Posted inFilm

The Significance of Sniggering

Crumb Rating **** Masterpiece Directed by Terry Zwigoff. Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb in many ways looks like conventional filmmaking, yet it conveys a remarkable fluidity and density of thought. It may resemble a biographical documentary–unobtrusively shot by Maryse Alberti, gracefully edited by Victor Livingston–but it unfurls like a passionate personal essay. The subject is Robert Crumb, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Moving Beyond Modernism

Joseph A. Ruiz II at Zeus Gallery, through August 1 Evan Lewis at Klein Art Works, through July 22 Two decades ago New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer was asked by movie critic Vincent Canby to consider reviewing some avant-garde abstract films by Paul Sharits that Canby had found puzzling. Kramer replied that he […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scenes From My Love Life

Scenes From My Love Life, at the Theatre Building. Ronnie Larsen seems to prefer the security of recognition to the shock. The strategy behind his play–a tell-all gay production from San Francisco–is to push so many buttons that by the end audience members will see themselves or their stories onstage, for better or worse, in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Alternative Ethics

Dear Reader: I don’t get it. Because it’s an “alternative” paper, Albert Williams tells us the Reader doesn’t have to observe the same ethical guidelines as other papers [Letters, May 12]. But to support his praise of colleague Adam Langer’s play, he cites a concurring opinion by Richard Christiansen, Chicago’s most established critic. And in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Playwright’s Progress

Skinny White Boy in the Heart of Darkness Rick Cleveland at the Goodman Theatre Studio, May 24 Skinny White Boy in the Heart of Darkness is playwright Rick Cleveland’s witty, pathetic, ironic monologue about a journey through a dark domain brought about by a troubled childhood and marriage, early artistic success, and thwarted artistic ambitions. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

An impetuous five-year-old was standing on the bus seat next to his mother, pelting her with questions. “Why does the bus jerk?…Can that pigeon ride this bus?…Why does rice taste like rice?” He began to wear her patience down, and she stared out the window, ignoring him. After several unanswered queries, he realized she was […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Coming of Age in Baconburg

The Snarkout Boys & the Avocado of Death Lifeline Theatre Long before the Music Box–even before the now-defunct Parkway, presently the site of a LensCrafters–there was the Clark. Located near Clark and Madison (the building has long since been demolished), this tiny theater was part cinematheque and part flophouse, a haven for Chicago’s movie-mad and […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

SENSER 6/2, METRO On their recent Stacked Up (Ultimate/Atlas), predictably generic English kitchen-sink rockers Senser artlessly pillage so many styles–techno, hip-hop, industrial, and heavy metal, to name but a few–it’s hard to believe these boring lunkheads are actually a single band. They open for loudmouthed techno pixie Moby (see Critic’s Choice). MARTINA McBRIDE 6/2, WHISKEY […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Space Waste

I don’t have much of the explorer’s instinct. I’ve never been out of the country–well, to Canada a couple of times, but that doesn’t really count. When I travel I collect unpleasant experiences the way some people collect postcards. I get migraines. I get nausea. The notion of traveling anywhere without adequate bathrooms makes me […]