Coming March 30th, a newsletter dedicated to what's new and next in Chicago visual and performing arts.

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Posted inCity Life

Perfection from the pieces

If you’ve ever dabbled in woodworking, you probably have a sense of just how much scrap material can go to waste. Lumber is sold in predetermined sizes, like the ubiquitous 2×4, so once you have the cuts you need, you’re likely to end up with various odds and ends that are hard to put to […]

Posted inMusic

Drummer Kendrick Scott scales down to a trio on Corridors

Kendrick Scott’s long-running five-piece ensemble, Oracle, is unrelentingly contemporary in its sound, in part thanks to the inclusion of an electric guitar. But arranging music for a smaller contingent of players requires a different tack. On Corridors, Scott—a drummer whose credits include work with vocalist Kurt Elling and trumpeter Terence Blanchard—scales down to a trio […]

Posted inMusic

A multigenerational lineup of blues and soul-blues favorites celebrates Cicero Blake for his 87th birthday

UPDATE as of Fri 2/24/2023, 2 PM: This concert has been canceled. Cicero Blake’s career spans the trajectory of modern soul music from doo-wop to contemporary southern soul-blues. Blake was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1936, though many biographies incorrectly state 1938. After his family relocated to Chicago in the 1950s, he attended Marshall High […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago punk loses a champion

In 1980, Chris Bjorklund frequented a River North bar called Oz, which two years earlier had become one of the first places in Chicago to embrace punk. He visited often enough that he got to know the owner, Dem Hopkins. Bjorklund played in a band called Strike Under, and Hopkins offered to introduce him to […]

Posted inTheater Review

Quixote goes airborne

Circus Quixotic, the winter circus production at The Actors Gymnasium, flips the story of Don Quixote into a modern retelling. Through metaphor and audience asides from the actors, director and adapter duo David and Kerry Catlin condense Miguel de Cervantes’s 1,072-page tome of misadventures into a family-friendly chunk of mayhem featuring the title character and […]

Posted inTheater Review

Warm and fuzzy

Charles Dickens’s schoolmaster Mr. Gradgrind from Hard Times (he who insists, “Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts”) would feel right at home in the grim factory town run by a petulant archduke in Mac Barnett’s 2012 children’s book Extra Yarn. There, young Annabelle and her schoolmates are […]

Posted inTheater Review

Summer and smoke

Nilo Cruz’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics is a lit-fuse kind of drama, beginning with a slow but unmistakable simmer that ultimately detonates with scorching, devastating impact. Directed by Laura Alcalá Baker for Remy Bumppo Theatre, this lavishly produced, powerfully cast production shows just how relevant—and compelling—Cruz’s words remain.  Anna in the Tropics […]

Posted inTheater Review

Brief encounter

Some believe that those who suspect death is near can often feel it approaching, and in Invictus Theatre’s rendition of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. senses his end is coming.  This fictional and subversive play, directed by Aaron Reese Boseman, imagines the evening after King (Mikha’el Amin) has delivered his “I’ve […]

Posted inTheater Review

Take that, Jane!

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s world premiere of Villette, a modern adaptation (written by Sara Gmitter and directed by Tracy Walsh) of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, explores the travails of a woman determined to stand on her own and not live in a fairy-tale world of romance. Graced with a rock-solid work ethic, Lucy Snowe is unwilling to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A bright spot in contemporary painting

Contemporary painting is vast terrain. Its broad, shimmering beauty and stylistic scope eludes easy classification. In spite of digital reproduction’s awesome omnipresence and the mobile Internet’s unrestrained reach, a comprehensive view will forever exceed our vision. While we can’t see or speak of linear movements, we can still witness formal affinities and visit thematic encampments. […]