Posted inArts & Culture

The Harlem Nutcracker

There’s a new arrival in Chicago’s Nutcrackerland, the holiday theme park that opened officially last week at various venues. Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker hails from New York, where the full version was first performed in 1996; composer David Berger’s score incorporates and adds to the Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (an […]

Posted inFilm

How to Get Ahead in Espionage

The Sentinel Rating ** Worth seeing Directed by Arnaud Desplechin Written by Desplechin, Pascale Ferran, Noemie Lvovsky, and Emmanuel Salinger With Salinger, Thibault de Montalembert, Jean-Louis Richard, Valerie Dreville, Marianne Denicourt, Bruno Todeschini, and Laszlo Szabo. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Anyone who saw the three-hour My Sex Life…or How I Got Into an Argument (1997) when […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In November a jury in Westminster, California, convicted Elena Zagustin, 61, of 69 health and safety violations at her suburban home, which was filled with trash and buckets that substituted for toilets in the absence of running water. Neighbors of the civil-engineering professor at California State University at Long Beach have complained for […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Petty Crime

October 24, 9 AM, 1600 block of East 51st Street. Robbery. Man entered flower shop and ordered flowers. As owner prepared bouquet, man sprayed him with Mace. Owner nevertheless grabbed man and wrestled him to ground. Flower-shop employee called police, who arrived and arrested man. As police took him away, man said to owner, “I’m […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Historical Spirit

By Michael Miner Historical Spirit Improper relationships are often the strongest. Illinois’ government and the private Illinois State Historical Society forged a dubious–perhaps even illicit–union in 1903, and it lasted nearly a century. This year they called it quits. During the breakup, the bickering over offspring–the quarterly Illinois Historical Journal–almost landed the two sides in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Print: murders with a familiar ring

Anyone who’s lived in a college dorm–especially a girls’ dorm–will recognize the backdrop of Edith Skom’s newest mystery, The Charles Dickens Murders. Set in the 1940s at the University of Chicago and in the present at “Midwestern University,” a college just outside Chicago (which is not necessarily a certain school in Evanston, Skom says coyly), […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

I was standing at one of the CTA fare-card machines, unsuccessfully attempting to recharge my card: my $20 bill was repeatedly spit back. The agent on duty, an older man, approached and asked if I needed assistance. I began to complain about the CTA expecting us to use this system when the machines didn’t even […]

Posted inMusic

Francois Houle

FRANCOIS HOULE A couple recent happenings have had me wondering why the marvelous compositions of the late clarinetist John Carter are so rarely performed by forward-looking jazz musicians. A few months ago Chicagoans got a treat when Carter’s old partner, cornetist Bobby Bradford, invoked his ebullient and complex spirit in a rare appearance at the […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Everybody: A few weeks back I ran a letter from a young man, a virgin, who had a small dick with a pronounced curve. Depressed Little Virgin Dick feared rejection on account of his dick, was terrified he would never lose his virginity, and wanted to know if there was any way to make […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Faces Behind Fences

House of Bondage at Stephen Daiter, through December 12 The Photograph Transformed at the Chicago Cultural Center, through January 24 By Fred Camper Apartheid has legally ended in South Africa, but it comes alive with searing vividness in 39 mid-60s photographs by Ernest Cole, on view at Stephen Daiter (along with eight photographs of Africa […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sunshine and Play

SUNSHINE and PLAY, Barclay Theatre, at Strawdog Theatre. Programming is not one of the things director Wilson Alexander Aguilar does well. Pairing Samuel Beckett’s bleak, minimalist Play with William Mastrosimone’s sloppy, self-indulgent slice of life Sunshine is like mixing scotch and V-8. It doesn’t help matters that Aguilar can’t seem to shake a funereal pace […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

JIM CARROLL 12/4, LOUNGE AX Poet Jim Carroll earned his rocker badge mostly on the strength of his 1980 debut album, Catholic Boy, a solidly fierce piece of art punk that included the accidental standard “People Who Died”–the Impotent Sea Snakes have covered it, for chrissake. But his teenage-junkie memoir, The Basketball Diaries, and the […]