Posted inArts & Culture

Praying Small

Playwright Clifford Morts made his Chicago debut in September with the world premiere of this funny, poignant semiautobiographical account of a man’s downward spiral into alcohol and drug addiction and his first steps toward recovery. Confronting the issue of substance abuse with unusual humor and insight, the production gained an audience partly through word of […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Moulin Scrooge

Moulin Scrooge, Baby Wants Candy, ImprovOlympic. Over the past eight years Baby Wants Candy has performed more than 700 musicals, each one improvised on the spot from a single audience suggestion. And the Baby Wants Candy performances I’ve seen have met all the criteria for big-ticket musical theater, lacking only a tightened score and an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Merry Jewish Christmas

A Merry Jewish Christmas, Bailiwick Repertory. David (Michael Hersch-berg) has a problem. His parents are coming to his Lakeview apartment for the first time to celebrate Hanukkah, and there’s something they don’t know: David’s “roommate,” Olsen (Patrick Gannon), is actually his boyfriend of three years. Worse, Olsen isn’t Jewish. Together the couple must hide the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Joe Dante Calls the Toon

Ever since the word “auteur” became part of the standard English vocabulary in the late 60s and early 70s there’s been some confusion about its meaning. In French auteur simply means “author,” and when Francois Truffaut started formulating a “politique des auteurs,” or policy of authors, in Cahiers du Cinema in the mid-50s, he had […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Governments in Action

Paul Shambroom: Evidence of Democracy at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, through December 5 In Paul Shambroom’s Yamhill, Oregon (Population 790) City Council, April 9, 2003, five physically imposing people sit at a table facing the viewer. Though all are casually dressed and their poses and expressions are unpretentious, their body language communicates different attitudes: […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Misanthrope

The Misanthrope, Next Theatre Company. It’s not hard to see why contemporary writers would find the idea of updating Moliere’s 1666 comic masterpiece attractive. The crabby protagonist, Alceste, is a brilliant creation, a man so determined to avoid hypocrisy and dishonesty in all his dealings that he’s alienated everyone. And the conflict between his inflexible […]

Posted inNews & Politics

As the Black Cloud Lifts . . ./The Weather Word Is “Good-bye”/Mourning Has Broken

As the Black Cloud Lifts . . . In Canada, where Conrad Black watching has long been a national sport, the Toronto Star’s Lynda Hurst lamented what she called the “crash-bang of the House of Hollinger.” She fondly remembered Lord and Lady Black of Crossharbour in their element, entertaining in their London mansion, where “sundry […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Palio Productions, at the Side Studio. The Aimee Bender short stories adapted for this program are about illusions in romance, the pressure of taking care of a parent, facing loss when love changes, and finding freedom in happenstance. And Bender’s voice is still evident in Ellen O’Keefe’s adaptations of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, Etc. Concerts AMY ARMSTRONG, REGINE & others perform at the Satori Project (preceded by a live auction at 6 PM; benefit for the Actors’ Fund of America and Satori Arts Center). Mon 12/1, 8 PM, Vittum Theater, Northwestern University Settlement House, 1012 N. Noble. 773-388-0558. AUTUMN DEFENSE Free in-store performance. Fri 12/5, 7 […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Everybody Gets a Trophy

To the readers of the Daily Herald and the Kane County Chronicle, isn’t the exchange over industry awards [Hot Type, October 31] much ado about nothing? Do readers buy papers based on something as nebulous as an award given by the Associated Press Editors Association? I’m not being sarcastic, just really wary. Speaking for myself, […]

Posted inFilm

21 Grams

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga follow up their masterful Amores perros with another complex drama of disparate characters whose lives are linked by fateful misfortune–not nearly as panoramic or rewarding as the earlier film, but just as intimate and deeply felt. Naomi Watts is excellent as a woman whose husband (Danny Huston) […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories During its tour of Britain in July, the Moscow State Circus told reporters that its insurers had warned that many of the circus’s performers–trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, jugglers–would risk losing their coverage if they didn’t comply with European Union safety rules by wearing hard hats or other protective headgear during their acts. For […]