Posted inArts & Culture

The Shanghai Gesture

Bailiwick Repertory. As we walk into the theater, women perched on swings or inside cages overhead inform us that we have now entered the internationally famous Shanghai brothel owned by the equally renowned Mother God Damn. (Her name comes from the words English-speaking sailors once tricked ignorant natives into believing meant “I love you.”) The […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Redwood Curtain

Wisdom Bridge Theatre Chicago Company, at Ivanhoe Theater. In Lanford Wilson’s new play, Geri, a 17-year-old Eurasian girl, leaves her wealthy adoptive parents and her budding career as a concert pianist to search for her father in the redwood forests of northern California. She thinks she finds him in Lyman Fellers. A Vietnam veteran, Lyman […]

Posted inFilm

Beautiful Losers

NOBODY’S FOOL Rating *** A must see Directed and written by Robert Benton With Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gene Saks, Josef Sommer, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Since most Hollywood movies of the 90s offer unabashed fantasies, the hero’s success has become something of a given. Regardless […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Mystery Dance

SMARTDANCE at Link’s Hall, January 13 and 14 Dancers are often nomadic. Most places aren’t very hospitable to dance, so they might as well pick up and move and see what happens: maybe they’ll have a marginally better chance in some other city, a chance to get control of their lives. A couple years ago […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

A half dozen people were waiting to get into the phone payment center at 55th and Wabash. “Yeah,” said an elderly man in front of me, “Sammy Davis Jr. is still alive. I saw him the other day.” “Oh,” answered a surprised security guard. “So he’s like Elvis?” “It was him. I’m sure of it.” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Hall of Mirrors

Retro Theatre, at Zebra Crossing Theatre. Two sweet, loving couples. Both meet in bars, both soon commit to twinkly-eyed long-term relationships. But one couple’s straight, the other’s lesbian. Surprising? Not especially–at least not as scripted by Sara Reily, who makes both couples as bland and conventional as possible. In a word, dull. In The Hall […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Death and the Maiden

ANTIGONE Footsteps Theatre Company Christina Jeffrey could find nothing to object to in Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. Jeffrey’s the political science teacher appointed to the post of House historian by her friend Newt Gingrich, then fired by him when word got out that a few years back she opposed an educational program on the Holocaust because […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Court Theatre. Twenty-five years after its premiere, Anthony Shaffer’s homage to (and critique of) the genteel British whodunits of the 1930s still has the ability to snare viewers unfamiliar with its intricate games of deception and disguise. And even for those who know its secrets, this crafty mix of thriller and comedy of manners remains […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Baaba Maal

On Senegalese pop star Baaba Maal’s new album, Firin’ in Fouta (Mango), a slick, voraciously genre-blending effort, the vocalist–second only to Youssou N’Dour in popularity for an artist from his country–travels the world investigating all sorts of divergent styles. The production is unapologetically big, recorded in several studios around the world with lots of guest […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

In their second possession, after they had turned the ball over on the first and given away a 3-0 lead, the San Francisco 49ers took control of their playoff game against the Bears a week ago last Sunday. They ran the ball left, they ran the ball right; they pulled the guards to the left, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bad Company

This interesting and effective spy thriller, directed by Damian Harris from a script by mystery novelist Ross Thomas, starts out as an upscale Deep Cover: industrial espionage financed by big business takes the place of police undercover work in drugs, and Laurence Fishburne again ably plays a sort of double agent. But this film confounds […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

EX-IDOLS 1/20, METRO Prefab punk rock with the required lyrics obsessing on being a social misfit–the old “no one would accept me but my punk friends” spiel–the music of the Ex-Idols is designed expressly for the niche-friendly alternative rock market. On Social Kill (Relativity) they churn out a predictable lexicon of punk guitar riffs, but […]