Posted inArts & Culture

Mystery of the Living City

THE GATES (FAR AWAY NEAR) Margaret Jenkins Dance Company at the Dance Center of Columbia College, July 8-10 Let me say it in simple words first: Margaret Jenkins’s The Gates (Far Away Near) is a masterpiece, both in the contemporary sense of the word, as a panoramic view of human nature, and in its original […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oscar Brown Jr.

Oscar Brown Jr. is a modern griot–a storyteller who uses myth, rhyme, and rhythm to impart wisdom. His exultant tone poems and narratives, which he’s been creating for more than 30 years, are important precursors to rap. But unlike many rappers he spins his tales with affection and irony–he’s never ceased to “take time and […]

Posted inMusic

In sexual purgatory with PJ Harvey

A friend told me about a poet he knew who taught an adult education class. Week after week the students brought in poems about sex. Finally the poet told the class it was getting old. He noted that sex, after a certain point, is pretty much the same action for everyone, and suggested they write […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Stitches

IN STITCHES Close Call Theatre at the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Baird Hall Billed as a “heartwarming story about the AIDS quilt and AIDS survivors,” In Stitches betrays itself immediately with its cutesy, made-for-TV title, promising a cheery panacea for bereavement in the form of sampler wisdom and weary repartee delivered by a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tre & the Blue Knights

It’s been awhile since Chicago’s seen a new artist capable of fusing both the funky sophistication of the classic deep-soul sound with the gritty sensuality and immediacy of Chicago blues. Tre and his Blue Knights aren’t yet in the same league as Cicero Blake, Lee “Shot” Williams, or Tyrone Davis, but they’re headed in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Alabama Rain

ALABAMA RAIN Halcyone Productions at Shattered Globe Theatre We know something strange is going on when we hear that it hasn’t rained in the town of Culman for 40 years. And when Rachel, the fourth of the five LaDean sisters, declares that time has stood still there, she means it literally–third sister Monty Lou, for […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I realized recently that if my young daughter matriculates in the usual way she will graduate from high school in June 2000, which, as I have learned from your book More of the Straight Dope, is pronounced “June of the year two thousand.” My question is, what will her class be called? I know how […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Uh, well–maybe you’ll go blind. Dr. Walter Barr of Loyola University Medical Center: “If you compare X-rays of patients who are habitual knuckle crackers to those who have never developed the habit, you will not find any…evidence of disease or joint abnormalities. The idea that knuckle cracking causes arthritis or big knuckles could be termed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

A product of the Hollywood studio system, Andre Previn was a movie arranger long before he joined the classical world as chief batonwielder of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1968. His career since then–from London to Jouston to Pittsburgh–can best be characterized as uneven and enigmatic. As a conductor, he’s apt to give elegant if […]

Posted inNews & Politics

What Orr Did to Us

To the editors: Before Florence Hamlish Levinsohn canonized Cook County clerk David Orr [“Either/Orr,” June 25], she should have spoken to someone who lives in the 49th Ward. As a Rogers Park home owner for 17 years, I have seen this neighborhood deteriorate from a staid, middle-class respectability to a crime-ridden community that houses gangs, […]