Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Good Time

A sturdily made and beautifully acted comedy-drama about aging from Bob Balaban, whose Parents showed him to be an imaginative director who knows what to do with a set and how to enter the worlds of lonely people. The story here, adapted by Balaban and John McLaughlin from a Richard Bausch novel, concerns a retired […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Jae-Ha Kim Lashes Back

To the editors: For the past four years, the Reader’s rock music critic Bill Wyman has used his column as a forum to vent his personal obsession towards me. I never bothered to reply because I assumed his fixation with me would pass. Obviously, it hasn’t. Wyman has incorrectly misread my silence as permission to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Then they heard about the mandatory zero-calorie diet. From a Marshall Field’s release: “According to a recent survey by Mademoiselle magazine, 89 percent of all women have wanted to become a model at some point in their lives.” Dysentery in Arlington Heights? You bet. Last August it afflicted 17 people (15 of them children) who […]

Posted inArts & Culture

James Peterson

Guitarist James Peterson is a veteran bluesman, but he’s spent most of his life as a club owner–most notably in Buffalo, where he introduced his son Lucky to the blues world with the assistance of Willie Dixon. Peterson’s first LP, in 1970, was produced by Dixon, but he didn’t really begin to fashion a viable […]

Posted inNews & Politics

No. 8: Funeral for a Friend

The Scratchy Noose is mobbed with people Tug wouldn’t let attend his funeral earlier in the day. Budge is at the door stamping hands and is worried about capacity and fire codes. Hope is working the bar and is serving tonight’s drink special, a concoction of her own creation she’s calling Thanatonic. As fate would […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Samaris Piano Trio

One week after the local debut of African Portraits, Hannibal Lokumbe’s uncategorizable orchestral ode to his ancestry, comes a chamber counterpart, also written by a multifaceted composer and instrumentalist trained in the jazz tradition. According to the 64-year-old David Baker, who chairs the jazz department at Indiana University, his piano trio Roots II draws from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Anna Deavere Smith

At a time when dogma, denial, and dishonesty make open discussion of racial and ethnic conflicts nearly impossible, Anna Deavere Smith looks America straight in the eye and shows these long-festering problems in all their horrifying complexity. Emulating the techniques of Emile Zola (who took notes on everything he saw, heard, and tasted) and Studs […]

Posted inFilm

Alien Nation

French Kiss Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Lawrence Kasdan Written by Adam Brooks With Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton, Jean Reno, Francois Cluzet, Susan Anbeh, and Renee Humphrey. The great Hollywood director Ernst Lubitsch once remarked during the heyday of the studios, “There is Paramount Paris and Metro Paris, and of course […]

Posted inMusic

At Home Onstage

Liz Phair Vic, April 29 There seems to be an unwritten rule in Chicago that goes like this: If you are an artist, particularly a musician, you should only appeal to a small, discerning group of fans. When you make it big, those fans will desert (and hate) you, no matter how good your work […]