Posted inArts & Culture

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Lifeline Theatre. Think of the most mundane action, then imagine a penguin participating in it, whether actively or passively–see if the thought doesn’t make you smile. Penguins are part of the magic in Florence and Richard Atwater’s 1938 children’s classic Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Popper himself is a midwestern housepainter who dreams of […]

Posted inFilm

Criminal Genius

Thieves Rating **** Masterpiece Directed by Andre Techine Written by Techine, Gilles Taurand, Michel Alexandre, and Pascal Bonitzer With Catherine Deneuve, Daniel Auteuil, Laurence Cote, Fabienne Babe, Julien Riviere, Benoit Magimel, Didier Bezace, and Ivan Desny. By Jonathan Rosenbaum “Before Christ was a time of orgies. Then came love.” “Love’s less fun.” “Probably. In orgies […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Holiday, Impulse Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Arts Center. Despite its advanced age, Philip Barry’s hit of the ’28-’29 Broadway season remains charming and sweet if not particularly profound. Though Holiday isn’t nearly as frantic or funny as Barry’s better-known screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story, it wins us over with its strong characters, nicely wrought dialogue, […]

Posted inNews & Politics


Toys are not merely playthings, but a reflection of our culture and the world itself. They shape and mold the next wave of grown-ups. What, then, should we make of the gorilla invasion at F.A.O. Schwarz? That fabled toy store is a veritable ape sanctuary these days. Stuffed gorillas. Plastic ones. Gorillas puppets. Gorillas that […]

Posted inMusic

Out There

Jazz the World Forgot (Yazoo) In the liner notes to his new album, Bug Music (Nonesuch), clarinetist Don Byron describes the revisionism that has relegated the music of Raymond Scott and John Kirby–to whom, along with Duke Ellington, the album pays tribute–to the margins of jazz history. Citing a Flintstones episode in which a Beatles-like […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Blown Lines

It was a big year for vehicle impoundment ordinances. And I’m not just saying that because I was, until October, the only prosecutor in the city’s legal department dealing with impounded cars. Mayor Daley and the City Council added two new offenses this year allowing police to seize cars. Now people playing loud music and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Life of Oharu

Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956) is not only the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers but arguably the director who made more masterpieces than any other film artist in the history of movies. The 17 features included in the Film Center’s stupendous Mizoguchi retrospective between early January and late February aren’t all masterpieces, and a few key works […]

Posted inMusic

A Tribe Called Quest/ Bush Babees

As year-end music summaries start flooding in, the remarkable success of the Fugees will suffice in most cases as the symbol for hip-hop righting itself, and the death of Tupac Shakur will represent gangsta rap’s demise. Of course, in reality it’s not that simple: gangsta rap still rules the chart, and the network of hip-hop […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I read your column every week, and it seems like all your mail is from people who think you’re evil incarnate. You must hate going to work in the morning if all you ever get are complaints! Doesn’t anyone ever send you a well-deserved compliment? I guess not, so here’s a bunch: I’m […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Beauty Behind Bars

On a chilly December day at 26th and California, traffic bustles near the civil courts building and the enormous 20-building complex of Cook County Jail, which houses 10,000 inmates. Pedestrians brace themselves against the wind and cold, pulling on hats and opening umbrellas. The gray sky is spitting rain and large fluffy snowflakes. But in […]