Since leaving its theater space on the near west side a year and a half ago, Doorika, the experimental theater company known for its often mysterious and visually arresting work, has performed at Lounge Ax, the Empty Bottle, and New York’s Knitting Factory and CBGB. Artistic director Erika Yeomans says the itinerant existence, constantly packing up their portable pig-nose amplifiers and appearing in simple spaces, has made the company feel like a rock group. “We’re set as a rock theater company,” she says. “With the pig noses, we can even panhandle in the subway if we need to.”

Doorika has always incorporated a variety of disciplines, including music, film, video, and visual art. Their most recent production was Dear, based on Chris Ware’s comic strip “Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth.” Now managing director Celia Bucci, with help from Yeomans and graphic designer Doug Huston, has put together Dig This, a CD to benefit the company. With music by local bands–ranging from the noisy, no-wave Scissor Girls to the dreamy Aluminum Group–punctuated by lines and excerpts from Doorika productions, the CD features Ashtray Boy, the Coctails, the Sea and Cake, the Flavor Channel, Waco Brothers, Moto, and Dingle, as well as an introduction by National Public Radio producer Ira Glass.

Most of the bands on the CD have some connection to Doorika–having played in benefits for the collective or contributed music for productions. Some songs were even penned by company members. There’s a tune by Rover Fido Spot, a group featuring Bucci and Doorika member Marianne Potje. “I bought a four-track and had to use it for something other than theater stuff,” says Bucci.

After more than two years of nonstop work on the fly, Bucci says Doorika is taking some time off to regroup and decide what to do next: “We want to stay flexible.”

Doorika is throwing a CD release party and benefit at 8 PM this Friday at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. There’ll be video projections by H-Gun’s Eric Koziol and live performances by Dig This contributors the Scissor Girls, Aluminum Group, Waco Brothers, Moto, and Pulsars. Admission is $5; call 409-2617 for more.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Randy Tunnell.