Short Films | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The only unifying principle behind this assembly of 16-millimeter and Super-8 shorts is that all are made by members, friends, or "reasonably close" acquaintances of Chicago's wonderful Theater Oobleck. Yet for all the differences in style, theme, and technical proficiency, there's a fair amount of homogeneity--at least among the films I was able to sample (about 75 percent of them). My favorites include Ross Lipman's 10-17-88, which uses archival footage (including shots of European Jews during World War II), deft optical printing, and a fascinating musical collage by Reader staffer and former Ooblecker John Shaw to yield a densely layered combo of sound and image; Prunella Vulgaris's crisp, six-minute Doors and Doors That Slam, narrated by and starring two Barbie dolls; and Laurie Dunphy's Journalism Conducts a Tour, an acerbic account of what the media do to (and with) minds and bodies, with accompaniment by Al Jolson and an aggressively stuttering text. There's also Frank Rawland's goofy and silent Agoraphobia, Rachel X. Weissman's grimly intriguing I Just Want to Talk to You, and some watchable home movies by several hands, among other items. Check it out. (Theater Oobleck, 3829 N. Broadway, Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, 9:00, 384-3346)

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