WBEZ | Chicago theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Play about Columbine school shootings also a response to Chicago violence http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/play-about-columbine-school-shootings-also-response-chicago-violence <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/photo_7.JPG" title="columbinus (Alison Cuddy/WBEZ)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78850232&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>I still remember where I was when news broke about the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado. I was a graduate student in Pittsburgh, although I was already plotting my escape from academia and a move to Chicago.</p><p>I ran into two professors in the hallway, who were analyzing media coverage of the event. One of them, in tones both sardonic and frustrated, said (of the way the news outlets were portraying the shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold) &ldquo;So what&rsquo;s our choice? To call them evil? Or to call them insane?&rdquo;</p><p><em>columbinus</em>, the newly reworked 2005 play by P. J. Papparelli, is an attempt to unpack and unravel the way events like Columbine, even before they&rsquo;re over, get trapped in such rigid moral framings.</p><p>The play is an oral history of the events, based on interviews with survivors, witnesses, police and other community members in Littleton. Some of the videos Harris and Klebold made are reenacted, and their short stories and journal entries are part of the script. For the first act, which is kind of a kaleidoscope perspective on teen life (how identities and cliques are formed, the way adolescents interact both with various authority figures and one another), Papparelli talked with young people across the country.</p><p>There are lots of plays about and by teenagers but what&#39;s interesting about <em>columbinus</em> is the way it takes them as a serious subject of study.</p><p>Like other minority or marginalized figures, teens too suffer from representations that either villify (super predators) or glorify (super consumers) their potential. In <em>columbinus </em>that either/or dynamic is done away with, as many characters morph from upper to under dog, and say or do things that elicit both our sympathy and our displeasure.</p><p>Papparelli makes use of all-too-familiar stereotypes (the characters go by such titles as &quot;jock&quot; &quot;freak&quot; &quot;loner&quot; and &quot;perfect&quot;), only to dig into the messy beating hearts and minds that lie behind the labels.</p><p>When we sat down to talk before a performance, Papparelli said the impetus of the play was to examine &quot;these two specific teenagers,&quot; Klebold and Harris, and what was going on with them &quot;that they would do what they did.&quot;</p><p>But he was also interested in teen culture more generally. And as he talked about the tough-going nature of the teenage years, he became visibly emotional.</p><p>&quot;I think about Dylan and Eric and I don&rsquo;t sympathize with a thing they&rsquo;ve done. It haunts me and will always haunt me. But I empathize with being a teenager, the feeling of loneliness that&rsquo;s inside their journals. How could they be that disconnected and that alone and no one around them saw this? I don&rsquo;t believe that!&quot;</p><p>Papparelli has also formed a strong bond with some of the Columbine survivors and their relatives he interviewed.</p><p>Ruth and Paul Feldman came with their now grown children Brian and Emily to see <em>columbinus </em>for the first time. Though the younger Feldmans weren&#39;t talking, Ruth said they had to leave during the second act, which recreates the shooting in grueling and sometimes graphic detail.</p><p>Her husband Paul stayed, but it wasn&rsquo;t easy. &quot;You know it&rsquo;s still alive in me. Another shooting happens and it all comes back again. I get this sad depressed feeling. You know, why do they keep doing this?&quot;</p><p>Former Former Columbine student Brooks Brown was friends with Dylan Klebold.</p><p>He attended the play with his parents.&nbsp;Afterwards, at a post-show talk-back, they and cast members took questions from young theatre students.</p><p>One student asked simply: &quot;Who do you blame?&quot;</p><p>Though his father Randy seems angry over what he thinks was a failure by local police to effectively respond to and then investigative the shooting, Brooks seemed to have reached a different perspective.</p><p>&quot;For a long time I blamed myself, that I could have done more. My brother was in the cafeteria, I had friends who died, friends who were maimed, friends who were in wheelchairs. It&rsquo;s an awful experience and I think actually the place I&rsquo;m ending up is not necessarily a blame, of that person&rsquo;s at fault, this person&rsquo;s at fault. It&rsquo;s where could I have done something positive that would have stopped this. How could I have helped this person?&quot;</p><p>P. J. Paparelli, the Feldmans and the Browns all seem to share a similar faith in the play: That audiences, after seeing it, will ask themselves that very question: &quot;What can I do to help?&quot;</p><p>Not just in the wake of school shootings like the one at Columbine (or Sandy Hook Elementary or Northern Illinois University). But as a response to what Vice President Biden recently called the <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130211_Biden__in_Phila___decries_Sandy_Hook-plus_of_daily_shootings.html">&quot;Sandy Hook-plus&quot; </a>of daily gun violence, in communities across the United States, including right here in Chicago.</p><p><em>columbinus is at the <a href="http://www.atcweb.org/">American Theatre Company </a>through March 10.</em></p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 05:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/play-about-columbine-school-shootings-also-response-chicago-violence Bill Savage on the similarities between sports, theatre and pornography http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/bill-savage-similarities-between-sports-theatre-and-pornography-976 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-27/6962936021_f35f29dde8.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-27/6962936021_f35f29dde8.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="The Chicago Cubs at Spring training in Arizona (Flickr/Chuck Reynolds)"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-27/4097051427_908441630f.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="Lookingglass Theatre, in downtown Chicago (Flickr/Ed and Eddie)"></p><p>Sports fans and theater fans appear to have little in common. But both celebrate a spring season, argues Northwestern English Professor Bill Savage (yes, brother of <a href="http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=13104081">Dan</a>), and we're on the brink of it. In fact, Savage says that&nbsp;"the fundamental nature of the theatre and sports and pornography is the same: People watching other people do something."</p><p>Savage explained the clear scientific reasoning behind his theory at <em>The Paper Machete</em> on Saturday. Read an excerpt, or listen below:</p><p><em>"Chicago is a tribal place, as is especially apparent right before baseball’s rite of spring, Opening Day. April 5 at Wrigley, Friday April 13 at Cellular One -- good luck White Sox! North Side v. South Side, Cubs fans v. Sox fans, all the dormant rivalries that sleep, even through the mild off-season like the one we’ve just had, awaken from their winter torpor and blink at the sunlight like sewer rats coming up the stairs at the Clark and Division Red Line stop. Or maybe like flowers blooming, Persephone returning from Hades, whatever vernal metaphor suits your fancy.</em></p><p><em>People who take baseball seriously often write about this seasonal cycle: Baseball begins with spring, the return of fertility to the earth, heats up through the summer, then with autumn’s harvest declines into the World Series--except at Wrigley Field. During winter, fans huddle around the 'hot stove</em>'&nbsp;<em>to discuss the season past and the one to come. Great baseball writer Thomas Boswell entitled one of his books </em>Why Time Begins on Opening Day.</p><p><em>People who don’t take sports seriously counter: </em>Why Time Slows Down to a Dead Stop And I Die Inside at the Very Thought of Having to Watch a Baseball Game.&nbsp;</p><p><em>This attitude brings us to another tribal division prominent in Chicago culture, and, I would imagine, in this very room, a divide bigger than the one between Cubs and Sox fans–who after all are both baseball fans, albeit of different combative sub-species, a divide bigger than the political one between the Schaumburg Tea Party Republican douchenozzle and the Occupy La Salle Street Pilsen-gentrifying crust-punk:</em></p><p><em>Sports fans v. theatre patrons."</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333162438-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/bill savage.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/bill-savage-similarities-between-sports-theatre-and-pornography-976 Daily Rehearsal: Highlights from the Black Theater Alliance awards http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-26/daily-rehearsal-highlights-black-theater-alliance-awards-93517 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/brothersofthedust-2-300x200.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. It's the Chicago Theatre's birthday</strong></span></span>. To commemorate such a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-25/jonathans-round-latest-broadway-and-beyond-93440">storied 90th anniversary</a>, Chicagoist picked the brains of their staff for <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2011/10/26/our_memories_of_the_chicago_theatre.php">some favorite memories</a>. One includes a performance of <em>Cats</em>. Snicker amongst yourselves.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-26/brothersofthedust-2-300x200.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="'Brothers of the Dust' wins big at the Black Theater Alliance awards"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The Black Theater Alliance awards</strong></span></span> (which honor&nbsp;great Chicago performance concerned with African-American culture) <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/8392100-421/brothers-of-the-dust-tops-black-theater-alliance-awards.html">doled out high honors to&nbsp;</a><em><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/8392100-421/brothers-of-the-dust-tops-black-theater-alliance-awards.html">Brothers of the Dust</a>&nbsp;</em>from&nbsp;Congo Square Theatre Company.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>Salonathon </em>got a little sexier this week</strong></span></span>. The Beauty Bar-based show brought back the queer variety show <em>Sh*ts and Giggles</em>. If you're at home and you don't live with your mother, or if you are at work and have a really cool boss, <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/unscripted-blog/14998131/shits-giggles-nsfw-at-salonathon-photo-gallery">click over to <em>Time Out Chicago</em></a> for another one of their patented NSFW slideshows.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. It's the end of the month, and shows are closing.</strong></span></span> A bunch to take note of that we haven't mentioned before (or haven't mentioned in awhile); <em>Bonhoeffer's Cost</em> at Provision Theater, <em>Brand </em>from<em>&nbsp;</em>Red Tape Theatre, <em>Drupelets</em> at Stage 773,<em> Improvised Jane Austen</em> at Stage 773, <em>The Shebang Show</em> at Gorilla Tango,<em> Splatter Theater</em> from Annoyance&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Women Only Train</em>&nbsp;from&nbsp;Dream Theatre.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <em>The A.V. Club</em> <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/inside-the-uptown-theatre,63857/">explores the history of the Uptown Theatre</a></strong></span></span>, which is due for a big renovation as part of the revitalization of the Uptown Square Historic District.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 20:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-26/daily-rehearsal-highlights-black-theater-alliance-awards-93517 Daily Rehearsal: Chris Tucker stops by Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-16/daily-rehearsal-chris-tucker-stops-chicago-92070 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/chris tucker_flickr_jennifer davenport.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. I'm just going to throw this out here</strong></span></span>: "Have you ever had to pee so badly you could nearly taste it?" Um...<a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/09/15/get-the-scotchgard-circle-theatres-side-splitting-urinetown-may-challenge-your-bladder-muscles/">I don't know, Bob</a>. But go see <em>Urinetown </em>at Mayne Stage, I guess?</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>BEER - The Puppet Musical</em> is up</strong></span></span> at the <a href="http://drinkingandwriting.com/">Drinking and Writing Theatre</a>, and they also have <em>The City That Drinks</em> going on as well. Neither are particularly family-friendly, but one is at 4 and the other is at 7 at Haymarket Pub and Brewery on Saturday, so take your pick.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-16/chris tucker_flickr_jennifer davenport.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 201px; height: 350px;" title="Chris Tucker, back in the day (Flickr/Jennifer Davenport)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. The Goodman has gotten a nice <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=shia-kapos&amp;plckController=Blog&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;uid=32246edb-06fb-4784-9008-b3233e7480b9&amp;plckPostId=Blog:32246edb-06fb-4784-9008-b3233e7480b9Post:a239b066-0fe9-4623-8766-adfdc28634e7&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest">chunk of change</a></strong></span></span>; a cool $10 million to add to their endowment. Of course, they're still $5 million away from the job, which prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to say, "This is a no-brainer. Finish it." The money that's been raised so far includes cash from Shawn Donnelley, James Annable and his wife Susan, and Merle Reskin, all of whom donated $1 million.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Chris Tucker will be at the <a href="http://www.thechicagotheatre.com/events/chris-tucker-chi092011.html">Chicago Theatre tonight</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;at 7:30 (tickets are $55 to $75). He's currently on a <a href="http://www.ticketmaster.com/Chris-Tucker-tickets/artist/985154">stand-up tour</a> around the nation, and <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/chris-tucker-making-a-pretty-welltimed-comeback,61378/">it's all part of his master plan to take over the universe</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Chicago comedy veteran Jimmy Carrane</strong></span></span> brings you&nbsp;<em>Improv Nerd</em>&nbsp;at Stage 773 <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-15/funny-man-jimmy-carrane-releases-his-inner-%E2%80%98improv-nerd%E2%80%99-92030">starting this Sunday night</a>. Carrane will interview comedy locals, and then do something interesting -- he'll engage in 20-minute improv scenes with said individual. Afterwards, they'll discuss how they thought the scene went and what their techniques were. It'll end with a Q&amp;A from the audience, but if you miss it all, you're in luck, because he's podcasting it. Carrane doesn't seem to mind <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/14940631/improv-nerd">comparisons to Mark Maron's <em>WTF</em></a>,&nbsp;and he's also probably well-suited to break down the improv, given that he's been <a href="http://www.jimmycarrane.com/">teaching it for some time now</a>. And, he used to have a show before on WBEZ -- <a href="http://www.prx.org/series/31304-studio-312"><em>Studio 312</em></a>. &nbsp;Former producer Justin Kaufmann says, "The challenge of this show will be how much Jimmy lets his guests talk. I kid, because I can."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 14:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-16/daily-rehearsal-chris-tucker-stops-chicago-92070 Daily Rehearsal: Tim J. MacMillan bikes for theater http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2011-08-08/daily-rehearsal-tim-j-macmillan-bikes-theater-90252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-08/801-miles-day-1-077[1].jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/for-bike-trek.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 240px; height: 300px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Playright Tim J. MacMillan is biking from New York City to Chicago</strong></span></span> to raise money for his play <em>Soul mates don't die</em>. He's doing it in ten days, with <em>Soul mates don't die</em> to premiere at the Chicago Fringe Festival September 3rd. You can follow his travels (which he's calling "801&nbsp;miles: a pedaling playwrights’ plea") on his <a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/08/07/peddling-for-your-art-playwright-tim-j-macmillan-bikes-nearly-800-miles-to-raise-money-for-his-chicago-fringe-play/">blog</a>, or <a href="http://www.rockethub.com/projects/2696-801-miles-a-pedaling-playwrights-plea">just donate</a>. MacMillion told Bob Bullen that the play is "about relationships and how we can be soul mates with anyone — boy or girl, boy or boy, girl or girl, a girl and a cat — you name it. How soul mates can transcend sex or mortal form. Much like most of my work, it’s really 'out of the box.'" Fascinating photos of people biking at the jump.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Share your thoughts about the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/103650863067971/?ref=ts">Chicago Theatre (anti-) Conference</a></strong></span></span> that was this weekend, if you went, and read what others are saying. Also there are photos of people wearing nametags and being very disestablishment.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Carey Perloff of American Conservatory Theater </strong></span></span><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-perloff/keeping-the-commercial-ou_b_916287.html?ir=Arts"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>has written a nice essay</strong></span></span> about local theater</a>&nbsp;and what it really means. "Because we have become such a global culture," Perloff writes, "and because the American media tends to value theatrical work primarily if it is connected to New York or to London, the term 'local' has always been a derogatory one in the regional theater. Indeed, when Bill Ball founded his acclaimed company in 1968 and then brought it to San Francisco, he deliberately called it the 'AMERICAN Conservatory Theater' rather than the 'SAN FRANCISCO Conservatory Theater', and made sure that his Board of Directors was incorporated in Delaware, not in the Bay Area." She argues that the company succeeded, ironically, because the work was so local to the Bay Area.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Stephen Sondheim has </strong></span></span><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/ct-ae-0807-lit-awards-20110806,0,6097101.story"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>won</strong></span></span> the the 2011 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize</a> for lifetime achievement. His work rolls around Chicago far too often to make a list, but congrats Stevie!&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>5. Lookingglass Theatre <a href="http://chicagoplays.com/component/idoblog/?view=idoblog&amp;args=Blogs&amp;recentid=129">explains their name</a></strong></span></span>, which is from, as you may have guessed, <em>Alice and Wonderland. "</em>Reflected in Lewis Carroll’s achievement is the name and mission of the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Through theatre, which invites, even demands, interaction with its audience, our goal is to fire the imagination with love, to celebrate the human capacity to taste and smell, weep and laugh, create and destroy, and wake up where we first fell --- changed, charged and empowered." Beau-ti-ful.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2011-08-08/daily-rehearsal-tim-j-macmillan-bikes-theater-90252 Bon Iver puts Chicago to bed after the weekend http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-24/bon-iver-puts-chicago-bed-after-weekend-89572 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-25/boniver.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-25/boniver.jpg" title="Justin Vernon (WBEZ/Kate Dries)" width="500" height="300"></p><p>When I was in high school, I went to a Ben Folds (sans the Five) concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York. People smoked marijuana in the theater, but the show had to stop promptly at 10 pm so they could set up for the Radio City Rockettes performances the next day. The use of illicit materials in a largely tame and family friendly setting struck me as particularly funny, as though we could have been at a classical concert at Lincoln Center, albeit a slightly rocked up one.</p><p>That same feeling came to me at the Chicago Theatre on Sunday night during Bon Iver's sold out show. The group, who had been in Milwaukee for the previous two nights, and <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bon-iver-kick-off-tour-with-magnificent-milwaukee-show-20110723">according to Rolling Stone</a>, received "a hero's welcome befitting Wisconsin's most celebrated musical export since the Violent Femmes" (it was <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/musicandnightlife/125964098.html">Bon Iver Day</a>, after all). But for Chicagoans, this show was more along the lines of&nbsp;bedtime music for slightly non-conformist grown-ups, much to the chagrin of one über-fan.</p><p>Standing after every song and cheering, while throwing up a "Rock On!" hand signal, this middle-aged man seemed utterly dismayed at the lack of visible excitement from audience members, who mostly stayed seated, getting up only to replenish their plastic cups.&nbsp;At one point, he even turned around to the audience and yelled "'C'mon Chicago!" in a frustrated voice.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-25/uberfan_0.jpg" title="The über-fan. (WBEZ/Kate Dries)" width="600" height="350"></p><p>Justin Vernon wasn't fazed, and neither was the rest of his band; they rocked entirely at their own pace.&nbsp;But when another fan repeated the same "C'mon Chicago!" refrain, Vernon replied, "Yeah, exactly; c'mon Chicago, what up. Up there in Milwaukee, they were <em>drinking some beers and singing pretty loud</em>" (to be read in a decidely purposeful Wisconsin accent).</p><p>Though Bon Iver's music has been compared by some music critics as <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-06-22/album-review-bon-iver-%E2%80%9Cbon-iver%E2%80%9D-jagjaguwar-88192">too similar to Mike and the Mechanics</a> (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/council-hipsters/burt-natarus-loves-bon-iver">or Eddy Duchin</a>), Vernon's eight-piece backing band more than made up for the muddled sounds of his most recent recorded work. This included horns, strings, multiple drummers and some impressive beat-boxing by Reggie Pace, usually on trombone, as they covered&nbsp;Björk's "Who Is It."</p><p>The audience chose to express their love in sporadic ways, with one young woman yelling "So sexy" and another shouting what Vernon took to be "Great abs!"</p><p>"That's the best thing I've ever heard at a concert. It's encouraging. It's just all you would want from an audience," he replied.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-25/boniveraudience.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Kate Dries)" width="600" height="375"></p><p>It took the encore to raise any large portion of people out of their seats, but they stayed that way for the three final songs. In a rendition of "Skinny Love" that included the majority of his band clapping and singing backup in a semi-circle behind him, Vernon said he hoped that the song would help birth his friend's baby, who was apparently in the audience.</p><p>But the closest the crowd ever got to listening to the "C'mon Chicago" pleas was during "The Wolves (Act I and Act II)," where Vernon asked the crowd to sing the lyric "What might have been lost" in an increasingly louder voice.</p><p>For the moment, I was back in Radio City, with Ben Folds conducting a round of harmonies from atop his piano. It may have been bedtime, but it seemed like Chicago finally woke up.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jul 2011 03:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-24/bon-iver-puts-chicago-bed-after-weekend-89572 Working for the (long) Weekend: Critics picks for 5/26-5/30 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-26/working-long-weekend-critics-picks-526-530-87072 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-26/heart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>So what is there to do around this burg on Memorial Day weekend? Next week, well, that'll be something: the official start of summer, outdoor performances and festivals everywhere you look; but what about right now? Well, the good news is, the weather is supposed to be crummy (isn't it always?) so you won't regret spending a moment of your late-spring, early-summer time in a darkened theater.&nbsp;Check out:</p><p>New Rock Theatre, aptly described as "theater on the edge" for its location (of which more momentarily) and for its programming, especially the late lamented <em>Point Break Live! </em>in which an audience member got to play Johnny Utah. Nothing will replace that, but what succeeds it holds promise, too: <a href="http://www.newrocktheater.com/schedule.html"><em>The First (and Last) Musical on Mars</em></a>, which threatens to set Klaatu Barata Nikto to music. Friday through Sunday til June 19 for only $15. Those of you who prefer a light-hearted romp should bypass the Club Stage and head straight for Macbeth, opening tonight on the mainstage. Thursday through Sunday til June 26, $20. The venue's on the second floor at 3933 N. Elston Ave: just south of Irving, just west of Kimball, just east of the Kennedy. Go in peace.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-26/logo.jpg" title="" width="300" height="278"></p><p>Almost equally weird is Tracy Letts' play <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/2010-2011Season.html#Bug"><em>Bug </em></a>at Red Twist Theatre in Edgewater. Red Twist received three Jeff nominations for best production this year, more than any other non-Equity theater, whereas the play represents our hometown Pulitzer winner at his most white-trash existential. Oh, and people get naked a lot. What's not to like? 1044 West Bryn Mawr in Edgewater; opens tomorrow (Friday) night and runs Thursday through Sunday til June 26. Tickets $25-$30. &nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-26/heart.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" title=""></p><p>Suddenly Amanda Timm is everywhere. Or so it seems. The 2009 Columbia College grad did the choreography for the ingenious <em><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/war-and-peace-a-dance-theater-short/Event?oid=3717946">War and Peace: A Dance-Theater Short</a>&nbsp;</em>a few weeks ago. And tonight and Friday her company, We Stand Sideways, is presenting its first full-length show, <strong><em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=217903591555922">“Ta Da!”: The Assistant’s Revenge</a></em></strong>, using the magician/assistant relationship as a way of exploring male/female interactions. Magic, Timm says, is about “sleight of hand, distraction, and controlling the audience’s attention, and it is the assistants that help pull this off. They have to be quick on their feet and save the show if the magician messes up or if an illusion goes wrong. We wanted to point out that, although the illusionist might be the ‘magician,’ we (the assistants, the backup dancers, the women behind the scenes) are the magic.”</p><p>Musician Maggie Kubley, who fronts the band <strong><a href="http://www.facebook.com/theembraceables">The Embraceables</a></strong>, plays assistant, magician, and narrator. Expect “farce-like misdirection, illusion, dance, nudity, and drag.” It’s unlikely you’d bring your kids to a 10 PM show, but… don’t bring the kids. It’s 21 and up.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-26/iml.jpg" title="" width="338" height="402"></p><p><span lang="EN">Most theater troupes are smart enough not to open a show on Memorial Day Weekend. Lots of folks leave town or, if the weather is good, they want to be outdoors and not in a playhouse. Besides, all those leathermen parading on Michigan Avenue are theater enough. You didn't know? Chicago plays host, May 27-30, to the <a href="http://www.imrl.com/"><em><strong>33rd International Mister Leather Contest</strong></em></a>, with several thousand leathered-and-rubbered visitors arriving from around the world. The contest itself is Sunday night at the Harris Music and Dance Theater. There's a subsidiary event for Ms. Leather, but IML largely is a guy thing and a gay thing and definitely on the wild side.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">Now, if you require something more standard-issue, you might consider <a href="http://www.citylit.org/"><b><i>The Sign of the Four </i></b></a>at City Lit Theatre Company in Edgewater. No leather, just murder, cocaine and the violin. As you may have deduced from the evidence, it's a world premiere adaptation of one of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories; in fact, the one that establishes the sleuth's drug habit and musical abilities. As he has before, the persuasive Don Bender takes on the role of Holmes for director/adapter Terry McCabe. <i>The Sign of the Four </i>runs through July 3.</span></p></p> Thu, 26 May 2011 17:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-26/working-long-weekend-critics-picks-526-530-87072