Posted inArts & Culture

Chris Whitley

Erstwhile folk-blues revivalist Chris Whitley has called his latest album, Soft Dangerous Shores (Messenger), a “Eurotrash folk-blues thing.” That’s not a surprising concept coming from Whitley–who once recorded a banjo-driven cover of Kraftwerk’s “The Model”–but many of his new songs do in fact sound like Robert Johnson hooking up with a gloomy synth-pop band at […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Christian TeBordo

Not long into Christian TeBordo’s The Conviction and Subsequent Life of Savior Neck (Spuyten Duyvil) I started wondering what exactly I was reading. A philosophical fantasy? A noirish mystery? A slick postmodern trick? I settled on a fairy tale–if the Grimm brothers had written one about a dirty, stinky old drunk. After an intro in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In May the daily newspaper at Stanford University reported on Hufu, a new tofu product designed to simulate the flavor and texture of human flesh. Mark Nuckols, the Dartmouth business student who developed Hufu and sells it online, acknowledged he had never tasted human flesh but said he’d based his recipe on descriptions […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Open-Air Screenings

Unless otherwise noted, all movies are free and will be screened by video projection. For full capsule reviews, visit www.chicagoreader.com/movies. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch PG, 93 min. Fri 8/5, 8:30 PM, Brands Park, 3259 N. Elston, 773-478-2414. Coach Carter PG-13, 137 min. Sat 8/6, dusk, Wentworth Gardens Park, 3770 S. Wentworth, 312-747-6996. A Feast […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Stay Tuned

I appreciate the critical scrutiny Mike Miner gave my reporting on police abuses in Chicago public housing in his July 29 column [Hot Type]. He raises important questions that I hope readers of the ongoing series Kicking the Pigeon on “The View From the Ground” (www.viewfromtheground.com) will carry forward with them as the narrative unfolds. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Living Canvas 2005

Onstage nudity has the potential to deliver a wallop, to convey everything from sexuality and power to vulnerability and humiliation. But photographer Pete Guither’s latest show, in which seven performers are all naked all the time, has a nudist-camp sensibility, essentially stripping stripping of its power. Projecting patterns and images onto the performers’ mostly hairless, […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m still on vacation. Here’s another retread from the Savage Love archives, which I’m sure scholars of human sexuality will pore over someday, pondering archaic sexual practices like solo piss play and ancient slang terms like wack. My girlfriend and I only see each other on weekends. As an alternative to jerking off during the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Le Tigre

For anyone still coming to grips with Le Tigre’s latest album, This Island (Universal), a brief history is in order. This Island came out five years after the trio’s 1999 debut; Reject All American, the swan song from Kathleen Hanna’s old band, Bikini Kill, came out five years after its first release. On both records […]

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Tempting Fate

A program of very short plays can be forgiving: if you don’t like one piece, it’s over quickly and there’s another. But nine of the ten ten-minute plays in Brown Couch Theatre Company’s show, all loosely exploring the theme of superstition, have little impact. It’s not so much that the work is offensively bad as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Snips

[snip] Half-baked. “The more policy aficionados study Bush’s idea [for privatizing Social Security], the more it looks like something cooked up by a throng of idealistic Ayn Rand-reading undergraduates fresh from Econ 101,” writes Jonathan Chait in the New Republic. “Conservatives hadn’t thought through a number of enormous obstacles to their idea’s implementation. For instance…their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus

Like the man who composed it, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms is a work of great contrasts. Commissioned in 1930 by Serge Koussevitzky to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it’s not a traditional symphony but a large work for orchestra and chorus in three movements, usually performed with almost no pause. Stravinsky […]

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Broken Flowers

Bill Murray’s minimalism as an actor combines with Jim Jarmusch’s as a writer-director to yield a certain redundancy, making this comedy Jarmusch’s starkest feature to date. The tragedy of Dead Man and Ghost Dog is missing, but there’s genuine poignancy in the attempts of Murray, who plays a wealthy retiree in perpetual denial, to discover […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Steel Magnolias

Laughing through your tears performs minor miracles in the Saturday-morning haven of six Louisiana ladies. Robert Harling’s play, set in a hair salon, is more intimate than his 1989 screenplay, which mistakenly introduced the ladies’ idiot men, but it’s still handicapped by a final scene in which one woman’s grief morphs into an irrelevant physical […]