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

Posted inArts & Culture

Marshall Vente Jazz Festival

Brave the windchill, or just reserve a weekend suite at the Blackstone Hotel, where Chicago’s unsinkable Marshall Vente has assembled a promising lineup for his second annual jazz festival. The pianist, composer, bandleader, and DJ–best known for his 9-to-12-piece band Project Nine–last year added concert promotion to his resume, and the 1994 model follows the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


GREENLAND famous Door Theatre Company Political drama is a decidedly dicey affair. It’s the rare piece of political theater that isn’t ham-handed, indulgently pessimistic (or optimistic), self-important, and at the same time nearly irrelevant–especially in a culture like ours, which relegates both art and politics to the realm of spectator sport. Political theater also tends […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Darkest Suburbia

A DELICATE BALANCE Court Theater All happy families are alike, maintains Tolstoy, whom Edward Albee quotes in A Delicate Balance. But each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Not in an Albee play. His unhappy families are all pretty similar. When he wrote A Delicate Balance he was just plugging away at the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Letters Show: An Open Mic Event

Chicago-based writer David Hauptschein is a man obsessed by “nontraditional texts”–both the mundane writings of everyday life and the paranoid ravings of eccentrics and crazy people. And since 1986 it’s been his mission to show other people how daring, insightful, imaginative, and entertaining these writings can be. Some of his past shows have been devoted […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Reclusive and virtually deaf, south-sider Herman Menzel spent most of his adult life painting subjects close to home: the lakeshore, jazz clubs, fish at the Shedd Aquarium. Supported by his wife, Willa Hamm, a successful commercial artist, Menzel rarely exhibited and he refused to sell any of his work. The Chicago Historical Society exhibit, A […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Band

There’s an odd bit of historical revisionism on the liner notes to the Band’s new release, Jericho. When the Band called it quits on Thanksgiving 1976, Martin Scorsese filmed the farewell concert, making it as official as any- group’s bust-up has ever been. But Stephen Davis, who wrote the Jericho liner notes and also coauthored […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lyon Leifer & Nancy Lesh

The classical music of northern India has been passed from generation to generation by gurus who teach directly rather than through a notational system as in the West. That’s why much of it is improvisational, with performers embellishing on established ragas and talas or subtly inventing new ones. A raga is a melodic pattern that’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

In December Dominique Gosbout, of Abitibi, Quebec, petitioned the legislature to restore one word of the province’s old civil code. In the new 1992 code, article 441 lists the only obligations of married persons as “respect, fidelity, care and help.” For the first time in 200 years “love” is no longer required. The Litigious Society […]

Posted inArts & Culture

You’re Blocking My Vision of Reality/Happy New Year. . . Skinnyguy

YOU’RE BLOCKING MY VISION OF REALITY Endangered Species Theatre Company at Cafe Voltaire The search for the dumbest play of 1994 has ended all too soon–the next 11 months can’t possibly bring a more inane, clumsily acted, aggressively empty-headed concoction to the stage than Scott Schiff’s You’re Blocking My Vision of Reality. You name it, […]

Posted inFilm

On Second Thoughts

**** THE LAST BOLSHEVIK (Masterpiece) Edited and written by Chris Marker. It seems central rather than incidental to the art and intelligence of Chris Marker that he studiously avoids the credit “directed by . . . ” A globe-trotting French filmmaker whose only work of pure fiction with actors is a classic SF short consisting […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Guitar Shorty

Guitar Shorty’s claim that he was Jimi Hendrix’s original role model is debatable, but there’s no denying that the veteran fretman’s explosive showmanship and ear-splitting sonic attack are firmly in the Guitar Slim/Buddy Guy/Hendrix mold. Until recently he was primarily a cult figure–he cut a few discs in the 50s for such labels as Cobra […]