Posted inArts & Culture

The (W)hole Thing

It’s hard to imagine a messier or more eccentric take on 9/11 and the Bush administration’s various wars on terror than John Green’s political farce, in which three women set out to achieve world peace by “taking the balls” from a trio of testosterone-poisoned world leaders. Set in an alternate universe remarkably like our own, […]

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A Dangerous Ornithology

James Owens’s treatise on the threat to personal freedoms posed by an autocratic government can be frustrating. The playwright’s intent seems to be to push us headfirst into a hyperparanoid reality and force us to grapple with a narrative that needs too much unpacking to be savored. The resourceful ensemble renders a few moments indelible: […]

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Experts at belittling each other, George and Martha indulge in Olympic-level imbibing as they entertain and undermine a younger couple who lack the illusions–what Ibsen called the “life lies”–that sustain a marriage. In Edward Albee’s classic, George goes too far, and by the play’s end these two seasoned fighters must face their feelings. Rich with […]

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James Ellroy

Is James Ellroy the greatest white-knuckle-drunk writer since Eugene O’Neill? Is he a frightful braggart and a publicity whore of the first order? Didn’t he revamp detective novels from tough guy whodunits into sprawling postwar dramas with real psychological immediacy? Do I dig him, and does he worry me? Yes to all the above. Ellroy’s […]

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Enter Alice

Alice is 60 and Wonderland is a burlesque club in Jim Hornor’s extremely loose adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic for UMA Productions. In this staging by Mikhael Tara Garver, the premise seems little more than an excuse for lots of running around and overacting, and the script’s assumption is offensive: that the “personhood” of […]

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Danilo Perez Trio

The last time pianist Danilo Perez played the Jazz Showcase, he did something his fans have been begging him to: he recorded his working trio live in a club. Now he returns to the scene to celebrate the imminent Web-only release of that recording. Of course, the clamor for a live disc didn’t arise because […]

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Hit Me Like a Flower

As Beau O’Reilly’s new play opens, it’s raining onstage–huge sprinkling cans suspended from the ceiling inundate a cluster of umbrella-clutching citizens. One of them, a teenager listening to Lou Reed’s “Vicious” (the source of the play’s misquoted title) on her Walkman, collides with a bus. Later, in a honky-tonk bar, a web of connections develops. […]

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Chicago Book Festival

The city’s annual literary festival continues through October 30, with readings and book signings by local and national writers, poets, and scholars as well as discussions, lectures, workshops, and children’s activities at bookstores, public libraries, and other venues. All are free unless otherwise noted. For more information call 312-747-4300, see www.chicagopubliclibrary.org, or contact the hosting […]