Posted inArts & Culture

Raising Spirits

Chicago’s Next Dance Festival at the Athenaeum Theatre, through February 6 By Terry Brennan Capturing spiritual awakening and transformation is famously difficult. It’s like gazing into the sun: most of the time you chase shadows, because seeing the real thing can last only a few moments. Cindy Brandle wants to address transformation in Awakening. Midway […]

Posted inFilm

Dark Shadows: Recent Avant-Garde Film

Dark Shadows: Recent Avant-Garde Film In various ways, all three of these films explore our viewing experience, finding in the distance between an object and its image a suggestion of death. Peggy Ahwesh has eroticized nude corpses in some recent work; Nocturne (1998), a grotesque spoof of horror films, begins with a woman trying to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cute Letter

Dear Chicago Reader Letters and Monica Kendrick: In response to our critique in Spot Check [January 22]: we deserved it. You are right. Our music is rooted firmly in the “cuddly indie squeamish” movement. We have for years tried to escape this style but have somehow circled back in a mediocre spiral. I remember trying […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“Chicago is in my opinion one of the best African-American arts communities in the country,” says Jackie Taylor, artistic director of the Black Ensemble Theater, in the January issue of the Joyce Foundation’s “Work in Progress.” “We’ve been very free to create and explore here, because we don’t have the kind of expense or critic […]

Posted inMusic


PILLOW Lord knows the Chicago improv scene is teeming with casually convened groups, assembled for the purpose of exploring fleeting dynamics and textures, but here’s one that’s made a document of its findings. On Pillow’s eponymously titled debut, bassist Liz Payne and guitarist Ben Vida (who both play in the down-home minimalist band Town and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Don’t Burn My House

DON’T BURN MY HOUSE, at SweetCorn Playhouse. One of the most impressive aspects of Cleetus Friedman’s one-man show is his recognition of the value of hip-hop music in storytelling and performance. He bookends Don’t Burn My House with a pair of original raps, and the show’s strongest, most incisive bit may be a short sketch […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Prison Rehab

Dear Reader, I enjoyed Steve Bogira’s January 8 article, “Senseless Sentences,” and am also dismayed at the inequities in our judicial system. The article lamented that “Rostenkowski isn’t the first former public official to have a change of heart about prison after feeling its sting firsthand,” but that it always happens too late since he […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

FOOTNOTES In your column on Chinese foot binding [October 23], you mentioned that small feet have been prized in many cultures, using as an example “Cinderella’s tiny glass slipper.” While your point is well taken, you missed a chance to mention the story behind Cinderella’s unusual footwear. In the original folktale, Cinderella wore (in French) […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Two Lives of Edward II

Edward II Journeymen at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church Edward II Red Hen Productions at the Chopin Theatre By Albert Williams A self-indulgent head of state struggles to retain his position while his political opponents demand his resignation, calling him unfit to govern because of his inappropriate sexual relationship with a younger subordinate and masking […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Expensive Habit

To the editors, Thank you for the article “Senseless Sentences” by Steve Bogira [January 8]. I appreciate this subject being brought to consciousness thoughtfully. If we as a society are going to spend $19,000 per year per inmate, I for one would like to spend that money in a different way. Social problems have not […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Friday 1/29 – Thursday 2/4 JANUARY By Cara Jepsen 29 FRIDAY While great architecture in the 19th century was all about public buildings–the movie house, the stock exchange, the museum–the 20th century saw a shift in emphasis to the private home. But architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Rem Koolhaas created difficult designs. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Coordinated Efforts

Equal Footing/Earing at Link’s Hall, January 8-10 and 15-17 By Terry Brennan Heartbreak Loadout/Sunset Loop, choreographed and composed by Sheldon B. Smith, starts in a rollicking way. Seated in a corner of the stage with an electric guitar on his lap, surrounded by electronic equipment, Smith reaches over to a boom box and starts a […]