Posted inFilm

History Happens

**** THE BLUE KITE (Masterpiece) Directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang Written by Xiao Mao With Zhang Wenyao, Chen Xiaoman, Lu Liping, Pu Quanxin, Li Xuejian, Guo Baochang, Zhong Ping, and Chu Quanzhong. Covering 15 years of modern Chinese history, from 1953 to 1968, The Blue Kite is powerful less for what it says about continuity in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Hispanics in Wicker Park

Dear Editor, Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Huebner interviewed one Hispanic (this may be wishful thinking) in his article about Wicker Park gentrification [“The Panic in Wicker Park,” August 26] and this was in reference to the effect of gentrification on the art community and not the displacement of Hispanic families in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Entering his fourth season as head of the CSO, Daniel Barenboim is on the hot seat. Critics and subscribers are grousing about the inconsistencies in his interpretations; some of the players feel he’s either too tough or too soft; and to top it all off the Orchestral Association is embarking on an expensive renovation project […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Boris Godunov

The Lyric Opera kicks off its 40th anniversary this weekend with an appropriately lavish production of Boris Godunov. Based on Pushkin’s account of Byzantine palace politics in late-16th-century Moscow, Mussorgsky’s sprawling saga of a cruel czar’s tragic fate is part drama and part agitprop. His musical idiom, which tries to capture the nasal sonority and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Real and Present Danger

Unfortunately Jeff Huebner’s article “The Panic in Wicker Park” [August 26] is heavy on the griping and petty finger pointing and light on a more substantial analysis of gentrification; a real and present danger. What seems painfully absent are the voices of the dispossessed, either from the street, the recently evicted, or the workers and […]

Posted inMusic

Cash Conquers

JOHNNY CASH BISMARCK HOTEL, AUGUST 26 Where to start with Johnny Cash when there are so many precious Kodak moments to choose from? Like the time in 1965 when he was wrecked on pills and busted out the Grand Ole Opry footlights. Or his mid-60s bust in El Paso for amphetamine possession. Or the time […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Upper-Class Radicals

Dear Reader: The recent attacks on property in Wicker Park are a sign of sickness in the minds of a group of self-displaced persons now living in Wicker Park–mainly the north shore and other suburban Anglos who moved into the area a few years ago. These upper-class radicals “living in rags” as they explore their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Comedy of Errors

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, at the Theatre Building. Spell “bard” backward and you have a pretty good idea what most productions of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors are like. A highbrow collection of fart jokes and fat jokes shoved together with tumbling runs and juggling acts, The Comedy of Errors has resisted […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The City; and Dolores

THE CITY and DOLORES, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, at American Blues Theatre. Two runaway girls driving to the city accidentally kill a dog, which the Bible-reading Jack insists on burying before they resume their journey–a delay to which the less spiritual Bates reluctantly agrees. The internment rituals lead to a theological dispute, however, and soon the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Malachi Thompson

The comeback of Chicago trumpeter Malachi Thompson–from stalled creativity (on the artistic plane) and cancer (on the physical)–makes for one of the most satisfying stories in recent years, and no aspect of his music symbolizes that comeback better than his big band, the Africa Brass. Thompson’s small bands, for all their spirit, tend to have […]

Posted inMusic

The Fall

My favorite description of Mark E. Smith, the lead voice and sole consistent member of the Fall, was written in some British music paper more than a decade ago. It said that he chased the English language through a thesaurus with an ax, and while today’s Fall doesn’t sound much like the scratchy ultraprimitive rabble […]

Posted inArts & Culture

TV Films by Alexander Kluge

American TV watchers, eat your hearts out! It isn’t always easy to trace the connections in these selections from “Ten to Eleven”–a series of short, experimental “essay” films made for German television by the remarkable German filmmaker Alexander Kluge–but they’re the liveliest and most imaginative European TV shows I’ve seen since those of Ruiz and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Method

THE METHOD, Emerging Artists Project, at Cafe Voltaire. Karin Shook’s mildly amusing, gentle satire takes aim at a very easy target–the excesses of a dim-witted, touchy-feely director and his cast of two codependent actresses–but fails to hit the bull’s-eye. This hour’s worth of shallow sitcom jokes about relaxation exercises, encounter groups, rebirthing classes, bad poetry […]