Posted inArts & Culture

She’s a Believer

More than 200 postcard-size paintings of hearts, most of them red or pink, hang from strings in Beth Reitmeyer’s richly colorful installation With Love, part of a show with the same title opening tonight at Zg; hearts made of pipe cleaners cover the walls. Reitmeyer, some of whose other exhibits have involved giving her work […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I Dream in Blues

Chicago blues singer Katherine Davis, with cowriter-director Tom Arvetis, tells the story of her life in this hour-long family-oriented show–well, the part when she was growing up in Cabrini-Green in the early 60s. A self-described “short, fat colored girl with no neck,” she surmounts her self-doubt to enter and win a talent contest. But much […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The New One-Armed Swordsman

This month the Gene Siskel Film Center presents a retrospective tribute to Shaw Brothers Ltd., the studio that defined Hong Kong action cinema, and this gory 1971 epic, showing in a handsome new print, is one of the benchmarks. The studio had enjoyed great success in the 60s with wuxia–martial arts adventures based on ancient […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Last year my town made it illegal to use a “hands-on” cell phone while driving–hands-free phones are still OK. Since laws here tend to get passed on the basis of what will look good in the newspapers, I’m wondering: How dangerous is cell phone use in cars really? You see drivers all the time drinking […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bus Stop

Rick Snyder’s production of William Inge’s 1955 classic offers fresh, meaningful portraits of loneliness, compassion, and hope while flawlessly maintaining period authenticity. Some of the ideas in this play about people waiting out a snowstorm in a small-town diner may be outdated–who expects to marry a virgin anymore? But the ensemble finds a timeless vulnerability […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Handsome Family

Brett and Rennie Sparks arrived in Chicago about 15 years ago as unemployable as a couple can be. Rennie, a nice Jewish girl from Long Island, had an MA in English, and Brett, a small-town boy from Odessa, Texas, had studied musicology in graduate school. But maybe hardship was what they were unconsciously looking for. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TIF Tiff

To the editors: I wish to express my disappointment with both the cynical tone and the misstatements of facts contained in Ben Joravsky’s article [January 27] regarding the Devon-Sheridan TIF district. Mr. Joravsky owes your readership more than an article based on secondary sources from another newspaper’s article, complete with that article’s distortions. Had Mr. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Passerines

Though Chicago audiences and venues support an impressive variety of music, it’s still one of the few major American cities without a cohesive indie-pop scene. I imagine the banjo-playing kid from Deliverance sitting on the steps of the Logan Square monument, except instead of a banjo he’s got one of those indestructible aluminum guitars like […]

Posted inArts & Culture

‘Night, Mother

Verisimilitude proves a blessing and a curse in 20% Theatre Company’s production of Marsha Norman’s 1982 drama about a middle-aged woman who’s decided to kill herself despite her mother’s anguished protests. Kay Schmitt as the mother and Abigail Boucher (a bit young for the part) as her daughter opt for what could be called a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Saint Etienne

On Saint Etienne’s latest, Tales From Turnpike House (Savoy Jazz), the band has virtually swung to its stylistic apogee: once a club-ready dance-floor band with a gift for melody, they’re now a full-fledged pop group (and a superb one at that) with some dancey elements. In exchanging song production for songwriting their sound became more […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Glasper Trio

The New York jazz scene isn’t lacking for wunderkind pianists, but even so Robert Glasper has grabbed headlines: though he was only 26 when Canvas (his second record and first for Blue Note) came out last fall, his playing is marvelously mature. Most of the album couldn’t quite match the opening track, “Rise and Shine,” […]