Posted inArts & Culture

Hidden Laughter

HIDDEN LAUGHTER, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. Simon Gray’s 1990 play takes its inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, considered by some the apotheosis of modernism. Like “Burnt Norton,” the first of the four, it centers on a garden as symbol and stirrer of memory. It may also take its structure from […]

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The Cell

Age: 40 Occupation: Meatpacker Rooms: Three. Rent: $500 Location: Bridgeport How long in the apartment: Two weeks. On parole from state prison, where he spent most of the past eight years for burglary. Housewarming Gifts: Lawn chair from his sister. Computer from a friend of his mother. From his mother, the VCR he’d given to […]

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The Distaff SS

Going through transcripts of the Bergen-Belsen trials conducted by the British government after World War II, historian Wendy Maier was surprised to find that 19 of the 44 defendants were women, three of whom were convicted and hanged. She hadn’t heard much about female perpetrators of the Holocaust before; they became the subject of her […]

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Stellastarr*

The New Yorker and MTV are already onto these Brooklyn art-schoolers like Saruman and Sauron, but do they got what it takes? Though they shrug and agree with critics who call them derivative, it’s hard to pin Stellastarr* to a handful of influences or even a genre. The vocals of front man Shawn Christensen mix […]

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News of the Weird

Lead Story In February near Lake Jackson, Texas, unemployed tree cutter Louis Paul Kadlecek, who’d been on a four-day drinking binge to celebrate his 21st birthday, broke into 16 hangars at Brazoria County Airport and commandeered two small aircraft. Though he’d never been in a plane before, he taxied around in a two-seater, abandoned it, […]

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The Whole World in Their Hands

Brenden Clenaghen at Zolla/Lieberman, through April 17 Howard Hersh at Gwenda Jay/Addington, through April 27 When I was young, my friends and I would sometimes describe great films as “cosmic,” partly in self-parody of our enthusiasms. But some abstract art is cosmic in a more literal way. The patterns in Brenden Clenaghen’s seven paintings at […]

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The Stroop Report

THE STROOP REPORT, Chicago Jewish Theatre, at Red Hen Productions. Preston Jones’s schematic docudrama about SS commander Jurgen Stroop’s destruction of the Warsaw ghetto–and the desperate resistance of Jews facing liquidation there–might make a useful presentation for high school students. Certainly Jones’s two hours of short, illustrative scenes in which one- or two-dimensional characters discuss […]

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PAC/edge Performance Festival

This “convergence of Chicago artists,” presented by Performing Arts Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs weekends through April 18. The avant-garde showcase features some of the city’s most adventurous artists working in the disciplines of theater, performance, circus arts, storytelling, dance, music, video, and sound and installation art. Participants include […]

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Casualty of War

The friends and family of Army Sergeant Ivory Phipps gathered for his funeral at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip on March 27. The Chicagoan, who was 44, had previously served 15 years in the National Guard and had reenlisted with the intention of reaching 20 years of service before retiring. In Iraq for less than […]

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The Trojan Women: A Love Story

THE TROJAN WOMEN: A LOVE STORY, Speaking Ring Theatre Company, at Women in the Director’s Chair Theater. In this version of Euripides’ tragedy, Charles Mee combines his two primary obsessions in one awkward package, intertwining the horrors of war, particularly as they affect women and children, with trite sound-bite deconstructions of gender identity and relationships. […]