Posted inArts & Culture

Appearances Are Everything

At the end of his first year as an MFA student, Robert Horvath received a disastrous critique. He’d been painting the same sort of imagery for years, encouraged by his instructors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to continue making landscapes with anatomically correct hearts floating over them. Then, in the spring of 2000, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jeff Parker

Guitarist Jeff Parker is both a key contributor to Tortoise’s shape-shifting, coloristic avant-rock and a thoughtful jazz improviser, most notably in the Chicago Underground collective. The Relatives (Thrill Jockey), his second solo album, marks the first time he’s truly merged those two approaches. For his 2003 solo debut, Like-Coping, Parker led a trio, but here […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Flight

History is littered with great art sunk by censorship, but oppressive regimes have also incidentally suppressed a fair amount of flawed work. Like Prokofiev and Shostakovich, novelist-playwright Mikhail Bulgakov suffered mightily under Stalin; but in the case of the Russian civil war drama Flight, quashed midrehearsal in 1929, Uncle Joe might have done him a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen

Rather than featuring the final 120 seconds of each Ibsen play, this new show conceived and directed by Greg Allen for the Neo-Futurists sometimes consists of summaries of the great dramatist’s work and focuses more on final scenes than by-the-clock excerpts. Running the 26 pieces in chronological order, Allen provides irrefutable proof that anyone—well, any […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Twilight of the Golds

Jonathan Tolins’s seriocomic meditation on genetic engineering closed on Broadway in 1993 after 29 performances. I’m astonished it lasted that long. Preachy beyond endurance and nearly bereft of interesting characters, the play makes its simpleminded, heterophobic point early on: in Tolins’s world, an otherwise sensible straight couple would rather abort than have a gay child. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

I’ll Show You How It’s Done

Dear Chicago Reader folk, That Scion piece by Liz Armstrong was killer–and not in a good way [Chicago Antisocial, January 28]. “African-American MC”–try emcee or black emcee. Ah, as a writer–a damn good one (a little Kanyestically cocky but more confident)–that piece was the worst. It started off as good prose, then fell off midarticle […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Recently I came across an article in the Boston Globe stating, essentially, that a woman drank some Listerine, drove, and was subsequently arrested for DUI. I had previously thought that the “specially denatured” alcohol used in mouthwashes and other cosmetic products did not intoxicate when ingested. Obviously, someone is wrong here, and I fear it […]