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Posted inArts & Culture

Jane, Abortion and the Underground/A Woman Named Mary

JANE: ABORTION AND THE UNDERGROUND Imagine Theatre Company at the Theatre Building A WOMAN NAMED MARY Transient Theatre In 1969 an underground abortion network, known unofficially as “Jane,” was established in Hyde Park by University of Chicago student Heather Booth. Run almost entirely by female volunteers, who labored under constant threat of discovery and criminal […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ute Lemper

Ute Lemper is a vocal chameleon in search of a personality of her own. So far, the concert career of the German-born chanteuse has thrived on artful, uncanny revivals of repertoires made famous by the likes of Lotte Lenya, Marlene Dietrich, and Edith Piaf. Her voice, to be sure, is more pure and supple than […]

Posted inFilm

War Fever

MATINEE *** (A must-see) Directed by Joe Dante Written by Charlie Haas and Jerico With John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakub, Kellie Martin, Jesse Lee, Lucinda Jenney, James Villemaire, and Robert Picardo. I suggested a few new promotional gimmicks for the play–a closed black coffin outside the theater and Oriental incense […]

Posted inArts & Culture


RUTHLESS! Candlelight’s Forum Theatre If someone could make musicals out of The Little Shop of Horrors and Carrie, why not The Bad Seed? Better yet, why not The Bad Seed crossed with Gypsy? That seems to have been the genesis of Ruthless!, the off-Broadway hit now receiving its midwest premiere at Candlelight’s Forum Theatre. A […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Minor Dreams

MINOR DEMONS Profiles Performance Ensemble at Red Bones Theatre Because I can’t stand voyeuristic, insipid cop docu-dramas and sensational newscasts, I approach any crime drama “based on a true story” with suspicion. Profiles Performance Ensemble’s Minor Demons, about a 16-year-old boy who molested a 13-year-old girl and then buried her alive, certainly has its share […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Tempest

THE TEMPEST Barto Productions at Body Politic Theatre How do you stage a shipwreck? As Michael Barto illustrates in his production of The Tempest, you don’t. You suggest it. Barto does away with any literal elements in the play’s opening scene, in which the King of Naples and members of his court are racked by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Juliana Hatfield

The ex-Blake Baby, now solo, gnaws energetically on the terrific tension she’s built up between her growing babe-ification and her heroic (heroine-ic?) dedication to undercutting it lyrically–“ugly with a capital U” indeed. Her first solo album, Hey Babe, and a handful of non-LP B-sides show her working it all out, both explicitly (“Everybody Loves Me […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story Reuters reported in November that Russian faith healer Boris Zolotov has become popular for his traveling seminars in which he induces mass orgasms in women by mental telepathy. Typically he begins a session by shouting, “Who wants an orgasm?” and dozens of women yell back, “I do.” With loud music in the background, […]

Posted inMusic

Hitsville’s Top Nine of ’92

It’s now clear–what with records by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2 in or about the top ten best-sellers for the year–that the idea, if not also the actuality, of alternative rock is now moot; it certainly doesn’t make any sense to call what is now mainstream “alternative.” But it is […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reading: In the Footsteps of Thoreau

In recent years nature writing has undergone a renaissance. Several anthologies of classic and contemporary writing about nature have been published, and a number of writers–Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Charles Bowden, John McPhee, Diane Ackerman, and others–have gained critical acclaim and popular support as interpreters of the natural world. It’s not uncommon, in reviews, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Witch Doctor

A hefty woman pulls herself up the steps of the CTA bus. A little boy, probably her son, follows behind. He’s about six years old. They sit right behind the driver. Seated alone across the aisle is a white-haired man, his spooly fingers wrapped around the hooked handle of his wooden cane. “Are you a […]