Strange Culture | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Strange Culture 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Lynn Hershman Leeson uses interviews, cable news footage, and dramatizations (with actors Thomas Jay Ryan, Tilda Swinton, Peter Coyote) to tell the troubling story of New York professor Steve Kurtz, whose conceptual art got him busted by the FBI as a bioterrorist. In May 2004, medics called to Kurtz's home after his wife died of heart failure spotted the harmless bacterial cultures Kurtz had bought over the Internet and called in the feds. The terrorism case immediately fell apart, and the Justice Department's continuing prosecution of Kurtz on charges of mail and wire fraud seems motivated less by public safety concerns than by the need to smack down the liberal academic community. With a score by the Residents, cartoon art by Warren Heise and Timothy Stock, and scenes of the actors commenting on and interacting with the real-life Kurtz, this 2006 advocacy video brings a jumpy energy to its Orwellian tale. 76 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. a Facets Cinematheque. --J.R. Jones

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
February 22
Performing Arts
February 08

Popular Stories