Get your Best of Chicago tickets! Line-Up Announced >>

Posted inArts & Culture

The People Could Fly

THE PEOPLE COULD FLY, Walkabout Theater Company, at the Vittum Theater. Stephan Mazurek directs an ensemble of six performers who exhort the audience to listen to Loren Crawford’s collection of short stories and fables, insisting that stories such as these kept people alive: drawn from West African folklore, they were passed on by generations of […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Most current neo-new-wavers are either formalists or ironists, happy to have found a plastic sound and style they can remold without making any concrete statements about historical context. But judging from Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (Everloving), front woman Emily Haines seems to have chosen synth rock simply ’cause she happens to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

On Exhibit: elevators from the ground up

Nineteenth-century “elevator buildings” were mystifying places, on the report of the grandmother of Rochelle Elstein, one of three curators behind the Northwestern University Library’s exhibit “The Elevator and the City.” At the turn of the last century seven-year-old Florence Given, who lived downtown, was spooked by the first elevator she encountered. “Florence was a very […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty

Some scoffed when the Lyric Opera announced it was substituting this operetta “fluff” for the previously announced Berlioz rarity Benvenuto Cellini. But box-office concerns aside, this Lyric premiere fully justifies the decision. William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were the fathers of modern musical theater, and their work belongs in the best hands available; this […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The M’s formed four years ago and get great shows with bands like the French Kicks, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Walkmen, but their scrawny discography–six whole songs–would seem to indicate serious motivational problems. But give the local band’s EP (self-released in 2002, rereleased last August on Brilliante with two bonus tracks) a spin […]

Posted inArts & Culture

William Gibson

William Gibson replaced nature with technology 20 years ago, with the first sentence of his first novel: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” The cyberspace that his hackers, whores, and hit men swung through was a lot sexier than what we ended up with–an Internet that […]

Posted inMusic

Giving the Devil His Due

Murder by Death Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them? (Eyeball) Like an actor who’s always cast as Rosencrantz while his brother gets Hamlet, Satan has had to watch Jesus Christ superstarring in a canonical rock opera for decades. Though I’m sure the old fiend has enjoyed heavy metal’s watch over his […]

Posted inArts & Culture

No Sexit

NO SEXIT, Mammals, at Bailiwick Repertory. “Sex is still relevant,” declares Joseph, the insecure male in Sartre’s No Exit who’s condemned to spend eternity in a small, inadequately furnished cell with selfish bimbo Estelle and hostile lesbian Inez. This is how Sartre visualized hell in 1944. And now Mammals writer-director Bob Fisher updates the concept, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts AMERICAN ENGLISH (BEATLES TRIBUTE) performs at a Valentine’s Day dinner dance; benefit for the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center. Sat 2/14, BeauJolie by Victoria, 9550 W. Lawrence, Schiller Park. 847-758-9172. ANN-MARGRET Sat 2/7, 8 PM, Star Plaza Theatre, I-65 & U.S. 30, Merrillville, Indiana. 773-734-7266 or 312-559-1212. AZITA, MARK SHIPPY, ROPE […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Now in its 27th year, this Bay Area saxophone quartet is a genuine institution. The members of ROVA (the name is an acronym of the surnames of the founding members, all still present except for Andrew Voigt, replaced in 1988 by Steve Adams) are all tremendous, flexible players, and the group’s voluminous discography displays their […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Cut the Kidding

Thank you for printing Cate Plys’s column on the Cook County Board’s recent decision not to demolish the old county hospital [January 30]. I’m glad to see the Reader devote attention to the reform commissioners who are fighting both new county sales taxes and the destruction of the potentially lucrative and historically significant old hospital. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marc Shaiman…This Is Your Life!

Marc Shaiman, who made headlines when he gave his lover and collaborator Scott Wittman a passionate smooch on the 2003 Tony Awards broadcast, is a first-rate tunesmith with a gift for pitch-perfect parody. Here he’ll play piano for the cast of their musical Hairspray–running through mid-February at the Oriental–as they fete him with Marc Shaiman…This […]