Posted inArts & Culture

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Integrating computer-generated imagery with live action has become a huge visual challenge: despite CGI’s jaw-dropping power, its uneasy relationship with the human form has spoiled more movies than it’s enhanced. This debut feature by Kerry Conran is a triumph not only for its technical mastery but for its good taste. The actors performed entirely in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Sum of Her Parts

The Side Project’s midwest premiere of M.R. Fife’s play is certainly dramatic–in a soap opera kind of way. A family has gathered for the matriarch’s funeral, which provokes the usual explosion of secrets and rivalries. The play’s hook, though, is breast cancer, used mercilessly throughout the plot. Fife is not fond of nuance–he even gives […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Please help me! My husband gets off on the voyeur thing. It started out with him watching me and masturbating while I was unaware of his presence. Soon I was wearing Daisy Dukes at the door (about to come myself!) and writing out a check for the pizza delivery guy while my husband hid. I’ve […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Citrus

The citrus in question is grapefruit–and once uptight newlywed Marie gets a taste of it she abandons all her preconceived notions about its bitterness and goes on a sticky, juicy, flagrantly symbolic grapefruit-eating binge. Clunky metaphor notwithstanding, the best thing about Janis Craft’s new play is its delicacy. Craft and director Libby Ford allow certain […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Snips

What do Shreveport and Newark have that Chicago doesn’t? Literacy, according to a survey of “America’s Most Literate Cities” produced at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (www.uww.edu/npa/cities/allrank.html). Seventy-nine American cities with populations of more than 200,000 were ranked in five different categories–educational attainment, newspaper circulation, booksellers, library resources, and periodicals published–all per capita. Minneapolis ranked first […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Claire Daly

New York’s Claire Daly brings a woman’s touch to the baritone sax–and that statement’s not the sexist no-brainer it sounds like. Gerry Mulligan, the most famous player of the dark and blustery baritone, essentially feminized the instrument in the 50s by softening its attack, refining its timbre, and playing lines then considered more appropriate to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 17 AUF DER MAR Melissa Auf der Maur, former bassist for Hole and the latter-day Smashing Pumpkins, recently released a self-titled album on Capitol with her new band–also self-titled, in the grand tradition of Van Halen and Bon Jovi. While keeping her high-heeled boots planted firmly in the slightly gothic, slightly arty, slightly grungy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

War at a Distance

This experimental video documentary (2003, 54 min.) by the talented Harun Farocki takes a subtle and provocative look at industrial photography and automation, especially as they relate to the launching, monitoring, and recording of missile strikes. Farocki begins by considering the “smart bombs” used during the first gulf war, which provided precise video imagery without […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nektar, Caravan

Both these veteran English prog-rock bands conspicuously lack a sense of urgency–their laid-back music gets there when it gets there. They seem to belong in another age, in all likelihood an imaginary one, when people could actually sit still while somebody recited the Iliad. I’ve always found that approach delightful: sure, life is short, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

W!

Writer-performer Tom Mula’s swaggering, nebbishy George W. Bush opens his ersatz cabaret fund-raiser singing the praises of Texas, where “We all love our mamas / We all read the Bible / And we’re all rich and white.” This simplistic bit of satire sets the tone for the ensuing 100 minutes, as Mula trots out all […]