Posted inArts & Culture

God’s Country/Spooks

GOD’S COUNTRY Shattered Globe Theatre At the beginning of Shattered Globe’s production of God’s Country, two video monitors mounted above the stage play footage of violent acts and intolerant people–racial riots, the Third Reich at work, grinning Klansmen, etc–to the accompaniment of “Sympathy for the Devil.” The song is a little worse for wear, the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the Chicago Theatre Early in act two of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a pompadoured, pelvis-swinging Pharaoh cuts loose with an all-shook-up showstopper about a troubling dream he’s had. After he’s finished, his Hebrew slave-turned-soothsayer Joseph nervously asks for an encore, punctuating his request with a few […]

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Plastic-Covered Passion

JAMES ROSENQUIST: GIFT WRAPPED DOLLS at Feigen, through October 9 My first reaction to most of James Rosenquist’s paintings is immediate and intense visual pleasure. One of the founding Pop artists, he fragments images drawn primarily from mass media, paints them with a sensuousness somehow more resonant than that of an appealing advertisement, and juxtaposes […]

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Food From Trash

FOOD FROM TRASH American Blues Theatre Gary Leon Hill’s Food From Trash marks a disappointing opening for American Blues Theatre’s new 150-seat performing space. First staged in 1983, the heavy-handed script revolves around a corrupt waste-disposal company and the men who make their living hauling trash. The result is an unglamorous soap opera–dominated not by […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story In August Gary T. Williams, 38, pleaded guilty to forgery in Louisville, Kentucky, in a case involving checks totaling more than $4,800. Williams told the judge that he needed the money to pay off a man who lived in the group house in which he was staying and who had threatened his life. […]

Posted inFilm

The Bad Boy

THE GOOD SON * (Has redeeming facet) Directed by Joseph Ruben Written by Ian McEwan With Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, Wendy Crewson, David Morse, Daniel Hugh Kelly, and Quinn Culkin. The innocent-looking child who’s really evil incarnate is a natural idea for a horror movie, but getting us to believe in such a character isn’t […]

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Greek/Lunch

GREEK Transient Theatre It’s been a few years since the American Revolution, but a quick look at the theater listings might convince one otherwise: in the theater Britain still dominates (“Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the stage . . . “). Not that there’s anything wrong with the occasional Tom Stoppard or Simon Gray opus, it’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

It’s Wine Time

The Santa Fe rail yards, abandoned warehouses, and dusty streets near Ashland and the South Branch of the Chicago River seem empty, but just past dawn on this early Sunday morning Santa-Fe Grapes, 2733 S. Ashland, is bustling with customers. “Come on in and taste the grapes.” Paul Alleruzzo gestures to a stocky, gray-haired man […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Betty

In Claude Chabrol’s new film Betty nothing is simple, nothing quite what it seems. Betty (Marie Trintignant), whose husband has recently thrown her out after finding her with another man, wanders aimlessly, alone and drunk. An older woman (Stephane Audran) takes her in and cares for her, and gradually Betty tells her story, which we […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Black and Blue

BLACK AND BLUE Famous Door Theatre Company at Jane Addams Center Hull House On August 9, 1967, Kenneth Halliwell took a ball-peen hammer and killed his longtime lover and friend, Joe Orton, with nine whacks to the head. Then he killed himself. “If you read [Orton’s] diary,” Halliwell wrote in his suicide note, “all will […]

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Bobby “Blue” Bland

A few years ago I wouldn’t have written a critic’s choice on Bobby “Blue” Bland. He sounded as if he’d abused his pipes past the point of no return; his trademark gospel squall had degenerated into an obscene snort; and he might have phoned in his performances for all the emotional commitment he showed. Recently, […]