Posted inArts & Culture

Chi-Lives: dancing uphill

It took Anthony Foster six years to learn that the thing he was best suited for–the one thing he did phenomenally well–wasn’t going to pay the bills. He got the kind of breaks most aspiring dancers only dream of. When he was 14, he learned how to break-dance from an Elgin group called the Boogie […]

Posted inMusic

The Ten Best Albums of 1999

The Ten Best Albums of 1999 1 THE ROOTS Things Fall Apart (MCA). For years Philadelphia’s Roots have been the best live hip-hop act around, and with their fourth album they’ve finally parlayed their versatility and vision into a studio effort that lives up to their marathon performances. Things Fall Apart does justice not only […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In November, Seattle hosted a two-day euthanasia technology conference in which various techniques and products were presented. A man from Vancouver, British Columbia, submitted the most promising invention, the “debreather.” The device’s mask and hose run to a jar containing an unidentified substance that supposedly makes death from lack of oxygen “quick and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Erwin Helfer & John Brumbach

ERWIN HELFER & JOHN BRUMBACH In the 30s and 40s, Chicago was swimming with boogie-woogie and blues pianists–the big fish in that big pond included greats like Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Maceo Merriweather, and Jimmy Yancey. But the scene’s been drying up for decades, and Sunnyland Slim’s passing in ’95 has left folks […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rosetta

Rosetta From its opening seconds, this feature from Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (La promesse), winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1999 Cannes film festival, has to be the most visceral filmgoing experience of the past year, including all of Hollywood’s explosions and special-effects extravaganzas. It concerns the desperate efforts of the 18-year-old […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Making any special plans for New Year’s Eve? Prepared for Y2K? Laying in any provisions? Arming yourself? Worried about the world coming to an end? Ready for rapture? –Lilly I’m writing this column before New Year’s Eve, but by the time you read it in the Chicago Reader New Year’s Eve will have come and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Same Old Song

Same Old Song To preserve and present the best world cinema, France has the Cinematheque Francaise and England has the British Film Institute; we’ve got the American Film Institute, which doesn’t even have a clue about the best Hollywood movies. Consequently most younger American viewers have never seen a film by Alain Resnais, probably the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Driving back to Chicago after Christmas, I stopped at a fast-food restaurant in the suburban outskirts and looked up from my burger to see a kid standing in line wearing a number 8 Cade McNown Bears jersey. There was this season’s Bears resurgence in a nutshell; while 34 Walter Payton jerseys and 51 Dick Butkus […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Hurricane

The Hurricane Convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1967, boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (Denzel Washington) spent years asserting his innocence, growing increasingly hopeless until he was befriended by an American teenager living in Canada (Vicellous Reon Shannon). In this deeply moving biopic, some of the characters who rally to Carter’s defense […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BILLY NAYER SHOW 1/7, EMPTY BOTTLE This is indeed just as much a show as a band: since 1989, songwriter and performer Cory McAbee has been building a cult following on the coasts with films, music, and sometimes a combination of the two. When fronting the Billy Nayer Show band–longtime partner Bobby Lurie on drums, […]

Posted inMusic

Songs of a Lifetime

Jandek The Beginning (Corwood Industries) Jandek Ready for the House (Corwood Industries) By Douglas Wolk The longest-running, weirdest, loneliest enigma in “popular” music is a guy from Texas who calls himself Jandek. His latest album, The Beginning, was released late last year on the Corwood Industries label, which has put out all 28 of his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Go

THE GO The Go’s Detroit heritage comes up in every single piece of press on the band–and with their dark shades, shaggy dos, and murky production, that’s obviously exactly what they want. On the band’s recent debut album, Whatcha Doin’ (Sub Pop), guitarists Jack White (who’s since been replaced by Dion Fischer) and John Krautner […]