Posted inArts & Culture

The Colored Museum

THE COLORED MUSEUM, Victory Gardens Theater. Attempting to express the way the painful reality of African American life is often masked by supposed acceptance and glamorization, this comedy revue by playwright George C. Wolfe takes the audience on a guided tour of cultural stereotypes, with uneven results. A slick Broadway director, Wolfe the writer seems […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Politics of Envy

Re “The Panic in Wicker Park” [August 26]: where are your stories when neighborhoods get worse? Don’t people–many more people–suffer then? Leave it to the muddle-headed bleeding hearts to come up with a pejorative word–gentrification–for making a neighborhood better! Be honest now: which Wicker Park would you rather have your sister or girlfriend walk through […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Scofield

With his rawboned sound, his seamless melding of various rock offshoots and jazz, and his spectacular gift for abstract yet chiseled improvisations, John Scofield has had more impact on the modern jazz guitar than perhaps anyone else but Pat Metheny. That’s why their joint album of earlier this year, I Can See Your House From […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Found a Peanut

FOUND A PEANUT, Alley Pond Ensemble, at Factory Theater. Since the games of pinners and fast pitch I played growing up in Rogers Park could never serve as metaphors for capitalism and human mortality, I’ve always been distrustful of plays that sum up every adult crisis in an hour on the playground. Donald Margulies’s coming-of-age […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Music Business

Your article on Rose Records’ financial problems [Culture Club, September 16] has me baffled. Rose is complaining about the Best Buys and Circuit Citys selling CDs at or below cost. But is that the real problem? In order to simplify the mathematics, let’s round off the retail prices and supposed wholesale costs. First, let’s round […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The music of this aptly named New York trio pits contrasting elements against each other on a number of levels: bristling guitar racket stands out against moments of quiet; hook-filled riffs compete with artless but earnest singing; and vocal arrangements feature the old female/male, sweet/sour dichotomy. On the band’s debut full-length record, The Stars Are […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The advantage of being a one-man band is that you answer to no one but yourself. On his 1993 full-length Julius Caesar, and on the new six-song Burning Kingdom (both on Chicago’s own Drag City Records), Bill Callahan–aka Smog–lays bare an idiosyncratic sensibility that is as disturbing as it is engaging. In the homespun, lo-fi […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Love Triangle

THE LOVE TRIANGLE, Bailiwick Repertory. There may be a one-act hiding somewhere within this rather confused and rambling full-length play by Elizabeth Ward. Staged with somnambulist blandness by Christine Hartman, and complicated with issues that are brought up only to be dropped, The Love Triangle is difficult to pin down. At its core are Maria […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

Chicago sports fans don’t mind a loser; that much we already know. What we can’t tolerate is a boring team, one that whether seriously awful or merely mediocre has no personality. One quarter of the way through the National Football League season, it seems the Bears are just such a team. We’re not ready to […]

Posted inMusic

The Hair Connection

ME’SHELL NDEGEOCELLO Park West, September 16 Think about the most commercially successful African American female singers today. Who comes to mind? Janet Jackson? Whitney Houston? Maybe En Vogue? Is it significant that these are also the most thoroughly weaved and wigged sistas you’ve ever seen? (I know Janet is sporting long golden brown braids now, […]

Posted inFilm

Unreconstructed Nazis

** MY PRIVATE WAR (Worth seeing) Directed by Harriet Eder and Thomas Kufus. There have been many World War II films, but to my knowledge My Private War (whose German title, Mein Krieg, translates more literally as “My War”) is the first based on footage shot by the soldiers themselves. Showing at Chicago Filmmakers this […]