Posted inArts & Culture

Bye Bye Birdie

Bye Bye Birdie, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Michael Stewart, Lee Adams, and Charles Strouse’s loose retelling of Elvis Presley’s last hurrah before enlisting in the army is now 40 years old but has aged gracefully. Peppered with humor and wry innuendo, it features at least one perfect song (“Kids”) and a handful of absolutely great […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Do-It-Yourself Propaganda

E-mail graphics in 2001 offered the usual blend of comedy and mystery, with the occasional sex act thrown in–until September 11. The “first war of the 21st century” is also the first war in which private citizens had E-mail, allowing the masses to create and disseminate homemade propaganda. Some of the common themes were old […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Love During Wartime

Works Calling up your ex and asking to get married Saying, “If you don’t make love to me, the terrorists win.” Putting a toy camera in your shoe and pretending to be a CIA operative Asking, “Want to fool around with my night-vision goggles?” Doesn’t work Calling up your ex and demanding your CDs back […]

Posted inNews & Politics

2001: Lost & Found

Lost: Thousands of books from Sulzer Library; Found: One Book, One Chicago II Lost: $123 million from the city budget; Found: Tax cuts and other incentives for Boeing Lost: Bozo the Clown; Found: Vallas the Candidate Lost: Illusions of invincibility; Found: Other forms of anthrax Lost: Dick Cheney; Found: Dick Cheney Lost: Kyoto accord on […]

Posted inFilm

Preserving Disorder

Bela Tarr’s seventh film, a melancholy meditation on social disorder and senseless violence, begins with an enigmatic scene in a bar. Janos Valuska, a postman in a small Hungarian village, recruits three patrons to enact the heavens’ rotations. One man serves as the sun, vibrating his fingers to simulate its rays, while the other two […]

Posted inMusic

DJ Sneak

Pumping insistence is the hallmark of all house music, but the work of DJ Sneak, both as a producer and a DJ, insists a bit more fervently than most. His tempos are a shade faster than the house norm, and the bright, busy sound he prefers–with lots of skittering, splashy high-end percussion–evokes the onset of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Matt Lucas

Rockabilly veteran Matt Lucas, born in Memphis in 1935, grew up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and while still in grade school began hanging out in jukes and learning the rudiments of blues and jazz drumming. In his early teens he tried to run away from home in a cement mixer he’d stolen, a trip that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Michael Zerang & Hamid Drake

A good drummer makes any ensemble sound better, and the packed schedules of Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake testify to the esteem in which they’re held by fellow musicians around the globe. Zerang’s split-second reactions and rapid-fire embellishments have challenged improvisers like Swedish pianist Sten Sandell, English saxophonist John Butcher, and Dutch sound poet Jaap […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“Have you ever gone out for a beer and bought a Stella Artois instead of a Bud?” asks Chris Floyd in his column in the Moscow Times (November 23), an on-line daily from the Russian capital ( “Then you, my friend, have engaged in a conspiracy to cause ‘adverse effects’ to the economy of the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

2001: A Space Travesty

The year 2001 is almost at an end, and, let’s face it, it’s just not as good as the movie. Instead of ushering in a new era of intergalactic exploration, that bone tossed into the air by our alpha-monkey ancestor millions of years ago seems to have clattered to earth as little more than a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Everything’s Ducky

Everything’s Ducky, Northlight Theatre. This musical, an adult adaptation of “The Ugly Duckling,” has an able director, a dynamite cast, and a lovely score. Now it needs a book: it’s full of gags and puns signifying nothing. Though the bits are amusing, the threadbare subject is too trivial to sustain a two-hour play. Playwright-lyricists Bill […]