Posted inArts & Culture

The Maid’s Tragedy

THE MAID’S TRAGEDY, European Repertory Company. Honor and duty seem quaint, archaic concepts at the end of the twentieth century, when shirking personal responsibility has become a growth industry. Compare, as did Charles Baxter in his recent article “Dysfunctional Narratives,” the words of Robert E. Lee three days into the Battle of Gettysburg–“All this has […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Giant Sand

When Howe Gelb sings “Careless with abandon and reckless with random”–from “Bender,” a tune off last year’s sprawling, aptly titled Purge & Slouch (Restless)–he’s actually describing his muse: Giant Sand is his vehicle and he drives it wildly, using a revolving cast of players and constantly shifting musical direction. On their latest effort, Glum (Imago)–in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dancing Against Time

Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco at Park West, November 18 and 19 Dancers run a race with time they know they’ll lose. While technique, their emotional maturity, musical sophistication, and confidence are growing, their physical stamina, flexibility, and strength are draining away. Perhaps this race is nowhere more desperate than in flamenco, where the technique is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Miss Julie

MISS JULIE, Court Theatre. Productions at Court Theatre have traditionally been decently acted, intelligently directed, and just a wee bit stodgy. You might expect a solid, somewhat stolid exhuming of an embalmed classic like Strindberg’s Miss Julie, so the tense, gripping dramatic explosion director Carmen Roman has ignited on Court’s stage comes as quite a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wooing by Proxy

MYRON Circle Theatre A writer, physically deformed but possessed of a rapier wit that hides an aching heart, secretly loves a young beauty; when the beloved falls for a handsome but inarticulate hunk, the writer pens love letters under the hunk’s name, taking perverse pleasure in pleading another man’s case while hiding his own feelings. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen is fond of lists. The off-kilter country songwriter from Bandera, Texas, catalogs subtle, often ordinary details with one-after-the-other mouthfuls that roll over his tongue with relish. “Merry Christmas From the Family”–on his superb new album Gringo Honeymoon (Sugar Hill), his sixth overall–finds him spitting out a shopping list during a Christmas party: […]

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Reflections on Mies

RIGIDITY/FLEXIBILITY ON THE GRID: SITUATED WORKS BY DANIEL BUREN at the Arts Club of Chicago, through December 10 For the past three decades, French artist Daniel Buren has been putting stripes on things–subway posters, entrance arches, the exteriors and interiors of buildings, specially constructed sails, stairways, and handrails. He’s even put them around paintings in […]

Posted inNews & Politics


There are mornings when I step out on the front porch, and the bells of the historic old churches are sounding in the distance, and the vendors who sell the Spanish ices and the ears of corn and the tropical fruits on a stick are pushing their carts, and

Posted inFilm

A Place in the World

This 1991 Argentine-Uruguayan production by Argentinean writer-director Adolfo Aristarain, nominated for an Academy Award before being disqualified on a technicality, is better than most foreign Oscar nominees. Aristarain compares the plot, which involves the recollected adolescence of a boy growing up in Argentina’s Bermejo Valley, to that of Shane, but this hardly does it justice. […]