Founded as a component of the Bucktown Arts Fest, this annual summer showcase of fringe theater, performance, and music has relocated farther north over the past few years. This year’s edition, which runs August 15 through September 23, is housed at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, and the Famous Door Theatre Company, Jane Addams Center Hull House, 3212 N. Broadway. Directed this year by Beau O’Reilly, the event takes its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big); more than 20 companies and individual artists are featured, among them Famous Door, the Curious Theatre Branch, Retro Theatre, Theater Oobleck, Betty’s Mouth, Ler Noot Fiesta, Studio 108, David Hauptschein, Terri Kapsalis, Frank Melcori, Julie Laffin, David Kodeski, Warren Leming’s Cold Chicago Dance Theater, and Cleveland’s New World Performance Laboratory.

Rhino Fest tickets cost $7 per program or $10 for any two programs, except for special events whose prices are noted in the listings. For reservations and information, call 327-6666 for shows at Lunar Cabaret or 409-3884 for shows at Famous Door.

The Reader lists festival schedules (which are subject to last-minute change) on a week-by-week basis; following is the schedule for August 15 through 22.


Opening Night Party

This kick-off event includes performances by Julie Laffin (whose “quiet outdoor spectacle” Over, featuring the artist’s interaction with one of her trademark designer gowns, will greet visitors as they enter the theater); Theater Oobleck (with The History of Theatre Theater (sic) in America, featuring Danny Thompson and his usual array of inanimate objects); Larry Jones and Aki Schulz (in Chicago: City on the Make, based on text by Nelson Algren); monologuist David Kodeski (with David Kodeski’s True Life Tales: Doris, his one-man show featuring anecdotes about a 93-year-old woman’s eventful life); and Ken Vandermark’s jazz band Steam. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM till closing. $10.



Julie Laffin, known for her performance pieces using especially made gowns, performs a “quiet outdoor spectacle” to greet festival-goers and passersby. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM till the end of the evening.

A Theory of Chaos

Warren Leming directs Cold Chicago Dance Theater in this theatrical study of the life and ideas of German essayist Walter Benjamin. Famous Door, 7 PM.

Hyperbolic Gangland

The Curious Theatre Branch presents Bryn Magnus’s follow-up to his tribute to action movies, Illustrious Bloodspill. Staged by Jenny Magnus, this is described as a collection of “dreamscape examinations of pop-life violence and its real-live effects.” Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

The Increased Difficulty of Concentration

Maureen Ryan directs Vaclav Havel’s comedy about “the spiritual and moral crisis in contemporary, technological society.” Famous Door, 9 PM.

Chicago: City on the Make

Spoken-word performer Larry Jones and bassist Aki Schulz perform their adaptation of Nelson Algren’s text. Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM.


A Theory of Chaos

See listing for Friday, August 16. Famous Door, 7 PM.

The History of Theatre Theater (sic) in America

Danny Thompson and an array of inanimate objects plan to “play with the history of a great institution as if it were a dead mouse” in this Theater Oobleck presentation, a follow-up to last year’s Big-Tooth High-Tech Megatron vs. the Sockpuppet of Procrastination. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

The Increased Difficulty of Concentration

See listing for Friday, August 16. Famous Door, 9 PM.

Bosch Tapped the Gas Pedal and the Caprice Moved Forward . . .

Composers Jeffrey Kowalkowski (from Chicago) and Marko Ciciliani (from Hamburg, Germany) perform an excerpt from the experimental multimedia opera about “the alienating effects of global communications technology.” Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM.


A Theory of Chaos

See listing for Friday, August 16. Famous Door, 3 PM.

The Increased Difficulty of Concentration

See listing for Friday, August 16. Famous Door, 7 PM.


Grandmother in Four Acts, The Dusky Woman, and Excuse Me, What Are You?

This program features three solo performances. The first, by Donna Jay Fulks, concerns “the realization of death and the fact that I’m stuck in my stupid family,” says the artist. In the second, Judith Greer performs her Connected Poems and new works. The third piece is a solo performance by director-writer Lisa Wax (created in collaboration with Achy Obejas and Kurt Heintz) that explores “the constructions of race.” Famous Door, 8 PM.

Hyperbolic Gangland

See listing for Friday, August 16. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.


Ler Noot Fiesta

This “jazz-thrash duo,” consisting of Mark Comiskey and Colm O’Reilly, headlines an evening of performance with guest artists from other fields. Tonight’s show features films by Jeff Economy; subsequent performances during the festival will include David Isaacson, Jenny Magnus, and Diane Izzo. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.


Chicago: City on the Make

See listing for Friday, August 16. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

I Am a Fool

Studio 108 presents Mike Vieau in his adaptation of Sherwood Anderson’s short story about a Depression-era horse trainer ruined by his own good intentions. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.

Bobo’s Revenge

This “circus-noir” play by Paul C. Foster, about a detective investigating the serial killings of clowns, explores themes of violence and laughter. It’s offered by Faboo! Productions. “Bobo’s Revenge, with an intricate plot and nearly two hours of dialogue dense with allusions, . . . is sometimes obscured by its slapdash clutter, but there’s no denying the intelligence and compassion beneath the surface silliness,” said Reader critic Mary Shen Barnidge when she reviewed the show’s premiere earlier this year. Famous Door, 8 PM.


David Kodeski’s True Life Tales: Doris

In this one-man show, Kodeski recounts the long life of a minister’s wife, based on anecdotes he gleaned from interviews with the woman (who now lives in a local retirement home). Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!

Todd Peterson plays multiple characters in his one-man play about “a gay man’s struggle to become ‘boss of his own world.’ ” Patrick New directs. Famous Door, 8 PM.

Chicago: City on the Make

See listing for Friday, August 16. Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from A Theory of Chaos, by S. Greiner.