Group show featuring notable local artists.
Stefanie Zadravec's new play features a magical black man who can teach us all a thing or two about hope. And a magical Rumanian lady with loads of folk wisdom. And a magical baby that glows in the dark like the moon. It's got an average couple whose marriage has been disintegrating since their daughter died. And a potty-mouthed young woman who's her own worst enemy. And it makes fun of hyperjolly restaurants like the one Jennifer Aniston worked in in Office Space. In short, it's a collection of gambits from the Endearing Quirk Playbook. So, why didn't I hate it? Well, one reason is that Zadravec deploys her endearing quirks with a good amount of grace and conviction. Far outweighing that, though, are Tara Mallen's simple, emotionally honest production and its no-bullshit cast. H.B. Ward and Meighan Gerachis, in particular, are painfully (I mean, painfully) good as the average couple. —Tony Adler $30
Memory lives in our bodies as well as our minds—something to consider when you look at McArthur Binion's solo show "Ghost: Rhythms" at Kavi Gupta. The paintings were made in New York in the 1970s, when the artist was in his 30s, but what's on view here feels like the work of a much older man. Born in 1946 in Mississippi, Binion spent his earliest years on his family's farm, where he started picking cotton at the age of four. He became the first African-American person to earn an MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art; after graduate school he headed to New York City, where he designed sets for the feminist playwright Ntozake Shange and collaborated with the artist David Hammons. Binion's own work was enough in tune with the times that reigning minimalists Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre included several of his paintings in a group show they curated for Artists Space. Continue Reading >>
Multimedia group show, featuring photographs, sculptures, and paintings by local artists. Reception Thu 4/4, 5-8 PM.
"Take a right and a left and knock on the door," says the usher, directing audience members to the room in which Red Tape Theatre is staging Young Jean Lee's 2010 riff on King Lear. Chances are many of us will be needing directions even after the show's started. Lee's theater piece doesn't go anywhere by regular routes. There's no real narrative build—just a fractured series of interludes, mostly involving the grown children of Shakespeare's elderly tragic figures, Lear and Gloucester. Wearing modern dress in James Palmer's smart production, Lear's daughters—Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia—and Gloucester's two boys—Edmund and Edgar—contend with their guilt ("I suck"), act out scenes using stuffed animals, and mutate into Superman or Big Bird, all while their fathers suffer through the storm outside. The kids' narcissism gets tedious before long, but the piece also affords insights into the anguished, paradoxical bond between children and their parents. —Tony Adler $25
Growing up girl these days means sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're crying alone eating hot chocolate mix. We're taught to shatter glass ceilings, but there are daily struggles that can feel more pressing. Leggings versus tights: Are either of them considered pants? Or: Were your multiple sexual partners "questionable," warranting an HIV test? The Neo-Futurists' latest, a thoughtful and wildly entertaining pageant parody created by Megan Mercier and directed by Stephanie Shaw, features five "grown-up" women on a baffled quest for the respect they think comes with being a "full-realized member of society." Through song, dance, acrobatics, and free-association ranting, each cast member enlists her singular talents and life experiences to present a wonderfully honest look at a loaded word: feminist. Pitting each woman against the others in a Vaseline-smile, Miss Congeniality-style cage match, The Miss Neo Pageant illustrates just how unattainable female camaraderie can feel when the sparkly bitch next to you keeps stealing your spotlight; contestant names like Miss I'm Not Gonna Cry provide evidence of how stressful the lady rat race can be. While judging each performance singly is decidedly not in the sisterhood spirit, as a critic I must introduce the hugely talented cast (most are Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind regulars), whose solo works each exert a creative energy and magnetic pull that's a pleasure to feel for someone usually stuck behind the fourth wall. Continue reading >> $20
The inaugural run of the festival will inhabit several historic locations in Uptown and Edgewater with a variety of performances including dance, theater, comedy, and live music. See sidebar for more information. $5-$15
New drawings by Jasmine Justice, inspired by Philip K. Dick's novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Viewing by appointment. Reception Fri 5/17, 6-9 PM.
Gina Litherland presents new magical realist oil paintings. Reception Fri 5/17, 5-8 PM.
Amanda Ross-Ho presents new paintings as well as a site-specific, wall-bound sculpture. Reception 5/4, 6-8 PM.
A lineup of storytellers share their experiences, with a different theme each month. May's theme is "Stories You'd Rather Die With and Secrets You've Never Told." $6-$8
Beforehand, I sign a waiver stating that I'm comfortable wearing handcuffs. A woman tells me this won't be like anything I've experienced before, and I'm not sure what she's getting at until ten minutes later, when I'm standing chained to the wall of a broom closet with a killer breathing down my neck, and only the supernatural ability to read his thoughts to save me. This performance bills itself as a haunted house: every 20 minutes a single guest wanders into a labyrinth of starchy black curtains, rooms filled with monsters, severed hands, and all manner of stage guns. It's the chance to play the superhero, who, through ingenuity, a keen sense of direction—and some suspension of disbelief—can defeat the villain. It's fun, if a bit hokey and transparent. Be warned, though, that you need to quickly figure out the rules—otherwise this is a performance you won't see to the end. —Hannah Gold $20
Paintings by John Dempsey exploring our immediate environments. Reception Fri 5/31, 6-9 PM.
Multimedia exhibit featuring works from six Chicago artists. Reception Thu 4/4, 5-8 PM.
Work by Rudy Gonzalez that makes collage from acrylic painting and graphic design techniques. Reception Fri 5/31, 6-9 PM.