Posted inArts & Culture

Soul Front

Soulfront, Second City Outreach Program, at Second City, Skybox Studio Theatre. “Exploring themes of race, sex, and justice,” runs Second City’s publicity, “Soulfront hopes to attract an audience as diverse as its cast.” Time was when these subjects were the province of all satirical comedy, but nowadays they appear to be suitable only to the […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I don’t know where else to turn with this problem, and I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere: I have hair that grows halfway up my penis on the top, and two-thirds of the way up on the bottom. It’s gross and embarrassing, and there seems to be more of it every week. I’ve […]

Posted inArts & Culture

As Tears Go By

The early promise of a boldly innovative stylist is evident in this 1988 film, which marked Hong Kong auteur Won Kar-wai’s feature debut at age 30. Using a bare-bones story line–said to be inspired by Scorsese’s Mean Streets but really a hoary archetypal martial-arts plot–Wong manages to put forth layers of meaning through indelible images […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Christmas Schooner

The Christmas Schooner, Bailiwick Repertory. How quickly things become a tradition. John Reeger and Julie Shannon’s syrupy historical musical first opened at Bailiwick last year, but it already shows signs of becoming a Bailiwick perennial (despite its lack of male nudity). The characters are still shallow stereotypes, the songs are still forgettable, and the story’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Little Terrors

Kim Dingle at the Renaissance Society, through December 29 By Mark Swartz I don’t know all that much about children’s literature, but it seems you can break it down to two categories: the kind that attempts to improve kids and the kind that shows what really goes on in their minds. Parents who subject their […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

RED FIVE 12/20, METRO Guitarists-vocalists Jenni McElrath and Betty Carmellini demonstrate an able way with a power chord and a punky pop zaniness reminiscent of the B-52’s on this LA quartet’s debut album, Flash (Interscope). Now if the band could just write a decent song or two. The deplorably soppy Sponge headlines. C-CLAMP 12/21, EMPTY […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Flying Trunk

THE FLYING TRUNK, Griffin Theatre Company. In this perky, innocuous adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen story, a boy named Tom finds love thanks to three goofy genies. But unlike most fairy tales, which have a relentless logic despite magical characters and unusual destinies, this story makes sense only loosely. When Tom meets the genies, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

I can’t heeear you! I’m looking the other waaay! Christopher Chandler in In These Times (December 9): “In an agreement it signed with tenant leaders at Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing project in May 1995, the CHA promised to tear down three high- rises and replace them with new housing in the immediate area. But last spring, […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Writer-director Andre Techine appears to be on a roll; after the revelations of My Favorite Season (1993) and Wild Reeds, here’s a picture that’s in some ways even more exciting and serious. Jumping between characters in order to see the same events from different vantage points, as in a Faulkner novel, the story involves a […]

Posted inFilm

Through the Past, Darkly

Ghosts of Mississippi Rating *** A must see Directed by Rob Reiner Written by Lewis Colick With Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Ladd, Bonnie Bartlett, Bill Cobbs, William H. Macy, Virginia Madsen, and Michael O’Keefe. The Crucible Rating *** A must see Directed by Nicholas Hytner Written by Arthur Miller With Daniel Day-Lewis, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Did medieval lords really have the “right of the first night”–that is, the right to be the first to bed the local brides? This figured in the movie Braveheart, and I know I have seen other references to it. I’m not saying the big shots didn’t take advantage, but I have a hard time believing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne While there’s nothing particularly smart about Fountains of Wayne, they’ve managed to stand out against this year’s lackluster pop competition by openly displaying their tunefulness, unhindered by either irony (like Weezer) or extraneous sonic gunk (like Eric Matthews). On their eponymous debut (on TAG), guitarist-writers Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger (who also […]