Posted inArts & Culture


SNATCHVILLE, Giants in the Sky Productions, at Donny’s Skybox Studio. This late-night musical comedy is held together by a giant Band-Aid: the hilarious 76-year-old storytelling brothers Jethro and Jamal Brown (Seth Thomas and Samson Crouppen), whose narration frames each scene. Without their banter to liven things up, the cumulative dullness of writer-director Jason Flowers’s largely […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rufus Wainwright

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT In hindsight, the ambitiously anachronistic Great American Songbook-isms of Rufus Wainwright’s 1998 debut obscured its weaknesses. I listen to it now and wonder how I could’ve overlooked the mush-mouthed mumbling and faux-operatic swoops, the silly parlor piano, or the shapelessness of some of the songs. But he had, and still has, a superb […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Flat Ironies

Dear Ms. Isaacs, I have read your current column [Culture Club] in the 7/13/01 edition of the Reader with much amusement and not a small sense of irony considering my former relationship to the Flat Iron Building and one of its most celebrated former tenants, the Around the Coyote festival. It certainly brings back old […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Strange Light

STRANGE LIGHT, Bailiwick Repertory. It’s not a whodunit, but a whatdunit–what made young Bayley’s long-deceased father such a grouch? The major clue is a booklet published by General Electric, which employed him in developing its fluorescent light fixtures, and the crime scene is the 1939 World’s Fair. Bayley is desperate to learn this family secret […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

One night last year I walked into my dorm room to go to bed, interrupting my roommate while he was having sex with his girlfriend. The room was pitch-black, so they would have noticed me entering the room thanks to the light spilling in from the hall. However, I reasoned, if I simply flopped on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Monumental Error

Mr. Rosenbaum: Excellent critical piece on Spielberg’s (and Kubrick’s?) A.I. [July 13]. However: “But Dreyfuss’s behavior is ultimately justified by the plot–when his mound of mashed potatoes matches a Monument Valley mountain site leading him toward an alien spaceship landing.” The site of the alien landing is (a cinemaginative reconstruction of) Devil’s Tower, an ancient […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

TRIP DADDYS 7/28, HOUSE OF BLUES There isn’t much to say about rockabilly anymore except “good” or “bad.” Hot Chicks and Fast Kicks, this Saint Louis trio’s forthcoming self-released CD, is the former, a fierce little dragster of a record–it’s tight and clean and tricked-out for sure, but also manages to sound absolutely fearless. Brian […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Get That Camera Out Of My Face

To the editors: I was seriously considering taking a studio at the Flat Iron Building to display my photographs. But after reading that cameras will broadcast tenants’ comings and goings [Culture Club, July 13], no way am I moving in. It’s voyeurism. Building owner Bob Berger should use the $100,000 for the cameras instead on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Tragedy of Ben and With a Whimper

The Tragedy of Ben and With a Whimper, Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago, at New Harrison Street Galleries Studio Theatre. Mark Macoun, the recent Valparaiso University graduate who wrote and directed this pair of one-acts, may have talent. There are brief flickers of it in these works. The Tragedy of Ben has a strong, attention-grabbing […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The third feature of wild and weird Guy Maddin (Tales From the Gimli Hospital, Archangel), the brilliant independent Canadian filmmaker based in Winnipeg whose poker-faced period extravaganzas all suggest early, scratchy talkies. This 1992 film is his first in color, which means subdued pastels in some spots and lush tinting of black-and-white footage in others. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Verbatim Verboten Deluxe

Most people who lose their theater after a police sting put their tail between their legs. Michael Martin, of the Great Beast Theater, is throwing a party. Having been kicked out of Wicker Park’s Inner Town Pub, he’s now holing up at the National Pastime with his two-day invasion-of-privacy cabaret, Verbatim Verboten Deluxe. The original […]