Posted inFilm

Babe: Pig in the City

Maybe it’s the fur and wagging tails, the bristle-boar attitude, but somehow you want to save this suicidal squealer from its kamikaze fate. A kids’ show and a sequel, a dog-and-pony promenade, three strikes and you’re out of there, but here’s the saving pitch: our piglet’s flight into the aching void, metaphors of loss and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Good-bye to All That

As Chicago goes upscale, we experience periodic waves of nostalgia as one lowlife icon after another bites the dust. Or, more accurately, we experience them in the media. My own recollections of these places are somewhat less rosy. First, there was Maxwell Street, whose motto was “cheat you fair,” which I took to mean that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Writers on the Wall

Jeanne Hilary at Lallak + Tom and Agnes B., through December 19 Abelardo Morell at Catherine Edelman, through December 30 By Stephen Longmire Traditionally both photographers and writers have been makers of books; indeed, photographers might be called the modern illuminators of manuscripts. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that many photographers have […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Entrepreneurs have recently introduced products designed to encourage cremation as an alternative to burial. Two Wisconsin women are selling pendants and blown-glass sculptures that display ashes in an attractive setting, and a South Korean man stumbled upon a way to treat ashes at extremely high temperatures so they can be molded into beads […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Homecoming ’79

HOMECOMING ’79, Metropolitan Productions, at Saint Joseph Elementary School. The phenomenal success of Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding has of course inspired a host of imitators, from the parodic Flanagan’s Wake to the pathetic Patsy’s Bridal Shower, all hoping to make their mark in the interactive-theater biz. Enter Homecoming ’79. Written and codirected by Tony ‘n’ […]

Posted inFilm

She and He

A culture clash worthy of Samuel Fuller lies at the heart of Susumu Hani’s unsettling 1963 Japanese feature, in which a housewife repeatedly leaves her small, modern, antiseptic apartment to visit a nearby encampment of ragpickers. Among them she finds an old college friend of her husband’s who prefers his present life to a “respectable” […]

Posted inMusic

Local Record Roundup

Local Record Roundup One of the most enduring and encouraging traits of Chicago’s music scene is its self-sufficiency. I didn’t consider this until after I’d picked out what I thought were the eight most noteworthy recent releases by local artists but only one of them is on a label that isn’t based here. Furthermore, from […]

Posted inMusic

Skeeter Brandon

SKEETER BRANDON Before he returned to his native North Carolina in the early 80s to work as a gospel singer, keyboardist-vocalist Calvin “Skeeter” Brandon put in time as a sideman with both soul-blues singer Clarence Carter and the doo-wop group the Chi-Lites. Now he’s finally come back to the blues, and though his most recent […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Police Scanner

Wednesday, December 2, 11:00 AM 1351: 351 is clear. Unidentified Caller: –code on this one? Dispatcher: Is that 1351 coming clear? 1351: Coming clear, squad. Unidentified Caller: –code– Dispatcher: What traffic unit was coming in? 1351: 351 is clear. Unidentified Caller: –on this? Dispatcher: 1351, I have you clear. What male officer is coming in? […]

Posted inMusic

Purists and Platypuses

Jazz at Lincoln Center By John Corbett Among the many beefs that have been lodged against New York’s multimillion-dollar Jazz at Lincoln Center program and its artistic director, Wynton Marsalis, is one that says the orchestra doesn’t hire enough white musicians. This is, to my mind, the most defensible of Marsalis’s sins. After all, nobody […]