Posted inArts & Culture

Loraxx

Back in the mid- and late 90s, there were a lot of musicians in Chicago pushing the limits of what “abrasive” meant. These were folks who thought the Jesus Lizard was a key influence for their mellower, poppier moments, and they spent a lot of energy getting together, breaking up, and then re-forming in different […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kid-Simple

Jordan Harrison’s fanciful tale of an inspired teenage girl, Moll, who invents a machine that can “hear the unhearable” is loaded with clever whimsy–not to mention hilarious sound cues courtesy of Foley artist Scotty Iseri. The crux of this 90-minute fable, directed with a light but sure hand by Damon Kiely, is how Moll (played […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Ever since I was a kid the media have warned about not looking directly at a solar eclipse. The principal at our school would always keep us inside to avoid our burning out our retinas sneaking a peek. Are we all being fooled by an urban legend that keeps getting recirculated every time there’s an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap | Humming “Three Blind Mice,” someone begins killing off a group of six–four tourists, one uninvited guest, and a detective–visiting Monkswell Manor during a snowstorm, which traps them all there. Even when you know the identity of the murderer in Agatha Christie’s unkillable 1952 mystery, you can admire how artfully the mistress of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Pollution Solution

Kudos to Chuck Frank, president of Z Frank Chevrolet in Chicago [February 11], for his progressive views on improving the national average fuel-economy standards for vehicles, global warming, and urban air pollution. Mr. Frank is doing what he can within the “framework” of owning his dealership. Specializing in sustainable alternative-energy technologies, I am a board […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fire

Plays within plays have become a staple of modern theater. With this retelling of the myth of Prometheus, playwright Alice Austen takes the shtick a step further, presenting a workshop within a workshop. Art about the artistic process is almost always more satisfying to the artist than anybody else, but even relatively speaking Fire, developed […]

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Ani DiFranco

Duty requires me to mention that Ani DiFranco has a new album, Knuckle Down (Righteous Babe), though if you don’t already own it you never will. DiFranco herself is obviously aware that only cultists feel compelled to check in on each collection of first-day-of-the-rest-of-Ani’s-life musings, so she’s billing Knuckle Down as a group effort: the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Consider the Sources

Don’t Deanna Isaacs and the Reader have a journalistic obligation to verify facts rather than act as an unfiltered conduit for unsubstantiated accusations? If Deanna had checked with the Illinois Arts Council or other Acme members she would have heard a much different story. The two recent articles [December 31 and January 7] give a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Bad Analogy

To the editor: Your reviewer Noah Berlatsky [“Wishful History,” February 18] offers a comparison of abolitionists and pro-lifers as if this were a fresh insight on his part and not a tired cliche (a Google search of “abolition” and “abortion” will get you just under 100,000 hits). As banal as the analogy is, it doesn’t […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Germaine Acogny

Dancer Germaine Acogny takes her time in Sophiatou Kossoko’s hour-long solo Tchourai, the piece she’s performing to open the AfroContempo Festival. But the movement isn’t slow in the way that Eiko & Koma’s butoh-influenced works are. Instead of moving glacially, almost imperceptibly, Acogny often just sits, perhaps smoking a pipe, or lies curled, then explodes […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story According to a January article in the Bangkok newspaper the Nation, handlers at a tourist park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, have toilet-trained two of the seven elephants living there. Accompanying photos showed a five-year-old male elephant sitting on a giant white concrete toilet, then flushing. Our Animal Friends, Continued A nongovernmental program in […]