Posted inNews & Politics

City File

If Mayor Daley really backed community policing, he could have saved the ACLU and CANS three years of effort to make it work right. Hank DeZutter writes in “Neighborhoods” (February), newsletter of the Chicago Alliance for Neighborhood Safety: “If the word ‘community’ means anything in the phrase ‘community policing,’ Chicagoans should be able to see […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

It’s funny, isn’t it, how college athletic teams tend to maintain a consistent character from year to year, despite the steady turnover of players, and more often than not despite even a change of head coach. Under Mike Krzyzewski, Duke’s basketball team always seems capably confident. Michigan is, in all its sports, ever uppity, winning […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ira Sullivan

I first came across Ira Sullivan’s name in a record review in my hometown newspaper in 1964. I showed the article to my clarinet teacher, calling his attention to the part that said Sullivan could play trumpet and saxophone with equal facility; my teacher patiently explained that this was impossible due to the different embouchures […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pushing Back

Juan Logan: Whose Song Shall I Sing? at Chicago Cultural Center, through April 21 Gary Simmons at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through May 19 The largest and bitterest work in Juan Logan’s Chicago Cultural Center show also gives the exhibit its title. In Whose Song Shall I Sing? (2001) Logan nearly covers one wall […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Claudia Quintet

It seems like half of New York’s downtown jazz scene has dabbled in electronica these past few years, with varying results: drummer Jim Black’s adaptation of jungle rhythms was uncanny; trumpeter Graham Haynes’s use of frosty synth washes was not so gripping. The Claudia Quintet is one of several groups led by drummer John Hollenbeck […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

KNIFE IN THE WATER 3/29, EMPTY BOTTLE Named for a Roman Polanski film, these Austinites play atypical country-based indie soul, biding their time and getting where they mean to go with sounds that seem sweetly broken but aren’t exactly in need of fixing. Laura Krause’s organ lines and Bill McCullough’s pedal steel lift the traditional-sounding, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Allow Me to Explain

For what it’s worth, here’s my reply to Stuart Kahn’s heartfelt letter [March 22]: I was homeless for five months last year, learning in the process that our society has no safety net, except perhaps prison. I squeaked by telling a different person each night that my roommate had a girl over and wanted privacy. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Cellist Lynn Harrell is reliable, often brilliant, and this week joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for its first performances of the Lutoslawski concerto, one of the most important cello concertos of the 20th century–yet audiences still take him for granted, apparently because he doesn’t have the star power of someone like Yo-Yo Ma. Harrell’s career […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice, Tinfish Theatre. Director Kerstin Broockmann begins her program notes by asking why anyone would want to stage this play in the 21st century. But her intelligent rendition, reset in the business-casual, technology-enabled present, goes on to prove just how relevant Shakespeare’s love stories and mercenary rivalries are today. Efficiency seems to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

French Connection

In a private room above Blackbird restaurant at noon on a recent weekday, the French Government Tourist Office regaled a group of American freelance writers, French diplomats, and travel professionals with lamb vol-au-vent, pinot blanc, and a TV ad that featured a string of celebrities squawking “J’aime la France!”–the office’s catchphrase for 2002. Between courses, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lumpkin’s Big Top

Lumpkin’s Big Top, New Millennium Theatre Company, at the Theatre Building Chicago. This annoyingly inept mediocrity is the ur-example of why playwrights should never direct their own scripts. Chicago writer Thurston Cobb religiously respects every imbecilic stereotype and blatant plot point in his relentlessly unfunny, egregiously repetitious “comedy,” an expose of a TV kids’ show […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Woyzeck

Woyzeck European Repertory Company at the National Pastime Theater Over the past several months many Americans have stared at the stony face of Andrea Yates, wondering how this picture of Christian middle-class normalcy could have committed infanticide. Her insanity plea was not only expected but welcome, opening up the chasm of mental illness to separate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Mooney Suzuki

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Nuggets, Lenny Kaye’s classic compilation of late-60s garage rock, and even die-hard fans of the genre–myself included–must admit that at this point a quartet of kids playing fuzz-toned R & B is about as threatening as a handful of seniors getting together to play hot jazz. But these […]