Posted inArts & Culture

Happy Apple

HAPPY APPLE I don’t know what niche this trio occupies back home in the Twin Cities, but in Chicago it fits neatly between the hell-for-leather expressionism of Ken Vandermark’s quintet and the nuanced musings of mainstream journeymen like saxist Jim Gailoretto and guitarist John McLean. On Happy Apple’s second and most recent album, Part of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scavenger Hunt…Aarrgh! Avast Ye!

Scavenger Hunt…Aarrgh! Avast Ye!, Open Eye Productions, at the Greenview Arts Center. For the first five minutes or so, David P. Skvarla’s swashbuckling epic is nothing short of exhilarating. The play’s premise–a group of aged, creaky-kneed pirates band together for one last hurrah–has true potential, and the opening sequence does a great job of introducing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Success in Numbers

SUCCESS IN NUMBERS, Wondertwyn Productions, at Wing & Groove Theatre. This tiresome, formulaic relationship comedy was originally penned as a screenplay–and certainly a film’s jump cuts would be an improvement over the current production’s laborious, energy-siphoning blackouts. But neither celluloid nor playwright-director Jon-David’s jerky, labored staging can rescue his self-obsessed characters from obnoxiousness. The plodding […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I.D.

Filmmaker Mweze Ngangura was born in Congo and educated in Belgium, and since codirecting Life Is Rosy (1987) he’s made a number of documentary shorts about the African diaspora. In this 1998 dramatic feature a Congolese tribal king (Gerard Essomba) travels to Brussels in search of his long-lost favorite daughter, and customs officials, the police, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Ever increasing carbon dioxide emissions do not equal prosperity, contrary to what conservative critics of global-warming controls often claim, judging from the latest figures from the Energy Information Administration. U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuels rose 0.4 percent in 1998, while the economy grew by 3.9 percent. Since 1990 carbon emissions have risen by 10 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

At the beginning of the final round of the PGA Championship, played in the western suburbs at the Medinah Country Club two weeks ago, Tiger Woods strode purposefully down the fairways. He’s put on considerable weight in his shoulders and upper body–he’s bigger and better than the lithe lad who won the Western Open two […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Thanks for Thax

Neal Pollack, Thanks for a witty, honest, and endearing portrait of my friend–and most everyone’s, as you’ve mentioned–Thax Douglas [August 13]. It took me a while to warm up to this older fellow who was at every rock show or party that I attended in the early 90s Wicker Park community. He shook my hand […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Straight Dope

A few years ago [April 29, 1994] you wrote about the murky origins of the characters in McDonald’s advertising–Mayor McCheese, Hamburglar, Grimace, and so on. Mostly you regurgitated a lot of puffery from the McDonald’s PR department and missed the real story. Check out the uncanny resemblance of the McDonaldland denizens to the characters in […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

SPOT 8/27, BOULEVARD CAFE Spot’s got the cred 30,000 younger genre hoppers would kill for: good thing indie musicians don’t get their reps the same way gangbangers do. He spent the 80s producing a lot of the bands that made that decade tolerable–the Minutemen, the Meat Puppets, Husker Du, Black Flag, the Butthole Surfers, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pinetop Perkins

PINETOP PERKINS On the cover of Born in the Delta, his 1997 release on Telarc, Pinetop Perkins drapes his arms over a toy piano–appropriate, because even though he’s 86, he still plays and improvises with the bright-eyed ebullience of a child. Schooled in the jukes around Helena, Arkansas, in the 40s, Perkins joined Muddy Waters […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Swimmers Float

As you can see from my address, I live within a block of Lake Michigan. I love to swim but have not swum in the lake since my last visit to the Indiana Dunes many years ago. The lifeguards won’t let me. Everything Craig Greenman complains about is true [August 13]. If I try swimming, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar

Friday 8/27 – Thursday 9/2 AUGUST By Cara Jepsen 27 FRIDAY Ukrainian writer Mykola Khvylovy’s 1924 short novel Me focused on a member of the communist secret police who must choose between his political beliefs and his mother’s life. The story reflected Khvylovy’s own growing disillusionment with Soviet authorities who banned the work of artists […]