Posted inArts & Culture

The Little Girl of Hanoi

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Hai Ninh’s 1974 Vietnamese propaganda feature, partly filmed during the U.S. bombing of Hanoi in 1972, is how strong and accomplished and beautiful it is, particularly given the almost impossible circumstances under which it was made. The simple but powerful story centers on a little girl wandering through the […]

Posted inMusic

Ali Farka Toure

Ali Farka Toure sometimes sounds like he has one foot planted in the Mississippi Delta and the other in the Niger. His work is deeply rooted in Malian tradition; in one interview he explained that he sings about “education, work, love, and society.” But although he sings exclusively in West African languages, he sounds like […]

Posted inFilm

Interrogating the 60s

**** THE SECOND HEIMAT (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Edgar Reitz With Henry Arnold, Salome Kammer, Daniel Smith, Noemi Steuer, Armin Fuchs, Martin Maria Blau, Laszlo I. Kish, Frank Roth, Anke Sevenich, Franziska Traub, Michael Schonborn, Hannelore Hoger, Susanne Lothar, Alexander May, and Peter Weiss. Why is it so hard to be happy? –Clarissa in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Peculiar Poignancy

EXTRACTING THE ESSENCE: PAINTINGS BY ESTELLE RICHMAN at the Chicago Cultural Center, through May 8 Estelle Richman in “Extracting the Essence,” a group of paintings on view at the Chicago Cultural Center, brings our attention to modernist aesthetics, which are often eclipsed these days by postmodern practices. Richman, who received her bachelor’s degree from the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story A Montreal woman filed a lawsuit in February against the Alfred Dellaire funeral home and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. According to her, the hospital had informed her the previous March that she had skin cancer, and three and a half hours later she received a call from the funeral home, which […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jail of Gender

JAIL OF GENDER Chrysalis Project at Cafe Voltaire Kathe Burkhart’s poetry, prose, and visual art deal primarily with being an artist and a woman in an age author Susan Faludi has characterized as a “backlash,” where victories are dearly bought from a patriarchal society that claims enlightenment even while cosmetic surgery rises and rape abounds. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dave Specter & the Bluebirds

When Muddy Waters sang, “The blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll,” he neglected to mention the idiom’s first-born child–jazz. That family history comes to the fore in the Chicago blues band led by Dave Specter. Jazzmen have almost always returned to the blues, yet few blues bands have borrowed so […]

Posted inMusic

Dead Ringers

STRUTTER DOME ROOM, APRIL 7 Since Kiss abandoned the roar of the greasepaint years ago (revealing four ordinary, weathered mugs), the torch of rock ‘n’ roll hypertheatricality has sputtered sadly; rock is well into the Flannel Era, and the climate has turned cool. No one wants to dress up in fancy costumes, set off explosions, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Dream Hotline

The night my boyfriend moved in I had no dreams. There was a hanger shortage. Actually a closet shortage, which left him stranded, Hefty bags of boots and towels in hand, piles of dry-cleaning bags sticking to his arms. There was a scene, one involving flying sweaters and freshly cut keys, after which he went […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Voices of Women

All of the pieces on this scholarly 17th-century vocal program were either composed by or set to texts written by Italian or English women. The Italian half of the bill consists of a sacred madrigal, a sonetto, and a canzonetto by Francesca Caccini, a celebrated Florentine singer; a witty cantata by the gifted Barbara Strozzi, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

D-Day Deux/Keystone Commentaries

D-Day Deux You’d expect plans for a D-Day invasion to be guarded like the smallpox virus. Chicago’s was an inch from being common knowledge. Retired Army colonel Kenneth Plummer, chairman of the commemorative exercise, tells us that a good year and a half ago he began meeting with the appropriate authorities: the mayor’s office, police […]