Posted inArts & Culture

Collected Stories

COLLECTED STORIES, Organic Theater Company. I never believed the old theater saw that 90 percent of direction is casting–until I watched Ina Marlowe’s staging of Donald Margulies’s beautifully written two-person play. Every gesture, every pause, every breath from Roslyn Alexander as a veteran writer and Jessica Young as her young student adds to the drama […]

Posted inMusic

Susie Ibarra & Assif Tsahar

SUSIE IBARRA & ASSIF TSAHAR Susie Ibarra has become the free-jazz drummer of choice in New York these days, and it’s not hard to hear why. Only 28, she has developed a powerful free attack–meterless, tonally rich, melodic, and muscular–and she has a deep natural swing. Much has been made of her knowledge of Indonesian […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Hamlet, Shakespeare Project of Chicago, at Duncan YMCA Chernin’s Center for the Arts. Over the past few years the Shakespeare Project has performed all of Shakespeare’s plays in staged readings. But reading is one thing, and staging a full-fledged production is another: this version of what is perhaps the most performed work in the English […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Cut

The Cut, A Red Orchid Theatre. With performances this incendiary, direction this intense, and set design this inspired, it’s easy to forgive the occasional exaggerated or oversimplified moment in Mike Cullen’s The Cut, an existential Scottish thriller set 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface. Coal miner Salter (Guy Van Swearingen) returns from prison to this […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sympathy for That Devil

Thank you for your brilliant piece on that brilliant and incredibly good-looking new writer, Steve Elliott, who has taken the nation by storm with his brilliant novel Jones Inn [March 26]. (I think his last name is spelled with two t’s.) I’m pretty sure he first left home when he was 14, not 13, but […]

Posted inFilm

Tax Day

Tax Day A pair of middle-aged women–whose surprising effect on young men isn’t meant to be ironic–are the main characters in this kaleidoscopic narrative, which has the two of them sashaying in and out of other characters’ dilemmas as they make their way to the post office on April 15. The meandering adventure includes acrobatic, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Improv Festival

Chicago Improv Festival Now in its second year, this annual celebration of the art of improvisational comedy runs April 6 through 11, bringing together members of the improv scene from around North America for a week of performances and workshops. Featured out-of-towners this year include the Groundlings, LA’s leading improv ensemble, in their Chicago debut; […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What does “pop goes the weasel” mean? –Birdaire, via AOL Who knows? It’s basically a folk song and nursery rhyme that later saw service as a music-hall ditty. It’s tough enough deciphering rock lyrics written in 1975; what do you expect with a tune going back to the 17th century? But Straight Dope curator of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Monica Scandal

Dear editors: I’m writing to complain about your February 12 Spot Check column. Your writer, Monica Kendrick, trashed one of my favorite bands, the Nields, and if her writing were based on actually listening to and constructively criticizing the band, then her Spot Check column would serve its purpose: that we readers might make an […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Stepping into the Vacuum

Early on a Saturday morning, Ted Thomas is in his storefront campaign office in West Englewood handing out city-service request sheets to volunteers. “We have no alderman in the 15th Ward,” Thomas says several times as the volunteers look over the pink sheets, on which they can check off just about anything a resident might […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Let the Music Play

Dear editor: It is with heavy heart that I put laser printer to paper and take issue with Monica Kendrick’s review of RCA’s Lit (Spot Check, March 12). The Spot Check column is presumably meant as a guide to live bands–local bands and bands from out of town. In some cases it reads more like […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Days of the Week

Friday 4/2 – Thursday 4/8 APRIL By Cara Jepsen 2 FRIDAY The yearly Good Friday Walk for Justice attracts hundreds of people with a social conscience. The ten stations along the downtown route will pair scenes from the death and resurrection of Christ with contemporary causes–such as ending economic sanctions against Iraq and stopping violence […]

Posted inNews & Politics

I Remember Malachy

To the editor: I just caught up with your piece on the McCourt brothers and their literary efforts in the past couple of years [February 5]. I remember Malachy. He had the saloon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where the twenty-somethings of the late 50s hung out. The name “singles bar” was an […]