Posted inArts & Culture


Cabaret, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago, at Theatre Building Chicago. The temptation for a director reviving a classic musical like this 1966 portrait of the last days of Weimar Germany is to imitate a better-known production–Hal Prince’s original Broadway staging, say, or Sam Mendes’s dark, sexy 1998 version. Director L. Walter Stearns, to his credit, chooses […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Local Lit: untangling the new Russia

In “The Conversion,” one of eight short stories collected in Katherine Shonk’s first book, The Red Passport, an American named Tom travels to Pushkin, outside Saint Petersburg, to visit a Russian couple he and his ex-girlfriend befriended while living abroad. Their house is full of relics of his failed relationship–his ex’s clothes, her books, her […]

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Eyes Without a Face

As Dave Kehr originally described it, “a classic example of the poetry of terror.” Georges Franju’s 1959 horror film, based on a novel by Jean Redon, is about a plastic surgeon who’s responsible for the car accident that leaves his daughter disfigured; he attempts to rebuild her face with transplants from attractive young women he […]

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Calendar Sidebar

When you say Nighties at the Bottle Top, the first thing I think is “I can’t afford that kind of dominatrix,” but the phrase is really just the name given to a new series of art exhibits in the space above the Empty Bottle. Organized by an as yet unnamed collective of artists, “Nighties” will […]

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The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show, Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. Richard O’Brien’s 1973 play about a naive young couple introduced to kink by a strange assortment of characters inspired the better-known 1975 film. But without the movie audience’s usual participation, this musical reveals itself for what it is–B theater, with mostly forgettable songs, a barely […]

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Homeland Security

Homeland Security, Victory Gardens Theater. Returning from an overseas trip, an Evanston couple are questioned at O’Hare for four hours. The woman, Susan, proposes calling a lawyer, but her lover shrugs off the experience as a mere inconvenience. Then the woman’s ex-husband begins to fret over the safety of their son, and official queries start […]

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Camelot, Drury Lane Oakbrook. This once and future 1960 musical continues to impress with its swift storytelling, literate dialogue, and well-made score. “If Ever I Would Leave You” still feels inevitable, surprising us with its familiarity. And T.H. White’s novel brings out the best in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe; harking back to their […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Gender Confusion

[Re: Sylvia Critic’s Choice, October 24] Last time I checked, Ted Hughes’s lover Assia Wevill was not a man. Even anyone who’s never been familiar with Sylvia Plath and her life would only need to actually watch the movie to know that. After all, a man can’t get pregnant. Jamie Murnane Note: The error was […]

Posted inMusic

New and Improved Formula

Strokes Room on Fire (RCA) Hype is considered more blessing than curse for a young rock act. Though industry types will tell you it’s crucial that buzz be cultivated gradually and delicately, bands and labels pay publicists to create it first and control it a distant second. And hype clearly pays off in short-term commercial […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

Who wants to be a farmer? A lot of Chicagoans would get the choice if Ken Dunn of the Resource Center had his way, reports Holden Frith in Conscious Choice (October). “The time has come for Chicago to commit to the idea of urban agriculture on a citywide scale. Chicago has 6,000 acres of unused […]

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Cesaria Evora

Since breaking out internationally in the mid-90s, Cesaria Evora has single-handedly ensured that the Cape Verde Islands would evoke something more for music fans than that Horace Silver tune. Her mastery of her homeland’s national song form, the morna–a beautifully melancholic type of ballad that’s thought to be a mixture of the Portuguese fado, the […]

Posted inFilm

How to Capture an Artist

Sylvia ** (Wroth seeing) Directed by Christine Jeffs Written by John Brownlow With Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Jared Harris, Amira Casar, Andrew Havill, Lucy Davenport, Blythe Danner, and Michael Gambon. In the Mirror of Maya Deren **** (Masterpiece) Directed by Martina Kudlacek Greasing the bodies of adulterers Like Hiroshima ash and eating in. The sin. […]

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Jabberwocky, Tireswing Theatre, at Lakeshore Theater. Playwrights Tami Zimmerman Henry and Andrew Lines have turned Lewis Carroll’s classic poem (“‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves…”) into a quest story: a youth pursues the mythical Jabberwock to rescue his kidnapped sister and prove his manhood. The audience decides which roads young Grunderoyglaban (Brian Clements) will take […]