Posted inArts & Culture

Barbershop 2: Back in Business

Barbershop painted an affectionate portrait of a black community centered on a 40-year-old barbershop in South Shore; this sequel ups the ante, asking whether urban renewal means anything now other than turning neighborhoods into giant malls. Ice Cube returns as Calvin, the crabby but decent proprietor of the shop his late father established in 1958; […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Martina Nehrling

The Hyde Park Art Center’s regular program of exhibits in the lobby of the Cook County Administration Building was interrupted for three months following the tragic fire; it resumes with three colorful abstract paintings by Martina Nehrling that are so winningly cheerful they almost seem surreal in this sterile institutional space. Despite / Because consists […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Defending Your Life

DEFENDING YOUR LIFE, WNEP Theater, at the Lakeshore Theater. Writer-director Albert Brooks’s warm 1991 meditation on paying one’s debts in the afterlife surpassed the slight observational humor of his previous films as he attempted to answer some of life’s big questions. WNEP director Don Hall picks up where Brooks left off in this series of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Bride With White Hair

Before coming to Hollywood to make slasher films, Ronny Yu directed this gem of the new Hong Kong cinema, a rhapsodic sword-and-sorcery epic that makes regal use of actors Leslie Cheung and Brigitte Lin. He’s a dashing swordsman charged with defeating an evil Manchurian cult; she’s a lethal wolf girl expelled from the cult after […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Notwist

I find a lot of the songwriting on the much praised Neon Golden (Domino, 2002), the most recent album by the German post-rock band the Notwist, to be unremarkable, and Markus Acher often seems like the ultimate faceless, all-purpose indie front man: sweet, timid, sensitive, an abiding love of beauty, zzzzz. Yet thanks to electronicist […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What with the new war on terror and the ongoing war on drugs, I’ve heard a lot of people make the claim that the United States has incarcerated a higher proportion of its citizens than any other country in history. To me, this claim seems tenuous at best. What about countries such as China, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Camille/La Traviata

CAMILLE/LA TRAVIATA, Hypocrites, at the Storefront Theater. Director-designer Sean Graney opines in a program note that contemporary audiences perceive Camille–Alexandre Dumas’ 1852 play about a consumptive Parisian courtesan nearly saved by the pure love of the young Armand–as melodrama, a form that does not have “an honest relationship to us.” Still, artists hoping to bring […]

Posted inFilm

Glimspe of a Rare Bird

His films convey more than most the intensity of happiness, the physical pleasure of meeting and contact, the inevitable tragedy of relationships. —Bernard Eisenschitz The movies of Russian director Boris Barnet (1902-’65) are almost never screened, and information about his work is scarce. He seems to have made slightly over two dozen films, and I’ve […]

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Friday 2/6 – Thursday 2/12 FEBRUARY 6 FRIDAY Esther Parada’s Oak Park block was decimated by Dutch elm disease in the summer of 2000, but by then the artist had been studying the ecological and cultural significance of the American elm tree for almost four years. Her new multimedia installation, When the Bough Breaks, looks […]

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The Opus

With the underground success of Diverse’s excellent One A.M., Twista’s Kamikaze entering the Billboard album chart at number one, and the wildly anticipated debut from Kanye West, Chicago hip-hop may be finally gaining some real momentum. But stuff’s been happening here for years, and any number of local acts might have made it with better […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Guys and Dolls

GUYS AND DOLLS, Court Theatre. Forget the dancing crapshooters, scantily clad chorines, and neon-lit Times Square set that usually adorn revivals of this 1950 musical, concocted by tunesmith Frank Loesser, gag writer Abe Burrows, and original director George S. Kaufman from Damon Runyon’s tales of Prohibition-era lowlifes. Paring away the show’s cartoonish elements, director Charles […]

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The People Could Fly

THE PEOPLE COULD FLY, Walkabout Theater Company, at the Vittum Theater. Stephan Mazurek directs an ensemble of six performers who exhort the audience to listen to Loren Crawford’s collection of short stories and fables, insisting that stories such as these kept people alive: drawn from West African folklore, they were passed on by generations of […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Most current neo-new-wavers are either formalists or ironists, happy to have found a plastic sound and style they can remold without making any concrete statements about historical context. But judging from Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (Everloving), front woman Emily Haines seems to have chosen synth rock simply ’cause she happens to […]