Posted inArts & Culture

Bang Bang

This endearingly crazy 1971 Brazilian film defies classification: its Portuguese title (Bangue bangue) refers to films we’d probably call “shoot-’em-ups,” director Andrea Tonacci called it a “Maoist detective comedy,” yet American audiences would probably consider it an experimental film. The anonymous urban protagonist experiences a series of absurd situations–including a crazy cab ride, an encounter […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blue Remembered Hills

BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS, Terrapin Theatre, at National Pastime Theater. Nine out of ten Chicago companies would slaughter Dennis Potter’s 1979 fable, originally written for British television. Seven adults play rambunctious seven-year-olds crashing about in the English woods during World War II: for the better part of 90 minutes they cajole, ridicule, bullyrag, mistreat, and belittle […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

THOSE BASTARD SOULS 9/30, the hideout; 10/1, schubas; 10/2, EMPTY BOTTLE With the release of their second album, Debt & Departure (V2), this side project of the Grifters’ Dave Shouse seems to have grown into a going concern–more so than the Grifters, anyhow. The new record (which rethinks several tunes from the Souls’ 1996 indie […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Pretty Vacant

The Trouble With Peggy: Pieces of Guggenheim at the Blue Rider Theatre By Justin Hayford Sometimes ambition does itself in. Peggy Guggenheim, perhaps America’s most influential champion of modern art, had enough ambition to do herself in several times over. Whether she did or not is open to debate. In amassing one of the most […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Bluff

Bluff, Victory Gardens Theater. Without a doubt, former Chicago resident Jeffrey Sweet’s latest work is an exceptionally well crafted piece of theater, a testament to his continued skill as a playwright. Like Flyovers–which received its world premiere at Victory Gardens two seasons ago–Bluff showcases Sweet’s remarkable knack for balancing scathingly funny one-liners with realistic, gut-wrenching […]

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True Books

Computers as Tutors: Solving the Crisis in Education, by Frederick Bennett, PhD (Faben, $25). Synopsis: Teachers suffer from “sickness, accidents, psychological problems, boredom, and burnout.” Computers will do a better job. Students will get the social interaction they need by stretching and going to the bathroom. Representative quote: “By occasionally shifting machines and physical locations, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Razzle Dazzle

Fosse at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre By Albert Williams “Life is just a bowl of cherries,” advises a 1931 vaudeville song by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson. “Don’t take it serious, life’s too mysterious.” The lyric, crooned slowly and soulfully by the captivating Reva Rice at the start of the […]

Posted inMusic

New Model Army

Naked Raygun Basement Screams Throb Throb All Rise Jettison Understand? Raygun . . . Naked Raygun (Quarterstick) By Peter Margasak My first Naked Raygun show, at Tuts in Lakeview in 1983, was an oasis in a long summer of faceless hardcore. Metal influences and thrash were beginning to dominate punk rock, and most of the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Incident at Vichy

Incident at Vichy, Writers’ Theatre Chicago. Lately the American theater seems so devoid of a conscience that just hearing Arthur Miller’s voice is refreshing–particularly in this top-notch production of his gripping, underappreciated morality play, written when he was still in his prime, about suspects rounded up by Nazi officers in occupied France. In this almost […]