Posted inArts & Culture

Lucille Clifton

There’s a certain frustration attached to any attempt to describe the work of Lucille Clifton, whose wise, rounded verse feels as if it’s already said it all. Clifton’s poems are quiet but also furious. They’re spare, funny, often biblical, and heartbreaking–testaments to her commitment to “the balance of intellect and intuition” and the challenge of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Long, Hard Looks

Lake Affect: Photographs by Othello Anderson at City Gallery, through June 28 Barbara Crane: Still Lifes / Natures Mortes at the Chicago Cultural Center, through May 23 Disciplined, carefully delimited approaches to nature photography yield a revelatory diversity in two exhibitions. Shooting in color, Othello Anderson has been recording a single view of Lake Michigan […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Alchemy of Tulips

THE ALCHEMY OF TULIPS, Ravenous Productions, at the Storefront Theater. Writer-director Joseph Ravens uses dance, text, and screen images to tell the story of a 17th-century market disaster in Holland caused by speculation in tulip bulbs–a sort of tulips.com phenomenon. This seemingly dry economic event provides some beautiful themes and tales: Ravens makes the tulip […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m a relatively inexperienced 26-year-old young lady. I have basically spent the last four years celibate, in a dead-end relationship that I’m finally out of. Recently, I met a much older man, 41, who is extremely experienced and has had a history of being totally freaky (golden showers, porn, etc). He’s got a pretty healthy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Writ Small

(The) Violent Sex Visions & Voices Theatre Company at Chicago Dramatists If someone could write about writing with one-tenth the intensity Roger Kahn brings to baseball, the literary world might have itself a new champion. But the process of actually committing words to the page and wrestling over grammar and spelling and meaning is universal […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

EMBER SWIFT 5/7, SCHUBAS This Toronto-based singer-songwriter follows the Ani DiFranco model, with her own label (Few’ll Ignite Sound) and networking Web site. On her eighth album, Disarming, Swift (on acoustic guitar) and longtime collaborator Lyndell Montgomery (electric bass, violin) effectively contain the music’s fierce politics in an easy-to-swallow capsule of deft, frisky, superwhite jazz […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Death in Venice

Benjamin Britten’s valedictory opera, written three years before his death in 1976, is perhaps his most personal work for the theater. Adapted from Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella, it’s the tale of an aging writer, Gustav von Aschenbach, wrestling with spiritual malaise and his obsession with a beautiful adolescent boy he encounters during a vacation in […]