Posted inArts & Culture

The Language of Birds: Rosa Luxemburg and Me

After the Berlin Wall was demolished, signs were changed swiftly on the eastern-sector streets and public buildings that had been named for Lenin, Trotsky, and Mehring, but the parks and plazas bearing the name of Rosa Luxemburg remained untouched. As one citizen explained, she was “the revolutionary with the human face.” This diminutive, semicrippled Polish-Jewish […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Bolshevik

One of the major essays of Chris Marker–which automatically makes this one of the key works of our time–this remarkable video is provisionally about his friend and mentor, the late Soviet filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin (1900-1989), in the form of six video “letters” sent to him posthumously. More profoundly, it is about the history of Soviet […]

Posted inArts & Culture


RACE Strawdog Theatre Company ENDS Victory Gardens Studio Theater Plays with ideas are great. There are far too few of them around these days. But plays about philosophical ideas, written to express a point of view rather than tell a story, are almost always clunky and dull: dramatic intrigue is held hostage to the author’s […]

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Crach Test Dummies

Don’t be fooled by that killer single “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”; the Crash Test Dummies, from Winnipeg, are an acquired taste. The band’s very weird first album, The Ghosts That Haunt Me, was hokey and kind of countryesque. Now the band, which is primarily distinguished by songwriter Brad Roberts’s unapologetic basso, is playing spaciously produced […]

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Unraveling Incest

SPEAKING THE UNSPEAKABLE: HOW WE TALK WHEN WORDS FAIL Michelle Citron at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, January 14 Though one should in battle conquer a thousand men a thousand times, he who conquers himself has the more glorious victory–Buddha In her powerful lecture/performance Speaking the Unspeakable: How We Talk When Words Fail filmmaker […]

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The Dream Project

THE DREAM PROJECT Moving Parts Theatre Company at American Blues Theatre A woman sits crouched on a step while a man force-feeds her imaginary oatmeal. Across the stage, high atop a platform, a second man drops red and black scarves alternately to a third man on the floor below. The woman turns, watches the scarves […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

My wife and I are expecting a baby boy. Soon we will face the prickly question: to circumcise or not to circumcise? As far as we can determine, the dispute has not been settled which is healthier. As youngsters we heard that circumcision fosters cleanliness. Then we heard that this argument is feeble in a […]