Armando Diaz Experiment at iO Theater

Alan Goldsher, author of the new George R.R. Martin parody, Game of Groans, cracks up for:

iO Theater Now I loves me some Second City, but these days, if you want all improvisation, all the time—sans scripted sketches—hit the iO Theater (3541 N. Clark). Best to go for either the Monday-night Armando Diaz Experience gigs—the cream of the iO crop, joined by a guest monologuist—or on the Wednesday nights when TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi simply destroy the stage.

One of the myriad cool things about a TJ and Dave show is that you never know who’ll show up to improvise. Tracy Letts of August: Osage County fame has been known to drop by, and the last time I checked them out, they were joined by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon. (After seeing Take Shelter and Reservation Road, I never would’ve guessed that Shannon could be funny. But he was, he was.) Both of those shows are always sold out like a muggah-fuggah, so either buy tickets in advance, get there early, or both. And wear rubber pants, because at some point, you will pee.

Domino at Aripo’sCredit: Courtesy Aripo’s

Greg Harris, assistant curator at the DePaul Art Museum, which opens three new exhibits this week, sings the braises of:

Aripo’s sandwiches To my somewhat unrefined taste buds, there’s no higher culinary form than the sandwich. I eat at least one just about every day. Usually it’s a rather traditional and reliable turkey on wheat, but that can get dull, so I’m always on the lookout for a more adventurous take on something stacked between (or maybe stuffed inside) something else.

Lately I’ve been stuck on the arepas from Aripo’s on Marion Street in Oak Park. An arepa is a savory unleavened corn patty that’s somewhere between a tortilla and pita, but light and puffy. At Aripo’s, they slice open the arepa and fill it with delicious braised meat, cheese, and veggies. The tostones (fried plantains) are amazing and put any french fry to shame. The atmosphere is casual, the staff is welcoming, and it’s BYO. Well worth the trip out on the Green Line.

The Harlotry and Necromancy Appreciation Society

Mike Steele, artistic/managing director of the Island Theatre Company and director of its Tourist Trap, which runs next week, flips for

The Harlotry and Necromancy Appreciation Society I highly recommend experiencing an evening with the Harlotry and Necromancy Appreciation Society at Oracle Theater. Whether they’re force-feeding peas down each other’s throats or infusing tea time with a wee bit of bondage, these gals are sure to make you squirm, squeal, and sway with laughter (if you’re lucky, all at the same time!). Their performances are packed so thick with absurdity that when the show’s over you’ll need a diamond-tipped jackhammer just to break back into reality. But the trouble is, once you’re out, you won’t be entirely sure that the show you just left behind wasn’t your true reality. You’ll look in the mirror and think, “Am I the real clown, wearing this makeup of normalcy I call a face?” Then suddenly, off in the distance, a fart will sound, and a Harlotry and Necromancy Appreciation Society member will get her wings.