Posted inNews & Politics

Wings and a Prayer

By Carl Kozlowski Wendell Hansen proclaims, “I’m just like Billy Graham, traveling around preaching the gospel and welcoming people up to receive Christ at altar calls.” But Billy Graham doesn’t spread the good word with 27 different kinds of trained birds, from cockatoos to canaries, which do everything from ride bicycles to shoot baskets to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Wits End

Wits End, Adult Swim Ensemble. A little bit of Christopher Durang’s sitcom absurdism goes a long way, and Adult Swim’s evening of one-acts is an overdose: three different versions apiece of Durang’s One Minute Play and DMV Tyrant and one version of his Funeral Parlor, plus two oft-performed works by other writers, John Guare’s The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Co-ed Prison Sluts

The producers of Forever Plaid claim their show is Chicago’s longest-running musical, but the honor actually goes to Co-ed Prison Sluts. Years before anyone thought of bringing Forever Plaid to town, this raggedy-assed, iconoclastic musical comedy was running in a blues club and then in the Annoyance Theatre’s space on North Broadway. Created through improvisation […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pan-American/Shuttle358/Tom Steinle

PAN-AMERICAN/SHUTTEL358/TOM STEINLE This three-act showcase for new directions in electronic ambient drift suggests that a chill-out room doesn’t have to feel like an isolation tank. Pan-American is Labradford cofounder Mark Nelson, whose Kranky debut last year boxed fat, writhing bass lines into a suffocating little cage in the midst of a dubby ether of reverb-laden […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Boredoms

BOREDOMS If the Boredoms’ early records were the musical equivalent of attention deficit disorder, their current Super æ (Birdman) could be the result of a semisuccessful course of Ritalin. While they still cherish the jump cut–the title track, for instance, cobbles together churchy organ drones, chanted vocals, a kind of ritualistic voice-and-percussion passage, a bombastic […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Artists Play Ball With Disney/The Writing on the Cow/Pocket Change/Getting Out of No Exit

Artists Play With Disney Some fine art to go with that hot dog? The ESPN Zone, a 35,000-square-foot dining and entertainment complex at Wabash and Ohio, will offer interactive video games, a screening room for sports programs, and a restaurant decorated to look like the cable channel’s studio. But it will also display the sports-themed […]

Posted inMusic

Bobsled Builds Momentum

Bobsled Builds Momentum One of the most promising new labels on the Chicago scene isn’t in Chicago–it’s in Aurora. Bobsled Records, the fledgling pop imprint run by former tennis instructor Bob Salerno, has a roster that includes groups based in England and Germany as well as the local chapter of the Nikki Sudden gang, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Breathe

BREATHE, Bailiwick Repertory. Breathe–a new musical by Dan Martin and Michael Biello, partners in love and art–is an apt choice for Bailiwick’s summerlong gay play festival. A likable and often lovely series of seven scenes told in two dozen songs, it sums up scores of lives in sometimes familiar vignettes. A child-seeking lesbian couple implore […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Eagle River

EAGLE RIVER, Fervent Theater Company. If this gritty potboiler about south-side working-class losers is any indication, Chicago playwright Albert Letizia is working with the wrong medium. Like many young playwrights weaned on television and cinema, he thinks with the mind of a screenwriter. Tailored for an audience with a short attention span, Letizia’s script leaps […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Quentin to a T

Quentin T Do Amateur Night at de Apollo Great Beast Theater at SweetCorn Playhouse By Jack Helbig On the stage and off, Michael Martin is loud and opinionated. Playing the role of producer–of this or that low-budget, non-Equity production–he can always be counted on to tell you what he thinks of his show. Even as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“The situation in Kosovo was ripe for nonviolent struggle for the simple reason that the Kosovars outnumbered the Serbs 9 to 1,” theologian Walter Wink tells Messenger (May), the Elgin-based magazine of the Church of the Brethren. “That meant they had the numbers to launch massive forms of nonviolent struggle, like a general strike, which […]