This ambitious showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest. Now it’s produced by the Curious Theatre Branch. Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big), the 13th annual Rhino Fest runs through October 13. Performances take place at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, and at Prop Thtr, 4225 N. Lincoln. Admission is $10 or “pay what you can”; for information and reservations, call 773-327-6666.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10
Stalking Spalding Gray
This piece, written and performed by Steven Schwarz, is based on real and imagined confrontations between Schwarz and superstar monologuist Spalding Gray. “[In] this hilarious mix of parody, homage, and autobiography [Schwarz] recounts the process of [his] disillusionment [with Gray]. Performed in the classic Gray style–Schwarz sits behind a nearly bare table, pitcher of water at hand, notebook open before him, small visual aid nearby–Stalking Spalding Gray is at once a fan’s diary…and a long, Spalding-esque, tragicomic account of Schwarz’s automobile accident during the 2001 Toronto film festival, an event that woke him up to his own life. Schwarz isn’t nearly as polished a performer as Gray–he fidgets, sometimes stutters, speaks too quickly or too slowly–but…he loves wringing laughs out of the pathetic realization that he’ll never be as at ease onstage as his idol. On the other hand, as long as he has a story worth telling, it doesn’t matter. In an age when we’re encouraged to believe that our own lives are less valuable than the lives of celebrities, Schwarz’s comical tale of self-discovery is definitely worth telling,” says Reader critic Jack Helbig. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
Hinckley on Foster: The Hearing
Michael Martin’s solo show concerns John Hinckley, who tried to assassinate an old male movie star in order to impress a young female one. “[This] tour de force of desperate, Dostoyevskian fury…uses an obviously pathetic, unreliable narrator as both the point of departure for a rambling investigation and a cover for a plainly obsessive bent….The script is a minor masterpiece in the grand tradition of the overliterate madman, concealing layers of truth behind its ravings, swinging assuredly between persuasive and preposterous. But what really sells the piece is Martin’s wryly self-deprecating performance as the angry but resigned Hinckley,” said Reader critic Brian Nemtusak when he reviewed the show’s premiere earlier this year. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
“Hardships of unimaginable brutality are illuminated in Karine Koret’s Mazel. Based on interviews with her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, Koret’s solo piece pays tribute to the life force. Beau O’Reilly’s staging makes inventive use of props, [and] Koret’s performance as her grandfather is physically adept and remarkably devoid of bitterness and histrionics….The narrative does get a bit confusing and repetitive….But overall the piece celebrates the ability to endure with love and courage–and, of course, luck–and gives dignity and warmth to the vanishing generation of Holocaust survivors,” says Reader critic Kerry Reid. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
Hinckley on Foster: The Hearing
See listing for Friday, October 11. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
See listing for Friday, October 11. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
Michael Martin presents an autobiographical monologue. Lunar Cabaret, 3 PM.
Full Moon Vaudeville
This almost-anything-goes variety show features spoken word, video, dance, singing, and more. Participants include Max Greenburg, Jenny Magnus, Beau O’Reilly, Ray Rehayem, Vernon Tonges, Ann Van der Vort, and others. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.