Posted inArts & Culture


Tough!, Smash Theatre, at WNEP Theater. George F. Walker’s approach to playwriting is to let loose a number of provoking personalities in a provocative situation. In Tough! it’s an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and the characters are a teenage mother, a girlfriend who vows to support and protect her–with her fists, if necessary–and a whimpery teenage boy […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

I was standing on the corner of Wilson and Paulina at about 7:30 AM on a Tuesday, waiting for the 145. An old postal truck rolled south toward the intersection, but no one was steering the beat-up white Jeep. Suddenly a guy ran forward and climbed into the front seat, grabbing the steering wheel; then […]

Posted inArts & Culture


John Cassavetes’s galvanic 1968 drama about one long night in the lives of an estranged well-to-do married couple (John Marley and Lynn Carlin) and their temporary lovers (Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel) was the first of his independent features to become a hit, and it’s not hard to see why. It remains one of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Trilok Gurtu

TRILOK GURTU The son of a renowned Indian classical singer, percussionist Trilok Gurtu has spent the past quarter century blending the musical heritage of his native country with Western idioms: he’s played with like-minded jazzmen such as Joe Zawinul and John McLaughlin, toured with the band Oregon, and even developed a unique low-slung trap set […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

My husband and I recently let our best man borrow our New York apartment while we went away for the weekend. On Monday morning, my husband turned on our computer. Turns out our friend had been surfing hard-core porn sites all weekend. Our home page had been changed. Many of the links he left connect […]

Posted inMusic

The Future’s So Bright

The Future’s So Bright Last Saturday at the Empty Bottle, DJ Tommie Sunshine opened for Oval with an hour-long set that for the first 45 minutes seemed to draw in all of two people. That’s not unusual for Sunshine, and he doesn’t care–in fact, his burgeoning international reputation is based largely on his don’t-give-a-fuck approach. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Public Displays: Los Diablos Guapos toss bowling into the gutter

“We wear these masks ’cause we’re so damn pretty,” says “Senor Spanish Fly,” the unofficial spokesman for Chicago’s first full-contact bowling team, Los Diablos Guapos. Speaking with the confidence bestowed by his glistening Mexican wrestling mask, he adds, “And we still score every night.” Fly, a photographer, and his cohorts, “Mr. Me Fantastic,” “Elefante Gigante,” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Waiting For the Sunrise

Waiting For the Sunrise, Real Rain Productions, at the Athenaeum Theatre. There’s way too much going on in Richard Ford’s “world premiere” (a phrase that’s starting to give me stomach cramps). The rivalry between two brothers–power-hungry politician David (John Fenner Mays) and cuddly professor Arthur (Michael Kass)–is depicted as a medieval duel, a good start. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater

Flamenco encompasses a wide range of styles and moods, from stately ensemble dances employing politely held fans and sedate walking patterns to wild, passionate solos. But they all convey a sense of pride, with jutting shoulders, lifted arms calling attention to a torquing torso, clothing dramatically clasped and whipped, and wrists and fingers twirling in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Justice is Served

JUSTICE IS SERVED, Grounded Theatre, at the Playground. Improv is working when it seems impossible that a script doesn’t exist–when pattern becomes design and an authorial gestalt emerges. But if the tricks of the trained improviser or too many preconceived elements peek through, all the talent and invention in the world won’t breathe life into […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Evil Genius

Hedda Gabler Steppenwolf Theatre Company Hedda Gabler is a fin de siecle meditation on affluence and its discontents. In the brilliant production at Steppenwolf, Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 indictment of Oslo social climbing becomes a contemporary statement about the moral rot that consumes individuals–and societies–when they measure themselves only by possessions and power. More conventional Heddas […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Flanagan’s Wake and The Baritones

Flanagan’s Wake and The Baritones, Noble Fool Theater Company. The seven-year-old Flanagan’s Wake is still a fresh, silly carnival of a show, powered by a warm cast and the audience’s goodwill. Partly scripted and partly improvised, this parody of an Irish wake–complete with dancing, drinking, and fighting–asks audience members to say how Flanagan died (in […]