Posted inArts & Culture

A Bedfull of Strangers

A BEDFULL OF FOREIGNERS, Drury Lane Dinner Theatre. Thanks to the shoddy work of Jerry Lewis and a host of other shtickmeisters, everyone thinks of farce as a low, easy form of comedy in which there are no rules and the more chaos the better–in a pinch, all you have to do to get laughs […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Not-So-Strange

By Neal Pollack For months after Jim Williams announced he planned to leave the job of press secretary to the mayor, the Daley administration searched unsuccessfully for a replacement. Winter turned into spring and inched toward summer, yet Williams still showed up spinning at every mayoral appearance. Sometimes it seemed as though he wouldn’t be […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Caligula

CALIGULA, Defiant Theatre, at the Griffin Theatre Company. In its press release Defiant Theatre claims that Albert Camus’ modernist masterpiece Caligula was “tainted” by Bob Guccione’s film of the same name, although from the celluloid evidence it seems unlikely that anyone connected with the film ever cracked the binding on Camus’ work. Defiant hopes its […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, Tripaway Theatre. The proverb claims “two planks and a passion” are the minimum needed for a play, but Tripaway Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy lacks even the planks. Performed in Lincoln Park with only a makeshift banner separating the stage from the audience and a sheet “hiding” the dressing room, […]

Posted inMusic

Peter Van Bergen

PETER VAN BERGEN Dutch reedist Peter Van Bergen’s recorded work is all about lean precision. Both his participation in the Maarten Altena Ensemble, a marvelous group practicing a singular, Stravinsky-derived chamber jazz, and his leadership of Ensemble Loos, a new-music ensemble with an interest in improv and Morton Feldman-esque electronically enchanced fields of sound, testify […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Chance Dance Fest

CHANCE DANCE FEST Dance fans undoubtedly remember Joanne Barrett, who used to perform with the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble. Unfortunately for us she moved to Uruguay in 1992, but she’s returned for a one-night-only gig in this year’s Chance Dance Fest. Watching her rehearse reminded me what an elegant dancer she is, both compact and […]

Posted inFilm

Always a Bridesmaid

My Best Friend’s Wedding Rating *** A must see Directed by P.J. Hogan Written by Ronald Bass With Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett. By Gina Fattore Susan Faludi offers several definitions of feminism in her introduction to Backlash, one of them a rather modest formulation by Rebecca West. “I myself have […]

Posted inArts & Culture

More Fun Than a Three Nipple-Ring Circus

Stephanie Monseu speaks ardently about performing, as well she should–she’s a fire-eater. Three years ago in New York, Monseu and Keith Nelson started the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, a collective dedicated to resurrecting the traveling sideshow. The pair initially regaled nightclub audiences with a fire-breathing act and soon attracted like-minded performers; gradually their concept evolved from […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Plight of the Playlot

koskiewi.qxd Having grown up in Logan Square on the 3400 block of W. Drummond Place during the 50s and 60s, I can provide something of a historical perspective to the parcel of land now known as the Unity Playlot [Neighborhood News, July 11]. At one point during the late 50s, the Unity Playlot area was […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

In 1857 Abraham Lincoln was a has-been ex-congressman. Illinois had zero miles of railroad. Fewer than 30,000 people lived in Chicago….And Robert Kennicott founded the Chicago Academy of Sciences, now celebrating its 140th birthday and its status as the city’s oldest museum, according to a recent press release. “In a racially just world, black athletes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, Circle Theatre. This searing production of Edward Albee’s classic tale of domestic horror makes the audience almost as tense and uneasy as the hapless young couple who unwittingly become participants in George and Martha’s all-out war. There you sit in the humble little theater, practically in the middle of the […]

Posted inMusic

Brahms’s German Requiem

BRAHMS’S GERMAN REQUIEM Forget Verdian bombast. For that matter, forget the familiar Latin words of the traditional requiem, the Roman Catholic mass for the dead. Instead of following the usual liturgical model, Johannes Brahms chose to write his requiem in the vernacular–and to give it a decidedly humanistic tack. There’s no Dies Irae, threatening endless […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Light Keepers

THE LIGHT KEEPERS, Bailiwick Repertory. Rebecca Ranson’s romantic drama tells the stylized, sentimental story of two Victorian women who make a love nest out of a Lake Michigan lighthouse. The setting, with its isolation and heroic sense of vulnerability, simultaneously tests and protects the two women as they grow into a seemingly perfect partnership, the […]

Posted inMusic

Bill Coday

BILL CODAY R & B veteran Bill Coday has reemerged, seemingly out of nowhere and with all of his gifts intact, to become one of the most exciting players on the contemporary blues scene. Coday’s recording career dates back to 1969, when Denise LaSalle discovered him in a Chicago nightclub and brought him to her […]