Posted inNews & Politics

Winter’s End

“Hey, what are you doing here?” The two old men at the mats behind me evidently know the young man in the tie-dyed hat who’s approaching with a bucket of balls. “My wife is having a baby.” The blue walls of Saint Joseph Hospital overlook the Diversey driving range. “Is it your first one?” “Yes.” […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Women, War, and Rape

The soldier shown above is a Bosnian named Benadita. She’s 16. Her father’s a battalion commander of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and she belongs to a small company of 36 women volunteers. The war in which she’s been fighting tugs at America’s heartstrings, although “It’s the economy, stupid” remains the wisdom this nation lives by. […]

Posted inMusic

Irish accents

Although Ireland has produced a number of prominent pop acts–U2, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, World Party, and Irish Brits the Pogues and Declan Patrick McManus (aka Elvis Costello)–few of them have successfully incorporated the island’s traditional music. Given that music’s emotional and lyrical richness, this neglect is disappointing, but it may be that Irish culture […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Life Sentences

BIG BUTT GIRLS, HARD HEADED WOMEN Rhodessa Jones at Link’s Hall, April 16-18, and at Black Ensemble, April 24 and 25 In 1987 actor-dancer-singer-writer-performance artist Rhodessa Jones began teaching aerobics at the San Francisco City Jail, a gig that quickly proved far more challenging than she’d anticipated. From her first day in this world–which was […]

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Il ladro di bambini

The Italian title of this lovely, rambling feature by Gianni Amelio (Open Doors) translates unidiomatically as “The Children Thief,” and is undoubtedly meant to remind us of the 1948 film The Bicycle Thief. The “thief” in question is actually a young carabiniere officer (Enrico Lo Verso) based in Milan who’s given the job of escorting […]

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Contemporary Chamber Players

After 29 years at the helm of the Contemporary Chamber Players, Ralph Shapey is stepping down. The group he founded will no doubt continue doing a fine job as an indispensable pluralistic advocate of modern music, but the maestro’s feisty touch and sagacious guidance are likely to be missed. Shapey the composer, however, is still […]

Posted inMusic

Ali Akbar Khan

Ali Akbar Khan is the master of Hindustani classical music whose virtuosity on the sarod–a deep-voiced 25-string relative of the sitar (“The sitar is like a woman, the sarod like a male,” Khan explains)–has brought him recognition as one of the music’s greatest living practitioners. Originally from East Bengal (now Bangladesh), Khan emigrated to the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Who invented the smiley face, that obnoxious little design you see plastered on stickers everywhere? Some anonymous hero lost in the quagmire of Commercial Art History? A team of dedicated iconographers hoping to devise the perfect expression of mindless optimism? Will we ever know? Hey, this is what we pay you big money for. –Ivan […]

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Fear of Lasnguage

THE BALTIMORE WALTZ Goodman Studio Theatre “It’s the language that terrifies me,” says Anna, the heroine of Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz, early in the play. At the time she’s speaking of foreign languages, her ignorance of which has prevented her from traveling to Europe. But The Baltimore Waltz is about the fear of language […]

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Tantalizing Contradictions

LI LIN LEE: INTIMATE ABSTRACTIONS at the Evanston Art Center, through May 19 Li Lin Lee’s paintings on burlap are intriguing fence sitters. Vacillating between representation and abstraction, between the familiar and the unfamiliar, they reject fixity in favor of open-endedness. And like most significant experiences in life, they’re somewhat confounding–the best of them stubbornly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Keep on going straight ahead–it looks like it’s somewhere southwest of the breastbone. “When I tell people I’m a cartographer, they think I’m a heart surgeon,” says UIC department of geography staff mapmaker Raymond Brod, quoted in UIC News (February 24). Moral debate at the grass roots, as recorded by an anonymous teacher diarist at […]