Posted inArts & Culture

Goober & the Peas

My favorite record at the moment is The Collected Works of Goober & the Peas, a six-track, four-and-a-half-song seven-inch roundup of the latest outrages from this five-man faux country outfit out of Detroit. Joke bands like this generally don’t have much of a future, but Goober is something special: he’s about 12 inches over six […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blue Window/Jerker

BLUE WINDOW Chicago Actors Theatre at Big Game Theatre JERKER Bailiwick Repertory Terrible, unfair things happen to the people in Craig Lucas’s scripts. In Longtime Companion, the recently released movie he wrote, a circle of friends is decimated by AIDS. In Prelude to a Kiss, his Tony Award-nominated play now on Broadway, a young couple’s […]

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Dear Elena Sergaevna

DEAR ELENA SERGAEVNA Spartacus Square Theatre at Victory Gardens For teachers the great paradox is that in order to educate students they must impose a discipline so seemingly mindless that it discourages the very reasoning they hope to teach. But both sides share responsibility. If students always knew what was best for them, they would […]

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Five Tiny Points of Light

FIVE TINY POINTS OF LIGHT Playwrights’ Center “Five Tiny Points of Light” is a collection of five brief sketches developed through improvisation in the Playwrights’ Center’s Germ Workshop. According to the program, each sketch began with “nothing more than the playwright’s ‘germ’ of an idea.” The playwright then worked with actors trained in improvisation and […]

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Who Killed the Dragon Lady

WHO KILLED THE DRAGON LADY Angel Island Theatre Company at Synergy Center There was A Raisin in the Sun about blacks. There was The Boys in the Band about gays. These were plays that took their narratives from a particular segment of an American population characterized nonetheless by diversity, breaking with old stereotypes and stressing […]

Posted inMusic

Second Vision

CHICAGO SINFONIETTA at Orchestra Hall May 21 It’s tough to be a second orchestra in Chicago. Just ask anyone who was involved with the now-defunct Orchestra of Illinois, which was the winter name for what still becomes the Lyric Opera Orchestra in the fall and the Grant Park Symphony in the summer. Why then is […]

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Total Recall

Although I haven’t read the Phillip K. Dick story (“I Can Remember It for You Wholesale”) that this is derived from, this loud, fast, bone-crunching SF action thriller has at least two of the virtues of much good SF in print: the creation of a foreign (if vaguely familiar) landscape and the alienated sensation of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Springtime in Prague/After the Party

Springtime in Prague Half of traveling is the reading you do so you see things with an attitude. We’ve been reading the essays and speeches of Vaclav Havel. Communist hard-liners put him in prison; now a grateful Czechoslovakia has made him president–major irrelevant American writers can only dream of being taken so seriously. We watched […]

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84, Charring Cross Road

84, CHARING CROSS ROAD Chicago Cooperative Stage Eight years ago, after seeing a production of David Mamet’s Lakeboat at the Goodman, I got into a ferocious discussion with a friend over her friend’s contention that film was a much better medium for story telling than the stage, because of the intimate view of the action […]