Posted inMusic

Something Like the Real Thing

Daktaris Soul Explosion (Desco) Lee Fields Let’s Get a Groove On (Desco) By Douglas Wolk What’s an insatiable record collector to do when there’s nothing left to collect? When the first-rate stuff has been canonized, the stars’ lesser efforts reissued, the ephemera and one-hit wonders compiled? When even the dreggiest rip-offs have been dredged up […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rachel’s Love

Rachel’s Love, Redmoon Theater, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Anyone who says that theater is a dying art has never seen a Redmoon show. This troupe’s eye-opening pastiches of styles and influences–encompassing everything from commedia dell’arte slapstick to Javanese shadow puppets to ancient Greek masks–make it an unusual commodity in Chicago. The company’s unconventional approach to […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Your response to the fat couple with the lackluster sex life was no better or worse than most of the mainstream media’s information about fat people–which is to say, it was incorrect, unhelpful, and silly. I’m a happy, healthy fat chick. My boyfriend is a happy, healthy fat guy. I’m an adorable 270 pounds, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture


OREGON Oregon, formed as an all-acoustic jazz quartet at the dawn of the electric era, has stood by its own unique brand of “fusion” for nearly three decades now–a blend splashed with chamber music, various ethnic traditions, and folk rock. It hasn’t always been easy: after founding percussionist Collin Walcott died in an auto accident […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Imperial Teen

IMPERIAL TEEN Although their new What Is Not to Love (Slash) doesn’t quite measure up to their 1996 debut, Seasick–which is, to be fair, one of the decade’s best first albums–they remain the most quotable indie band in existence. Even if “Why you gotta be so proud? / I’m the one with lipstick on” and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Aching to Be

Stupid Kids Roadworks Productions at Victory Gardens Theater The Secret of the Old Queen Stage Left Theatre at the Theatre Building By Albert Williams As a native of Littleton, Colorado, I’ve watched with grim fascination as my formerly unknown, once semirural hometown has become an international symbol of youthful alienation and social dysfunction in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


After six months at the gloriously restored Oriental Theatre (officially the Ford Center for the Performing Arts), Livent’s Tony-winning musical is getting a transfusion. The pivotal role of Sarah is now taken by Grammy winner Stephanie Mills, the original star of The Wiz. Sarah, the pregnant lover of Harlem pianist Coalhouse Walker, incarnates unconditional love, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Piece of My Soul

When A Piece of My Soul debuted last summer, it was a low-budget production in the spartan upstairs studio at Victory Gardens. But the talented, enthusiastic ensemble brought audiences to their feet, clapping and witnessing in jubilation, and the text packed an entire course in the history of American gospel music into a bare two […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Minstrel Pain

Dear editors: I always thrill to the writerly stylings of the sly and handsome Neal Pollack, who I would call a friend, and who in the May 14 Reader argues that CTA president Frank Kruesi has better things to do than crack down on street musicians in the subway. He may have a point. But […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Selby Tigers

SELBY TIGERS The Selby Tigers, who rose from the ashes of another Minneapolis band you’ve probably never heard of, Lefty Lucy, play vintage Olympia-style pop that sounds like a riot at a McDonald’s birthday party: they don’t thrash so much as thrash about. Though the current players–guitarists Nathan Grumdahl and Arzu Gokcen, bassist Dave Gardner, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Spinning Into Butter

SPINNING INTO BUTTER, Goodman Theatre. Rebecca Gilman will be a great playwright when she stops worrying about pleasing her audience. Her new play, Spinning Into Butter, about a white liberal-arts faculty trying to deal with a string of racist incidents on a Vermont campus, should rile and unnerve but too often merely entertains. Employing her […]

Posted inNews & Politics

History of Abuse

By William K. My brother Bob and I were ice fishing on Lake Shabbona, about 100 miles west of Chicago, and I’d just been speculating about the biological consequences of our piercing holes in a lake that had been frozen for months, opening it up to light and oxygen. Bob said something about the impact […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Super Freaks

Dear Reader: I just wanted to thank Dan Savage for writing such a pointed and honest piece about the Columbine tragedy [May 14]. Over the past month, we have all been inundated with the blatherings of Hollywood moguls, the saccharine platitudes of senators, the cold, reptilian disavowals of responsibility of CEOs, and the psychobabble of […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Activist-filmmaker Maggie Hadleigh-West got so tired of being stared at and harassed on the street that she decided to fight back and started filming as well as interrogating the men bugging her. Usually she held one camera while behind her a camerawoman held another, and she carried out this counteraggression in several American cities, meanwhile […]