Posted inMusic

Jumping Fences

Robbie Fulks Let’s Kill Saturday Night (Geffen) By Peter Margasak When I interviewed Robbie Fulks last year, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter claimed that though his music was based on honky-tonk, he couldn’t “sound the full diapason” as long as he was with Bloodshot Records. And so, after two acclaimed albums on the local “insurgent country” indie–Country […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Purloined Menu

That expensive new dress in my closet has been insisting I take it to Blackbird all summer. When I finally did it was in good company. Nearly everyone–overtired artist types, overfed business types–turned out in black or white, which look great against Blackbird’s sleek gray interior, sort of the minimalist haute diner effect. There’s no […]

Posted inFilm

Screen Test Number Two

Screen Test Number Two The camera never moves as it frames the face of a man playing a woman auditioning for the part of Esmeralda in a movie an offscreen speaker describes as a remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The speaker, who’s directing what’s both a screen test and a parody of a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rhinoceros Theater Festival

Rhinoceros Theater Festival This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music takes its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big). Traditionally dedicated to presenting new, sometimes innovative work by Chicago performing-arts groups, the fest this year also features artists from Germany’s Freiwild Festival. The Rhinoceros Theater […]

Posted inMusic

Carol Sloane

CAROL SLOANE When Carol Sloane sings, she connects inspiration and respiration: it’s as if she were exhaling music. As effortlessly as she draws breath, Sloane imbues a tune with a lifetime of nuance, relying on flawless intonation to sell both the original melody and her gentle but welcome departures from it. Her voice has not […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I’m writing in response to your column about “gerbiling.” You stated that you don’t have to be a gay man to do it, and it’s impossible anyway. Your first point, that you don’t have to be gay, is absolutely correct: anybody with a butthole can theoretically do it, not just gay men. You […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Sucker, at Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. Constructed as a series of overlapping vignettes, Pat McKenna’s giddy, absurd one-man comedy Sucker intertwines the lives of a dozen characters passing their last days on earth, threatened by a gigantic black hole. But rather than feeding our premillennial anxieties with ghastly visions of havoc-wreaking asteroids, volcanoes, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jackie & Jenn’s Whirlwind Crimestopping Spree

JACKIE & JENN’S WHIRLWIND CRIMESTOPPING SPREE, at Live Bait Theater. Jackie Volk and Jennifer Biddle, two writer-performers, have paired up to perform six monologues about criminal activity and moral sneakiness, addressing such subjects as child molestation, arson, street violence, and family quarrels. Director Jay Paul Skelton does a workmanlike job of blending their strikingly different […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Police Scanner

Monday, August 31, 10:40 PM 822: You can 19-Paul this whole episode. Thanks to all the 30-sector cars, 20-sector cars, the supervising car– Unidentified caller number one: Thank the academy and my producer and– unidentified caller number two: Anheuser-Busch! Dispatcher: Thanks for all the help over there for 822, ten-four. Friday, September 4, 2:50 PM […]

Posted inMusic

Sylvie Courvoisier & Mark Feldman

SYLVIE COURVOISIER & MARK FELDMAN The duo of Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and Chicago-born, New York-based violinist Mark Feldman blurs the lines between classical and jazz and between composed and improvised music with more verve, mystery, and drama than most other similarly inclined groups working today. On a demo tape of material destined for release […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Radical Racket

Jellyeye at the O’Rourke Performing Arts Center, Truman College, through October 18 By Laura Molzahn I love percussion that rattles my heart around in my chest, and that’s what Chicago’s ten-year-old drum-and-dance troupe Jellyeye does best. But it also does much more. Often compared to Stomp and Riverdance, it’s only superficially like those far more […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING: THE SONGS OF RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN, Prologue Theatre Productions, at the Theatre Building. If not quite an enchanted evening, Prologue’s anthology of songs is still a worthwhile night. Sublime Americana, these justly beloved offerings from Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and even the flop Allegro create their own playful dialogue […]