Post image for Film Review: HYENA (written & directed by Gerard Johnson / US premiere at Tribeca Film Festival)

HYENA DROPS ITS BALLS Michael (a sympathetic Peter Ferdinando) is a coke-addled member of a violent four-man narcotics taskforce that goes about robbing, beating, intimidating, cooperating with, working for, and sometimes arresting drug gangs. But with internal affairs on his back, and having been put under the command of a former partner he’d fallen out […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (Porchlight at Stage 773)

ANCIENT LAUGHS TIMES TEN An irresistible mix of Roman “new comedy,” commedia dell’arte, and vaudeville, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum rivals The Producers as the funniest musical comedy ever–and the future seems no threat. Not seen in Chicago since Goodman Theatre’s lavish 1988 production, the once and future 1962 smasheroo […]

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Post image for Film Review: SUNRISE (written & directed by Partho Sen-Gupta / North American premiere at Tribeca Film Festival)

THE SUN DOESN’T RISE Set in Mumbai, Partho Sen-Gupta’s Sunrise seems ostensibly to be about the child sex trade in India; in fact it appears to be more concerned with exploring the mental state of Lakshman Joshi (Adil Hussain from Life of Pi), a law enforcement officer in charge of finding missing/kidnapped children, whose own […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit)

AN OFFER HE CAN’T REFUSE It’s easy to dislike this alleged 511-year-old comedy. All’s Well That Ends Well (originally Love’s Labors Won) is the wrong title: It should be “The End Justifies The Means.” The end is for the sadly smitten Isabella to successfully fornicate with Bertram, her attractive and worthless spouse. The means is […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN (Dead Writers Theatre Collective at Stage 773)

OSCAR PLEADS FOR MERCY “We are all of us lying in the gutter–but some of us are staring at the stars.” This fusion of original sin and the saving power of grace fuels the artful ambivalences in Lady Windermere’s Fan. A well-made play with an untidy moral, Oscar Wilde’s four-act 1892 comedy traces the fault […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE BLOODHOUND LAW (City Lit)

CHICAGO’S CIVIL WAR A grand dream is now completed. Over the last five years City Lit has delivered five old and new works to mark the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, now finished with the 150th anniversary of the Appomattox surrender. Ending the reckoning is the series’ most documentary-like drama: Set in Illinois in the […]

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Post image for Film Review: APPLESAUCE (written and directed by Onur Tukel / World Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival)

TASTY POISONOUS APPLESAUCE Written, directed and starring the delightful and multitalented Onur Tukel, the dark comedy Applesauce centers on the conflicts that arise between two hip married Brooklyn couples in their 30s after the spouses make the mistake of revealing to each other “the worst thing they’ve ever done.” Oh, and somebody is sending one […]

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Post image for L. A. Dance Preview: AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY BALLET 2015 (Gensler and Farmers and Merchants Bank in downtown)

GO FACE THE MUSIC+DANCE Assuredly, Artistic Director Lincoln Jones’ American Contemporary Ballet (ACB) has become the go-to organization for thrilling dance in Los Angeles. Along with his muse Theresa Farrell (ACB’s associate director), Jones offers two programs that are always accompanied by live music. The polished technique of the company’s dancers combined with highly original […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Film Event Preview: LAST REMAINING SEATS (Los Angeles Conservancy)

MOVIES THE WAY THEY WERE MEANT TO BE SEEN 28 years ago, a handful of volunteers from The Los Angeles Conservancy, a nonprofit that recognizes, preserves, and revitalizes the historic architectural of L.A. County, dreamt up Last Remaining Seats, a summertime program which presents classic films and live entertainment in historic movie palaces. The brilliantly […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: SOUNDS SO SWEET (Black Ensemble Theater)

MUSICAL MEASURES Grandstine, the beloved Mississippi matriarch of the Harris clan, has died and gone to her reward. Her many loved ones return to their roots for a “going to heaven” sendoff for the founder of the feast. That’s the premise–and it’s excuse enough–for Sounds So Sweet, a fulsome tribute to one family’s values and […]

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