Most days of the week, Ellie Sassana’s hands are spattered with gold ink. For eight hours on Mondays and four hours each day during the rest of the workweek, the self-taught calligrapher sits at a desk near a large plate glass window, writing names in gold lettering on cards that many believe hold the power […]
The hounds of Bucktown are howling again, this time over the surface material of a custom-made pet run.
Lead Stories A court in Council Bluffs, Iowa, will rule in early December on whether to admit “brain fingerprinting” evidence that might free convicted murderer Terry Harrington, who has been in prison for 22 years. Iowa psychiatrist Lawrence Farwell developed the technique, which he says measures brain activity following attempts to trigger memories; tests on […]
Want heartache? Try explaining life on the road to the IRS.
Nervous Breakdown One of the more endearing quirks of the Nervous Center is that the performances, which take place in the basement of the boho Lincoln Square coffeehouse, never completely manage to drown out the footsteps of the patrons upstairs. But lately owners Richard and Ken Syska, brothers who’ve scraped by for more than five […]
La Posada Magica, Transplant Theater Company, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Rooted in the Latin Christmas tradition of community reenactments of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter, this show has a darker edge than many holiday productions. The young heroine of La Posada Magica, Gracie, takes a supernatural detour from the procession singing of faith and […]
Maria Tallchief signed on to do a cameo as legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in the 1952 Busby Berkeley-Esther Williams swimsical Million Dollar Mermaid, then started to worry about authenticity. Her boss and first husband, New York City Ballet founder George Balanchine (another Russian), sent her to Pavlova’s onetime understudy, Muriel Stuart, to learn Pavlova’s […]
A small band of Native Americans have held their own against prejudice and displacement for almost 200 years. In the current fight over their right to open a casino in New Buffalo, bet on them to win again.
BIG RIVER: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, Apple Tree Theatre. This 1985 Broadway hit was originally conceived partly as a vehicle for tunesmith Roger Miller and partly as a showcase for designer Heidi Landesman’s sweeping depiction of the Mississippi River. Apple Tree’s intimate vest-pocket production should by rights draw audiences more deeply into Mark Twain’s […]
WNIB owners Bill and Sonia Florian finally decided the cash was too good to pass up.
A Roaring Tragedy, TinFish Theatre. The play’s premise sounds like a joke–“There’s this dysfunctional Yugoslavian family, see?” And its characters are a textbook sitcom clan, complete with a harried housewife who burns the dinner, a trigger-happy brother who drinks too much, and a lazy Elvis-obsessed teenage son. The plot revolves around the release of senile […]
Before the kids, writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal was just another subversive chick. Now she picks brain lint in coffeehouses.
St. Germain Young French DJ and producer Ludovic Navarre–who’s released two albums of ambient jazz et cetera as St. Germain, a name he shares with his five-piece band–has attracted a mob of sycophantic fans masquerading as reviewers, and collectively they seem to think his recent Tourist (Blue Note) is our era’s answer to the Miles […]
Roasting Chestnuts, A Christmas Spectacle, Noble Fool Theater Company, at the Storefront Theater. The holiday staple of a singing star hosting a schmaltzy Christmas TV special is an easy target for parody. In Roasting Chesnuts the star host is Gina Oswald, who welcomes to the show her estranged husband and less successful siblings–all once famous […]
Dramatizations of the Holocaust usually fall prey to histrionics or stylistic excess, but this stunning 1961 portrayal of a Jew’s wanderings through occupied Warsaw is the exception that proves the rule. The simple, almost deadpan style of director Andrzej Wajda is neatly matched by Serge Merlin’s superbly even performance as the profoundly disoriented Jakob Gold, […]