Posted inNews & Politics

Don’t Knock Progress

I read Ben Joravsky’s article last week [May 19] about the Old Town School of Folk Music and thought it pure hogwash. Although I know Ben’s trying to make the story of Jim Hirsch’s departure more dramatic (and I don’t know the details), the idea that the school has lost its soul or spirit or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dolly Varden

DOLLY VARDEN Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen spent many years trying to make a comfortable living from music, first with Stump the Host and then with their current band, Dolly Varden. But a few years ago–after several fruitless and excruciating dalliances with major labels–they decided instead to just make themselves happy, and signed to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Detail of a Larger Work

DETAIL OF A LARGER WORK, at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The last thing Lisa Dillman’s new drama needs is a fully staged production, but it’s getting one nonetheless through “New Play 2000.” Doddering 79-year-old painter Ed and his valiant, long-suffering wife Vanessa are visited in their Mexican hacienda by ambitious, unscrupulous photographer Zach and his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mr. Bundy

Mr. Bundy, A Red Orchid Theatre. Given Red Orchid’s reputation for intellectually challenging material, this excellent production of a solid but conventional issues-driven drama comes as something of a disappointment. Written by “Jane Martin,” the pseudonymous author(s) of Talking With…, this play is more in the Rebecca Gilman than the Ionesco mode, designed to inspire […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A subject perhaps worth extensive research: Why is it that poured Guinness Stout bubbles appear to float downward in the glass? –Manuel Martinez, Rancho Cordova, California Spending a lot of time staring at beer glasses, are we, Manuel? But they say Crick and Watson, who discovered the structure of DNA, found daily inspiration at the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Audience Is Moved

Eleven Rooms of Proust About Face Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company By Jack Helbig Chicago is a city of unusual performance spaces but not, by and large, of unusual performances. Over the years I’ve seen theater in garages, restaurant basements, living rooms, storage buildings, abandoned factories, former synagogues, churches, and the back rooms of bookstores. […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Friday 5/26 – Thursday 6/1 MAY By Cara Jepsen 26 FRIDAY Art therapist and papermaker Eden Stern says there’s a thin line between uncomfortable emotions and insanity. For her MFA thesis at Columbia College’s interdisciplinary arts department, she’s created a life-size interactive exhibit in which a participant may end up wearing a paper straitjacket with […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Exoskeletal Blues

EXOSKELETAL BLUES, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at Victory Gardens Theater. These three one-acts are linked by the image of an exoskeleton that no longer protects and must be discarded: in each a child confronts an unwelcome legacy from an unreachable parent. Terry Cullers’s staging makes familiar outcomes seem fresh–though they could come […]

Posted inMusic

Separate Ways

Lucy Pearl Lucy Pearl (Pookie/Beyond) Dwayne Wiggins Eyes Never Lie (Motown) By Michaelangelo Matos Before D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Macy Gray brought individual expression back to the R & B charts, Tony Toni Tone was one of the few self- produced acts to achieve mass success. The Oakland trio–Raphael Saadiq, his brother Dwayne […]

Posted inFilm

Imitation of Life

Films by Janie Geiser By Fred Camper Janie Geiser’s exquisite short films are often inspired by doll-like figurines, typically decades old. But though she animates these figures and cutouts and other objects in her cryptic narratives, her work goes well beyond childish make-believe, as her four films (included in her program May 26 at Chicago […]