Tim Miller | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

"I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious," Walt Whitman wrote. In his solo show Body Blows, Tim Miller dotes on himself too, sharing intimate stories about his adventures as a gay man coming of age in 70s California (land of theme parks and tar pits) and 80s New York (a gritty place overwhelmed by what Miller calls the bloody "deluge" of AIDS). One sweet vignette recounts his first--and only--date with a boy during high school, an evening that climaxed in a traffic accident. Another describes his work as a carpenter (his specialty was building loft beds for cramped East Village apartments), which ended when he carelessly cut off his fingertip. Like Spalding Gray's monologues, Miller's autobiographical ruminations ramble down paths that lead surprisingly yet inevitably to emotional epiphanies--the "body blows" of the title, also the name of a newly published anthology of Miller's monologues. But where Gray conveys an air of erudite detachment by sitting at a table, Miller floats and struts across the stage like a rock singer, sometimes interacting with the audience and embellishing his words with occasionally illustrative but more often abstract gestures--a highly physical performance style that helps him achieve the Whitman-like sense of ecstatic illumination he aims for. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090. March 16-17: Saturday-Sunday, 7:30 PM. $25.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dona Ann McAdams.

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