Posted inArts & Culture

Tossers

For the past decade Chicago’s Tossers have followed in the weaving footsteps of Celt-rock pioneers the Pogues and the ur-oi outfit Cocksparrer–an excellent path for any quality band that wants to get ignored. The simple message of street punk–“I’m poor and I’m pissed and I’m political, so watch it!”–is pretty much a turn-off without perfect […]

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Divinity School

My older sister’s bedroom is mostly pink and white. A 16-year-old’s Barbie bedroom with a splash of school spirit. She has pictures on her dresser in white frames with hearts on them. One is me. My fourth grade picture. She likes it because she did my hair that day and it actually came out all […]

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Ed Petersen & Von Freeman

You’d think a guy who’s spent a winter or two in Chicago would see the sense in staying south for the holidays. But saxist Ed Petersen, who moved to bayou country in the mid-90s, braves the elements every year to hook up with his friend and mentor Von Freeman in what’s become a yuletide tradition. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Datebook

DECEMBER 26 FRIDAY Christmas may be over, but there are still five more chances to see the Joffrey Ballet’s acclaimed Nutcracker. Choreographed in 1987 by the company’s late founder, Robert Joffrey, this version of the holiday chestnut is set in Victorian America, rather than the Old World, but retains its classic trappings, including frolicking mice, […]

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Affection

Ryan stands at the garage door and watches his father cut open the belly of a deer. The deer hangs from the rafters, its legs trussed. Ryan’s father has laid down an old blanket to catch the blood, which rushes out in a panic, steaming as it hits the cold fall air. Ryan’s father reaches […]

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That’s Weird, Grandma

This show, in which adults interpret stories written by Chicago Public School kids, may be one of the more ingenious and pure-hearted hours of entertainment in the city: the grown-ups have great fun with, but never make fun of, their sources. Now, by adding a few holiday-themed performances to its open run, Barrel of Monkeys […]

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How to Make Hot-Water Cornbread

‘Cause grandma’s from Backwoods, Mississippi, she can go to work on cornbread and buttermilk, or cornbread and beans, or well, cornbread and anything all smashed up in a bowl, but you live in Chicago and are only country by association, so you’ll need something green like greens, cabbage, or spinach to accompany your cornbread. Choose […]

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Hairspray

Cinderella goes to the ball, dances up a storm, wins the heart of Prince Charming–and becomes the people’s princess by leading a revolution in style and sensibility. That’s the gist of this bouncy Broadway musical, cannily adapted from the 1988 John Waters movie. The setting is 1962 Baltimore, strictly segregated by race, class, and standards […]

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Mary Lou Zelazny

Mary Lou Zelazny’s dreamy images of young women and girls in nine new collaged paintings at Carl Hammer flirt with kitsch but ultimately transcend it to reveal an unusual spirituality. In Love in a Puff, a nude young woman in a diaphanous, billowing skirt walks a narrow plank suspended over an abstract nighttime cityscape; every […]

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TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts B-52’S, POI DOG PONDERING, JANAH Wed 12/31, 8 PM, Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. 312-836-4299 or 312-559-1212. B2K Sun 1/4, 6 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. 312-263-1138 or 312-902-1500. BELL DUET GUYS Fri 12/26, 7 and 8 PM, auditorium, Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe. 847-835-5440. MARGARET […]

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The Elusive Blue Pepper

It felt like my lungs had suddenly filled with cellophane. All the unwrapped, crumpled up, mayo-smeared, mustard-smeared, meringue-cream-pie-smeared cellophane of the world crammed into my lungs. Today I live in a plastic bubble I can never leave, and have had countless attacks. That day I was six and riding in the back of my mother’s […]

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Sunday Drive

It was the fourth Sunday of the month. Wayne Gumbert parked in the visitors’ lot but left the engine running. He wanted to hear the rest of the song on the radio. He lit a cigarette and drummed his fingers absently on the steering wheel. When the song was over he killed the engine and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In August the town of Bartow, Florida, responded to a rising influx of complaints about stray chickens by repealing a 1922 ordinance that made it illegal to kill, capture, or “annoy” birds. And also in August, at the Indiana State Fair, Purdue University entomologists presented “Roachill Downs,” a series of cockroach races on […]

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Aretha Franklin

Count me among the fans of Al Green’s new album, I Can’t Stop (Blue Note), the soul giant’s reunion with producer Willie Mitchell, who was at the board for the singer’s classic work on Hi Records. The sensual, low-end sound that Mitchell perfected in the early 70s remains the ideal complement to Green’s creamy voice. […]