Posted inArts & Culture

Bad Advice

BAD ADVICE | The program for this late-night, long-form improv show includes caricatures of the four cast members looking exactly like the kids from South Park: moonfaced, big-eyed, noseless waifs. Tres apt, because Bad Advice picks up on South Park’s comic strategy of wrapping profane material in cute packages. Everything starts out seeming positively winsome–or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bernard Williams

The more I stared at Bernard Williams’s large assemblage Queequeg’s Monument at I Space, the less I understood it. At first the buckets, chairs, and bulging shelves looked like the view through the back door of a packed moving van. But the strangely cohesive and precarious composition drew me in with the rhythms of rich […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Neighbor v. Neighbor

Dear editor, Let me respond to Tom-from-the-Cocoabean’s letter [September 24] regarding Deanna Isaacs’s column “Gooned, Gooned, Gone” [September 10], about the impending departure of Curious Theatre Branch, my theater company, from Glenwood and Lunt in Rogers Park. (Here it’s important that I acknowledge that this letter represents solely my opinion, not that of my cohorts […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Yes Men

Chris Smith and Sarah Price (the cocreators of American Movie) and Dan Ollman chronicle the inspired and highly educational pranks of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano, who pose as representatives of the World Trade Organization on the Web, on television, and at big-time international conferences. Their easygoing conviction fools everyone, even when they sing the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mike Watt & the Secondmen

Like other memoirs about serious illness, Mike Watt’s new The Secondman’s Middle Stand (Columbia) is at times disarming and painful: as song titles like “Puked to High Heaven” and “Pissbags and Tubing” indicate, the inspiration to be found here is not of the greeting-card variety. In early 2000, after five-plus weeks of misdiagnosed fever, Watt […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Book Festival

The city’s annual literary festival runs through October 30, with readings and book signings by local and national writers, poets, and scholars as well as discussions, lectures, workshops, and children’s activities at bookstores, public libraries, and other venues. Some events feature this year’s “One Book, One Chicago” selection, Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cari Lynn

In 2002 freelance writer Cari Lynn had a couple friends who made decent livings as traders, so rather than hustling for assignments and hounding publishers for late payments, she thought she’d give the trading floor at the Merc a shot. She donned a polyester clerk’s jacket and with no previous interest or experience in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mock the Vote–Demockracy in Action

MOCK THE VOTE–DEMOCKRACY IN ACTION | The improvisers in this hour-long political comedy started out saddled with dull ideas by asking the late-night audience for suggestions. On the evening I attended this Slobodie Productions/Onion show, a Smurf party member still haunted by a childhood swim-trunk incident was challenging a skeet-shooting incumbent. When not relying on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins conductor Charles Dutoit and the CSO this week he’ll be playing the kind of music he plays best–French and Romantic, in this case Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Liszt’s Totentanz. Each of these is the shortest piano concerto by its composer as well as the darkest and […]