Posted inArts & Culture

North Star

North Star, Victory Gardens Theater. A hostile remark from a cabdriver triggers memories for Aurelia Taylor–memories of the long-ago summer of 1960, when her small southern hometown joined in the civil rights demonstrations proliferating in larger cities. Of her father and mother, desperately trying to protect the children from immediate danger as well as from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City File

Hey, Governor Jim, didja hear the one about the Czech politician? “I think a lot of Republicans look at me as an eccentric, an aberration–the king’s fool,” says west suburban Republican, Czech American, and new state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka to Jennifer Halperin in Illinois Issues (March). “What people forget is that the king’s fool […]

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Dave & Chuck’s Contract With America

Dave & Chuck’s Contract With America, at the Body Politic Theatre. “Truth in Comedy” is the name of the improv handbook Kim “Howard” Johnson wrote with ImprovOlympians Charna Halpern and Del Close. But even though Johnson nominally directed Dave & Chuck’s Contract With America, truth is one of the qualities missing from Dave Neiman and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Papal Bull

Pope Joan Bailiwick Repertory Let me state up front that Pope Joan, Christopher Moore’s new musical, is vastly superior to his previous collaboration with Bailiwick Repertory, the 1993 Son of Fire. Not because Moore has improved as a musical dramatist–he hasn’t–but because the new work’s source material suits the author’s strengths and weaknesses. Son of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Held Captive By Daydreams

TeenStreet, at Free Street Theater. The predominant motif of TeenStreet’s highly impressionistic theater piece is that of a young boy being held out the window of a housing project by his ankles and dropped to the ground below. The image serves as a handy metaphor for the young cast’s view of adolescence in Chicago, where […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Despot Measures

The Coronation of Poppea Music of the Baroque at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, March 27; repeats at United Church of Hyde Park April 2 and at Saint Pauls Church April 4 Claudio Monteverdi didn’t invent opera any more than Paul invented Christianity, but like the apostle he shaped an infant movement, setting it on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Fear of Failing

Jan Erkert & Dancers at the Dance Center of Columbia College, March 23-25 Jan Erkert says that her Whole Fragments is about healing, and that it’s drawn from her experience of being hospitalized for two months with a spinal infection. The dance is filled with images of helpless bodies and nurturing caretakers, but its bedrock […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Chicago Latino Film Festival

The 11th annual edition of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, produced by Chicago Latino Cinema and Columbia College, continues from Friday, March 31, through Monday, April 3. Film and video screenings will be at the Three Penny, 2424 N. Lincoln; at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton; at Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Haywire Act

Harvestide Shattered Globe Theatre Playwright Stephen Serpas has a pulp fiction writer’s gift for creating twisted, vivid characters: politically committed sex goddesses, polymorphous perverse FBI agents, cracked old coots with strange urban tales to tell. True, many of them are just a gesture or two away from dreadful cliches. The New England-accented narrator of Dogtown, […]

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Multimedia Circus

Ritual Clowns ImprovOlympic, through April 27 The Lazarus-Go-Round Kinetic Delta Cor at the Neo-Futurarium, March 23 and 24 As a teacher and codirector of the ImprovOlympic, Del Close has been a major behind-the-scenes influence on Chicago’s current crop of fertile long-form improvisers, among them the folks at Annoyance, the ImprovOlympic, and post-Lois Kaz Second City. […]

Posted inMusic

No Alternative

Oasis Vic, March 19 Weezer Metro, March 21 I’ve been hearing Q101 lately: little bursts around town in friends’ cars and a couple of extended bouts while attempting to drown out the horrific sound of a dentist’s drill on recent visits. During these past few weeks of sudden immersion in the sounds of commercially sanctioned […]