Posted inNews & Politics

Weekly Wackadoo

Hola, I must tell you of my intense pleasure, which is your weekly columnist gone wackadoo . . . a certain Lizzy A [Chicago Antisocial]. Is it just moi? Or is she amazing and exquisite? The latter suffices, methinks. Either way, please be assured of something: I pick up the Reader every Thursday for one […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stars, The Elected

On paper the STARS’ blend of pink-cheeked youthfulness and booze-addled wistfulness sounds risible–it’s hard to take indie-pop musicians seriously when they feel compelled to point out that they drink and do drugs “quite a lot.” But you might change your mind if you give a listen to the third album by this Montreal-based band, Set […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Black Angels

There’s a theory that once a city reaches a certain population, it’ll start spontaneously generating bands devoted to imitating the Velvet Underground. A scene’s got to be pretty big before it can support musicians pretentious enough to seriously consider playing in front of trippy oil lights dressed all in black. Not all of them will […]

Posted inNews & Politics

This All-Too-American Life

Reader editors, I enjoyed Michael Miner’s 2/3/2006 account of the elegies for This American Life’s putative Chicago “feel,” though I might be able to muster a few more tears for Ira Glass’s departure to NYC if I thought it surprising that fellow mourners spend their Friday afternoons shopping at Marshall Field’s, nibbling sandwiches at the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blind Mouth Singing

In an unnamed Caribbean village, a stern Bernarda Alba-esque matriarch tries to control her troubled clan: a spinster sister who ministers to the syphilitic, a slovenly son with violent tendencies, a younger and more poetic son obsessed with a figure in the family well who might be a ghost, his long-lost father, or both. Director […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lady Madeline

Mickle Maher’s tragically hip 90-minute adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” for Steppenwolf for Young Adults aims to subvert more than frighten, flippantly depicting a man’s obsession with burying his twin sister prematurely. As the deluded Roderick, Matthew Krause erupts in silent-movie mugging; Tracy Michelle Arnold literally deconstructs the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Undertow Orchestra

For sensitive songwriters Vic Chesnutt, Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), and Will Johnson (Centro-Matic) the bad times are never more than one strained sigh away. “Mopey” isn’t the right term to describe them–they’re all too literate, learned, and classy for such a tag–but some synonym of “depressing” still definitely applies. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Extremities

As directed by Dori Robinson for the new Actors Revolution Theatre, William Mastrosimone’s 1982 play is funny, smart, and horrifying, especially in the intimate confines of a small studio space where we’re almost sitting beside the actors. On the surface the script is about a woman who bests her would-be rapist, played by Jared Martzell […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Misled

Misleading people and making them laugh both require frustrating their expectations, something writer-performers Patrick O’Brien and Peter Grosz have mastered in this clever sketch show directed by T.J. Jagodowski. Facts are misrepresented in posters and playbills, and audience members are misdirected in various ways each night; the show itself offers a puzzling array of in-the-dark […]