Posted inArts & Culture


On his grandiose and schizophrenic U.S. debut, Fantasma (Matador, 1998), Japanese pomo pop star Cornelius drove wildly different genres together in the sampling equivalent of a demolition derby. Bits of bossa nova, cartoon music and sound effects, drum ‘n’ bass, garage rock, and sunny pop collided in a delirious mix–but especially in the context of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stages 2002: A Festival of New Musicals

Theatre Building Chicago hosts a weekend-long showcase of seven new musicals, offered here in varying stages of readiness. The lineup compiled by artistic director John Sparks includes concert-style performances (with the actors at music stands), staged readings (with the actors moving about while using scripts and scores), and fully memorized and staged studio presentations. The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan

The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, House Theatre of Chicago, at Viaduct Theater. Playwright James M. Barrie developed the myth of Peter Pan, the “wonderful boy” who wouldn’t grow up, from games and stories about fairies, pirates, and Indians he invented for four-year-old George Llewellyn Davies and his brothers. So the wonderful sense of play […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In June, after the British musical group the Planets released an album that included a 60-second track of complete silence, representatives of the estate of composer John Cage threatened to sue the group for plagiarizing Cage’s 4’33”, which is 273 seconds of silence. The group argued that the representatives had failed to specify […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Triumvirate Presents Dogmatic

One positive result of the increased influence of popular culture on fine art is exhibits that are just fun. Three School of the Art Institute graduates calling themselves “The Triumvirate of Ass”–Meg Duguid, Meredith Grover, and Jessica Peterson–are showing six works geared to Dogmatic Gallery’s “aesthetics,” which, they write in their statement, include “crooked walls […]

Posted inArts & Culture

My Foot Left

My Foot Left, at WNEP Theater. Almost 15 years ago, when playwright Kenan Derson was 15, a doctor amputated his left leg below the knee because he had cancer. In this quirky, uneven 80-minute one-man show, directed by Cholley Kuhaneck, Derson looks at the moment when he learned what would happen and describes what life […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tumpie’s Dance

In this new musical, “Tumpie” is the nickname of the young Josephine Baker, daughter of a Saint Louis laundress who became the toast of 1920s Paris by importing “le jazz hot.” Performed for the first time as the opening attraction of the “Stages 2002” festival, this work in progress focuses on Baker’s relationship with her […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

When I first started dating my boyfriend, he told me he was a “furry.” I didn’t have any idea what he meant, so he explained to me that he really wanted a costume that was basically paws, a tail, and maybe some other catlike features, and he wanted to have sex while wearing this costume. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Messages in the Medium

Friese Undine: Perdition in Chickentown at Aron Packer, through August 17 Bradford Johnson at Gwenda Jay/Addington, through August 24 Though neither Friese Undine nor Bradford Johnson claims Gerhard Richter as an influence, both make paintings based on photo-graphs and both step back from the role of artist as icon maker, as author of a compelling […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

PAUL WESTERBERG 8/9, THE VIC I pulled out Paul Westerberg’s new “comeback” record, Stereo (Vagrant), with great trepidation. The guy had already hurt me at least once with a lousy record, but I got over it and got on with my life–so now I’m supposed to let him try again? (Yes, at this point bad […]