Posted inArts & Culture

Gianni Schicchi/Trouble in Tahiti

The durable collaboration between the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera’s Center for American Artists has grown into a summer institution in Hyde Park. One reason for its popularity is the caliber of singing, playing, and conducting put forth by these apprentice outfits. Another is the unusual choice of operas, such as this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Impossible Subject

If the Radiance of a Thousand Suns: The Hiroshima Project Bailiwick Repertory Maybe it’s the utter impersonality with which Fat Man and Little Boy were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that has made the events so difficult to dramatize. The fact that a pilot, on orders from Washington, could in a matter of moments obliterate […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

My friend had come to Chicago straight from the prairies of Oklahoma to attend Bible college. He was waiting for the Ravenswood train at the Chicago Avenue station when he noticed a man sitting next to him holding a new Bible. My friend asked the man if he read the book often. Staring down, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Sea Horse

Palookaville, at TurnAround Theatre Gertrude Blum, called “Two-Ton Gertie” by her customers at the Sea Horse tavern, mistrusts all men, especially those with sweet words for her. But old sea dog Harry Bales has come courting. And though at first Gertrude spurns his proposal, Harry is a determined man. Mary Margaret Barry and Brian Beach […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

The Philadelphia Phillies came to town last week in the thick of the National League playoff race. They were in second place in the East Division, two games behind the Central Division’s Houston Astros in the battle for the wild-card postseason berth. Yet no baseball fan in his or her right mind would have traded […]

Posted inMusic

Let There Be Drums

Michael Zerang & Hamid Drake Lunar Cabaret, July 22 What’s left out of jazz can mean as much as what’s played. Listen to Miles Davis’s classic recording of “My Funny Valentine”: the spaces in his bittersweet solo tell as much as the notes. Sonny Rollins’s brilliant album A Night at the Village Vanguard, on which […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

SCHWA 8/4, DOME ROOM It’s tough to tell just where this Chicago foursome is coming from, but after suffering through a pair of its CDs I’m unwilling to work too hard at figuring it out. Their 1993 album Nine Days Out of Prison (Phonetic) lurks along the fringe of industrial disco with a foot planted […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Local Talent

Lexis Praxis VI: Chicago Writers Taken to Stage Zebra Crossing Theatre Los Angeles may have elbowed us into third place, but in our heart of hearts we’re still the Second City. And nowhere is this more apparent than in our New York-obsessed theater scene, jointly dominated by New York worshipers who dream of moving shows […]

Posted inArts & Culture

HOUSEdressing

HOUSEdressing, Zebra Crossing Theatre. At a time when Chicago is awash with talented, sensitive, intelligent improvisers, the awkward, unseasoned, but not untalented performers who make up HOUSEdressing serve an important function: they show that pure improv is a lot harder than it looks. And they do it the hard way, by flopping and flailing around […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Communication Breakdown

Crossing Boundaries II: The Tower of Babel Project Strawdog Theatre Company I’m sure Strawdog’s grant writers had a field day filling out the forms for this production, an evening of one-acts concerned with the topic of “language and communication.” Who could find anything objectionable in this theme? No one. And that’s a problem. The topic […]