Posted inArts & Culture

The Vagabond

The Vagabond, City Lit Theater Company. Sexually omnivorous and fiercely independent, Colette was one of the most fascinating women of the 20th century. And she wrote some 80 works–fiction, essays, and memoirs–that reflected her at times shocking life. The 1910 La vagabonde was one such autobiographical novel, based on the eight years Colette spent as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Isotope 217

ISOTOPE 217 After using its first two albums to hammer out a cogent synthesis of funk, electro, improv, and jazz, Isotope 217 sought to capture the raw, playful unpredictability of its live shows on last year’s Who Stole the I Walkman? (Thrill Jockey). When I first heard the record, I thought the quintet had merely […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Variations on Death

VARIATIONS ON DEATH, Factory Theater, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Like sex, death has always been a potent source of comedy. So it’s all the more surprising that a company with a stellar comedy track record like the Factory Theater should stumble so often and so humorlessly in this show tackling the subject of death. Kevin […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Betty’s Summer Vacation

Betty’s Summer Vacation, Roadworks Productions, at Victory Gardens Theater. In his latest play, Christopher Durang skewers voyeuristic reality TV: rambling and one-dimensional but occasionally insightful, Betty’s Summer Vacation is equal parts Big Brother, Hustler, and The Truman Show. Its philosophical flaws are as outrageous as its undisciplined story: a group of contemptible oversexed people, including […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Crazy Locomotive

The Trap Door Theatre has always had a minor obsession with Polish avant-garde playwright Stanislaw Witkiewicz. When the company opened its doors in 1994, its first production was Witkiewicz’s best-known work, The Madman and the Nun. It was an evening held together more with spit and determination than artistry, but by the time Trap Door […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I Feel With My Hands

I Feel With My Hands, at Gerri’s Palm Tavern. Fernando Jones loves to tell stories about the blues, combining theater and live music. And he often does it well. The idea behind his newest work is intriguing: three women embody the many faces of the blues in a shared character, Betty Louise, who’s also a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Larry Coryell Trio

LARRY CORYELL TRIO The discography of Larry Coryell–at 57, still one of the most gifted and fascinating guitarists in American music–is almost as varied as his mercurial, muscular improvisations. In the past five years alone, his releases have ranged from a solid neofusion effort, Spaces Revisited (Shanachie), to an awfully good solo acoustic album, Private […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Around the Coyote Winter Festival

Around the Coyote Winter Festival This weekend’s winter festival, an adjunct to the annual fall Around the Coyote arts festival, features theater and performance in two Wicker Park venues: the Wing & Groove Theatre, 19351/2 W. North (the side entrance of the Flat Iron Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee), and the Northwest Tower, 1608 N. Milwaukee. […]

Posted inFilm

Final Bow

Director John Berry got his big start as an actor in Orson Welles’s Mercury Theatre in 1937. Welles then introduced him to film in 1938 when he hired him as assistant director on a silent slapstick short made to accompany and introduce portions of the stage farce Too Much Johnson. (The farce never made it […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA A poster boy for 19th-century Romanticism, Berlioz liked to tackle big subjects and big passions: the birth of Christ, the Faust legend, the story of Romeo and Juliet. The Trojans, his two-part operatic adaptation of Virgil’s Aeneid, clocks in at four and a half hours total, and its harmonic structure and orchestration […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Restaurant Box

Just up the street from the California Clipper, FLYING SAUCER owners Rebecca Gleason and Atha Moe have given an artistic makeover to the space formerly occupied by Mary’s diner. To make the room a little less gritty, they’ve torn. out a dropped ceiling, ripped down paneling to reveal two arched windows, and painted the walls […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Feet, Get Movin’!

While I found much of Anne Smith’s letter regarding the sorry state of Ravenswood’s commercial options thoughtful and accurate [Letters, January 19], I have to point out some troubling points. Specifically, citing Lincoln Square’s amenities being eight blocks from her (too far to walk, not worth it to drive in her opinion), Smith doesn’t take […]