Posted inArts & Culture

The Eccentricities of a Nigtingale

THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE, Eclipse Theatre Company, at the Chopin Theatre. A few months ago the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis–one of the midwest’s most prestigious venues–dumped a lot of money into a slick, flashy, relentlessly uninteresting production of Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke. Now Chicago’s scrappy Eclipse Theatre, holed up in the Chopin’s amenity-free […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to the June issue of Nature Neuroscience, researchers in Philadelphia recently found that laboratory rats could learn to get water for themselves just by thinking about it. The researchers discovered which areas of the rats’ brains were activated by thirst and rigged a water reservoir to open when triggered by an electrical […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Scent of Rain

A SCENT OF RAIN, Bailiwick Repertory. Cute corn pone at its aw-shucksiest, this rural romance by New York playwright Mark Dunn–the final offering in the gay-themed “Pride ’99” series–is a tad long given its predictable end and David Zak’s leisurely staging. But its huge heart is in the right place, and the down-home performances will […]

Posted inArts & Culture

National Poetry Slam

The 10th annual National Poetry Slam runs August 11 through 14. Preliminary and semifinal bouts take place Wednesday-Friday evenings (three per night) at the following Wicker Park venues: the Guild Complex at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-296-1268, ext. 26; the Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600; the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sing, Sister, Sing

SING, SISTER, SING, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. A program note calls this musical a work in progress. And as such this African-American variation on The Jazz Singer has much commercial potential. The story traces the fortunes of the Holmes sisters, Vanessa and Deanna, who have been groomed by their ambitious mother for careers in gospel […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m 38 years old and my wife is 39, both white, healthy, and happy. I’ve had this particular fantasy for close to 20 years now but only revealed it to my wife four years ago. I want my wife to be with me and another guy. This fantasy seems to be of interest to her: […]

Posted inArts & Culture


SKID, Dolphinback Theatre Company, at Live Bait Theater. Playwright Laura Albrecht introduces us to a very articulate serial killer in her merciless monologue. Billed as “post-modern Gothic,” it offers “John” a forum for whatever thoughts creep into his homicidal head: that what made Marilyn Monroe (“a wet dream breathed into life”) irresistible was her fragility; […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Critic’s Choice

Poetry slams have come a long way since November 1985, when Marc Smith and a handful of others–calling themselves the Chicago Poetry Ensemble–began reading their poetry at the old Get Me High Lounge in Bucktown. A year later Smith moved the readings to the Green Mill on Sunday nights, and the newly dubbed Uptown Poetry […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Real and Imagined

Imagination to Image at the Museum of Science and Industry, through September 12 American Pictorialism: From Stieglitz to Today at Catherine Edelman, through September 3 American Modernism: From Stieglitz to Today at Carol Ehlers, through September 3 By Fred Camper Debates about whether or not photography is a real art might seem anachronistic in the […]

Posted inMusic

Don’t Try This at Home

Music Tapes 1st Imaginary Symphony for Nomad (Merge) By J.R. Jones When I was a teenager, my friends and I worshiped Cream–or as they arrogantly liked to call themselves, the Cream, meaning the royalty of England’s blues-rock musicians. We were all learning to play instruments back then, and we honed our chops on endless, shapeless […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

PALADINS 8/6, Double Door This San Diego trio–the only band in the history of the world to record for both Alligator and 4AD–plays roots music with a capital R. On their sixth and latest album, Slippin’ In (Ruf), the Paladins stray further from their blues-rock beginnings to dig deeper into echo-chamber rockabilly and hillbilly thumpers, […]