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Posted inArts & Culture

Patti Smith

Trampin’ (Columbia) is Patti Smith’s first album in four years, and it’s also the best and most consistently powerful one since her 1996 comeback, Gone Again. Whereas Gone Again was a grueling but soaring study–up close and from the inside–of death, loss, and the flight of the individual soul, and a deeply personal statement catalyzed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Living Color

Risking the Abstract: The Mexican Modernism of Gunther Gerzso at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, through June 27 Tribal art was once extolled for its directness and elemental nature, though Western fascination with “primitive” art has also been linked to colonialism–to our own primitive lust for power. Painter Gunther Gerzso, an artist of Hungarian […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pit Er Pat, Terror at the Opera

Pit Er Pat don’t care how many art-rock bands worship at the temple of the guitar. All hail the keyboard, they say–and not some campy synthesizer, but a gorgeous electric piano. On their debut, Emergency (Overcoat), the way their delicately flamboyant flourishes and doodles overlap is just a bit off, and the tunes turn out […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Romance of Magno Rubio

THE ROMANCE OF MAGNIO RUBIO, Victory Gardens Theater. Standing tall at four feet, six inches, the hero of Lonnie Carter’s play (adapted from Carlos Bulosan’s short story) demonstrates that hope and a sense of humor can carry human beings through the darkest circumstances. The setting is 1930s California, where young Magno–a barely literate Filipino laborer–shares […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I just finished Dan Brown’s best seller The Da Vinci Code, about a thousand-year-old conspiracy involving the Catholic church. While the modern murder mystery part of the book is obviously fictional, you’re encouraged to believe that the historical background is authentic. As a Straight Dope reader I know otherwise, so I’m not going to ask […]

Posted inFilm

Phileas, Grab Your Nunchucks

Around the World in 80 Days * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Frank Coraci Written by Michael Weiss, David Benullo, and David Goldstein With Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cecile de France, and Jim Broadbent. Along with H.G. Wells, French novelist Jules Verne is considered the father of science fiction. His stories predicted such technological marvels […]

Posted inArts & Culture


“My mother? Get beyond the shoes!” urges Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in this engrossing documentary (2003, 103 min.) about the former first lady of the Philippines. Of course, what lies beyond Imelda Marcos’s shoe collection (3,000 pairs by one estimate) is the $659 million that she and her husband funneled into Swiss bank accounts during their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sea Ray

“I think the most successful rock show would be one where people forget that there’s even anyone onstage,” said Sea Ray bassist I-Huei Go in a 2002 interview. And the Brooklyn-based chamber rockers do their best to distract your eyes while they play, projecting psychedelic videos over their bodies and onto two enormous screens. You’re […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Friday 6/18 – Thursday 6/24 JUNE 18 FRIDAY The Baffler’s Tom Frank, in town earlier this month to plug his new book, What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, is back–and he’s brought Howard Dean with him. The two appear with Studs Terkel tonight at 5:30 at the Harold Washington […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bitter Victory

Commenting on this remarkable 1957 feature in the Reader, Dave Kehr wrote, “Nicholas Ray’s direction of black-and-white CinemaScope, that freak child of the 50s, is consistently brilliant in this raw, confused masterpiece about two commando officers (Richard Burton and Curt Jurgens) lost in the North African desert after a dangerous raid. The moral parable fades […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Graney Grows Up

Leonce und Lena Hypocrites at the Athenaeum Theatre Requiem in a Light-Aqua Room Terrapin Theatre at the Athenaeum Theatre Georg Buchner’s three surviving dramatic texts show the playwright wrestling with divergent styles in a struggle to convey his bleak worldview. The three extant plays of Sean Graney, artistic director of the Hypocrites, reveal much the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rebecca Shore

In her 13 luminous abstract paintings at Byron Roche, Rebecca Shore applied egg tempera paint in translucent layers, “each modifying the previous ones.” In 2003 #25 the main blue gray field glows with the red below it, which can be seen plainly where she’s cut vertical curvy lines across the painting. Irregular clusters of hexagons […]