Posted inArts & Culture

The Two Jakes

Jack Nicholson directs and stars as upscale Los Angeles detective Jake Gittes in the much-awaited, much delayed sequel to Chinatown (1974), scripted, like its predecessor, by Robert Towne and set 11 years later, when Gittes is fatter and even more cynical about his work. Harvey Keitel costars as the other Jake, Meg Tilly plays his […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Waiting for Jane

Two strangers, a man and a woman, share a bench on the corner of Addison and Halsted. Their parcels lean against their thighs. Hers: bubble wrap squashed into a plastic Jewel sack. His: a filthy blue gym bag with an obscure corporate logo. She gazes eastward, searching for signs of the Addison bus. He squints […]

Posted inFilm

Bland Justice

PRESUMED INNOCENT * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Alan J. Pakula Written by Frank Pierson and Pakula With Harrison Ford, Bonnie Bedelia, Greta Scacchi, Brian Dennehy, and Raul Julia. Perhaps my expectations for Presumed Innocent were unrealistically high. Amid the summer’s mob of brain-bashing rabble-rousers, this movie promised to be grown-up fare, the work of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John Doe

If Dylan married the sensibilities of Elvis and Rimbaud, X pulled off a similar trick with Hank Williams and William Burroughs–all, of course, within the confines of the genre of LA gutter punk in the late 1970s. Lovers John Doe and Exene were riotous romantics adrift in a milieu that didn’t allow for much hope; […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sharing Expenses

SHARING EXPENSES Acme Arts Company at the Edgewater Theatre Company We all know that television has ruined America. Thanks to that little glowing box, our great national debates have become simpleminded and embarrassing: Burn the flag–yes or no? Spike Lee’s new movie–thumbs up or thumbs down? Complex issues and complicated problems are of course excluded […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Two Takes on Virtuosity

SUMMER WORKSHOP OPEN SHOWING at the Dance Center of Columbia College July 20 The subject of many dances seems to be the virtuosity of the dancers themselves: the thrill of seeing a ballerina do a triple pirouette on pointe, or Gregory Hines land after a rubber-legged leap, tapping perfectly in time. But the pleasures of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Bad Seed/Craig’s Wife

THE BAD SEED and CRAIG’S WIFE Cloud 42 at Victory Gardens Studio Theater When George Bernard Shaw said, “It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid,” he could have been defining the word “camp.” Camp flourishes wherever works that once felt transparently sincere now seem transparently stupid. Quickly and cruelly, the camp […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bolshoi Ballet

BOLSHOI BALLET at Arie Crown Theatre August 1-5 The Bolshoi Ballet, which returned to Chicago for six performances after a ten-year absence, remains one of the glories of the civilized world. Yet despite the unmatched virtuosity and elegance displayed by principals and corps in both Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, something was missing from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Marcia Ball

She works out of Texas these days, but the music of pianist Marcia Ball cooks with the flavor of her native southern Louisiana. Influenced by the gang of geniuses who forged modern-day New Orleans piano–Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, James Booker, and Dr. John, among others–she’s as effective on steamy blues testifying (“The Power of Love”) […]