Posted inMusic

Bringing It All Back Home

Aphex Twin Richard D. James Album (Sire/Warp) Spring Heel jack 68 Million Shades (Island Independent) By Peter Margasak When an underground dance artist starts to make albums instead of singles–which are the only legitimate currency of the underground–he’s in essence made a decision to leave the club scene. But not all such artists are leaving […]

Posted inMusic

Jazz Passengers with Deborah Harry

JAZZ PASSENGERS WITH DEBORAH HARRY Just along for the ride? The Jazz Passengers toss enough irony and lighthearted lunacy into their music to give that impression, but their careful arrangements, clever compositions, and bristling front line–alto sax, trombone, vibes, and violin–suggest otherwise. In all their lower-Manhattan splendor, the members of this sextet lace their infectious […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Let’s see, there’s a war on drugs and a big campaign against guns . . . Number of vehicles city police report impounding during 1996 as part of weapons arrests: 1,200. As part of narcotics arrests: 1,250. As part of prostitution arrests: 1,500. “One of the most important things [the Metropolitan Planning Council] can do […]

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Vermeer Quartet

VERMEER QUARTET The Vermeer Quartet hasn’t always reigned as our town’s preeminent string quartet. Around the time of its founding–in 1969 at the Marlboro Festival–that distinction belonged to the Fine Arts Quartet, but the Vermeer, made up of resident musicians at Northern Illinois University, soon overtook the veterans with its more modern, wiry, robust way […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Technical Ecstasy

Joffrey Ballet of Chicago at the Shubert Theatre, January 28-February 2 Ballet Theater of Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre, February 5-9 By Joseph Houseal What classical ballet training brings, first and foremost, is refinement–of the human form, of dance technique, and of historical appreciation. And in its short winter season at the Shubert the Joffrey […]

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The Straight Dope

I have been searching for the answer to this question for some time now. I hope you can solve my dilemma. What was the Leaning Tower of Pisa originally designed to house? Such as apartments, shops, observatory, monument, etc. Thank you in advance for any help. –Rebecca Smith, via the Internet You get questions in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

All Apologies

In my review of Balm in Gilead (February 14) the names of three actors I singled out for praise were misspelled: they are Pam Berk, Jodi Wonio, and Merle Dandridge. Equally unfortunate was my complaint about the lack of African-American actors; Dandridge is in fact African-Asian-American. My apologies to all. Lawrence Bommer

Posted inArts & Culture

Rebuilding the Bomb

Meridel Rubenstein and Ellen Zweig Critical Mass at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, through March 22 By Mark Swartz The first A-bomb threw off such a blinding light and cast such long shadows that ordinary film couldn’t really register the explosion. Photographs of the bombing of Hiroshima exist, as do pictures of the victims, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Days of the Week

Friday 2/21 – Thursday 2/27 FEBRUARY By Cara Jepsen 21 FRIDAY In Helene Cixous’ play The Perjured City, or The Awakening of the Furies, a mother whose two children died of AIDS tries to deal with her loss and the government’s role in it. The play is based on a 1985 incident in which French […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Aristocrats

Aristocrats, Organic Touchstone Company. Though the conceits of Brian Friel’s tragic drama about an upper-class Irish family may be a trifle shopworn, it’s difficult to dispute their profound emotional intensity. Even at his most derivative and blatant–Friel borrows from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and introduces a pesky American interviewer only to expose the O’Donnell family’s […]

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The Dumb Waiter

The Dumb Waiter, Saint Ed Theater Company, Rhino in Winter festival, at Live Bait Theater. Pinter is the undisputed master of the mundane. In his 1960 one-act The Dumb Waiter two hapless gunmen idle away the morning in a seemingly abandoned apartment building waiting for instructions on their next hit. They talk about little beyond […]

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Irony-Rich Foods

Babette’s Feast: A Play in Eight Courses Theater Oobleck Rhino in Winter festival at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe By Carol Burbank Isak Dinesen’s short story and the 1988 film adapted from it are both celebrations of community and the ideals of the French Revolution told through a narrative of food. And now […]