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The Crazy Family

An ideally symmetrical Japanese family–dad, mom, junior, and sis–moves into a new suburban home, where rising middle-class expectations (and gramps barging in for an open-ended stay) cause everything to deconstruct explosively. Sogo Ishii’s lunatic black comedy seems less concerned with actual family dynamics than with turning its sitcom household into an open arena of competing […]

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Fourth Annual Jewish Film Fest

Twelve foreign and American films on Jewish themes, presented at four different locations in Chicago, Skokie, and Park Forest by the Marvin N. Stone Centre for Jewish Arts & Letters. Admission varies, from $3 to $5, depending on the location, for information, call 761-9100. ANGRY HARVEST Working in Germany, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland (Provincial Actors) […]

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The Emerald Forest

Powers Boothe as an American engineer who spends ten years looking for his son kidnapped by a tribe of Amazon Indians. John Boorman’s film was conventionally faulted for its lack of fidelity to ethnographic realism, but it seems pretty clear that Boorman was more interested in mythological resonances than scientific exactitude. There’s a Manichaean wrangle […]

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Market Segments

DEALING Northlight Theatre The Organic Theater under Stuart Gordon had enormous success with its series of slice-of-life plays that blended drama with documentary detail. Gordon and his actors conducted Wrigley Field field trips to research die-hard Cubs fans for Bleacher Bums, and haunted local emergency rooms for E/R. The joke was they’d just keep going […]

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Die Fledermaus

Johann Strauss’s attempt to out-Mozart Mozart may not be the sublime, wise treatise on love he intended, but it is now appreciated all over the world as an elegant, tasteful romp about marital indiscretion among the Viennese gentry. And it has come to epitomize for us the gilded-age Vienna, a time and place nostalgically evoked […]

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Lysistrata 2411 AD

The Center Theater’s bawdy, funk-futuristic version of Aristophanes’ classic comedy–written in 411 BC, now set in 2411 AD–has been extended for an additional three weeks. Though the prolonged run necessitates the replacement of several cast members, the changes shouldn’t affect the production’s strongest elements: Donald Coates’s witty pop-rock score (marred only by the fact that […]

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Calendar

December 30 Through January 1 We know this issue is dated January 2, but here are a few suggestions to help you get through post-holiday inertia. Chicago painter Barbara Jaffee is interested in how viewers interpret her work; in fact, she tries to use her art to “further explore the relationship between perception and understanding.” […]

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Gift of the Magi; Ned and Jack

GIFT OF THE MAGI Stormfield Theatre Company NED AND JACK Midwest Stageworks at A.R.C. Gallery Any theater would love to have an annual gold mine like Goodman’s Christmas Carol, a lucrative stocking stuffer that pays the bills for much of the season while providing flop insurance for the riskier experimental enterprises. For two seasons now […]

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Otis Rush

West-side blues is characterized by an aggressive guitar attack punctuated by busy, complex chording between the lead phrases and propelled by a strongly driving rhythm section of bass and drums. Otis Rush took this raw, elemental sound and brought it to new heights in the late 50s with classics like “Double Trouble,” “Groaning the Blues,” […]

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The Wind in the Willows

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Bailiwick Repertory In the bestial microcosm of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, the highest praise an animal can receive is that it is “sensible.” A good, solid English quality like overcooked roast beef, reasonableness based on clearheaded good sense is just what characterizes the gruff Badger, resourceful Rat, and […]

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Reading: When Words Collide

For Christmas this year my wife presented me with a beautiful baby boy, a happy event that has nevertheless plunged my life into chaos and disorder. Luckily for me, she bought me another gift that had a quite opposite effect: Joseph T. Shipley’s The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. For […]

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Boutique of the Week

I can’t even tell you how many times people have asked me, “When is Zara coming to Chicago?” The massive Spanish retailer is beloved by budget-minded style hunters for its dedication to cosmopolitan style and up-to-the-last-second mimicking of street trends—designs can hit the stores just two weeks off the drawing board. And now I can […]