Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: the map as metaphor

Maps are intrinsically appealing because they can be both utilitarian devices and objects of painstaking, beautiful detail. But “Art on the Map,” on view at the Chicago Cultural Center, isn’t merely about the distinguished history and craftsmanship of mapmaking. It’s an examination of the map as metaphor: for travel, for political, philosophical, and metaphysical boundaries, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

At the Boundary of Art and Life

BLINKY PALERMO, BRUCE NAUMAN, AND RUDOLF SCHWARZKOGLER at the Arts Club of Chicago, through June 30 The visitor to the exhibit of works by Blinky Palermo, Bruce Nauman, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler at the Arts Club of Chicago will likely be struck by how different each artist seems from the others. What could Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s photographs […]

Posted inMusic

Crude Marx…but You Can Dance to It

MARXMAN 33 REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE (A&M) Unpublished excerpt from a letter by Friedrich Engels to novelist Margaret Harkness: Dear Miss Harkness, It has come to my attention that a certain Marxman is now invoking the ideas of our good friend and comrade Karl Marx. Indeed, both Marx and I were astonished to find ourselves credited […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grant Park Symphony Orchestra

After almost two decades of self-imposed semiretirement, pianist Van Cliburn is making a comeback. And the Grant Park Music Festival nabbed him for its 60th season opener to the tune of a reported $50,000. Never mind that Cliburn has never lived up to the early promise he showed following Moscow’s 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition. As the […]

Posted inMusic

A Genre of One

MAYO THOMPSON CORKY’S DEBT TO HIS FATHER (DRAG CITY) Let’s take the story of popular music to be like a drive down Main Street. Branching off from the central thoroughfare of music history are occasional culs-de-sac, blind alleys occupied by influential individual musicians, groups, and sometimes single records. One can’t exactly explain why or how […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Guys and Dolls

GUYS AND DOLLS Shubert Theatre Director Jerry Zaks has done to Guys and Dolls what Warren Beatty did to “Dick Tracy” in his movie version: taken material that already puts a fantasy spin on reality and removed it one step further. Zaks and set designer Tony Walton, whose bright pop-art backdrops dominate the show, have […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Print: 50 ways to help your neighbor

Two years ago writer Steve Fiffer heard about a successful program for hungry students at Evanston’s Orrington School called “books and breakfast.” He convinced his wife, Sharon Sloan Fiffer, that they should replicate it at Kingsley School, where their daughter was a second-grader. Evanston has its share of urban problems but as the Fiffers described […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Miss Illinois

“What kind of article are you writing?” the Miss Tri-Village pageant coordinator asked skeptically when I began questioning her about her involvement with the Miss Illinois program. She had me there. I’d been hanging around at the pageant’s “leadership conference” all day, and aside from a bad case of the snubs–which I’d received from everyone […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Blowing Smoke

Dear Reader, Hurray to the Reader and to theater critic Lawrence Bommer for taking a stand against characters in plays who smoke [Theater, May 20]! Yes, smoking among fictional characters must be stopped! How gutsy of Mr. Bommer to finally speak up on behalf of we real people! What a fine example of the incisive […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The NIMBY chronicles: Wilmette repels thespian invasion!

The match seemed perfect: Northlight Theatre needed a permanent home, and National-Louis University wanted a well-regarded Equity company for its 600-seat auditorium. So they signed a deal: starting this fall, Northlight would stage its next ten seasons at the National-Louis facility on Sheridan Road in Wilmette. And that’s when the trouble started. Wilmette wanted no […]

Posted inMusic

Person to Person

LOU BARLOW WINNING LOSERS: A COLLECTION OF HOME RECORDINGS (SMELLS LIKE RECORDS) In 1959, after lunch one day, the poet Frank O’Hara founded a movement known as Personism. In the tradition of other great cultural movements–Dada, Fluxus, punk–Personism makes serious points in unserious ways. In Personism: A Manifesto, O’Hara wrote that the movement’s aim was […]