Posted inArts & Culture

The Political Is Personal

Nightwalking: Voices From Kent State Terrapin Theatre at the Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, South Hall There seems to be no limit to the American penchant for self-absorption. Confusing our personal emotional response with the fulfillment of civic duty, we judge the severity of a national catastrophe like the Oklahoma City bombing by how deeply it […]

Posted inFilm

Sex and the Single Codger

The Last Good Time Rating *** A must see Directed by Bob Balaban Written by Balaban and John McLaughlin With Armin Mueller-Stahl,Olivia d’Abo, Lionel Stander,Maureen Stapleton, Kevin Corrigan, Adrian Pasdar, and Zohra Lampert. Bob Balaban, a native Chicagoan who’s best known as a prolific movie and stage actor, has directed only three features to date. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rex

Rex is a worthy inheritor of the Velvet Underground’s chamber-rock legacy. With its sparse instrumentation, intimate lyrical themes, unhurried tempos, and quietly hypnotic playing, the Velvet Underground’s third album defined a style emulated by bands as disparate as the Cowboy Junkies, Yo La Tengo, and Codeine (which shares drummer Doug Scharin with Rex). Rex creates […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In October the grandson of Reverend Fred Phelps, the Topeka, Kansas, preacher who routinely shows up at AIDS victims’ funerals holding antigay signs, asked the Topeka school district to be allowed to participate in its public service program, which is designed to encourage high school students to volunteer to improve the community. The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Final Accord

My favorite Douglas Sirk film–made in Germany in 1936, when he was still known as Detlef Sierck–is a dazzlingly cinematic, fast-moving melodrama built around classical music; it’s alternately perverse, exalted, and delirious. Shuttling back and forth between New York and Berlin with an ease that suggests those cities were in closer proximity to each other […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marriage & Bears

Marriage & Bears, Writers’ Theatre Chicago. When Tolstoy first saw Chekhov’s comic one-act The Bear, he reportedly fell out of his chair laughing. Which amazes me, because I’ve seen the blasted thing five times, counting last Saturday, and have never managed to squeeze out more than a few coughlike chuckles. Even Michael Frayn–the man who […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tommy Flanagan Trio

When Tommy Flanagan plays a jazz club, it’s as if they changed the lighting: the physical surroundings seem brighter, and you can see (and hear) the same old details with new clarity. Flanagan represents the flowering of bebop in the truest sense: the opening up of the original idiom into a more versatile jazz style–one […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rudy Linka

On his latest album the guitarist Rudy Linka displays a musical history nearly as crowded as the political annals of his native Czechoslovakia. The opening number, a New Orleans-inspired march, calls up stylistic aspects of John Scofield’s music; two tunes later he shows the influence of Pat Metheny’s rhythm and phrasing, before honoring John Abercrombie’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Star-Studded Stinker

Moon Under Miami Remains Theatre at the Organic Theater I have the most reliable friend that you can have in American politics, and that is ready money. –Senator and presidential candidate Phil Gramm In John Guare’s exquisite comedy-drama Six Degrees of Separation, a young man pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier cons his […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

As I was slogging through yet another interesting assignment for medical school, I happened upon this interesting tidbit: “BEZOARS. Bezoars are foreign bodies in the stomach of animals and humans that are composed of food or hair that has been altered by the digestive process. Historically, bezoars were esteemed for their alleged therapeutic properties and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jack Logan/Simon Bonney

Jack Logan’s sprawling 1994 debut, Bulk (Medium Cool), spreads 42 songs over two CDs lasting more than two hours. Culled from some 600 tunes he recorded with a variety of musically inclined drinking buddies between 1985 and 1993, this inordinately high-quality collection portrays Logan as an unconscious style hopper who can switch among pop, country, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“Avoiding insects completely is impossible,” according to a university news release describing U. of I. eintomologist May Berenbaum’s new book, Bugs in the Systme: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs, “because four of every five creatures on Earth – some 800,000 species with an estimated population of 10 quintillion – are six-legged.” Or maybe […]

Posted inArts & Culture

NEMO ’95 Festival

A group of local new-music advocates has formed New European Music Overseas (NEMO) to introduce Chicagoans to the cutting edge of the European composing community, and its founding on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II is no coincidence. The war’s end ushered in the postserial style and a fascination with newfangled […]