Posted inArts & Culture

Hybrid

Centenarian Milford Beeghly, a barrel-chested Iowa eccentric and a pioneer in crossbreeding corn, is the subject of this inventive and beguiling 2000 documentary by his grandson Montieth McCollum. Proud, laconic, and deeply attached to the land, Beeghly preferred experimenting with and marketing new strains of corn to spending time with his family, and in interviews […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Spies

Perhaps Fritz Lang’s most neglected major work, this stunning silent German thriller (1928) both summarizes and refines his first Dr. Mabuse film while introducing some of the principles of editing continuity found in M. Scripted by Thea von Harbou (Lang’s second wife), it pits a government agent (Willy Fritsch) against a wheelchair-bound international banker (Rudolf […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Polish Film Festival in America

The 13th annual Polish Film Festival in America, produced by the Society for Arts, continues Friday through Thursday, November 9 through 15. Screenings are at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, and by video projection at the Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $9; passes are also available for $40 (five screenings) and […]

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Rene Marie

RENE MARIE Vocalist Rene Marie opens her second Maxjazz album, Vertigo, with two songs that by now ought to elicit a unanimous shrug from a jazz audience: “Them There Eyes” was a frothy novelty when Louis Armstrong first recorded it in 1931; by the time Billie Holiday resurrected it in 1939, it already needed a […]

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Tell It to the Marines

Lon Chaney, out of makeup but commanding as ever, delivers one of his best performances in this 1926 MGM silent feature, as a hard-bitten drill sergeant determined to make a marine of a brash young recruit (William Haines). The story would be recycled in countless war movies, and the roaring but sentimental military man would […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pamela Knowles

PAMELA KNOWLES Set the words of a Pulitzer-winning poet to strong, lovely jazz melodies, place them in the mouth of a conservatory-trained actress and singer with a handsome, malleable voice–and you could still go wrong. Plenty of similar undertakings, even by artists with similarly exalted credentials, have already failed: when it comes to combining poetry […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Think Pieces

Sarah Wild and Larry Lee at Joymore, through November 17 Interrupted: Tom Torluemke and Geoffry Smalley at MN, through November 17 Though socially involved art can be simpleminded and preachy, it can also succeed, as four Chicago-area artists demonstrate, by combining commentary with craft, provocation with precise execution. At Joymore, Sarah Wild and Larry Lee–friends […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

When you said, “All masturbation horror stories that sounded like BS were discarded,” I said to myself, “I guess we won’t be reading any ‘I-got-a-hot-dog-stuck-up-there’ stories.” The hot dog story you ran was well crafted, but it’s an urban legend. Type “hot dog vagina urban legend” into Google.com and you get hundreds of results. Sometimes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Solex

Solex Anyone with decent command of a mouse and keyboard these days can create seamless sample-based music, so when Elisabeth Esselink, aka Solex, lets her stitches hang out, it’s clearly intentional. The 15 tunes on her new Low Kick and Hard Bop (Matador), composed of samples culled primarily from unsellable CDs and old vinyl at […]

Posted inMusic

Alison Krauss & Union Station

It was bad enough that bluegrass singer Alison Krauss felt the need to dip into adult contemporary repertoire on her 1999 solo album, Forget About It, covering tunes by Todd Rundgren and Michael McDonald. But then, as producer, she made choices that nearly suffocated the natural sweetness of her own voice with saccharine arrangements and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Words With C

Words With C, A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company, at the Cornservatory. Propinquity often further isolates individuals leery of intimate entanglements–but they can be liberated by the prospect of imminent separation. Kate and Ben have been high-rise neighbors for years, but only when she’s about to relocate to California does he violate their tacit boundaries to […]