Posted inArts & Culture

Samuel R. Delany

The title of next week’s Northwestern University conference on black science fiction, “The Politics of the Paraliterary,” may say something about SF’s dubious rep in academe. Para? As in “paramilitary” or “paranormal?” It’s taken from the title for Samuel R. Delany’s 2000 collection of literary criticism, but his work has never really needed any qualifier. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Sleepy Jackson

Most of the media hubbub about the so-called Australian Invasion has focused on the Vines’ gormless man-child Craig Nicholls and Jet’s sunken-cheeked screamer Nic Cester, but Luke Steele of the Sleepy Jackson seems destined to outlast both of those preening garage-rock sluts. The Perth-based singer-guitarist and his rotating cast of collaborators make music with a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Trying

TRYING, Victory Gardens Theater. In this world premiere, playwright Joanna McClelland Glass manages to make the life of Francis Biddle–attorney general under FDR and later a Nuremberg judge–boring. The problem is the formula she chooses: “Crusty old patrician won over by secretary’s gumption.” This stale genre’s conventions are apparent even to novices: he’ll die at […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m a 23-year-old female. I always had big, amazing orgasms, from sex and oral sex. My sex life was perfect. I decided to get a vibrator, and my boyfriend and I started using it, which was also great. After a while, though, I stopped having orgasms. It got harder and harder for me to come. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Distant

Clouds of May, the second feature of Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, struck some viewers as belonging to the school of Kiarostami, a mistake they wouldn’t make with his masterful third feature. An industrial photographer in Istanbul (Muzaffer Ozdemir), who hasn’t recovered from his busted marriage, finds himself the reluctant host of a country cousin […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Judith

JUDITH, Rogue Theater, at Breadline Theatre Laboratory. In the Old Testament, Judith saves the Israelites from attack by charming Assyrian general Holofernes, then killing him in his sleep. But Jean Giraudoux in his 1931 play proposes that Judith was a pampered young woman who consented to the seduce-and-destroy mission out of arrogance, that her target […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Have You Seen This Turtle?

The night Shady got lost, eight-year-old Robbie Penna cried himself to sleep in his mother’s arms. Shady was his pet box turtle, and for almost two years he’d lived in Robbie’s room in a glass aquarium lined with wood chips. Shady would bang his shell against the glass every morning. He was like an alarm […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

WEIRD WAR 4/9, EMPTY BOTTLE This Drag City project from Ian Svenonius has been hard to follow, and a little hard to care about. It started out as a sloppy, self-indulgent all-star band, then (under the name Scene Creamers) put out a second album that sounded like it was still trying to decide if it […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Doris

“I’m very big in western Australia,” David Kodeski jokes. His rise to Aussie fringe prominence began last May in Chicago, when he learned that his application for a $30,000 grant had been rejected. “That’s a year’s salary for people like me,” he says. “I was pissed. But I thought, ‘At least I can go to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Czech New Wave Master Rediscovered: The Films of Pavel Juracek

Presented by Facets Cinematheque and the Czech Center New York, this retrospective series on writer-director Pavel Juracek runs Friday through Thursday, April 9 through 15, at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $9, $5 for Facets members; for more information call 773-281-9075. Programs marked with an * are highly recommended. FRIDAY, APRIL 9 * […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Us or Them

US OR THEM, Live Bait Theater. According to its brochure, the Police-Teen Link aims to “foster understanding” and “provide a unique mentoring program.” Those are admirable goals–and achievable ones too, judging by the smooth integration of teens and middle-aged men and women in Ann Filmer’s staging of Sharon Evans’s play, cobbled together from hours of […]

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Chicago Tap Theatre

Imagine some 20 tap dancers performing in unison in a room that’s, oh, maybe 30 feet by 30 feet. The floor was bouncing so hard during the rehearsal I watched I couldn’t keep my pen on the paper. But the experience was undeniably thrilling. Chicago Tap Theatre, made up of artistic director Mark Yonally and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Drawer Boy

THE DRAWER BOY, Attic Playhouse. Like many better plays, Michael Healey’s 1999 drama begins with a stranger coming to town. Young actor-playwright Miles arrives from Toronto to visit Morgan and Angus, lifelong friends who share a farm on the Canadian prairie. A war injury left Angus childlike and without memory (where would playwrights be without […]

Posted inFilm

Euthanasia Made Easy

The United States of Leland * (Has redeemming facet) Written and directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge With Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Ann Magnuson, Jena Malone, and Kevin Spacey. A few years back some disability-rights activists were offended by the movie There’s Something About Mary. I wholeheartedly disagreed. Sure, the Farrelly brothers threw in […]