We're kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

Posted inArts & Culture

Creating a Monster

Jung Frankenstein–A Neo-Transylvanian Musical Posin’ at th’ Bar Productions at Second City, Skybox Studio Theatre By Jack Helbig “Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise,” Viola Spolin chirps in the first chapter of her seminal book Improvisation for the Theater–words that could easily be the motto for Chicago’s improv scene. And are certainly part of its […]

Posted inMusic

Flying Without Ornette

Bernie McGann McGann McGann Playground (Terra Nova) Rubberneck Issue 25: Joe Harriott, Forgotten Father of European Free Jazz By John Corbett How unfair, the “great men” approach to cultural history. It condenses trends and tendencies into single names and complex webs of interrelation into cursory place markers in a chronological Rolodex. In this highly rational […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Jazz Festival

Chicago Jazz Festival offers free musical performances on two stages in Grant Park: the Jackson Stage (Jackson and Lake Shore Dr.) and the Petrillo Music Shell (Columbus and Jackson). For information call 312-744-3315. FRIDAY Petrillo Music Shell 5:00 Juli Wood Quintet featuring Mel Rhyne 5:55 Myra Melford Quintet 6:55 Ferre Brothers Quartet 7:50 Jackie McLean […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dance for Life

Dance for Life Randy Duncan, former artistic director of Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre and now a freelancer, is the quintessential Dance for Life choreographer: the lineup for this sixth annual fund-raiser reveals a range of ethnic, contemporary, and classical dance. Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago will open the evening with a complex drum song […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In August an Associated Press story focused on Liberian citizen Joshua Milton Blahyi, 25, formerly known as General Butt Naked. Blahyi became famous for leading a battalion that waged war in the nude; hence his moniker. Now a fully clothed preacher for his own Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry, he says his transformation occurred one […]

Posted inMusic

Jazz’s Checkered Past

Frank Trumbauer Tram! Volume I: Frank Trumbauer’s Legacy to American Jazz (Old Masters) While there’s enough controversy to have generated a whole book on the question of what the first rock ‘n’ roll record was, facts on the earliest jazz disc are more clear-cut. The guys who made it, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, were […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rhinoceros Theater Festival

This annual summer showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music used to be presented at multiple locations, but now all activities take place at a single venue: the Lunar Cabaret in Lincoln Park, home base of the Curious Theatre Branch, whose artistic director Beau O’Reilly is the event’s coordinator. But though the Rhino’s roaming grounds […]

Posted inFilm


Executioners Set in a chaotic, futuristic Hong Kong, where business and the military oppress the populace, this 1994 follow-up to The Heroic Trio is an exuberant and touching paean to female bonding. Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, and Michelle Yeoh–cleverly cast to subvert audience expectations of their star personae–return in a convoluted plot that interweaves attempts […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wa Etching!

WA ETCHING! Pintig Cultural Group, at the Athenaeum Theatre. The producers hope this show will give a voice to closeted gay Filipinos and “celebrate” those who are open. The director hopes the show will break down barriers between straights and gays, “the caucasian gay and lesbian community and the minority gay and lesbian community.” The […]

Posted inMusic

Wallace Roney Quintet

WALLACE RONEY QUINTET I’ll give you several good reasons to mark your calendar for Wallace Roney’s sets next week, but his previous local appearance isn’t one of them. When Roney (who bears Miles Davis’s influence like the mark of Cain) appeared last year at the Jazz Showcase, he brought some not-ready-for-prime-time players–a hurriedly assembled, underrehearsed […]