Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to a BBC News report last month, Matsushita Electric Industrial runs a state-of-the-art retirement home near Osaka, Japan, using robotic companion bears to comfort the residents (average age: 82) and continually check their health signs. Covered in fur, the bears respond to voice commands and can monitor a resident’s alertness by timing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Los Munequitos de Matanzas

For people who hear the word “rumba” and think of Ricky Ricardo leading his dinner-jacketed orchestra at the Copacabana on I Love Lucy, the music of Los Munequitos de Matanzas is likely to be either a disappointment or a wake-up call, if not both at once. Los Munequitos play the original rumba, an Afro-Cuban roots […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bedlam

Bedlam, at the Playground. In this late-night comedy, written and directed by Andy Eninger, small-time performance artist Danny Farragut springs his boundary-blurring works, which usually involve his bed, on unsuspecting visitors to a drapery museum. Free-associative scenes jump from present to future to ancient past, eventually revealing unlikely connections between Garp-ishly fatherless provocateur Danny and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jesus Hopped the “A” Train

Jesus Hopped the “A” Train, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis has spent a lot of time working with prison populations, so it’s rather astonishing that his play, set on Riker’s Island, is so utterly unconvincing much of the time. And as directed by Ron O.J. Parson, this is yet another production that substitutes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: pictorialism’s forgotten champion

Eva Watson Schutze, a portraitist in league with Alfred Stieglitz and his photo secessionist movement, exemplified late-19th-century ideals of the “new woman” as well as the era’s “new photography.” A dedicated pictorialist, she embraced an artistic style of subjective, soft-focus lyricism, derided as “fuzzography” by mainstream photographers of the time, who espoused sharp-focus realism. Born […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, everybody: After I mentioned a sexual fantasy of mine in print a few weeks ago– Brad Pitt coming all over Ashton Kutcher’s face–a reader suggested that I devote an entire column to other people’s fantasies. Upping the ante, I decided to have a contest, with prizes going to readers whose fantasies were selected for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dynamic Tension

Adja Yunkers: To Invent a Garden at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, through March 31 Mu Xin: Landscape Paintings and Prison Notes at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, through March 24 Modern art has frequently been enriched by cross-cultural influences, but Adja Yunkers’s inspirations were unusually diverse, including religious […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Uncle Broadway

Uncle Broadway, Royal George Theatre Center. Created by Richard Ericson, Bruce Coyle, Judith Swift, and Paul Grellong, this hybrid musical taps into the new patriotism while invoking the star-spangled nostalgia of America’s greatest flag-waver, George M. Cohan. His spirit returns in a dream to help a sullen white teenage rapper bummed out by school shootings […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

The Public League championship game went big time this year–taking up a position not just at the United Center but in TV land as well. The city’s most important high school basketball game drew about 15,000 fans to its biggest indoor arena, even as the game claimed two hours on public television’s WTTW–during pledge month, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Andrew W.K.

Selling out implies that an artist has some integrity, and that he’s relinquishing it to move product. But Andrew W.K. never had any such notions of virtue; he’s just a weirdo who perfected a familiar formula–big songs with big guitars, big hooks, and even bigger choruses–and decided to go for the gold. In the mid-90s, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Danni Leigh

On her 1998 debut album, 29 Nights (Decca), Danni Leigh sent a current of rockabilly sass rippling through neotraditionalist honky-tonk and was quickly pegged as “the female Dwight Yoakam.” But that formula, so successful for Yoakam, wasn’t enough to score her radio play; the record stiffed, and she soon parted ways with the label. Early […]