Posted inNews & Politics

A Rap on Racism

Mr. Wyman, This letter is in response to your February 11 “Hitsville” column concerning the panel discussion of rap music. I will take a slight chance as I proceed with this letter and assume that you are white. More pertinent, however, is that you have established your column as a forum for music primarily from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orchester der Beethovenhalle

With at least a dozen superior recordings of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony available, why should we bother to hear it performed live? The answer is obvious: a live performance keeps one’s mind focused on how the music unfolds, on the interplays between various instrumental groups–not to mention the possibility of inspired interpretation or awkward missteps. Besides, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago String Ensemble

Two works by young local talent are being premiered on this Chicago String Ensemble bill, both commissioned for Elizabeth Cifani, the Lyric Opera’s principal harpist, who’s appearing as a guest soloist here. Paul Seitz, a Racine native based in Madison, has come up with a piece that features the wire-strung Irish harp as solo instrument, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Buzz Merchants

Dear Reader: I’ve been most disappointed that in the aftermath of Steve Albini’s January 28 diatribe Mr. Wyman hasn’t responded. However, because Albini’s writing style is extremely vindictive (“if you can’t say something nice about someone say fuck you”), I can understand his reticence. Subsequently, readers have responded with personal attacks on Albini or outrage […]

Posted inNews & Politics

On Brain Death

Dear Reader, On the subject of Brain Death [January 28] Dickens has been invoked, and as usual has something to say about everything. Mr. Gradgrind raises his head to remind us about “the facts” in this reply to a discussion characterized by unphilosophical, ad hominem arguments and faulty logic, emotional buzzwords and imaginary bogeymen. Father […]

Posted inFilm

Vietnam Under Glass

*** THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA (A must-see) Directed and written by Tran Anh Hung With Lu Man San, Tran Nu Yen-khe, Truong Thi Loc, Nguyen Anh Hoa, Vuong Hoa Hoi, and Tran Ngoc Trung. Until fairly recently, films from the Chinese- and Vietnamese-speaking world have had next to no distribution here; so it’s worth […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

Our river wasn’t always so sluggish. It used to patter through this neighborhood, a serpentine meander through cottonwoods and willows, bouncing against the sandy rise to the east and the ancient lake bottom gently sloping up to the west. On the 1905 plat map the river snaked right through my alley. My neighbors on streets […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Five Seconds of Steve Albini

Gentle readers: All this vitriol [Letters, February 18] directed at Steve Albini is uncalled for. While I concede his conceit, it must be admitted that compromising one’s principles for the sake of popularity is, at the very least, tacky. In his defense, I would like to share an incident that speaks to Mr. Albini’s credentials […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sirens

The charm, humor, and healthy eroticism of Australian writer-director John Duigan (The Year My Voice Broke, Flirting) are back in force in this pleasantly recounted tale, set in the 30s, about a newlywed Anglican clergyman and his wife, freshly played by Hugh Grant and Tara Fitzgerald, who stop off at the remote home of a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joel Hall Dancers

The story’s almost apocalyptic: during one of those fire-and-brimstone thunderstorms last August, Joel Hall’s studio and offices on School Street burned down; the company lost everything, from its costumes to 20 years’ worth of photos. After that the Joel Hall Dancers subsisted in an unheated South Loop location, until in January it got too cold […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Unmale Dale

Regarding Maura Troester’s review of And Baby Makes Seven by Paula Vogel at Footsteps Theatre [February 18]: To unquestioningly use the pronoun he in reference to a director whose first name is Dale–particularly when that director is also co-Artistic Director of a theater producing “plays from a women’s point of view”–demonstrates a lack of curiosity, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wipe That Smile

Wipe That Smile Victory Gardens Studio Theater I don’t presume to know what effect Kay Osborne hoped her play Wipe That Smile would have on its audience. But since this story of a Jamaican family’s descent into poverty and crime is billed as a tragedy, I doubt she assumed it would leave them rolling in […]