Posted inMusic

Spot Check

THE NEW YEAR 7/15-16, SCHUBAS Matt and Bubba Kadane have been playing the same strain of minimalist indie rock since the mid-90s, first in Bedhead and, since 1998, in the New Year. Now a sextet, the band is back with its second full-length, The End Is Near (Touch and Go). The songs still move slowly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Clown Head

CLOWN HEAD, Scratch Media, at Theatre Building Chicago. Writer-director Greg Silva’s eclectic multimedia confection recounts the saga of Jeffrey, a lonely young LA comic who imagines a magical circus, Club Paradise, that gives him a place in the sun. At first the fun house mirror provided by Club Paradise exaggerates Jeffrey’s real-life problems with parents, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Splintered Idylls

SPLINTERED IDYLLS, Tangerine Arts Group, at the Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. It took Tennyson almost 30 years to complete his epic poem Idylls of the King, a sweeping take on Arthurian legend packed with themes and symbols: the work is like a massive tarot deck in which every knight, castle, tree, and chalice […]

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Tony Lindsay

Like his two earlier novels, Tony Lindsay’s Chasin’ It is set on Chicago’s south side and examines spirituality, family ties, redemption, and black pride. A pulp thriller reminiscent of the novels of Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, it depicts the life of Terri Parish, a drag queen, ex-convict, and crack addict who turns tricks downtown. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Tap All-Stars II

This year on the Chicago Tap All-Stars program you got your Vegas act, your basic rhythm tappers, and your upstart who wants to tell stories through tap. The Vegas act–Chicago natives Jay and Connie Fagan, a brother and sister who appeared at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino earlier this year–specializes in good-natured rivalrous patter. When […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Corporation

Absorbing and instructive, this 2003 Canadian documentary tackles no less a subject than the geopolitical impact of the corporation, forcing us to reexamine an institution that may regulate our lives more than any other. Directors Mark Achbar (Manufacturing Consent) and Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan cogently summarize the history of the chartered corporation, showing […]

Posted inArts & Culture


LIP, at the Neo-Futurarium. Lisa Buscani’s performance career–from Neo-Futurist to slam poetry champ to Big Goddess to nun (in the New York edition of Late Nite Catechism)–has given her an enviable web of connections. For her local homecoming she’s curating a festival of monologues at the Neo-Futurarium. In her own piece, Idiot, Buscani focuses on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Earma Thompson

When pianist Earma Thompson sidles into “After Hours,” the second track on her newly released duo album, it sounds as if the song–a staple of the jazz and blues piano repertoire for six decades, recorded by Oscar Peterson, Pinetop Perkins, and Ray Bryant, among others–was written just for her. Thompson finds a tempo that’s devastating […]

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Living Inside Myself

LIVING INSIDE MYSELF, Bailiwick Repertory. In this solo show, writer-performer Jamie Black–a man who was born a girl–looks at how he came to recognize his gender dysphoria. Since the female-to-male transition has rarely been explored–most people who’ve written about being transsexual have been women who were once men–this is potentially interesting. Black is brave to […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Vagina vs. Caveman

Any play suggesting that a woman needs a workshop to help her find her clitoris strikes me as insulting, but Eve Ensler’s collection of humorous and, um . . . touching vignettes, The Vagina Monologues, has become a showbiz phenomenon. Now Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, in its first opening since Arlington Heights decided last month […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Von Freeman

When Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman turned 80 a couple years ago he was feted in grand style, with birthday concerts at Symphony Center and the Chicago Jazz Festival, an honorary doctorate from Northwestern, an award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a street renamed in his honor. But he refuses […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mercan Dede

A lot of electronic music producers look upon the music of the Middle East as useful sample fodder–nothing evokes exoticism as instantly as a melismatic minaret wail or a twangy oud figure tossed into the mix. Talented Asian producers like Karsh Kale, Bally Sagoo, and DuOud work at a higher level, thanks to a real […]