Posted inFilm


A curious kind of double game is being played in Dark Blue, a cop thriller that sets out to “explain” the 1992 LA riots. For a good while I sat thinking, “At last—a movie that doesn’t mince words about police corruption and racism,” for even if it’s a decade late and a bit simplistic in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

She’s Doing OK

Any excuse to tell this story, reported by Robert Wilder Blue on the on-line magazine USOperaWeb, is good enough for me: Nearly four decades ago, when Catherine Malfitano auditioned for the Juilliard School and was rejected, three of the five judges advised her to “give up all hope of having a singing career.” Today, after […]

Posted inArts & Culture

True Books

Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist by Christopher Jon Bjerknes (XTX Inc., $19.95). Synopsis: Contrary to historical consensus, Albert Einstein stole the theory of relativity. On top of that he was a “stumbling sadistic brute” and “perhaps even a foul-mouthed syphilitic whore monger.” Representative Quote: “Albert would often simply agree with whomever he had last spoken….Upon […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m a chick with a desire to be punched. I want a black eye, you see. My boyfriend won’t do it because he has this hang-up about “beating” his girlfriend. But he did give me permission to ask my best male friend if he would punch me. My friend said yes, if I got him […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Money, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, at the Storefront Theater. Social reformer and unmitigated dandy Edward Bulwer-Lytton may have been a prolific, popular, and influential author in his day: he gave Dickens the ending to Great Expectations, and Mary Shelley called him “a magnificent writer.” But today he’s a literary joke, best known for the opening […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Paul Burch

Paul Burch plays drums in the ungainly Nashville pop band Lambchop, which is often reductively categorized as alternative country, but it’s as the leader of the hard-country quintet WPA Ballclub and on his own that he’s made his greatest contributions to the Music City’s C & W roots revival. His most recent release, which isn’t […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Last weekend the University of Illinois men’s basketball team was chased out of Assembly Hall in Champaign by the state high school wrestling tournament, only to butt up against the Public League boys’ basketball finals in the United Center. The Fighting Illini took on Northwestern University at 1 PM; then the orange-clad Illini rooters–who greatly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dror Feiler

In most free improvisation, familiar tricks and phrases generally reappear no matter how gifted the performer, but Dror Feiler seems determined to leap into the void every time he steps onstage. The Israeli-born composer, improviser, and reedist, who’s lived in Sweden since 1973, has repeatedly written that chaos and disruptiveness are essential to his work; […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Pork–the possibly cloned white meat. “Jon Fisher, owner of Prairie State Semen Inc. of Champaign, Ill., paid a then-record $43,000 in 1997 for a beautiful Hampshire boar at an auction in Texas,” writes Justin Gillis in the Washington Post (September 16). “The new animal, much in demand, greatly elevated Fisher’s reputation in the world of […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

A POLLINAIRE RAVE, ESKIMOS 2/28, SCHUBAS A Pollinaire Rave is another project from Kevin Barnes, ringleader of the giddy pop circus Of Montreal (who are actually of Athens, Georgia): over backing tapes, Barnes, his girlfriend Nina Grottland, and his brother David sing their way through an absurd theatrical piece about convicts released into a junior […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Puppetry of the Penis

Puppetry of the Penis, at the Lakeshore Theater. These “penis installations” are less theater or performance art than crass sideshow spectacle. Two naked Australian men, initially garbed in Elvis-inspired capes, stretch and twist their testicles, scrotums, and penises into shapes with a high gross-out or flinch factor: a hairy tongue, a hamburger in a bun, […]

Posted inNews & Politics


FEBRUARY 28 FRIDAY “Enough to convert intending brides and bridegrooms to celibacy” is how a London critic described the 1923 Ballets Russes premiere of Bronislava Nijinska’s groundbreaking Les noces (“The Wedding”). The piece, set to a score by Igor Stravinsky that Nijinska characterized as “deeply dramatic, interspersed with occasional bursts of gaiety,” uses stark, sculptural […]