Posted inFilm

*Corpus Callosum

This stunning 93-minute video (2002) by Canadian conceptual artist Michael Snow might be his greatest work since La region centrale over 30 years ago. Almost certainly his most accessible feature, it combines elements from virtually all his previous films: the inexorable camera movement of Wavelength, Back and Forth, and La region centrale; the encyclopedic cataloging […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Improv Stand-up

Improv Stand-up, Know Laughing Matter, at Strawdog Theatre Company. The line between stand-up routine, improv aside, and performance-art soliloquy is so thin some scientists doubt its existence. Fact is, the solo harangue almost always involves all three techniques, though generally one aspect dominates or the context is decisive. Narrative, illustrative, and expository monologues are the […]

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Accidental Rapture

Accidental Rapture, Visions & Voices Theatre Company, at Chicago Dramatists. Playwright Eric Pfeffinger lands a pair of liberals in the home of a Bible-thumping couple and lets the sparks fly. The first act–a festival of acid dialogue–recalls a quip by essayist Thomas Carlyle that if Jesus Christ were to return today, people “would ask him […]

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Calendar

Friday 11/21 – Thursday 11/27 NOVEMBER 21 FRIDAY In his new book, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating: How to Choose the Best Bread, Cheeses, Pastas, Chocolate, and Much More, foodie Ari Weinzweig says, “You don’t have to be born French or be an insufferable food snob to discern the difference between a well-made farmhouse cheese […]

Posted inMusic

Akrobatik

Ambivalence has never been a trait identified with hip-hop, and listening to Akrobatik you can sometimes see why: an artist who takes time to stake out the middle ground can frustrate a listener who’s waiting for a wallop of personality. But more often than not on his debut full-length, Balance (Coup D’Etat), this Boston MC […]

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P.D. James

At the end of P.D. James’s last mystery, her hero, detective Adam Dalgliesh, was finally starting to open his thoughtful but pathologically private life to love in the form of young Cambridge don Emma Lavenham. Her newest, The Murder Room, takes him all the way there, provoking persistent mild comparisons (not entirely to its advantage) […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Seagirl

Seagirl, Blindfaith Theatre, at the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts. In Francis Elitzig’s adaptation of a Chinese folk tale, a country girl, Seagirl, is determined to rescue her village from the ravages of a dragon; the beast’s daughter later joins in her quest. That the two young women accomplish their mission without perishing […]

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Eleventh Dream Day

Byron Coley nails it in his liner notes for the reissue of Eleventh Dream Day’s Prairie School Freakout (Thrill Jockey) when he says that it sounds “rough, ready, and standing on the verge of flight into what seemed like a future of impossible promise.” When the record was first released in 1988, EDD was the […]

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Full-Blown Trio

Like many great musicians, jazz pianist Dave Burrell has paid a price for refusing to work within a single category. He first emerged in the late 60s, playing intense energy music with the likes of Archie Shepp, Giuseppi Logan, and Marion Brown; his style combined the dense clusters of Cecil Taylor with deeply lyrical improvisation. […]

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The Lady Troubles

The Lady Troubles, Triplette, at the Playground Theater. This debut sketch-comedy revue by Rebecca Fox, Laura Grey, and Heather Simms combines playful observations on a variety of mostly female subjects with the slaphappy energy of a slumber party. Though the show lacks the biting commentary you might expect from a production purporting to look at […]

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Select Media Festival 2

The second Select Media Festival, “an exploration of international movements in the digital underground of electronic media,” runs Friday through Wednesday, November 21 through 26, at the Gene Siskel Film Center and at High School, 1542 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $8, $4 for Film Center members; a $50 pass is good for all screenings. For […]

Posted inFilm

Joe Dante Calls the Toon

Looney Tunes: Back in Action *** (A must-see) Directed by Joe Dante Written by Larry Doyle With Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Joan Cusack, Heather Locklear, and the voice of Joe Alaskey. Ever since the word “auteur” became part of the standard English vocabulary in the late 60s and early 70s there’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

La La La Human Steps

Montreal choreographer Edouard Lock, who formed his company under the name Lock-Danseurs in 1980, gained an international reputation in 1985 with the Bessie-winning Human Sex. But U.S. audiences have had few opportunities to see his groundbreaking choreography, a combination of modern and pointe dance that doesn’t really fit any of the usual categories. Amelia–the evening-length […]