Posted inNews & Politics

The Final Chapter

Cold rain tapped sporadically on the pavement under the elevated tracks on Wabash. It was perfect bookstore weather. Gray skies and wet streets are supposed to have the same effect on bookstores that the full moon has on psych wards. But few people were in the old Kroch’s & Brentano’s last Thursday, when the remaining […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Water and Power

Pat O’Neill makes a living doing special effects for the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, but he’s also been making his own independent 16-millimeter films since 1963. Most use optical printing (a kind of image manipulation through frame-by-frame rephotography) to produce unusual imagery, a process O’Neill once described as attempting to represent paradoxical […]

Posted inMusic

Still a Good Trick

Cheap Trick Star Plaza Theatre, August 26 The coolest guy in junior high was Jeff McNish. Every school had one–a guy who was 13 going on 21 and the subject of every girl’s crush. Jeff was tall, with long, feathered, dirty-blond hair and the beginnings of a mustache. He smoked cigarettes and always wore Levi’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Seventh Victim

Though not directed by an auteurist-approved figure (Mark Robson has never attracted any cult to my knowledge), this is arguably the greatest of producer Val Lewton’s justly celebrated low-budget chillers (rivaled only by his 1942 Cat People)–a beautifully wrought story about the discovery of devil worshipers in Greenwich Village that fully lives up to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Music for the Masses

The nation’s record companies, always looking for an excuse to move product, have declared September to be Classical Music Month, and Chicago’s classical ensembles, always looking for new ticket buyers, are clambering aboard the bandwagon with a quartet of free performances. Drawing on the idea of the popular CD sampler, A Taste of Classical Music […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Living in Oblivion

A very funny 1994 comedy by New York writer-director Tom DiCillo, the cinematographer who shot Stranger Than Paradise, about the nightmares of shooting an American independent feature. The story comes in three acts, and even though the first is funnier than the second and the second funnier than the third, the whole thing is still […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billy Joe Shaver

One of the original members of country music’s outlaw movement, Billy Joe Shaver penned all but one of the songs on Waylon Jennings’s classic 1973 album Honky Tonk Heroes, and since then his songs have been recorded by everyone from the Allman Brothers to Elvis Presley. A veritable handbook of badass existence, they’re rife with […]

Posted inFilm

Our Angels, Our Devils

Lord of Illusions No stars (Worthless) Directed and written by Clive Barker With Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen, and Daniel Von Bargen The Prophecy ** (Worth seeing) Directed and written by Gregory Widen With Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, and Moriah Snyder. Evil fascinates. Whether it’s Jeffrey Dahmer eating his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

American Ballet Theatre

A big noise was made about James Kudelka’s Cruel World when American Ballet Theatre premiered the dance in the spring of 1994. This Canadian choreographer is notable in part for the gloomy issues he tackles: he’s been described as a “kinetic poet of loneliness, isolation, misunderstanding and repression,” and Anna Kisselgoff of the New York […]