Posted inArts & Culture

Taku Akiyama Quintet

Talk about working in the shadows: once a week for most of this year, alto saxist Taku Akiyama has crammed his quintet onto an unlit ledge behind the storefront window of a Wicker Park rib joint, quietly crafting a lovely little jazz machine that combines a variety of 50s styles and repertoires. Akiyama has garnered […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Night Sky

Night Sky, Boxer Rebellion Theater. Susan Yankowitz’s melodramatic portrayal of one woman’s struggle with aphasia begins in a physics lecture hall, where it takes the playwright all of two minutes to create a perfectly unconvincing world. Rising young professor Anna attempts to ignite her students’ imaginations by asking, “Why do the planets spin?” as though […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Orpheus Descending

Orpheus Descending, Artistic Home. On the surface Tennessee Williams’s 1957 drama–a rewrite of his first professionally produced play, Battle of Angels–is the stuff of soap opera. The story sounds preposterous: a handsome young drifter shakes up a small southern town when he becomes enmeshed in the life of a sexually frustrated middle-aged woman. And the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Black for More: The Dirty Ass Rhonda Comeback show; and The Buttling Butler Buttles

Black for More: The Dirty Ass Rhonda Comeback Show, Second City E.T.C., and The Buttling Butler Buttles, at Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. Written and performed by Claudia Wallace and directed by John Hildreth, Black for More is far riskier and raunchier than anything else currently running in Chicago. Of course that’s the point of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Chairs

The Chairs, Court Theatre. Every Ionesco play is chilling on some level, but none more so than The Chairs (1951). It works like Waiting for Godot with a twist: nothing happens, but with the creeping sense that it’s about to stop happening, that some conclusion is actually approaching. Then, terrifyingly, Godot shows up. The elaborate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Quo Vadis

Four different assertions of company ownership ran continuously over the preview tape of this $18 million blockbuster–reportedly the most expensive movie ever made in Poland–so after the first hour I kept reaching for the fast-forward button. Still, I could see that this Roman spectacular with 1,700 extras will look great on a full-size movie screen […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

After watching a few episodes of Mind of the Married Man on HBO, I thought I would go out and try to get a massage with a “happy ending.” I looked through the yellow pages and classified ads and found a massage “spa” in a neighboring town. Heart full of hope, I went to the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Uncle Fred in the Springtime

Uncle Fred in the Springtime, City Lit Theater Company. For over ten years, City Lit has brought cheerful adaptations of the Bertie and Jeeves stories to P.G. Wodehouse fans. This year they’ve turned to a different branch of the Wodehouse canon, the Blandings Castle series. Instead of the hapless Bertie and resourceful Jeeves, we’re given […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

Don’t compare these Bears to the rough-and-tumble 1985 NFL champions. They’re a lot more like the weekend duffer who’s only as good (or bad) as his last shot. After a narrow opening loss to the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, the Bears put together a string of football birdies, but only their 24-0 […]

Posted inMusic

Hardcore Software

Converge Jane Doe (Equal Vision) In New York, music has had a hard time lately competing with the burning smell down here below Canal Street. (Note to terrorists/antiterrorists: Investigate smells more fully, as they will fuck your head right up.) Hip-hop’s confidence sounds howlingly wrong, too many singer-songwriters are playing a tiny violin I can’t […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

HARVEY SID FISHER 11/23, HIDEOUT Remember the “cocktail nation” craze of the mid-90s, when martinis, lounge singers, and cheesy Vegas comedians were all the rage? I thought it was pretty noxious coming from twentysomethings, but the shtick does have its charms coming from the real thing–from a parallel universe–like Harvey Sid Fisher. The 50s-vintage battle-of-the-sexes […]