Posted inArts & Culture

Romeo and Juliet

If you think you got everything out of this love story from high school or college readings and the Zeffirelli film, think again. Director Mark Lamos and his cast find new twists in Shakespeare’s famous words and familiar family dynamics, giving this production a contemporary sensibility despite its period setting. Lamos presents the Capulets and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Five Lotus Blossoms

In this 60-minute adaptation of a Chinese folktale by writer-director Tami Zimmerman Henry, the lotus fairies become bored with dance parties and mah-jongg in their home by the heavenly Pool of Green Waves and disobey their guardian to play in the mortal realms. When a drought threatens the earth, they risk everything to rescue their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Alphabet Soup

Few things hold the attention more effortlessly than a baby, and Barrie Cole’s dimpled ten-month-old is no exception. So it’s a testament to the charm, intrigue, and joie de vivre of Cole’s and Julie Caffey’s hour-plus performance that I spent most of it oblivious to the child even though she was attached to Cole’s left […]

Posted inNews & Politics


[snip] Does junk food in schools make teens fat? Yes and no, report economists Patricia Anderson of Dartmouth and Kristin Butcher of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in a working paper posted on the bank’s Web site. “We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of schools in a county that […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Steve Albini notoriously hates the term “project” when applied to a musical endeavor. But that’s undeniably what Shellac has become: a complex undertaking that evolves over time, like a model-train layout that’s slowly spreading across the basement. Front man Albini, bassist Bob Weston, and drummer Todd Trainer have been a band for almost twice as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Angels of Light, Akron/Family

The New York quartet Akron/Family tends to get lumped in with the New Weird America set–I reckon people think that’s a good catchall category for anything quiet and strange–but pegging them as neohippies would be a big mistake. Their self-titled debut on Young God displays a tight, almost scheming sort of precision that makes every […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bold Girls

Rona Munro’s wrenching, mordantly witty 1990 drama about four Catholic women in Belfast presages Irish-Americans’ disillusionment with the IRA after its alleged 2004 Belfast bank heist and the brutal slaying in January of Robert McCartney, a Catholic, by IRA henchmen. All the women in Munro’s play must face that the missing men in their lives–one […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Girl From Monday

Hal Hartley’s previous feature, No Such Thing (2001), had a clever philosophical premise, but its style was so theatrical that many of the best speeches withered into pontification. This futuristic follow-up, resourcefully shot in DV, is even wilder in its social satire, and its deadpan dialogue is hilarious. Suggested in part by Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago a Cappella

The nine men and women of the only independent professional choral group in Chicago sing with impeccable intonation and style. Their repertoire is an eclectic mix–ranging from the 16th century to the 21st, from classical works to African-American spirituals–and their final concert of the season, “Eighteen Lips,” pulls together a typical array of pieces, all […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Out Hud, Hella

Nowadays it seems that every band feels compelled to teach indie kids how to dance, but the members of Out Hud were doing it back when it seemed like a worthy project: armed with drum machines and possessed of a weakness for interminable song titles, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Sacramento collective began edutaining scenesters in the late 90s. […]