Posted inMusic

The Ascent

This 1976 Soviet film–the last one Larissa Shepitko completed before she died in a car crash at age 40–concerns Russian partisans struggling against German occupiers in the winter of 1942. The narrative centers on two fighters: one will do almost anything to save his life; the other endures brutal torture in silence. By telling much […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Read: Something Else

Dear Reader editors: In your article “What Stinks . . . Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You” [August 23], you left out the essential item that truly stinks in this town . . . the Chicago Reader. If you feel these comments are adolescent just remember . . . you reap what you sow. Try: […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Big Wind on Campus

BIG WIND ON CAMPUS!, at Victory Gardens Studio Theater. Actor-playwright Gregory Henderson’s one-man comedy is like a cross between Family Secrets, Sherry Glaser’s virtuosic impersonation of five members of a dysfunctional family, and Greater Tuna, in which two actors play 20 residents of a bigoted Texas town. Here Henderson portrays seven people at a southwestern […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Everybody: Responses, complaints, and compliments concerning Brooklyn’s question about the inability of his girlfriends to come from intercourse alone, and my response to him, continue to pour in. Here’s a sample: Hey, Faggot: “Bill” and I have been lovers on and off for five years. Lately we’ve been having troubles in bed. Basically, I […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Deliberate Imperfections

Liz Atlas at Artemisia Gallery, through September 28 Ben Diller: Pathways, Medallions, Transformations at ARC Gallery, through September 28 By Fred Camper Liz Atlas combines found objects with an oddly appealing mixture of elegance and humor. In the simplest of her nine sculptures at Artemisia, Ripple, a small, curvy piece of wood supports a wavy […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Recycle It!

Adrian Wenner (“You Stink!” Letters, September 6) needs to be counted as a stinker too! The Reader shouldn’t take up any valuable landfill space. When you’re done with it, recycle it, don’t throw it away where it’ll wind up in a landfill. David S. Thomas W. Cortland

Posted inMusic

His Name is Alive

HIS NAME IS ALIVE Since their 1990 debut, His Name Is Alive, largely the outlet for Warren Defever’s twisted imaginings, have morphed from effete goth mopes into channel-surfing pop raconteurs. On Mouth to Mouth (1993) Defever ditched the dopey ethereal crap and started writing pop tunes swaddled in unsettling production flourishes and pretty melody (sung […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

Sugarplastic 9/13, Empty Bottle This LA trio nicely captures the quirky flavor of early-80s new-wave Britpop; on its debut, Bang, the Earth Is Round (DGC), it sounds startlingly like XTC. But XTC was notable not so much for quirkiness as for cracking good songs put over with conviction. That’s why, say, Elastica succeeds at the […]

Posted inMusic

Beach, Beach, Beach

Beach Boys Skyline Stage, September 8 Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. —George Orwell, 1984 Some young people might have a hard time comprehending that 30 summers ago the Beach Boys were considered the Beatles’ artistic superiors. They’ve done much to tarnish their legacy since, turning their […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Phantom Film Find

Dear Reader: I’d like to respond to Neal Pollack’s piece on Bob Connelly [Our Town, August 30], specifically where Bob mentions his working at MGM and trying to sell a pilot using the idea from The Phantom of the Opera with the guy living in the basement of a film studio. I was working at […]

Posted inFilm

Home Truths

The Asthenic Syndrome Rating **** Masterpiece Directed by Kira Muratova Written by Sergei Popov, Alexander Chernych, and Muratova With Popov, Olga Antonova, Natalya Busko, Galina Sachurdaewa, Alexandra Ovenskaya, and Natalya Rallewa. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Every time I am asked what the film is about, I reply, quite honestly, “It’s about everything.” –Kira Muratova, 1990 Seven […]

Posted inMusic

Beyond Beijing

This hour-long video documentary made by Evanston-based Salome Chasnoff offers a participant’s view of the Nongovernmental Organizations Forum on Women, which convened last summer outside Beijing at the same time as the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women. Interviewing a cross section of attendees on the state of women around the world, Chasnoff elicits […]

Posted inMusic

Loud Family/Long Fin Killie

LOUD FAMILY/LONG FIN KILLIE Few songwriters of the last decade possess such an innate tunefulness as the Loud Family’s Scott Miller–and fewer still have abused it so. In his previous band, Game Theory, and his current combo, Miller has run the savvy, irresistible pop of Big Star-era Alex Chilton through the wringer. Not content to […]

Posted inMusic

Ray Brown Trio

RAY BROWN TRIO Seeing the advertisements that once called Ray Brown the “world’s richest bass player,” one could well puzzle over the meaning. Rich as in material wealth? Or was it a reference to his impossibly broad and deep sound, the treasures of his unflappable technique, and the sterling career that dates back to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Better Half Dead

BETTER HALF DEAD, at Victory Gardens Theater. A sign in the lobby warns audience members not to give away the ending. Not to worry: if I gave it away, you’d just give it back. Better Half Dead–a threadbare thriller by Joan Torres, coauthor of Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them–is better […]