Posted inArts & Culture

Royal Crescent Mob

The Royal Crescent Mob are three sleazy white guys and a black drummer from Columbus, Ohio; instead of playing funked-up heavy metal, they play garagey, metal-tinged funk. They’re so good at it that when they slip from a James Brown cover into a Led Zeppelin tune it comes off with an ease and logic that’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Burnin’ With the 8 Ball

BURNIN’ WITH THE 8 BALL Main Line Productions at the Chicago Actors Project Last year, in Blind Parrot’s production of Artaud at Rodez, Artaud’s muse was a sultry leather queen, seductive, snakelike, and powerful. From the looks of playwright Joe Larocca’s latest play, it made a strong impression on him. In Burnin’ With the 8 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Body Work: training for the triathlon

At an outdoor cafe across from the Art Institute, two men are enjoying hefty portions of pasta, bread, salads, and chicken parmesan, twirling fettuccine into their skinny selves with the gusto of lumberjacks as a chubby gourmand journalist watches enviously. The men are Chris Farrell, a Chicago folksinger who recently released his first album, Night […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Strangers on a Bus

We were riding south on the Clark Street bus on one of those hot, dizzy afternoons. Not much talk, everyone floating in various stages of wakefulness. Mostly male, mostly young. One of the exceptions was a middle-aged man with an avalanche of graying hair, overdressed in a stained, wounded blue suit. He was of indefinite […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Carnival Shoes

CARNIVAL SHOES Igloo, the Theatrical Group It’s a writer’s cliche to say you couldn’t write about some trauma for a number of years because you were just “too close to the material.” You needed time to sort through it, get a grip on it, digest it, etc. Turns out, there’s something to be said for […]

Posted inNews & Politics

At the Zoo

It was over 100 degrees in the Farm-in-the-Zoo. The sun was burning onto the stage where I stood and into the open tent where 13-year-old Jahdiel Smith was setting up his dissecting instruments. He pulled out three fetal pigs and waited for me, his 4-H leader, to announce his demonstration. I had to wait for […]

Posted inMusic

Beethoven, Brahms, BBQ Sauce

GRANT PARK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Petrillo Band Shell July 6 “We’re having an eat wave” was the message on a large banner that hung across the top of the band shell in Grant Park during the recent appearance there by conductor George Cleve and superstar pianist Andre Watts. If the banner was an inappropriate visual […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blacklight Film Festival

The seventh edition of the annual festival of black independent films runs from Friday, July 29, through Thursday, August 7, at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., 947-0600, and at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 443-3737. Tickets are $5, $3 for Blacklight, Film Center, and DuSable […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Souleymane Cisse’s extraordinarily beautiful and mesmerizing fantasy is set in the ancient Bambara culture of Mali (formerly French Sudan) long before it was invaded by Morocco in the 16th century. A young man (Issiaka Kane) sets out to discover the mysteries of nature (or komo, the science of the gods), but his jealous and spiteful […]