Posted inArts & Culture

Breaking the Code

Breaking the Code Herbert Wise’s somber, impeccably acted adaptation of Hugh Whitemore’s play dramatizes the tragedy of English mathematician Alan Turing, one of a small group of brain trusters who helped win World War II by cracking the Nazis’ “Enigma” military code. Unfortunately Turing’s homosexuality marked him as a security risk in the 1950s; ordered […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Twelfth Night

TWELFTH NIGHT, Or what You Will, Footsteps Theatre Company. The subtitle may be the source of the trouble: speak the lines in the right order, it implies, and Illyria and everything else will follow. Not necessarily. Jean Adamak’s all-female staging inevitably stresses the play’s homoerotic undertones, most winningly in the one-sided courtship between Michele DiMaso’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Wall of Water

THE WALL OF WATER, Adult Swim Ensemble, at the Chopin Theatre. It takes playwright Sherry Kramer only ten minutes to make you hate her three main characters. Judy, Denise, and Meg–who couldn’t muster a complete personality among them–are saddled with mentally unstable roommate Wendi, who’s fond of running around screaming when not attempting to mutilate […]

Posted inFilm

The Inheritors

An exciting and visually beautiful 1997 period film from Austria by writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky, set in a farming village after World War I. A tyrannical farmer is found murdered, and in his spiteful will he leaves all his holdings to his peasants. A rival farmer tries to buy the farm at a discount, but the […]

Posted inMusic

Wagon Christ/ DJ Krush

WAGON CHRIST/DJ KRUSH Four years ago, before electronica became a marketing pigeonhole, Luke Vibert (aka Plug) released Throbbing Pouch under the name Wagon Christ. It’s a thick slab of dazzling, funky sampledelia that was never given its proper due–and it still tops what most of the competition is doing, even today. Vibert has proved to […]

Posted inMusic

Long John Hunter

LONG JOHN HUNTER It took guitarist Long John Hunter over 30 years of scuffling to make his name outside the rough-and-tumble west Texas blues circuit, including a 13-year stint at the Lobby Bar, a notorious dive in Juarez, Mexico, the border town across from El Paso. He’d recorded locally in the 50s and 60s, and […]

Posted inMusic

Jad Fair & Yo La Tengo

JAD FAIR & YO LA TENGO In 1974 Jad and David Fair were living in a boathouse and attending Thomas Jefferson College in Allendale, Michigan. Neither could play an instrument, but they’d started a rock band, and to name it they drew two words out of a hat: “half” and “Japan.” Brilliant and gloriously uninhibited, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Gone fishing in the worst way. According to a National Audubon Society guide to seafood printed in the Shedd Aquarium’s newsletter “Water Shedd” (October/November/December), the shrimp fishery has the highest “bycatch” of any fishery in the world. In other words, “for every pound of shrimp you buy, an average of seven pounds of other sea […]

Posted inMusic

Bois Sec Ardoin & Balfa Toujours

BOIS SEC ARDOIN & BALFA TOUJOURS In the history of Cajun music, few names carry more weight than Ardoin and Balfa. Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin’s late cousin, the accordionist Amedee Ardoin, made the first recordings ever by a black Creole, which in the 1920s helped lay the foundation for zydeco. Bois Sec turns 82 on […]

Posted inMusic

Janina Fialkowska

Janina Fialkowska Headlining Northwestern University’s weeklong Polish Music Festival, pianist Janina Fialkowska is an assured interpreter of the salon music of imperial Warsaw epitomized by Chopin as well as an avid advocate of vanguard Polish composers of this century. A poised and talented soloist, Fialkowska is a Montreal native, a prodigy who breezed through the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Did the Celts really celebrate a holiday by building a huge, hollow man out of wicker, filling the man with prisoners, then lighting the thing on fire? Or instead are they the victims of really bad Roman press? If true, this really sets a high bar for judging a tough family holiday. –tam2731, via the […]

Posted inMusic

Randy Brecker

RANDY BRECKER The praise lavished on trumpeter Randy Brecker this year has come as something of a surprise, but not because his talent doesn’t merit it. In fact, hardly a jazz trumpeter alive can top Brecker when it comes to combining blood-and-guts technique with cracklingly smart improvisations, and he’s earned his place in the lineage […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ireneusz Krosny

The programs are in Polish, the title cards in English. Fortunately, mime speaks all languages, and humor is likewise universal. Polish mime Ireneusz Krosny draws more on the conventions of clowning than of abstract Marcel Marceau-style whiteface mime, and his premises are rather generic–a conductor rehearses his orchestra, a dog owner adapts to his pet, […]