Posted inArts & Culture

Calendar Photo Caption

Before Syd Harris started photographing Chicago workers in the 1950s, he was one himself, logging 20-some years in the stockyards and behind the wheel of a beer truck. But he’d also fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish civil war and helped run the presidential campaign of Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace in […]

Posted inMusic

Popsters Trump Posers

McSweeney’s vs. They Might Be Giants at the Athenaeum Theatre, October 25 Live music may be more likely to inspire gut-level catharsis than any novel, but you can’t knock the pleasures of tinkering with your brain in private: aren’t some evenings better spent reading than buying $20 rounds for your buddies to spill on your […]

Posted inArts & Culture


My vote for 2002’s most dreadful single goes to “Sunglasses at Night,” the recent club smash from the Montreal duo Tiga & Zyntherius: their smug irony makes their version even lamer than Corey Hart’s 1984 original. But Tiga at least has redeemed himself. His current mix CD, American Gigolo: The Best of International Deejay Gigolo […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

I’m in college and I live with my best friend. He and I tell each other almost everything–except he doesn’t know that I’m bi. What complicates things further is that I am completely in love with him. He’s straight and oblivious. Everyone says you can’t “convert” someone, but I’m wondering if he has bi-curious leanings […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Maids

The Maids, Exigent Theatre, at the Athenaeum Theatre. Violence has its own sacraments for convict-bard Jean Genet. His 75-minute 1947 drama climaxes with a sadomasochistic “equalizing” ceremony: two maids, sisters who share a nightly ritual of dressing up as their mistress and her servant, play these parts one last time, a game that ends in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hazel Dickens

Hazel Dickens was still in her teens when her family moved from Mercer County, West Virginia, to Baltimore in 1954. In this unlikely locale, one of the most important singers in bluegrass and old-timey music began her career. Before long her voice, which tempers the high-lonesome cry of bluegrass singers with a soulful warmth lifted […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Just Say Nommo

Just Say Nommo, Nommo Gathering Black Writers Collective, at Kennedy-King College. Billed as a “slammin’, hard-hitting sketch comedy revue,” Just Say Nommo, directed by Sheldon P. Lane, is surprisingly tenuous. Though a few sketches approach the unblinking sharpness that makes for good political and social satire, most of them are too moralistic to be funny, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Too True to Be Good

Too True to Be Good, ShawChicago, at the Chicago Cultural Center. Madness outstrips genius in George Bernard Shaw’s wonderfully imagined but utterly incoherent 1933 farce satirizing British diplomacy after World War I. The three acts offer only polite echoes of worthier, less self-consciously clever Shaw efforts and never make much sense together. Toward the end […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sigur Ros

On ( ) (MCA)–yes, ( )–its hotly anticipated follow-up to 2000’s Agaetis Byrjun (Fat Cat), the Icelandic quartet Sigur Ros mostly leaves well enough alone. But the new album–eight untitled songs, clocking in around 70 minutes and recorded at the band’s new Reykjavik studio, a converted swimming pool called Alafoss–does scuff the ethereal polish of […]

Posted inArts & Culture


This coproduction by Chicago’s Court Theatre and Seattle’s Intiman Theatre offers an appealing mix of gracefulness and vulgarity. Adapted from Moliere’s 1671 comedy Les fourberies de Scapin by playwrights Shelley Berc and Andrei Belgrader and composer Rusty Magee, Scapin draws on the traditions of 17th-century commedia dell’arte, employing slapstick, song-and-dance episodes, and inventive improvisation. The […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Hfobble, TriArts, Inc., at Stage Left Theatre. The stock characters of commedia dell’arte may seem quaint and exotic now, but they represented types as familiar to 16th-century Italians as yuppies, rappers, and soccer moms are to our society today. The TriArts ensemble have created their commedia-style script in affiliation with the city’s Department on Aging, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Until We Find Each Other

Until We Find Each Other, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. I first saw this Brooke Berman play about three Jewish cousins who share a psychic connection in a staged reading at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference. That production was rehearsed for only three days, and Berman has had four months to revise her script, so I expected this […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Sports Section

As November rolled around, the most frustrating year in Chicago sports history was still finding new ways to aggravate. After the Bears had opened 2002 by losing their first playoff game, and the Blackhawks had likewise made the playoffs only to lose in the first round, and the Cubs and White Sox had both seen […]