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That’s Weird, Grandma

Count on Barrel of Monkeys to be clever, funny, and energetic no matter what. For the past four years a rotating cast of its actors has reimagined often bizarre, always hilarious stories they get from young Chicago Public Schools students–simple tales about birthday parties, sibling rivalries, and dance contests and more whimsical ones about adventures […]

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Suzanne Hancock

Suzanne Hancock works the hell out of bridge metaphors in her first full-length collection of poems, Another Name for Bridge (Mansfield Press). There’s the bridge crossed growing up, the bridge as “swollen and vascular” love “holding two torsos immobile,” the bridge from one season to the next. There’s even the bridge as bridge, “a leap […]

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Slide

Very freely adapted from Upton Sinclair’s meatpacking expose The Jungle, Tantalus Theatre Group’s ambitious two-hour rock opera/bar act delivers a strong score and dedicated performances. The company transforms Sinclair’s muckraking depiction of the Chicago stockyards circa 1905 into a brutal but maddeningly indeterminate portrait of a “music plant.” Wannabe star Jurgis, an immigrant as in […]

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The Wild Party

The Bohemian Theatre Ensemble’s dazzling production of Andrew Lippa’s underrated 2000 musical is sexy, violent, melancholy, rapturous, and simply fun. The book, based on Joseph Moncure March’s scandalous 1928 poem (which was banned in Boston), tells the story of a debauched Jazz Age party thrown by the vaudeville artist Queenie to provoke her explosive lover, […]

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Hard Knocks

Comedy is hard, dying is easy. The three guys who make up the Whizgiggers–Matt Lane, Timmy Mayse, and Todd Schanbacher–prove this again and again in their excruciatingly long 45-minute sketch-comedy show. The material they perform isn’t bad, though the show’s writers clearly spend too much time watching the tube and not enough in the real […]

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Warped Tour

The Warped Tour features bands on nine stages at the Tweeter Center, I-80 & Harlem, Tinley Park. Music starts at noon; starting times of individual acts are reshuffled at each stop on the tour. Tickets are $29.75; for more information call 708-614-1616 or 312-559-1212. SATURDAY 23 Code of tha Cutz Stage Arcane Brother Reade Chicharones […]

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Mamaphobia

Peggy Ward’s one-woman show, directed by John Patrick, is targeted toward mothers with young children. Her collection of anecdotes, short scenes (she plays 14 characters, from her husband to a La Leche League lactation specialist), and zinging one-liners will likely resonate with other housebound moms learning how to cope with a baby. Ward doesn’t sugarcoat […]

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Wicked

The heroine of this revisionist version of The Wizard of Oz may have green skin, but Ana Gasteyer’s performance is white-hot–urgent, passionate, vulnerable yet powerful. Gasteyer, a Northwestern University alum and former Saturday Night Live cast member, stars as Elphaba, the sensitive, stubborn misfit demonized as a “wicked witch” after she rebels against Oz’s totalitarian […]

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Killers, Changes

For months I considered the Killers my arch-nemeses. Brandon Flowers, the front man of these adorably misnamed neo-new wavers, queasily voices both sexual repression and tawdry libertinism–hardly a surprising trait in a Mormon boy from Vegas. The almost dirty “rhyme” of “my stomach is sick” and “she’s touching his chest” that leads into the chorus […]

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Vision 10

This annual Chicago Art Dealers Association series of talks, tours, and other programs continues through Saturday 7/30. For more information see www.chicagoartdealers.org or call 312-649-0065. Saturday 7/23 A gallery walk starting from Starbucks, 750 N. Franklin, visits Andrew Bae, Printworks, Jean Albano, and Ann Nathan, 10:30 AM-noon. Tuesday 7/26 Attorney Scott Hodes, gallery owner Carl […]