Posted inNews & Politics

Until Someone Gets Hurt

Dear Jack Helbig: I think your mini-review [January 12] missed one very important aspect of the current production of True West. The onstage combat in that production was perhaps the single most dangerous thing I have ever seen on stage. Not only was I frightened, as an audience member, to watch Austin thrown around on […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

Electric Wizard 3/30, Double Door I doubt even Black Sabbath could have gotten away with putting a bong-clenching demon lord on the cover of their album back in the day, but their direct descendants Electric Wizard can, and do, on their new Dopethrone, released in the U.S. by the Music Cartel. The third LP by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chi Lives: Paul Collins’s mixed steps

Paul Collins laughs acknowledging that newcomers to his folk-dance group, Ethnic Dance Chicago, might be taken aback. “They walk in and find two black guys setting up—some must think they’ve ended up in hip-hop dancing by mistake.” Occasionally his group’s inclusiveness also raises eyebrows: “In my country, women don’t do that dance,” a Bulgarian guest […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Fantasy Meets Reality

Your front page story in the 2/9 edition (“It Came From Within”), covering the angst of horror-movie buff Lawrence McCallum, read like a grade-B horror-movie script. There are many Lawrence McCallums wandering the bleak urban horror show we call the city, and anonymity is the rule rather than the exception. Using a synopsis of The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Burly-Q–The Burlesque Sexperience

Burly-Q!–The Burlesque Sexperience, at the Playground. This show, written and directed by Michael Flores, is a good idea gone horribly wrong. Struggling to re-create the last, fading days of burlesque, Burly-Q! awkwardly incorporates local variety acts and adds stripteases so halfhearted they manage to make two topless women uninteresting. The thin story involves a manipulative […]

Posted inNews & Politics

It Was Otis, Not Buddy

I think I fingered the wrong–um–“guy” in my February 9 Critic’s Choice on guitarist Jody Williams. The solo on Buddy Guy’s 1958 debut on Artistic, “Sit and Cry (the Blues),” is definitely a replica of Williams’s earlier solo on “You May”; but most historians now concur that the guitarist who played it wasn’t Guy but […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Open Invitations

Jean-Marc Bustamante at Donald Young, through April 28 By Fred Camper Jean-Marc Bustamante’s huge color prints of Swiss landscapes–some nearly eight feet high–humble the viewer. The 9 (from a series of 12) on view at Donald Young are so precisely detailed, down to the tiniest pebble, they evoke pristine mountain air. Shot on eight-by-ten-inch negatives, […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Betrayal, Theo Ubique Theatre Company, at the Heartland Studio Theater. The key to unlocking Harold Pinter’s secrets lies in mastery of the “Pinter pause,” roughly three seconds of pure, unmitigated torment that help to externalize the raw emotions lying beneath the cool surface of his prose. With Pinter, what’s unspoken is frequently more powerful than […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Captain Raspberry

CAPTAIN RASPBERRY, Factory Theater, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Matt O’Neill’s comedy about an ill-fated 18th-century British naval expedition to the island of Martinique is all the more hysterical for its utter lack of substance. The plot is as insubstantial as they come–the doltish, unimaginative crew of the frigate Holly devote the first half hour to […]