Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fantastic! BBC Music Presents Izzy Bizu at Bottom Lounge (November 23, 2016)

Izzy Bizu enters the stage wearing a robe. She sings in a jazzy seductive manner that immediately draws the crowd in. As she sings Circles, she dances around in a flirty manner. It’s impossible not to smile as she soulfully sings “It’s like trying get blood out of a stone. I’m just a vicious circle.” To close out her set, she plays the fantasticly peppy White Tiger, which whips the crowd into a dance party with its syncopated chords and strong bass line. Every girl in the audience wants to be her friend and every guy wants to take her out dancing. When her 30 minute set ends, the crowd is left wanting more. The future is looking good for Izzy Bizu.

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Quinn Delaney

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Breaking Bad! The Fundamentals at Steppenwolf (November 22, 2016)

The Fundamentals is the story of Millie, a housekeeper in  New York luxury hotel. She was pre-med in college when she became pregnant and decided to drop out. After being a housekeeper for 9 years, she is more than ready to move into management. In order to advance, she needs to prove herself as a leader. She starts by reporting that one of the managers has been running a prostitution ring in the hotel. She is aware of many other rules being broken. How many other people will she throw under the bus to advance her career?

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Alana Arenas’ performance as Millie is very impressive. She starts the play as the person everyone loves and is rooting for to succeed. However, as the story progresses, the choices she chooses makes it harder to be on her side. It’s very similar to Breaking Bad in this way where the audience has to decide after each choice if they are really still pulling for the main character and if their actions can be explained. Millie is faced with some very difficult situations and it’s hard to say if she chose correctly. Is it all fair in love and war AND career?

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Get tickets now for The Fundamentals through December 23rd!

Quinn Delaney

Spunky! Lydia Loveless at Metro (November 19, 2016)

Lydia Loveless enters the stage wearing a big red Bloodshot Records sweatshirt. “I’m glad they gave me something to warm my tits. Fuck it’s cold here!” It’s this type of spunk that her audience loves. It matches Elle King, whom she should definitely tour with.

Towards the end of the set, her band leaves and she sings with just her acoustic guitar. She even threw in a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”. Her ability to go loud with a full band and soft alone showcases her range as a great singer.

When her band returns, she says “this is the encore. I hate when bands leave the stage and then come back.” However, after leaving the stage with her band, the audience demands more and she does come back to play an additional song. Many people had left already, so it results in a very intimate final song. It was a great finish to a solid night of music.

Quinn Delaney

Greg Kot was thoroughly enjoying the show next to the sound booth. See his great review here.

 

Impressive! Hubbard Street Dance Fall Series at Harris Theatre (November 18, 2016)

During the balcony talk, an audience member asks “If you find yourself completely lost halfway through the performance, what should you do?” “If that is the case,” says the choreographer, “I have failed.” He goes on to explain that the dances tonight don’t have narratives like a play. Instead, they are abstract explorations of ideas and emotions. He encourages the audience to just lose themselves in the experience without searching for an exact meaning in the four pieces.

Falling Angels is the counterpart to Sarabande. It has all women dancing compared to Sarabande which is all men.

Sarabande is an intense experience. It’s dark, creepy, and scary like the depths of hell. Using electronically manipulated sound and the performers screams, an atmosphere of dark bizarreness is created. It’s a very artistic piece that leaves the audience aghast.

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Terrain explores earthly landscapes through dance. It includes rolling hills, bumbling streams, and a tornado flying over them. It’s a very fluid performance.

Niebla is a Spanish word which translates to fog. On stage there is a plane of blue light highlighting a fog of smoke. At times the blue light is replaced by a string of white lights behind the dancers. Both of these lighting choices are very well done and create an artistic atmosphere through which the performers glide through.

Get your tickets now for today’s final performance!

Quinn Delaney

Top Ten Moments at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents Out of This World at the United Center (November 17, 2016)

There’s a reason they call it The Greatest Show on Earth. It will make you feel like a kid again with awe and excitement. Here are 10 of them:

 

  1. Contortionists bending in ways that seem impossible.146_20160613_00636_Edit

 

  1. Goats balancing on a spinning wheel.

 

  1. Lions standing on their two hind legs.

 

  1. Performers doing front flips off trampolines wearing ice skates.

 

  1. A tiger walking on its two hind legs.ootw_contortion

 

  1. Dirt bikes circling around a steel sphere narrowly avoiding collisions.

 

  1. The perfect timing of trapeze artists flipping through the air and then being caught by another person swinging.

 

  1. Many impressive feats were done on horses as they run quickly around in a circle in the center of the floor. One lady does the splits while being held up by two men riding horses.

 

  1. The most impressive was a woman who went around the horse’s neck with a look of complete concentration on her face.

 

  1. She then immediately tops herself by going around by passing underneath the horse and risking being trampled.

 

Get your tickets now for the United Center shows through November 27th!

 

 

Quinn Delaney

Well Done! Apartment 3A at Windy City Playhouse (November 16, 2016)

Apartment 3A is where Annie moves after a bad breakup. She works at a public television station where she gets in trouble during a pledge drive for saying Big Bird will die if they don’t get enough donations. Also, her older neighbor keeps wandering into her apartment uninvited. The neighbor has a lot of live and love advice for her.

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A very interesting scene takes place where she is on a lunch date with her coworker and the audience sees her talking to her neighbor about it simultaneously. It leads to very funny moments as she reacts politely at the lunch, but then explains how she was really feeling to her neighbor. The acting here is very good. All the characters are very likeable and fun and a pleasure to watch.

The music choices are a bit out of place to end each act. “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye plays to end the first act. It sharply contrast the mood and just comes off as tacky. To end the play, a Goo Goo Dolls song plays that is also very unfitting. Other than these songs, the production is solid.

Get tickets now for Apartment 3A through December 18th!

 

 

Quinn Delaney

Review: First Floor Theatre Presents Deer and the Lovers at Den Theatre (November 9, 2016)

Deer and the Lovers is the story of a couple taking a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods. Their plans are interrupted when they discover a dead deer halfway inside the house. Things get further off track when the guy’s sister shows up uninvited with her husband.

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There are some laughs in this production, but not enough for it to stand as a comedy. The characters are a bit flat and the audience doesn’t really care about them.  Thus, even when developments occur, there is little reaction from the characters and the crowd as well.  It seems like the story could make for a good play, but something is off in this version.

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Deer and the Lovers is running through December 3rd.

Quinn Delaney