Laurie Anderson once quipped that talking about art is like dancing about architecture. She meant the line as a put-down of criticism, but really it’s just a statement of how human beings work–we’re always translating our experiences from one medium to another, hence the paintings inspired by operas based on plays adapted from novels. In […]
Last December 31, Chicago’s north Loop theater district was buzzing with activity. This year, only the Shubert has a show booked for the final night of 2000. But thanks to the enduringly strong off-Loop theater scene, there are plenty of choices for audiences seeking a New Year’s Eve show–with or without the usual hoopla. Since […]
Some like their holidays light and sugar frosted. And for them the mainstream provides all manner of gooey treats–in the theater, in the movies, and on TV. The rest of us have to depend on such fringe groups as the Stage Actors Ensemble to deliver shows like Jeff Goode’s acid-tinged The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. In […]
Whiskey in Blue, Curious Theatre Branch, at the Lunar Cabaret. As a rule, Beau O’Reilly is a master of exquisite detail, a playwright with a golden ear for naturalistic dialogue. But he’s also a man of surprises, and in his latest full-length work–a grim, haunting portrait of a pair of hard-livin’, heavy-drinkin’ vagrants–he also uses […]
The School for Scandal Chicago Shakespeare Theater By Justin Hayford When Richard Brindley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal–that seemingly tissue-thin comedy about hypocritical aristocratic scandalmongers–premiered in London in 1777, it was a bona fide theatrical sensation. It enjoyed a lengthy run at the 2,300-seat Drury Lane, prompting the Gazeteer to gush that Sheridan “has happily […]
The city has big plans to turn 47th Street into a tourist-friendly blues district and African marketplace. But if they kick out beloved local businesses, they may destroy the last authentic remnants of the heritage they’re trying to celebrate.
Eleventh Dream Day While Eleventh Dream Day’s 17-year history certainly qualifies the band as rock veterans, the term would seem to imply that they’ve settled into a groove, sticking to what they do best. But although EDD’s seventh album, Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey), doesn’t experiment as heavily with color and texture as 1997’s Eighth, it’s […]
Twenty feet above the Medinah Temple’s main stage, a worker on a scaffold removes the tacks holding up Gustav Brand’s 80-foot rendering of a pilgrimage to Mecca. A Chicago landmark is about to be gutted to house a Bloomingdale’s Home Store, and while the atmosphere is akin to that of a fire sale, the crew […]
Commercial Break When most sailors are at sea, they look forward to care packages sent from home, but Doug Lefrak admits that while he was aboard the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier that patrolled the waters near Taiwan in 1995, he was most excited about the arrival of his subscription to Billboard. Lefrak had booked […]
INTO THE WOODS, Porchlight Theatre, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Exuberantly acted and beautifully sung, Porchlight’s latest foray into the oeuvre of Stephen Sondheim is nonetheless a disappointing follow-up to its superb revival of his Merrily We Roll Along. The subtlety and emotional honesty of that production give way here to a broad comic approach that […]
Joe Baldwin Retrospective at Law Office, through December 10 By Fred Camper Joe Baldwin’s 12 witty, paradoxical paintings at Law Office, made over the last five years, constitute the strongest debut show I’ve seen this year. But had I seen one of these paintings on its own, I don’t think I would have felt the […]
PRESTON REED Acoustic guitarist Preston Reed practices a flamboyant “self-invented” style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other. He has precise, note-by-note control of his timbre, whether hammering on the fretboard with both hands, fingerpicking, or blending the two in a deft, contrapuntal dialogue that […]
PAT MARTINO Guitarist Pat Martino has pulled off two pretty good tricks in the last couple decades. First, he cheated death: in 1980, in his mid-30s and at the height of his career, he survived a brain aneurysm and the subsequent surgery. Then, having lost most of his memory and motor skills on the operating […]
Growing up gay and working-class, Sweetback’s David Cerda knew just how Rudolph felt.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Rosemont Theatre, and A Christmas Fantasy On Ice, Drury Lane Theatre, Evergreen Park. There are really only two ways to enjoy certain holiday productions: either grab the nearest kid or senior citizen, shell out $15 to valet park your minivan, and sit back and “fill your heart with Christmas” or […]