Posted inMusic

Steve Earle & the Dukes

STEVE EARLE & THE DUKES Last year’s El Corazon (Warner Brothers) was far from Steve Earle’s best record, but none of his other albums have so accurately reflected his musical schizophrenia. He’s played the brooding folksinger, the alt-country pioneer, the next Bruce Springsteen, the redneck outlaw, the volatile drug casualty, the neotraditionalist, and the reborn […]

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Shock Crock

Prodigy “Smack My Bitch Up” (Maverick) By Jeff Pizek At a central Illinois truck stop I recently picked up a tape by a man named Larry Pierce. Over slick, bland modern-country stylings, Pierce sings lines like “Corn was made to shuck / And girls were made to fuck” and “If you want me back, we’ll […]

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Fatboy Slim

FATBOY SLIM From the transparent shock tactics of the Prodigy to the bean-brained simplicity of the Chemical Brothers, most high-profile electronica has been aimed at the lowest common denominator. Nominally speaking Fatboy Slim (aka former Housemartins bassist Norman Cook) makes the same kind of music as the Chemical Brothers–an in-your-face, dumbed-down style known as “big […]

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Bernard Purdie

BERNARD PURDIE Put on James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and ask yourself, Who’s that supertight drummer stitching the sexist anthem to my heart? That’s Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, long known to devoted soul-jazz fans as one of the most unflaggingly supportive percussionists on the scene. Purdie’s got solid credentials on both sides of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

The phrase “presettlement conditions” has been bouncing around in the Sun-Times in recent days as the paper weighs in on the issue of what our forest preserves are and what they should be. It makes the claim that re-creating presettlement conditions would mean the destruction of forests. This is not what people involved in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


FOLLIES, Drury Lane Oakbrook. Vintage Sondheim, this 1971 musical aches with bittersweet retrospection. Former showgirls from a Ziegfeld-style revue return to the scene of their glory days–a theater soon to be torn down–with their husbands, former stage-door johnnies who married the wrong women. Though the reunion ignites an old flame, these mismatched couples once again […]

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Over Powered

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, February 13 By Lee Sandlin Riccardo Chailly and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, currently on a world tour, stopped off at Orchestra Hall the other night for one sold-out concert. On the bill were Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto and Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Chailly has been getting ecstatic […]

Posted inFilm

Partners in Crime

The Gingerbread Man Rating * Has redeeming facet Directed by Robert Altman Written by John Grisham and Al Hayes With Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr., Daryl Hannah, Tom Berenger, and Robert Duvall. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Some people are going to go to The Gingerbread Man looking for a John Grisham movie, and some […]

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On Exhibit: digging up the truth

For 36 years, civil war raged in Guatemala, killing as many as 200,000 men, women, and children. Over the last decade, mass unmarked graves have been discovered, laying bare the atrocities of the 1980s. While the government claimed armed rebels were responsible, crimes committed by military and paramilitary groups had long gone unreported. Daniel Hernandez, […]

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Juilliard String Quartet

JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET Last summer, when founder and first violinist Robert Mann retired, the country’s premier string quartet found itself in a precarious position. On the face of it there was nothing to worry about–Mann’s spot was taken by the quartet’s fine second violinist, Joel Smirnoff, and Ronald Copes, a thoughtful former member of the […]