Posted inNews & Politics

Dissonant Notes

To the editors: In his commentary “Head Music” [May 6], John Corbett chose to attack an earlier essay of my own to make his points. He didn’t need to, since the central tenet of his article stands on its own. What’s more, Corbett had to take my comments quite out of their context in order […]

Posted inFilm

Comeback Kid

** LITTLE BUDDHA (Worth seeing) Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci Written by Mark Peploe, Rudy Wurlitzer, and Bertolucci With Keanu Reeves, Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda, Alex Wiesendanger, Ying Ruocheng, Jigme Kunsang, Raju Ial, and Greishma Makar Singh. “Nirvana” is a word that comes from Sanskrit, the Reader’s Encyclopedia informs me, meaning “blowing out, extinction”; in Buddhist […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Performance by Bob Eisen Revisited

There’s something both whimsical and dead serious about Bob Eisen, something daunting and elusive that makes anything you say about him bound to be wrong. He won’t let me tell you much about his new piece, Performance by Bob Eisen Revisited, which he’s calling “part performance art, part ritual, part environmental theater.” But that’s less […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rational Malaise

RATIONAL MALAISE Splinter Group Studio A subtle yet pervasive feeling of malaise runs through all six of Kathleen Ross’s short plays, collectively titled Rational Malaise. At first it isn’t noticeable, but then a general feeling of uneasiness wells up, the kind of sadness that arises when things aren’t as they should be but aren’t about […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

CONDOMS VERSUS AIDS, ROUND 2 Thanks for nothing, Cecil. At first your column on condoms seemed long overdue: a concise rebuttal to the Christian right’s disinformation campaign about how HIV supposedly can readily pass through “pores” in latex condoms [May 6]. Too bad it took you only a few paragraphs to lapse into the kind […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eric Alexander, Cecil Payne & John Ore

This week’s history lesson concerns Cecil Payne, who shares a unique niche in the development of jazz. In the late 40s, along with the long-gone Serge Chaloff, Payne found himself in the first wave of bebop-playing baritone saxophonists and worked hard to translate the mercurial flights of bebop pioneer Charlie Parker–who played the considerably more […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marga Gomez

There are two kinds of laughter in the comedy world: the laughter of anesthesia and the laughter of enlightenment. Most stand-up comics aim for anesthesia, dispensing a kind of comedic narcotic to deaden our pain and allow us to deny, however fleetingly, our problems. San Francisco-based monologuist Marga Gomez does something much more difficult in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Anything to keep from having to go outdoors and feel the ground. Colorado State University is trumpeting its development of a “Smart Valve”–complete with pistons, metering chambers, valves, hydraulic fluid, and a porous ceramic wick–which can sense the amount of moisture in the soil and turn off automatic sprinkler systems when it’s raining. “No one […]

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 […]