Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Cultural-literacy test for parents of toddlers. From MOMents’ (April) discussion of booking characters for kiddie birthday parties: “Because most of the popular characters are those seen on TV and in the movies, they are copyrighted and legally unavailable. Companies that book characters get around this by scheduling them by description….The hottest characters are: the big […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nothing but a Man

A sincere, intelligent, and effectively acted independent feature from 1964, about a black worker (Ivan Dixon) and his wife (Abbey Lincoln) struggling against prejudice and trying to make a life for themselves in Alabama. Directed by the able Michael Roemer (who made The Plot Against Harry five years later) from a script written in collaboration […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tales of the Brothers Quay

The Quay brothers, American identical twins who live in London, have created some of the most visually stunning animation I’ve ever seen. Miniature sets and dolls create a fantasy world with a not easily predictable set of rules. There are no smooth surfaces or naturalistic rhythms in these films: their jagged stop-start animation points to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Life Is a Dream

LIFE IS A DREAM Magellan Theatre at the Upstage Theatre Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderon de la Barca died over 300 years ago and is today remembered primarily by academics. This intriguing figure, who wrote nearly 200 plays in his 81 years, dealt with abstract and sometimes controversial ideas not often found in the dramatic literature […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ripe Conditions

RIPE CONDITIONS Victory Gardens Theater There’s something comforting about Claudia Allen’s Ripe Conditions at the Victory Gardens Theater. It’s not in the bopping country-bumpkin music that opens each scene. It’s not in Lester and Buster, the down-home Michigan farm boys who just happen to love the same woman. It’s not even in the fluffy magenta […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu’s bizarre pop odyssey, now in progress for more than 15 years, continues on their new album Story of My Life. It’s been fascinating to watch this unsightly, off-kilter ensemble retain its art-rock street cred even as it has slowly learned to make radio- and listener-friendly records. At the same time the world itself […]