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10-4: The Truck Stop Plays

8/8-8/30: Thu-Sat 8 PM

None of the four plays that make up this bill feels finished. Each one feels rough, ill-formed, or incomplete in its own way. That is to be expected. These are one acts written by students at Ohio University's MFA program, and each writer has wisely allowed himself (all the writers are male; the directors are female) the creative freedom to take risks and "fail forward." This may be good for the writers in the long term. But the result is an evening of half-baked work, enlivened by moments of deep-dish Chicago-style acting. SarahJayne Ashenhurst and Elizabeth Birnkrant are particularly intense as an unlikely contract killer and her narcissistic client in Ryan Patrick Dolan's Burger King. —Jack Helbig $10

Chemically Imbalanced Theater (map)
1422 W. Irving Park Rd.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-865-7731

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100-Proof Comedy

Mondays, 8 p.m.

Local standups perform. $10

ComedySportz Theatre (map)
929 W. Belmont Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-549-8080 or 312-559-1212

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1004 Portraits

Ongoing

Whenever the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is in Chicago, the first place he stops is the northeast corner of Michigan and Monroe. When he arrives there this week, it will be to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Millennium Park and his famed Crown Fountain—and to attend the openings of a pair of exhibits of his head sculptures in the park and at Richard Gray Gallery. Over the phone from Germany, where two solo shows of his work are being held this summer, Plensa describes the urge to visit Crown Fountain as a sort of impulsive pilgrimage of reassurance. "I feel every time I have to go check to see if it's still there," he says. "to make sure that it wasn't just a dream." Plensa's lingering insecurity a decade after the debut of a piece of public art that has since been cemented, along with Anish Kapoor's adjacent Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Continue reading >>">Continue reading >>

Millennium Park (map)
Michigan and Randolph
Loop
phone 312-742-1169
1004 Portraits

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3peat

Open run: Wed 10:30 PM

A night of long-form improv based on monologues inspired by audience suggestions. $5

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville

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Public House Theatre (map)
3914 N. Clark St.
Lakeview
phone 800-650-6449

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Bottom Lounge (map)
1375 W. Lake St.
West Loop/Fulton Market
phone 312-666-6775

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Able Baker Fox, Rare Animals, Still Machine, Quiet Car

Fri., Sept. 5, 8 p.m.

In the late 90s and early aughts, aggressive math-rock dominated the midwestern underground circuit, and two of the acts doing it best were Casket Lottery from Kansas City and Small Brown Bike from Marshall, Michigan. In 2002, at the height of their popularity, the two bands collaborated on an EP that merged them into a single postpunk powerhouse (which, among other things, whipped up a pretty killer cover of “Under Pressure”). In 2006, after Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike had broken up but before they got back together, members of both bands teamed up again, forming the long-distance project Able Baker Fox. In 2008 they released their only record to date, Voices (Second Nature), which picks up where that 2002 EP left off: angular guitars crisscross over heavy, fractured rhythms while gruff singers trade emotive hollers. It’s a dramatic, high-energy sound, deeply rooted in the past but also timeless. Because Able Baker Fox’s members currently live in Kansas City, Lansing, Brooklyn, and Chicago, live shows are extremely rare—this one is part of a very short tour whose only other stops are in Lansing and Gainesville, Florida. —Luca Cimarusti $6

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Township (map)
2200-2202 N. California Ave.
Logan Square
phone 773-384-1865
Able Baker Fox, Rare Animals, Still Machine, Quiet Car

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Myopic Books (map)
1564 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-862-4882

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Action Comedy

Open run: Thu 8 PM

Comics are not always funny—but in those cases, they can be claimed as high art, like The Walking Dead or Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Comics—the other kind—aren't always funny either. They either curl up like dead spiders and disappear beneath a dresser forever, or they soldier on to another open mike. That quick homonym demonstration aside, here's the deal with a new stand-up comedy show happening at Challengers Comics + Conversation on the last Thursday of every month. Action Comedy is a nod to Action Comics, the series in which Superman first appeared, published by what would become DC Comics. The show's produced by a five-boy team of Kevin Brody, Mitch Kurka, Ian Abramson, Jeff Scheen, and Zach Peterson, and joins an already pretty stellar line-up of live programming at the shop. Continue reading >>

Challengers Comics + Conversation (map)
1845 N. Western Ave.
Logan Square
phone 773-278-0155

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SPACE (map)
1245 Chicago Ave.
Evanston
phone 847-492-8860

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Chicago Theatre (map)
175 N. State St.
Loop
phone 312-462-6300

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Kate Adams, Roy Ivy

Fri., Aug. 29, 6:30 p.m.
Hideout (map)
1354 W. Wabansia Ave.
West Town/Noble Square
phone 773-227-4433

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Wire (map)
6815 W. Roosevelt
Berwyn

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African Festival of the Arts

Fri-Mon 8/29-9/1, 10 AM-10 PM
phone 773-955-2787
,

In the past the giant music and arts festival has included names like George Clinton, Brandy, and Otis Clay, in addition to other big names in soul, gospel, blues, house, and African music.

http://africanfestivalchicago.com/
Washington Park (map)
51st and Cottage Grove
Hyde Park
phone 773-256-1248

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