Posted inFilm

Mixed Emotions

Breaking the Waves Rating *** A must see Directed and written by Lars von Trier With Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr, Adrian Rawlins, Jonathan Hackett, and Udo Kier. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Ever since I first encountered Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves in Cannes, where it won the grand jury prize, I’ve […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Victim Protests

[Re: Hot Type, November 15 and 29] The last time I wrote you was in 1993, requesting your assistance in investigating the case for which I was wrongfully convicted and twice sentenced to die. You didn’t listen. Now I’ve read two columns by Michael Miner that are filled with problems that have nothing to do […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blood on the Cat’s Neck

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s darkly sarcastic, gloriously messy absurdist play–about an alien named Phoebe Zeitgeist who comes into the world naked and guileless and learns to play all our dangerous games–may be the least spiritually bankrupt show running this holiday season. Unlike the golden-throated Mr. Dickens, for example, who argues for both charity and self-indulgence, for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Rick Rubin’s no dummy. His ongoing resurrection of Johnny Cash for rock audiences depends on carefully manipulated grand gestures–having Cash record songs written by Glenn Danzig and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and using Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the backing band on the new Unchained (American). But without Cash’s monumental charisma and innate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Branford Marsalis Trio

Branford Marsalis Trio When Branford Marsalis signed on as the bandleader foil for Jay Leno’s nocturnal escapades–making him briefly better known than his brother Wynton–it cramped his touring schedule. Then he established Buckshot LeFonque, a jazz and hip-hop crossbreed that further kept him from his true calling: the creation of sinuous, long-limbed saxophone solos. No […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tim Hagans & Rick Margitza

Tim Hagans & Rick Margitza While these two relatively young journeymen are less well-known than many of their contemporaries, that fact says more about the music business than it does about their capabilities: their previous Chicago appearance, about a year ago, provided plenty of intelligent and exciting jazz modernism. Tim Hagans, the trumpeter, has appeared […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Did Mike Madigan win by selling out Democratic Party principles? That’s the suggestion in Robert O’Neill’s report on the state legislative elections (Chicago Reporter, October). For example: “Former Democratic state Rep. John Ostenburg of Park Forest ran and lost twice before winning the south suburban 80th District in 1992. Two years later, he was beaten […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joanne Brackeen

JOANNE BRACKEEN Joanne Brackeen attacks the piano with a bounding energy that communicates her passion for the music, her willingness to take risks, and her delight in whimsy; with her six-foot frame swathed in louder-than-life clothes, she might even be jazz’s answer to Isadora Duncan (and often enough, her distinctive and accomplished music seems to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Do Americans really have to pay income tax? I have been told the 16th Amendment, which authorized the income tax, is invalid because Ohio was not legally a state at the time of ratification. So far I haven’t had the nerve to actually try this argument out on the IRS, but with Christmas coming I […]

Posted inArts & Culture


An example of the new multiculturalist wave in French cinema, this second feature directed by Karim Dridi follows the travails of Ismael, a young Parisian of Tunisian parentage, as he and his rebellious teenage brother Mouloud adjust to life in Marseilles. Though Dridi, who also wrote the screenplay, disclaims any autobiographical element, his knowing and […]