Posted inFilm

Dream On

Nostalgia is highly selective, abridging the past and adjusting it to fit the terms of the present—and often becoming an ideological con job in the process. Those who wax nostalgic about the radicalism of their youth usually imply that the values that made it so attractive back then also make it impossible to hold on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Harlot

Andy Warhol’s first sync sound film (1964) is not for action fans, but this nearly static 70-minute tableau of four actors lounging on and around the famous Factory couch is perversely endearing. Though Warhol used a sound camera, none of the actors speaks; improvised commentary is provided by three offscreen men, including playwright Ronald Tavel […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Days in the Lives

Lorna Simpson: 31 at Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, through March 28 A Bar at the Folies Bergere at School of the Art Institute Gallery 2, through February 28 The video installations A Bar at the Folies Bergere and 31 both immerse us in the lives of their subjects: a late-19th-century Parisian barmaid […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Tales From the Dark Side

Watching Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s current production, The Weir, is as close as you can get to pulling up a chair in a small-town pub for an evening of drinking and storytelling without actually having a pint in your hand. In Conor McPherson’s intimate 1997 play, a young bar owner and three of his middle-aged regulars […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Justin Hayford

With his pleasant light baritone, cabaret artist Justin Hayford is an appealing but unexceptional crooner; his piano playing is sophisticated but not virtuosic. What distinguishes Hayford is his affinity for quirky and neglected material and the simple honesty with which he performs it. His show “Look Who’s Been Dreaming,” timed to promote a new CD […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I Love the Spirit World

I LOVE THE SPIRIT WORLD, Go Cougars!, at Live Bait Theater. There’s a bracing edge to writer-director Joe Meno’s otherwise predictable catalog of California craziness. The land of imitation beauty, where “nothing’s left to dream about,” is seen through the eyes of a 24-year-old slacker, Jay, who works in an adult bookstore and lives with […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

When I was young, I naively assumed that since male orgasm was accompanied by ejaculation, female orgasm must be too. When I finally asked a friend about “girl come,” I was corrected. So for years I ignored talk of female ejaculation, just as I ignore talk of bigfoot sightings. But now I’ve found myself wondering […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Words

WORDS, Second City Outreach Program and DMG Freedom, at Donny’s Skybox Studio. It’s difficult to give all 19 performers their moment in the spotlight during such a short show (70 minutes tops). But under the direction of Claudia Wallace, the third annual Words revue emerges as an ego-free evening of song, dance, poetry, mime, and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Headphones Tour

DePaul University Theatre School alum Adam Simon and student Rob Cohn offer a novel approach to site-specific performance with this cheerful, whip-smart audio tour through the Chicago Cultural Center. As performers enact rituals of birth, marriage, and death in this landmark’s sleepy nooks and crannies, Simon and Cohn’s recorded narrative returns us to the building’s […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

HABIB KOITE & BAMADA 2/20, OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC Guitarist and singer Habib Koite, a griot’s kid from western Mali, is currently leading his ensemble on a monthlong sweep of U.S. cultural capitals and college towns in support of the new Foly! Live Around the World (World Village). On the double CD (recorded, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Young People

Katie Eastburn, vocalist for Brooklyn’s Young People, doesn’t write on guitar or piano: she comes up with melodies in her head and sings them for her bandmates, who then craft instrumental accompaniment around them. As heard on the trio’s terrific second album, War Prayers (Dim Mak), it’s an intuitive approach that works. Only on the […]