Posted inArts & Culture

The Fire This Time

PBS has refused to show Randy Holland’s powerful, illuminating feature-length documentary video (1993) about South Central Los Angeles, no doubt because it offers an analysis of unemployment and oppression that implies an active conspiracy–an analysis offered mainly by people who live there. If this sounds dubious in a few particulars, it’s still the most cogent […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tish Hinojosa

Born into a family of Mexican immigrants and raised in south Texas, Tish Hinojosa was exposed to a wide variety of sounds as a kid, and her organic absorption offers a stirring testimonial to America’s hybrid tradition. Nominally a country artist, she aimed for Nashville in 1983, only to leave dejected and frustrated a few […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story Australian Rules football player Russell Prowse was ejected from a Melbourne game in May and severely reprimanded by the league. He’d attempted to defuse a potential brawl by grabbing opponent Scott Cameron and kissing him flush on the lips. Prowse’s gambit worked: Cameron reportedly staggered back, a hush came over the players, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On the Waterfront

ON THE WATERFRONT, American Blues Theatre. It might seem unfair to compare American Blues Theatre’s production of On the Waterfront with the classic 1954 film. How could James Leaming hope to escape the formidable shadow of Marlon Brando? How could the mob boss be any more terrifyingly sleazy than Lee J. Cobb? Joe Cerqua’s moody […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Boys’ Life

BOYS’ LIFE, Sleeping Dog Theatre Company, at the Neo-Futurarium. Howard Korder’s misogyny has never been clearer than in this 1988 comedy, which divides the world into boys and bitches and pretends to be a critique of aimless, immature white males even as it revels in them. Boys, after all, just wanna have fun. It’s those […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Is Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, an adaptation of Voltaire’s philosophical satire, an opera or a musical? The controversy has dogged this remarkable hybrid ever since its debut on Broadway in 1956. Certainly Bernstein’s background—celebrated conductor of the classical repertoire who crossed over to musical theater with Wonderful Town and West Side Story but failed in his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Next Dance Festival

After gobbling up your Thanksgiving dinner, this weekend you can gobble up a feast of dance by four different choreographers during the second, and final, weekend of the Next Dance Festival. Claire Bataille’s duet Nice Work, If You Can Get It, set to Gershwin, has the same straightforward, good old American, slightly old-fashioned flavor as […]

Posted inMusic

Singing Between the Lines

Sheila Jordan Green Mill, November 18 and 19 Whatever your image of a jazz singer, chances are Sheila Jordan doesn’t fit it. She’s not willowy, she’s not sultry, and she’s not black. She’s short and square, with pale skin and a wide toothy grin. Walking down Michigan Avenue at lunchtime, she could easily be mistaken […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Why is it that every single organ and component of the human body gets cancer except the heart? I have heard about cancer of everything from the brain to the blood; it seems no appendage is safe from the ravages of the big C. Yet I have never heard of anyone getting heart cancer. Am […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ashtray Boy

Plenty of rock bands are bicoastal, but Ashtray Boy is the only one I know of that’s bihemispheric. In Sydney singer-guitarist Randall Lee lives and plays with one rhythm section, and in Chicago, the home of his record company, Ajax, he plays with another. Lee’s songwriting traits–a broad stylistic range and an even broader streak […]

Posted inFilm

Pregnant Pa’s

* MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Kenneth Branagh Written by Steph Lady and Frank Darabont With Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Hulce, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm, Richard Briers, and John Cleese. * JUNIOR (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Ivan Reitman Written by Kevin Wade and Chris Conrad With […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Most Chicago public high schools have accepted Mayor Daley’s offer of metal detectors–but that doesn’t mean they use them, report Elizabeth Crouch, Debra Williams, and Dan Weissmann in Catalyst (November). “Clemente High in West Town accepted the detectors–‘to stay on the mayor’s good side,’ says [local school] council chair Cindy Rodriguez–but didn’t set them up. […]