Posted inArts & Culture

Night of Absurdia

Tinfish Productions, at the Greenview Arts Center. A manufacturing mogul is brought to his knees by the criticism of his employees. A job applicant is tortured and humiliated by his interviewer. An artist is coerced by a philistine patron to distort his creation beyond recognition. Two suburban couples spend a pleasant evening babbling vacuous nonsense. […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Real Work, Inc., at Cafe Voltaire. Two would-be porn kings might once have aspired to be serious filmmakers. They speak of Aristotelian unities, dramatic action, and “engaging the audience’s moral sensibilities.” One of them almost folds when a key piece of equipment malfunctions–“I have to get this in one take!”–but the prop in need of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wasted Youth

SubUrbia Roadworks Productions at the Theatre Building Our ImMEDIAte Family at Cafe Voltaire What would a group of go-get-’em Northwestern grads who’ve garnered six Jeff Citations and a handful of big-tuna foundation grants in a little over two years know about existential ennui? Apparently everything. Roadworks’s midwest premiere of Eric Bogosian’s grim Generation X portrait, […]

Posted inMusic

Soft Around the Edges

Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler Arie Crown Theater, February 25 Soul music is a dying art form. Contemporary artists are producing emotionless interpretations of black musical traditions, since soul, rooted in the African American experience, is often considered too black to have crossover appeal. But the artistic compromise that crossover demands is a heavy one–less authenticity […]

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Secular Movements

Festival of Organ and Dance Kast and Company at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, March 2 and 3 This year’s “Festival of Organ and Dance” in-cluded Maggie Kast’s third installment in her series of dances to be performed at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church. Forgoing a religious theme this year, Kast focused on dance–on moving […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Getting The Bugs Out

The resonant alto voice of Bernice Wilkins–mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and director of the day-care center at the community building I manage–is on my telephone: “They’re back. The roaches.” In truth, the roaches never left, but the biweekly treatment and quarterly fogging have kept their profile low. The day-care center has 100 children; its small kitchen […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Longtime Reader contributor Andrew J. Epstein took this photo for a 1973 interview with tattooer Cliff Raven, who at that time operated out of a storefront on Belmont Avenue. Raven talked about drawing political cartoons for the Seed, his love of science fiction, and the government crackdown on tattoo parlors in the early 1960s. He […]