Posted inArts & Culture

Mark Colby

Every city worth its salt has plenty of terrific musicians working just under the typical concertgoer’s radar, which only tends to pick up the big stars. Like many such players, tenor saxist Mark Colby spends most of his time teaching (at Elmhurst College and DePaul University), performing in public too rarely for my taste. His […]

Posted inFilm

Afghan High Jinks

Kandahar *** (A must-see) Directed and written by Mohsen Makhmalbaf With Nelofer Pazira, Hassan Tantai, and Sadou Teymouri. “Shall I recite the Koran for the dead?” “We are the dead; sing for us.” –Kandahar There are times in history when the aesthetic quality of a work of art appears to become secondary to the urgency […]

Posted inArts & Culture

No Exit

No Exit, Speaking Ring Theatre, at the Chopin Theatre. Every audience member here has a front-row seat, arranged around the perimeter of a tiny brightly lit room, and an unimpeded view of those sitting opposite. Furthermore the walls at our backs, fashioned from stretched jersey, allow us to hear and see whispers, bodily noises, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

La Luna Muda

La luna muda, Lookingglass Theatre Company, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Lookingglass shows are generally either intensely earnest and athletic or cool, languid, and arty. Their latest belongs to the latter group. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s highly ornate, self-conscious short story “The Distance of the Moon,” this is a gorgeous piece packed […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Researchers at Kinki University near Osaka, Japan, announced last month that they had successfully bred spinach genes into pigs, the first genetic combination of plant and mammal. Professor Akira Iritani claimed that the resulting meat would be “more healthy” than normal pork but added, “The significance of this success is more academic than […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Exhuming the Past

Copenhagen Shubert Theatre A Skull in Connemara Northlight Theatre Copenhagen and A Skull in Connemara at first seem as different in content as they are visually. A deeply serious philosophical drama, Copenhagen takes place in a sleek, sterile, brightly lit, bleached-wood lecture hall–an academic’s vision of heaven or limbo or Valhalla–in which the spirits of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Scotland, PA

Paying tribute to the Bard and Bad Company, writer-director Billy Morrissette enfolds the Shakespeare illiterate in an embrace usually reserved for connoisseurs. In this comically persuasive fable about the origins of the fast-food industry, the McBeths–loving, lusting young marrieds frustrated in their dead-end jobs at a conventional diner in rural Pennsylvania–scheme to take over the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


This fact-based but speculative drama by British playwright Michael Frayn focuses on two Nobel-winning atomic physicists, Denmark’s Niels Bohr and Germany’s Werner Heisenberg–longtime friends who found themselves on opposite sides during World War II. The subject is their falling-out after a mysterious meeting in 1941, when Heisenberg questioned Bohr on the feasibility and morality of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Story of My Life

Dear Ms. Vanasco, I would like to thank you for coming to review the premiere of my one-woman show Just Playing Me: The Return of Jereme Cullens at Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln, where I will be performing Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM. Regretfully there were a few issues in your review of my aforementioned […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Skull in Connemara

Skokie’s Northlight Theatre, which introduced Chicago-area audiences to the work of Martin McDonagh with its 1999 production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, returns to the Anglo-Irish playwright’s work with this dark comedy about life and death in rural Galway. Mick Dowd (Si Osborne) has been hired to dig up old bones in a churchyard to […]