Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories British television production company Mentorn announced in September that it was developing a series in which a terminally ill patient would volunteer for the “ultimate makeover”–after his death, his body would be preserved by plastination (which replaces fats and fluids with durable polymers) and “improved” by doctors and engineers. Among the changes already […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Artificial by Nature

Benjamin Chickadel: Land of Pine Trees at School of the Art Institute Gallery 2, through October 30 In this age of relentless environmental campaigns, messages about the natural world often seem redundant and worn. But Land of Pine Trees, Benjamin Chickadel’s stunning installation at Gallery 2, offers a refreshing look at the relationship between nature, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Hollywood-Styles WhoDunnit

A Hollywood-Style WhoDunnit, at Second City, Donny’s Skybox Studio. What little laughter there was at this lame late-night murder mystery came from a single person in the audience. And I have my suspicions who it was, given that someone coming from backstage after the performance said, “Hi mom.” The rest of the people there were […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Awake and Sing!

Awake And Sing!, TimeLine Theatre Company. Clifford Odets’s controversial repudiation of family values still burns at the heart of this 1935 protest play. The Bergers, an immigrant Jewish family living in the Bronx, are coming apart under the privations of the Depression. They’ve always been connected more by money than love, so now they’re survivors […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Petty Crime

Saturday, September 14, 100 block of South Halsted, time unknown. Theft. 38-year-old male offender and 27-year-old female offender were observed leaving pharmacy without paying for four bottles of Oil of Olay. Police officers located getaway vehicle–maroon GMC van–as it pulled into lot near one offender’s home. Antiaging cream was recovered. Monday, September 16, 5800 block […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Playwright Charles L. Mee and SITI Company director Anne Bogart celebrate the life and vision of 20th-century pop artist Robert Rauschenberg by presenting them the way he most likely would: as a collage, giving this piece the same color, irony, and jagged edges the artist favored in the eclectic “combines” for which he’s most famous. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Book of Mercy

Book of Mercy, Chicago Dramatists. Carson Grace Becker’s new play is one of the most disheartening theatrical endeavors I’ve encountered in recent months. Despite Chicago Dramatists’ much ballyhooed presence on larger stages around the city this year, including an upcoming production of Becker and David Barr’s By the Music of the Spheres at the Goodman, […]

Posted inFilm

Past Imperfect

In Praise of Love **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Jean-Luc Godard With Bruno Putzulu, Cecile Camp, Claude Baignieres, Remo Forlani, Audrey Klebaner, Mark Hunter, and Jeremy Lippmann. Berthe: “When did the gaze collapse?” Edgar: “Before TV took precedence.” Berthe: “Took precedence over what? Current events?” Edgar: “Over life.” Berthe: “Yes. I feel our gaze […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Book Festival–City of Big Readers

Chicago’s annual literary festival, formerly known as Chicago Book Week, is now a monthlong event. This year’s edition runs through October 30, with readings and book signings by local and national writers, poets, and scholars as well as discussions, lectures, workshops, tours, and children’s activities at locations throughout the city. Admission is free unless otherwise […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Brooklyn Beats Records Showcase

The folks at Broklyn Beats prefer the real crackle of a ragged needle on vinyl to some fancy computer effect that mimics it. Cofounder Crito Thornton (aka Criterion) started his music career in Minneapolis playing saxophone in the crusty-punk/no-wave band Dogfight. He also spent 13 years there publishing fanzines and almost a decade working for […]

Posted inMusic

Adam Lane Quartet with John Tchicai

Young bicoastal bassist Adam Lane has been collaborating with his mentors since he first worked with the great Danish saxophonist John Tchicai in the latter’s California-based quartet Infinitesimal Flash two years ago. With his new album, Fo(u)r Being(s) (CIMP), Lane can put two more notches in his fiddle–trumpeter Paul Smoker and drummer Barry Altschul join […]