Posted inNews & Politics

A Monument to Survival

Near the corner of Polk and Oakley, on a block with several houses that Lavicka has rehabbed, is a 50-foot-wide grass-covered lot with flagpoles flying an American flag and flags from the four branches of the armed forces. On each corner of the lot are antique lampposts. To the left of a water pump are […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story Chinese inventor Pu Danming recently claimed he’s sold 50,000 of the “healthy cigarettes” that he introduced in Beijing in November. The product is a cigarillo-size tube containing Chinese herbs, a small battery, a microchip, and a dozen other components but no tobacco. The cigarette is not lighted; rather, when the smoker takes a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Two Friends

Technically, this low-budget 16-millimeter television film (1986) qualifies as Jane Campion’s first feature. The script is by Australian novelist Helen Garner, one of whose books was the source for Monkey Grip, a film in the Australian retrospective at the Film Center. (She also worked with Gillian Armstrong on The Last Days of Chez Nous.) The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Numbers

NUMBERS New band, some old ideas, and a fresh approach: there’s definitely strength in Numbers. Bassist Ken Haebich’s quintet harks back to a time before “fusion” was a dirty word and recaptures some of the brittle, glittering energy that characterized the first electric-jazz bands. They accomplish this not so much with synths and electronics–though Numbers […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Hick, the Spic, and the Chick

The best autobiographical monologuists are instinctive Aristotelians: they achieve universality by plunging into the particular, connecting with the audience by simply and honestly revealing, using just a hint of humor, the details of their lives. It’s the way Paul Turner paints a portrait of growing up in the depressed economy of Paducah, Kentucky, one alarming […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Swedish baritone Hakan Hagegard is best known to the general public for his endearing portrayal of Papageno in Ingmar Bergman’s sublime film adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Now graying but still boyishly handsome, Hagegard has pursued an estimable career in opera houses and recital halls all over the world, inheriting the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jack, or the Submission

JACK, OR THE SUBMISSION, Greasy Joan & Company, at the Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, South Hall. Have you noticed that the more absurd and empty and crazy American life becomes, the more devoted the theater is to realism? It’s as if good old realistic drama–with its believable dialogue, authentic costumes, and painstakingly accurate sets complete […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Petty Crime

March 25, 11 AM, Harlem-Irving Plaza. Shoplifting. Man attempted to leave Best Buy without paying for $3,400 computer system. Suspect showed security guard false receipt and was brought to security office, where he placed receipt in mouth. Five-minute struggle ensued, and he was eventually handcuffed. He then spit out chewed-up receipt. April 9, 1:10 PM, […]

Posted inMusic

Fairy Tales Do Come True

Fairy Tales Do Come True As a recording engineer about town and one of the two partners behind Kingsize Sound Labs, Dave Trumfio has seen his share of starry-eyed naivete from young bands anxious to hitch a ride on the alternative-rock express. He even took a sarcastic jab at the careerist mind-set in “Owed to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Group Efforts: stay on the grass

Who says marijuana destroys motivation? Pot activist Rich Byrne has made dope one of the driving forces in his life. As the 25-year-old current president of the Illinois Marijuana Initiative, he hopes the budding war on the war on drugs can get its act together and become a potent political force. Of course, putting a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

One Sunday morning we were returning to our three-flat near Belmont and Sheffield. The people in the apartment building next door, mostly college types, had a particularly large party the night before. The morning was bright and quiet, which made the sound of three large windows crashing on the sidewalk below that much louder. Apparently […]