Posted inArts & Culture

The Emily Show

The Emily Show, WNEP Theater. Jen Ellison is a rare breed of improviser: she hits her comfort zone remarkably quickly, and she’s so self-assured she can easily set an audience at ease–or provoke them. She also has a talent for shaping raw material and plumbing the depths of a character, reveling in the sort of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Playing Dumb with Jill Benjamin

Playing Dumb With Jill Benjamin, at Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. Love may be the universal language, but every subculture garbles it differently, and translating romantic absurdities requires a writer-performer to be both familiar with and distant from the milieu she describes. A lack of perspective is the problem here: Jill Benjamin is smart, talented, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Flaming Stars

Britain’s Flaming Stars have been pumping out elegant raunch-rock since 1995, when their debut seven-inch, Hospital, Heaven or Hell, landed them a recording session with Radio One’s John Peel; since then they’ve released five albums of surf-lounge-psychobilly with a twist of early Jesus and Mary Chain and made five more appearances on the Peel show […]

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Polish Film Festival in America

The 13th annual Polish Film Festival in America, produced by the Society for Arts, runs Saturday, November 3, through Sunday, November 18. Screenings are at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, and by video projection at the Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $9; passes are also available for $40 (five screenings) and […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]