Posted inArts & Culture

Game Theory

The marketing people at Game Theory’s label, Enigma, will need their entire families to pray them out of Purgatory for failing to make Game Theory huge by now. Blathering on about “left-of-center pop” when they’ve got the freshest, most inventive, affecting high-energy rock-and-roll band in the nation to promote–well, that’s why the Meat Puppets get […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Magnum Farce

NOISES OFF Pegasus Players Ever since Aristophanes, writers of comedy have dreamed of creating a nonstop laugh machine. Playwright Michael Frayn has fashioned out of mere stage directions and dialogue a three-act contraption–Noises Off–that milks laughs from audiences as tear gas milks the eyes. His loony comedy craft is almost as deadly as the killer […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Puppetmaster of Lodz

THE PUPPETMASTER OF LODZ National Jewish Theater We were talking in the lobby before the show, and that was when I heard that this was a Holocaust play and, not only that, that it would be performed without an intermission. Two words suddenly popped into my head with such a sudden irony and vulgarity that, […]

Posted inFilm

Bird Watching

BIRD *** (A must-see) Directed by Clint Eastwood Written by Joel Oliansky With Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker, Samuel E. Wright, Keith David, and Damon Whitaker. CELEBRATING BIRD ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Gary Giddins and Kendrick Simmons Written by Gary Giddins. Two telling documents that we have about Charlie Parker, both from the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

We join the Chicago Bears at a particularly appropriate time this season. At first glance, it seemed obvious that their schedule broke down into three separate parts: an extended opening sequence, in which they played three of their four Central Division opponents, along with possibly difficult tests against three American Conference East powers; a difficult […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Where’s Charley?

WHERE’S CHARLEY? Apple Tree Theatre Transferring successful plays from Chicago to the suburbs seems like a terrific idea to me. The suburban audience is vast and full of people who enjoy theater. Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre, located nearly 25 miles north of the Loop, has 22,500 subscribers–more than any theater in the Chicago area. But when […]

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Photo Copy: the remote edges and unknown corners of O’Hare

At first glance, “O’Hare–Airport on the Prairie: Photographs by Robert Burley” is an unsurprising exhibition. We recognize in big, sumptuous Ektacolor prints the crowded terminal buildings, the waiting passengers, the traffic jams–the sort of frustrating airport tableaux we’ve all had parts in. Then jets taxiing, accelerating down a runway, or landing just beyond patches of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Things Change

David Mamet’s second feature as a director, coscripted with Shel Silverstein, is a little bit of a letdown after House of Games, but as a Mafia fairy tale with a tour de force performance by Don Ameche (soft-pedaling all the way), it is certainly watchable and enjoyable enough in its own right. Over a weekend, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cedar Walton

In jazz, every generation seems to produce one or two pianists without whom the music would be, quite simply, unimaginable: their grasp of the past and present places them in great demand, and by acting as accompanists in literally hundreds of recording sessions, they become unique shapers of the jazz of their eras. The list […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Einstein: A Stage Portrait

EINSTEIN: A STAGE PORTRAIT Ivanhoe Theater The emphasis here, says the press release, is on “the man behind the genius.” The just-plain-Al in Albert Einstein. And sure enough, Willard Simms’s Einstein: A Stage Portrait goes heavy on personal reminiscence and domestic detail. We hear the anecdote about how his uncle taught him the essence of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Feelies

Romantic minimalists in the extreme, the Feelies sweep a lot of people off their feet with their lush yet quick-stepping two-chord trances. In my book, people affected this way are usually airheads: give them any brightly colored balloon to hold on to and they float away. Me, I’m turned off by the Feelies’ self-aggrandizing navel-gazing, […]