Jerry Quickley, one of two headliners at this second annual event, is a performance poet–and a natural-born comedian. But his Live From the Front covers the dark subject of Iraq and our presence there. Quickley was in Baghdad as a correspondent for Pacifica Radio in LA when the war began, and in the piece he adopts a flat voice to read chilling descriptions of bombs exploding and windows shattering and a dog trying to hide. But much of the narrative, interspersed with spates of poetry, is funny (“In Iraq my hair was a threat–I got offered a free haircut at least once a day”). Though sometimes Quickley’s talk about his life in America seems beside the point, overall this is an entertaining, instructive look at a trip few have made. The other headliner, Rha Goddess, performs a much more theatrical work, Low. Carefully staged, with recorded voice-overs, this monologue by a woman prone to rage and depression can be overwrought, but everyday anecdotes help rope you in.

a Thu 5/3: Low 7:30 PM, Live From the Front 10 PM. Fri 5/4, 7:30 PM: Live From the Front. Sun 5/6, 2 PM: Low. See listing for more information. Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010, $16-$20.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Jerry Quickley photo/Craig Schwartz.