Posted inFilm

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s second feature (after Hard Eight) is a two-and-a-half-hour epic about one corner of the LA porn industry during the 70s and 80s–a seemingly limited subject that becomes the basis for a suggestive and highly energetic fresco. The sweeping first hour positively leaps with swagger and euphoria as an Orange […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sheila’s Instant Odyssey

SHEILA’S INSTANT ODYSSEY, Sheila, at the Strawdog Theatre. This Hyde Park-based company may be the smartest, best-prepared, best-informed improv troupe in the city. But are they ready for the Holy Grail of improv, the fully improvised two-act play? Chicago’s stages are littered with the bones of companies–among them Dawn Toddy and the late, great Jazz […]

Posted inMusic

Grace Braun

GRACE BRAUN On each of its three albums Grace Braun’s band DQE reinvented itself: But Me, I Fell Down featured harrowing tales of mental illness set to syntonically jittery indie rock; Jump On In’s original hoedowns sounded like they’d been found in the public domain; and on last year’s DQE and Jad Fair the group […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shining Souls

SHINING SOULS, Dolphinback Theatre Company, at Live Bait Theater. Chris Hannan’s Shining Souls, making its U.S. debut in this Dolphinback production, takes place on the day that lusty widow Ann has vowed to make up her mind which of her suitors–both named Billy–she’ll marry. Her decision is postponed right up to the altar, as various […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

The last of the late-season wildflowers are fading. The petals have already dropped from the sunflowers. Only a few of the goldenrods retain the bright yellow of September. Even the asters, always the latest of our fall flowers, are past their prime. If you want to see the last of summer you had better get […]

Posted inMusic

The View From the Cheap Seats

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Orchestra Hall, October 11 By Sarah Bryan Miller When I spent a college semester studying in England I didn’t concentrate unduly on my formal course work , but I did take full advantage of London’s cultural life–plays, concerts, opera, galleries. Some were classic, some contemporary; some were wonderful, some ghastly. It was […]

Posted inMusic

Jeff Stitely Project with Liam Teague

JEFF STITELY PROJECT WITH LIAM TEAGUE Anyone who’s heard Trinidadian steel-drum players only in the usual giant festival competitions and scintillating parade performances will likely cock an eyebrow at the thought of jazz played on the pan–the Caribbean term for this instrument originally constructed from a 45-gallon oil drum. But anyone familiar with the extraordinary […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories In June the Court of Appeal in London, England, turned down Thomas Moringiello’s request to overturn his fraud conviction and 18-month prison sentence. Though Moringiello was able to prove that Judge Richard Hamilton had slept through portions of the testimony at the trial the year before, the court said Moringiello’s case was not […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Old Times

OLD TIMES, Pyewacket, at O Bar & Cafe. Harold Pinter’s 1971 drama is a tough nut, no doubt about it. Portraying an encounter between three people–Kate, her husband Deeley, and their houseguest Anna, Kate’s former roommate and possible ex-lover–Pinter’s script seethes with muted tension, expressed through maddeningly polite cocktail-party chitchat as the trio trade conflicting […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dance Chicago ’97

Dance Chicago ’97 What do audiences want? I don’t know, dance troupes don’t know. Maybe audiences don’t know. If you fall into that category, Dance Chicago ’97 is for you. Now in its third year, the fest lasts for six weeks and features some 300 local performers, both dancers and less traditional movers. And it’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Visiting the Lincolns

VISITING THE LINCOLNS, Stage Actors Ensemble of Chicago, at the Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, Performance Loft. This 80-minute one-act offers a charming, convincing conceit: it seems the audience has arrived unexpectedly at the White House to visit with President and Mrs. Lincoln. It’s Good Friday 1865, and before our hosts depart for a certain […]