Posted inArts & Culture

The Locks

The Locks, Hermit Arts, at the Loop Theater. Some artists use intricate or monumental frames to highlight scarcity and absence, throwing a piece’s minimalism into starker relief. But the strategy can backfire. Idris Goodwin’s new The Locks, about the destructive sibling rivalry between Venus and Odin Lock, is framed by Brett Neiman’s lobby installation, the […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

TIMEOUT DRAWER 11/28, EMPTY BOTTLE A Difficult Future (Someoddpilot), the beautiful 2001 album from this Chicago band, harks back to the glory days of lazy psychedelic Moog eruptions; its pulsing density makes it sound faster than it ever actually gets. The players seem fully aware of what year it is but uninterested in catering to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Language of the New Russia

Black Milk European Repertory Company at the Athenaeum Theatre Writing 100 years ago, at the dawn of the 20th century and the twilight of the czars, Anton Chekhov gave us plays about famously unhappy patricians living on exhausted country estates and longing for la haute culture of Moscow while the upstart millionaire sons of their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Thomas Cahill

It’s tough to review Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) in a few hundred words: the depth and breadth of the work don’t allow for blithe summary. The fourth in Cahill’s popular “Hinges of History” series, following How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Bureaucracy reduction, Chicago style. George Schmidt writes in Substance (September-October), “The Chicago Board of Education now has at least 456 individual employees on its payroll who are being paid salaries of $100,000 or more a year. This is an increase from 405 one year ago (in September 2002) and from 120 at the time [schools […]

Posted inNews & Politics


NOVEMBER 28 FRIDAY In 1999 Gayle Ferraro was on her way to India to shoot a film about the holy city of Varanasi when she stopped in Myanmar (formerly Burma) to visit a friend working as a counselor for ex-prostitutes. The experience, says Ferraro, left her “shell-shocked and horrified”–especially after she learned that sex trafficking […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Are You My Negative Space? A Performance About Comics, War, and Love

Are You My Negative Space? A Performance About Comics, War, and Love, Live Action Cartoonists, at the Athenaeum Theatre. This crew of former Northwestern students brings a welcome zest, mingled with quiet poignancy, to its multimedia exploration of the spaces between images, people, and ideologies. Writer Natsu Onoda also directs the six ensemble members, who […]

Posted inArts & Culture


In ’97, having already founded an assortment of avant-garde tap dance troupes, punk-pop bands, and experimental orchestral groups, French scenester Fred Bigot put together an electronic act involving noise washes and an 808 drum machine. Seven albums and a handful of singles and remixes later (all as Electronicat), he’s one of the most prolific artists […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

We are from a farming community that grows a lot of corn. Ethanol (alcohol) and corn production are both heavily subsidized. My thinking is that they both are “pork barrel” projects. Doesn’t it take as much or more fossil fuel energy to produce a given amount of ethanol energy? Maybe the ethanol lobbyists and producers […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Danilo Perez

Anyone who’s seen Danilo Perez play live–with his own group or with saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s quartet–knows the intensity he brings to the stage. Unfortunately that fire’s been absent from the Panamanian pianist’s last two recordings. Motherland, from 2000, is overstuffed with ideas, as Perez attempts to draw correspondences between too many North and South American […]

Posted inFilm

The Empire’s New Clothes

New Suit ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Francois Velle Written by Craig Sherman With Jordan Bridges, Marisa Coughlan, Heather Donahue, Dan Hedaya, Mark Setlock, Benito Martinez, Charles Rocket, and Paul McCrane. As the opening narration makes clear, New Suit–a satirical comedy about Hollywood suits–is loosely based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Kevin Taylor, a 24-year-old […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Janice Elkins

Among the 14 Janice Elkins works at Cliff Dwellers are several elegant black-and-white paintings inspired by the Australian aboriginal artist Kngwaryee. Some have appealing wavy lines, but I prefer Three to the North, in which three mysterious black circular shapes sit near the center of a canvas while irregular, mostly gray brushstrokes swirl around them […]