Posted inNews & Politics

Who builds Chicago? Daley enacts a public-works residency rule, activists complain it’s not enough.

On May 18, Mayor Daley steered through the City Council an ordinance that requires half the jobs on city-funded construction projects be reserved for Chicago residents. Daley’s concept has long been endorsed by low-income activists, and yet he has won little praise for his efforts. At best critics say the ordinance is a weak first […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Escape From Happiness

ESCAPE FROM HAPPINESS Stage Left Theatre at American Blues Theater “Requited love is a short circuit,” Samuel Beckett once observed, meaning among other things that satisfied lovers make awful characters. The same is true of fictional families: the happier they are, the more boring they are. But a truly flipped-out crowd, like the Tyrones of […]

Posted inMusic

Aural Vertigo

PAVEMENT METRO, MAY 5 Pavement creates the sonic equivalent of guitars propping ladders up against each other and then climbing them frantically and recklessly. The only other band I’ve ever heard invoke this kind of aural vertigo with two guitars was Television, the late-70s New York art-punk quartet. But where Television’s Tom Verlaine and Richard […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

My father bought a can of ant killer from the hardware store. I think he liked this can because it was so compact, square with a pointed dusting nozzle, and it packed such a wallop. He stuck the nozzle into the entry hole of a pavement ant colony, in the crack between two sidewalk slabs, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grant Lee Buffalo

An LA trio with a stupid name is nothing unusual, but Grant Lee Buffalo–their leader/guitarist is named Grant Lee Phillips–more often than not cough up the goods to transcend their quirky, sweeping aspirations. The band’s penchant for melodrama is clearly derived from David Bowie–the quick opening of “Jupiter and Teardrop” sounds exactly like “Ziggy Stardust”–but […]

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The Last Day of Primo Levi

AN UNCERTAIN HOUR Bailiwick Repertory At least after Dante Alighieri journeyed through the dark wood and witnessed the unspeakable horrors of the Inferno, he had the words of the poet Virgil to guide him into Purgatory and the light of his beloved Beatrice to take him into Paradise. Twentieth-century Italian author Primo Levi wasn’t so […]

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Celebrating the Spoken Word

BIG GODDESS POW WOW IV at Metro, May 21 Big Goddess Pow Wow? Let me get this straight: a bunch of performers, poets, actresses, and musicians who consider themselves goddesses get together for a little public meeting–and then what? Should we take seriously anyone who calls herself a goddess? Well, if we can get past […]

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A Soldier’s Play

A SOLDIER’S PLAY Hidden Stages Chicago Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning play begins with the death of a black man in Fort Neal, Louisiana, in 1944. But what the Army would like to dismiss as a lynching turns out to be far more complicated, as Fuller gracefully, relentlessly unwinds a string of injustices and intolerance […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jardin de pulpos

JARDIN DE PULPOS Taller del Sotano at the 1994 International Theatre Festival of Chicago, Wellington Theater To say that Mexico City’s Taller del Sotano is a world-class company is a bit of an understatement. The vocal and physical craft exhibited by these spirited actors is the kind we Americans see almost exclusively at international festivals, […]

Posted inMusic

Strangest Record of the Year

ROLF LISLEVAND JOHANNES HIERONYMUS KAPSBERGER’S LIBRO QUARTO D’INTAVOLATURA DI CHITARONE (ASTREE) And now, in the category Strangest Recording of the Year, who will take home the crown? Will it be the new record by the Butthole Surfers, those neopsychedelic Texan acid freaks? Or the latest from the Boredoms, favorite Japanese hard-core postmodern zaniacs? Or how […]