Posted inArts & Culture

The Two-Character Play

This late, rarely performed Tennessee Williams play has been compared to Beckett and Pinter–and I’d add Sartre. But it inverts the claustrophobic gravity of these writers’ minimalist scenarios, which, however blank, possess a concrete, crushing reality. The existential terror of The Two-Character Play is defined by lightness, to use Kundera’s term: insubstantiality, transparence, oblivion. Dissociative-disorder […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Traffic Jam

Steppenwolf’s “Traffic” series, usually made up of one-night stands on Mondays, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in high style. For almost three weeks straight, artists like Elaine Stritch, the Roches, Buddy Guy, and Kiki & Herb will get a chance to try out new work, reintroduce audiences to previous shows, and chew the fat about […]

Posted inNews & Politics

They Scream for Ice Cream

Dear Mike, As a longtime Hot Type reader and one of your biggest fans, I feel compelled to call you on one aspect of your otherwise fine column on the “antitoddler coffeehouse” flap [November 18]. By granting you an interview, the toddler’s mother was doing you a favor, and your reference to “the two-year-old screaming […]

Posted inArts & Culture

“Pseudo Arrogant”

Hong Kong native Sam Ng moved to Chicago in 2001 to study film and music at Columbia College. He dressed as predictably as the next Wicker Park dude–until he started going to parties at spaces like Buddy and Camp Gay last summer. Liz Armstrong: Those shoes are insane, Sam. Sam Ng: Be careful–don’t touch them. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Einstein’s Dreams

Alan Lightman’s precious, largely banal 1993 best seller makes for precious, largely banal theater. Snapshots of imagined worlds where time operates unconventionally–sometimes flowing back and forth, sometimes stopping, sometimes sticking here or there–are supposed to represent Einstein’s fantasies while developing his special theory of relativity in 1905. But most are too pedestrian or logically inconsistent […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Let’s Not Go There

The NYT story only works because of the words protesting moms and boycott. Those words give credence to Dan McCauley’s claims we have a sense of entitlement. “He should let us in and let our kids do whatever they want” seems to be how the parents (mommies) are portrayed. Even your story calls it a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rent

I wasn’t encouraged to learn that this screen adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s long-running Broadway musical was directed by big-screen funster Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, the first two Harry Potter movies). But aside from a few overblown production numbers, Columbus respects the show’s smaller scale, and the property itself is a knockout, with great […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Man Man

Last year’s The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face (Ace Fu), the first full-length by this Philly band, set a new standard in a genre I can only call short-bus prog. The various members bring in what seems like way too many instruments–marimba, trumpet, sax, Fender Rhodes, and more–to run rampant over the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blackalicious

Listening to Gift of Gab rhyme on Blackalicious’s 1999 EP, A2G, was like watching someone juggle flaming chain saws: he spewed a seemingly endless supply of offbeat images with the kind of speed, breath control, and stamina that made me wonder if his lungs weren’t transplanted from an elephant. To match that energy, Chief Xcel […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley

Jamaica notoriously refuses to settle for yesterday’s riddims, but despite sounding like some half-forgotten mid-80s classic, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” echoed through the island’s yards all summer. And as both the homicide rate and the temperatures there soared, no cry could’ve sounded as current as the song’s ancient Ini Kamoze sample: “Out […]