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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Disney's The Lion King (Broadway in Chicago theatre review)


 
Me at the show!

Since Eric and I are huge celebrities, we receive tickets to all sorts of cool things. Mainly plays, I guess. No one has ever given us tickets to a baseball game or a hot new club opening or an architecture boat tour. "Broadway in Chicago" is a not-for-profit organization that brings huge musicals from New York to Chicago so that we may learn about what real theatergoers like. I took my wife out for a night on the town! We had dinner at some place with half-priced appetizers and made our way over to the big bright theater.

Sometimes in life, things turn out better than you would have thought. For example, if your car got towed, but someone had put a bomb in it. Or if your penis got smaller, but then you started dating a Pixie. Pixies have notoriously small vaginas.

Do you know what you say when these things happen?
HAKUNA MATATA!!!

You can shout it from the rooftops! Because the past is in the past! This was one of the lessons I learned at last night's star-studded performance of Disney's The Lion King.

Have you ever seen Disney's The Lion King before? It was a movie first. A cartoon movie with lots of celebrity voices! There was Cheech and Ferris Bueller. Whoopi and Darth Vader. Die Hard 3 and Home Improvement. You never saw a bigger list of hot names!

The movie is about this prince that is gonna be the king of this one section of land and his uncle is mad about it. The uncle wants to be king and then he will unite the neighboring country and his and have a huge country. So far this sounds like most Shakespeare history plays.

All good plays and stories are about the same thing. Power struggles and finding courage.


That's why I was so surprised that they would take such an incredible idea for a show and then make it about animals. Did you know that this thing is about talking animals!? I mean, I knew the movie was about animals, but I thought for the play they'd give it up with that stuff already. Cartoons aren't real and you can't have lions and giraffes and zebras running around on a stage in Chicago. How would they even get here in the first place? Whatever. I'm not a zoologist. Here's the thing though... they use puppets! Not puppets like puppets we are used to either. Sometimes they just took a statue or doll and moved it around and they called that a puppet. Other times, they just wore a hat and then they called that a puppet. PUPPETS PUPPETS PUPPETS!!


Some of the people onstage were just people and didn't have any puppets. For example, this one lady was supposed to be a monkey named "Rafiki" and she was just her. No puppet at all. At first I thought that was pretty racist, but she seemed fine with it, so I was too. Also, the lion cubs didn't have any puppets, they were just little kids in face paint. It was cool though, because they were kids and working puppets can be hard to do, so it was probably more for safety than anything else.

The show begins with all the animals in the forest or wherever coming up to this big rock dancing around and singing this song in gibberish and then the head lion king picks up this baby lion robot and holds him up in the air and all the other animals bow down. This means that this baby lion robot is going to be the king one day, so all you other animals better recanize. Then this guy named "Scar" who is the uncle of the robot (who is a real boy/lion now, named "Simba") is chilling out with his hyena friends and they set up a plan for Simba to get run over by some wildebeests. Well the plan almost works but then the Lion King comes and saves Simba but then Scar pushes Lion King into the wildebeest herd and he dies. Wildebeest festivals are no place for Lion Kings.

Well Scar goes back and tells everyone that it was Simba's fault and that he got killed too. Now, everybody hates Simba.

After this happened, I needed a sec to cry and pee, so I was very pleased that it was intermission. As I went to the bathroom, the line was extraordinarily long. I couldn't figure out why. Did all these people need to pee and be alone for a minute too?

No they didn't. You know who was in line? Chicago's favorite joy-eater, Jay Cutler. Jay Cutler is the quarterback for the Chicago Bears, so naturally he would like a play about animals. He was signing autographs and being very stone faced as the angry Disney fans hurled insults at him.

For a quick second I thought, Jay Cutler is sort of like Simba right now, because everyone hates him and blames him for the death of our dreams. I wanted to ask him if it made him feel good to ruin everything for a whole city, but all I really wanted was for him to get out of the way of the bathroom entrance. Neither of these things were gonna happen, so I just went back and sat down. Right when the lights were going down for Act II, Cutler rushed back into the theater and as everyone was making snide comments as he passed, I wanted to join in, so I yelled "I'm going to murder your girlfriend!" but I don't think he heard me. Probably for the best, now that I can take myself out of the moment and reassess the situation. Sometimes when people start yelling, I want to yell too, and sometimes I go a little overboard.


Do you know what happens in the second act of Disney's The Lion King? Simba meets this pig and a rat and they dance around town in their little gang singing songs about not caring about anything and telling fart jokes. They are pretty funny and all the kids were laughing and some of the grown ups, too. Then they meet Nala who is Simba's girlfriend from before. They fall back in love and Nala tells Simba and the rat and pig to go to the monkey and then go fight the uncle. When they get to the uncle, they have a huge fight and the hyenas eat the uncle. Everyone cheered for this because all Americans wish their uncles would be eaten by hyenas.

Everyone standed up and cheered for this and was whistling and hooting! I got carried away and screamed "I WILL FUCKING BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!". Again, this was the wrong reaction and got me thinking about maybe having a mild form of autism.

Then they sang "Have You Seen The Love Tonight?" or whatever it's called and everyone clapped. So many great puppets to look at, and also I loved not being ashamed to like a Broadway play because the lights were out, and nobody knew who I was, so my street cred was ok.

After the 8th encore, we were allowed to leave. The "Broadway in Chicago" people were gracious enough to set up a meet and greet with the cast for some of the "Press" that was there. It was basically me and my wife and three dudes from Univision.

Since I spoke the best English of the group, I was an instant hit with the cast! I told jokes and bought them all Disney's The Lion King t-shirts in appreciation of such a great show.

Left to Right: Zebra, Lion, Lion, Gazelle, Pig

Then the night had to come to an end, but what a spectacular time I had! I'm still humming that one song! Do yourself a favor and save for a few months and take someone you love to see this play because you will totally get laid afterwards. Also, if you are Jay Cutler, I'm sorry for threatening your family.

A-

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Letter To Andy on What He Can Expect at BICs "The Lion King"


Dear Anderson,

My friend, you have a night of joy and rapture ahead of you!  For tonight is Broadway In Chicago's BLOGGER BASH for The Lion King!!!!  And YOU are invited...along with Tom Williams, Don Hall, and about 400 other white dudes with broadband and an English degree from Roosevelt.

Here are just a few things you can expect tonight:
  1. Old people.  God, do old people love theatre downtown.  They especially love theatre with names that they recognize (i.e. Wicked, Billy Elliot, Million Dollar Quartet, Romeo & Juliet, and Miss Sheri's Cafeteria).
  2. Really expensive booze.  Pack a flask.  Or a gun flask.  Or a binoculars flask.  Or a gun and binoculars.
  3. Uncomfortable chairs.  No matter the place, no matter the time, every theater has uncomfortable chairs.  Is this by design?  You'll find out during the rousing crowd-pleaser "Circle of Life."
  4. People smoking LESS than 15 feet from the entrance.  Remind them to move further down the street, they won't mind or say anything rude to you about being a good citizen.
  5. PUPPETS!
  6. Acting and singing!
  7. 4 standing ovations!
  8. Chris Jones' name all over the damn place.
I truly envy you and your wife tonight.  Please remember to meet everyone you can, and ask them incredible questions like "How are you?" and "Did you have any lines in the show?" and "How heavy are those lion heads?"

Tonight will be what Newsweek calls “a landmark event in entertainment!”  Italics all mine, friend.  Italics all mine.

I love you,

Eric

It’s Okay To Read Thor Again (comic meditation by Anthony Tournis)


I never was a huge fan of Thor. I had nothing against him…he just never held my interest. 1. Gods are boring because there are so few things that can actually hurt them. 2. Magic is stupid. 3. Not a fan of his costume. I tried to read a couple of his books years ago, but nothing could hold my attention. Too damn boring. Cut to Two weeks ago…ULTIMATE THOR! Alright, before you get up in my craw about the Ultimate Marvel I am going to flat out say…I love the Ultimate line, so eat my poop. It’s fun, fast paced, reboot of the core of the Marvel Universe. Sure there are some horrible ones (Ultimate Fantastic Four was the worst thing since Archie (God damn, I hate Archie(everyone in Riverdale will die a horrible death (more on this later)))), yeah and there are several books that I don’t even bother with, but the Ultimate line has written some great story lines. Ultimate Thor is one of the good ones. It’s great because of a key ingredient: no one believes Thor is Thor. Is he a mental case or a demigod? Interesting. I will let the whole deity and magic bullshit slide for that reason only. Thorlief Golmen was a psychiatric nurse until he had a complete nervous breakdown. After 18 months in an institution he starts spreading the word (yeah…spreading) that he is Thor, the God of Thunder, sent to Earth to save the planet. Is he nuts? Is he Thor? I don’t know, but I will buy the next issue. See, Thor doesn’t have to be boring. I highly suggest picking up a copy and checking it out. It’s okay to read Thor again. MESSAGE TO EVERYONE WORKING ON ULTIMATE THOR: Don’t fuck this up. You have an interesting angle, and a clean slate. Don’t make Thor lame…again. If you do, I will shove Mjolnir so far up your ass you are going to shit lightning and…well shit lightning. I’m already pissed at the Thor movie for casting Chris Hemsworth instead of the obvious choice Alexander Skarsard. I mean, why not cast an Australian with relatively no experience against a celebrated Blond haired, blue eyed Swede that is native to Stockholm and fits the description of Thor perfectly (go fuck yourself Hollywood!!!) I mean Kenneth Branagh is directing and the cast looks pretty good…BUT COME ON!!!!

What was I saying? Oh yeah SO don’t fuck up Thor…GGGAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! Fuck this Chris Hemsworth guy! Not only is he going to fuck up Thor, he is also going to fuck up one of the most amazing and inspirational films of all time…RED DAWN (if you say shit about Red Dawn Cubans and Russians will violate your butt). Hemsworth is going to try (and fail) to fill the shoes of the late, great Patrick Swayze (if you don’t like Swayze, then you are dead to me). Thank you for giving us shit again, Hollywood! Swayze already did Uncommon Valor, The Outsiders, had a smokin’ hot wife, AND lived in Texas before he did Red Dawn. You think you can replace him because you did the first 5 minutes of the Star Trek remake? Go fuck yourself. Why couldn’t you die instead of Patrick Swayze? If you try to remake Road House, Point break, or Next of Kin I will end you. I’m going to go take my meds….it’s okay to read Thor again…fuck Chris Hemsworth…fuck Hollywood…Thor is alright!

Friday, October 22, 2010

At Home At The Zoo (Victory Gardens Biograph Theater) GUEST REVIEWER JOE TANSINO


I’m fairly certain that there exists an infinite number of parallel universes, each playing out a different, alternative reality based on whether certain things happen or don’t happen. In some of those realities there was no Big Bang or whatever created life on Earth and so those realities don’t really hold much interest for me, because everything is all just black empty space or asteroids bouncing around. Then there are a whole host of realities where dinosaurs never started a nuclear war and wiped themselves out, and so Earth is totally different, mostly just pterodactyls and alligators fighting over monkeys, which never evolved into men because it just didn’t happen for them in this or that particular reality. In another subset of realities, the subset that is really most interesting to me to think about, human civilization is more or less the same as it is right here and now as I’m writing this blog. But in the parallel universe I’m not writing this blog, maybe I’m watching the Jetsons or choking on a peanut instead.

In a nearby parallel universe, I am a dear close friend of Edward Albee, our fifty-some-odd difference in age notwithstanding. Ed and I sit around in his Tribeca loft surrounded by African art, eating peanuts and playing Wii. I say to Ed, “Hey I’ve got this idea to write a play that is basically Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but in outer space!“ and Ed turns to me and says, “Holy Shit, Joe! you just blew my freaking mind, and you know what? I’ve got all these uncashed royalty checks I’ve just been hiding in this solid gold lion’s head, why don’t I just go cash them and commission you to write this brilliant play, and you know, I know some people in the theater scene -- maybe we can get this baby of yours produced some day!” And then of course I write the play, and Ed gets it produced, and I’m an instant success, so I quit my job sweeping up trash at the Port Authority.

This is actually happening in a parallel universe, because every imaginable thing is happening in some parallel universe. Of course there are also lots and lots of parallel universes where I’m dead or where I never even existed, so I don’t sit around wishing that I had another chance to spin the wheel and see where I end up. Because the chance that I’ll actually end up living in the reality where I’m playing Wii with Edward Albee and writing hit plays is actually pretty slim, pretty much nil no matter how you look at it. I’m content to stick it out in this reality, where I can occasionally take in an Edward Albee play, marvelling that this guy is still alive and still actively involved in the staging of his plays.

And so my fiancée and I went to see At Home At the Zoo recently at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, courtesy of the League of Chicago Theaters Free Night of Theater. I thought it was weird that our seats were way up in the back of the theater even though over half the front section of the orchestra was empty.


But after asking the Saints if it was cool to move closer, we grabbed a couple empty seats up front.

At Home At the Zoo pairs Albee’s first play, the one-act Zoo Story (written over 50 years ago!), with a prequel titled Homelife that Albee wrote in the last 10 years. The Zoo Story is about a well-to-do textbook editor named Peter (deftly played by Chicago native Tom Amandes) who strikes up a conversation with a crazy person in Central Park, gets verbally abused and slapped around, and then [SPOILER] kills him. Homelife takes place just before Peter leaves to go to Central Park. Peter is having a boring conversation with his wife Ann (the classy Annabel Armour) that turns into a discussion about cancer and circumcisions and then their sex life, and then [SPOILER] his wife slaps him.

The first twenty minutes or so of the play had me wondering why I ever found Edward Albee so engaging. My mind started to wander to a parallel universe where I pitch my play idea to Edward Albee, except in this parallel universe he tells me it sucks, that there are too many lightsaber fights and not enough introspective dialogue, and so I murder him with a Massai hunting spear. The dialogue in Homelife is so droll and it’s clear what Albee is trying to do but for Christ’s sake THESE PEOPLE ARE AWFUL.

[SPOILERS] Peter whines that his circumcision is going away and his wife wonders aloud whether she might hack off her tits to avoid ever getting breast cancer. Then things take a turn and the couple start talking about how boring their lives are. Peter is content with their boring lives but his wife apparently wants him to “do” her like a wild animal, which is something Peter is afraid to do. Peter’s explanation for why he is afraid of having rough sex is one of the highlights of the first act. [/SPOILERS]

Somehow, and this is one of the reasons why I love Albee, he starts out with a really mundane exchange between husband and wife and turns it into this graphic, emotional confrontation, and you have no idea how exactly he got from point A to point B. These characters in less capable hands could have ruined the production. Peter and Ann are the sort of dull, loathsome characters that most audience members fear being or becoming, and listening to them blather on endlessly about textbooks and their boring lives is excruciating. It is a credit to Amandes and Armour that they were able to carry the momentum through a trying first act, and I thought the payoff at the end of the act made the suffering worth it.

The second act, the original Zoo Story, follows a similar trajectory. After Peter fails to connect emotionally or physically with Ann and leaves the apartment psychically castrated, he takes his book to Central Park and sits on a nice bench he claims is his own. A seedy character happens on him and starts talking nonsense about the zoo. Peter is too polite to shun the guy, whose name is Jerry, so he ends up listening to Jerry ramble on about his sad life for approximately 46 minutes. And things are going fine until Jerry decides he wants Peter’s bench, which is when the action turns tragic. Marc Grapey, who plays Jerry, deftly skates the line between schizophrenia and charisma, convincingly portraying just the sort of guy I would strike up a conversation with in an isolated part of Central Park.

This is a really great play that reminds me why I try not to strike up conversations with crazy people and that also explains why all the men in my family warned me never to get married.

Go and see this play so that Edward Albee will have more royalty money to give me, and I can finally write George and Martha in Outer Space.



B+


-Joe Tansino

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It Gets Worse (Gay Suicide Day)


This is for all of our young gay readers out there...

It gets worse.
I know you get picked on, I know it's hard to live in a house where you can't be open. You feel like you belong nowhere and that your only friend is a book, or the internet or whatever.

Let me tell you what you DO have going for you...
You are young and attractive.
You already know who you want to fuck.It takes most people most of their twenties to figure this out and they feel embarrassed about their choices for the rest of their lives.

The people who bully you are hillbilly fuckwads that will only survive on minimum wage jobs and scratch off tickets when they get older, and about 20% of them will turn out gay, too. Also, they will spend the rest of their lives in a constant state of worry because they know the negative things they have put into the world will come back and kill their parents.

Here is what you have to look forward to:
Becoming fat.
Feeling like you haven't done any of the things you set out to do after high school.
Getting your heart broken over and over again.
Having your friends and family die.
Feeling like your entire future is based on your full time job in a cubicle and that you will never ever be happy again.

So please do not be ashamed of yourself. Be proud. Also, you are a hot young thing, so try to sneak into some clubs and have a great time being young and hot!!


Love
Andy and Eric

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eric and Andy's Night at the Theater!


A lot of people have been asking us how the "Eric and Andy's Night at the Theater" event went. So we decided to tell everyone exactly what happened in the exact time that it happened. Now get off our backs and live vicariously through us!!

And if you were there, relive all these classic Eric & Andy moments that you just can't find anywhere but right here at Eric & Andy's Reviews You Can Iews!





5:07pm
We arrived to the theater in a timely fashion and were greeted by our Chicago Shakespeare contacts, Greta Honold and Carly Magill.

5:08pm
Greta and Carly are already sick of being hit on by us, so we tone it down.


5:09pm
I start getting pretty nervous that no one is going to show up and we will have to figure out how to cover 70 seats with our coats. Eric calms me down and tells me to have a piece of cheese. I do this.


5:15pm
Eric has his 3rd Newcastle





5:30pm
Our first guests arrive in the party room. They immediately start drinking and talking about theatre.


5:34pm
Jennifer Santanello arrives. Eric points her to the free wine. Jenn is happier than ever before.


5:40pm
I am so sick of hearing about theatre, I ask Eric if he wants to run out with me down to the "optical illusion maze" and he says he does, so we get the hell out of there.

5:51pm
Eric gets lost in maze.


5:53pm
The maze asks Eric about what play he is working on now.

6:00pm
Eric and Andy end up somewhere in the parking garage.


6:15pm
We realize we left our speeches inside our suit jackets that we used for bandages in the maze, so we have to buy tickets to go back inside and get them. We run really quickly so we don't get stuck in any conversation again about where the Prop Theater is.


6:20pm
We make it back up to the party and so many people have showed up to drink and talk about theatre! There's Noah Simon, Michaela Petro, Maggie Graham, Danielle O'Farrell, that one guy from Cherrywood, the bartender who is giving me my 6th Newcastle! What a party!


6:20pm
That bartender's name is Alberto Mendoza and he has a theatre company too! Everyone looks so great and ready for action!
(Not action like, watching a play, but action like, more drinking)


6:32pm
Every woman at the party has been hit on at least once by Eric & Andy.


6:32pm
Most of the dudes, too.


6:33pm
Yep...all the dudes.




6:45pm
The party is continuing without a hitch! Even Kerry Reid is having fun! The DePaul M.F.A. program students are about to start a fight against the front of house staff, because they are telling them how to use topography in their job better.

7:01pm
Kasia Januszewski is, and I quote, "so happy to be here!" In celebration, a 10th Newcastle.

7:08pm
Almost time for our big toast! They bring us microphones and tell us that they "are hot".


7:09pm
This is a technical term, and Eric is told that he doesn't need gloves. Eric shouts, "Well, I have them, I'll wear them...you think you're better than me?"

7:09pm
Eric puts on his gloves.

7:15pm
Eric and Andy give the greatest toast in the history of toast.

7:25pm
Everyone heads down to their seats to wait in eager anticipation of the Bard's most well known work "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf."


7:25pm
That's what we were told we would be seeing. Instead they showed us "Romeo and Juliet" which has almost nothing to do with suicide.

7:29pm
Eric and Andy both marvel at the beautiful theatrical space! It's a three-quarter thrust stage, just like the Old Globe in London, England!

7:30pm
"Romeo and Juliet" begins.

10:01pm
"Romeo and Juliet" is over.





10:02pm
We are whisked from our seats to the backstage area for our quick meet and greet with the cast members who will be joining us onstage for the talk back. This part is exciting!

10:15pm
Eric and Andy begin the talk back with the actors from this evening's performance. As I bore myself while I am talking, I see that beautiful overweight family from Wichita who sat next to us during the performance gaze into the theater to see what was happening.  The Shakespeare security staff has to ask them to leave.


10:17pm
The actors are getting a little frustrated with our questions, mainly because they have so very little to do with the play or acting.


10:19pm
It is becoming clear that the actors would rather talk about their play than about us. We try to ease the tension by asking them what they think about us AND "Romeo and Juliet".


10:20
Eric has a hangover already. Ora Jones seems to realize this and secretly relish it.


10:21pm
Ora Jones needs to learn when to shut her trap about Eric. All she is doing is putting him down!
(They used to date)

10:22pm
Don't worry, it's cool, Ora. Eric won't tell everyone about that thing you liked him to do...yeah, Ora knows. Emoticon of a wink.



10:25pm
It's time to start wrapping up. Eric and Andy proceed to pick apart James Elly's performance, note by note until he is crying like a little Arab girl.


10:29pm
Eric and Andy take a well deserved bow. It really was magical and all our guests seemed to be transported to a timeless place covered in leather and graffiti!  Where the Princes wear microphones and the Priests don't try to hide their creepiness by looking presentable.


10:35pm
Eric and Andy shake their last hand and walk out to the courtesy car waiting to take them home.  Let's do this again, Chicago! The future awaits!


If YOU would like to see a play at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and are under 35, please use this link to purchase $20 tickets! If you are over 35, then make some friends and get a better job. Theatre ain't free, ya know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

State of the Union - Strawdog Theatre (theatre review)


Sees this playing, " State of the union " The different night made remember fun with realness and grudge, an older joke called me: Is the opposition of progress what? National Assembly! About it the fun thing does not change far from it, also the American National Assembly to ending the thing in order not to be is not good quite. The cartoon which is political also is the method which laughs. Goes out and states and with usual and in case, the politics for the people until now always. The smell which rots until now always with realness was occupation. The people who combines a politics at any time it the thing Washington D.C. (Los Angeles sees to be few there is people who is charming,) from with realness to place makes a compromise selfish because of method is completed and does not mean with realness must say that. Newt Gingrich charm, inside probably living like this from Washington D.C., ugliness be are politician. Hahahahaha!!!! Goes out and with realness states and in case, rises is who me which am is personal from the political party believing, does not put with usual. The republican party member or wig or democratic party member nil is which side (you will be able to think this any more and in case, knows me, make,). I with that (thing) field will not be able to confirm as a realness because of selfishness they succeed a foundation and did not put. And me now in Barack Obama and one time which is President us drinks many and is started is not gotten even. Hahahaha!!!!! This reason why " State of the union " (Subject which is clever) like that is playing which is good. In compliance with Jeff Button (very corrigendum which is to press packet which is it which is positive) excellently, instructs, the dialogue passes and flies and your seat defends you (little more later in it). Glow with Matthews rice field realness is done to make get tangled from Dailey Republican Party machine, in compliance with Michael and realness the pebble is about the LAN [thu] which confronts with the undercurrent which is delicate. The republican party member does and in BF Helman (who which is unlucky) and Anderson Lawferson (being cut without, who which delivers comedy) comes drives the nail McManus by burden Conovoer, respectively well with realness. Kristina Johnson the eye-catcher, is soft, with rough realness her name!!! Is) nail newspaper chief Kay Thorndyke appears and (is like that. Kristina is beautiful. The LAN sprouts with Kay that LAN [thu] from his wife in order to do to make become more distant, maul Riga rises there is being. Went out and understands from, this subject at that time was taboo with realness. It [phyul] winning a wife's death, being high and side with the [ey_to_pwul_kwu_ha_ko] being like this ends but, marches in future the fact that. In compliance with Kendra Thulin (one maul in compliance with who Conover where is from love where I have now) realness moxie and with grace, is a national and to combine the LAN [thu] in the tour which in order says, is requested. In this tour, her becomes the real conscience of the spike and playing which warns her idealist husband about Conover connivances. Little by little nobly and wisely becomes in connection with the circuit which says oratory technical because of him justly, the LAN sprouts and the real people. But, Conover couldn' For the people and sees few t cares, he wins the fact that is only counts the LAN [thu] he wants: Poll. I (some critic together be a habit description below,) respect you and any more illy-bred to raise i do not want, in order to happen but the [lye] this your this is doing i do not know well and i am, is to only say!!! where It wheelings of politician rear room and is serious with realness to see a transactions. It does to make remember you where they are the real people, as well. You will say and this which today that (thing) will listen too together to that at that time and also you will be able to imagine. Some thing does not change assuredly.

-South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun

State of the Union -Strawdog Theatre (Theatre Review)


Seeing this play called “State of the Union” the other night reminded me of this really funny, older joke: What’s the opposite of progress? CONgress!

The thing that’s funny about it is that the United States Congress is not very good at getting things done and also because they don’t change away from that. Political cartoons are also a way to laugh.

If I can state plainly, politics have always been bad for people. It has always been a really rancid profession. People who join politics often have to make compromises and say things they really don’t mean because that’s how things really get done in Washington D.C. (a place that has less attractive people than Los Angeles). Newt Gingrich is attractive, though, so perhaps politicians who live in Washington D.C. are ugly on the inside. Hahahahaha!!!!

If I can state REALLY plainly, I don’t put my personal faith in anyone who is in a political party. No Republicans or Wigs or Democrats either (if you can think of any more, let me know). I really can’t identify with them because they are inherit and based. And don’t even get me started on Barack Obama who is our President right now and who once I drank a lot in support of. Hahahaha!!!!!

These reasons are why “State of the Union” (a clever title) is such a good play.

Excellently directed by Jeff Button (I’m pretty sure it was a typo in the press packet), the dialogue flies past and keeps you on the edge of your seat (more on that later).

The play is about Grant Matthews—played really stone-faced and with real subtle undercurrents by Michael Dailey—who becomes tangled in the Republican machine. The Republicans are played really well by BF Helman (who is sinister) and Anderson Lawferson (who constantly delivers comedy) as Jim Conovoer and Spike McManus, respectively. Kristina Johnson appears as the beautiful, soft, tough as nails newspaper boss Kay Thorndyke (yes, that’s really her name!!!). Kristina is beautiful.

Grant and Kay have been having an affair because Grant is estranged from his wife, Mary. From what I understand, this subject was really taboo at the time. It ended up winning the Pulitzer prize in spite of this, though, and it continues to march onward.

Mary, played with real moxie and grace by Kendra Thulin (whom I am in love with now), is asked by Conover to join Grant on a nationwide speaking tour. On this tour, she becomes the real conscience of the play, warning her idealist husband against the conniving of Spike and Conover. Of course, Grant becomes more and more famous on the speaking circuit because of his oratory skills and connection with the real people. But, Conover couldn't care less for people, he wants Grant to win the only thing that counts: votes.

I don’t want to spoil any more for you (like some critics have a habit of doing), but I’ll just say that you have no idea what’s going to happen!!!

It’s really great to see the wheelings and dealings of back room politicians. It reminds you that they’re real people, too. You can imagine them talking like this back then and also today, too. Some things never change. The play has wondrous costumes and the other actors are all really, really good.

My one complaint (if I can even call it that) is with the seats. Strawdog really should get some better seats in their theater. I don’t know if this is a part of the “Chicago style” that keeps getting talked about, but if they don’t shape up soon, no one is going to want to sit and watch a play there. It’s not an excuse, folks.

This is a great play that stands the test of time. The whole group is really, really good and have standout performances (including Kate Harris and Samantha Gleisten).

State of the Union: A-


-John Allen Taflan

Friday, October 15, 2010

State of the Union - Strawdog Theatre (theatre review)

What's the opposite of progress?  CONgress!

Isn't this a funny joke?  It's also really old.  See, people have been making fun of governments and politics for as long as there have been governments and politics.  That's because very, very few things change about them.

For example, I'm sure that cavemen probably made fun of the caveman chief behind his back because...oh, say maybe he banged a chimpanzee or something.  Maybe they made fun of him with an awesome cave painting of him banging this poor chimp.  BAM...first political cartoon.

Let's just be clear as mud, America.  There were never any "good old days" when it comes to politics.  It's always been a rancid profession, filled with schemers and charlatans.  Anyone who is in politics has had to make compromises and say things they didn't mean, because that's what you do when you are trying to appeal to as many people as possible.  Washington, D.C. has been called Hollywood for ugly people.  I don't think that statement really means physically "ugly" (although not too many of our politicians would make Maxim's Hot 100...except Newt Gingrich) more as it means having an "ugly" soul.  Which means Hollywood must be Washington D.C. for zombie people...ah ha ha.

And let me be PERFECTLY frank here folks...I trust no one in this profession.  Not Democrats, not Republicans, not Tea Party, not Whigs, and definitely not those horrible Bull Moose sons of bitches.  I can't identify with any political party, simply because I find them mostly abhorrent and base.  I liked Bill Clinton, but that's because he was so entertaining.  And I cannot stand Barack Obama...mostly because the bastard got my hopes up.  Note to self...don't drink on Election Nights from now on.

Which might be why I enjoyed Strawdog's State of the Union so goddamn much!  Here's a play written in 1946 by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay that says exactly all the crap I just wrote about above but with snappy dialogue and incredible costumes!

The 3 act play (2 intermissions...yes, it's long, you'll get over it) tells the story of aviation tycoon and political idealist Grant Matthews - played with stone faced panache and subtle undercurrents by Michael Dailey - and the machinations of the Republican party to get him elected to the office of President in 1948.  The Republicans here are represented mainly by political fixer Jim Conover (an effective and sinister BF Helman), the newspaper reporter cum campaign manager Spike McManus (Anderson Lawfer in a bit after bit after tasty fucking comedy bit performance), and Spike's beautiful boss and newspaper magnate Kay Thorndyke (played by Kristina Johnson, Kay is tough as nails with a soft vulnerable underbelly).

Trouble is, Grant's been making time with Kay since he's been estranged from his wife Mary!  Hoo boy...NOW we got some hot stuff.  This apparently was an even more taboo subject in 1946, as many of the play's detractors were appalled that it won the Pulitzer prize with such racy subject matter.  I'd like to hop in the DeLorean with Larry Craig and Mark Foley and take them back to '46 and have them explain just what they did a few years ago.  A guy having a piece of chicken on the side would seem like saving a burning orphanage from werewolf Nazis after that little showcase.

Mary, played with moxie and grace by Kendra Thulin (whom I am in love with now), is asked by Conover to join Grant on a nationwide speaking tour.  On this tour, she becomes the real conscience of the play, warning her idealist husband against the conniving of Spike and Conover.  Of course, Grant becomes more and more famous on the speaking circuit because of his oratory skills and connection with the real people.  But, Conover couldn't care less for people, he wants Grant to win the only thing that counts: votes.

Helman and Lawfer have a wonderful scene together where all the facades drop away, and Conover chastises Spike for letting Grant and Mary get out of control and deviate from the party line.  Oh, did this scene do my cynic's heart good, as I can imagine dialogue of this type playing out in backrooms and antechambers past, present and future!  Helman and Lawfer have a wonderful chemistry here, and do a great job of representing all those fixers and PR men who want their man in office no matter the cost.

Speaking of chemistry, Dailey and Thulin also play wonderfully off each other as a husband and wife who are trying to come to terms with a relationship that is partly private, mostly public, and very conflicted.

There are other wonderful performances in this play - Kate Harris as Southern political wife Lulubelle is a lively Easter Egg of charm and thrills, meshing nicely with her onstage husband Jim Heatherly playing the Judge as a funny little bumbler.

I must mention the wondrous 40's costumes designed by Joanna Melville and the amazing transformable set design by Marianna Czaszar.  Director Geoff Button's staging is serviceable, but I do have to mention the pacing.  The dialogue seems to call for rapid fire exchanges, and I felt some hesitation here and there.  I'm wondering if this was opening night jitters?  Was it guys?  I was drinking free Sierra Nevadas too, so maybe that had a lot to do with it.  Or everything.  The world is a strange place, who can tell?

All in all, this is an ensemble piece with standout performances and a message that obviously stands the test of time.  The message is don't mess around on the side with a hot newspaper owner and piss off your wife.  You'll have to eat cold hamburgers in hotel rooms and deal with her getting hammered and ruining all your political hopes.  All politicians should see this play and pay full price for it.  Those jerkoffs are always getting free crap, they can afford it.

Come watch an old play about politics!  I'm serious!

State of the Union: A-

-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Big To-Do!!! Tonight at Navy Pier!!


Don't forget gang!
Tonight is the night when we all go to the Pier and see a great show and have drinks and meet the actors!!
See you all there at 5:30ish !!


Can't wait!!



-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dream Date WINNERS!! (Winning Essays from Erin Barlow and Heath Hayes)


We gave America 5 hours to come up with essays. The winning essay writers would accompany us and our loyal and great friends and fans to Eric and Andy's Night at the Theater tomorrow night at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. There will be drinks and food and theatre and conversation with the actors.
Well, unfortunately, America has let us down again. Just like during the Olympics.
We only received 5 entries, 3 of which were absolutely terrible and did not plead their case at all. The other two were also pretty bad, but at least showed some sort of basic use of the English language and were not belligerent or hate-filled.


Your winning two essayists are
Heath Hayes with :
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Eric and Andy are the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
They are my ladies, O, they are my loves!
O, that they knew they were!
They speak yet they say nothing: what of that?
Eric and Andy's eyes discourse; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me they speak:
Four of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat Eric and Andy's eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if their eyes were there, they in their heads?
The brightness of their cheeks would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; Eric and Andy's eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how Eric and Andy lean Eric and Andy's cheeks upon Eric and Andy's hands!
O, that I were a gloves upon Eric and Andy's hands,
That I might touch Eric and Andy's cheeks!




Not bad Heath! See you at the Pier at 5:30 for drinks and dancing!

Next winner was Erin Barlow with a strange sort of plea:

I want to win.
You guys are funny. You're also really, really attractive.
I want to win.
You're both, also, like, blessed with seductive eyes.
I want to win, and I'm at work, and I don't have much time to be clever.
But you're both my heroes. Really.
I'd like to win. I make great company. And you guys make great arm candy.


What a great pair to take with us!
See you all tomorrow night!!


A+


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

Win a DREAM DATE with Eric & Andy!!!!

Hi loyal readers and attractive lovers!  Eric & Andy here with a huge and exciting contest for you!

You may have heard about Eric & Andy's Night At The Theatre happening tomorrow night at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.  Well how would you like to win a night of PASSION?  A night of THRILLS?  A night of AWKWARD SILENCES?

We have 2 free tickets to this amazing event tomorrow to give away!  All you have to do is write a 150 word essay on how beautiful and heroic Eric & Andy are (together, or separately...please mention both Eric and Andy in your essay, and at least MENTION our seductive eyes once, please) and submit it to our email:

reviewsyoucaniews@gmail.com

We will post the 2 winning essays before 5pm (cst) this afternoon!  What an incredible opportunity for two lucky people!  An open bar starting at 5:30, Romeo & Juliet at 7:30, and a wonderful and informative talk back right after the performance hosted by Eric & Andy!  And then...who knows?  You could end up breaking out of a Tijuana jail by sunrise!  We can't promise anything.

Good luck, faithful comrades!


*If you have tix to this event already, don't enter again to try and get more tix to scalp them...pretty tacky.  Also, if you win, don't dress like a slob...this is a pretty fancy place and we really want you to look your best.  No direct eye-contact.  We do not provide cab fare.  Don't leave at intermission and go to Billy Goat, that is the rudest thing anyone could do.  Show some skin.  Be aggressive...B. E. aggressive.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Comedy of Errors - Court Theatre (theater review by guest blogger Joe Tansino)

In the two years since I started following the Chicago theater scene, I’ve learned a few things about Sean Graney.


First, I’ve learned that Sean Graney hates walls. The mission of his theater company, the Hypocrites, is in part “to strengthen the connection between artist and audience,” i.e. break down walls. Also he loves playing four square, which is really just handball with no walls. The first play I saw Sean Graney direct was an abridged version of Edward II performed Upstairs at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. There were no reserved seats - just a couple of benches that audience members could fight over until Chris Sullivan came along and shoved them out of the way. I found it hilarious that Graney blocked actors in spaces where people would be expected to be sitting during the play. Some theatergoers who were more accustomed to traditional productions were thrown off guard, which I enjoyed because I love seeing people made to feel uncomfortable, especially if I feel uncomfortable too. I learned that theater people have a fancy term for this sort of uncomfortable staging: “promenade.” Graney likes this sort of staging a lot and has directed so many promenade-style productions that he caused Chris Jones to say, “Enough already.” And then Graney went and directed a promenade staging of Oedipus Rex! so it was pretty clear he wasn’t listening or else he just doesn’t give a shit what Chris Jones says.

Second, Sean Graney loves playing with gender roles and sexuality. It’s already been established here that his production of No Exit was a sexed-up exploration of Hell’s vagina. And in Edward II Graney revised the plot by casting the prince as a starry-eyed twink whose downfall had more to do with his advisors’ homophobia than his own unsuitability as a ruler. Most people who have opinions about these sorts of things seem to agree that the play is ripe for this interpretation even if it was not Marlowe’s specific intent to have it staged that way. Is there a more homophobic way to kill a man than by red hot poker in the butt? Yikes. Graney also loves to cast men as women and women as men (N.B.: seeing Kurt Ehrmann dressed up as a courtesan in The Comedy of Errors was worth the price of admission alone).

Third, Sean Graney loves driving purists crazy by smearing foreign matter all over their favorite plays. He did this literally in No Exit and wasted literally dozens of tubes of toothpaste in the process. He removed large chunks of the script from Edward II and Oedipus and modernized much of the language. In reviewing The Comedy of Errors, Chris Jones wondered why Graney didn’t just “write his own fucking play,” then gave it three stars anyway because he was feeling magnanimous.

Based on these things that I’ve learned about Sean Graney and his craft, I had a pretty good idea of what I would experience going into his most recent production at the Court Theater. Maybe if you’re reading this you have a pretty good idea as well. In case you do not, I should warn you that Graney’s Comedy of Errors is a purists’ nightmare.

The Comedy of Errors is about a brother Antipholus and his slave Dromio in search of their long lost twins in a dumpy, unfriendly city. Antipholus and Dromio travel from Syracuse to the hostile city of Ephesus in search of their twin brothers. In order so that the action of the play works, Antipholus’s twin brother is also named Antipholus (of Ephesus), and Dromio’s twin brother is also named Dromio (of Ephesus). Egeon, the father of the master twins also travels to Ephesus in search of his son(s) and is thrown in jail. Throughout the remainder of the play the twin brothers from Syracuse wonder mildly why everyone in Ephesus recognizes them, seemingly forgetting that they’re on a fucking quest to find their twin brothers who both share their own fucking names. Graney and his cast recognize of the absurdity of the plot, and they instill the characters with an awareness of the absurdity that makes the play far more enjoyable than if they just went along with Shakespeare’s conceit.

The Court is a proscenium theater, so the actors aren’t playing “keep the balloon afloat” as you enter. Instead you get to listen to annoying UofC undergrads prattle about their academic schedules before the show begins. The seats are reserved, so you’re trapped. But there are tell-tale signs that this is going to be a Graney bonanza. Garbage skirts the stage. Graffiti covers the set. This Ephesus is a shithole, sharing more in common with Syracuse, New York than with a city of antiquity. At the start of the play this chick dressed up like newsboy rolls out on a scooter and asks the audience, “How y’all doin’?” Gender role reversal: check. Script bastardization: check. Breaking the fourth wall: check. Graney meets expectations here, and if you’re into Graney’s style like I am, you will enjoy this play.

Another thing I know about Graney: he loves his company. Three of the six cast members here are Hypocrites company members, and all six look like they’re having a fun time running around and dressing up in crazy costumes and throwing beer cans. And actually in that aspect Graney does exceed expectations: the breakneck speed of the production, the quick costume changes, the plethora of puns, sight gags and musical interludes - it all had audience members laughing like a pack of hyenas, even the stuffy octegenarians in the front row who maybe didn’t realize what they were getting into.

After the play, an usher tried to stop me and get me to fill out a survey about the play, but I was in a hurry to get to Bed Bath and Beyond before it closed. I rushed out the door without apologizing and promised myself that I would write this review as penance. This is a good play and you should go see it before it closes.

A-

The Comedy of Errors - Court Theatre (theater review by guest bloggers Michael Peters and Jessie Fisher)

Jessie: Oh man, if I have to sit through ONE MORE play that focuses on the xenophobic consequences of economic turmoil, I’m going to...

Michael: Boy howdy. I hate things that do with things that happen now. Which is why I’m glad I got a chance to see Comedy of Errors down at Court Theatre on the campus of University of Illinois at Chicago last weekend.

Jessie: I was there too. Last weekend. That University sure knows how to throw money at a problem, and by a problem, I mean Sean Graney. This was a college production, right?

Michael: It must be. They can’t get very many actors into their queer theatre department, so there were only six of them. But what windows! Man, they put all kinds of money into windows. Which is good, saves on heating costs in the winter time.

Jessie: I will say, for college kids, they were pretty good. I’m not going to say great or professional, because they aren’t, but pretty good.

Michael: So, this play. Comedy of Errors is I guess about these two dudes who show up in this place and then get mistaken for these other dudes that already live there who talk a little different but look like the other dudes. Like, a lot.

Jessie: Yeah, for example: Alex Goodrich plays twin servants named Bro-meo. One is real foppish and muppet like. The other one, like, cares about his job. And doesn’t make as many dick jokes. That’s hows you can tell ‘em apart. Hey, speaking of muppets, you can check out the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Michael: Aw, totally! That’s right nearby! I wish I had seen that play this week so I could have gone to that great exhibit first and had a good time before I went to a boring play. But anyway, Bro-meo’s boss/friend (played by Erik Hellman) is this guy Aristotle (and both of these guys, well, all four of these guys I guess have the same name, I mean, two of the guys...whatever. You’d totally get it if you saw it next week before it closes) and one of the Aristotles totally sounds like one of the Jersey Shore Boys.

Jessie: Note to reality TV casting directors: If you ever need to cast an Aryan Jersey Shore, call Erik Hellman.

Michael: Um, and me. Hello? I totally drink Becks and am German.

Jessie: Oh man, that’s true. What would your German Jersey Shore nickname be?

Michael: Herr-y?

Jessie: Oy.

Michael: Ja vohl! Anyhow, so these guys are getting mistaken for their identical looking and exactly named counterparts and they have these crazy wives who love these dudes and keep mistaking the other dudes for their dudes.

Jessie: Those wives are all played by Stacy Stoltz and Elizabeth Ledo. Who have really been given some great opportunities in this community, considering they are college students.

Michael: I was just happy to be a replacement in a late-night production of Psycho Beach Party at the Bailiwick when I was in college, and these chicks are tearing it up! Stacy Stoltz does more shows than Zero Mostel. And he’s dead!

Jessie: AND, she is totally dating the quarterback of the football team named Matt Hawkins.

Michael: Yeah, both their names and genetics are totally cut out for their chosen careers.

Jessie: Keep your eye on these kids, they might just make something of themselves once they graduate.

Michael: But back to that play thing. So this mistaken stuff goes on and on after we’ve gotten the gist of the joke in the first ten minutes. I heard this dumb writer dragged this out for, like, two and a half hours. I would have probably carved my chest out like a pumpkin (Halloween!) if I had to sit through one more minute of “Oh, you were there? I was here! No, you was there! I am was!” stuff.

Jessie: Thankfully, this turkey (Thanksgiving!) has been carved apart masterfully by the electric knife hands of Sean Graney. So it’s short and dumb. And has more blowjob jokes than you can shake a drumstick at.

Michael: Also, there’s some other college students whom I’ve seen in other Sean Graney plays, Kurt Ehrmann and Swarthy Steve Wilson really outdo themselves being a bunch of different parts other than themselves. There was one other woman in it too who was this totally sexy whore that made me feel all tingly, I’m not sure she was an actress, but I’d definitely like to hit it.

Jessie: I am pretty sure she was a real live whore that just wandered into the theatre. And everyone improvised around her.

Michael: I don’t care who she was. The PACKAGE on that girl. Daaaaaaaay-UM!

Jessie: Settle down, Michael.

Michael: I’m sorry, I got excited over her ruffles. They have rrrrrridges.

Jessie: Did you just steal a “joke” from an early 90’s chip commercial?

Michael: ...what?

Jessie: So anyway, at the end, every thing gets straightened out in a disco abbey, just like Shakespeare intended.

Michael: Yeah, the lighting design by TV’s Melissa Heather Gilbert in that part really set the mood. And it reminded me of that whot whore again. Which reminds me of her now...

Jessie: You should probably fill out a missed connection on craigslist for her. If she comes back to you, it was meant to be...

Michael: We’ve got to finish this up so I can wander 55th street with a flashlight and a metal detector. Whores like that always leave a trail of nickel-plated jewelry.

Jessie: Sounds like a safe plan. So shall we wrap this up?

Michael: Indeed.

Jessie: I give this play an A. Because the Hypocrites are the only theatre company that will hire me so I have to stay on their good side.

Michael: I’ll give it an A too, an A for the Aggravated Sexual Assault I’ll be committing on the South Side in about an hour. Whee!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Swedish Covenant Hospital (GUEST REVIEWER SEAN MALLARY)






Due to a variety of aliments or injuries between my wife and myself over the last 10 years, I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of many late night/early morning jaunts to emergency rooms across the nation as well as the greater Chi-town area. You might even say I’m a connoisseur. Yep, emergency medical facilities, and truck stop bathrooms-but that’s a whole other review, as decent medical center glory holes tend to be hard to find these days.

I’m here to review the north side ER at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. My wife and I took a no-expenses paid trip to this particular ER at 9 o’clock last Saturday to take care of a minor medical issue. Nestled on the corner of Foster and California in west Lincoln Square, we found that the hospital was easy to locate, was well lit and parking was ample. The ambulance drop off was uninhibited by wandering vagrants, or drunken low life’s of any kind. This was a very different experience from our regular visits to Thorek Hospital on Irving Park and Broadway. Upon entering the ER, we were surprised at the cleanliness of the window lined waiting area that was filled with nicely maintained comfortable seating. It was outfitted with a fire place, and two giant plasma TV’s displaying basic cable channels. We noted how the aesthetically pleasing area was quiet, warmly lit, and free from the smell of urine or further overwhelming bodily odors we’ve encountered at other city hospitals. The person at the reception desk was unusually friendly and spoke fluent English as she politely took our information. She dealt with us with a humane demeanor, opposed to the “fuck you, why the hell are you here?” treatment we’d become accustomed to in the past.

Within ten minutes we were seen by an attractive, English speaking nurse who competently processed my wife in to a fancy-pants, computerized medical tracking system. As we waited, I discovered a well stocked vending machine area, in addition to immaculately well kept bathrooms; a real shock to this reviewer. Again we were surprised at the both the overall cleanliness of the ER, as well as the compassionate treatment we received at every step of our visit. Everyone there exhibited an uncharacteristic mentally that seemed to state: “I like my job, plus I actually care about your well being and value your time.”

We waited less than another ten minutes in a private observation room before we were seen by an insanely hot Nubian goddess who happened to be our attending doctor. She had a pleasant bed-side manner, and was very thorough in her examination techniques as she spent a generous amount of time dealing with our concerns. Unlike other doctors we’d seen, she acted as if her position mattered, and that she had received her medical credentials from somewhere other than the Dr. Nick Skool’o Med Stuff and Malpractice Emporium. Two other nurses catered to our health needs over the course of the evening. One was very attractive and conversational, while the other, to put it bluntly, was mousey and had been beaten repeatedly with the ugly/big boned stick. However, both were highly skilled, efficient medical professionals. We were expediently treated, and the check out process was simple, without the normal hell of having to sign away our rights in a thicket of hospital red tape. The entire visit lasted just under 2 hours, which was the time I spent in the waiting room alone at Thorek before being seen by anyone when I broke my ankle earlier this year.

So in summary, I highly recommend this fine Lincoln Square institution for all your emergency medical needs. Here are the final highlights of my review:

Swedish Covenant Hospital ER-

*Safe, well lit neighborhood

*Ample parking

*No drunken hobos

*Courteous, attractive staff in a ratio of 3 to 1

*Minimum waiting times

*Quality medical treatment in a timely fashion

*Clean and urine smell free!

*Tasty snacks

*74.5% less bullshit paperwork

*English spoken (possibly other languages as well, but I didn’t ask)

*Total cost: To be determined. The use of health insurance is encouraged..

Here’s my rating next to other Chicago hospitals:

Swedish Covenant: 5 brand new syringes up



Rush Hospital: 2 blood contaminated syringes down





Thorek Hospital: 1 skull of death syringe down




-Sean Mallary, Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach