Posted inNews & Politics

Hitsville in the ‘Hood

Dear Bill Wyman, If you’re going to make part of your living from being a typical white “cultural tourist,” you should make an effort to be more accurate in your depictions of the flora and fauna of “black kids’” lives [Hitsville, February 11]. (By the way, Black men sporting full beards aren’t “kids” even though […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Bellow’s Obsession

Dear Sir or Madam: Novelist Saul Bellow has an obsession with black crime combined with an unhealthy interest in African American sex, at least according to your article of February 18 called “A Writer’s Story” [Hot Type]. However, your article missed the most bizarre and repellent example of Bellow’s interest in black sex and crime, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Ensemble

The Chicago Ensemble, now well into its third decade, has undergone a number of personnel shake-ups over the years, but founder and pianist Gerald Rizzer is a survivor. The various incarnations of his group have lacked neither skill nor interpretative acumen, but for some reason the group hasn’t been able to excite its audiences, to […]

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John Zorn’s Cobra

Cobra stands as the most accomplished of saxophonist/composer John Zorn’s “game pieces,” his series of fully improvised works shaped by preestablished but fluctuating “rules.” In these works a “prompter” (Zorn’s version of a traditional orchestra’s conductor) controls the general direction of the performance with visual cues that mandate stylistic shifts, various combinations of musicians, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Guns & Politics

Gentlemen: Your recent article on “Guns & Women” [February 4] was very refreshing because it showed a side of the handgun question almost never provided by the media. If there really are one million or so guns in the city, surely there must be dozens of incidents every day in which a gun has stopped […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens

Ever since the recording industry began marketing African music to Westerners, it’s been disheartening to note how many acts have embraced glossy, high-tech production style, to the point where their music starts to resemble the overprocessed Anglo-American pop slop that sent so many listeners to the international music bins in the first place. It’s not […]

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News of the Weird

Lead Story In January in Montreal Judge Raymonde Verreault sentenced a 37-year-old Muslim man to only 23 months in prison for a series of sexual assaults from 1989 to 1991 on his stepdaughter, who was nine years old when the attacks started. Verreault said she decided on a light sentence because the man had “spared […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orchestrated Chaos

DAVID DORFMAN DANCE at the Dance Center of Columbia College, February 24-26 Much as I liked the much-touted Out of Season: The Athletes’ Project, shown at the Dance Center, it isn’t much of a dance. And in a way Chicagoan-turned-New Yorker David Dorfman isn’t much of a choreographer, creating rough, athletic phrases bursting with energy […]

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The Mesmerist

THE MESMERIST Steppenwolf Theatre Company A century after her death, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky remains an enigma. A Russian emigre who cofounded the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875, Blavatsky was a controversial writer (Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine), an influential teacher who introduced America and England to Eastern philosophy and ancient esoterica (in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

Dear Reader: Sitting inside the Starbucks on Broadway near Roscoe, two art students had tired of sketching people slushing through the two-day-old snow. After deciding which Melrose Place characters they were most like, one woman had an inspiration: “Let’s try to find the person whose shoes are the least appropriate for the weather.” –Dave Wiethop […]