Posted inArts & Culture

ROVA

Now in its 27th year, this Bay Area saxophone quartet is a genuine institution. The members of ROVA (the name is an acronym of the surnames of the founding members, all still present except for Andrew Voigt, replaced in 1988 by Steve Adams) are all tremendous, flexible players, and the group’s voluminous discography displays their […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cut the Kidding

Thank you for printing Cate Plys’s column on the Cook County Board’s recent decision not to demolish the old county hospital [January 30]. I’m glad to see the Reader devote attention to the reform commissioners who are fighting both new county sales taxes and the destruction of the potentially lucrative and historically significant old hospital. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marc Shaiman…This Is Your Life!

Marc Shaiman, who made headlines when he gave his lover and collaborator Scott Wittman a passionate smooch on the 2003 Tony Awards broadcast, is a first-rate tunesmith with a gift for pitch-perfect parody. Here he’ll play piano for the cast of their musical Hairspray–running through mid-February at the Oriental–as they fete him with Marc Shaiman…This […]

Posted inNews & Politics

McNamara’s Stunning Admissions

I’m wondering if those who have a firmly established political point of view, who wish to debate the accuracy of McNamara’s war revelations, or lack thereof, aren’t in fact missing the point of Errol Morris’s film The Fog of War, including the views of “two star” Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum [January 23]. What’s remarkable about […]

Posted inArts & Culture

My Own Stranger

MY OWN STRANGER, Writers’ Theatre. Diane Wood Middlebrook raised considerable debate with her 1991 biography of Anne Sexton: the author used tapes of therapy sessions between the poet and her psychiatrist to write it. Yet it’s hard to argue that the biography revealed much about Sexton that hadn’t already been strongly suggested in exhaustive and […]

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News of the Weird

Lead Story The National Geographic Channel reported in January on the increasing demand for designer dogs, which are generally hybrids of two recognized breeds. Breeding decisions must be made carefully, say experts, because some pure breeds already have dangerously small gene pools saturated with bad traits: mating a pug with a Pekingese, for instance, could […]

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The Golem

THE GOLEM, Chicago Jewish Theatre, at Red Hen Productions. In 1921 H. Leivick stirred political and religious debate with The Golem, his version of a Jewish folktale about a rabbi who creates a hero out of clay to protect Jews from Christian oppression. The play is also said to have influenced a generation of Yiddish […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Mind the Gaps

Dear editor: I was excited to see that the Reader was featuring Mexican restaurants this week [January 16] and eagerly opened my issue to discover new places or something off the beaten track. Chicago is the city with the second highest concentration of Mexican restaurants in the United States, and there are large Mexican enclaves […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oliver!

OLIVER!, Cadillac Palace Theatre. It’s easy to see why Cameron Mackintosh revived Lionel Bart’s hit musical ten years ago: like Mackintosh’s smash Les Miserables, Bart’s 1963 adaptation of Oliver Twist replays an entire novel at warp speed and provides plenty of chances to depict gloomy Victorian back alleys and a swarming cityscape. Also, like the […]

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Senseless Attacks on Reason

Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22 Lookingglass Theatre Company Between its shallow examination of the debate between faith and reason and its enthusiasm for bathroom humor, the new show at Lookingglass practically defines the word “sophomoric.” Though there are a few good moments in Glen Berger’s Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dostoevsky Trip

DOSTOEVSKY TRIP, Elephant Man Theater Company, at Profiles Theatre. Companies marching deep into Russian territory would do well to heed history’s examples–and consider a different front. Especially when the text in question is the literary equivalent of a Russian winter. Postmodern shockster Vladimir Sorokin–whose 2002 pornography charge called attention to the persistence of the old […]