Posted inMusic

Barrett Deems Big Band

BARRETT DEEMS BIG BAND At a recent performance by Barrett Deems’s big band, a local musician commented to me, “Barrett’s lost a little stamina; he doesn’t have the same energy as a couple years ago.” That’s not a description you often hear about players of Deems’s age–for the simple reason that very few 84-year-old men […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wallfly

WALLFLY, Hostage Theater Company, at Voltaire. I hope Samuel Lamar Jordan knows he’ll be a great playwright someday, because right now I don’t think he’s convinced. In his new play WallFly, a rotating display of urban psychoses set in the bathroom at a drunken party, he takes myriad opportunities to piss away his own brilliance, […]

Posted inFilm

Splitting Images

Three Lives and Only One Death Rating *** A must see Directed by Raul Ruiz Written by Ruiz and Pascal Bonitzer With Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Galiena, Marisa Paredes, Melvil Poupaud, Chiara Mastroianni, Arielle Dombasle, Feodor Atkine, and Lou Castel. Lost Highway Rating *** A must see Directed by David Lynch Written by Lynch and Barry […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kinder, Gentler

Kinder, Gentler, Powertap Productions, at the Organic Theater Greenhouse, Lab Theater. If I hadn’t known the title of Stan Nevin’s new play or read the press release claiming that “kindness is the wonder-tool of the decade,” I would have guessed that this three-character drama concerned the effect of mental illness on the family. A sadly […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Subtitle in Question

Dear Chicago Reader: As long as Harmon Dow [Letters, February 14] decided to throw his memory into the debate over whether the subtitle “Episode IV: A New Hope” appeared in the first release of Star Wars, let me throw a few facts into the ring. If suspicious folks like film scholars and 20th Century-Fox spokespeople […]

Posted inMusic

Henry Butler Trio

HENRY BUTLER TRIO Even if you didn’t know that Henry Butler had entered the world in New Orleans and lived there through his college years–receiving a degree in vocal music from Southern University–an educated appraisal of his piano tickling might lead you to some such conclusion. The obvious clues include the strong boogie-woogie bass lines, […]

Posted inFilm

When We Were Kings

Using deceptively simple editing strategies to combine footage shot in the 70s with interviews staged in the 90s, Leon Gast and Taylor Hackford craft a suspenseful unfolding of the events that culminated in the world-championship heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. The movie sets the contrasting personalities of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Caught in the Net

Captured at www.cs.washington.edu/homes/raj/dream.html The Dream Page Here we have yet another venture into group dynamics (like the Psychology Page and the Literature Page). This time: You can submit an interesting (or even a boring) dream you’ve had. You can submit an interpretation for a previously submitted dream. The Dream Being Interpreted: I’m falling upwards. Eventually […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Awful AIDS Advice

Dear editor: [Re: “Death Takes a Holiday,” by Dan Savage, February 14] On the few occasions when I have read the column Savage Love in the Reader, it seemed to me the best reason to use Section Four to line the cat box, as Dan Savage’s idiotic “advice” seemed to deserve a good dousing with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kitten With A Whip

Kitten with a whip, at Voltaire. Having worked in Chicago off-Loop theater as a playwright, performer, and theater critic, I relate well, if a bit uncomfortably, to fellow critic and playwright Jack Helbig’s comic look at one actress’s initiation into the local scene in Kitten With a Whip. In this tight one-act we meet Rebecca […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“The goal of welfare reform is not to cut off benefits to a small group of welfare recipients,” writes Katherine Sciacchitano in In These Times (February 3), “but to reshape the whole market for unskilled labor. Any hopes that the law can be patched or ‘fixed’ are illusory. The reform’s basic mechanism is simple: Create […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lifeless Lowlifes

Time to Burn Steppenwolf Theatre Company By Albert Williams The dual purpose behind Steppenwolf’s new show Time to Burn is laudable: to illuminate the lives of society’s dispossessed while showcasing the racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity of Chicago’s off- and off-off-Loop theater. For the world premiere of this postindustrial, politically correct reworking of Maksim Gorky’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chi Lives: prodigal proprietor

It’s after midnight at the Underground Wonder Bar on East Walton. Lonie Walker, the co-owner, is at the piano, crooning in her husky voice songs like “Rainy Night in Georgia” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” She’s wearing a dress–black, short, and stylish–which, she cracks, she does twice a year “whether I want to or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cloud 9

CLOUD 9, Saint Ed, at the Chopin Theatre. Saint Ed does not want for enthusiasm. This pack of eager beavers opened two shows, The Dumb Waiter and Cloud 9, five days apart, using the same director and shared cast members. When not trudging off to various day jobs, they run the Chopin Cafe. One wonders […]