Lit & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today in corrections: "actual feelings"

Posted By on 02.28.12 at 12:49 PM

  • Jesse Wagstaff
Slate’s Hanna Rosin on her initial reaction to the death of Jan Berenstain, of Bears fame:

I have been roundly (and deservedly) chastised in e-mails and elsewhere by Slate readers for my use of “good riddance” in connection with this kind woman’s death. I admit, I was not really thinking of her as a person with actual feelings and a family, just an abstraction who happened to write these books. Apologies. Next time I will be more humane. —Hanna

I wasn't acquainted with the Berenstain Bears but, having read Rosin’s anti-obit, I’m intrigued—especially since she mentions that noted asshole Charles Krauthammer finds them “post-feminist,” and Papa Bear “the Alan Alda of grizzlies.” (He goes on: "a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.") Rosin thinks they’re the opposite: humorless and retrograde.

Related: yesterday in corrections.

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feeding on dead people

Posted By on 02.27.12 at 10:00 AM

  • William Attard McCarthy/Shutterstock
When I wrote this column, in 2009, about T.C. Boyle's appropriation of the life of Frank Lloyd Wright for his novel The Women, it seemed like nobody much cared about the ghoulish liberties Boyle was taking with the hearts and minds of dead people.

That's not surprising; it's complicated. While there's something really ugly about fiction like Boyle's, which comes dressed in the trappings of biography (with real names, facts, and photos) and then plays fast and loose with the truth—who's going to quibble about Shakespeare?

And the injured parties aren't in any position to object.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If you liked Manual Cinema's Ada/Ava . . .

Posted By on 02.23.12 at 02:03 PM

  • Fjords
Every once in a while you see something that makes you go, "Hunh. That's new." It'll have lots of elements you recognize, but also some that seem entirely strange, and the whole thing will unwind in a way that catches not only your attention but your breath.

That's how I felt on seeing Manual Cinema's Ada/Ava last summer.

All shadow-puppet plays necessarily look at least a little bit alike, so it was familiar in that respect. And the subject matter—an exploration of what happens when inseparable old twins are finally parted by death—seemed redolent, picking up on ingrown-sibling lore that runs from the pixilated sisters in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town through the murderous ones in Arsenic and Old Lace to the weird ones in Macbeth (with a side trip to the hoarding Collyer brothers of books, plays, movies, and reality). What took me by surprise was the Dante-esque journey undertaken—part willingly, but part not—by the devastated surviving twin, Ada, as she tried to master her loss. A visit to a traveling carnival yielded twisted images and false exits worthy of the hall-of-mirrors shoot-out in The Lady From Shanghai.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Toronto Chicago Cultural Plan

Posted By on 02.17.12 at 01:19 PM

Two things were obvious at Wednesday night’s jam-packed town hall meeting to gather public input on the city’s new cultural plan. First, the Chicago arts community (more than 300 of whom showed up) is aching for a new version of the 26-year-old plan—one that would have teeth. And second, the consultants are in charge.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Once upon a time in Chicago

Posted By on 02.17.12 at 12:48 PM

Andrew Jones had me with DoubleTake. DoubleTake was the sort of failure you’d rather have on your tombstone than almost any ten successes—it was an astonishingly handsome, beautifully photographed, and elegantly written magazine that Dr. Robert Coles founded at Duke University in 1995 and that died ten years later.

“[It will be] a home where image and word have equal weight,” said the editors in the first issue, “where photographers and writers have equal license to wander and to wonder: a home that welcomes poets and novelists, photographers and journalists, short-story writers and essayists, some of whom are known, and some of whom are unknown, and all of whom recognize the power of narrative to reveal and then to transform.”

Andrew Jones, e-mailing me from San Francisco to ask me to give his new monthly iPad magazine, Once magazine, some attention, referred to DoubleTake as a touchstone. Because the new issue is his fifth, and he sent along glimpses of earlier issues, I can take the comparison seriously. “We publish the best photographers in the world,” he asserted. “ Two of our contributors won World Press Photo awards a few days ago.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tigerman talks

Posted By on 02.15.12 at 02:40 PM

Stanley Tigerman
Architect and philosopher Stanley Tigerman, who says he's never been at home anywhere nor with anything, will speak at 6 tonight at the Graham Foundation in the town that has no qualms about claiming him.

Famous for outrageous designs and a mouth to match ("take your tenure and shove it up your ass," he told UIC the first time he walked out on a professorship there), he's Chicago architectural history at its liveliest (here's our recent profile). The Graham Foundation is also hosting a retrospective exhibit of Tigerman's work, notable for the absence of any photographs of his actual buildings. The lecture is free, but click here for information and to reserve a seat. The Graham Foundation is at 4 West Burton Place.

Tags: , , ,

"A Racist Love Note"

Posted By on 02.15.12 at 02:09 PM

  • Karen Horton
Now that it's over, let's keep talking about what a bad idea it was. Tomorrow Harvey Young, a professor of theater, performance studies, and African-American studies at Northwestern, presents the lecture "A Racist Love Note: Stereotypes and Caricatures on Early 20th Century Valentine's Day Cards," about which the title gives a pretty good idea of the topic. Young, who wrote the book Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body, discusses greetings cards manufactured for the mainstream—available for purchase, he says, "at the Walgreens and Jewel of their day"—that featured denigrating, racist imagery: "Their caricatures of lazy and dimwitted black people helped to justify segregation." More information is here. Thu 2/16, 7 PM, Evanston Public Library's Community Meeting Room, 1703 Orrington, Evanston, free.

Related: awesome blog Yo, Is This Racist? weighs in.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Posted By on 02.14.12 at 08:00 AM

There are those who'd bet, love comes but once—and yet...
  • There are those who'd bet, love comes but once—and yet...
Regrets? I’ve had a few. But why kick off Regrets Week with an amateur?

If we’re going to explore the dark side of romance, we need to be guided by a professional. Ambrose Bierce was the Izaak Walton of cynicism: he turned the pastime of lesser men into his livelihood. And here’s what he had to say about true love:

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Marriage. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Best author bio ever

Posted By on 02.13.12 at 02:32 PM

The University of Chicago Press will release Sergio De La Pava's "epoch-defining" novel A Naked Singularity in May.

The author bio on the advance copy's book jacket:

"Sergio De La Pava is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn."

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cheer up, bibliophiles

Posted By on 02.10.12 at 02:20 PM

Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
  • Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
It's an irony of the new era that people who worry about the Internet destroying good writing—thoughtful journalism, great books—often use the Internet to cheer one another up. Last night I received this Salon post, sent around by a staff writer here at the Reader, suggesting that substance sells even in the blogosphere. And then my wife forwarded Emily Temple's marvelous post from Flavorpill, listing—and, best of all, illustrating—the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
3C A Red Orchid Theatre
April 27
Performing Arts
Beatlemania Under the Gun Theater
May 07

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories

Follow Us

Sign up for newsletters »

 Early Warnings
 Food & Drink
 Reader Recommends
 Reader Events and Offers