Posted inFilm

Hit the Road

Being the son of the great Iranian dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi and the protege of the late master director Abbas Kiarostami can’t help but cast a shadow, but if this digressive and slyly weighty debut is any indication, Panah Panahi will have no trouble making his own voice heard. A family of four drives through […]

Posted inTheater Review

Cruise control

Margaret Knapp directs the world premiere of Martha Hansen’s first play (presented by Light and Sound Productions) about five women on an Alaskan cruise—each hoping to sight something other than a bunch of glaciers. Bailey (Hansen) is a chattering busybody looking for a first love late in life, Cora (Judi Schindler) is sliding into dementia […]

Posted inTheater Review

Tyrant times

Steve Scott directs a storefront production of Shakespeare’s wallow into the nature of unadorned power-lust and demagoguery. With a minimal set—a couple benches, steps with a recess to indicate the space for a throne—and little in the way of choreography or any other theatrical gimmickry, Promethean Theatre Ensemble leaves the Bard’s words to work their […]

Posted inTheater Review

War cries

A wooden rowboat and plastic sheets lining two back walls are the only decorations for Sarah Tolan-Mee’s English-language adaptation of Heiner Müller’s 1982 cry-of-anguish riff on war, betrayal, and the messiness of identity. Using the Greek legends of Medea and Jason as a jumping-off point, this is a raging, poetic rant against tyranny and fate […]

Posted inTheater Review

My old Kentucky home

The Gift Theatre marks its return to live performance after a two-year absence with the Chicago premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s bittersweet ode to memory and place. Directed by Lavina Jadhwhani, it is a series of sometimes wistful, sometimes nostalgic, but always affecting monologues told by a succession of related characters in a Kentucky town, over […]

Posted inArts & Culture

No Robert Mitchum, but stay for the squirrels

Heather McAdams needs no introduction for longtime Reader readers, but I’ll try anyway. McAdams contributed cartoons and illustrations to the Reader for over 20 years, self-published and distributed an annual country music-themed calendar (filled with her original artwork and writing about country and rockabilly musicians) for approximately 30 years, ran the store Record Roundup in […]

Posted inTheater Review

Barroom power ballads

Kim Boler directs Mike Beyer and Kirk Pynchon’s Cleveland-set comedy about gentrification, nostalgia, and karaoke; not necessarily in that order. A group of regulars meets up on a frigid winter night for what they think will be just another night of singing their songs at their favorite local hole-in-the-wall. Little do they know that it’s […]

Posted inTheater Review

Carnal knowledge

Mammalian Diving Reflex/Darren O’Donnell present an evening of sex stories from six Chicagoans over 65. Organized as a chronological table read with occasional dance party and audience participation interludes, I don’t think that I could call it a piece of theater, but, from time to time, the veracity of a personal anecdote will certainly stay […]

Posted inFilm

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Unlike Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece, which has a point to make about economic desperation and cultural clash in 70s America, Ti West just wants to punish everyone involved in gory ways played for laughs.