Posted inMusic

Why I Love STP

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS UIC PAVILION, AUGUST 12 With the exception of Michael Bolton, Stone Temple Pilots are perhaps the most commercially successful critically reviled pop act of the new decade. Despite the reality–that STP’s sound combines grunge, acoustic guitars, heavy percussion, a punkish lead singer, and the kind of moody lyrics that sound like a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Making the Streets Safe for Trees

Dear Reader readers: In response to Ben Joravsky’s July 15 article regarding recent concerns of some residents that isolated cases of tree leaf browning are occurring as a result of the City’s street resurfacing program, the Chicago Department of Transportation sought the expertise of one of the top tree specialists in the country to make […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Inward and Upward

ODILON REDON: PRINCE OF DREAMS at the Art Institute, through September 18 The Art Institute’s sublime Odilon Redon retrospective, organized somewhat chronologically, represents a kind of spiritual biography. Born in Bordeaux in 1840, Redon felt he had a miserable childhood: he was raised apart from his family until he was 11, probably due to his […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Lumpen Speculation

Thank you for reminding me what a piece of crap Lumpen Times is [“The Panic in Wicker Park,” August 26]. I have to remember to tell visitors from out of town to pick one up so they can see what a proletarian pose, a slacker attitude, a near-total lack of journalistic skills, and Daddy’s money […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

It was the middle of the downtown lunch-hour rush at the corner of Washington and Clark. A policewoman stood in the middle of the intersection, barking out orders to drivers and pedestrians. As she tried in vain to keep traffic moving, a well-dressed middle-aged man, briefcase in hand, stepped off the sidewalk to cross Clark […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jazz Notes: return of the Underground Fest

With the Chicago Jazz Festival celebrating its 15th anniversary this weekend, it’s worth noting that the Chicago premieres of major acts like the World Saxophone Quartet, the Henry Threadgill Sextet, and David Murray occurred not in Grant Park but in the ever-changing locations that have housed percussionist/composer Kahil El’Zabar’s ancillary event, Underground Fest. This year, […]

Posted inArts & Culture


With all of the recent attention on Steve Albini, recording engineer (and Steve Albini, rabble-rousing Reader letter writer), his most important contributions have unfortunately gotten short shrift. With Big Black and later Rapeman, Albini set a certain standard for rock extremes. His musical achievements–adopting the brittle metallic guitar of Gang of Four’s Andy Gill and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Journalistic Snobbery

Dear Editor: It is a shame that this city’s largest newspapers devote most of their music columns to music created elsewhere. This, at a time when Chicago is gaining recognition as a hot music scene, is even more troubling. Following Chicago music for the last 15 years, I have noticed a strange inferiority complex. This […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Up Against It

Think of it as the Joe Orton play that never was, or the Richard Lester movie that might have been. Written in 1967 as a screenplay for the Beatles (whose agents rejected it), and then taken under consideration by trendsetting filmmaker Lester until Orton was murdered by his boyfriend, Up Against It is peppered with […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

People complain about the lack of baseball–some of them do, anyway–but I don’t know what they’re talking about. Why, just this week I saw Frank Thomas hitting a long homer to right center. There was Greg Maddux sending a change-up dipping into the lower inside corner against a right-handed batter–Matt Williams, I think it was. […]