Posted inFilm

Dracula’s Guest

Jeffrey Arsenault’s black-and-white film that adds a gay twist to the story of Jonathan Harker’s first visit to Dracula’s castle on the outskirts of New York City—a gay-goth dream, with a kinder, gentler Dracula seducing the hunky Harker. There’s too much New York-film-student earnestness in this sexy confection, but it’s intelligent enough to suggest more […]

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Party Monster

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are clearly counting on the audience’s voyeuristic fascination with gruesome murders and campy costumes to justify this flat video documentary about the short party-promoting career of club kid Michael Alig. Using obvious reenactments, photomontages, and strategically edited interview footage, it shows Alig’s slide from flamboyant upstart queen of New York […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Daughters From the Stars: Nis Bundor

If anyone can bring anthropologized history out of the dust of display cases and into the present, it’s Spiderwoman Theater, one of the best-known avant-garde women’s performance troupes in the United States. Company members Muriel and Gloria Miguel were impressive in Lifeline Theatre’s 1998 adaptation of Louise Erdrich’s novel Love Medicine, but the three-member troupe’s […]

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Sex Driven

One Flea Spare Naked Eye Theatre Company at the Goodman Theatre By Carol Burbank Playwright Naomi Wallace may be one of the few awardees whose work merits the popular nickname of her MacArthur fellowship: the “genius grant.” Her remarkable plays combine Brecht’s confrontation of the audience with Ibsen’s brutal realism and Chekhov’s comic sense of […]

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Save the Ducks and Other Stories of Courage, Dignity, Embarrassment, and Total Cowardice

SAVE THE DUCKS AND OTHER STORIES OF COURAGE, DIGNITY, EMBARRASSMENT, AND TOTAL COWARDICE, at the Lunar Cabaret. In her brief but endearing one-woman one-act, Rose Buckner introduces the audience to five earnest oddballs in what feels like a showcase or a loose collage, though these poignantly comic female monologues are reminiscent of Lily Tomlin’s characters. […]

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First Breath: About Face Youth Theatre

FIRST BREATH: ABOUT FACE YOUTH THEATRE, About Face Theatre. This remarkable collaboration between About Face Theatre and kids from Horizons Community Services gives audiences an inspiring glimpse into the lives of queer teenagers. Eric Rosen’s intelligent staging uses percussive rhythms, high-energy music, and kaleidoscopic shifts in narrative style to shape their stories and poems. And […]

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The War Boys

THE WAR BOYS, East Window Theatre Company. Naomi Wallace’s first play is set on three borders–the border between Mexico and the U.S., the border between adolescence and manhood, and the border between fantasy and reality. It is a violent and often beautifully written story about three young Texan men who have hired themselves out to […]

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Beyond the First Dimension

Conversation With a Diva Bailiwick Repertory By Carol Burbank Gay pride month is always a mixed bag. The parade may feature fabulous drag queens and heartfelt floats, but the spectacle is interrupted by dull stretches of product placement: a big truck advertising beer or reluctant aldermen waving hesitantly from unmarked cars. The entertainment in bars […]

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Annie Sprinkle Herstory of Porn: Reel to Real

Annie Sprinkle (nee Ellen Steinberg) has gone from porn star to sexual-healing guru to performance artist. Thousands of audience members (including me) have seen her cervix, and thousands more have had their photographs taken with Sprinkle’s generous breasts on their heads. Her performances are irreverent, intelligent, sensual, clownish, and sweetly brutal, celebrating the power of […]

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Shirts & Skin

At a time when Jerry Falwell can “out” Teletubby Tinky Winky with a straight face, and expensive new AIDS drugs are transforming our definitions of survival, Tim Miller’s stories are refreshingly hopeful reminders of the devastating, delirious, complicated course of history in the late 20th century. Shirts & Skin–the latest installment in Miller’s autobiographical solo-performance […]

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Within the Dream

WITHIN THE DREAM, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at Victory Gardens Theater. MPAACT’s production of Deidre Searcy’s multimedia play testifies to the steady improvement of this small, dedicated company. Although the decidedly undancerly troupe still struggles with demanding, often vague choreography meant to signify emotional or symbolic moments, the actors have begun to […]

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Framing Chaos

Boxing Joseph Cornell Neo-Futurists at the Neo-Futurarium, through June 19 Timepiece Rachel Rosenthal Company at the Dance Center of Columbia College, May 13-15 By Carol Burbank It’s the perfect marriage–eccentric artist Joseph Cornell and the Neo-Futurists. Cornell’s surreal boxes and collages made his reputation as a mysterious, somewhat wacky visionary. Greg Allen and company, if […]

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The Passion Follies

For the next two weeks, Corn Productions’ campy revisions of the New Testament will run in repertory as the last shows in their Andersonville theater, slated for demolition and condo-bondage in June. It’s a fitting swan song for the storefront space, where so many classic stories have been transformed. In “The Passion Follies,” the Tiff […]

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After Italy

AFTER ITALY, at the Playground. In his first solo performance in Chicago–and his first performance since returning to the States after living in Italy–improviser George Savino is charming as himself. He leads us through the story of his three years overseas, a sojourn he began at the age of 40, telling us about some of […]