Get your Best of Chicago tickets! Line-Up Announced >>

Posted inArts & Culture

Hubert Sumlin

Guitarist Hubert Sumlin is one of the blues most acclaimed, yet maddening, geniuses. His classic work with Howlin’ Wolf helped define postwar Chicago blues in the 50s and 60s. As Wolf moaned, bellowed, and rasped out lyrics of menace and foreboding, Sumlin spat out splintered shards of disjointed elegance, creating the landscape of nightmare and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

If you think county government is clean, you haven’t done any scrubbing lately. County Clerk David Orr: “Cook County government spent about $1.84 billion in 1992, but lobbyists claimed they spent only $118,263 to influence decisions. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of this total was reported by Common Cause and Chicago Metro Ethics Coalition, two reform groups […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Burning Bright

BURNING BRIGHT Touchstone Theatre Virtually every playwright of the 20th century has attempted to reproduce the scope of the novel by expanding the limits of theatrical convention. Thornton Wilder, for example, attempted to illustrate the universality of human experience by spreading it over time and space. In The Long Christmas Dinner, he stretches the frequently […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cost of Driving

To the editors: I enjoyed the interview of Robert Belcaster of the CTA [December 11]. Mr. Belcaster does as good a job as we can expect, given the constraints on the CTA. But I reject the assumption–which he doesn’t challenge–that mass transit has to be subsidized and can’t possibly be funded out of the fare […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Gertrude Stein and a Companion

What is the answer?” Alice B. Toklas begs her dying companion. “What is the question?” answers Gertrude Stein with her last breath. And with that vaudevillian exchange ended the marriage of two of the most remarkable female minds of the 20th century. Win Wells’s Gertrude Stein and a Companion traces the extraordinary relationship between Stein, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Friends of the Black Man

To the editors. “Halls of Justice” by Steve Bogira is one more exceptional article in your paper, & I thank you for it [January 8]. Unfortunately, the more I read the HI-REALITY renditions of inner city life in CHICAGO, NYC & D.C. & the more I see for myself in clinics of these cities, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Holy Ghosts

HOLY GHOSTS Shattered Globe Theatre Is there an easier way to raise giggles here in the sophisticated urban north than to portray the denizens of the rural south as drawling, slow-witted escapees from Al Capp’s L’il Abner? I don’t think so. Which is why whenever a play comes along that treats this frequently caricatured stratum […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Song of Jacob Zulu

A number of positive developments have transpired in South Africa since this superb work of musical theater finished its world-premiere run here last spring; among them is the conviction of a white security guard for the 1991 homicide of Headman Shabalala, lead singer of the black South African singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Dedicated to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lonely Planet

LONELY PLANET Northlight Theatre At least since 1983–when Chicago’s Lionheart Gay Theatre produced what Variety reported was the first “AIDS play,” Jeff Hagedorn’s One–numerous playwrights have probed the moral and medical implications of the disease. Such writers as Larry Kramer, Susan Sontag, William Hoffman, Harvey Fierstein, Tony Kushner, Alan Bowne, Craig Lucas, Robert Chesley, and […]

Posted inFilm

Odd Couplings

BODY OF EVIDENCE * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Uli Edel Written by Brad Mirman With Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Julianne Moore, Stan Shaw, Charles Hallahan, Lillian Lehman, Mark Rolston, Jeff Perry, and Jurgen Prochnow. The pointed absence of scenes of sexual intercourse in such recent releases seemingly calling for them as […]

Posted inArts & Culture


John Goodman stars as “the screen’s number one shock expert” and ballyhoo specialist, Lawrence Woolsey (affectionately based on William Castle), who turns up in Key West in 1962 to present a preview of his latest horror B-film, Mant. This highly enjoyable and provocative teenage comedy, set during the Cuban missile crisis, was directed by Joe […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Old Times

OLD TIMES Element Theatre at Cafe Voltaire Nowhere is silence as intriguing and powerful as it is in the works of Harold Pinter. In his Old Times, which premiered in London in 1971, the silence of his heroine Kate whets the appetite of the imagination. “Pauses” and “long pauses” characteristically fill the pages of Pinter’s […]