Posted inArts & Culture

Vincent in Brixton

Nicholas Wright’s reenvisioning of Vincent van Gogh’s life has broad shoulders and a bigger heart, but all subtleties get washed out in Frank Pullen’s puzzling staging for the Journeymen. The opening scene, which features a flurry of kitchen activity, becomes a 20-minute cooking tutorial, complete with two characters stirring gravy. The energy devoted to superficial […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Whose West Wing Is It Anyway?

Setting themselves a double challenge, the Free Associates aim to parody both the real White House and the liberal wet-dream television version–in addition to accomplishing their usual feat, improvising a coherent full-length show based on audience suggestions. They weren’t up to it, at least not on opening night. Though a few individual performances captured the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Tap Theatre

Bill Evans, who turns 65 in a matter of days, is still performing at an age when other dancers have long since retired. Trained in ballet, modern, and jazz, he revolted against the discipline of holding in his stomach (which inhibits deep breathing) and “working through” injuries (i.e., ignoring them) at about 30, when he […]

Posted inNews & Politics

That Was No Tea Party

In her review of Pegasus Players’ The Upper Room [“True but Not Genuine,” March 11], Kelly Kleiman climactically lectures, “One of the hardest things about writing historical fiction is to wear your research lightly, recognizing that not everything you’ve learned will contribute to a reader’s understanding of your story. The same is true of docudrama.” […]

Posted inMusic

Abyssinia Infinite

The 19-volume Ethiopiques series has worked wonders to boost Ethiopian music in the West, but most of the titles focus on the music’s golden age–the late 60s and early 70s–and contemporary pop from the East African nation is still all but invisible in the States. Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw is a prominent exception; born in Ethiopia […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Green Mortgage?

Thank you for highlighting the opportunities for home owners to increase the energy efficiency of their older homes [“How Much Green Does It Take to Go Green?” March 18]. Every year thousands of home owners make home improvements without considering how these projects can help lower the operating costs and improve the comfort of their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Best of Youth

This epic Italian drama was shot as a TV miniseries, then rejected by the state network. Released to theaters as a two-part feature with a running time of just over six hours, it beautifully realizes the travails of a middle-class family from 1966 through the millennium, as radical politics wax and wane in Italy. A […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Who Gives a Blip About Clear Channel?

Ben Joravsky may be shortsighted in taking a jaded view of the chances of Northerly Island’s becoming perhaps the world’s greatest city park [“Giving Away the Farm,” March 4]. Certainly there are grounds for Chicago-style cynicism in the Machiavellian machinations that will put Clear Channel in the park. But far more is going on than […]

Posted inMusic

Aesop Rock

With each album that New York rapper Aesop Rock puts out, his beats get more cluttered and his lyrics sound more like riddles. But his vocal style stays the same: he articulates every word but snaps off his rhymes quickly, practically warping them into a different language. On his latest EP, Fast Cars, Danger, Fire […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Boynton

More than 30 years ago Tom Wolfe and a pride of fellow literary lions in the making sparked a revolution in nonfiction writing by tossing out old rules about objectivity, authorship, fact, and fiction. Now, in The New New Journalism: Conversations on Craft With America’s Best Nonfiction Writers, Robert Boynton, head of the magazine journalism […]