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Praise for a Theater Critic

To the editors: As one who has never been reticent about criticizing your theatre critics, I would like to express my pleasure at the increasing frequency with which reviews by Mary Shen Barnidge have been turning up in your pages. It’s really nice to read a critic who seems to be more interested in addressing […]

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Insignificance

INSIGNIFICANCE Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company The theory of relativity may be this century’s great scientific find, as the theory of evolution was for the 19th. But where evolution suggested progress to its Victorian partisans, relativity conjures up isolation, fragmentation, even personal insignificance–the fear that no Newtonian center can hold things together. (Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle,” another development […]

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A Man Who hates Women

To the editors: Re: “Fetus Abuse,” letter by Dan Kuhn, September 29, 1989 Good, pious, philosophizing men like Dan Kuhn turn reality on its head. For all his yearning for the utopian society in which abortion will be unthinkable, and his hand wringing over the torture of “aborted children,” real women who have to actually […]

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News of the Weird

Lead Story Jesus Lopez, 18, was killed near Los Angeles last month when two cars accidentally struck him on the Pacific Coast Highway early one Saturday morning. He was standing in a southbound lane with his trousers down, mooning passing vehicles. People in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time Thomas Nick Floratos, a county […]

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Drugstore Cowboy

Set in Portland, Oregon, in 1971, this amiable, no-nonsense account of the exploits of a quartet of junkies who live together (Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, and Heather Graham) fully lives up to the promise of Mala Noche, director Gus Van Sant’s previous feature. Based on an unpublished autobiographical novel by James Fogle […]

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George Lewis & Douglas Ewart

Together again. George Lewis (the trombonist, synthesizerist, and highly respected new-music composer) and Douglas Ewart (the woodwind virtuoso, bandleader, and wooden-flute maker) first worked together in Fred Anderson’s bands of the early 70s; they proceeded to create memorable duet and small-group concepts on a fairly regular basis until Lewis moved on to New York and […]

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The Sports Section

Last week, for the first time in years, I dusted off the Super Bowl XX video and put it in the VCR. Nostalgia had little to do with it. Like a coach, I wanted to study the things that had made the Bears successful; like any fan, I wanted a glimpse of the glory days […]

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Slick Characters

LYNDA MARTHA DANCE COMPANY at the Weinstein Center for the Performing Arts October 20, 21, 27, and 28 The Lynda Martha Dance Company is another of those companies long on style and short on substance. The Evanston-based troupe is one of the area’s most technically proficient, with nine consistent, capable, lithe, quick dancers. The majority […]

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Damnation

This is my first encounter with Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr (Family Nest) and I hope it won’t be my last. People who don’t have much use for the existential gloom of Antonioni and Tarkovsky are advised to stay away, because many of the hallmarks of that relentless black-and-white style and vision–lots of rain, fog, and […]

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Moliere in Hollywood

THE MISANTHROPE Goodman Theatre When I think of Shakespeare I think perfect. I mean, Hamlet may have something wrong with it, theoretically, but I don’t know what it is. Hamlet’s Hamlet; it’s not something you pick apart, it’s something you discover. It has its own completeness. Its own necessity. There’s no second-guessing it. It’s just […]

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The gang that couldn’t run straight: Dawn Clark Netsch and Woody Bowman in the Democratic debacle of 1990

This being that crucial time of year when candidates across the state hire staff, raise money, and otherwise gear up for the primaries in March–the Democrats are busy committing political hara-kiri. There’s no rational explanation. That’s just the way it is in Illinois. Republicans almost never have a contested primary; when they do, the candidates […]