Posted inFilm

What Is a Jew?

EUROPA EUROPA **** (Masterpiece) Directed and written by Agnieszka Holland With Marco Hofschneider, Rene Hofschneider, Delphine Forest, Andre Wilms, Julie Delpy, and Halina Labonarska. Solomon Perel was born in Peine, Germany, in 1925, the youngest child of a Polish-Jewish shoe merchant. He survived World War II first in a Soviet orphanage (1938-41), then by posing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Power Pipes

POWER PIPES Spiderwoman Theater at the Edgewater Theater Center October 24-27 Reviewing a work in progress is a lot like evaluating a restaurant by walking around the kitchen and smelling the food as it’s being prepared. The fact is, you never really know how it’s going to turn out. It could be great, but then […]

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The Cafe With No Name

THE CAFE WITH NO NAME Playwrights’ Center A friend once told me he believed television had completely ruined theater. Not only were audiences less willing to leave their electronic hearths, but when they did, they were most comfortable with sitcomlike comedies and overblown musicals. He went on to say that he judged plays by how […]

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Falsettoland

FALSETTOLAND Wisdom Bridge Theatre Falsettoland starts with the drawing open of a curtain across the stage, and ends with the curtain being closed. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a curtain used that way on an off-Loop stage, and the show’s use of the time-honored, lately neglected device is rather startling at first. […]

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This Year’s Throwaway

I PURITANI Lyric Opera Heaaad ’em up! Mooove ’em out! And the cast of Lyric’s I Puritani, a Bellini work that is the Italian equivalent of an old-fashioned Hollywood oater, lumbers dutifully back and forth across the stage. The world that Bellini and his operas inhabited is long gone. It was a world in which […]

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About Men

JAN ERKERT & DANCERS and KINETIC WHITE GIRLS at Link’s Hall Studio November 1 and 2 It’s possible to see modern dance as a women’s ghetto–and modern dancers as the starving little sisters in a community that’s undernourished anyway–in a country that ghettoizes all art, not just dance. That’s why it’s so heartening when modern […]

Posted inFilm

Physiognomy as Fate

FRANKIE & JOHNNY ** (Worth seeing) Directed by Garry Marshall With Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer. Frankie & Johnny is about the difficult courtship of two working people who, though they work side by side eight hours at a time, cannot quite manage to communicate. If the idea sounds familiar, it should. Though based on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

The last two weeks have done much to establish where the Bears stand in the National Football League this season. After a beginning in which they defeated four straight mediocre teams by slim margins, the Bears then lost to two very good teams by large margins. This left the Bears somewhere in the middle of […]

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Short Films

John Greyson’s hilarious and wonderful The Making of “Monsters” from Canada is an audacious pseudodocumentary–a short about the making of a musical about a gay-bashing incident that results in murder. If that sounds offbeat, consider that the two creative minds behind the musical are George Lukas (identified as the Marxist literary critic who directed American […]

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Jean Stapleton and Lee Hoiby

It takes considerable vocal talent to sound as perfectly dreadful as Jean Stapleton sounded when she screeched her way through “Those Were the Days” on TV’s All in the Family. Stapleton established herself as a delightful comic soprano of the Broadway variety back in the mid-1950s, when director George Abbott featured her in Damn Yankees; […]

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Off the Wagon

This performance series, which shifts the Free Street Theater’s focus from touting outdoor events to indoor shows at its home base, kicks off with two one-person works. Out Comes Butch, written and performed by David Schein, who recently succeeded the late Patrick Henry as FST’s artistic director, marks Schein’s Chicago performing debut. A founding member […]