Posted inArts & Culture

11th Annual Chicago Country Music Festival

Saturday, June 30 TASTE STAGE 12:30 PM AMERICAN PRIDE CLOGGERS This Northern Illinois dance troupe–whose members range in age “from pre-teens to pre-medicare”–dances to country and bluegrass in the percussive Anglo-American folk style known as clogging, which is descended from Irish and English line dancing and was a precursor to tap. 1:45 PM SPECIAL CONSENSUS […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Originally a form of street performance, Rakugo offers a minimalist style of storytelling developed during the Edo period in Japan nearly 400 years ago. Dressed in a kimono and armed only with a fan and small towel, the Rakugo performer never rises from a sitting position. But he transforms the fan and towel into any […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Rape of Nova

THE RAPE OF NOVA, Billy Goat Experiment Theatre Company, at the Broadway Armory. This awkward, clunky ensemble-created play about a team of superheroes torn between saving the world from destruction and sending one of their traumatized colleagues through rape counseling seems to have capsized somewhere between initial concept and final execution. Plunked down on a […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Your advice to MSL, the gay guy who wanted to suck off his straight roommate, was logical, but I must, as a heterosexual male, object. If MSL wants to freak his roommate out, then by all means he should follow your advice and “jokingly” offer to suck him off. But you forgot to take the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Any company that has two extravaganzas playing simultaneously in Las Vegas has definitely entered the rarefied world of the juggernaut. But the wonderful thing about Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil, now appearing at the United Center in its first performances here in three years, is that it defies knee-jerk cynicism. In Dralion the company explores the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In Fashion: DIY designer makes it look easy

“I can’t stop making things,” says 24-year-old Selina Van Den Brink. “I dream about constructing shirts and dresses. I’m obsessed.” A tiny room in her apartment is flooded with scraps of fabric, spools of thread, Polaroids, and racks of her simple, cheerful handmade clothes. Some of them are recycled thrift store items–bright polyester kimonos fashioned […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Critic’s Choice

BILLY JOE SHAVER The fatal drug overdose of Eddy Shaver this past New Year’s Eve colors the words his dad sings on The Earth Rolls On (New West)–even though the pair made the album before his death. Most of the life-after-death tunes, including the gripping blues-rock title track, are actually about the passing of Billy […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Strangers & Romance

Strangers & Romance, Jupiter Theatre, at the Athenaeum Theatre. In its inaugural production, Jupiter Theatre has captured the essence of two Barbara Lhota one-acts, entertaining explorations of raw neediness that also offer sparkling comedy. Strangers is the story of a traumatized couple who attempt to recapture their romance by meeting as “strangers” at a train […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

AIR 6/30, THE VIC These French guys were doing well enough with their trippy, campy Moon Safari before their sound track for The Virgin Suicides made them de rigueur at every lava lamp-lit lounge and chain store point-of-purchase display in the country. The kick is that they deserve it: on their new 10,000 Hz Legend […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tarbox Ramblers

TARBOX RAMBLERS Too many revivalists try to re-create the romanticized “purity” of southern blues and folk and end up instead with something overdistilled and flavorless, emptied of the existential dread that’s always been at the heart of the music. But the Tarbox Ramblers immerse themselves in that dread, in the terror of a sinner desperate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Taste of Chicago

Friday, JUNE 29 SUMMERTIME Taste Stage 12:30 Bill McFarland & the Chicago Horns 1:45 Darwin 3:00 Lisa Rene Band 4:15 Turnstyles 5:30 Together 6:45 Deals Gone Bad FUNTIME Stage 11:30 Dan LeMonnier 12:30 Faze 4 1:30 Dave Kinnoin 2:30 Ella Jenkins 3:30 Faze 4 4:30 Dave Kinnoin FOX BANDSTAND 11:45 Deja Vu 2:30 Sherwood Conservatory […]