Posted inFilm

Fierce Creatures

A delightful, sexy farce featuring the same lead actors as A Fish Called Wanda–John Cleese (who wrote the script with Iain Johnstone), Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin–in a very different story, this one entertaining various revenge fantasies against Rupert Murdoch. The Murdoch-like tycoon (played by Kline), who runs a company called Octopus, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Institutionalized

Emily Severance Covering Ground: The Honeymoon at School of the Art Institute of Chicago Gallery 2, through January 31 Shane Montgomery Image Auto at 221 W. Chicago, through March 1 By Mark SwartzIn the winter of 1987 Emily Severance and I took a creative writing class together at the University of Michigan. I wrote stories […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago’s Next Dance Festival

Dance showcases remind me of the saying about midwestern meteorological events: if you don’t like the weather, wait–it’ll change. Chicago’s Next Dance Festival, now in its third year, may not offer anything as exciting as a tornado, but it does promise variety and surprise. Occurring over two weekends, each featuring a different lineup, it’s meant […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Free Bird

I was out of breath, running down the gallery to my cell. I was running because I would be getting out the next morning, and for that there were seven prisoners within 20 feet ready to kick my ass. That’s the law of the penitentiary-of the Western Illinois Correctional Center, where I was serving time […]

Posted inFilm

A Single Girl

Just as she’s about to start a job with room service at a luxury hotel in Paris, a young woman (Virginie Ledoyen) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and wants to keep their child. They quarrel but arrange to meet an hour later, and the film then follows her first hour at work in real […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Balaclava blues: In December police in Grand Rapids, Manitoba, said a woman who had chased down a thief who’d stolen her group’s bingo receipts ripped off his balaclava and discovered the culprit was her 15-year-old son. And Barry George Paquette, 40, was charged in November with robbing a convenience store in Edmonton, Alberta, […]

Posted inMusic

Seizing Control

Peter Holsapple Out of My Way (Monkey Hill) By J.R. Jones One never knows what to make of reports that a musician has quit a group because of “musical differences.” The expression has become rock ‘n’ roll boilerplate: it can mean that the musician is spending too much time with the lead singer’s girlfriend, or […]

Posted inMusic

Cosmic Daddy

Sun Ra The Singles (Evidence) Pharaohs Awakening In the Beginning (Luv N’ Haight/Ubiquity) Legends, most of them created by the man himself, trace Sun Ra’s origins to the planet Saturn, and as his Arkestra big band combined this mystique with ancient performance rituals, he did anything but tie himself down musically or geographically. But a […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: Please help me. My friends think I’m crazy, possibly even a lesbian. I have never heard of another woman who has the same feelings as me, but I can’t believe I am the only one in the world. I hate the sight and feel of body hair. I get turned on by men. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Edvertisements and Advertorials

Edvertisements and Advertorials Last week I described an unpleasant incident at the Sun-Times. The executive and financial editors got into it over a survey of holiday retailing that had been yanked from the front page and shortened because a retailer mentioned in the story wasn’t a Sun-Times advertiser. The financial editor argued that this action […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Boy Stories

Tap Dogs at the Shubert Theatre, through January 26 Of This Empty Place at Link’s Hall, January 17-19 By Terry Brennan When you analyze art, you often find a rich system of symbols and ideas that’s as satisfying as the work’s surface. But when you analyze entertainment it often just falls apart; instead of ideas […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

MINDS OF BABES 1/24, THURSTON’S The meteoric rises of Liz Phair and Veruca Salt a few years back, and the seething reactions they provoked among musicians still toiling on the local scene, seem to have inspired “Now She’s Famous (Queen of the Hill)” (“She’s queen of the hill / A bitter pill / She’s queen […]

Posted inMusic

Gerhard Stabler

Gerhard StŠbler A significant chapter in the history of postserialism is currently being written in Germany. Older figures such as Helmut Lachenmann and Nicholaus A. Huber have been joined by an exciting crop of composers under 50, including Mathias Spahlinger, Cornelius Schwehr, and Gerhard StŠbler. They share a genuinely anarchic sensibility–that is, an openness to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hooked on Phonics

We Americans have always been suckers for storytellers who speak in strong regional dialects. In the 19th century we had Bret Harte and Mark Twain, Joel Chandler Harris and Finley Peter Dunne, and in the 20th we have Garrison Keillor and Bailey White and Will Rogers. Maybe we love these writers because they satisfy our […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Tricky Dick

By Adam Langer Sometimes the best cops have to be con artists. That way they can gain a criminal’s trust, lure him into making a confession. That way they can persuade him that they have more evidence than they do. Detective Bruce Walstad was once sitting in an interrogation room at the Franklin Park Police […]