Albert Williams | Chicago Reader

Albert Williams won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his theater reviews in the Reader and is a two-time winner of the… More »


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Re: “Pygmalion

Some further thoughts on this marvelous production: this is the first production of PYGMALION I've seen that made clear that Eliza (as Shaw intended) does not, should not, and cannot return to Higgins -- not because he's such a bad fellow, but because Eliza can only fulfill herself by journeying alone into uncharted territory. In that respect, the choice she makes is comparable to the choice Nora makes in Ibsen's A DOLL HOUSE. I'd never seen the similarity between the two plays before. We sense here that Eliza is both gaining and losing something by heading off on her own -- there is some cost to her here, but it is a necessary one. This is the most "Ibsen-esque" version of PYGMALION I've ever seen.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 12/07/2016 at 11:55 AM

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Re: “Film has always been queer

I must register my strong disagreement with the writer's fondness for "Viktor und Viktoria," which I reviewed for the Chicago Reader in 1997, saying: "Aesthetically worthless and morally impoverished, this cloying Aryan operetta, released the same year Hitler came to power and Dachau was built, is still eerily fascinating in its total denial of the political and economic turbulence going on outside the theaters of its day." The main historical value of the film is that it stars Renate Muller, who was viewed as the ideal image of Aryan womanhood by the Nazi tastemakers. She was Hitler's favorite film star. She died four years after making "Viktor und Viktoria" -- some say she committed suicide, others that she was murdered by the Gestapo because she had a Jewish lover.…

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Albert Williams on 06/23/2020 at 6:24 PM

Re: “The saga of Punkin’ Donuts

Slight correction: the building at 3257 N. Sheffield that housed Medusa's was a former lodge hall for the International Order of Fraternal Vikings, not the "Independent Order of Vikings" as the story says. The building had been home to the Columbia College Chicago Center for New Music in the 1970s, as well as briefly home to a pagan temple, before Dave Shelton took it over for his dance club.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 04/08/2020 at 11:55 PM

Re: “Reel Life: Remembering the murder of Fred Hampton

Due to an editing error, the above article neglects to mention a crucial bit of information: in the 14th paragraph (fourth from the bottom) I originally noted that Mike Gray went on to write the screenplay for the 1979 hit THE CHINA SYNDROME. That's what Gray was referring to when he speaks about going to Hollywood to "send a message."

Posted by Albert Williams on 12/04/2019 at 7:36 AM

Re: “Essential listening for Pride Month

In the mention of "The Rite of Spring" above - aside from Stravinsky, the work is a landmark of queer art because it was choreographed by the great dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, who was the lover of impresario Serge Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, which presented the 1913 premiere of "Rite of Spring."

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 06/26/2019 at 1:31 PM

Re: “Essential plays for Pride Month

p.s. For more information about New York's Caffe Cino:…

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 06/19/2019 at 5:18 PM

Re: “A ‘freaking fag revolutionary’ remembers the early years of gay liberation in Chicago

Correction to the article above: the Siegel-Schwall Band performed at a dance at Northwestern University, not the University of Chicago.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 06/12/2019 at 12:15 PM

Re: “CTA on celluloid

Two other films I can think of offhand that fit this topic:
THE FURY, 1978 - Brian de Palma's thriller includes a scene in which Kirk Douglas, being pursued by bad guys, breaks into the room of a woman living in an SRO/transient hotel next to the el tracks running along Van Buren by Plymouth Court -- a skid row neighborhood at the time, before it was demolished to make room for the Harold Washington Library. Douglas jumps through the woman's window and onto the el tracks.
ADVENTURE IN BABYSITTING, 1987 - Chris Columbus' directorial debut includes a ridiculous (and unabashedly racist) scene in which a group of white suburban kids (Elisabeth Shue, Keith Coogan, Anthony Rapp, Maia Brewton) find themselves on the el train from Oak Park to Chicago. They are the only people in the el car until two rival gangs -- one black, one Latino (the latter led by Chicago actor Juan Ramrez) -- enter the car from opposite ends and face off for a rumble.

7 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Albert Williams on 05/10/2019 at 12:29 PM

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