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Posted inTheater Review

Don’t stop believing

Imagine if Harper, the Valium-addicted Mormon wife in Angels in America who imagines herself in Antarctica, actually met famous explorer Ernest Shackleton through some rift in the time-space continuum. Only instead of being a neglected housewife, she’s an aspiring avant-garde composer looking for a big break. Shackleton Loves Me Through 6/1: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri […]

Posted inTheater Review

Defying fate

Step into the Aztec Empire during the 16th century, on the eve of a new millennium. City Lit’s world-premiere musical Aztec Human Sacrifice (written by Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik) tells the tale of The Chosen One (Freddy Mauricio), destined for sacrifice to ensure the sun’s rise. Defying fate, he flees with Princess (Marcela Ossa […]

Posted inTheater Review

Queer Singapore stories

Last year, speaking to a BBC reporter about the Singapore government repealing Section 377A, a colonialist-era holdover that criminalized gay sex, local LGBTQ+ historian Isaac Tng paraphrased the gay community’s mixed response to the news as follows: “It’s like a nice, hot cup of coffee,” he says, “that got left on the table.” It’s a […]

Posted inTheater Review

Bronzeville blues

A Bronzeville six-flat frames the sometimes melodramatic but compelling story in Tina Fakhrid-Deen’s Dandelions, now in a world premiere at MPAACT under the direction of Lauren Wells-Mann. Opening with a litany of the greats associated with the neighborhood (Sam Cooke, Ida B. Wells), the show soon moves into the lives of everyday people caught up […]

Posted inTheater Review

A perfect Ten

What can you say in ten minutes? If the ten examples in the Gift’s triumphant return production of its long-running series are any indication, anything and everything.  Ten 2023 Through 5/22: Mon and Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee,, $10 A mother agonizes over getting her eight-year-old an iPhone. […]

Posted inDance

Drag for life

Drag, in all of its glorious forms, has been a locus of revolt throughout the decades. In 2023, we are in a time when the very concept of “dressing in the mode not of one’s essential sex’” is in the bull’s-eye of crypto-fascist Republican lawmakers in many states.  That’s why it seems like winning when […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ethereal revelations

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Roots & Culture recently, on one of the better weather days in Chicago, was the smell of earthly incense wafting through the air. I stood in the entrance for awhile to take in the smell, but also to give myself a moment to realign my thoughts […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Visions for empathy

As a young child, Joshua James Amberson purposefully blurred his vision. He believed haziness suggested the otherworldly; it provided an escape from reality, such as the realities of growing up working class in rural Washington. Issues of class recur throughout his multifaceted collection Staring Contest: Essays about Eyes, as the adult Amberson, underemployed and uninsured, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Free from affect

Atlanta-based painter Patrick Eugène’s first solo show with Mariane Ibrahim is a beautiful and affecting reflection on the past. A tribute to the incidents, immigrants, and ancestors that have brought the artist, and by extension we the viewers, to where we are today. With a loaded brush and decisive gestures, Eugène breathes life into a […]

Posted inGhost Light

Windy City Playhouse goes on the market

When Windy City Playhouse first opened on Irving Park Road in 2015, the company won nearly as much attention for its comfortable audience perks (swivel seats and food and beverage service, like a luxe movie theater) as it did for its programming, which for the most part focused on contemporary plays like Deborah Zoe Laufer’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Specters of material

At first glance, Tanya Aguiñiga’s “Swallowing Dirt” seems to gesture to the phantasmagoric. Her spectral rope and terra-cotta sculptures fill Volume Gallery, suspended from the walls and ceiling. The figures ostensibly depict the uncanny body, which produces our premature illusory response. But under closer examination, Aguiñiga’s sculptures are corporeal. She threads together her two material […]

Posted inTheater Review

Fathers and sons

Back in 2012, playwright and solo artist Dael Orlandersmith performed Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men at the Goodman’s Owen Theatre. In a series of monologues drawn from interviews with several subjects, Orlandersmith anatomized cycles of abuse and toxic masculinity through the voices of a variety of people (a preteen sex worker, a social worker) from […]

Posted inTheater Review

Southern stories

I first saw Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s autobiographical From the Mississippi Delta over 30 years ago in the old Goodman studio theater space. Though it’s been revived many times since, I hadn’t seen it again until the current Lifeline and Pegasus Theatre Chicago coproduction at Lifeline. It’s a testament to Holland’s gift for dialogue […]