Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Good Moment of Lily Baker

THE LAST GOOD MOMENT OF LILY BAKER, Mary-Arrchie Theatre. It would be a challenge for any company to make Russell Davis’s atrophied play engaging, given the playwright’s penchant for excessive exposition and his jumbled point-and-click style, which jumps from Hollywood melodrama to TV sitcom to metaphor-soaked naturalism with slight regard for structural integrity. While Kay […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

If the earth stopped spinning would we fall off of it? Which way would we fall if we did? Or would there just be less gravity? –Grant Shepard, age seven, Oak Park, Illinois You gotta be prepared for anything, kid. If you’d asked this a couple years ago I would have said, “The earth stop […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dancing Across State Lines

The last couple of dances that Zephyr Dance Ensemble artistic director Michelle Kranicke has choreographed have had an understated elegiac quality, a sorrow that insinuates itself into every movement. Her new Memory Slipped conveys a feeling of quiet abandonment, perhaps the feeling of a woman with two children asleep in the house gazing at the […]

Posted inFilm

Madame Butterfly

Translating opera into film requires a director who can grasp the narrative stripped of music, then come up with a visual strategy that sustains the emotional resonances and rhythms of the music. Few reach the standard set by Ingmar Bergman and Joseph Losey in their thoughtful and visually imaginative adaptations of two of Mozart’s masterpieces. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

The storm that hit the day before Halloween marked the end of the soft autumn days that provide Chicago with its annual taste of perfect weather. The seasonal shift announced itself at my house about 3 AM, when the wind blew a large packing box into the fence under my bedroom window. I awoke expecting […]

Posted inArts & Culture


PERIOD ATTIRE OPTIONAL: THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF THE LITERARY SOIREE By Holliston Black Not having a television? Why cast the matter in terms of not doing something? The tone is defensive, sulky. Does one characterize a person going about the business of life in a sensible way as “not a blithering idiot”? There are […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bonnie & Clyde-Wanted

Bonnie & Clyde–Wanted, Feral Theatre Company, at the Organic Theater Greenhouse, Lab Theater. Playgoers who fondly recall the extravagant passion and violence of Arthur Penn’s romantic 1967 film need fear no competition from Feral Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde–Wanted. This work, jointly devised by the company, acquaints us at great length with the domestic problems of […]

Posted inMusic

Moonshine Willy

Moonshine Willy The large number of bands joining rock ‘n’ roll to country and western belies the difficulty of doing it. Some bands (such as Son Volt) lapse into stuffy, joyless reverence, while others (such as the now-defunct Texas Rubies) wallow in campy caricature. Moonshine Willy avoids these pitfalls. The Chicago-based quintet’s arrangements combine bluegrass […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Frankly Brendan

Very little can go wrong when a highly talented, engaging actor performs an evening of deftly written, time-tested short stories. And despite Chris O’Neill’s self-effacing manner and somewhat quirky appearance–he describes himself as a cross between Harpo Marx and Marty Feldman–the veteran of Ireland’s famed Abbey Theatre is spellbinding, showcasing his twin talents as stage […]