Posted inNews & Politics


[snip] When headlines are all you need. Consecutive headlines in the online version of Education Week (September 1): “Most in Ed. Dept. [the U.S. Department of Education] Are Paid Bonuses for Performance,” followed by “Study Finds Teachers Are Losing Ground on Salary Front.” Who’s doing something about those outrageously unconstitutional “free-speech areas”? The Roger Baldwin […]

Posted inArts & Culture

David Sanchez

Rather than take the easy path through Latin-jazz territory–simple montuno grooves that emphasize brass and percussion, or familiar tunes done up with Latin accents–saxist David Sanchez keeps pushing back its boundaries. Instead of a trumpet or trombone, he features another saxophone in his elegant, compact sextet–the alto of Miguel Zenon, an inventive but restrained player […]

Posted inArts & Culture


This Athens band gets a fair amount of props for their use of gamelan and other non-Western instruments (what exactly is a “Bollywood viola”?)–but not so much for using them on desultory third generation New Order synth-pop, as their new Forget Tomorrow (Jetset) all too often does. There are signs of change a-comin’, though: something […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sex and the Second City

The tribulations of married life have been mined again and again in the theater. And this new musical, produced by Second City Theatricals, covers much of the same territory as plays like I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. But Sex and the Second City is belly-laugh funny. Its sparse character development doesn’t even matter, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mark Helias’s Open Loose

The compositions bassist Mark Helias brings to his latest album, Verbs of Will (Radio Legs, 2003), sound deceptively simple; from the warm, low-down blues of “How ‘Bout It” to “Give Up the Ghost,” an appealing blend of fatback heft and west-coast cool, his melodies are never convoluted or busy. That’s plainly by careful design. Apparently […]

Posted inArts & Culture

This Is Our Youth

In the 80s, novelists Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis drew a connection between the 60s counterculture and the Reagan-era revolt against consumerism. Playwright Kenneth Lonergan had considerably more time to ponder the mysteries of the 80s before writing this 1996 play, set in 1982. But he couldn’t come up with any more compelling ideas […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lyric Opera of Chicago

To open its 50th season the Lyric chose Don Giovanni, that rare unclassifiable opera from its time: equal parts comedy, drama, and tragedy. The philandering don and his story appealed to Mozart, who loved dirty wordplay, but he gave equal attention to his portraits of the other characters: the long-suffering servant Leporello, the wronged women, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shaun of the Dead

George Romero’s zombie trilogy has generated an endless parade of remakes and rip-offs, but this clever British spoof comes closer than many to the bitter satire that makes his movies so distinctive. TV writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright fully exploit the core gag of most horror comedy, as the title hero (Pegg), a feckless […]