Posted inArts & Culture

Blithering Heights

BLITHERING HEIGHTS, Free Associates, at the Ivanhoe Theater. Most theatergoers are familiar with the improvised comedy sketch and the long-form Harold, but in Blithering Heights the Free Associates raise the ante by restricting their story to a single time (the early 19th century), place (the English Midlands), and literary genre (the gothic novel). Armed with […]

Posted inMusic

Smokin’ Grooves

SMOKIN’ GROOVES In its first two years the Smokin’ Grooves package tour was top-heavy with hip-hop, but it did make an attempt to reach out, tossing in Ziggy Marley and Spearhead in 1996 and George Clinton and Erykah Badu in ’97. This year organizers haven’t bothered with even the pretense of inclusiveness, but the lineup […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

One morning I was driving to work on North. I was about four blocks west of Western. It was 8:30–buses, cars, drunks on the corner, kids walking to school. In front of me was a school bus. In front of the bus was a black car. Traffic was moving slowly. On the sidewalk I noticed […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Critic’s Choice/ theater

Brown and Black and White All Over Storyteller Antonio Sacre excels at revealing the deeper meaning behind even mundane moments–lunch with a parent, a chance meeting at a party. He can transform a mildly funny reminiscence about feeling awkward as an adolescent at a dance into a life-changing moment. So what happens when he tackles […]

Posted inArts & Culture

So, I Killed a Few People…

SO, I KILLED A FEW PEOPLE…, Annoyance Theatre. David Summers is remounting his one-man show So, I Killed a Few People… to get it up to speed for the New York International Fringe Festival next month. He needn’t have worried: on opening night he was already at full throttle as serial killer Archie Nunn, telling […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I am a 25-year-old mother of one, with another child on the way. I have been with the father of my unborn child for eight months. He is a great guy. He loves my daughter as if she was his own, and we are both very happy about the new baby. My problem […]

Posted inMusic


SOLEX Amsterdam’s Elizabeth Esselink owns a used-record store, and when she decided last year to make her own music, under the name Solex, she made it from the materials closest at hand. In fact, listening to her debut, Solex vs. the Hitmeister (Matador), is a lot like having an overenthusiastic friend preview a bunch of […]

Posted inMusic

Gershwin-Bernstein Ensemble

GERSHWIN-BERNSTEIN ENSEMBLE Leonard Bernstein would have turned 80 in August, and the latest round of critical assessments confirms his status as an American original, a protean talent who bridged traditions and broke barriers. But to fix him in memory, no amount of fulsome posthumous praise can rival the sheer pleasure of his music. The Cultural […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

MATT WILSON 7/31, SCHUBAS Wilson’s talents have been scattered over a broad spectrum since the baroquely unremarkable Trip Shakespeare went out with the all-too-common major-label whimper in 1994. Of late he’s played producer to indie-rock B-listers like the Wonsers, Smattering, and Velma and surprised the few people paying attention by drumming for Polara. His solo […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Home at the End of the World

A Home at the End of the World, About Face Theatre. This story-theater version of Michael Cunningham’s novel offers an interesting contrast to Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, running at the Wellington Avenue Church a few blocks south. Where Kushner takes a sweeping, epic view of gay life in the mid-1980s, Cunningham scrutinizes the Reagan […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Trinity Irish Dance Company

Trinity Irish Dance Company The dancers in this Chicago-based company make the Riverdance performers look like old ladies in cocktail-waitress outfits. That’s partly because the Trinity Irish dancers are appreciably younger and partly because they wear heavily brocaded traditional costumes (often lovingly sewed by family members) but mostly because they’re so well trained–one might even […]