Posted inArts & Culture

The Arabian Nights

The Lookingglass ensemble has long enjoyed a reputation for its energetic, intensely physical, artistically adventurous brand of theater. In David Schwimmer’s seminal adaptation of The Jungle, for example, the ensemble willingly endured the sort of physical hardship–hanging upside down, doing handsprings across the stage, performing on stilts–that would have sent lesser actors screaming from rehearsal. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Killer Sex

To the editors: I commend Kitry Krause’s article (November 13) on the syphilis epidemic facing Chicago. As a veteran health care administrator who presently heads a prominent testing, treatment, and research center for sexually transmitted diseases (Howard Brown Health Center), I know too well the need to bring to the public’s eye the vicious cycle […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Muntu Dance Theatre

Chicago’s Muntu Dance Theatre offers an experience that defies categorization. There’s plenty of movement, but the music–the singing, clapping, drumming–is equally compelling. What you see is flat-out physical, but the purpose of all that activity is just as clearly spiritual. The songs, dances, and stories come from Africa, but they’ve been filtered through modern America. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Note From the Underground

To the editors: Darren Cahr’s right that the music of “breakthrough” or “crossover” bands like Helmet is “the sound of cash registers ringing.” But it’s sadly symptomatic of the mainstreaming and commodification of what was once genuinely underground that he’s “encouraged” by this. Cahr’s thinly veiled Albini-worship, besides being another manifestation of Chicago’s “Second City” […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Development, Daley-Style

To the editors: “There were many unemployed in Chicago when Mayor Harold Washington and a former state’s attorney named Richard M. Daley flatly rejected a casino,” David Moberg recalls, thinking back a few years (“Daley’s Crapshoot,” November 20). So then “Why build one now?” Moberg wonders. “Is the mayor motivated by joblessness now in a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

If you doubt that life is a crapshoot, consider the fates of the spot-tailed and emerald shiners in Lake Michigan. They are both minnows, members of the genus Notropis, the largest genus of freshwater fish in North America. They both feed on aquatic insects and small crustacea. The largest spot-tailed shiners are six inches long. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

African Camera: 20 Years of African Cinema

An excellent documentary made in 1983 by Tunisian critic and filmmaker Ferid Boughedir (Halhaouine–Boy of the Terraces, Arabian Camera) that offers an intelligent and useful survey of African cinema. All the major figures are interviewed–including Ousmane Sembene, Souleymane Cisse, Djibril Diop Mambety, Med Hondo, Gaston Kabore, Dikongue Pipa, Safi Faye, Oumarou Ganda, and Ola Balogun. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Michael Kearns

Chicago-trained, LA-based actor-writer Michael Kearns doesn’t play it safe. His open homosexuality has cost him more than a few opportunities in the Hollywood casting scene, and his grittily erotic material, couched in alternately ironic and ecstatic attitudes as he dramatizes sexual and social realities in the age of AIDS, strikes even some gay audiences as […]

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Mitsuko Uchida

About to make her Carnegie Hall debut at age 44, the Japanese-born pianist Mitsuko Uchida will try out the introduction program here first. Daughter of a diplomat, Uchida grew up and received most of her musical training in Vienna. An insightful and precise keyboard interpreter, she’s been an unaccountably late bloomer as an international concert […]

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The Subject Is Horses

DEBORAH BUTTERFIELD at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery Deborah Butterfield has been making the same work of art for more than 15 years. Working humbly in mud and sticks, monumentally in bronze, or–as in eight recent works on view through January 2 at Zolla/Lieberman–in old steel, Butterfield unapologetically explores the emotive potential of a single form. Her subject […]

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Mud/Pastorale

MUD Piven Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater Mud, Maria Irene Fornes’s portrait of three souls mired in the savagery of their dirt-poor existence, is brutal and lyrical all at once. Fornes treats passion with respect and tenderness; she even treats passion of the unsavory sort unflinchingly, as nothing less than human. Also unflinching and true […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story The Two Rivers Baptist Church in Memphis established a special Christian Halloween exhibit this year to compete with local haunted-house exhibits that church officials fear are tools of the devil. “Halloween used to be fun and silly,” said church official Jeff Atwood. “[Now] it encourages occultic activity.” One of the rooms in “Judgment […]