Posted inFilm

Life Behind Bars

More than two million Americans live in prison, but American movies and television usually recoil from the reality of penal institutions. Because it’s a frequent setting in crime dramas, we all think we know what a modern penitentiary is about: it’s a place where tough men call the shots and weak men get raped in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

DJ Shadow’s Wide Influence

Is there any way you could search your archives for me and tell me how many times you’ve compared an artist to DJ Shadow? I looked today just for grins, and it wasn’t a direct comparison, but it was stated “Rjd2 gets compared to DJ Shadow a bunch” [Section Three, May 14]. I saw one […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

What does the Jack Kelley fabrication scandal at USA Today say about the future of white journalism? That’s what Leonard Pitts asked in the Miami Herald recently (quoted in “Undernews,” April 27): “Did USA Today advance a moderately capable journalist because he was white? Did some white editor mentor him out of racial solidarity even […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Christopher Carter Keeps Messing With Your Mind!

It’s freaky. With silver dollars duct-taped to his eyelids under a four-layer blindfold, mentalist Christopher Carter holds up cards submitted by audience members and shouts out their names and detailed personal information–childhood addresses, driver’s license numbers. And this is his least astounding trick. Carter swears that his only tools are an acute awareness of body […]

Posted inNews & Politics

I Want My CAN TV

Hi Ben, I have enjoyed your writing for years. In a follow-up to “Stone Rocks the Boat” [Neighborhood News, May 21], I received a notice from RCN this week announcing their new channel lineups in my area (effective June 14, 2004). Not only are all the CAN TV channels (19, 21, 27, 36, 42) being […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

MAY 28 FRIDAY In 1987 the work of a young cartoonist by the name of Chris Ware caught the eye of Art Spiegelman, then editor of the comics magazine Raw, who invited him to contribute. Spiegelman went on to win acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize for his Maus books, graphic novels based on his family’s […]

Posted inFilm

Short Cuts

At first Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, made over a span of 17 years, looks like a departure for him. It consists of 11 entertaining, mainly comic short films in black and white that show people mainly sitting around in coffeehouses mainly drinking coffee, mainly smoking cigarettes, and mainly talking. But four of Jarmusch’s seven […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Losers Bracket

LOSERS BRACKET, at Theatre Building Chicago. In this remount of their 2002 left-field hit, playwrights Clay and Nate Sander have made the tacky Boo’s Tavern into an even more magnificent eyesore: a framed poster of Elvis’s cheesiest vehicle, King Creole, rests behind the counter, surrounded by lacquered fishing trophies, NASCAR memorabilia, and a jukebox that […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman recently wrote, “After all, those of us who remember when birth control was illegal and when 10,000 American women a year died from illegal abortions don’t have to imagine a world without choices. We were there.” I write a blog about life after abortion and one of my co-bloggers says […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar

Friday 5/28 – Thursday 6/3 MAY 28 FRIDAY This week the Greater State Street Council removed the spent tulip bulbs from planters along State to make way for summer flowers. Today gardeners can pick them up for free; with proper storage and care the bulbs can bloom for years to come. The bulbs, packaged by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sheila Jordan

Age has only improved the national treasure that is Sheila Jordan. The human voice deepens naturally over time, and this has softened the pinched timbre that sometimes characterized her earliest recordings, more than 40 years ago. As she approaches 80, her voice, like an Amati violin, has not only grown mellower but seems, improbably, even […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Young Man in Pieces

A YOUNG MAN IN PIECES, Gift Theatre Company, at National Pastime Theater. The first act of William Nedved’s new play is merely an underdeveloped comedy of manners, with a dull foray into a satire of urban gentrification. It’s in the second act that this show really falls apart. At the outset the story is banal […]