Posted inMusic

Critic’s Voice

John Mendelssohn I, Caramba (Rhino) As if following the maxim “those who can’t, teach,” rock critics often reveal a personal agenda, a sense of sad betrayal from being denied their own shot at stardom. The writing carries an undercurrent of “I could do better than that,” or at least a lot of rock fans seem […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Physician, Heal Thyself

Dear Sir/Madam: On August 4, 1995, the Reader published a front-page article written to extol the accomplishments of Dr. Robert Simon, the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Cook County Hospital. The article also supported his contention that the use of emergency-room observation centers would reduce health-care expenditures nationally in a significant way. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Arabian Knight

The neglected Canadian animator Richard Williams directed and coscripted this mind-boggling London-made cartoon musical feature, the first to be made in ‘Scope since Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in 1959. It’s a movie that’s been in and out of production since 1968, apparently because Williams mainly worked on it as a labor of love in between more […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

JIMMY SOMERVILLE 9/1, VORTEX A pioneer in what has come to be known as gay disco–he served stints in British synth-pop bands Bronski Beat and the Communards–Jimmy Somerville exploits a piercing falsetto to produce consistently banal love songs. His new solo outing Dare to Love (London) alternates between soft-edged techno and quasi-soulful pop, but all […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Henderson’s Twisted Turn

When are your editors going to banish Harold Henderson? His article entitled “Natural Facts” [August 11] is another example of the twisted turn to the right his so-called environmental reporting has taken. Clearly Henderson’s diatribes would be more appropriate in a conservative rag rather than a publication such as the Reader which targets a progressive […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fashion Statements: the young and the cautious

We met Daniel Duffy wobbling through the Morrie Mages (“Mr. Sporting Goods”) Playground near the Waveland greens. His wash-and-wear toddler togs squealed “playtime!” But caseworkers from the Department of Children and Fashion Services demanded further explanation. Was the look age-appropriate? Or was it merely playing dress up? They opened a file. Young Duffy chooses an […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In July U.S. representative Jack Metcalf of Washington revealed that the U.S. Forest Service and a state agency had planned to spend $18,000 to dye rocks gray and brown along a scenic highway in the Cascade Mountains to make the rocks look more naturally weathered. (Later in the month, the project was postponed.) […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Montserrat Caballe

Montserrat Caballe doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of the fading diva who hits the recital circuit to rekindle her glory days. At 62 the Spanish soprano still retains much of the legendary pianissimo in her lustrous voice, and as a seasoned veteran of the most prestigious opera houses, she knows how to artfully cover her […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Double Happiness

This 1994 Canadian comedy by Mina Shum revolves around a 22-year-old aspiring Chinese actress (Sandra Oh), living in a North American city with her parents and younger sister, who has to choose between her ambitions and traditional family loyalties. I wouldn’t call the film an unqualified success–the acting is uneven, for instance–but I learned a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jackie McLean Quintet

In the early 1960s alto saxist Jackie McLean put together a group that he felt would catch the spirit of change and the drive for freedom and independence that the political winds were then buffeting around the nation. You can gauge his success from the group’s two Blue Note recordings (One Step Beyond and Destination […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What’s the deal with “ice beer”? What’s supposed to be good about it? As an occasional home brewer, my gut tells me that freezing beer to make it better is a crock, but I’ve never heard the breweries try to explain it. Is there something to it, or are they all riding the wave of […]