Biography

Mark Caro is a Chicago Tribune entertainment reporter who writes about movies, music, food and the local arts scene. Since joining the staff ...

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Mark Caro

Mark Caro

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How do you dress for a rock show?

How do you dress for a rock show?

August 29, 2014

Ogee Muniz, dressed as a Firebird, complete with a red mask, was chatting with her Gingerbread Man-out-of-"Shrek" boyfriend Anthony Cruz in the United Center concourse before Arcade Fire's Tuesday night set when a petite woman in a formal dress approached her and said, "I'm so glad you dressed up too."

  • Billy Corgan, a Pumpkin at Ravinia

    August 28, 2014

    Billy Corgan's booking this Saturday night at Ravinia somehow is both odd and logical.

  • Why do albums take so long to make?

    August 12, 2014

    On March 10, 1967, 15 days shy of her 25th birthday, Aretha Franklin released her 12th album and Atlantic Records debut, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You." It was a breakthrough, triggering a string of four top 10 albums released over 15 months that included the top 10 hits "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You)," "Baby I Love You," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" and "Think."

  • Last recording studios standing in Chicago

    August 8, 2014

    The array of activities is familiar to Chicago Recording Co. general manager Chris Shepard as he walks from floor to floor, studio to studio one late morning: a young rock band loading into the large Studio 4; an assistant engineer assembling a cable-company commercial in a small post-production studio; a guy recording voice-overs in a booth; a technician in another room hunched over his computer monitor working on a video game.

  • Retired CSO violist William Schoen dead at 94

    July 22, 2014

    William Schoen had the resume of a life lived in music: 31 years as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's assistant principal violist and assistant principal emeritus, decades performing in the Chicago Arts Quartet and, before that, the Claremont String Quartet in New York, and 64 years married to Mona Reisman Schoen, herself a first violinist with the Lyric Opera for 23 years.

  • Review: Billy Joel plays The Entertainer at Wrigley Field

    July 19, 2014

    One of the lesser-known songs that Billy Joel performed Friday at Wrigley Field was “The Entertainer,” a caustic bit of showbiz commentary that includes the line, “I won’t be here in another year if I don’t stay on the charts.”

  • Billy Joel's Wrigley show on, despite death of mother

    July 16, 2014

    Billy Joel’s Wrigley Field concert scheduled for Friday will go on as planned, five days after the musician’s mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel, died on Long Island at age 92.

  • Rocker Patti Smith wins Tribune Literary Award

    July 14, 2014

    Patti Smith was writing long before she became known as a rock performer, so the accolades she has been receiving for her written work have a complete-the-circle sort of feel.

  • McCartney mixes 'New' with familiar in vigorous United Center show

    July 10, 2014

    Let’s start with the undeniable:

  • Building the perfect Chicago hot dog

    July 9, 2014

    Of all the regional foods out there, the one that's mystified me the most is the hot dog.

  • Veruca Salt reunites years after explosive breakup

    July 3, 2014

    The afternoon's biggest laugh in this San Fernando Valley rehearsal space comes upon mention of an online description of Veruca Salt's breakup as one of …

  • Comedy, sorrow vie for center stage at Ramis memorial

    June 18, 2014

    You’d expect a Harold Ramis memorial to be funny given that the guy basically invented modern American comedy in his work from Second City and “SCTV” in 1960s and ‘70s through “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

  • Exhibit puts Magritte's work firmly back in art world

    June 17, 2014

    "Slip your feet into the surrealist movement," beckons the fashion company Opening Ceremony in a promotion for its spring launch of Birkenstocks adorned with Rene Magritte prints as part of a line that also features the Belgian artist's work on clothing and Manolo Blahnik stilettos.

  • Television becomes recapper's delight

    June 13, 2014

    Entertainment Weekly's home page trumpets its main coverage subjects directly beneath its logo: TV, TV Recaps, Movies, Music, Books, Video.

  • Second City partners with TV/film company

    May 19, 2014

    Aiming to launch more television and film projects while connecting its performers with managers who will work closely with the comedy troupe, Second City announced a new partnership Monday with a Los Angeles-based management and production company, Thruline Entertainment/Tagline Pictures.

  • Chicago's Mick Napier: Master of Annoyance

    May 16, 2014

    Here's a story about Mick Napier that doesn't necessarily illuminate how he became one of improvisational comedy's guiding lights, a revered Second City director and the Annoyance Theatre founder who's about to open a spankin' new facility at Clark Street and Belmont Avenue. But it's not boring, and being not boring is a core Napier principle.

  • Hot Stove charity concert swings for fences with rock, baseball

    May 12, 2014

    Local H frontman Scott Lucas and former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin had never played together before last summer's Hot Stove Cool Music fundraiser, yet there they were again early this month performing their own soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein's landmark 1925 silent film "Battleship Potemkin" at the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival.

  • Hot Doug's and the melancholy of closed restaurants

    May 7, 2014

    There's something about coming across a newly vacated restaurant that feels like a gut punch.

  • Chicago coffee shops aim to brew perfect cup

    April 9, 2014

    The loud slurping noises were coming from a room toward the back of the coffeehouse as Miro Lomeli lifted cup after cup of brown liquid to his lips.

  • Wrigley Field 100th anniversary: Top pop culture moments

    March 28, 2014

    Swinging one leg and the rest of his body out over thousands of Wrigley Field fans while nervous handlers in the broadcast booth gasped, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. howled "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with abandon before revving up the crowd further with a rousing, "CUBBIES, SHOW ME THE RUNS!!!"

  • Jill Soloway hits it big with Amazon's 'Transparent'

    March 21, 2014

    Jill Soloway's vision of hitting the big time looks like this:

  • Review: 'A Man Called Destruction' by Holly George-Warren

    March 21, 2014

    In 1993, I persuaded the Tribune's then-arts editor to send me to Columbia, Mo., to report on the first show in almost 20 years of a cult band that loomed huge for those of us under its spell. Two University of Missouri undergrads had phoned the ever-enigmatic Alex Chilton asking whether he'd reunite the long-gone Big Star for the school's Springfest, and to their astonishment — and that of Big Star drummer Jody Stephens — he agreed.

  • World's top chefs talk cuisine, creativity in Chicago

    March 20, 2014

    If the culinary world had a "Three Tenors"-like tour, it couldn't do much better than chefs Ferran Adria, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Grant Achatz — and the music likely would make your head spin.

  • Cheering in the Oscars pressroom

    March 7, 2014

    Say you were watching a post-Super Bowl news conference featuring the coach of the team that lost on the final drive. You'd expect someone to ask for his reaction, no?

  • At Oscar after-parties, stars old and new mingle

    March 3, 2014

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — If you’re curious about the big difference between Oscar night’s two main after-parties, the Governors Ball and the Vanity Fair party, consider this:

  • Art, dining feel sting of winter in degrees

    February 5, 2014

    Let's start with the obvious: This has been a harsh, crummy winter, and at times just about everyone has preferred to stay indoors rather than to deal with extreme cold, snow and dicey walking or driving conditions.

  • CSO's search to replace Deborah Rutter

    January 31, 2014

    Much has changed inside and outside the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since Deborah Rutter — then Deborah Card — moved from running the Seattle Symphony to becoming CSO Association president in 2003.

  • Vanessa Hudgens talks 'Gimme Shelter' in frigid Chicago

    January 23, 2014

    From the chirpy "High School Musical" movies to the seedy "Spring Breakers" to the gritty new pregnant-teen drama "Gimme Shelter," Vanessa Hudgens was never prompted to utter such a line as Chicago inspired on its coldest day in decades:

  • Does long Oscar race help films?

    January 22, 2014

    As long as this Chicago winter might feel, it's a mere blip compared with the ongoing movie awards season.

  • Chaz Ebert's mission goes on

    January 10, 2014

    Roger Ebert has been gone for nine months and doesn't appear to have slowed down much.

  • New Beatles books out

    December 17, 2013

    I was in seventh grade when I began poring over Beatles books. That was shortly after I’d gotten the “Red” and “Blue” double-record compilations and started methodically, obsessively buying album after album, hoping eventually to fill all gaps.

  • 'Anchorman 2': The Chicago roots of Adam McKay

    December 6, 2013

    NEW YORK —  Adam McKay still has the improvising chops that made him a Second City standout, but now he's doing his work with microphone in hand, video monitors arrayed in front of him and fellow funny guys Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner in the next room in bandages, slings and, in Carell's case, a dog cone over his head.

  • Steve Coogan takes a chance

    November 27, 2013

    Steve Coogan laughs as he reads the Frank Sinatra quotation etched into the restaurant wall: "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good at they're going to feel all day."

  • Festival building a culture of ideas-- quickly

    October 11, 2013

    Of the many ideas at Chicago Ideas Week, the biggest one to catch on may be Chicago Ideas Week itself.

  • Food trucks jockey for top spots

    August 22, 2013

    Steve Maxwell had spent most of his recent Thursday lunchtimes downtown selling Indian specialties out of his Curried food truck in the roundabout in front of NBC Tower, but on a late July Thursday he pulled up at about 8:30 a.m. to find three other food trucks already parked in the designated food truck zone.

  • Caffe RoM's frozen coffee drink delivers

    July 18, 2013

    It's my long-held theory that frozen coffee drinks are the best idea most routinely botched.

  • Ex-Chicagoan conquers Mexican food

    June 13, 2013

    NEW YORK — Rarely smiling or saying more than was necessary as he created a twisting column of chocolate ganache or turned peanut butter into powder, Alex Stupak was an intense figure in Grant Achatz's intense kitchen as Alinea's opening pastry chef.

  • Charlie Trotter's restaurant, kitchen to be sold

    June 5, 2013

    For anyone still holding out hope that Charlie Trotter might eventually reopen his namesake restaurant in its original space, think again.

  • Was this the last Rolling Stones show in Chicago?

    June 4, 2013

    Given that concertgoers have been paying almost three times as much to see the Rolling Stones on their current tour as they did in 2005-06 (about $355 per ticket compared with $135 on average on the previous tours, according to Pollstar), one might draw this conclusion about the band:

  • Sting added to Printer's Row Lit Fest

    May 16, 2013

    Having introduced the world to such colorful characters as a prostitute named Roxanne and a stalker who monitors “Every Breath You Take,” Sting will help launch a new Chicago-based storytelling initiative when he appears at the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Lit Fest next month.

  • Nate Silver: In Hollywood, 'Nobody knows anything'

    May 15, 2013

    Predictability and the arts-and-entertainment world have an uneasy relationship.

  • Mona Golabek's tribute to her mother's harrowing story

    May 12, 2013

    As Mona Golabek signs books immediately after each performance of her one-woman show, "The Pianist of Willesden Lane," at the Royal George Theatre, people ask her variations on a theme:

  • Yo-Yo Ma gives musical challenge to Chicago's Civic Orchestra

    May 3, 2013

    The young musicians of the Civic Orchestra, as enamored as they were of the prospect of being mentored by Yo-Yo Ma, didn't see it coming.

  • Stars pick the directors they want to watch

    April 18, 2013

    Let's say there's a row of beautiful movie theaters, and the marquee of each one reads, "New film by (name of filmmaker here)." And let's say there's no other information about the film itself. Which one would you choose? We offered this dilemma to some notable performers and filmmakers, asking the question: "If you could see a new movie by any living filmmaker — and not know anything about the movie beforehand — whose would you choose?" Here's how they responded.

  • Roger Ebert: Quintessential Chicagoan

    April 4, 2013

    When Anthony Bourdain was in town last summer taping a Chicago-themed episode of his Travel Channel show “The Layover,” he asked various people, including me, to name the quintessential Chicagoan, and a consensus quickly emerged.

  • Australian film 'The Sapphires' finds its American soul

    March 28, 2013

    "The Sapphires," which opens Friday, is the crowd-pleasing, based-on-actual-people story of four young Aboriginal women who team up with a male Irish manager and perform for American troops in Vietnam, so it's covering its bases internationally.

  • Del Close: Dueling scripts detail improv pioneer

    March 18, 2013

    Charna Halpern's script about her late iO (formerly ImprovOlympic) co-founder Del Close opens with the vastly influential, hard-living, difficult, brilliant improvisation pioneer glimpsing a TV on which his former student Betty Thomas is thanking him while accepting her acting Emmy Award for "Hill Street Blues."

  • Helen Reddy ready to roar again

    March 13, 2013

    Before there was a King of Pop, Helen Reddy was being called the Queen of ’70s Pop thanks to her string of 15 Billboard top 40 songs and three chart toppers, starting with the anthemic “I Am Woman.”

  • The incredible Steve Carell

    March 11, 2013

    TOLUCA LAKE, Calif. — Looking trim in a black windbreaker over a gray crew neck sweatshirt, Steve Carell walked into the diner near the Warner Bros. lot just like a regular guy.

  • CSO's Citizen Musician seeks right note

    March 4, 2013

    A little more than two years ago, the curtain lifted on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra-led Citizen Musician initiative, and CSO Association President Deborah Rutter told an overflow crowd at the Chicago Cultural Center: “All of you are citizen musicians. We consider you our foot soldiers in the movement.”

  • P.S. Bangkok tasty after all these years

    February 28, 2013

    P.S. Bangkok is one of those Thai restaurants that was around when not many Thai restaurants were, and even back then, it stood out as exotic.

  • Backstage at the Oscars: Affleck, Clooney talk 'Argo'

    February 25, 2013

    Highlights from backstage at the Oscars:

  • Partying with Oscar

    February 25, 2013

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — When Chris Tucker and Jon Voight are grooving side by side to Rick James' "Give It To Me, Baby," you know the surreal dream that is the Vanity Fair post-Oscars party is playing out again.

  • Star-gazing at the Oscars: Movie fans enjoy parade

    February 24, 2013

    HOLLYWOOD — The red carpet is in some ways a microcosm of the Oscar food chain.

  • Looking at Picasso from Chicago's angle

    February 14, 2013

    The funny thing is, Pablo Picasso never even set foot in Chicago, let alone anywhere else in the United States.

  • Review: 'House of Earth' by Woody Guthrie

    February 1, 2013

    Nora Guthrie had put off reading her late father Woody Guthrie's recently unearthed novel, "House of Earth," even after she'd agreed for it to be published. Having devoted much of 2012 to preparing events and projects surrounding the centennial of the singer-songwriter-artist's birth, she said, she wanted to read the book at her leisure, when it wouldn't feel like "work."

  • Charlie Trotter's auction goes online

    January 28, 2013

    Charlie Trotter’s auction is being rebooted online.

  • Missing Muti no Pavarotti

    January 14, 2013

    Whatever angst there may be over Riccardo Muti's missing his third set of concerts in less than three years as Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, know that the flu-ridden superstar conductor is no Luciano Pavarotti.

  • Lyric Opera, Second City returning in June

    January 8, 2013

    The Second City’s collaboration with the Lyric Opera is returning to the Civic Opera House stage, this time with the audience in tow.

  • Charlie Trotter pulls the plug on restaurant auction

    December 13, 2012

    Charlie Trotter had most of the contents of his landmark, recently shuttered restaurant up for auction Wednesday, and by the end of the day, he still had most of the contents of his landmark, recently shuttered restaurant.

  • Apatow, Mann balance laughs, drama, fiction and family in '40'

    December 7, 2012

    LOS ANGELES — On a late February morning in the editing suite of Judd Apatow's multi-level West Los Angeles headquarters, the writer-director and editor Brent White were playing back scenes from Apatow's new comedy, “This Is 40.”

  • The ultimate Beatles sound test

    November 12, 2012

    Meet the new Beatles … same as the old Beatles?

  • Presidential candidates find new ways to sell message through music

    November 5, 2012

    The musical battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney heated up recently as Stevie Wonder released a funky new pro-Obama song called “Keep Moving Forward,” while Meat Loaf celebrated his support of Romney by belting a goofy “America the Beautiful” practically into his face, thus demonstrating that, yes, there can be ham in Meat Loaf.

  • Chicago is Yo-Yo Ma's cultural soapbox

    October 10, 2012

    The Chicago Public Schools, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Humanities Festival, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Citizen Musician, "cultural entrepreneurship" — Yo-Yo Ma has a way of filling his plate during his now-frequent visits to Chicago.

  • Taking note of music books

    September 28, 2012

    If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, as Elvis Costello and others have sneered, then what does that make reading about music? Well, fun, for starters. Although Bowker Market Research reports that music books have steadily comprised between 2 and 2.5 percent of the non-fiction market since early 2010, they certainly seem to be enjoying a Baby Boomer-driven bubble right now.

  • Charlie Trotter gets ready to hang it up

    August 30, 2012

    Charlie Trotter says he first thought of closing his namesake restaurant after his plane sat on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

  • '03 lawsuit challenged work conditions

    August 30, 2012

    There are so many opportunities here of rare, rich experiences which I need to thank Chef Trotter for. From the housewives, doctors, and others who come to work as guest chefs to famous chefs like Tetsuya, Toque and Alain Ducasse. I've always learned and appreciated from these people who have a great passion for food. Cooking for inner-city students, talking to them … it's been a fulfilling experience to share and hopefully inspire. The recent trip to the Fancy Food Show in New York showed me how to reach excellence at every level — I think meeting The Red Hot Chili Peppers at Mercer's Lounge was the highlight of that trip!

  • Charlie Trotter's pressure cooker

    August 29, 2012

    Everyone knows Charlie Trotter as the chef of Charlie Trotter's. It's his name, his restaurant, and he's the boss. But that title “chef” has many meanings, and Trotter has embodied just about all of them during his 25 years at Charlie Trotter's.

  • Charlie Trotter preaches excellence to the extreme

    August 28, 2012

    Graham Elliot was an aspiring young cook in the late '90s carrying steaks to a party of 20 in the Charlie Trotter's Studio Kitchen when the restaurant's brilliant, mercurial owner stopped him in the hallway and grabbed one of the pieces of meat.

  • Zion native power-poppers Shoes stun with first album since '94

    July 10, 2012

    KENOSHA -- Having shuttered their Zion-based studio and record label before the failing businesses destroyed their friendship, the three guys from the power-pop band Shoes know firsthand how brutal the music industry has become.

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