Posted inArts & Culture


Bobby Leonhard’s new play about the Iraq war draws in part on his experiences there as a National Guardsman: the script’s harsh veracity is unquestionable. But his trio of soldiers riding a Humvee through hostile territory are frustratingly underdeveloped. As they fall apart–or tear one another apart–we wonder whether they’ve been made psychotic by the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Summer Storm

Since the flap over Time’s October 10 cover story, gay teenagers have supplanted gay marriage as the moment’s hot-button topic, so this sexy, bittersweet romance makes an apt opener for Reeling 2005: The 24th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival. Set at a German sports camp (and packed with scenes of swimsuited young athletes […]

Posted inArts & Culture


David (Bryan Greenberg) is a 23-year-old Jewish painter and Rafi (Uma Thurman) a 37-year-old WASP divorcee, so when these New Yorkers become a couple, everyone’s a bit surprised. But no one’s more confused than Rafi’s therapist (Meryl Streep), who turns out to be David’s mother and whose progressive ideas don’t extend to her son. Writer-director […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The American Girls Revue

Gretchen Cryer’s book and lyrics deliver a host of positive messages to girls about patience, resilience, and responsibility. A rotating cast of kids, all stronger singers than actors, joins a few adults to reenact American Girl dolls’ stories. But halfway through, this 75-minute sales pitch is getting a bit tiresome. For one thing we have […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Amy Rigby

Amy Rigby writes great songs. You might think that’s a basic requirement for any singer-songwriter, but plenty of pro acoustic strummers skate by on pretty vocals or a talent for sustaining an enticing, relaxed mood. Rigby can’t afford such luxuries: she sings in a thin warble, and the mix of humor and pathos in her […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Live and Let Drive

Dear Reader readers, I agree with Andy Golding [Letters, October 21]. Let’s turn most of the on-street parking spaces into garden spaces and make Chicago into a town for poor persons who do not drive, and let’s definitely make this town a home for those very sophisticated types who, in their superior wisdom, deplore the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Three Sisters

Unlike Strawdog’s superior current production, Robert Tenges’s modern-dress adaptation is crude and unfocused, lacking any sense of time, place, or purpose. Taking the play’s theme of paralysis too far, it has a rootlessness that infects the lackluster performances. More like outtakes from a Friends episode than a Chekhov play, LiveWire Theater’s revival suffers from terrible […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Denise Nicholas

Denise Nicholas’s accomplished debut novel, Freshwater Road, out this fall from Evanston-based Agate Publishing, is set during the hot, turbulent Mississippi summer of 1964. Nineteen-year-old University of Michigan student Celeste Tyree heads south to work on the One Man, One Vote registration campaign and run a “freedom school”; her father, a Detroit bar owner and […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Gavin Geoffrey Dillard wrote this charming revue, a West Hollywood import, for dog lovers. There are songs about chasing one’s tail, singing to sirens, and whizzing on stuff, as six puppies in a pound sing perkily about their past lives as beloved pets, working dogs, and street tramps–and howl to be adopted. The cast, particularly […]