Posted inArts & Culture

A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun, Hidden Stages Productions, at Blackwell Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. The setting of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 drama is a predominantly black ghetto on Chicago’s south side, but what made A Raisin in the Sun a crossover success and the inspiration for a genre flourishing to this day is the universality of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Straight From Brazil

I am happy to see the Reader give coverage to Brazilian music. Unfortunately, it must be difficult to fact check when there are few people who speak Portuguese in Chicago. As a Portuguese speaker who lived in Brazil for four years and has interviewed Caetano Veloso, I would like to point out a few problems […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago Country Music Festival

Saturday, June 26 TASTE STAGE 1:15 PM Ana Egge Austin singer-songwriter Egge reveals her folkie heart on her new solo acoustic album, Mile Marker (Grace), but when she’s surrounded by a slew of Austin country types, as she was on her 1997 debut, River Under the Road, her elegant melodies and keen storytelling translate easily […]

Posted inMusic

Breaking Away

Jeff Tweedy at Lounge Ax, June 14 & 15 “There is no sunken trea-sure / Rumored to be / Wrapped inside my ribs,” sang Jeff Tweedy on Wilco’s 1996 double LP, Being There, and thus served notice on alt-country cultists that he wished to vacate the pedestal they’d placed him on. But the cultists just […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Monte Warden

MONTE WARDEN After fronting the proto-alt-country combo the Wagoneers as a teenager in the late 80s, Austinite Monte Warden maintained only a tenuous connection to country music: though his songwriting credits have turned up on records by Kelly Willis and Patti Loveless, the two fine (if commercially invisible) solo albums he made for Watermelon earlier […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Are you going to print a retraction of your Straight Dope article concerning Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings [Return of the Straight Dope, pages 219-21]? The column called the evidence that Jefferson had an affair with his slave “dubious.” Is it still the contention of the Straight Dope that Jeffy’s relatives were the ones to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Vandermark 5

VANDERMARK 5 The difference between the Vandermark 5’s debut, Single Piece Flow, and its second album, Target or Flag, was unmistakable: the acclaimed sophomore effort had greater subtlety and compositional variety and made use of an expanded palette of colors. No such dramatic leaps are evident on the group’s recent Simpatico (on Atavistic, like the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

After Italy

Everyone talks at one time or another about bolting for parts unknown. George Savino actually did it, leaving a secure job at the Reader for a three-year sojourn in sunny Italy. What did he bring back for us? His monologue After Italy, created under the watchful eye of Second City main-stage performer Stephnie Weir. The […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Lemon Pledge

Channel surfers may have thought they’d discovered a new paid programming station earlier this month. Not so–that was Channel 11’s latest fund-raising drive, featuring New Age health guru Gary Null and lightweight financial guru Suze Orman. Their modestly titled infomercials–Null’s How to Live Forever and Orman’s The Courage to Be Rich, both designed to sell […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar

Friday 6/25 – Thursday 7/1 JUNE By Cara Jepsen 25 FRIDAY Tonight local improvisers take their acts to the movies: cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, percussionist Michael Zerang, and guitarist Kevin Drumm will accompany four experimental films: Sidney Peterson’s The Lead Shoes, from 1949; Hans Richter’s 1928 movie, Ghosts Before Breakfast; Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, and James […]

Posted inNews & Politics

West Side Stories

One afternoon we sat on the front porch with the lady next door. The doctor went into our house with his little black bag, and this woman told us that the doctor was bringing a new baby to my mother. Of course we thought he brought her in the little black bag. That was my […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Love on Caffeine

Love on Caffeine, Welkin Theater Company, at the Chopin Theatre. Unfortunately, most young playwrights portray situations in only the most black-and-white terms. As Diane Herrera paints the trials of youth in her Love on Caffeine, there are only two true keys to happiness: being involved in a relationship or being secure enough not to need […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The House of Yes

The House of Yes, Treehouse Theatre Company, at Chicago Dramatists. The family in Wendy MacLeod’s play is as twisted as any in a genre that also includes Buried Child, Coyote Ugly, and The Homecoming. When Marty Pascal brings his fiancee home one Thanksgiving weekend, she discovers that his twin sister, Jackie-O, has a morbid interest […]