Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on September 21, 1979 · 27
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · 27

Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, September 21, 1979
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Chicago Tribune, Friday, September 21, 1979 Section 3 3 Music Maybe next time Tony's voice and heart will sing 'Hew ' i 5 . ' 4 ,!.,t I :.. John Cleese (from left), Eric Idle, and Graham Chapman in a scene from "Monty Python's Life of Brian." r.lovios 'Brian a clever sendup) of biblical films RELIGIOUS GROUPS have raised major objection to "Monty Python's Life of Brian," a gentle but very funny parody of the life of Jesus, as well as of biblical movies. Jewish and Christian leaders have condemned the film as at worst blasphemous and at best in poor taste. So, maybe this point should be made right away: If you believe that an attempt to derive humor out of the story of Christ is necessarily offensive, you should skip "Life of Brian." Having said that, it also should be noted that most people who do see "Life of Brian" probably will walk out of the theater wondering what all the fuss is about. Jesus isn't singled out for ridicule; "Life of Brian" is simply the Python response to such pompous pictures as "King of Kings." The last Python film, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," was a similar sendup of knights-of-the-round-table movies. "Life of Brian," however, is much funnier than "Holy Grail." Its humor is light and very clever. So much so that one spends a lot of time thinking, "How do they think those things up?" instead of following the story. THE STORY BEGINS in Bethlehem with three wise men venturing into the wrong manger. After a few jokes about, "You can keep the myrrh," the mistake is realized and the wise men finally locate the baby Jesus. But the focus of "Life of Brian" is that other baby, whose name, it turns out, is Brian Cohen. We follow his saga from his youthful days as a volunteer in the anti-Roman Judean People's Front (or is it the People's Front of Judea?), to his being adopted as the messiah by a Hollywood cast of thousands. ' "But I'm not the messiah," pleads Brian. "Yes, you are," says one of the unwashed, "and I ought to know. I've followed a few." It's lines like that that lift "Life of Brian" out of the category of being merely silly to something a little bit more profound. Which is not to say that this movie is not silly. Silliness happens to be one of the primary values of the Python gang. One of the funniest bits in the film involves a lisping Pontius Pilate, who pronounces an "r" and an "1" like a "w." Wait until you hear him say, "Aww wight, wewease, Bwian!" Another running gag involves Mandy, Brian's mother TRIBUNE MINI-REVIEW: Six wise men Vt "MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN" Dlractad by Tarry Jonaa; wrlttan by Graham Chapman, John Clatw, Terry Gilliam, Eric Mia, Tarry Jonaa, and Mlchaal Palln; photographed by Patar Blzleu; edited by Julian Doyle: mualc by Geoffrey Burgon; produced by John GoMitone; Warner Bros, releeee at the Eaquire and auburban thaatara. Rated R. Brian Cohen.,.., Brlan'a mother. Judith.. Reg;.. THE CAST! Mr. Big Noaa... Pontius Pilate-Ono ..Graham Chapman ...........Terry Jonaa .Sua Jonaa-Davla .... John cleese .Michael Palln ..Michael Palln .. Erie Idle .....Ken Colley (played sometimes with a full beard by Python-member Terry Jones). She's the nagging sort of matriarch who can't be bothered looking after her boy. "Let's go to a stoning," she says. And on the way to the stoning she stops to buy what else? some stones. "We'll take two with points, a big flat one, and a package of gravel," she tells the stone seller. (Now that's funny, and like so much of the film it has absolutely nothing to do with religion.) "LIFE OF BRIAN" does have a message of sorts: Life is rotten; so always look on the bright side. That's not much of a message, but, as the Python gang might say, what do you expect for $3.50? "Life of Brian" is a good looking picture, filmed in part in Tunisia. The Python cast plays a dazzling variety of parts. As befits their English comedy heritage, the group seems to be interested most in the comedy of manners. The protests of religious groups against this film, however well-intentioned, are simply missing the point of the picture. Like most comedies, this one wants to ventilate some stuffed shirts. FILM NOTE: "Life of Brian" is rated "R" because of a few vulgar words and a couple of flashes of nudity. Gene Siskel Gene Siskel reglarly reviews the movie scene at 5 and 10 p.m. on Channel 2 News. A WHILE AGO I was talking to a friend a very critical fellow as well as a fellow critic and we got on the subject of male pop singers. Opinions were volleyed good-naturedly across the net until I admitted that my favorite, then and now, is Tony Bennett. "But how can you say that?!" he exclaimed, indignant as only a would-be guardian of the arts can be. "Can't you hear that his voice is shot?" I knew, of course, that my friend was dead wrong, even though Bennett's singing has never been a thing of beauty from the standpoint of technique, with a tone that is more horseradish than honey and a sense of rhythm and pitch that is often approximate. But who else sings American popular songs with greater conviction and believ-ability, delivering their lyrics so that even the most threadbare tales of love seem real? Yet now, having heard Bennett's Wednesday night performance at the Drury Lane Theater at Water Tower Place, where he will be appearing through Sept. 30, 1 know that my friend must have endured a similar evening. Bennett's pipes were in grim shape, though not, I think, so badly damaged that they couldn't have been nursed into reasonable health. One thought of a remark he once made about "touching your voice every morning, finding out where it is that day, and proceeding accordingly." MUCH MORE DISTURBING, however, was the almost total absence of emotional conviction in Bennett's music. Why that should have been is a question we'll leave until later, but first some evidence. Wednesday's program, one of six different journeys through his repertoire that Bennett is offering at Drury Lane, was devoted to "Movie Songs" on other nights he will tackle "Saloon Songs," "Tin Pan Alley Songs," "Songs from Broadway," and so forth. Although the plan wasn't strictly adhered to, allowing room for "Sophisticated Lady" and the obligatory "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," movie songs do tend to be long on flash and short on intimacy, which was not the mixture Bennett needed this time. Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens" was the opener, a bouncy throwaway performance that was just another way of saying "Hi, how are you?" to the audience. No obvious problems yet. Then came Kander and Ebb's "Maybe This Time." Here there were some attempts at storytelling a sotto voce quaver on the word "stay" in the line "maybe this time she'll stay." But compared to his previous performances of the song, how hollow and manipulative this was, a device now rather than a memory of passion translated into music. And the passages in which Bennett talked the lyric instead of singing it, which once had been touchingly personal, seemed to be little ? '.MMefflMataBMoV staMal.aMaBWaaiMaataaaBMVMa.. Tony Bennett: Distracted? more than a way of evading his vocal problems. SO IT WENT throughout the evening the ballads sounding lachrymose, the flag-wavers belted out awkwardly and of fkey to the point where we could have been watching someone parody Bennett's mannerisms. He danced around the stage, flashed a ready smile, and looked, or tried to look, quite jolly; but given the sounds that emerged it was hard not to think he was a very distracted man whose mind and heart were on other things. Bennett did refer obliquely to his current marital troubles, which certainly could be disrupting the delicate balance of his art. But while Wednesday's performance did not erase his past triumphs from my mind, it left me wondering whether those memories will ever be added to. Larry Kart Ohoberfests in September get the jump on fall fun Continued from first Weekend page nation dinner-and-admission package for groups of 20 or more is $9.50 Friday, $10.50 Saturday, $8.50 Sunday (reservations required). Held's Brown Bear, 6318 N. Clark St., 274-1200, through Oct. 28, closed Mondays. The slap dancers, singing waiters, and Paul Ilgen Trio provide a lively musical backdrop. Among the German entrees will be kassler rippchen and the schlachtplatte. Average cost is $10. Reservations required. Ignatz & Mary's Grove Inn, 3555 N. Milwaukee A v., Northbrook, 824-7141, Oct. 17-19 and 24-26. The schlachtplatte special includes head cheese, roast pork loin, thuringer, liver sausage, sauerkraut, and more, all served family style all you can eat. As you dine, the three strolling musicians will bring a bit of the Old World to your tableside. Cost not yet determined. Reservations required for parties of nine or more. Math Igler's Casino, 1627 W. Melrose Av., 935-2000, through September. The Oktober- fest package includes a schlachtplatte and musical show (complete with singing waiters.) Cost is $8.95. Reservations required. Muenchner Hof, 3700 N. Clark St., 248-1624, Oct. 21-28. The special Oktoberfest menu includes sauerbraten, blood and liver sausages, and more; the strolling accordionist performs European folk tunes. Reservations recommended. Schwaben Stube, 3500 N. Lincoln Av., 528-1142, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1. The extensive holiday menu includes fresh blood and liver sausages, sauerbraten and spaetzle, veal shank, and more. As you munch, comedy-musicians Rex and Freddy Fischer entertain (they've been brightening Oktoberfest at the Schwaben Stube for years). Average cost is $5.95. Reservations required. Tap Root Pub, 636 W. Willow St., 642-5235, throughout October. Decorated with a fall-harvest theme, the Tap Root offers two dining environments when weather permits, you can feast in the open-air gardens; or, if you prefer, you can dine indoors, seated in front of the warm, picturesque fireplace. The crab leg special is served Monday through Thursday, and includes all the crab legs you can eat; $7.95 with reservations, $8.95 at the door. The fish fry is on Friday, and includes all the fish you can eat; $5.95 with reservations, $6.95 at the' door. And the October clam bakes run each Sunday, and include all the clams you can eat; $10.95 with reservations, $11.95 at the door. Treffpunkt Restaurant, 4743 N. Lincoln Av., 784-9296, Oct. 24-28. Veal shank and bratwurst highlight the holiday menu, .while a Bavarian band plays German standards. Dinner starts at $5. Reservations recommended. Zum Deutschen Eck, 2924 N. Southport Av., 525-8121, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in September and October. English-and German-language singalongs add to the festivities here, with waiters handing out bilingual songbooks. For food, you'll find schweins haxen (pork shanks), hasen-pfeffer (simmered rabbit), schlachtplatte, sauerbraten, and more. Average cost is $6 to $8. Reservations recommended. DINING OUT DININO OUT DINING OUT WW IT smvis pizza! 0 0 o 6335 KWESTEM. CHlCAGOR04'O?9O m E. ROOSEVELT, L0M8MD-6M10OO 9 & AMUSEMENTS AMUSEMENTS T0NITE 8:3MOMORROW 7 & 10 P.M.' Perf. THRU SEPTEMBER 30 America's Ruling Pop and Jaxx Singer TONY BENNETT SINGS! Music Director: Torria Zita Weeknights 8:30, Sun. 4 & 7 $12.50, $10.50, $8.50 Fri. 8:30, Sot. 7 & 10 $15, $13, $11 AMUSEMENTS TUlEIUGWe M Tt bxtut young id In km' in. ill .in.,! Ihi. .1.-TII.I DINING OUT DINING OUT DINING OUT DINING OUT DINING OUT STEPHEN WADE In BANJO DANCING or The Utft Annuel Squrrrera Mountain Song, Dtnca, folklore Con-nenMon and Bnjo Con fat and How I Lot 19TH BIG WEEK! mjmrwm Sunday 871-3000 ill 2261 N. Lincoln Ave. Sen' won Miff-"0 Crist'" '.d X""1 - 0 " fnll. a.ltf V.- na'. M iCT. ircO"rg,.. . OS' J aCi MM. v lB a,.rt (tour orlkiiiY Rte. 31-St. Charles-Phone 584-1770 1 Mi. North of Rt. 64 (North Ave.) v Open Daily at 5 p.m. Sunday at Noon Try our delicious array of Seafoods such as Imported Dover Sole, Pan 11 Fried Catfish. Alaskan Kina Crab Legs, Lobster Thermidor, Stuffed Crab, Salmon Steak or Fishermans Platter. Complete Seafood SC AC Dinner from vivv Party Rooms Available P.S.Cur Famous all In- 'elusive Package Dinners still avauaom AMUSEMENTS Mm 2".C 1 FT Start your weekend fun with our good- time ideas, every Friday in Weekend. Sunday Champagne Branch More exotic delectables than you can Imagine! A galaxy of tantalizing island favorites at O ML Generous Pourings of Sparkling Champagne Served from 10 am 3 pm every Sunday $6.50 LAST 10 WEEKS! LIMITED ENGAGEMENT NO SEATING FIRST 10 MINUTES OF PERF. Tickets at Box Office: ScTicketron TELECHARGE & TICKET INFORMATION (312) 977-1700 VI accept major credit cards Group Sales 977-1705 VaV THEATRE 22 W. Monroe. Chicago. IL KINGSTON MINES Chicago Blues Center FH. 4 Sal. um ouz a UXXE ' BLUES SHOW Sun. BIG TIME SARAH MOO. BLUE JAH-R0Y HYGH TOWER AR0N BURTON WITH CASEY JONES Wad. BUSTER BENTON JHURS. ADOE Parking Lot Near Door 2354N.LIncoln 525-6050 Richard's Four Torches Turns back the clock on prices! presenting the Early Bird Special From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pr.n.n Thirlr-anM OR t. wui w vr vinvrvwii y.?J p Prime RM5.95 a Catch of the Day $5.95 JJ All Dinners Include: Relish Tray, Salad, Stuffed Potatoes, Coffee, Glass of Wine and Sherbet " ' 7 NIGHTS PER WEEK RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Reservations Call Bob Diamant 248-5505 Free Valet Parking 1960 N. Lincoln Park West 4 i KM SMMY WONG'S Chicago's Most Publicized Cantonese ansi Chin&se Cuisine Elegant Private Banquet Facilities- to 300 TRY SOME Of OUR ECONOMICALLY PRICED LUNCH OR DINNER ENTREES. JIMMY WONG'S IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE FROM ALL LOCATIONS. 3059 W. PETERSON 465-5522 426 S. WABASH 427-0021 . CELEBRATE OKTODERFEST Sept. 21 Thru Oct. 7 MUSIC-DANCING-ENTERTAINMENT SING-ALONG FEATURED OKTOBERFEST MENU WILKOMMEN 4' -Avm mm... ( V 'ins a AMUSEMENTS AMUSEMENTS I AW l Vr, TONITK AT A THEATRICAL THUNDERDOLTwfmt A pivotal piece of American drama." curroroorrrs' tribune ir' 1 1 1 1 I I ml -J 4i rJ UiillllillMUUU fEATU RING THE STWEMVWLF THEATRE COMPANY DIRECTED BYSKEUNW IWINiUN . Tickets SS.SO-9 SO. Limited stag soatmg. $4 00. " lLI11 1 Q..SANVO TRA 9908 uhila $OQQ95 they lastl faVv Order now WE'VE GOT THE ANSWER TELEPHONE ELECTRONICS CENTER S03 N. la Sail Stroat 644-1240 Mall-ahana Ordara WIICOMI tank Amrkar Matt.r Charsja Minimum Milaplmi ft haiMlllnaj (haraa 94.90 Csraarata Accaunti Wakama SpKial Qvanflty OlKavnta Mall, Pnana Ordara Wakama .1 jhfiSjfcif W if Now you don't have to go there to enjoy China's legendary beer and vodka. Vodka 80 Proof. Distilled tram grain. Imported from the People's Republic 01 China exclusively by Monarcti knport Co, NX NY 11232 AMUSEMENTS 6 DINING DANCING ENTERTAINMENT Every Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun. SUN. SHOWS 4 17 PJL A NEW MUSCIAL "BOOGIE WONDIHIARD" RICH WAGNER la Bock COMPLETE DINNER A SHOW FROM S7.00 7 Beautiful Banquet Rooms lor your reception or party FOR RESERVATIONS PHONE 598-1200 8900 W. 95th St; 101 E. Walton Place Phone:787-8812 maaamafttait1aYfejrs4feaflaJria m.0K K rf, O. ir ! f f" "ti rr"i ri "i 1 1----i.--a-ia--ri

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