Posted inArts & Culture

The Dead Alewives

For the last 15 years Chicago-style improv has been long on talk, short on physicality. And even when the humor has gotten physical, it’s usually the Jerry Lewis, spazzed-out shtick that ImprovOlympic alum and SNL regular Chris Farley has built his career on. Which explains why it takes an improv troupe from, of all places, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Charlie Kohlhase Quintet

With a three-horn front line, Charlie Kohlhase has to work hard to keep his quintet’s thick middle from turning to mud. But the Bostonian baritone and alto saxophonist is an ingenious arranger who’s been compared to Mingus, and one listen to the band’s 1991 debut, Research & Development, or better yet the newer Good Deeds […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nanci Griffith

Nanci Griffith is a lifer practitioner of a personal folkie-pop that may never penetrate the mass consciousness but can provide a lot of pleasure to those who give her a chance. She doesn’t have the stature of a Jimmie Dale Gilmore or the blinding talent of an Iris DeMent; she’s too slick to be a […]

Posted inFilm

Gypsy Melodies

Latcho Drom Rating **** Masterpiece Directed and written by Tony Gatlif. If you haven’t heard of Latcho Drom–an exuberant and stirring Gypsy musical, filmed in CinemaScope and stereophonic sound in eight countries on three separate continents–you shouldn’t be surprised. Although the movie has been wending its way across the planet for the past couple of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe’s been a lot of things: cofounder of quintessential pub rock band Brinsley Schwartz, ground-level coperpetrator of the Stiff Records punk rock/new wave revolution, producer-at-large for Elvis Costello, the Damned, Pretenders, and John Hiatt (to name a few), roots revisionist in Rockpile with Dave Edmunds, postroots all-star in Little Village with Hiatt, Ry Cooder, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Left Hand of Darkness

Lifeline Theatre. Ursula K. Le Guin’s award-winning science fiction novel, set on an ice-covered planet among an androgynous race whose members become either male or female whenever they go into “kemmer” or heat, is a fascinating meditation on the influence of sexuality (and weather) on the evolution of society. But the very qualities that make […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Solopalooza

At first glance Seattle-based performance artist David Schmader is doing what countless other monologuists across the country do these days: telling painful autobiographical stories to total strangers and calling it art. Schmader’s stories detail his experiences as a gay man in America–his first sexual encounters, crushes on pop stars, bathhouse liaisons, the games he plays […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Moon Is Blue

In the first of his independent features as producer-director (1953) Otto Preminger adapts his most successful stage production, a light romantic comedy by F. Hugh Herbert that ran for over 900 performances. Released without production code approval and condemned by the Legion of Decency for its use of such taboo phrases as “virgin,” “seduce,” and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A while ago I saw a tagline on alt.fan.cecil-adams from someone who was darn proud to be a member of the National Rifle Association. I asked if the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution still holds water today since the intent was to provide guns and protection against the other side of the puddle. This […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Oh Joy!

Oh Joy! To the Editor: Just wanted to tell you that I’m really glad you picked up Kaz’s “Underworld” comic strip [January 13]. I’ve caught it now and again in various independent publications, and I’ve always enjoyed it. Between Kaz’s “Underworld” and Derf’s “The City” you finally have a comic lineup on par with New […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“When I started out fifteen years ago, it was almost like finding a baby on the doorstep, or seeing a wounded animal or a wounded person,” local Nature Conservancy prairie and savanna restorer Steve Packard says in one chapter of the new book Green Means: Living Gently on the Planet. “It just called to me. […]