Posted inArts & Culture

Mud

MUD, CollaborAction Theatre Company, at Footsteps Theatre Company. Maria Irene Fornes’s plays are never what they seem. Even apparently naturalistic dramas like Abingdon Square also work as critiques of history and allegories of gender relations. It takes a savvy theater company to mine the riches she buries in her scripts. CollaborAction is not that company. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Surface Tension

Tom Bamberger: Views at Carol Ehlers, through June 6 Stanley Greenberg at the Graham Foundation, through June 4 By Fred Camper One of photography’s oldest questions, which comes up every time a photographer achieves a distinctive look, is how there can be such amazing consistency from one image to another, whether of city or suburb, […]

Posted inMusic

Quasi

QUASI Quasi, a duo from Portland, Oregon, embraces hoary pop-music cliches–and squeezes them so hard they burst. When guitarist-keyboardist Sam Coomes asks “Why did you hurt me?” on “Repetition,” from the duo’s new Featuring “Birds” (Up), and drummer Janet Weiss answers “You asked for it,” it’s a relief to hear the familiar pop thought balloon […]

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A World Apart

The Architecture of Honey Joan Dickinson at Dickinson’s farm, McHenry County, May 16 By Carol Burbank The first sounds I heard when we clambered off the yellow school bus were the wind and the birds. It was dusk in the Illinois farmland, and our voices seemed muffled by the quiet and the green intensity of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Hard Day’s Journey Into Night

A HARD DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, WNEP Theater Foundation, at the Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. The title promises a Eugene O’Neill parody, but it never happens; instead Joe Janes’s one-act depicts the death of a dumb dream. Presumably inspired by This Is Spinal Tap and Forever Plaid, this 100-minute late-night show concerns an even […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Two Timing

Two Timing, Roadworks Productions, at Victory Gardens Theater. Canadian playwright and monologuist Daniel MacIvor has a knack for freshening up familiar material with clever, innovative structures. Violating linearity, he may reimagine corporate competition as a 13-round boxing match or interrupt a standard family drama with dance numbers, flashbacks, and confessional monologues. This formal inventiveness works […]

Posted inMusic

Sonny Rhodes

SONNY RHODES Texas-born Sonny Rhodes is one of the few remaining masters of lap steel blues guitar, the tail end of a gulf-coast tradition that started with Hop Wilson and L.C. “Good Rockin’” Robinson in the late 30s and early 40s. One of the lap steel’s best qualities is its range of emotional and melodic […]

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The Diviners

The Diviners, Bog Theatre, and The Diviners, DG Productions, at Chicago Dramatists Workshop. Written in 1979, The Diviners owes something to The Miracle Worker and to innumerable screenplays about a mysterious stranger–frequently a preacher, sometimes a doctor–whose arrival shakes up an isolated Depression-era community. But this time the man is an ex-preacher who shuns his […]

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The Wound and the Bow

THE WOUND AND THE BOW, Northlight Theatre. Given his farewell production at Northlight, artistic director Russell Vandenbroucke shouldn’t have much trouble finding people to help him pack. The Wound and the Bow– Amlin Gray’s bone-dry regurgitation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes–is the kind of pretentious, humorless costume parade that gives college experimentalism a bad name. Ten years […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

TINSLEY ELLIS 5/22, FITZGERALD’S Just as between love and hate, there’s a fine line between blues and blues rock. Atlanta guitarist Tinsley Ellis walks it with a compelling, sometimes vertigo-inducing lurch, giving everything a slight Allman Brothers shading and inviting the occasional really frightening guest to play on his albums (R.E.M.’s Peter Buck was on […]

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Star Power

The Idiot Lookingglass Theatre Company at About Face Theatre By Adam Lange The sad, dark, brooding eyes seem to display a capacity for infinite understanding. The slightly high-pitched and vaguely rabbinical voice, sometimes barely rising above a whisper, suggests a rare compassion. First appearing all in white and clutching a loaf of bread, he wanders […]

Posted inFilm

The Housemaid

The Housemaid Based on a true story, this wildly expressive 1960 film begins a welcome series of six rarely seen works by the extravagant and eccentric Korean director Kim Ki-young. The wife of a music teacher, coveting a larger home, begins to work long hours, and the couple hires a housemaid; the music teacher’s one-night […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

You’re not getting older. You’re getting cracks in your piping. From “Nuclear Energy Insight 98” (April): “Most young adults inevitably learn that there is life after 40. Moreover, upon entering their fifth decade, they often find they’ve reached the prime of their lives. Baltimore Gas and Electric believes the same will prove true for its […]