Posted inArts & Culture

Burning Spear

Like Moses, Marcus Garvey, and Bruce Springsteen, Winston Rodney believes in a Promised Land. Rodney, who is better known in reggae circles as Burning Spear, has drawn upon Garvey’s themes of African repatriation to create some of the most haunting and uplifting music I’ve ever heard. Spear’s best music builds slowly and captures all the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sweet Home Chicago

When the northbound 36 Broadway bus stopped at Addison, he stood outside the back door. He looked at the closed door. He looked toward the front end of the bus, where a short line of people were shuffling on. It must have seemed a long way off. He held up his dollar. The door did […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Whistle in the Dark

A WHISTLE IN THE DARK Body Politic Theatre Tom Murphy’s flawed but riveting drama A Whistle in the Dark is all about Irish violence, but there’s nary a word about the IRA or British imperialism. The reason is that Murphy’s play, written in 1961, is set in the 1950s, a period of relative calm in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

History of the World, Revised

ALE Comediants at Park West I’LL GO ON Gate Theatre Dublin at Royal-George Theatre At the end of Ale, a little man wearing an undersized crown comes out and orders the audience to leave the theater. When nobody budges, he screams for help–and from under a backdrop a man lurches wielding a gigantic hammer. When […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pieces of 88

PIECES OF 88 Second City Northwest The city is raw, gritty, diverse, and unpredictable. The suburbs are manicured, scrubbed, homogeneous, and a trifle boring. So the suburban branch of any Chicago enterprise is bound to look a bit incongruous. I mean, if you remember State Street when it was the place to shop, will you […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Billy Bragg/Michelle Shocked

If the term “folk music” still makes you think of baby boomers getting bleary-eyed over Peter, Paul and Mary, you probably haven’t been listening to Billy Bragg or Michelle Shocked. Sounding vaguely like Phil Ochs and Woody Guthrie filtered through the Clash, Billy Bragg sets his tough agitprop and coarsely moving ballads against an electronic […]

Posted inFilm

Social Criticism

COLORS ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Dennis Hopper Written by Michael Schiffer and Richard Dilello With Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso, Randy Brooks, Grand Bush, Don Cheadle, Glenn Plummer, and Rudy Ramos. REPENTANCE *** (A must-see) Directed by Tengiz Abuladze Written by Nana Djanelidze, Tengiz Abuladze, and Rezo Kveselava With Avtandil Makharadze, Zeinab […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Have You Seen Zandile?

HAVE YOU SEEN ZANDILE? Chicago Theatre Company Write about what you know. That’s the advice given to beginning writers, and the conventional interpretation of that advice is this: write about people and places from your own life–people and places you know. But savvy writers go a step farther and figure out what they know about […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Godzilla vs. Lent

GODZILLA VS. LENT Theater Oobleck at Cabaret Voltaire Cabaret Voltaire, a little beatnik cafe just off the Elston Avenue industrial corridor, is in its own way the perfect setting for Theater Oobleck’s Godzilla vs. Lent, a collection of seven short comedic one-acts. The place is a mix of past and present bohemian poses and interests. […]