Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 7 AFI AFI singer Davey Havok has this ill-advised new asymmetrical hairstyle that just screams, “My band’s messing around with electronics and we’ve just made our ‘difficult’ record.” The haircut doesn’t lie: on Decemberunderground (Interscope), the follow-up to 2003’s massively popular, massively catchy Sing the Sorrow, AFI’s pop instincts are buried beneath six feet […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Zhang Dali: A Second History

Curated by University of Chicago professor Wu Hung, a survivor of China’s Cultural Revolution, “A Second History” investigates a pre-Photoshop era when anonymous retouchers removed extraneous peasants, disgraced officials, and other undesirable details from Mao-centric compositions. Chinese artist Zhang Dali reproduced 91 photographs, mostly of Chairman Mao, that originally appeared in official Chinese publications over […]

Posted inFilm

A Scanner Darkly

Richard Linklater returns to the animated aesthetic of Waking Life for this adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian SF novel about slacker drug addicts and double agents in the Orange County of the future. Critic Gary Indiana has called Linklater the Dostoyevsky of movie dialogue, and certainly the compulsive jabber here can be as expressionist […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Black Humor

The wispy, poetic tentativeness of Zoe Charlton’s figures recalls the soft focus of Gerhard Richter. But where Richter’s objective was to question the meaning of painting, Charlton’s two paintings and 24 drawings at Wendy Cooper question the nature of identity, especially as determined by culture. In the painting Three Grace Tryout (2000), three black women […]

Posted inArts & Culture


There’s a bold concept behind BackStage Theatre Company’s production of Euripides’ classic: Jason is played by deaf actor Chris Lopez while the scorned, vengeful Medea can hear. The conceit pays off intermittently in Michael Pacas’s staging. Using the two children as ASL translators for their parents’ battles makes it clear they’re tragic pawns; it’s especially […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Tempest

In Shakespeare’s comedy, deposed duke/magician Prospero conjures up a storm to bring his betrayers to the deserted island where he’s living with his daughter and a troll-like servant. The real squall, however, is brewing within Prospero himself as he aims to settle the score. But in this First Folio Shakespeare Festival outdoor staging, we rarely […]

Posted inArts & Culture

David Goodwillie

It’s official: the 90s are history. In his new memoir, Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Algonquin), David Goodwillie waxes bittersweet on a decade spent drifting through dot-com-crazy NYC. It’s a familiar story–young, privileged writer full of idealism and promise succumbs to the lure of easy money and even easier drugs–that drops a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Handsome Family

If you told me back in 1998 that the Handsome Family was going to put out a record twice as good as In the Trees, I would’ve thought you were a bigger hyperbolist than me. But their new album, Last Days of Wonder (Carrot Top), really is that great: they’ve shrugged off the clunkiness and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

War! Now in Its 4th Smash Year!

War is the number one subject of Second City’s revue, but deception’s the theme. The big liars are of course Bush and Rumsfeld, but we’re all implicated–and bits about duplicitous parents, dates who inflate their credentials, and a job interviewee who hides nothing imply that the world’s better off a little deceived. The ensemble castigates […]