Posted inArts & Culture

Battleaxe Betty

Battleaxe Betty From its founding five years ago, the Factory Theater has excelled at wacky comedies and camp send-ups of cult films, like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Attack of the Killer B’s. But over the last two years or so the company’s sense of humor has deepened: the Factory folks have shown that […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Overexamined Life

“Justine Bateman” Great Beast at Urbus Orbis, through July 31 By Justin Hayford Satire, said C.P. Snow, is the last resort of the powerless. So it’s no surprise that in the years since World War II, when America planted itself atop the international heap (at least in its own collective consciousness), the satiric spirit in […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Armed and Dangerous

young.qxd As the father of Andrew Young, the young man whose murder by handgun was examined by Tori Marlin in “Dealing Death” [June 6], I have to take exception to the comments sent in by Todd Field of Wheeling [Letters, June 27]. The standard propaganda of the National Rifle Association, repeated almost verbatim by Field, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Italian Beef

Italian Beef Fra Noi, a thick monthly tabloid that bills itself as “Chicagoland’s Italian American Voice,” claims its community’s nose has been bent out of shape by an attempt at humor by sports columnist Steve Rosenbloom in the May 7 Tribune. That day Rosenbloom ran a photo item juxtaposing the mugs of New York mob […]

Posted inArts & Culture

John McGivern Live

JOHN MCGIVERN LIVE John McGivern gives me hope. At a time when so many others, on the right and left, are doing all they can to tear us apart, preaching hate and inflexibility, McGivern is out there building bridges. Sure, he has a niche. But this self-proclaimed blue-collar Irish Catholic uncloseted homosexual veteran of a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, Excaliber Shakespeare Company, at the Heartland Studio Theater. At 200 minutes, Excaliber’s version of O’Neill’s memory play rivals the eloquent 1996 Touchstone production only in length: never has the journey seemed so long. The drama requires a grounding in human pain that can’t be approximated; technique won’t fill the bill, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Spoof Goofs

The Blob–The Musical Id/Ego Productions at Live Bait Theater The Wicked and the Sexed WNEP Theater Foundation at Famous Door Theatre By Adam Langer Like stage adaptations, novelizations of films, and theater criticism, satire is a secondhand art, relying on what came before it to justify its existence. But used intelligently and wittily, it can […]

Posted inMusic

Bad Dreams

Becky Lee Meza Vive Tu Sueno (Virgin) By John Sanchez Often when a person dies young, we comfort ourselves by ignoring any evidence that the departed’s life was anything but continual bliss. It’s an understandable impulse, but it can have some pretty awful consequences. The movie Selena was a multimillion-dollar example of this kind of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Milly’s Orchid Show

MILLY’S ORCHID SHOW Once so daring it left audiences in the teens and twenties baffled and/or screaming with rage, Dada performance has long since leaked into the mainstream by way of TV commercials, Fluxus-influenced rock performers, and absurdist comedians like Andy Kaufman and the early Steve Martin. Still, Blue Man Group are unsettling: with their […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Calling of Sebastian

THE CALLING OF SEBASTIAN, Broken Taillight Productions, at Voltaire. In the program notes for this new sketch-comedy show, Broken Taillight instructs us that it has no message; unfortunately, it also shows few signs of intelligence or talent, despite press-release claims that this “black comedy” makes “very strong comments on society.” Essentially The Calling of Sebastian […]

Posted inArts & Culture

My Life in Pop

MY LIFE IN POP: A THEATRICAL ESSAY ON POPULAR MUSIC IN CONTEXT, Lookingglass Theatre Company, at Live Bait Theater. There are stories that bear repeating. Father (husband, lover) suffers countless trials trying to return to family (wife, lover). Daughter (or son) leaves safety of home to explore world. Joy Gregory’s extended one-act, which she wrote […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories According to a March item in London’s Daily Telegraph, one or two orangutans disappear from a nature rehabilitation park in remote Sabah, Malaysia, every month. Some of the orangutans have been found in the homes of childless park workers, dressed in toddlers’ clothes and with their heads shaved to look more like humans. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Catch it if You Can

CATCH IT IF YOU CAN, Hodar Productions, at Link’s Hall. This Second City-style comedy revue, written and performed by a cast of young improvisers, is based on a premise that’s not half bad: all the sketches are set on one of four CTA el lines. Unfortunately, having come up with this mildly intriguing gimmick, no […]

Posted inFilm

The Outpost

The Outpost All things being equal, Peter Gothar’s Kafkaesque allegory (1994) periodically suggests a Hungarian variation on Tarkovsky’s Stalker, albeit one in which both comedy and sex play much more substantial roles. In the 1980s a divorced design engineer (Mari Nagy) learns she’s been “promoted” to run a remote branch office for the company that […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: I was sadly disappointed by one of your comments in a recent response. You were replying to a woman whose husband was addicted to Internet porn and whose sex life was dwindling into oblivion. You advised her to “assure him that you’re fine with him consuming porn–and if you aren’t fine, get fine […]