Posted inArts & Culture

Woman With Balls

BINGO BALLS Donna Jagielski-Miller at Cafe Voltaire, August 18 One has to wonder about the inner workings of Donna Jagielski-Miller’s mind. And one has to marvel at how she could create a performance incorporating dance, slides, audience participation, and household products, focusing on one–and only one–subject: balls. Big blue ones, homemade ones, spiritual ones, the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Everyday Journalism

To the editors: Your front-page “Book Wars” article was disappointing [July 16]. No sign that its writer, Mel Miles, has any particular familiarity with, or interest in, books. The article read like a standard piece of everyday journalism, such as we’ve already seen on the subject in the daily papers. Here’s a novel idea for […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Choreographer Daniel Ezralow and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago are in many ways a heavenly match: both stylish, both full of sizzle, both entertaining but eager to be more, too. For Ezralow’s new piece, In Praise of Shadows, the stage is stunningly draped and lit; Thom Willems’s score hovers tantalizingly between rock and traditional Indonesian music. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fathomless Perfomance Concepts Presents . . . Bliss, by Ewa

FATHOMLESS PERFORMANCE CONCEPTS PRESENTS . . . BLISS, BY EWA Studio 108 at Curious Theatre Branch, Rhinoceros Theatre Festival Halfway through this bizarre hour-long put-on, an actor who represents the playwright smugly announces that the script–which addresses, very loosely, the responsibilities of earthlings to each other–is vastly superior to the audience’s capacity to grasp it. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Conversations of My Mothers

Whether about emigrating alone to America with an illegitimate child in 1890, crusading for the unions in 1910, single-handedly raising a family and running a farm in 1940, breaking free of housewifely dependency in 1960, or Having It All in 1990, the stories of the five generations of women in Conversations of My Mothers resonate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chris Isaak

Chris Isaak is many things to many people: a dumb man’s Harry Connick, an even dumber man’s Lyle Lovett, a real dumb man’s Elvis. The San Francisco-based crooner manque has spent his now-seven-year-long recording career waiting expectantly for the multiplatinum seller that his manager, his friends, Bay Area journalists, even his record company told him […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Moulder

Chicago these days finds itself in a literally fretful situation: the city is awash in lively and imaginative jazz guitarists. With Bobby Broom, Henry Johnson, and John McLean all appearing on recent CDs–and Fareed Haque and Dave Onderdonk both busy around town (and poised to release their own new discs)–perhaps the least visible of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Merchant of Venice

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Shakespeare’s Motley Crew at Touchstone Theatre Once one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, The Merchant of Venice is performed infrequently these days, though little in this fable presents difficulties except the fact of Shylock’s Jewishness: Bassanio needs money to court a young heiress, Portia, so his friend Antonio borrows a large […]

Posted inFilm

Woody on the Wild Side

MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY *** (A must-see) Directed by Woody Allen Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman With Allen, Diane Keaton, Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Adler, Joy Behar, Ron Rifkin, and Lynn Cohen. It’s instructive to divvy up Woody Allen’s movies into “art films” and entertainments. Without too much boiling and scraping, I think you […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Rhinoceros Theatre Festival

Inspired by surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic”–it means real big–this sprawl of avant-garde theater and performance in Chicago is coordinated this year (its fourth) by Michael Martin, Scott Turner, and Beau O’Reilly, who have endeavored to maintain the event’s broad scope and cutting-edge sensibility. Rhino Fest runs through August 28 at […]