Posted inArts & Culture

The Custom of the Country

THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY Buffalo Theatre Ensemble at the Theatre Building My son is into mixing things. He’ll pour salt, pepper, cinnamon, ketchup, a little vanilla, some garlic powder, and a dash of hot sauce into a glass of water. Then he stirs it up and tastes his concoction, hoping he has discovered a […]

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A Singular Voice

EACH DAY DIES WITH SLEEP Latino Chicago Theater With the black-comic bluntness of a political cartoon and the eerie ambiguity of a dream, Latino Chicago’s midwest premiere of Jose Rivera’s Each Day Dies With Sleep is haunting, funny, and disquieting theatrical poetry. It’s by no means a masterwork; Rivera, who’s only recently reaffirmed his commitment […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Home at O’Hare

On Saturday night O’Hare is more like a ghost town than the world’s busiest airport, so it’s easier to spot the homeless who, like death and taxes, will not go away. They doze here and there on lounge seats, huddle in corners and bathroom stalls, or wander around aimlessly. Not many are here this evening–only […]

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Discussing George/Theatre of the Bizarre

DISCUSSING GEORGE Synergy Theatre at Synergy Center THEATRE OF THE BIZARRE at the Elbo Room Nothing better proves actor Edmund Kean’s deathbed quip “Dying is easy, comedy is hard” than Synergy Theatre’s production of Marc Harshbarger’s abysmally written, nearly laughless “comedy” Discussing George. For what seems like forever this five-member cast dies and dies again, […]

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Phantasie

PHANTASIE Victory Gardens Maybe what you don’t know can actually help you. I sometimes envy children who don’t know their birth parents: They’re free to imagine all kinds of possibilities, even vast inheritances. Not knowing where they came from, they may be freer to work on where they’re going–they can be truly self-made men and […]

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The Go-Go’s/Redd Kross

I don’t know how they went over in Chicago, but in California, where I lived during the Go-Go’s heyday in the early 80s, the band was uncritically loved by all but the most drearily hip. Unlike some girl groups I could mention, like for instance the Bangles, the Go-Go’s wrote their own songs and, more […]

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The Haunted Man

THE HAUNTED MAN Bailiwick Repertory The lesson in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is not limited to Christians; the tenets of any enduring religion usually include some variation on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But the cultural accoutrements of Dickens’s tale have restricted it in the public mind to […]

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Urge Overkill/Didjits

This promises to be an evening of brutal assaults on all sorts of things: your ears, your mind, your finer sensibilities, you name it. Urge Overkill are three local boys who grind out helpings of typical Chicago sludge rock beneath a peculiar veneer of Kennedy-era Rat Pack chic; with their turtleneck sweaters, crushed-velvet embroidered jackets, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The State of the Arsenal/The Status of the Army/Holiday Votes

The State of the Arsenal What a strange moment the country’s living through! David Evans, who’s the Chicago Tribune’s military-affairs writer, compared it to the “phony war” that followed the German invasion of Poland, when Europe’s guns sat silent while Hitler massed his army in the west. We remembered Britain’s improbable armada steaming slowly toward […]

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Love Is a Rut

WORN GROOVES Lawrence Steger at Club Lower Links Worn Grooves, Lawrence Steger’s new solo work, is as intelligent, thoughtful, and expertly executed a performance piece as I have seen. And it simply shines in the intimacy and comfort of Club Lower Links; it’s as if the piece were tailor-made for this venue. Steger’s last full-length […]

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Ishmael Houston-Jones

ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES at Gallery 2 October 27 and 28 When dancers talk during their dances, they don’t talk like anyone else. For them, talking doesn’t have the dominant place it does in everyday conversation. Talking is just another movement, to be performed and balanced with the others. A seminal talking dance was Douglas Dunn’s Nevada, […]