Posted inArts & Culture

George Washington

Twenty-five-year-old David Gordon Green sometimes comes across like a gifted poet who hasn’t yet mastered prose; his characters and images are memorable, but this story about working-class kids, most of them black, in a small town in North Carolina is elusive and occasionally puzzling (more than one might expect, given that it’s based on Green’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

What’s the story with the cocaine mummies? Researchers have evidently established the presence of cocaine in mummified corpses in Egypt and Sudan that date back to before Columbus landed in America. Since cocaine is only known to have been cultivated in South America at that time, some people speculate that there may have been an […]

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The Pagans

The Pagans, Seanachai Theatre Company, at the Theatre Building. Late in Ann Noble Massey’s contemporary drama The Pagans, Margaret Riordan, the would-be matriarch of an Irish family pulling apart at the seams, finally lights into her haughty, moralizing sister, who’s lived off Margaret’s charity all her adult life. “You’ll die alone, just as you lived,” […]

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Manodharma Trio

MANODHARMA TRIO When alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa lived in Chicago he took his cues from Ornette Coleman, who opened the door onto free jazz in the late 50s, and hard-bop altoist Jackie McLean, who stepped through it. His Indian heritage didn’t really evidence itself in his music. But a few years ago, around the time […]

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The Orphan Saint

This incisive mock TV documentary by Chicago sisters Christina and Dymphna Timmins is set in the fictional town of Asulon, Illinois, which tries to pump up its economy by turning a young woman who’s survived a car wreck (Heidi Gottcent) into a saint. The subject matter itself is a subtle comment on the form, promising […]

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Power Plays: Virtual Reality

POWER PLAYS: VIRTUAL REALITY, Wing & Groove Theatre. Written by Second City alum Alan Arkin as the short middle sketch in a three-story evening about one-upmanship, the gloomy Virtual Reality seems too long without Elaine May’s wittier plays to bracket it. Two operatives, strangers to each other, are in a warehouse planning a mission they […]

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In Dreams

Night Coil Trap Door Theatre By Nick Green By his own admission, playwright Jeffrey M. Jones has never been interested in producing a realistic facsimile of ordinary human existence–or in using conventional theatrical means. “Reality has to intrude with a vengeance when theatre’s trying to urge some political (or social, environmental, multicultural, etc.) agenda on […]

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Musicians at Play

Chris Johanson at Vedanta, through February 10 at Bodybuilder and Sportsman, through February 17 Sam Prekop at Jan Cicero, through February 17 By Fred Camper Chris Johanson, 32, is “a product of the San Francisco skateboard-and-graffiti art scene,” as New York Times critic Roberta Smith describes him. Johanson still skateboards (though he told me, “I […]

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Root Woman

Root Woman, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Our first impression of this theatrical production of Angela Shannon’s poems is one of sloppy casualness. The ensemble take the stage stretching and smiling at one another, seemingly oblivious to the audience as they warm up. But when the show truly begins, we discover the focus and commitment this group brings […]

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Calendar/January

Friday 1/26 – Thursday 2/1 JANUARY By Cara Jepsen 26 FRIDAY “We are people of this generation, bred in modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” So begins the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical group whose original mission–to organize and […]

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Gypsy

GYPSY, Bailiwick Repertory. “Some people sit on their butts / Got the dream–yeah, but not the guts!” sings Mama Rose, the antiheroine of this 1959 Broadway smash by playwright Arthur Laurents, composer Jule Styne, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and director Jerome Robbins. There are butts and guts on display in this low-budget revival, whose dumpy grittiness […]