Posted inArts & Culture

Brother to Brother

The world of the Harlem Renaissance becomes an emotional lifeline for a troubled young college student (Anthony Mackie) in this smart and passionate debut feature by Rodney Evans. As a gay black man, the hero feels doubly isolated: macho classmates in his African-American studies course consider him a disgrace to the race, while his uncertain […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The One-Man “Star Wars” Trilogy

Canadian Charles Ross reenacts George Lucas’s classics in a fleet and fun 60-minute show directed by fellow Canadian T.J. Dawe. With good humor and at times offering impressive impersonations, Ross re-creates all the essentials from the first three “Star Wars” movies. He’s best as a petulant Luke or a prissy C-3PO, and his Jabba the […]

Posted inArts & Culture


This masterwork by Ousmane Sembene, the 81-year-old father of African cinema and one of Senegal’s greatest novelists, is the second film in a trilogy celebrating African women (after Faat Kine, a 2000 comedy about a sassy, self-made city woman). It focuses on the defiant second wife of an elder in a West African village who […]

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Last January pianist Jonathan Biss made his Orchestra Hall debut, playing Schumann with the Staatskapelle Berlin. This weekend Biss, who at 24 has already performed with most of the major U.S. orchestras, will play Mozart with the CSO. His first CD, released in May, confirms that he’s a thoughtful, passionate musician who consistently serves the […]

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A Merry Jewish Christmas

A plot twist and a scene featuring prayers performed in a made-up sign language almost save this predictable comedy–but not quite. Josh Levine’s one-act about a gay Jewish man coming out to his family while concealing that his longtime lover is not Jewish steals shamelessly from every Abie’s Irish Rose comedy in history, with particular […]

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One Arm

Moises Kaufman’s adaptation of an unproduced Tennessee Williams screenplay (based on Williams’s 1945 short story) is the offbeat tale of a one-armed hustler prowling the sexual underworlds of New Orleans and New York in the years before Pearl Harbor. Forced into gay prostitution because he can’t find a regular job, Ollie–brilliantly played by Reynaldo Rosales […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I grew up in Dover, Pennsylvania, a suburb of York (of Peppermint Pattie, barbell, and air conditioner fame). I learned in school that York was the first capital of the United States (banners all over the city say so too). My wife grew up in central PA and never heard such a story. Has my […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Melvyn Poore

The unwieldy tuba’s usually associated with oompah music, where its massive fartlike blasts have all the grace of a 450-pound ballerina. But the tuba actually delivered the agile bass lines in early jazz, and over the years a number of tubaists–Ray Draper, Bob Stewart, and Howard Johnson among them–have made blowing through 15 feet or […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Hipmas Carol

After a disappointing 2003 run at the ever awkward Lakeshore Theater–whose cavernous dimensions and raised proscenium stage made it hard to hold the audience’s attention–this warm, wry, rhyming-jive condensation of Dickens’s Christmas classic comes back to the intimate space where it premiered two years ago. Though the show’s largely unchanged, stars Patrick Zielinski and Tyler […]