Posted inMusic

Dan Bern

DAN BERN Singer-songwriter Dan Bern has been shrugging off the obvious comparisons for most of his career: on “Talkin’ Woody, Bob, Bruce & Dan Blues,” from his new Smartie Mine (available from or at Bern’s concerts), he bangs away at an acoustic guitar and saws on a harmonica, spinning a tongue-in-cheek tale about how […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Agenda Gap

Transparent Hinges H.T. Chen & Dancers at the Dance Center of Columbia College, February 18-20 By Terry Brennan Art and politics are frequent bedfellows. The most obvious of political dances tend to advocate specific agendas. Liz Lerman’s company of senior citizens promotes respect for the elderly. Most folk dance ensembles advocate ethnic pride and respect […]

Posted inMusic

Bobby Shorty & His Orchestra

BOBBY SHORT & HIS ORCHESTRA In his three decades as the house attraction at New York’s posh Cafe Carlyle, Bobby Short has come to define cabaret. His reputation rests upon his skills as an “entertainer,” a word both he and his admirers use to say, “He sells a song like nobody’s business, so it doesn’t […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

This may sound weird, but ever since I was a kid I’ve been aroused by the sight of sexy women smoking cigarettes. I’m always on the surreptitious lookout when I’m in public for women with cigarettes in their hands. I record and/or watch stuff on TV that doesn’t interest me in hopes of catching scenes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Boxed Set

BOXED SET, Bang Bang Spontaneous Theater, at Victory Gardens Theater. You might call this show “Bang Bang’s Best Shots”: Boxed Set is a compilation of scripted scenes the troupe developed through improvisation. And since its alumni include a large number of character actors constituting some of Chicago theater’s favorite psycho-thug creepsters, it should come as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Strange Case: Jekyll & Hyde

STRANGE CASE: JEKYLL & HYDE, Lifeline Theatre. Perhaps what’s most impressive about Lifeline’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s ghoulish variation on the doppelganger tale is that it restores the story’s inherent creepiness, rescuing it from the Grand Guignol kitsch of the Broadway musical, more than a dozen films, and one pretty awful early Who song. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

At least one Chicago basketball dynasty continues on intact. In fact, it might be stronger now than ever before. The Marshall Lady Commandos won their 20th Public League title in 22 years two Mondays ago, then went on to their seventh state championship last weekend in Normal. Coach Dorothy Gaters has compiled a record of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Labor of Loathe

LABOR OF LOATHE, Altered Spoons Productions, at O Bar & Cafe. Finding a niche in the job market can be tough, which is why the vast majority of recent college grads are either unhappily employed, unemployed, or underemployed. It’s a sad fact: a degree doesn’t get you very far these days. Some are lucky enough […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Loving Portraits

Tom of Finland at TBA, through March 27 David Seltzer: Sex Tales and Other Unrelated Matters at Lallak + Tom, through March 27 By Mark Swartz Tom of Finland used to strip naked before drawing, and as he drew he played with himself. Today he’s celebrated not for ambidexterity but for contributing to a particular […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

V-ROYS 3/12, THE HIDEOUT; 3/13, FITZGERALD’S The traditionals on this Knoxville roots-rock quartet’s sophomore album, All About Town (E-Squared), give off a convincing back-porch smell: the mandolin’s breezy and the fiddle’s hairy, and even the Bill Monroe cover sounds fine, thanks in large part to guests Ronnie and Robbie McCoury, sons of Monroe’s old sideman […]

Posted inFilm

Me and My Brother

Me and My Brother Written by Sam Shepard and director-cinematographer Robert Frank, this 1968 antidocumentary emphasizes the relationship between Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Peter’s brother Julius, whose diagnosis of schizophrenia is revealed when Peter contemptuously reads a document written by a doctor who once examined Julius. In the parts of this movie that most […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Hub City

I completely agree with the Reader’s assessment [February 19] regarding Mayor Daley’s transportation record, especially related to O’Hare and Midway airports. Mayor Daley, more than any other politician and most Chicago citizens, realizes that the reason the city of Chicago exists is that it is a junction. Chicago is a hub to the continent’s rail, […]