Saturday, April 30, 2011

Memo from Tuscaloosa

My friend S. teaches at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a city ravaged this week by devastating tornadoes.

Another friend and I separately wrote to make sure our buddy and his wife were OK. With permission, I'm posting his reply here:

M. and Ben,

Thank you both for checking on us. 

H. was in Pennsylvania for an interview. I was on the lucky side of the river, and things over here are relatively normal. South of the river, the devastation is simply unbelievable. Much of the city is now unrecognizable, and many people, including our students, have lost their homes. I've done a little volunteer work, cooking breakfast at a local shelter. Amazing things are happening in this community, and better days are ahead.

We appreciate your concern. 



Spring Awakening


Spring Awakening, that randy, randy musical about those frisky, frisky kids, returns to the Oriental Theatre for a week of performances beginning Tuesday evening.

The story of sexual maturation among 19th century German teenagers (yes, that old cliché) won eight Tony Awards and received widespread attention for its rock soundtrack by Duncan Sheik.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Immodesty's why the Internet was invented.

Monday, April 25, 2011


If by "world's most beautiful woman" you mean "one of 850 interchangeably attractive celebrities," then, sure.

Or as the Onion put it...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Walk like an Egyptian


...or if thou wouldst rather not then forsooth, my dearest coz, talk like Shakespeare.

Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed Saturday, April 23 Talk Like Shakespeare Day in the State of Illinois, "a day on which all citizens are encouraged to express their inner thespian, incorporating Shakespeare lines into everyday conversation." Beyond Illinois, it's intended as a worldwide phenomenon.

The annual celebration of our greatest playwright was started in 2009 by the regional Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; their press release is here.

If you need to brush up on your Bard, the theater's offers a handy "How to Talk Like Shakespeare" guide and suggests Elizabethan insults to use on your enemies. Prithee, go thou and check it out, cousin.

There's also a rich repository of video including Brian Williams' NBC News report on Talk Like Shakespeare Day, the Beatles clowning their way through A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare on "Sesame Street," and this entertaining clip of the Improvised Shakespeare Company bringing their fair art to the masses on Chicago's Navy Pier:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Here we are now, going to the South Side

No, not this "Southside."

It's South Side of Heaven, the Second City's energetic and entertaining new mainstage revue.

My Flavorpill Chicago preview is here.


If that number means more to you than Hitler's birthday, then you might appreciate this 4/20-only theatrical run:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Texas to the rescue

Deep Thoughts with Sarah Silverman

"Did you ever notice that it takes water to start soap, and it also takes water to end soap?"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Can you work Blue?

Did you ever want to perform in Blue Man Group?  Here's your chance.

Blue Man Group is holding an open casting call on Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted Street, Chicago.

More information in Blue Man Group's press release after the jump.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

South Side of Heaven

Last night I attended a press opening for the Second City's 99th mainstage revue, South Side of Heaven, which I found offbeat and entertaining.

My Flavorpill Chicago preview is in the pipeline, so here's a metapreview: South Side is frequently funny, aggressively outré, and worth seeing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

All aboard the Bus

Alderman Ed Bus (D-53rd) (fictional) has long been a beloved political machine cog and local phenomenon around the City of Chicago. (His campaign slogan from last month's election: "Keep it like it was.")

But tomorrow evening he's hosting his own show on Chicago Public Radio, which also streams on the Internet, so he'll be available worldwide to his fellow hack politicians and the people who love to hate them.

What's more, his co-host will be former longtime (real) Ald. Burton Natarus (D-42nd), himself an often hilarious human quote machine.

If I didn't have an engagement dinner, uh, engagement for my brother's upcoming wedding, I would so be listening. If you're free, don't miss it.

Click here for Ald. Bus' press release.

You're welcome

I'm just saying.

Bed Bath & Beyond Shares Hit New Life-Time High on Q4 Results
[International Business Times]

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moving in stereo

After a long break, the Cars have recorded a well-reviewed new album and they're going back on the, uh, road.

The tour will include a May 18 date at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m.

More on the album and tour in the Cars' press release after the jump.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good enough for me

Last night I went to a chocolate chip cookie bake-off party, where about 15 guests brought homemade C.C.C.s that everyone sampled and voted on. The competing entries were pretty much variations on the theme of awesome. (I'm not a good cook and the FDA has told me to stop trying, but I did bring a gallon of milk.)

It was a lighthearted, lively affair thanks to the fun-loving hosts, who floated a large metallic Cookie Monster balloon above the cookie table and awarded custom-made keepsake tote bags to the top three vote-getters.

I asked the woman who baked the winning cookie, which was indeed quite excellent, how she did it. She told me she found her recipe by Googling "best chocolate chip cookie."

Friday, April 1, 2011

'Pen sounds

A tip of the fitted cap to FOBB&Bs Jeremy Horwitz and Tyler Hinman, who wrote yesterday's appropriately baseball-themed New York Times crossword puzzle. It was Opening Day in the major leagues.

Like every good religion, superhero and fetus, this puzzle has an interesting origin story, well told by Jason Turbow of the NYT (spoiler warning: don't read the article if you still plan to solve the puzzle):

Meet 30-Down: A Giants Closer and a Beach Boys Vocalist

Since you'll get there via the above link, I don't think this will count against your 20 free NYT articles per month — here's a way around the paywall, BTW — but even if it does, it's worth it.