Posted inArts & Culture

The Spinanes

On the surface, there’s not a whole lot to the Spinanes–no feedback, no flailing hair, not even a full-fledged band. A slender duo who combined would be barely the size of Meat Loaf, the Spinanes are Rebecca Gates (vocals, guitar) and Scott Plouf (drums). Like many bands today united under the banner Less Is More, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Urban Bush Women

What do urban bush women want? Well, judging by this New York group of seven dancer-singers and a percussionist, they want to be heard and seen, they want to sing and move, they want to celebrate cheerleaders and drum majorettes, African culture in its American guises, women in all their varieties. Urban Bush Women honor […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Arguments Against Handguns

Dear Reader editors: Bryan Miller’s article on women and guns [February 4] was the most persuasive polemic I’ve read in favor of widespread handgun ownership. Its glaring weakness was that it didn’t do justice to the strong arguments against handguns as a deterrent to crime. The quotes from the NOW and gun control leaders were […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Ex & Tom Cora

The Ex are a striking model of form following function. Forming in Amsterdam 15 years ago under the sway of left-leaning English punk bands like the Pop Group, Crass, and the earliest Mekons, they learned their instruments as they went along, espousing anarchist virtues and squatters’ rights and practicing a punishing, numbed-out postpunk throb. Over […]

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My Other Heart

MY OTHER HEART Northlight Theatre You can’t disguise the conventional by slapping a couple of puppets on top of it. Martha Boesing’s My Other Heart, directed by Russell Vandenbroucke at Northlight, is a sturdily correct, by-the-numbers sort of play that peeks out rather shamefacedly from behind forced pageantry, shadow play, and badly integrated puppetry. Which […]

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Tito and Me

The chuckling style and nostalgic tone may be pure Neil Simon, but the content of this 1992 autobiographical feature by Goran Markovic is something else again–a fascinating, pointed, satirical look at growing up in Yugoslavia in the mid-50s, obviously given more edge by the fact that it couldn’t have been made until fairly recently. The […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Renters’ Penalty

Dear Sir: Unless there is also an Illinois income tax reduction based upon rent, tenants will be severely penalized by any shifting of school funding from the real estate tax to the income tax as favored by Dawn Clark Netsch (January 7). Surely she must have thought of this. Stuart Simon Chicago

Posted inArts & Culture

Byther Smith

Chicago still has a lot of blues musicians scuffling in the clubs waiting for their big break, and guitarist Byther Smith may well be the sleeper of the bunch. Smitty can be unpredictable, but when he’s on, his guitar work is vintage early-60s Chicago fire–eccentric arpeggios laid over a base of sustained phrases and aggressive […]

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Hooray!/Sitcom

HOORAY! Factory Theater SITCOM Zeppo Productions at Factory Theater Conceived as a send-up of the 70s PBS kids’ series Zoom, this could have been a simply dreadful show in the wrong hands. But happily director Amy Seeley and her actors make Hooray! more than a mere parody of a sitting duck: touchy-feely, sickeningly sweet kids’ […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Weapons Research

Dear Editor; Bryan Miller in her piece “Guns & Women” [February 4] has unfortunately bought the line of the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers that women have been arming themselves at a rapid rate. In fact, gun ownership by women did not increase by 53 percent from 1983 to 1988. Surveys by the […]