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Brand New Shoes: A Pair of Plays

BRAND NEW SHOES: A PAIR OF PLAYS at the Chicago Dramatists Workshop Two men in a room–a premise whose very familiarity can prove as daunting to a writer as its dramatic potential is promising. In Mirror, Mirror–the longer second half of a pair of one-acts collectively titled Brand New Shoes–local playwright Zoe Goldberg uses this […]

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Circe & Bravo

CIRCE & BRAVO Wisdom Bridge Theatre Governments are corrupt. Politics is a dirty business. The people who lust after power the most are usually the ones most likely to abuse it. Pretty mundane stuff, yet the politically paranoid regard it as revealed truth, accessible only to a select few. They see conspiracy where most of […]

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Chameleon in Effigy

CHAMELEON IN EFFIGY Raven Theatre Company Proteus, a minor deity in Greek mythology and the Odyssey, seems a god peculiarly fit for our times. This ancient sea creature could take any shape he/she/it wished but, if held long enough, was forced to resume the real one. Gifted with enormous knowledge and anxious to keep it […]

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Reel Life: 14 1/2 hours on the Armageddon express

Talk about encores, and overkill. Peter Watkins’s The War Game (1965) was a 47-minute black-and-white pseudodocumentary of a “limited” nuclear strike against Britain (with the comparatively paltry weapons of the era), and it remains by far the most gut-twisting film treatment of the unthinkable possibility of nuclear war. Unthinkable? Actually a lot of highly educated […]

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River’s Edge

Something very odd about this: a teen problem drama that seems to be fighting David Lynch battles with its own right-thinking consciousness. Teen-pic auteur Tim Hunter (Tex) isn’t one to shirk his sentimental lessons, though the cautionary outlines of his story, about a gang of high school drifters who try to cover up a murder […]

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Sam Shepherd’s Best Shot

TRUE WEST Americana Theatre at Cassidy’s Pub If Sam Shepard has told you once, he’s told you a hundred times — the old west is dead. Or almost dead. You see, it dies hard. It’s stubborn. Shepard’s human vestiges of the old west must face a high noon against our bleak, dehumanized modern world. This […]

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The City Musick

Conducted and cofounded by one of Chicago’s most intelligent musicians, Elaine Scott Banks, the City Musick has put Chicago on the early music map in terms of authentic-instrument performance. This sparkling ensemble peels centuries of misconception off of baroque works like grime off a Rembrandt. Their season finale is a real stunner: the American original-instrument […]

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Hubert Sumlin

As integral to Howlin’ Wolf’s classic Chicago sound as Wolf’s own roaring vocals and spellbinding emotional intensity was the guitar of Hubert Sumlin. Characterized by a slashing, staccato chording style and flights of imaginative fancy as distinctive and unpredictable as any in blues guitar history, Hubert’s leads inspired Eric Clapton and countless others to explore […]

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High Gloss, Low Spark

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER at the Civic Opera House May 7-10, 1987 TWYLA THARP DANCE at the Auditorium Theatre May 9, 1987 Although an Alvin Ailey engagement rarely offers a creative surprise, his strong sense of drama and his dedication to celebrating the black experience and to exploring ancient ritual generally combine to make […]

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Gidget Goes Iambic

THE BELLE OF AMHERST Chicago Cooperative Stage The Belle of Amherst is a one-person show about Emily Dickinson — the woman, her life, her poetry. Perhaps you’ve never cared for Dickinson’s poetry. In that case, I can tell you right now, you’re sure to care even less about her life, especially as it’s revealed in […]