Posted inMusic

18th Dye

Combining a variety of Amerindie traits–hushed melodicism, controlled guitar noise, severe dynamic shifts–with a fanatically disciplined minimalism, Berlin-based 18th Dye seem to take the British approach to appropriating Yankee culture. The difference is that they aren’t capriciously chasing the latest fashions; as their new album Tribute to a Bus (Matador) proves, 18th Dye wear their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jest a Second!

Jest a Second!, Victory Gardens Theater. James Sherman’s play is so ready for prime time. All it needs is a corporate sponsor–Gerber’s might be a good choice. Jest a Second! is sweet, easily digested, and just might make you gag. Like its predecessor, the monster hit Beau Jest, it might not be earthshaking theater, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mississippi Juke Joint Caravan

Following the excitement generated by the blues documentary Deep Blues, the Oxford, Mississippi, label Fat Possum Records has spent the last three years releasing albums by the obscure but phenomenal bluesmen who fuel the raucous energy of the low-down juke joints in north Mississippi hill country. Regardless of style, most contemporary blues loses its urgency […]

Posted inFilm

A Door to the Sky

A young Moroccan woman who returns from Paris to her ancient hometown of Fez to see her dying father is unexpectedly pulled back toward Islam. “Am I in the 15th century or the 20th?” Nadia writes her French boyfriend, but when he visits she no longer wants to see him. Farida Ben Lyazid’s script evenhandedly […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Everything Is Wrong, the first full album from techno superstar Moby, is a brilliant and monstrous affair. In keeping with his various causes–he’s vegetarian, an up-front environmentalist, and Christian–his shows and recorded tracks are produced with an adamantine rigor: the utter clarity of the conception and the execution demand respect. And indeed at its pulsating […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Anthony Cheek

For this solo recital John Anthony Cheek, a pianist with advanced degrees from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music who’s prepped with Gilbert Kalish and Menahem Pressler, has selected five works that offer an informed survey of the ways modern experimentalists have extended the range of keyboard techniques since the 19th century. One […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: a grunt’s view of Vietnam

Chicagoan Lazlo Kondor got his job as a war photographer by fibbing to army recruiters. He told them he was the official photographer for the first Mayor Daley. Trained as an infantryman and equipped with battle gear he sometimes used, Kondor spent two years in Vietnam on missions that civilian photographers were barred from because–unlike […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A few years ago there was a lot of noise about the U.S. finally going metric. We saw road signs with mile and kilometer equivalents and soda bottles containing peculiar fractions of liters that corresponded to quarts and ounces. Then what happened? No one talks about metric anymore. How come? Is there any serious metric […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Glass Shield

Though I haven’t yet seen the Miramaxed version of this feature by the country’s most gifted black filmmaker, Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, To Sleep With Anger), it’s reportedly more upbeat and somewhat less angry than the original and contains some additional rap music on the sound track. But this heartfelt and persuasive look at […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

What good is that bird? In a state department of conservation report John Schwegman writes about a study coauthored by suburban Morton Arboretum foresters in which they caged some small oak trees to keep away insect-eating birds and left other trees alone. Sure enough, over two growing seasons the bird-free trees grew significantly less than […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Another thread in the broadcloth of England’s uselessly named acid-jazz scene, Jamiroquai, like the considerably more diverse Brand New Heavies, play music saturated in the soul sounds of the 70s. Considered a major act by the press in their homeland, the retro-baked group have yet to make much of a dent stateside, and it’s doubtful […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mange Fe Rekk: A Peace Corps Purge

Rubicon Theater Productions, at Urbus Orbis. When Spalding Gray sat at a desk and sipped a glass of water during Swimming to Cambodia some years back, it was riveting. But when Chicago writer Michael McColly meanders around the Urbus Orbis stage in a monologue seemingly modeled on Gray’s, one’s focus often shifts away from him […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Those Were the Days

Dear editor, Two comments on the May 5 cover story on City Hall and public information: One, the centralizing of information in the mayor’s press office is nothing new. It was done in the Byrne administration, and there were versions of it in the Bilandic and Richard J. Daley administrations. That the centralizing occurs at […]