Posted inArts & Culture

Pet Shop Boys

There are a couple surprises on the Pet Shop Boys’ new Release (Sanctuary), but the duo’s prominent use of electric guitar–after 16 years of relying almost exclusively on synthesizers–isn’t one of them. Though much has been made of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr’s contributions to the album, the plangent riffs and adornments he adds to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Naked: the Music of Leonard Cohen

Following up last year’s surprise hit Grapefruit Moon: The Music of Tom Waits, Davenport’s offers a revue of tunes by another rock poet–Leonard Cohen, Montreal’s answer to Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan. Cohen’s deadpan baritone has given his work a gloomy image. But this cabaret set proves that the cult icon’s bravely confessional songs, sexually […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Jacques Demy’s first and in some ways best feature (1961, 90 min.), shot in exquisite black-and-white ‘Scope by Raoul Coutard, is among the most neglected major works of the French New Wave. Abandoned by her sailor lover, a cabaret dancer (Anouk Aimee) brings up their son while awaiting his return and ultimately has to choose […]

Posted inFilm

A Tale of the Wind

This poetic masterpiece (1988) is the crowning work of Joris Ivens, the great Dutch documentarian and leftist, who made it in collaboration with his companion, Marceline Loridan, shortly before his death at age 90. (In fact there’s reason to believe the film was mainly written by Loridan, though this makes it no less Ivens’s own […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wasted Potential

The Dazzle Steppenwolf Theatre Company On March 21, 1947, police arrived at a Harlem mansion after getting a tip from a neighbor saying there was “a dead man on the premises.” When the cops broke in–the windows had been boarded up years before, the entrances blocked with iron bars–they found the decomposing bodies of brothers […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Prom Night

Stephanie Lentz and her admiring boyfriend, Chris Oakes, were photographed by Kathy Richland at a preprom party in May 2000. Stephanie and I spoke the following January in the town house she grew up in, just west of Old Town. The neighborhood was “pretty rough when my parents first moved here,” she told me. “Now […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, etc. concerts AMERICAN HERITAGE, ROLLO TOMASI, CHUNSA, LEKAITA THREAT Fri 5/24, 6:30 PM, room 130, McGaw Hall, DePaul University, 802 W. Belden. 773-687-2000, ext. 4062. OSCAR BROWN JR. & MAGGIE BROWN, REGIE GIBSON, TED JONES and others perform as part of “Bridging the Gap Between Poetry and Rap: Part 2;” free admission. Sun […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Company of Wayward Saints

A Company of Wayward Saints, TinFish Theatre. The first act of this George Herman play is a comedy about the star egos and stage antics of a commedia dell’arte troupe of nine actors. Desperate to earn the cash to return home, they eagerly take up the offer of a duke to supply the necessary funds […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Back to the Stage

Theatre of Western Springs artistic director Tony Vezner thought the script for Dearly Departed, by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, was a hoot when he first read it a year ago–“the darkest, most campy, goofiest comedy I’ve seen.” He knew right away he wanted to direct it, and put it on the schedule as the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Print: clip-art characters speak the motherfucking truth!

It’s a half-assed Internet comic someone whipped off at his temp job. Two karate fighters–static, fake-looking clip-art figures–ponder the insane idea that they themselves could make up imaginary fighters to practice battle techniques that aren’t even real yet. “But dude, what if they turned real on your ass? Would they battle you?” On David Rees’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Communicating Doors

Communicating Doors, Attic Playhouse. Last performed here in 1994 at the Merle Reskin Theatre, this diverting domestic comedy by Alan Ayckbourn depicts a murder mystery played out over four decades: it pivots on a door in a hotel suite that can transport people back in time but never farther forward than their own era. Three […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dance of Death

The delicate, occasionally whimsical creatures depicted by Indian court artists currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago seem innocuous at first glance. The colorful menagerie includes elegant gray herons, handsome hounds, a wizened baboon, a cheetah on a leash, and a cuddly black bear. Then you notice an 1875 watercolor from Calcutta showing […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Quick Chicken in Bucktown

Nick’s Pit Stop doesn’t go out of its way to cater to the police. There are no wall hooks to accommodate the gray Kevlar vests–most officers either keep them on or hang them over the backs of the red vinyl dinette chairs. And finding a parking space can be tough, even for a marked car. […]