Notes (poem)

Sweet, high notes in a tree behind me as I jogged by on a Spring morning.   A quick note, then a longer one.   Later, in the shower, the sounds of a symphony sing to me from a laptop speaker.   Quick notes, followed by longer ones.   The world is filled with patterns... Read more »

Tour (poem)

The bodies of my mother and father have broken down by now, I am sure. They are becoming part of the Earth, part of the world. My mother, with her high forehead, and her wide smile. My father, with his close eyes, and his big heart.   They’re sailing around the sun with us, and... Read more »

"Stepping Out," starring Liza Minnelli, is a song-and-dance delight from 1991

“Stepping Out,” starring Liza Minnelli, may be the kind of movie you’re a bit ashamed of for loving. It’s an old-fashioned “let’s-put-on-a-show” musical, including plenty of singing and dancing. Here’s the story: Mavis Turner, played by Minnelli, is a dancer who once appeared on Broadway, mostly in choruses. Several years before the film’s opening, in... Read more »
ChicagoNow Video

Woody Allen's new film, "Wonder Wheel," is a thoughtful, dramatic delight

The new film written and directed by Woody Allen, “Wonder Wheel,” is a  delight. It’s filled with full-bodied, real characters, and great themes. Colorful and creative,  it perks along with the kind of syncopated rhythm (and jazz music) that seems just right for its Coney Island, New York, setting in the 1950’s. The 82-year old Allen was... Read more »

New Joni Mitchell biography is exhaustive, excellent, and hits right bittersweet note

David Yaffe’s excellent new Joni Mitchell biography, “Reckless Daughter,” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), hits the right bittersweet note about the iconic singer-songwriter: she’s a flawed human being (like all of us), of amazing gifts. Mitchell, of course, is the tall blonde musician (and visual artist) from the western Canadian province of Alberta who came to... Read more »

Untitled (two poems)

Untitled   You roll up to me like a wave from the sky You’re full of promise and fruit Like a child smiling in his rain boots   Come with me and we’ll roll across the stones All water and love     Untitled   Sun sparks jiving electric   When we’re all gone there... Read more »

Chicago independent film "Lakeshore Drive" gives a short, haunting ride along the iconic roadway

On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, a new, short independent film called “Lakeshore Drive” premiered at Chicago’s venerable 400 Theater, 6746 N. Sheridan Rd., in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Directed by 33-year old Peter Bowse — who lives just a few blocks north of the 400 — the film, described as “neo-noir” in a press... Read more »

Scores of Chicagoans protest hate graffiti in Lincoln Square on Sunday

On Aug. 27, scores of Chicagoans rallied and marched in Lincoln Square to protest against hate graffiti scrawled across the neighborhood the previous day. On a muggy and overcast afternoon, the crowd gathered at Waters Elementary School, 4540 N. Campbell Ave., for a preliminary rally before marching to a nearby park. Emily Friend is a... Read more »

Jerry Lewis's last film, "Max Rose," is a quiet work worth checking out on-line

Jerry Lewis, the incomparable comic actor, who died on August 20, was best known for loud antics and crazy voices. However, his final film, “Max Rose” (2013), is a quiet, restrained work about an elderly man whose wife and soul mate of 65 years has just died. “Max Rose” was released in the U.S. in... Read more »

New York 1 (graphic fiction/poetry)

I’m walking down a street in New York City. The sun is high and bright in the sky. The pulse of life is around me: women and children in bright colors; businessmen in suits. The world is fine, everything seems to say. It’s time to live. *** You are a waitress at a coffee shop... Read more »