Posted inArts & Culture

Innards on the Interstate

INNARDS ON THE INTERSTATE, HeIsComing Theatre Company, at the Playground. First the facts: late one summer afternoon, on Interstate 80/94 near Gary, a truck braked to avoid hitting another vehicle and spilled its cargo–lamb entrails–all over the highway. From the bare, uh, bones of this incident Jeff Grafton has fashioned a play filled with mystical […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Soft Skin

It’s a pity that the Music Box’s Francois Truffaut retrospective omits the best and most revealing of his late films, the deeply disturbing The Green Room (1978). But the most neglected and underrated of his early features–which are still his best overall–is his fourth, La peau douce (1964). It charts with tender and quirky precision […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Much Ado About Nothing

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Accidental Theater Ensemble, at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Baird Hall. The ado in this earnest effort isn’t quite nothing, but it comes damn close. These Columbia College students and graduates give the play that old college try, but the result is not ready for prime time. Part of the […]

Posted inMusic

House Wreckers

Basement Jaxx Remedy (XL/Astralwerks) By Michaelangelo Matos Kids these days can’t sit still–and neither can their music. Look what’s happened to the stodgiest of electronic-dance styles, house. Used to be that once house producers had a groove established, it stayed in place, for four, five, six, seven minutes at a time. Sure, they’d monkey with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Donna Summer

DONNA SUMMER Donna Summer may have only been the queen of disco, but she’s remarkable in the pop realm too, as a singer who’s managed to maintain a high-profile career for close to 25 years without settling completely into the MOR slop. Her early records with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte are both the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Who Knows?

After just perusing your lead article from the July 9 Reader, entitled “I Dismember Mama,” I cannot help but ponder how typically characteristic its simplistically applied premise appears to be in its presentation of a somewhat worn lexicon of selectively applied rhetorical hot buttons. There is no doubt that we all live at the end […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In July the director of Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island formed a committee of physicists to explore whether the lab’s replication of nuclear collisions similar to the big bang, scheduled for later this year, could possibly backfire and destroy the earth. Some physicists believe there is a small chance that the collisions […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Music Lesson

Dear Reader editor: Your July 30 Cityscape article entitled “Home Invasion” may have been a little tough on the Old Town School of Folk Music and its recent move to the Lincoln Square neighborhood. In it, author Jack Clark describes the neighborhood’s loss of “bums” and “people with accents” since the school’s move there. Actually, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

National Poetry Slam

Poetry slams have come a long away since 1985, when the Chicago Poetry Ensemble began reading their work at the old Get Me High Lounge in Bucktown. Today there are poetry slams in every city large enough to support a coffeehouse or two. A decade ago, Chicago poetry slam pioneer Marc Smith and some local […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Secret Rapture

THE SECRET RAPTURE, Element Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater, and THE SECRET RAPTURE, Firstborn Productions, at Chicago Dramatists. David Hare’s plays are not good for Chicago theater companies. Not only do actors have to refrain from running around and adopt a very English reserve, they must understand world politics–a subject most local companies work […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Master of Unreality

La Turista Azusa Productions at Breadline Theatre Suicide in B Flat: A Mysterious Overture Ranch Theater Company at the National Pastime Theater Back Bog Beast Bait Azusa Productions at Breadline Theatre By Jack Helbig Once Sam Shepard was young and sort of twisted and wrote plays fueled by fear and inspiration and speed in six […]