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Posted inArts & Culture

Rob Brown & Andrew Barker

ROB BROWN & ANDREW BARKER New York saxophonist Rob Brown doesn’t have a shtick. He doesn’t overblow till the cows come home and he doesn’t play mix and match with klezmer or exotica or drum ‘n’ bass. But it’s hard to think of another jazz player who’s emerged in the last two decades who can […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fred Johnson & the Checkmates Featuring Pee Wee Madison

FRED JOHNSON & THE CHECKMATES FEATURING PEE WEE MADISON Soul-flavored blues belter Fred Johnson has top billing, but guitarist James “Pee Wee” Madison–making a rare north-side appearance–is the real attraction here. He began his career as a harmonica player in the 50s, accompanying folks like guitarist Eddie C. Campbell; after switching to guitar himself, Madison […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In March Reuters reported on the University of Tennessee’s “body farm,” a three-acre plot near Knoxville where 20 corpses at a time are set up to rot under various circumstances so that homicide investigators (including Yugoslav war-crimes researchers) can study the stages of decomposition. During hot, humid months the stench is overpowering. Ignatius […]

Posted inArts & Culture


CAHOOTS, Victory Gardens Theater. Dying is easy, comedy is hard, actor Edmund Kean is said to have quipped on his deathbed. Harder still is the well-crafted comedy that turns serious in the second act. Lots of contemporary playwrights attempt this feat. Rebecca Gilman has virtually built her career on it. But most writers stumble and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Police Scanner

Tuesday, May 23, 10:50 PM Dispatcher: 1053? Assault just occurred, 22– 24th Street, first floor rear. Complainant caught a couple having sex on his property, asked them to leave, and the man threatened to burn down the house. 1053? 1053: Yeah, see if the complainant on this is gonna come out. Dispatcher: Give him a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Flying Griffin Circus

THE FLYING GRIFFIN CIRCUS, Actors Gymnasium. Homegrown and intimate as its klezmer band accompaniment, this charmer resembles a one-ring circus in your rec room. Not that the acts are amateur–there’s skill to spare in the performers’ intricate jump roping (seven jumpers at a time), madcap tumbling, and triple pyramids. Created by the accomplished faculty and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nu Music Marathon Featuring Anton Lukoszevieze

NU MUSIC MARATHON FEATURING ANTON LUKOSZEVIEZE The first annual NU Music Marathon–that’s “NU” for Northwestern University, but it’s pronounced “new”–consists of six consecutive one-hour sets, each featuring solo or small-group pieces by conceptualists and provocateurs from the U.S. and abroad. Among the roughly two dozen composers represented are Germans Kunsu Shim and Helmut Oehring; young […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Printers Row Book Fair

More than 170 booksellers will show their wares on South Dearborn between Congress and Polk for the 16th annual Printers Row Book Fair, which also features dozens of readings, lectures, performances, and panels (and coincides with BookExpo America, the book industry’s annual trade show). The fair runs from 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Claire Dolan

Set largely in austere interiors in a minimalist New York City, this self-subverting 1998 drama is full of empty spaces and deliberate gaps in the narrative, in which a prostitute with a three-to-four-figure price tag works to pay off a debt to a mobster. She also begins a relationship with a cabdriver, whose curiosity gives […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nuts & Bolts

NUTS & BOLTS, Shockoe Slip Theatre, at National Pastime Theater. True hilarity and poignancy are fleeting in Shockoe Slip Theatre’s debut performance, the Chicago premiere of John DeVore’s collection of scenes about oddball office workers and situations. But when director Matthew Stevens abandons his static pacing and unoriginal blocking, the troupe shows promise. The show’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Comedie of Errors

THE COMEDIE OF ERRORS, Velvet Willies, at Hi Ricky Upstairs–West Loop. Virtually indestructible, this early work–Shakespeare’s shortest play–is the ur-comedy of mistaken identities and family reunions. The Bard adds poetry to Plautus’s preposterous machinery: two sets of identical twins, servants and masters, are entangled in a plot involving a bag of gold. The only way […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

JULIE DOIRON & THE WOODEN STARS 6/2, SCHUBAS & borders on michigan Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron played bass in Eric’s Trip, a band that never quite lived up to its potential–though it spent six years trying. Her third full-length, a collaboration with a Canadian pop band called the Wooden Stars, was released last year by […]