Posted inArts & Culture

The Moliere Comedies

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 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Within Our Gates

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 […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

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, […]

Posted inArts & Culture


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 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

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 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Destination Lost

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 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“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 […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

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 […]