Posted inCity Life

Seeing red

I was sitting at the window table at the Bongo Room in Wicker Park, having a lazy Valentine’s Day brunch with my husband, when I saw a pop of red walk by on the other side of the street. Even though it was a bit of a sacrifice to abandon my pear and dried cherry […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lynda Barry is the North Star

One of my prized possessions is a 1989 playbill from Lynda Barry’s The Good Times Are Killing Me. Before the play’s award-winning off-Broadway run, it was produced here in Chicago by City Lit Theater Company at Live Bait Theater. My sister plucked the playbill from the magical chaos of Ravenswood Used Books and gifted it […]

Posted inArts & Culture

They Call Us and we answer back

Twenty-three-year-old Morgan Kail-Ackerman was catcalled three separate times near Fullerton in Lincoln Park. “Fuck you lady,” “Bitch,” and a familiar, cringeworthy wolf whistle accompanied her walk near DePaul University. As she held the door open for a man at Lou Malnati’s, she was objectified. “He thought that because I opened the door for him, he […]

Posted inMusic

Angel Day, aka producer and vocalist Yesterdayneverhappened and Daybreak party promoter

Angel Day, 23, is a visual artist, pop musician, and show promoter. They make eclectic underground tracks that draw from experimental dance and hip-hop, using the name Yesterdayneverhappened; they also organize a party called Daybreak, which showcases Black and Black trans artists. In January the Empty Bottle hosted the most recent Daybreak, titled “Frostbite,” whose […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Collective healing

Queer bars are more than just bars that happen to be queer. They can be a refuge, a meeting place, and, quite literally, a safe space. They’re also places where our history has been written: from the Stonewall riots to the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Sam Mueller’s latest production unpacks what happens when the safety and […]

Posted inTheater Review

The art of the steal

When their brother Arthur dies, leaving behind to the world a lone splatter canvas from the heady foray into abstract expressionism that preceded his embittered art teacher years, Alex (Michael Appelbaum) and Andy (Rick Yaconis) decide to right fate’s wrongs and get the—to their minds—worthless and incomprehensible painting accepted to a prestigious gallery. This turns […]

Posted inTheater Review

Meta Miller

Eleanor Burgess’s Wife of a Salesman, now in a world premiere at Writers Theatre under Jo Bonney’s direction, starts out with a “what if” premise: namely, what if Linda Loman, the long-suffering wife of Arthur Miller’s tragic American Everyman, Willy, met “the woman in Boston” with whom her husband had an affair and asked her […]

Posted inTheater Review

Far from a drag

It’s been nearly 50 years since the first iteration of La Cage aux Folles flew from the nest in the form of Jean Poiret’s 1973 play of that title. Since then, there’s been a 1978 French film, remade in Hollywood in 1996 as The Birdcage (starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane) and an oft-revived 1983 […]

Posted inOn Culture

A resonant Tosca

There’s a war raging in Europe. A brutal clash that includes an entrenched repressive autocracy and ordinary civilians determined to fight for their freedom. Tyrannical power is vested in one man—a deranged “security” professional who cares only about his own twisted agenda. He decides who lives and dies; everyone trembles before him. Someone needs to […]