Posted inFilm

The Good, the Bad, and the English

DEAD AGAIN ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Kenneth Branagh Written by Scott Frank With Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi, Andy Garcia, Hanna Schygulla, Robin Williams, Campbell Scott, and Wayne Knight. The most instructive evening I’ve spent in the English theater was the first time I went, in the mid-60s, to a series of three […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Young Dreamers

A TRIPNOTIC NIGHT at the Transient Theatre Whatever its value as a tool for playwrights learning their craft, the one-act play is not a very marketable commodity these days. Though one might think that television would have accustomed audiences to dramas packaged in 30- or 60-minute units, most theatergoers still expect at least a two-hour […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Degenerate Art

“I want to paint you,” says Emil Nolde to his wife Ada early in Degenerate Art, Tom Jacobson’s historical drama about life and art in Hitler’s Germany. “I’m not ugly enough,” Ada ironically responds. Much of the art created by Nolde and his fellow expressionists, who were living and working in a Germany left desperate […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Absolute Truth

THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH Absolute Truth at Puszh Studios The Absolute Truth looks great on paper. For each performance a five-person ensemble creates an original theater piece based on that day’s Chicago Tribune. Not only would the performers have to be quick-witted and politically savvy, they’d need a highly sophisticated sense of irony. Imagine equating the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Selling Water

SELLING WATER Big Game Theater At the end of Selling Water, I left the theater only to be overtaken by a sudden doubt. What if it wasn’t over yet? I hung around outside for a while and thought it over. Most of the audience wasn’t leaving, but virtually all of them had the telltale friends-and-relations […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Rocking Ukrainians

What Valerij Smahlij wants us to know is that things aren’t usually like this in the Soviet Union. Usually Hrono–the band he manages–plays for thousands of adoring fans in huge arenas and outdoor stadiums. There aren’t small, dingy clubs like this in Ukraine. In Ukrainian stadiums, Hrono uses lasers and smoke machines. There usually isn’t […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

“Less than a third of Illinois’ eighth graders are being taught math by teachers who have even an undergraduate major in the subject,” notes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (August 1-7). “Parents wouldn’t dream of sending their children to a plumber to have their teeth filled but they willingly send them to English majors […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Veeck Stadium?

To the editors: While I do miss Ted Cox as the sports writer for the Reader, I find Mr. Boomer’s coverage to be satisfactory, and in some areas quite excellent. However, I believe that his stand regarding the name of the new White Sox stadium [August 16] is a sign that he hasn’t done all […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chicago Jazz Festival

A curious alchemy occurs whenever Jay McShann plays the piano: everything, whether old or new pop songs or 30s swing numbers, is transformed into blues. There’s an irresistible rocking swing about his playing, and since his band includes other excellent swing-era veterans–his old Kansas City pals Buddy Tate (the big, bold tenor saxist) and Claude […]