Oscar Micheaux’s entrepreneurial spirit made him the most prolific black filmmaker in history. Raised in Metropolis, Illinois, in the late 1800s, Micheaux worked as a shoeshine boy, a Pullman porter, and a homesteader in South Dakota and Nebraska, and later drew on his farming experiences to write novels. He published his books himself, selling them […]
A few months before he died last year, veteran reporter Walter Trohan changed his story about how he beat the mob to the scene of the Saint Valentine’s Day shootings.
Authentic Mexican, Inventive Breakfast, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Sushi
After Vietnam and Wall Street, John Barr’s ready to take on the Poetry Foundation.
Brian Bedford is certainly the world’s premiere performer of Moliere in English–and perhaps his finest interpreter in any language. He not only acts in but directs this pair of one-acts presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The evening showcases his range as a performer: in The School for Husbands he plays a stiff, humorless pedant, all […]
Said to be the earliest extant feature directed by an African-American, this 1920 made-in-Chicago film is of more than historical interest. Though the narrative structure is somewhat choppy, director Oscar Micheaux otherwise demonstrates mastery of the silent form, using supple compositions and careful editing to amplify the characters’ emotions in a manner that makes sound […]
Your advice to Femme Teasing Mask, the woman who wrote in about her cross-dressing, female-latex-mask-wearing boyfriend, was bullshit. You told her to break up with him, “[but] don’t tell him the real reason why you’re leaving….Let him think that it’s not the cross-dressing and the latex masks but his breath or his fashion sense….Leave him, […]
THE ADVENTURES OF REX DANGER: THE VENGEANCE OF THE BLACK LAMA, Corn Productions, at the Cornservatory. This send-up of James Bond action films is vintage Corn: rough, silly, energetic, with a smidgen of gratuitous drag. Boyishly suave Danger (Stephen Lydic) and his sidekicks Fred and Ginger (Tom McGrath and Liza Kayne) battle a stream of […]
Frustrated Hyde Parkers get ready to play their ace in the hole.
BLUE/ORANGE, Northlight Theatre. In his Olivier Award-winning play, Joe Penhall twists seemingly harmless remarks into wounding barbs. As in a Mamet script, the characters twirl around like bath toys on a sea of ambiguity, bobbing into an undertow of unspoken agendas and deliberate misunderstandings. Chris is a young man of African descent who’s been committed […]
After the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake “wardrobe malfunction” at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII, I thought it only right to give equal time to more “wholesome” sporting events. Not that I found Jackson baring her right bosom so offensive: truth be told, I was watching with my wife and two daughters and we barely noticed. I […]
DESTINATION LOST, Breadline Theatre. “Fifteen gets you 20” goes the caveat against cozying up to minors. Eighteen-year-old Angela Marie Coffel wasn’t just playing “kiss the salami” with two boys, 11 and 13, however–she was HIV-positive. Under Missouri law, that arguably made her a violent sexual predator, and she received an appropriately severe sentence. Our culture […]
Cue the Twilight Zone theme: once Daley joins Stroger on the podium, the exact same group of people, sitting in almost exactly the same seats, becomes the finance committee.
“We can’t hold scientific meetings here [in the United States] anymore because foreign scientists can’t get visas,” a top oceanographer at the University of San Diego recently told Richard Florida (Washington Monthly, January/February). And that isn’t the worst news. “The [foreign] graduate students I have taught at several major universities–Ohio State, Harvard, MIT, Carnegie Mellon–have […]
MINDY SMITH 2/13, SCHUBAS Slipped in among stars like Shania Twain and Alison Krauss on last fall’s Dolly Parton tribute album, Just Because I’m a Woman, this clarion-voiced young singer-songwriter turned heads with her version of “Jolene,” and she’s since formally launched her career with One Moment More (Vanguard). She’s got tons of potential–she can […]