Posted inArts & Culture

Snakebit

Snakebit, Profiles Theatre. New York actor David Marshall Grant writes plays that rise to the performers’ occasions. Catnip to the reliable Profiles ensemble, the characters in Snakebit engage in clean, juicy clashes as suited to defining character as they are to hooking the audience. The play contrasts two best friends and the woman whose affection […]

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Knives in Hens

Knives in Hens, Strawdog Theatre Company. This smoldering fable by Scotsman David Harrower is as Piano-esque as they come. Young Woman, married to gruff plowman Pony William, slowly falls for miller Gilbert Horn, whose preference for using his head rather than his hands has made him the village pariah, accused of everything from sissyhood to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sprts Section

No Cheering in the Press Box is the title of an old book by former Tribune sportswriter Jerome Holtzman, and as something of an old-school sportswriter myself, I follow that edict. My record is exemplary but for the odd groan when Jose Valentin boots a grounder or an oooh for a Sammy Sosa homer, not […]

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Once Upon a Mattress

Once Upon a Mattress, Emerald City Theatre Company, at the Apollo Theater. Director L. Walter Stearns gives this hour-long children’s version of Mary Rodgers’s musical the surefire Marx Brothers treatment. The story–Winnifred the Woebegone breaks a spell by swimming a castle moat, winning the love of Prince Dauntless the Drab–gets a vaudeville makeover. Here the […]

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The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol

The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, Vitalist Theatre, at Theatre Building Chicago. With their third production in five years, the Vitalists attempt the sort of physical storytelling for which Lookingglass has set the Chicago standard. And like their Lookingglass colleagues, the Vitalists are adept at divesting themselves of their humanity whenever necessary, transforming themselves into […]

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A Question of Character

Response to the response [Letters, January 17] of Brian Goeken (deputy commissioner for landmarks, city of Chicago Department of Planning and Development) to the Ben Joravsky article “Talk, Talk, Talk” [December 13]. Mr. Goeken mentions the Landmark Commission’s Chicago Historic Resources Survey, but apparently he doesn’t get around to reading it very often. If he […]

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TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, etc. concerts AMERICAN ENGLISH Beatles tribute. Sat 2/1, 8 PM (preceded by dinner at 6 PM), Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, Joliet. 815-726-6600 or 312-902-1500. DEVENDRA BANHART Free in-store performance. See Spot Check. Fri 1/31, 3:30 PM, Reckless Records, 1532 N. Milwaukee. 773-235-3727. CHICAGO MUSIC AWARDS 22nd annual awards ceremony with performances […]

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Willie Pickens

One of Chicago’s most revered pianists, Willie Pickens often shows up at the clubs in the service of some other leader. Last summer, for instance, he pulled off back-to-back engagements at the Jazz Showcase, tempering George Coleman’s deep Memphis blues with a little Maxwell Street one week and jumping like a jackrabbit with bebopper Frank […]

Posted inNews & Politics

You Have to Break Some Eggs

After reading the [January 24] Reader cover story with a headline, “Heartbreak Hotel,” designed to fuel flames of controversy in our community, please consider another viewpoint on this particular development. Uptown is a struggling, blighted community. It is home to litter-filled streets, high crime rates, and the largest number of social service agencies (80-plus) in […]

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Twyla Tharp Dance

The title–Surfer at the River Styx–kinda says it all: Twyla Tharp’s often startling sextet intertwines mythic seriousness with pop-culture lightness. Donald Knaack’s score begins with the melancholy sound of gongs struck randomly, but midway through he starts using traditional Asian instruments in rock arrangements. The choreography includes iconic, very formal stances that recall statuary, yoga, […]

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Good Vibrations

“The big question about violins is why do the good ones sound like they do and why do the crappy ones sound like they do,” says Northwestern University ethnomusicologist Stephen Hill. Hill makes his living pondering questions such as “Why is it that all human societies have music?” He’s also an amateur fiddler and woodworker, […]

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Tomatito

Jose Fernandez Torres, better known as Tomatito, was only 15 when he started playing guitar professionally, and he didn’t mess around. He quickly became the main accompanist for Spain’s premier flamenco vocalist, Camaron de la Isla (born Jose Monje Cruz), a gig he held until the singer’s death in 1992. Camaron’s place in flamenco history […]