Posted inArts & Culture

Anything Goes

ANYTHING GOES, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and ANYTHING GOES, Stage Right Dinner Theatre. It’s hard to believe this lightweight 1934 musical came out of the Depression. But its silliness was probably the point. A throwback to such Jazz Age obsessions as flappers and gangsters, the book was reassuringly retro. Americans Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

ALTAN 4/20, OLD TOWN SCHOOL This veteran band is considered by many to be the cream of the Irish-traditional crop, and with good reason–Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh’s voice skitters like a seagull over waves of clean, clear, but ornate instrumentation, emphasis on the fiddles and pipes. And there’s nobody on the mainstream world-music scene who gives […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Contact, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre. Director-choreographer Susan Stroman’s Broadway hit boasts a Tony for best musical, but despite a skimpy script by Stroman and John Weidman, this is a dance concert marketed as a musical to attract a mainstream audience. Performed to recorded music (including classical, big-band jazz, hard rock, and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

A radical idea–a city should look like a city. From the Metropolitan Planning Council’s recommendations for the new Chicago zoning code (“Issue Brief,” February): “MPC proposes that areas within a quarter mile of transit hubs (rail stations and intersections of high-ridership bus routes) be designated transit-oriented development districts. Such districts would: require ground-floor commercial uses […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Sylvia, Will Act for Food, at the Viaduct Theater. Adopting a stray dog gives a middle-aged man a new lease (leash?) on life but complicates his marriage. Playwright A.R. Gurney writes the dog as a person (the agile, perky, pug-nosed Jessica Browne-White), not only intensifying the bizarre love triangle but giving voice to the emotions […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Does fresh produce eliminate? In other words, does your lettuce continue to breathe, process oxygen, and produce waste products? I have often noticed a bitter, for lack of a better word, organic chemical taste on lettuce, apples, and other produce. The appearance and relative strength of this taste appears to correspond with the length of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Randy Weston

At 76, pianist Randy Weston is one of the last true bebop-era legends. But the composer of jazz standards like “Hi-Fly,” “Berkshire Blues,” and “Little Niles” has never been one to rest on his laurels. Back in the 50s he expanded on the individualistic accomplishments of Thelonious Monk, adopting his tricky rhythmic phrasing and jagged […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Friday 4/19 – Thursday 4/25 APRIL 19 FRIDAY He hasn’t put out a rap CD and won’t be joining the Harvard posse at Princeton, but Olive-Harvey College professor Armstead Allen has been a driving force in African-American studies ever since he hosted the field’s first get-together back in 1977. Today the school’s 25th annual black […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Drunk and Drunker

Drunk and Drunker, Corn Productions, at the Cornservatory. Many of the sketches in this revue might have been written by slackers or stoners in a high school drama class. Though the scenes are somewhat more polished, they’re rife with easy jokes in poor taste about social rejects, people with mental defects, drinking, drugs, and sexual […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Although composer and alto saxophonist John Zorn is well-known for juggling styles within a single band–Naked City’s raucous melange of hardcore, surf music, and film sound tracks, for example–one of the keys to his success is the way he compartmentalizes his musical interests, simultaneously pursuing several disparate and intensely focused projects. Over the last two […]