Posted inFood & Drink

A Chefs’ Family Tree

A handful of fine-dining institutions from the 70s, 80s, and 90s have served as major incubators of culinary talent–in fact many local hotshots have worked at several. More than that, though, these places are a testament to how long fine dining has been part of the fabric of the city. They’ve all won major awards and share a devotion to innovation, detail, and customer service (and they all charge accordingly). What follows is a selective map of influence.

Posted inArts & Culture

The Stoic

When it’s springtime in Chicago the only reasonable question to ask about a play is whether it’s worth the time spent inside. The Rogue Theater production of Nate White’s The Stoic is way too tedious to warrant a “yes.” This tale of dangerously whacked-out, estranged siblings reunited by the death of their father is ungainly […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Few contemporary filmmakers can tell a story as well as Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, whose gripping features all take place among marginal people in a nondescript French-Belgian industrial city. In La Promesse (1996), Rosetta (1999), The Son (2002), and now this volatile 2005 drama, the camera sticks close to the protagonists but neither the plot […]

Posted inArts & Culture

My Thing of Love

Alexandra Gersten’s flawed 1992 play about a wife coping with marital infidelity desperately needs pruning–whole scenes from this predictable, rambling mess could be cut. Still, there’s enough good material that each member of Genevieve Thompson’s ensemble can display her or his gifts at least once. Jennifer Mathews is particularly impressive as the iron-willed matriarch who’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Lovable Pit Bulls

Tasneem Paghdiwala: Thank you for the article on the forsaken breed of pit bulls [“Born Bad?” February 24]. I’ve owned three pit bulls now and would own just as many if all the laws and bad information about them weren’t so ill informed. My last pit bull was just five weeks old when I got […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Back of the Throat

A mild-mannered Arab-American man enters a waking nightmare in Yussef El Guindi’s disturbing political drama about the U.S. government’s push to curtail the civil rights of terrorism suspects. El Guindi’s sympathies clearly lie with the guiltless who’ve suffered interrogation in the name of a war on terror; admirably, he also tries to show the causes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cotton Museum

Lots of noise music lingers at the white end, where the dominant sounds are high-pitched and unfocused, like a swarm of evil insects in the near distance. But Michigan’s Chris Pottinger, aka Cotton Museum, uses a much broader and more palatable range of frequencies, and instead of hovering insistently his tones bounce and ricochet–they go […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tooth of Crime (Second Dance)

In 1996 Sam Shepard rewrote his 1972 rock ‘n’ roll/cowboy/gangster/sci-fi fantasy The Tooth of Crime, stripping down the turgid, hallucinogenic battle between superstar blues rocker Hoss and upstart “Gypsy Killer” Crow, whose desperately sought-after hits may be pop songs, murders, or both. He also got T-Bone Burnett to rescore it. But this leaner, meaner fable […]

Posted inArts & Culture


The Heartland Studio performance space is so small the costumes of the chorus members brush against the people sitting in the front row, yet even in a larger room the conceptual unity of Lara Tibble’s 90-minute adaptation of Sophocles’ tale of filial devotion would be spellbinding. Original music by Paul Auksztulewicz and Matthew Dunn heightens […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Daughters, Sisters, Mothers

The highlight in this Mamet festival evening of one-acts is Jolly, in which a woman and her brother and husband rehash years of parental mindfucking. The taut ensemble draws hilarity from raw pain, and Todd Lahrman gets extra credit for conveying so much love and humor even though he rarely speaks more than three consecutive […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Love Song

Near the end of John Kolvenbach’s sweet, strange romantic comedy, Molly Regan and Ian Barford as disparate siblings sit together in quiet rapport, smoking imaginary cigarettes. One can almost see the smoke whorling above their heads, and yet of course they’re not doing anything that could really damage them. The moment serves as the play’s […]