Around the Coyote Arts Festival

Running September 10 through 13, the ninth edition of this annual multidisciplinary arts exhibition in Chicago’s Wicker Park/Bucktown area showcases the work of emerging artists in all media–including more than 20 theater, improv comedy, and spoken-word/poetry productions, as shown in the following listings. Performances take place at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (its main stage and studio theater host theater and performance); the Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland; the Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 1632 N. Milwaukee (third floor), where the focus is on improv comedy; and the front lawn of Association House, 2150 W. North, which hosts open-air Shakespeare. Other individual site-specific events take place at various locations as shown below. (For information on visual art attractions, see the Galleries & Museums section elsewhere in Section Two.) Suggested donation for the festival’s main exhibition sites is $5 per day or $10 for a festival pass. Admission to all theater and performance events is free, but donations will be requested after each show, with proceeds going “directly and fully to the performers,” according to a press release. Parking ($5) is available after 5 PM Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday at the A.N. Pritzker Elementary School parking lot, on Evergreen between Hoyne and Damen; there’s also limited free parking at Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital, 2233 W. Division, and the festival intends to provide free bus service around the neighborhood next Saturday and Sunday. For more information, check at the Around the Coyote booth at the intersection of North, Damen, and Milwaukee during the festival, or call 773-342-6777.

Following is the schedule for opening night (arranged chronologically, not programmatically); a full festival schedule will appear in next week’s issue.


The 58 Group

Dancer-choreographer Ginger Farley organized this performance troupe, which combines the disciplines of music and dance. Chopin Theatre, main stage, 7 PM.


Marie-Francoise Theodore performs her one-woman show about “the inner landscapes of memory and the mysteries of blood that is blue.” Chopin Theatre, studio, 7 PM.

Abby Schachner: Unplugged

Improv actor and monologuist Abby Schachner performs excerpts from her repertoire of one-woman shows, including the currently running Lilly (see separate listing under Performance). Trap Door Theatre, 7 PM.


The Broken Pilgrims in Gothic Sneakers comedy troupe impersonates a right-wing Christian improv group in this new show. Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 7 pm.

Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy is offered in an outdoor production by the Tripaway Theatre. “Performing Shakespeare under the stars is a popular approach in summer, but what’s a small-budget company to do when their performance space is [without] electric lighting, artificial amplification, and man-made scenery? Well, Tripaway . . . illuminates the stage with patio lanterns, stadium torches, and 17th-century-style candle-and-mirror footlights. The actors are uniformly costumed in white shirts and black trousers–a practical way to deal with multiple casting and with this production’s arboreal balcony scene, which has Juliet straddling the fork of a wind-splintered tree. Moreoever, director Karin Shook has instructed her thespians to play their roles with broad characterizations and inflections and plenty of vigorous physical action,” says Reader critic Mary Shen Barnidge. Association House, front lawn, 7 PM.

Angels Among Us

Night & Day Productions presents actor and cabaret singer Alexandra Billings in this staged reading of her own work-in-progress, which explores questions of love and loss. Chopin Theatre, studio, 7:30 PM.

Benefit Fashion Show & Kickoff Party

The public is invited to this opening celebration, which will feature fashions by designers exhibiting their work in the festival. (Benefit tickets are $50; they’re available at Around the Coyote Gallery, 1579 N. Milwaukee [second floor], or call 773-975-1914.) The Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 8 PM.


The MASS Ensemble, whose name is an acronym for “Movement and Sonic Sculpture,” performs “visual kinetic music” by integrating choreographed movement, video, and new music played on standard and invented instruments. Chopin Theatre, main stage, 8 PM.


Lisa Cordes, a playwright and performance artist based in Kansas City, Missouri, wrote this drama about a group of homeless folks whose lives are documented by a young video maker. Michael S. Pieper directs a Chicago premiere. Trap Door Theatre, 8 PM.

El Gato Negro

Salsation, a Hispanic/Latino improv group, performs a bilingual sketch comedy revue. Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 8 PM.

Longtime off-Loop actor, director, and aesthetic gadfly Warren Leming created this satirical piece based on his Web journal Dummydown. The performance features the Dummy Down Players, an ensemble of actors and musicians. Chopin Theatre, main stage, 9 PM.


The Hungermark Ensemble makes its debut with this two-person play by Eric Ziegenhagen about “the hazards of human intimacy, the absurdity of disclosure, and the concreteness of shopping carts.” (Festival theater coordinator Jonathan Pitts assures us the show is not about Bill and Monica.) Chopin Theatre, studio, 9 PM.

How Far Are You Ready to Go?

The Amateur Showoffs perform adult-oriented improv comedy. Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 9 pm.

The Movie Walk

Actor-clown Adrian Danzig performs a multimedia one-man show about “the psychic topography of the movies and New York City.” Trap Door Theatre, 9:30 PM.