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

Ritual

Ritual, Chicago Theatre Company. Stanley Bennet-Clay’s 1990 play puts an added twist on the familiar rant of the “I hate my materialistic middle-class family” school of drama, born during the beat generation. The unhappily affluent family this time is black–but still steeped in frustration, compromise, and self-loathing. The characters are not much different from their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stairways to Heaven

Forward Motion Dance Chicago ’98 at the Athenaeum Theatre, October 9 and 14; repeats October 24 By Terry Brennan Medieval artists found transcendence in Jesus’ suffering. Bach tried to build a circular staircase to heaven with counterpoint. Ignoring God and human society, Keats and Tennyson aimed to find direct spiritual access to nature. Christian mystics […]

Posted inMusic

Pounding Out History

Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture by Simon Reynolds (Little, Brown) By Michaelangelo Matos Nineteen ninety-eight is the tenth anniversary of rave culture, and though it hasn’t elicited the kind of hoopla that, say, the 20th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s did, it hasn’t gone unremarked either. But while ravers may be […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Le Ballet National du Senegal

My love of African dance began when I saw this company ten years ago at the Auditorium Theatre. Then it was nearly 30 years old: Senegal’s official music and dance troupe was founded by poet and president Leopold Senghor in 1960, the year the country achieved independence, and it has a born-again nationalistic fervor. Intended […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Wrinkle in Time

A WRINKLE IN TIME, Lifeline Theatre. Lightning has struck the same stage twice: Lifeline is remounting James Sie’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s sci-fi classic, debuted eight years ago in an ingenious staging by Meryl Friedman. Recalling The Wizard of Oz, this delightful 90-minute journey celebrates a girl who thwarts the forces of evil: Meg […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Thriller Theater

Thriller Theater, ImprovOlympic. Like many recent films deconstructing the horror genre, writer-director Jason Chin’s theatrical homage to low-budget zombie thrillers and teenybopper slasher flicks skewers their familiar devices. But thankfully Chin never assumes the academic airs of these films in Thriller Theater, instead glorifying the genre’s worst aspects: pointless violence, schlocky dialogue, and 80s-style homogeneity. […]

Posted inMusic

Barbara Manning/ Renderers

BARBARA MANNING/RENDERERS This double bill charts the flow of influences between the independent rock scenes in New Zealand and the United States. San Francisco-based songstress Barbara Manning has been performing and recording songs by acts from New Zealand–including the Verlaines, the Magick Heads, and Goblin Mix–for years, and last year she finally consummated the love […]

Posted inMusic

Air

AIR I’ve never had much use for 70s kitsch, but somehow Air–the French duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel–has appropriated some of the era’s most forgettable elements and put them back to work without resorting to revivalism. Although its debut album, Moon Safari (Source), is something of a letdown after the string of marvelous […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Gazing Into Eternity

Ancient West Mexico: Art of the Unknown Past at the Art Institute, through November 22 Ancient Mexico: Pre-Columbian Art From the West Coast Cultures at Douglas Dawson, through October 24 By Fred Camper “Ancient West Mexico: Art of the Unknown Past” is everything a museum exhibit should be–and it originated at the Art Institute. Unlike […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago a Cappella

CHICAGO A CAPPELLA Frank Lloyd Wright once likened architecture to “frozen music”; he wrote in detail about how the structures and ornaments of music inspired those of his buildings. He’d grown up listening to Unitarian hymns and chorales–his father and uncle were both Unitarian ministers–and he intended his Unity Temple, built in Oak Park in […]