Posted inArts & Culture

Shane MacGowan & the Popes

One of the 80s’ finest bands, the Pogues created whiskey-splashed Celtic folk rock that was an exhilarating blend of musical virtuosity and gob-in-the-face fury. The group’s 1988 LP If I Should Fall From Grace With God was one of that decade’s certifiable gems. Back then it seemed that while veteran players like Terry Woods gave […]

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Oleanna

Non-Prophet Theatre Company, at Cafe Voltaire. David Mamet’s brilliant, controversial comedy-drama receives a solid, interesting production under the direction of Jerry Dellinger, a theater teacher at Lincoln College in central Illinois. By casting two former students as the antagonists in Mamet’s darkly funny study of ideological friction in academia, Dellinger blurs the age difference the […]

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Prospero’s Island

Greenview Arts Center, at Loyola Park This modest outdoor affair, a 75-minute condensation of The Tempest performed on a hillock on the Rogers Park lakeshore, is not at all like the ambitious but somewhat passionless Tempest now playing Oak Park’s Austin Gardens. Amid the distractions of conversational dogs, family barbecues, drum playing, and soccer games, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

Last weekend while waiting in line at the deli counter at my local Omni, I pointed out the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to my three-year-old son. This weekend while browsing the local Jewel, Richard joyfully exclaimed, “Look, Mommy–this store has the penis truck too!” –Karen McLoughlin At a traditional German bakery a sixtyish woman bustled in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Home/August Sons

This intriguing bill pairs two bands that understand the primary source of inspiration for indie rock: boredom. The Tampa foursome Home have whiled away their empty hours recording no less than eight cassette-only albums. Their ninth effort, IX (Relativity)–the first to be widely available and released on CD–is a maddeningly inconsistent battle of influences to […]

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Imperfect Beauty

Sara Risk at Idao Gallery, through September 2 Robert Bridges at Roy Boyd Gallery, through August 25 The introduction of chance into art making–exemplified in the work of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage–is a method for reducing the artist’s role. More modest alternatives to the old goal of aesthetically perfect self-contained art in which every […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

SPACE NEEDLE 8/11, EMPTY BOTTLE On their debut album, Voyager (Zero Hour), the Long Island duo known as Space Needle transport space rock into the lo-fi realm, combining rough-hewn ambient sounds, fuzzy melodies, and an almost catatonic rhythmic attack. When vocals break through the sonic mess, as on “Beers in Heaven,” they evoke a more […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Tax on Cartoons/News Bites

If you’re a First Amendment absolutist, or even a moderate who had a normal childhood, you’ll view with concern the forces of repression arrayed against the lowly comic book. I gleaned the following narrative from “A Short History of Comics Censorship & the CBLDF,” a handful of pages faxed to me by the Massachusetts-based Comic […]

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Intellectual Thrills

Summer Shorts Neo-Futurists Actors, like jazz musicians, are not typically known for their intellects: American audiences pay to see performers get into it, not think. But great acting, like great jazz playing, demands a powerful intellect that can craft a momentary spasm into part of a larger whole. The shrewdness of jazz piano giant Oscar […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In May the immigration office at Pearson International Airport in Toronto announced that one of its employees had been disciplined for ordering people entering Canada to remove their shoes and socks, under the guise of policy, so he could photograph their feet. According to officials, the man had already been counseled four times […]

Posted inMusic

Battle Fatigue

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Ravinia Festival, August 5 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Ravinia Festival, July 21 Kathleen Battle is the most universally despised individual in the world of classical music, transcending all lines of gender, ethnicity, and nationality. To know her is to loathe her, and virtually everyone whose professional life has intersected with hers, from the […]

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Magnificent Deceptions

Patrick Hughes at Belloc Lowndes Fine Art, through August 31 Those computer-generated Magic Eye pictures that popped up last year in every shopping-mall poster shop and all over best-selling books and calendars have already passed into extinction–a vestige of 1994 as forgettable as Zima and Susan Powter. Translating the bewildering op-art patterns into pictures of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tsahal

Part patriotic tribute, part 60 Minutes-style investigative journalism, Claude Lanzmann’s five-hour documentary Tsahal probes Israel’s embattled state of mind through a history of its army. Between 1991 and 1992, Lanzmann, who’d made the harrowing Holocaust epic Shoah (1985), was given unprecedented access to members of the Israeli Defense Forces, or Tsahal (an acronym formed from […]