You’re a dick. I’ve been enjoying your column for years, but your reply last week to “Confused in Ohio,” who was worried about her boy-porn-perusing boyfriend, is typical bi-phobia. I thought you had laid your bi-phobia to rest when you finally relented and acknowledged that yes, there are lots of bisexuals. But now you are […]
Dirty Blonde, Apple Tree Theatre. This quirky romantic comedy interweaves two story lines. One concerns Mae West’s evolution from vaudeville vamp to Hollywood’s savviest sexual satirist; the other charts the oddball relationship between aspiring actress Jo and shy film geek Charlie–also a heterosexual transvestite–brought together by their shared obsession with West’s life and legend. The […]
Flowers for Algernon, Village Players Theatre. Daniel Keyes’s 1966 novel, turned into the movie Charly in 1968 and adapted for the stage by David Rogers in 1969, stumbles into sentimental hogwash–but it’s hogwash with a sting. Watching Nathaniel S. Swift’s staging for Oak Park’s Village Players, I was struck by the underlying subversion of the […]
Adam Davis/Kosher Fringe
OCTOBER 17 FRIDAY After smallpox nearly wiped out several Haida Indian villages in Canada at the turn of the last century, anthropologists sold the victims’ remains and other artifacts to museums around the world. Since 1995 the Haida, who still live on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia, have been struggling […]
APPLESEED CAST 10/17, FIRESIDE BOWL This Kansas-based band’s early work helped define the sound of Deep Elm Records, but they’ve since learned to back up their emo flailing with something a little more sonically substantial. On the new Two Conversations (Tiger Style) they take halting but sincere stabs at psychedelic grandeur: the roiling guitar and […]
Over the River and Through the Woods, Mercury Theater. Joe DiPietro has written a love story for a boy and his grandparents. Oh, there’s a girl in it–a girl smart enough to recognize that her introduction to the clan by its elders is a stratagem to dissuade their grandson from leaving New Jersey, where they […]
Until very recently this pairing–septuagenarian vibist Terry Gibbs with the full-throated organ band led by Chicago guitarist Henry Johnson–might have looked like a misprint to anyone familiar with Gibbs’s career. He’s done his best and best-known work in big-band settings and in quartets and quintets costarring the great clarinetist Buddy DeFranco; even in the early […]
The Curious Theatre Branch’s ambitious yearly showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest. Over the years it’s mushroomed from a neighborhood happening to an event of citywide significance–especially now that it’s been taken under the wing of the Department of Cultural Affairs as part […]
I wanted to respond to your column about the worst Catholic saint, an oxymoron if there ever was one. In this column you depart from your high standards and trot out that threadbare, tendentious canard that charges Pope Pius XI and Pius XII with anti-Semitism. To bolster your argument, you refer to John Cornwell’s 1999 […]
Hype is an honest critic’s worst enemy. I mean, what could I possibly write about the Strokes’ new Room on Fire (RCA) that would ring true? If I praise them for their ingenious hooks, you’ll dismiss me as a dupe, another cog in the promotional machine; if I criticize them as chilly formalists, you’ll lump […]
Keith Stras is fighting the good fight, broadcasting from his dining room with his eight-year-old daughter by his side.
The Bay Area collective Hieroglyphics–Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, Domino, and the four members of Souls of Mischief–is as resilient a crew as ever to have been battered by the commercial and aesthetic vagaries of hip-hop in the 90s. Del, Casual, and Souls of Mischief broke into the majors the early part of […]
Youthful idealists seek enlightenment–from the captains of industry.
Friday 10/17 – Thursday 10/23 OCTOBER 17 FRIDAY After smallpox nearly wiped out several Haida Indian villages in Canada at the turn of the last century, anthropologists sold the victims’ remains and other artifacts to museums around the world. Since 1995 the Haida, who still live on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of […]