Posted inNews & Politics


This letter is in reference to Noah Berlatsky’s article entitled “Kill Bill’s Fatal Flaw” [May 14]. Tarantino is not pulling his punches. He never has, he never will. When Tim Roth cries and begs Harvey Keitel’s forgiveness [in Reservoir Dogs] I don’t recall anyone saying that Tarantino was forcing audiences to identify with anyone. Thurman’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Two of my favorite works from the Ailey repertory illuminate the troupe’s emotional range. Hymn, a 1993 piece by current artistic director Judith Jamison, represents the celebratory, upbeat end of the spectrum. Practically a promo for the company, it’s set mostly to a text written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith–a “libretto” that consists of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Hold Steady

“Half the crowd is calling out for ‘Born to Run’ / And the other half is calling out for ‘Born to Lose,’” roars singer-guitarist Craig Finn in “Barfruit Blues.” As front man for the Hold Steady, and previously for the late great Minneapolis postpunk band Lifter Puller, Finn has always split the difference: his lyrics […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Conversations on a Dirt Road

CONVERSATIONS ON A DIRT ROAD, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Samm-Art Williams’s play certainly looks like it’s got a plot. There are conflicts, complications, even a twist to this story about two brothers who feud over what to do with their dead father’s farm and general store. What’s more, it’s easy to feel for Joe, the […]

Posted inMusic

Down to Earth

Divine Comedy Absent Friends (Nettwerk America) Does anyone have more than the vaguest idea what the lyrics in a typical Radiohead song mean? Care to explicate a few Guided by Voices couplets? Forget discerning a message in the vocals to a My Bloody Valentine tune–under those gusts of squalling guitar, can you even tell what […]

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Biloxi Blues

BILOXI BLUES, New World Repertory Theater, at the Mason’s Building. The second installment of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy covers his time in the army during World War II. Private Eugene Jerome, Simon’s alter ego, and five other young men in his platoon negotiate boot camp politics and challenging food under a sadistic sergeant who motivates […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“Over the 1991-2002 period, violent crime [in Chicago] has declined by 49 percent, and property crime by 36 percent,” reports the Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium in its January report, “CAPS at Ten.” “Murder was down the least over this period, by 30 percent. As in many cities, the ability of Chicago’s police to solve […]

Posted inArts & Culture

William Ferris Chorale

At 80, Ned Rorem has been the most eloquent exponent of melodic contemporary music for decades, and the finest American art-song composer for nearly as long, thanks to his uncanny ability to match a touching melody to the rhythm of a poem. In addition to his songs, he’s written eight operas, three symphonies, and many […]

Posted inArts & Culture


EURYDICE, Piven Theatre. Like many writers before her, playwright Sarah Ruhl adapts the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to her own devices, though the basic tale remains unchanged: Orpheus’s music so moves the gods that they allow him to retrieve his wife from the underworld. Some of Ruhl’s innovations are intriguing: Orpheus descends to Hades […]