Posted inNews & Politics

City File

A recent eight-city survey of voting-age Hispanics found that nearly 70 percent strongly support bilingual education and 84 percent back school vouchers–and 48 percent think the United States allows too many immigrants into this country (“Politico,” April 27). Squeaky wheel gets the lead out. The city’s lead-abatement program cleaned up only 48 homes between 1994, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mommapalooza! Short Takes on Mom

MOMMAPALOOZA! Short Takes on Mom, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, at Footsteps Theatre Company. Of the six one-acts in this anthology, only S.L. Daniels’s sketch about young women selling their eggs has anything new to say about motherhood. And that piece, though interesting, feels incomplete, as if Daniels hadn’t fully researched her rich, highly charged topic. The […]

Posted inMusic

Civic Orchestra of Chicago

CIVIC ORCHESTRA OF CHICAGO The condescension that has long relegated great unclassifiable American masters such as Duke Ellington and George Gershwin to the fringe of the orchestral repertoire or to pops concerts alongside hacks like Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Williams still prevails in most major orchestras–not to mention their apprentice ensembles, which often are […]

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Mountain View, Natural Sunbathing

MOUNTAIN VIEW, NATURAL SUNBATHING, Bailiwick Repertory. It’s a good thing several sexy men lounge about naked for much of Mountain View, Natural Sunbathing because there’s not much else to keep your attention for the production’s 90 minutes. Daniel Kipp’s aimless assemblage of bland conversations, part of the Pride Series ’98, is no more a play […]

Posted inMusic

Lazy Cowgirls

LAZY COWGIRLS Not long after forming in Vincennes, Indiana, 15 years ago, the Lazy Cowgirls moved to LA to make it big–a giant and highly risky leap at the time for a charging, meat-and-potatoes punk-rock band that looked like it spent a lot of time in the local 7-Eleven parking lot. Not surprisingly, the band […]

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Design for Living

DESIGN FOR LIVING, Goodman Theatre. A truth you’d never guess from David Petrarca’s wrong-hearted revival: the ardor behind this once daring 1933 work, Noel Coward’s least conventional comedy. He celebrates three artists–a painter, playwright, and interior designer–who love one another in toto more than any two can in tandem; these life forces have earned the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Female Problems: An Unhelpful Guide

FEMALE PROBLEMS: AN UNHELPFUL GUIDE, Pegasus Players. This production falls into a genre that might be called the muscatoon–a cross between a cartoon and musical cabaret. Based on Nicole Hollander’s cartoon strip Sylvia, this uneven but sometimes sharply funny show features mostly short scenes with big shtick. Hollander’s characters are known for their witty commentary […]

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One Eye Open

ONE EYE OPEN, Billy Goat Experiment, at Heartland Studio Theater. A quarter century ago the Body Politic’s Dream Theatre allowed audience members to have their dreams acted out. If the performances were unlike the dreams, however, the contributors were too polite to show their disappointment. The same problem crops up a generation later with the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I’ve just begun reading your latest book, The Straight Dope Tells All. On page two, while ruminating on the subject of “questions…that give you pause,” you write, “The other day someone writes in and says, ‘If making a robot limb is so hard but other types of machines are easy, how come no animal species […]

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Frozen Stars

FROZEN STARS, Victorium Productions, at Viaduct Theatre. This production inaugurates both a Latino-themed company and a spacious new theater hugging a Western Avenue off-ramp. If only they’d found a play worthy of attention. Ponderously written and directed by David-Matthew Barnes and Vanessa Fincher, this ultrasincere depiction of young people who test their friendship as they […]

Posted inMusic

Otomo Yoshihide & I.S.O.

OTOMO YOSHIHIDE & I.S.O. When Ground-Zero, the experimental rock band led by Japanese DJ and guitarist Otomo Yoshihide, broke up last year, it was roundly denounced by the cognoscenti as a crying shame. A recent deluge of Ground-Zero releases reinforces that sense of loss; among them are Revolutionary Pekinese Opera Ver. 1.28 (ReR), which uses […]