Posted inArts & Culture

Fascists in Love

QUARTET Center Theater If the term “history” makes any kind of sense, then surely it describes the structure and destruction of human relationships. In that sense, Quartet has a historical theme. –Heiner Muller Four years before Christopher Hampton gave us the stage adaptation of Les liaisons dangereuses, there was East German playwright Heiner Muller’s Quartet, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eddie Palmieri Octet

“The Sun of Latin Music,” pianist Eddie Palmieri had already made his name in salsa circles by the time he established a combo called La Perfecta in 1961; after that the fame came mixed with notoriety, and it spread far beyond the barrios of his native New York. With that band Palmieri began to create […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Drive Liike Jehu

San Diego’s Drive Like Jehu may have named themselves after the crazed Old Testament chariot-driving king, but as recklessly as their squealing, caustic guitars careen around on the surface, at heart their music is controlled by a strong sense of order and precision. While their second album, Yank Crime (Interscope), lacks the dense packets of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

A couple of tables away from us, at a Vietnamese restaurant on the Near North Side, a group of young women were having dinner. My wife and I quickly gathered that they worked at a big law firm: they gossiped for several courses, with fervent concentration and great analytic skill, about the attorneys in their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Juno and the Paycock

JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK Gate Theatre at the 1994 International Theatre Festival of Chicago, Merle Reskin Theatre It’s impossible to imagine a play with so much love for its flawed characters finding a more loving staging. This electric revival by the Gate Theatre of Dublin, a crown jewel in the International Theatre Festival, establishes the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robin Wang

Robin Wang–never mind the anglicization of his given name, Luo-bin–is one of China’s premier ethnomusicologists and folk performers. Born in Beijing in 1913, he studied Western music with German and Russian professors in college. But in 1937 he journeyed to China’s Muslim-dominated northwestern provinces and became so taken with the tangy, nonpentatonic music there that […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

PETER CASE 6/17, SCHUBAS Peter Case has had a career racked with strange twists; few others have opened for both the Germs and Jackson Browne. An important progenitor of west-coast punk-pop (with the Nerves and, more significantly, the Plimsouls) before his erratic traipse through singer-songwriter turf, he’s currently touring in support of Peter Case Sings […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Wicked Satire

Dear editors, Congratulations to Rosalind Cummings on her wickedly brilliant satire of reverse racism [Our Town, June 3]. Particularly compelling was the author’s depiction of the Maasai couple employing their own prejudices to imagine the “covert and under the table” racist perceptions of their white patrons. And the juxtaposition of Mr. Caine’s lament about the […]

Posted inFilm

Off Color

** WHITE (Worth seeing) Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski Written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski With Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delphy, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Stuhr, Grzegorz Warchol, and Jerzy Nowak. “Imagine a kind of filmmaking that’s truly in tune with the ways you think and relate to other people. A deeply humane kind of filmmaking, but free […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Critic’s Choice

I could burrow through half a dozen dictionaries and still not find the words to describe Polish theatermaker Leszek Madzik and his company, Scena Plastyczna (“Visual Stage”): Madzik’s breathtaking, purely imagist work exists in a preconscious realm unapproachable through conventional language. Eschewing spoken text (he says he’s been “maturing to silence”) and using actors almost […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Time Ends Again

Dear Cate Plys, I want to congratulate you on your fine article “A Brief History of the End of Time,” in the May 27 issue. As the Chicago-area pope for the Church of the SubGenius (the only one, I might add–did others claiming to be pope journey to Dobbstown in Malaysia to work with the […]

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Pudd’nhead Wilson

A classic, observed Mark Twain in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, is “a book which people praise but don’t read.” That definition unfortunately fits Pudd’nhead itself, which is known mainly as the source of some of Twain’s most biting aphorisms. So bravo to Steppenwolf Theatre for bringing to general audiences this potent story-theater piece, created last […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story The Boston Globe reported in February that Eulalia Rodriguez and her extended family receive government assistance payments totaling nearly $1 million a year. Rodriguez, who’s been on public assistance for 26 years, has 14 children on welfare, 74 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Said she, “I’m sick of people acting like I’m some crook. […]