Posted inArts & Culture


It takes a touch of genius to sum up Beckett, the gloomiest of modern playwrights, in a laugh. But Jonathan Harris as the preternaturally servile Clov does just that in the first minute of Splinter Group’s heartbreakingly funny Endgame. His laughter, after peering out the window at the desolated earth where he sees “zero, zero, […]

Posted inArts & Culture


When I started the job I had no intention of making trouble. The job involved “microform scanning.” This meant that I was checking microfilm records of various legal documents. I’d scroll along a spool of microfilm to make sure the document in each frame looked square. If it wasn’t square, that meant it was crushed […]

Posted inMusic

Mediterranean Blues

We Chicagoans can be forgiven our chauvinism when it comes to the blues. From the time we first get our mojos revved up, we’re nursed on the notion that the authentic urban blues originated here–sweet home Chicago and all that. But the blues is actually a widespread phenomenon, and you can look farther than Saint […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Precipice

The Precipice, Thirteenth Tribe, at Chopin Theatre. In their Chicago debut the bright-eyed, squeaky-clean, endlessly enthusiastic Thirteenth Tribe seem hell-bent on claiming their fair share of postindustrial, premillennial despair. Dressed in black, skulking ominously against a backdrop of spray-mounted urban detritus, borrowing liberally from Beckett, Eliot, and bad 70s college experimentalism, they lament their way […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand, Lifeline Theatre. Munro Leaf’s children’s story–the quintessentially Taurean tale of a lumpish bull content to loll in the shade all day smelling flowers while his rambunctious penmates smack their heads against fence posts hoping to enter the bullfighting ring one day–speaks to us with a mythic resonance. In a country dominated […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scraps of Tenderness

Gwen Gerard at Idao Gallery, through June 1 By Bonita McLaughlin When I think of Chicago I think of cabs honking, buses belching black soot, the smell of grilled onions and Polish sausage, StreetWise vendors, light breaking through clouds over Lake Michigan, the screeching of the el, glass-wrapped skyscrapers reflecting sunsets and neighboring skyscrapers. And […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Santos & Santos

Henry Godinez–long respected as a performer, equally at home in comic and serious roles–has come into his own as a director. He proved last fall at the Goodman Studio, with his intelligent take on Jose Rivera’s glorious play Cloud Tectonics, that he could maneuver through a complex work without sacrificing the transcendental beauty of its […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City Council Follies

All that talk about Mayor Daley coveting the governor’s office is a lot of hooey. Daley has much bigger plans: a complete takeover of the federal government, with himself as president and the City Council replacing Congress. Daley slyly hinted at that ambition for the second time in six months at last week’s council meeting. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Long Good-Bye

Mathew Wilson and Mark Alice Durant, who make up the performance duo Men of the World, are teachers. Performance-art teachers, to be exact. And their work fits perfectly within the 20th-century tradition of art created by and for academics and their disciples, and God help the rest of us. Wilson and Durant’s pieces are not […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mario Schiano & Sebi Tramontana

MARIO SCHIANO & SEBI TRAMONTANA Though figures like Giorgio Gaslini and Enrico Rava have achieved some recognition in the U.S., Italian jazz doesn’t have much currency. In fact, to many jazz listeners it has no meaning. Yet over the last three decades it has come into its own, creatively and humorously appropriating American traditionalism and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Handsome Family

HANDSOME FAMILY My generation: While Cracker’s David Lowery wastes everyone’s radio time every day hating it, Chicago’s Handsome Family try like hell to ignore it, exploring instead the deep, dark poetics of America’s folk and country past. They draw on a legacy of liquor, madness, and death, writing songs about people like crazy Aunt Barbara, […]

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He, She, It

He, She, It, at Cafe Voltaire. D.R. Lucia’s play is a cockfight with people instead of roosters. It reminded me of an intelligently written Married…With Children episode, lacking only the commercials, the tit jokes, and the laugh track. He, She, It tells the story of an unhappy couple whose relationship has degenerated to insults on […]