Posted inArts & Culture

Goo!/Behind the Mustach

Goo! C’Est la Vie Drama Group, at WNEP Theater, and Behind the Mustach, Spoog Records and Oink Productions, at WNEP Theater. Billed as “a theatrical sitcom,” Goo! has a Three’s Company-esque premise: three recent college grads planning a kegger are caught in the midst of party prep by their landlord (Paul Jensen, whose awkward mannerisms […]

Posted inMusic

Wilco’s Beating Heart

Wilco’s Beating Heart In the late 90s Glenn Kotche was one of the busiest drummers in Chicago–a town with a lot of busy drummers. He could be heard, live and on record, keeping the beat behind everyone from Jon Langford to Edith Frost to Jim O’Rourke. But in nearly every situation, he felt like a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nina Nastasia

On her recently released second album, The Blackened Air (Touch and Go), New York singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia grapples with the kind of fundamental uncertainty that sinks in when adulthood genuinely takes hold. Several songs are about trying to take stock of the present while shaking off increasingly elusive hopes for the future: “We work so […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Showgirls, Harvey Finklestein’s Institute of Whimsical, Fantastical and Marvelous Puppet Masterage, at the Side Studio. Paul Verhoeven’s cinematic expose of the Las Vegas skin trade is the inspiration for this puppetry parody. After an avalanche of bad press greeted the film’s release in 1995, Verhoeven tried to represent his cheap porno as an “ironic” commentary […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Grunt, at ImprovOlympic. The performers in this late-night improv show demonstrate a finely honed sense of how to make comedy work. Directed by Second City alumnus Craig Cackowski, the seven cast members know when to repeat a joke to give it legs and how to fully explore an idea’s humor (and usually when to cut […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mr. Smarty Pants

MR. SMARTY-PANTS, Serendipity Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. Though better known as an author of short fiction, playwright Steve Amick has written for the stage before. Yet his new play seems the work of a talented transplant held hostage by an excess of incidental wit while straining to set forth a rather perfunctory plot. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Schippers Bladel BV, a Dutch manufacturer of breeding devices for livestock, recently began selling a $27 vibrator that supposedly relaxes sows during artificial insemination. A sales manager at the company explained, “Once the vibrator is inserted, the pig’s ears will go up and she will stand ready to be serviced.” The company also […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lyric Opera Center For American Artists

For years the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists–the company’s talent incubator, founded in 1974–has been loaning out some of its most promising apprentices for concerts around town. Six current members, each of whom beat out nearly 500 other aspirants for one of the center’s dozen yearly slots, will perform this Sunday at the Art […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Authorship Versus Ownership

Plagiarism is journalism’s sin of sins, but not its crime of crimes. In court it’s a copyright violation, if that. Wendell Hutson is steaming mad because somebody else signed his work. Hutson’s gunning for legal satisfaction, but don’t count on him getting any. He used to write for the Illinois Real Estate Journal, a biweekly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: twin peeks

Identical twins Martha Williams and Mary Heater were best friends while growing up in Elmhurst. But things began to change in high school. “There was a point where we needed to have different friends,” says Martha, who started studying photography around that time as part of an effort to “be my own person.” After graduation […]