Posted inArts & Culture

Dirty Dozen Brass Band/Sun Messengers

They’ve come a long way, baby, flaunting their contradictions time and time again. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band–which was named for its home venue (and in fact comprises just eight blissfully meshed players)–started by resurrecting the traditional New Orleans brass-band format. But even as these guys provided the model for the 1980s revival of that […]

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My Cousin Vinny

Two college students from New York (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) are wrongly accused of killing a clerk in a convenience store in Wahzoo City, Alabama, and one’s Brooklyn cousin–a rookie lawyer (Joe Pesci)–arrives with his fiancee (Marisa Tomei) to defend them in what proves to be his first court case. While it’s easy to […]

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Dissonance

DISSONANCE Robin Lakes/Rough Dance at the Josephine Louis Theatre of Northwestern University February 29 At one point in Dissonance–a “full-evening work derived from Holocaust images” recently performed by Robin Lakes/Rough Dance at Northwestern University–a spotlight shines on a man half-asleep with his arm draped over a suitcase. Like a lover, he caresses it lightly with […]

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Cry of Pain, Shout of Laughter

ZERO POSITIVE Cloud 42 at the Theatre Building The title of Harry Kondoleon’s haunting, beautiful, and often brilliant Zero Positive is based on a mistake: “zero positive” are the words Himmer Blank, a 30-ish gay man, thinks he hears when he’s informed that he’s seropositive–that is, infected with the HIV virus thought to cause AIDS. […]

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Unabashedly Queer

DRAG QUEEN MEDEA Drag Queen Theater at Club Lower Links NEW VARIETY THEATRE at New Variety Theatre I don’t know exactly when it happened, but sometime in the early 1980s drag shows stopped being gay. Big drag clubs like Chicago’s Baton Show Lounge, the oldest such club in the city, began to attract more and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Is it true honey is really . . . bee vomit? –Lisa, Chicago Well . . . yeah. This isn’t something the Honey Marketing Association is going to make the centerpiece of its next ad campaign, but the fact is that honey is made from nectar the worker bees regurgitate, which of course is a […]

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Christie in Live

CHRISTIE IN LOVE La Barraca ’90 at Blue Rider Theatre If you dwell on the crimes of serial killers long enough, you get beyond revulsion and denial to a sense of the absurdity of trying to explain them at all. The jury in Jeffrey Dahmer’s recent insanity trial had to choose between the idea that […]

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The City File

The ever-expanding marketplace. A Wheeling insurer now sells coverage for owners of exotic birds, noting that “proposed bans on imported birds have further motivated many breeders to seek protection for an investment that is continuously increasing in value.” Hey, we didn’t want to go to Grandmother’s house anyway. Prairie restorationist William Jordan III in Natural […]

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The Emerald

THE EMERALD Knee Deep Theater at Cardiff Giant Theater By Justin Hayford The stories of Donald Barthelme offer actors a lot to sink their teeth into. His writing is concise, imaginative, and clever without being arch. His plot lines, when his stories have them, move effortlessly forward. His stories are playful, though the elements he […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Old School Ties

I began seeing my old grade-school classmates recently. Like any other kids, they grew up and did the usual things grown-ups do. I read in the Tribune a few years ago that one of the boys had killed his mother during an argument. Another one grew up to become a jewel thief, but has since […]

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Newberry Consort

The commonplace notion that until the 1800s music was exclusively a men’s domain couldn’t be further from the truth. Ever since the medieval abbess Hildegard of Bingen–and perhaps even earlier–there’s been a long line of women composers who wrote works of exceptional quality. This Newberry Consort showcase spotlights three such exemplars from 17th-century Italy. Francesca […]