Someone Else From Queens Is Queer | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Someone Else From Queens Is Queer

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You pick up a sign and you walk in the street," says Gordie Benjamin, a gay man frustrated with his artist friends' indifference in a time of moral and medical crisis, in this solo performance by New York monologuist Richard Elovich. "It's not theoretical. It's not Lacan.... It doesn't leave room for your ambivalence." There's nothing ambivalent about Elovich, for whom art and activism are inevitably, imperatively linked. If Men Could Talk, the Stories They Could Tell, seen at Randolph Street Gallery in 1990, linked AIDS with the Nazi holocaust, as Elovich depicted the friendship of a physically deteriorating comic-book illustrator and a high school science teacher. In this 1991 piece, the focus is again on two men and the development of their relationship from teenage denial to sensual exploration to mutual dependency in the face of illness and inertia. Unabashedly didactic, Elovich nonetheless couches his stances on AIDS policy and homophobia in the idiosyncratic terms of his quirky queers from Queens, and his directness, honesty, and freewheeling energy as a storyteller make his work compelling, moving, and often very funny. His appearance is part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's visiting artists program; two weeks hence, a group of SAIC students under Elovich's direction will present a collaborative work on the AIDS crisis, developed in a workshop on performance as a means of civil disobedience. School of the Art Institute of Chicago Gallery 2, 1040 W. Huron, 226-1449. Saturday, November 14, 7 PM. $8.

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