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 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

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 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Quality of Cliche

ANNE FISHBEIN at Printworks TOM ROMA at J. Rosenthal Fine Arts Two photographers from Yale — Tom Roma is a teacher there, and Anne Fishbein, a recent MFA graduate — are showing across the street from each other this month, and together their shows reconfirm certain verities about the medium in which they are working. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

We were all sitting around lunch the other day and the question of what sweetbreads are came up. I voted for the thymus gland, but I was tremendously outnumbered by votes for the pancreas. Other suggestions included the brain, salivary gland, and even some sort of reproductive organ. I won’t comment on the mental status […]

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Pictures From a Revolution: German photography of the 20s and 30s

“The transformation that is taking place before our eyes in photographic methods and their effects is critical,” wrote Walter Peterhans in 1930. He had experienced that transformation firsthand when, in 1928, he was appointed to head the newly created photography workshop at the Bauhaus in Dessau–a sign of the acceptance of photography by Europe’s most […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Who says city television has to be dull? If you’re a cable subscriber, you can tune in Channel 23 or 49 and watch shows like We’re the Sewer Department Working for You, which premiered May 13, featuring Commissioner Samuel W. Hurley. “Americans love to look at animals,” writes Iowa biologist Roger Knutson in Flattened Fauna: […]