Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

By Jill Riddell I’m invited to a friend’s parents’ house in Highland Park for a party, so I drive up with my friend Jay, for whom this is practically a wilderness excursion. Since his idea of enjoying nature is to step from his air-conditioned apartment onto the porch long enough for a cigarette, it’s unclear […]

Posted inMusic

Larry Goldings

LARRY GOLDINGS The acid-jazz movement has prompted a renewed interest in funky organ combos–witness the spate of Blue Note reissues by Big John Patton, Lonnie Smith, and Ronnie Foster–but there hasn’t been much in the way of important contemporary contributions to the tradition. Most acid-jazz organ combos either are vapid pop-based acts or fail to […]

Posted inFilm

Predictions of Fire

Predictions of Fire Michael Benson has avoided the pedestrian approach of most art documentaries in his 1995 film about the Slovenian arts collective NSK–which includes a rock band and painting and theater groups–and instead has made a brilliantly nutty view from the inside that captures the spirit of NSK’s over-the-top provocations. Mixing the iconography of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Digging Niches: building a cleaner cleaner

The Greener Cleaner doesn’t smell like a dry cleaner–it smells more like a Laundromat. Owner Noam Frankel specializes in clothes with “Dry Clean Only” tags, but he uses an environmentally friendly process called “wet cleaning.” Dry cleaning immerses clothes in a chemical solvent called perchloroethylene, or perc. “It’s a highly toxic chemical and a suspected […]

Posted inFilm

Purple Noon

Purple Noon A very elegant and watchable 1960 French thriller starring Alain Delon in his prime, this film was adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripely by director Rene Clement and Paul Gegauff, best known as Claude Chabrol’s key script collaborator in the 60s and 70s. The Hitchcockian theme–transference of personality–is given almost as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In June France’s sports minister prohibited his Olympic synchronized-swimming team from doing its goose-stepping entrance, set to music from the movie Schindler’s List, at the Olympics. On the same day France’s education minister denounced the use of a math problem by a high school teacher in a Paris suburb that asked how much […]

Posted inMusic


RAPOON Zoviet France emerged from England’s industrial scene in the mid-80s and immediately set themselves apart from power electronics geeks and the now-laughable pre-Wax Trax industrial-disco pack. Mixing abrasive, texture-heavy noise with a hypnotic, almost soothing repetition suggestive of Middle Eastern and North African trance music, the mysterious group–its members aggressively maintained anonymity–packaged its distinctive […]

Posted inFilm

Stealing Beauty

Stealing Beauty After 15 years of filming abroad, Bernardo Bertolucci returns to Italy–albeit principally with English dialogue–to fashion a civilized, mellow, and generally graceful chamber piece that’s literary in a good sense. Written by novelist Susan Minot, this film tells the story of a young American (Liv Tyler), the daughter of a deceased poetess, who […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

I had just parked my car in front of the post office on Grand Avenue near Clark Street and was digging through my purse looking for quarters for the parking meter. As I emptied the contents onto the hood of my car, a postal worker yelled something at me. I looked up and heard her […]