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; in addition to the Curious folks, participating artists include Theater Oobleck, Antonio Sacre, Jennifer Biddle LaFleur, Michael Meyers, Frank Melcori, Nomenil, Barrie Cole, TeenStreet, Blair Thomas, and many other ensembles and soloists. Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinoceric” (it means real big), the 12th annual Rhinofest runs through October 7. The following lists this week’s shows. Most performances take place at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln; the Free Street space at Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk; and Link’s Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. Additional venues employed for special events are listed below. Admission is $10 or “pay what you can”; for information and reservations, call 773-327-6666.


The Hunchback Variations

and Tedium

Chicago’s experimental, directorless Theater Oobleck presents a double bill. The first depicts a panel discussion on sound between the deaf bell ringer of Notre Dame cathedral, Quasimodo, and the hearing-impaired composer Beethoven. “[The] piece begins as a postmodern parody of academic conferences and ends as a moving meditation on collaboration and the creative process,” says Reader critic Jack Helbig. The second is a puppet play, created by playwright Mickle Maher and puppet designer Shoshanna Utchenik, about a small theater company whose terrible show turns into a surprise hit. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.


The Hunchback Variations

and Tedium

See listing for Thursday, September 6. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.

Si la gente quieren comer carne, que se la dan carne a comer

In this solo show, whose title translates as “If the people want to eat meat, let them eat meat,” writer-performer Antonio Sacre portrays 15 characters as he traces the evolution of his brother from juvenile delinquent to professional athlete, offering “an unconventional tale of triumph, pain, and love told by your typical half-Irish, half-Cuban family.” Brian Mendes directs for Pan Productions. Pulaski Park, 7 PM.

Jimmy’s in the Radio

and Home and World

The first half of this double bill features Frank Melcori and Maureen Michael in Melcori’s play about a man who visits his best friend’s grave with the dead friend’s widow. The second half consists of two solo pieces: Troy and Square, written and performed by Maureen Michael, and The Tourist Police, written and performed by Maria Muller. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.

Like Our Parents Smoking Cornsilk

The Nomenil collective, which specializes in comedy with a gay perspective, presents an encore production of this comedy by Courtney Evans and Allen Conkle. “Evans and Conkle create believable–if excessive–characters, developing a focused and intense idiocy that camps up [their] melodramatic stereotypes. . . . Nomenil’s dark, uneven, and entertaining aesthetic uses camp in the same way Antonin Artaud used abusive confrontation in his theater of cruelty. . . . The story . . . is nonsensical, the characters are almost universally unappealing, and the dialogue and situations are smart-assed and disorienting. But the show’s precise, high-energy farce and Saturday-morning-cartoon cheeriness coat the subversive, almost surreal bleakness with sugar, and the result is irresistible,” said Reader critic Carol Burbank when she reviewed the show’s original run. Pulaski Park, 9 PM.


The Baby Show

This “kid-friendly, car-seat-accessible” show features various performers holding forth on matters relating to infants and infancy. Scheduled participants include David Isaacson, Ian Belknap, Sheila Donahue, and others. Lunar Cabaret, 2 PM.

Jimmy’s in the Radio

and Home and World

See listing for Friday, September 7. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.


Free Street’s touring youth ensemble TeenStreet presents a new multimedia theater piece about “love, non-existence, and a boy building a bomb in his basement.” The show was written by the ensemble with director Ron Bieganski and Bryn Magnus. Pulaski Park, 7 PM.

Bantam Lightweight

This comedy by writer-director Shawn Reddy concerns two aging men preparing to entertain a gathering of old friends. It’s presented by the Curious Theatre Branch. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.

Si la gente quieren comer carne, que se la dan carne a comer

See listing for Friday, September 7. Pulaski Park, 9 PM.


Feeling Sorry for Roman Polanski

A singing-telegram-company employee and his movie-fan wife “bump up against the limits of unconditional love” in this comedy by Sue Cargill. Anna C. Bahow directs. Lunar Cabaret, 3 PM.

A Love Song to Life

World Enough & Time presents poets Carolyn Kelly Williams and Zoe Keithley and musician Kathy Kelley Hahn in a program of spoken word and music. Link’s Hall, 3 PM.


Michael Meyers’s new work interweaves four narratives about people drawn together six months after John Lennon’s murder, on the day Yoko Ono addresses her late husband’s mourners in Central Park. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.

More Stories

Poet John Starrs hosts and headlines a spoken-word series, with a different guest artist each week. The theme of tonight’s show is “Family Stories”; KellyAnn Corcoran also appears. Link’s Hall, 7 PM.


To Relax and Laugh

This performance piece, written by Barrie Cole and performed by Julie Caffey and Laura Hugg, uses the conversations between a therapist and her client to explore the nature of language, memory, and psychotherapy. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.


The Green Cricket

and Braising

The first show on this double bill is Nicole Kupper’s comedy (directed by Cat Gleason) about a green cricket and a group of bar flies dining together on Italian cuisine; the second (directed by Stefan Brun) is a dark comedy by Idris Goodwin about two thieves, an eccentric man and a disabled woman, and their relationship in the aftermath of a botched heist. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.


The Bubonic Homunculus

The Drain presents John Hannon’s sci-fi comedy about the sole survivor of a viral apocalypse. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.


The Hunchback Variations

and Tedium

See listing for Thursday, September 6. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.

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