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Posted inArts & Culture

Christmas on Mars

Christmas on Mars, Artistic Home. Bruno and Audrey may resemble the typical miserable couple preparing a dark, squalid New York apartment for a baby on the way, but they’re more miserable than most. Bruno is a self-absorbed aging model who finds his career in permanent wane. Audrey’s woeful childhood with an indifferent mother has left […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Battle of the Hairstylists

Let me get this straight. John Vaillancourt invests 1.1 million into a business, retains all of its employees, teaches them his technique, and is vilified for being demanding and businesslike (“Hair Brawl,” 11/29/02)? It seems worth noting that for all their bitching and moaning, none of his former employees bash his talent. Call me silly, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“I never looked at any of my relatives as compulsive gamblers,” writes Mike Morsch in Illinois Issues (November), “and I’m pretty sure I know what the answer would be if I suggested to any of them that they enroll in the state’s Self-Exclusion Program,” which lets gamblers ask to be kept off riverboats. “They would […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Vinicius Cantuaria

Brazilian singer-songwriter Vinicius Cantuaria has said that moving to New York in the mid-90s gave him the freedom to develop his own take on his native traditions. As a teenager Cantuaria played in the early-70s Brazilian prog-rock band O Terco before delving into bossa nova; he spent ten years as Caetano Veloso’s guitarist, and both […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Winter Wonderland

Nobody strings lights on a branch better than the Chicago Botanic Garden, where clusters of white-lit trees sprout in gorgeous electric detail as part of the garden’s annual Celebrations! A Festival of Flowers, Lights & Music. I dropped in on a frigid night last weekend to take a look, but just as I was admiring […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

On the eve of his 24th birthday, Finnish conductor Mikko Franck will make his CSO debut, a distinction rarely bestowed on someone so young. But then the wunderkind already has a formidable resume, having debuted with orchestras in Sweden, London, Munich, and Berlin–a list that even established maestros would envy. Franck, who took up the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Maid in Manhattan

Through a fluke, a maid at a ritzy Manhattan hotel (Jennifer Lopez) is mistaken for a guest by a guest (Ralph Fiennes) who’s running for the Senate. This version of the Cinderella story was originally offered to Julia Roberts, implying that a Pretty Woman redux was intended, but what makes this comedy so appealing is […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Was Rachel Carson a fraud and is DDT actually safe for humans? According to Marjorie Mazel Hecht and [San Jose State University] professor J. Gordon Edwards at www.21stcenturysciencetech.com, DDT is safe and indeed saved and can save human lives, and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is full of lies. According to them, the banning of DDT […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar

Friday 12/13 – Thursday 12/19 DECEMBER 13 FRIDAY Bassist and experimental filmmaker Tatsu Aoki spent nearly four years capturing images for his recent 16-millimeter film, Puzzle Part 2, a 45-minute rumination on the process of thinking. “The images are generated by accident…when the film slips out of the gate during shooting,” he explains. “Of course, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

El Bola

This gritty and absorbing 2000 feature by Spanish director Achero Manas opens with a taut sequence in which schoolkids play chicken in a railroad yard, racing from either side of the track to grab a bottle of water just before a train arrives. The same dynamic plays out in the story, as young Pablo–nicknamed “El […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Building Mysteries

Juan Munoz at the Art Institute, through January 5 Melodramas pivot around key discoveries: the hero learns the identity of his true father; the heroine realizes that her former lover doesn’t recognize her when they meet again. For the viewer who’s identified with the protagonist, such shifts unsettle one’s own identity, perhaps even bringing tears. […]