Performance art is kind of the Switzerland of the arts world, a haven for artists fleeing ever-narrowing genres. In the late 70s and early 80s it was a refuge for the remnants of the experimental-theater movement; more recently, it’s attracted dadaist comedians and storytellers who in better days might have performed alongside Lily Tomlin, Woody Allen, or Andy Kaufman but who instead have found comedy clubs closed to performers who don’t supply a punch line every ten seconds. Anyone who has seen Cheryl Trykv at Club Lower Links or in Milly’s Orchid Show knows how wry and witty she can be, thin and wiry, gesturing as she speaks, her lips curling in a wicked, sardonic smile as she tells about the time she got stuck in Paw Paw, Michigan, population 3,211. But as funny as she is, it’s hard to imagine her at Zanies or the Improv, wedged between one stand-up who only talks about TV commercials and another who tells dick jokes. Which is why, I suppose, Trykv has put together her own show (she’s both curator and emcee), featuring a lineup of fellow absurdists and comic storytellers–Jay Batman, Lisa Buscani, Jeff Garlin, Toni Schlesinger, Andy Soma, Marcia Wilkie–all of them refugees of sorts from an increasingly conservative mainstream. When asked whether the show’s title was meant to refer to the sappy 70s children’s book/record/TV special Free to Be You and Me, Trykv snapped back, “That’s funny, because I almost called the show ‘All I Want to Be Is Marlo Thomas.'” Club Lower Links, February 21 (954 W. Newport, 248-5238). Friday, 9 PM. $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J. Alexander Newberry.