Posted inArts & Culture


Like its inspiration, Puccini’s La boheme, this Broadway hit is a counterculture soap opera whose simultaneously stereotypical and archetypal crises are made credible and immediate by rousing songs and unshakable optimism in the face of death and despair. The inventively arranged score–by Jonathan Larson, who died at 35 just days before the show’s 1996 premiere–is […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bleacher Bums

BLEACHER BUMS, Royal George Theatre Center. This update of the definitive Windy City ensemble comedy omits none of the original’s underdog sympathies, though a new line–“Don’t touch the ball!”–is somewhat bitter. Of course most Cubs fans today appear to be white-collar and/or suburbanite season ticket holders slumming it rather than the lovable losers and compulsive […]

Posted inArts & Culture

MADtv Improv Jam

MADtv–an LA clone of Saturday Night Live–epitomizes everything I hate about west coast-style sketch comedy. The often poorly written material depends way too much on funny wigs, awful clothes, and wild prosthetic devices: bad teeth, weird glasses. Worse, most MADtv sketches are not about regular people or situations but about celebrities or TV shows or […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Please tell women that low-rise jeans only look good on a handful of people. Whenever I go out, all I see are “girl love handles” (GLH) hanging over low-rise jeans. For the love of humanity, Dan! Someone needs to tell women who are overweight, tubby, fat, or just not properly proportioned to stop wearing jeans […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Urban Bush Women

At the rehearsal I watched, artistic director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar said she was “cleaning up” the company’s new work, Walking With Pearl, adjusting her dancers’ timing and spacing. The process was fascinating, like the unraveling and reweaving of a piece of cloth. Though Zollar attended to such details as flexed or pointed feet, she […]

Posted inFilm

Black Man, White Hat

Man on Fire *** (A must-see) Directed by Tony Scott Written by Brian Helgeland, from a novel by A.J. Quinnell With Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Giannini, and Mickey Rourke. Back in the 80s, when Denzel Washington was trying to establish himself as a movie star, he was offered […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Charles Woodman

For his video installation American Diorama Charles Woodman panned his camera across scenery in 17 places in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and California. But the scenic content is secondary to the formal concerns, as is the incidental motion the camera records–a passing truck on a country road, Woodman’s fingers fiddling […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

AUDREYS 4/30, EMPTY BOTTLE; 5/7, SUBTERRANEAN Though they’ve been at work in Chicago for two years, the Audreys are only now releasing their debut recording, #13 (No Holds Barred). Earlier, unreleased material from the band has been making the rounds–some of it produced by Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian–but this EP is all new. Deceitfully simple […]