Posted inArts & Culture

San Valentino and the Melancholy Kid

SAN VALENTINO AND THE MELANCHOLY KID, House Theatre of Chicago, at Viaduct Theater. Derivative? You bet. Gleefully, aggressively, pret’ near ecstatically so. Nathan Allen’s new show about a troubled cattle drive hasn’t met a cowboy trope it isn’t positively googly over, pulling archetypes out of Howard Hawks and hallucinations out of Sam Shepard. But the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bobby “Slim” James

Soul and blues fans know Bobby “Slim” James best for “I Really Love You,” recorded for the Karol label in 1968 and then covered by Jimmy Burns–both versions are collector’s items. Since then James has worked steadily, mostly on the south and west sides of Chicago, but he didn’t record again until 2000’s Beyond the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


TEA, Silk Road Theatre Project, at the Loop Theater. In Japanese society, drinking tea is not only a pastime but a religion and an emblem of nationalist pride. It serves a no less mythic purpose in Asian-American playwright Velina Hasu Houston’s Tea, set in the late 60s in a backwater Kansas military settlement that features […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Just out of curiosity, are you married yourself? Because if you are not, where do you get off telling married people how married sex should/could be? –Amy K. Maybe you missed the reference to my boyfriend and the Finnish men’s swim team in last week’s column, Amy K., but I’m a huge homo. Which means, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

April March

April March (nee Elinor Blake) grew up in a Francophile household in New York: she was speaking French by the time she was three, and Edith Piaf and Francoise Hardy got as many spins on the stereo as the Beatles and the Stones. Hence her strange musical career: although her first band was the neo-girl-group […]

Posted inArts & Culture


One problem with being the Guinness-certified world’s fastest rapper is that you’re in constant danger of getting written off as a novelty act. So it’s brave (or foolhardy) of Twista to accept the role producer Kanye West casts him in on the hit single “Slow Jamz.” Early in the song West is sweet-talking a new […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

BURN ROME BURN 1/23, METRO These four locals have yet to put out their debut EP (they’ll release it themselves in February, they say); in the meantime they’re headlining Metro. The sampling they sent me was room-filling anthem rock with aspirations to romantic sweep. I gather the name’s a nod to violinist Aoife Lyons, whose […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mark Arctander

Mark Arctander’s 20 new works at Roy Boyd use humorously dispaced found objects to reveal paradoxes of our consumer culture. The zipper pieces have a startling sexiness, something I haven’t seen in his work before. In Maple Zipper No. 10 (Triple) four wood laminate panels are connected by three zippers, suggesting two pairs of shorts […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Black Writers Get in the Game

In the early 1990s, Northeastern Illinois University history professor Patrick B. Miller and George Mason University sport studies professor David K. Wiggins began collecting essays, interviews, and other articles by African-American athletes, scholars, and sportswriters. The voices of black athletes were missing from scholarly treatments of sports, they felt, and writing produced by black writers […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Montreal’s Stills have four strikes against them: they’re pretty boys, they stare at the ground when they play, they’re backed by Vice’s bullshit empire of cool, and they call themselves “multilingual art-school socialists.” But their first full-length CD, Logic Will Break Your Heart (Vice), is actually one heck of an album, even if it does […]

Posted inArts & Culture


BAILEGANGAIRE, Irish Repertory, at Victory Gardens Theater. If Tom Murphy’s formulaic 1985 drama had a significant hand in reviving contemporary Irish playwriting, as some critics insist, then Irish stages must have been an utter wasteland. Young but bone-dry Mary is trapped in a rural thatched home caring for her senile grandmother, Mommo, a once renowned […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Local Amnesia

I find it a little ironic that WXRT is raising money for the Chicago Food Depository [Post No Bills, January 16]. Seeing the number of record stores that have closed in the last year, a lot of the out-of-work employees might be benefiting from a free meal real soon. Rather than charity after the fact, […]