretentious

CHRIS SULLIVAN and BRENDAN DE VALLANCE at Randolph Street Gallery, February 12 and 13 Performance art, unfortunately, is burdened with an aura of pretension. From the hipper-than-hip audience members who act as though the rest of us have come to watch them to the artists who seem to believe that obscurity, impenetrability, and starting half […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Luther Allison

This is a homecoming celebration for a major bluesman who left Chicago for Paris in the early 80s and has performed here precious few times since then. Allison cut his teeth in the 50s and 60s playing with such greats as Freddie King and Magic Sam, but he emerged into the “mainstream” (i.e., white) consciousness […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ballet Chicago

George Balanchine looked for a certain savagery in dancing. Former New York City ballet principal dancer Daniel Duell, now artistic director of Ballet Chicago, once overheard Mr. B complaining to a dancer about English training: the choreographer described it as being like the elaborate process of making a very small, very polite cup of tea, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shakespearean Heights

KING LEAR Shakespeare Repertory It takes a ton of energy to keep King Lear from sinking under the immense sorrow of its story. An unrelenting onslaught of crimes against humanity, most of them senseless, King Lear is a play in which the bitter negations of “nothing,” “no more,” and “never” lose all abstraction and turn […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Music of the Baroque

Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, which premiered in the Mantuan court in 1607, is generally acknowledged as the first full-fledged opera ever written. And it is an almost perfect opera in its pacing, proportions, and control of dramatic tensions and contrasts. Monteverdi, who later laid the foundations for the Neapolitan opera that led to the flowering of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Stopping the Government

To the editors. I enjoyed the letter George W. Price wrote in the January 29 issue, about the effect on the CTA of the possible privatization of the streets and expressways [“Can You Get There From Here?,” December 11]. He notes that a private expressway company should pay its fair share of taxes. An interesting […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blue Eyes. Black Hair

The language of sensuality, the sensuality of language–French writer Marguerite Duras has mastered both. She pulls at the boundaries of erotica and art, revealing everything about the sexual act while hinting at it in the most minimal terms. When her fiction and essays are read aloud they take on an added intensity, as demonstrated by […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

If a match is lit in an atmosphere like earth’s but outside of gravity’s pull, will it suffocate? Will it snuff out from its own gases faster than if it had a steady earthbound updraft to refresh it with more oxygen? I heard the space shuttle astronauts were doing tests with fire in microgravity. I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

This is the Chicago premiere of a first-rate, 167-minute Canadian documentary by Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick about the brilliant linguist and radical political commentator Noam Chomsky, probably the best living critic of American foreign policy as viewed through the media. He’s so articulate and intelligent that this extended look at his thought remains compulsively […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

States we never expected to have a good word for. From the Kentucky Supreme Court’s September decision striking down that state’s anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional: “‘Equal Justice Under Law’ inscribed above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court, expresses the unique goal to which all humanity aspires. In Kentucky it is more than a […]