Posted inArts & Culture


Silos mainstay Walter Salas-Humara has been at it now for more than 15 years–and he seems to have packed everything he’s learned in that time onto his current trio’s most recent album, Laser Beam Next Door (Checkered Past). The 11 songs were distilled over a couple years of touring, during which bassist Drew Glackin and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Gulliver’s Circus

Gulliver’s Circus, Flying Griffin Circus, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. No one would ever confuse the tiny Flying Griffin Circus with better-funded entities like Cirque du Soleil or the Big Apple Circus. But its size is part of the troupe’s charm. Performing in a space too small even to call a single ring, this […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show

The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show, at Frankie J’s. Southpaw Sam McClowski–the creation of writer-performer Samson Crouppen–thinks that television talk-show hosts have become too namby-pamby. So he comes up with The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show, coming to you from station K-ASS in Bryan, Texas. This host wears a Yosemite Sam Stetson, Roy Rogers shirt, sneakers, and […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

How come your masturbation horror story contest was only open to men? Women masturbate, and I’m sure we have horror stories! I’m a woman and I masturbate. Fortunately, I don’t have a horror story to share. I just wanted to bitch. –You’re Extremely Sexist I never said the masturbation horror story contest was closed to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Shoemakers

The Shoemakers, Trap Door Theatre. Never performed or published during the playwright’s lifetime, Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz’s 1934 parable in three scenes tackles, in part, the subjects of revolution, decadence, and materialism. Trap Door’s staging–its fourth of “Witkacy,” as the Polish writer-philosopher was known–is dense, surreal, slyly self-referential, and gleefully bizarre. Directed by Beata Pilch and […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

STEREO TOTAL 11/2, EMPTY BOTTLE On their new fifth album, Musique Automatique (Bobsled), this multinational Berlin-based entity–now just the duo of Francoise Cactus and Brezel Goring–have started using more real instruments in an attempt to sound more electronic. (Yeah, I had to read that twice too.) Their attempts at Kraftwerkian bubblegum are a bit less […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Days of the Week

Friday 11/2 – Thursday 11/8 NOVEMBER 2 FRIDAY There are some 20,000 part-time, adjunct, or “contingent” faculty members working at colleges and universities in the Chicago area. “Most don’t get benefits,” says activist Joe Berry, who teaches history and labor studies at a handful of local institutions, “although there are exceptions”–at Columbia College and Roosevelt […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Keorner, Ray & Glover

Since they started playing together almost 40 years ago, harpist Tony “Little Sun” Glover and guitarists “Spider” John Koerner and Dave “Snaker” Ray have cultivated the personas of smart-assed reprobates as likely to get kicked out of a coffeehouse as to play in one–“Drunken Instrumental,” a jam recorded live in ’63, is subtitled “To Kill […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tatsuya Nakatani

Simplicity might look easy, but don’t be deceived; if you don’t wield what you have with skill, it’ll just be weak. Tatsuya Nakatani, who was born in Japan and now lives in New York City, knows how to make a little say a lot. Every stark drum beat, lingering bell toll, or radiant scrape of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Tempest

The Tempest, European Repertory Company, at the Viaduct Theater. During intermission the teenage boy in front of me turned to his college-age sister and asked, “OK, so who’s the guy with the stick?” It’s a magic staff, she explained, wielded by Prospero, the usurped duke of Milan who learned sorcery while stranded on a desert […]

Posted inFilm

Is He or Isn’t He?

K-Pax ** Directed by Iain Softley Written by Charles Leavitt With Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Gerety, Saul Williams, and Celia Weston. The last chapter of Robert Lindner’s best-seller The Fifty-Minute Hour, which I read when I was a teenager, was the first thing I was reminded of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Hollow Tree Promises

In September 2000, during a hearing at which the city’s Community Development Commission would approve the Medinah Temple-Tree Studios redevelopment project, James Stola, a board member with the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, took the microphone and said, “There’s a lot of artists that just feel that this is the last blow to the ability to find […]