Posted inFilm

So Funny You Could Cry

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic *** (A must see) Directed by Liam Lynch Written by Sarah Silverman With Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman, Brian Posehn, and Bob Odenkirk “You can’t laugh at anybody to be hip,” Lenny Bruce told a concert audience in 1961, at the height of his powers. “All laughter is involuntary.” He was […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Humanities Festival

The 16th annual Chicago Humanities Festival, this year themed “Home and Away,” continues through 11/13, offering dozens of lectures, readings, and discussions by an international coterie of writers, artists, and scholars as well as theatrical and musical performances. All programs are $5 in advance, $6 (cash only) at the door, unless otherwise noted. (Tickets for […]

Posted inNews & Politics

He Thinks We’re Alone Now

Fred Raslo Astrophysicist Northwestern University The three planets that now circle Upsilon Andromedae–a faint star that rises in the east on fall evenings–travel in wildly varying elliptical orbits, moving from close to their sun to almost twice as far away. Northwestern astrophysicist Fred Rasio thinks this has a telling message for us. In an article […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Metal has such a cozy relationship with the infernal that it’s easy to assume it really is all about the devil, just like mama always said. But I’d argue that the real fascination isn’t with hellfire but rather with eschatology and omnipotence, and that you can make music that sounds like the end of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chang-rae Lee

Tapped by the New Yorker a few years ago as one of the 20 best American writers under 40, Korean-born Chang-rae Lee has made his name with novels about cultural identity: both Native Speaker, his 1995 debut, and A Gesture Life, his 1999 follow-up, dealt with themes of assimilation and alienation. But in his most […]

Posted inMusic

Konono No. 1

This Congolese group from the impoverished suburbs of Kinshasa has existed in fits and starts for more than 25 years—just long enough to become one of the most unlikely success stories of 2005. The best-known musical export of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still soukous, a silky and elegant Cuban-flavored dance style, but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bulgarian Bebop

In the 1970s and ’80s many Bulgarian musicians lived in fear of serving prison time: as part of a depressing communist-era attempt to foster national unity, ethnic music, particularly Turkish and Gypsy, was strictly forbidden. Weddings, because they were private, became the underground venue of choice, but clarinetist Ivo Papasov and saxophonist Yuri Yunakov, the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

It’s the Principle

Dear Reader, I read your October 21 story on Thomas Yancey [“This Man Is Not a Sexual Predator”]. Why are you wasting precious front page space on this creep? (Heavy emphasis here.) He took a precious life! I believe a murderer is lower than a sex offender, as sex offenders have a mental illness and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Power of a Few Lines

With their poetic air and mix of abstraction and representation, Jered Sprecher’s gentle, tentative paintings and drawings suggest the work of Gerhard Richter. In fact Richter was an influence, but an encounter with an elderly woman while Sprecher was in grad school was even more important. While still an undergraduate at Concordia University in Nebraska, […]