Here's what Time Out's film critics are saying about this week's new movies:
"The film’s suggestion that violence influences and inspires children is both timely and provocative, but Hollywood, please: Stop blindly pandering to the YA and Comic Con crowds."— on Ender's Game
"Porn seekers be warned, though: This nearly three-hour sprawl of complex sexual awakening, shifting power dynamics and multiyear heartache will bum-rush you with deeper emotions."—Joshua Rothkopf on Blue is the Warmest Color
"Thanks to some nimble editing, the film effectively illustrates that tai chi can be a deadly practice as well as a delicate dance, pitting Chen against countless contenders in Mortal Kombat–style duels, right down to cries of 'Fight!' and 'Finish him!'"— on The Man of Tai Chi
"Implanted into a slide-show version of 1943 that’s populated by historical figures long lost to cliché, any emotional investment gets buried under dress-up games and Bill & Ted’s–worthy rubbernecking."— on Kill Your Darlings
"Tackling a range of popular film titles—everything from John Carpenter’s They Live to Cabaret—Zizek riffs relentlessly on the ideas and ideologies embodied in each; hardly any film, the thinker posits, is about what it claims to be about."— on The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
The album cover to Sky Ferreira's debut full-length is icky. Let's just get that out of the way. The 21-year-old stands naked in a green tile shower. Mascara runs under her downcast eyes. Water plasters her blond hair against her head. A gold cross hangs between her bare breats. She is behind glass. She gazes off to the upper right, halfway between cowering and contempt. A hand has wiped the condensation from the door to better view her. She looks as happy as a cat getting a bath.
The vibe is akin to that seen in Mark Romanek's video for Fiona Apple's "Criminal," updated for the internet porn age. Apple's song was about a sense of guilt for excessive sexuality. Here, the image feels more exploitative—it's a titillating thumbnail to help market Night Time, My Time, a record by a Hedi Slimane model who was recently nabbed along with her model-musician boyfriend by police for possession of smack and MDMA.
Real Kitchen, a carryout spot helmed by chefs who have worked at Charlie Trotter’s and El Bulli, has, hands-down, our favorite restaurant take on Halloween (though, admittedly Lula Cafe's House of Human dinner tonight with Fat Rice is going to be awesome).
The Black Crowes We can never really tell when the Black Crowes are together, on hiatus, getting back together, about to go on hiatus or what. The Robinson brothers will hit the Riv for a two-night stand that doesn't coincide with the release of a new record. If you just want to hear the hits, here's your chance. Riviera Theatre. 8pm. $45.
Rope Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. 1948. 80mins. Two men (Farley Granger and John Dall) hide a dead body in a chest whilst hosting a dinner for their professor (James Stewart). Adding to the suspense, the group is dining on that very chest! Based on a stage play inspired by the murder of teen Bobby Franks by University of Chicago students Leopold and Loeb, the film was initially received as a disappointment (even by Hitch himself) but has grown a cult of fans over the years. Gene Siskel Film Center. 6pm. $11, students $7, members $6, SAIC students and faculty $4.
This is my favorite time of year for beer drinking, when thoughts of golden ales and IPAs take a seasonal turn to the rich, roasty bounty of porters, stouts and other such imperial goodness. Half Acre’s Chub Step Porter represents a step toward the lineup of winter darker beers. This is the third year Chub Step has been produced, and if you liked it last year, you’re going to like it again this year.
“The goal for this year was to try to duplicate last year’s release exactly,” explained head brewer Matt Gallagher, who gave us some beers to try. “It’s a brewery favorite. It’s not overdone, it’s not 10%. It’s not overhopped.”
In fact, it’s a nice and responsible 6% ABV, edging this beer out of “session” territory and into “drink a handful and nod off in a wingback chair by the fireplace” territory. It pours a deep mahogany brown with the slightest touch of head, and it’s light-bodied, well-balanced and surprisingly restrained with chocolate bars, coffee and maybe a little leather on the nose.
Chicago Opera Theater: Orpheus & Euridice Eat you heart out, Kevin Costner. COT is pumping in 140,000 gallons of water to create a River Styx for composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera Orpheus & Euridice. The unflappable love at the heart of this ancient myth is the focal point for Gordon’s piece, proving once again that however far we think we’ve come, we are always telling some version of these first stories. Chicago Opera Theater has not publicly stated that there will be a pool party following each performance, but they haven’t expressly forbidden it either. Eckhart Park. Nov 1, 3, 8, 10 at 7:30pm. Free.
Ensemble Recherche Gun to my head, if I were allowed to pick one show to attend on this November list, its Recherche at Northwestern. These new-music titans don’t come around very often, and the sheet music they’ve stowed in their checked baggage is the proverbial shit. It’s difficult to think of three more boss composers of late than Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Hass and Brian Ferneyhough, and all three are on deck for the German ensemble’s show. Northwestern University, Lutkin Hall. Nov 3, 7 at 7:30pm. $8 (Nov 3), free (Nov 7).
Frequency Series: Karl Larson D.A.R.E. officers are remiss if they don’t warn children against the psychoactive powers of Morton Feldman in addition to LSD and Psilocybin. As a graduate of new-music bastion Bowling Green State University, pianist Karl Larson is primed for modernists such as Feldman, and if the Triadic Memories recording from his recent Contagious Sounds Series performance in New York is any indication, the Frequency Series crowd is in for a cortex-twister. One of Feldman’s best-known scores, Triadic Memories clocks in at 90 minutes, so strap in, folks. Constellation. Nov 3 at 8:30pm. $10.
North Halsted Halloween Parade See some of the city's most outlandish Halloween costumes during Boystown's 17th annual parade down Halsted Street. On Halsted from Belmont to Addison. 7pm.
Halloween with XXXY Manchester's XXXY is both nostalgic for divas and beats of the '90s and looking to push house into the future. He's the kind of chic, heady, retro-funky technician you'd expect at Primary. For Halloween, the Brit is joined by Slim Brit (who's from Milwaukee), Marc Miller and Them Flavors four some colorful 4/4 to get your moving in your costume (which is likely Ryan Gosling in Drive). Primary. 10pm. $15–$20.
Lou Reed's death Sunday at the age of 71 has been followed, as expected, by scores of postmortem examinations of the legendary Velvet Underground frontman's musical output. Time Out film critic Joshua Rothkopf took a somewhat different tack, examining scenes from five movies that benefit greatly from Reed's music, including Ewan McGregor shooting up and sinking into the floor to "Perfect Day" in Trainspotting and Jesse Eisenberg facing the metaphor-stuffed sea creatures at the climax of The Squid and the Whale as "Street Hassle" chugs along.
Chicago International Children's Film Festival 2013 While aimed specifically at children—and also showcasing some films produced by kids—adults can usually find something to love at this weeklong festival going on at Facets and Music Box. For the full lineup, go to cicff.org. Facets Multi-Media and Music Box. Oct 25–Nov 5. $9, kids $6.
Rope Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. 1948. 80mins. Two men (Farley Granger and John Dall) hide a dead body in a chest whilst hosting a dinner for their professor (James Stewart). Adding to the suspense, the group is dining on that very chest! Based on a stage play inspired by the murder of teen Bobby Franks by University of Chicago students Leopold and Loeb, the film was initially received as a disappointment (even by Hitch himself) but has grown a cult of fans over the years. Gene Siskel Film Center. Nov 1 at 6pm; Nov 2 at 5:30pm. $11, students $7, members $6, SAIC students and faculty $4.
Reeling Chicago LGBT International Film Festival Reeling's 31st year opens with a screening of G.B.F. (2013), a film that pits the most popular girls in school against one another as they seek to win the platonic affections of the titular "gay best friend." For the complete lineup, visit reelingfilmfestival.org. Various venues. Nov 7–14. Check for prices and schedule at reelingfilmfestival.org.
The controversial demolition of the old Prentice Women's Hospital, designed by famed Marina City architect Bertrand Goldberg, commenced earlier this month after preservationists failed to secure landmark status for the structure at 250 East Superior Street. The building's owner, Northwestern University, plans to put a portion of a new $370 million biomedical research tower on the site.
Last year, Northwestern alum Nathan Eddy captured the debate over Goldberg's clover-shaped building in a short documentary, "The Absent Column," which is now available online after screenings at the Architecture and Design Film Festival New York, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam and the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa.
The doc's balanced lineup of talking heads includes Paul Goldberger, architecture critic of Vanity Fair, who points out why the decision to destroy a piece of architecture like Prentice seems more meaningful when it's happening in this city. "Chicago, after all, is the nation's preeminent city of architecture," he says. "For Chicago to say that preservation of an important work of architecture doesn't matter—it's an unfortunate thing to have happen anywhere, but it's particularly shocking in Chicago."
The demolition of Goldberg's building is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. Northwestern is planning to begin construction on the research facility in early 2015.
Lula Café (2537 N Kedzie Blvd) has been teasing the theme of its annual Halloween party on social media this week and today they confirmed it—House of Human, a collaboration with Fat Rice that's inspired by Lao Hunan.
The tagline at Tony Hu's restaurant is "Serving People," which translates to a zombie dim sum pop-up restaurant that's taking over Lula Cafe for the night. Lula will serve the special menu from 7–11pm, and there are no reservations and no parties larger than four. The dinner is $35 and there's a cash bar with beer, red wine, four cocktails (two each from Lula Cafe and Fat Rice) and a Mao Tai.
Hot names in pop right now? Orpheus and Eurydice. The Greek god and nymph are enjoying an unexpected spike in popularity a few thousand years later. The couple is posing in stone on the cover of the new Arcade Fire album released yesterday, Reflektor, which devotes tunes to the god of music and his muse. Today, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, which reimagined Orpheus, Eurydice, Morpheus and Death as goth icons, returns to DC Comics. Now, the two tragic lovers are hitting the pool. Chicago Opera Theater stages Ricky Ian Gordon's take on the myth, Orpheus & Eurydice, in the Eckhart Park natatorium, with the lap pool standing in for the River Styx. The production opens Friday, November 1, with three more performances following November 3, 8 and 10.
Todd Palmer, clarinetist, floats in a boat, playing his licorice stick, as the titular romantic. Soprano Valeria Vinzant is the beauty worth traveling to hell for. Gordon penned songs and poems. There is no note as to whether or not there is a "Splash Zone," a la Sea World. We assume you can leave the ponchos at home.
This rather unique experience is free, with tickets distributed on a first come, first serve basis at 6pm. Click here for more details.
Sara Paretsky Paretsky presents Critical Mass, the latest book in her popular V.I. Warshawski series. She says this story is quite a departure from her other V.I. novels. Swedish American Museum. 7:30pm.
Comedians You Should Know This weekly night of comedy, curated by a group of funny dudes, puts local stand-ups on your radar. Timothy O'Toole's. 9pm. $10, advance $5.
Albany Park Theater Project, the acclaimed multiethnic teen ensemble that specializes in socially conscious devised work, will return to the Goodman Theatre for the fourth time this spring, the Goodman announced today. APTP will perform a new production of God's Work, a piece about fundamentalism and abuse the company premiered in 2006.
The Goodman hosted single performances of Albany Park Theater Project's Aquí Estoy and Feast as part of the Latino Theater Festivals of 2008 and 2010, respectively; a two-week run of APTP's Home/Land was mounted as part of this year's festival in July. God's Work is scheduled to begin performances April 4, with tickets going on sale January 15.
Mikhail Baryshnikov will be the guest of honor at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's 2014 Spotlight Ball, the company announced today. The legendary dance artist will accept Hubbard Street's Spotlight Award at the May 19 gala at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.
"I look at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s history and truly appreciate its goals and mission," Baryshnikov said in a statement. "The company has roots in classic forms and techniques, but is always evolving, always looking for something new in dance." Now in its 36th season, Hubbard Street's next Chicago performance will be a reprise of Alejandro Cerrudo's One Thousand Pieces, December 12–15 at the Harris Theater.
1. 35 Chicago Comedians Zanies kicks off its monthlong 35th anniversary celebration with a slate of 35 local comics on one stage. Admission is free (though there's still a two-drink minimum), but you'll need to call ahead for reservations. Zanies. Nov 4 at 8:30pm. Free.
2. What's Behind Door No. 3? Let's make a deal to check out the new free weekly comedy show at the Double Door's downstairs lounge. It's rounding up impressive slates of local stand-ups and variety acts: Tonight features headliner Mike Lebovitz with Candy Lawrence, Jake McKenzie and musical guests Shock T's, while next week's lineup includes headliner Danny Kallas with the Puterbaugh Sisters, Rebecca V. O'Neal and all-female Beastie Boys tribute group She's Crafty. Door No. 3. Oct 29, Nov 5 at 7pm. Free.
The Dawson, one of the most anticipated fall restaurants, opened its doors over the weekend. It's got a great pedigree—Billy Lawless (Henri and the Gage) is a co-owner; Rene De Leon, formerly of Next and Alinea, is the chef; Clint Rogers, late of Henri, is the general manager and oversees the beverage program; and Annemarie Sagoi, formerly of the Charleston, has devised the cocktail list. The menu features American dishes designed to pair with cocktails and beers. We peeked in for a tour with our camera last week and talked with Rogers about what to expect. Read our story here.
If you’ve ever eaten at Alinea or Next (and even if you haven’t), you’ve probably wondered exactly what goes through Grant Achatz’s head when he’s devising dishes. Dessert plated right on the table? Dishes served on pillows of scented air? A new film, Spinning Plates, now showing at Landmark Theaters, offers a glimpse into his thought process.
The documentary, which began filming in 2010, focuses on three very different restaurants around the country facing huge struggles. There’s Achatz, running Alinea and in the process of opening Next when he gets a cancer diagnosis. There's Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa, which opened in 1852 and burned down not once, but twice in the last few years. And there's La Cocina de Gabby in Tucson, Arizona, a family-run Mexican restaurant struggling financially.
Overall, Spinning Plates is a compelling story about what goes into a restaurant and the different roles that restaurants (and food) play in people’s lives. But the Alinea portion was most fascinating, since it offered access we don’t normally have.
The 24th annual Chicago Humanities Fest kicks off this weekend, November 1, and continues through November 10. Regarding this year's theme, CHF let the cat out of the bag last spring: It's Animal: What Makes Us Human? (Bear with us—more animal puns to come.) Notable experts—writers, scientists, artists, chefs, playwrights, magicians and more—will have a whale of time exploring the theme from various angles, including how recent scholarship on the human-animal relationship has evolved and changed, with, as CHF artistic director Matti Bunzl notes, "unprecedented convergence in once-distant fields." CHF remains one of the best, most well-curated festivals in the city, so make a beeline for the following events (just a small sampling of upcoming CHF programs):
Lemony Snicket It's no unfortunate event that Daniel Handler—aka, Snicket's "alter ego"—is appearing at the Humanities Fest on his book release tour for When Did You See Her Last?, the second book in the "All the Wrong Questions" series. In fact, it's quite a treat. Francis W. Parker School, Diane and David B. Heller Auditorium. Nov 1, 6–7pm. $20, students $10.
Barkin' at the Shedd The Shedd Aquarium prides itself on being an innovator in animal care and training and has recently extended its research beyond marine mammals. Hear from the Shedd's Ken Ramirez how it's pawsible [sic] to apply positive reinforcement techniques, effective with dolphins and whales, to dogs. Francis W. Parker School, Diane and David B. Heller Auditorium. Nov 2, 10–11am. $10, students $5.
Anne Carson In a program presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, the genre-defying poet discusses the sequel to Autobiography of Red, red > doc, which takes readers back to the realms of her red-winged monster and the myth of Geryon and Herakle. Harold Washington Library, Cindy Pritzker Pavilion. Nov 2, 11am–noon. $10, students $5.
As winter approaches, Chicago's four-month-old bike-share program, Divvy, is preparing to reduce its fleet for the cold-weather months, the mayor's office announced today. The citywide network of 300 stations will remain operational for all-weather bikers in snowy and icy conditions, but could shut down for extreme weather. In those cases, Divvy says it plans to alert riders via social media and the CycleFinder app.
"Snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of Divvy rebalancing teams, technicians, and station cleaners," the mayor's office says. "Vans will be loaded with shovels, brooms and salt to keep stations clear of snow and ice."
As part of its winter campaign, Divvy is asking riders to post photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that capture cold-weather biking on the powder-blue cycles along with the hashtag #DIVVYON. The program says it will also post common-sense tips on riding in cold conditions, which are hopefully less sexist than Ventra's #CommuterClues.
Since launching in June, Divvy membership has risen to 11,000 members and its customers have taken some 600,000 trips.