Posted inArts & Culture

The Untouchables

Brian DePalma’s operatic homage to the Al Capone legend, based on the 60s TV series. Something of a change in direction for DePalma, and it looks like a change for the better. The new reference point is Sergio Leone rather than Hitchcock, and the switch from subconscious delirium a la Vertigo to Once Upon a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Edison’s Con

To the editors: Hats off to Harold Henderson for his article on the Com Ed rate-hike plan [April 10]! We recently received our electric bill from Commonwealth Edison. Good news, I thought. For the second month in a row, we were able to keep the bill under $60–no mean feat for a family of four […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Follow That Sentence

To the editors: Judging by his reviews–not just of Kids in the Dark [April 17]–Valium-head never did leave adolescence, any more than any Reader theater “critic.” Any more than the morons who cant about the need to understand the stupid, spoiled troublemakers, like a creep here in Oak Park who got shot by a man […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Three by Shaw

THREE BY SHAW Center Theater If there was one heresy George Bernard Shaw was born to destroy, it was romanticism. In, among many others, Candida, Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, Arms and the Man, and Man and Superman, Shaw’s poet-lovers reveal themselves as the blindest characters of all, so possessed by their favorite phantoms they […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Descent of Man

THE HAIRY APE American Blues Theatre at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre The announcement of American Blues Theatre’s Hairy Ape stated that the play, one of Eugene O’Neill’s most important early works, hadn’t been produced professionally in Chicago for 65 years. Can this be true? That would mean it hadn’t received a professional staging here since the […]

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In the Service of Others

IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS Great Chicago Playwrights Exposition at the Body Politic Theatre Someone once told me, “A first play is like a first pancake — they should both be thrown away.” That cheap cynicism aside (theaters still produce Henry VI, Part One), the only reason not to produce a first play is, well, […]

Posted inFilm

Schlock Effects

THE BELIEVERS * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by John Schlesinger Written by Mark Frost With Martin Sheen and Helen Shaver. It is John Schlesinger’s habit to handle confrontations with evil, despair, and moral collapse like a trip to the fun house. In his hands, Nathaniel West’s surreal nightmare novel of 30s Hollywood, The Day of […]

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Summer Shorts Festival

SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVAL Organic Lab Theater In a city gripped by theater-fest frenzy, the Summer Shorts Festival looks positively venerable. It’s a full two years old, after all — older than its cousins, the Chicago Young Playwrights Festival and the Great Chicago Playwrights Exposition, put together. Nothing less than the oldest annual showcase of local […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Day in New York

“I wish I could help you.” Dr. S. picks up his mother-and-child paperweight and looks at it instead of at me. There’s a moment of silence between us while we tacitly agree that he can’t help me. “We’ve been sending our girls to Planned Parenthood. They arrange something in New York.” Up to then I […]

Posted inFilm

The Deveil And Misogyny

THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK *** (A must-see) Directed by George Miller Written by Michael Cristofer With Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Veronica Cartwright. The pairing of author John Updike and director George Miller at first seems a strange proposition. Updike, of course, is the quintessential man of letters, a critic as well […]