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Blue Man Group

Open run: Thu 8 PM; Fri 7 PM; Sat 2, 5, and 8 PM; Sun 4 and 7 PM
Briar Street Theatre 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$49-$99


After 20 years and god knows how many bald caps and gallons of paint, this Chicago staple stays true to its mission: “Blue Man Group—enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation.” That experimental, interactive theater can remain both current and family friendly in equal measure speaks to the show's healthy mix of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wit and larger-than-life clowning. Audience participation, voluntary and involuntary, is still a key component, whether it’s sharing Twinkies with the trio, donning a poncho in the splash zone, or being shamed as a latecomer, in showstopping fashion. Cultural references and parodies have certainly changed with the times (and devices), but the keys to Blue Man Group remain its hypnotic music and lively energy—if you’re not out of your seat dancing when the 90 minutes are up, you probably don’t have a pulse. —Marissa Oberlander 773-348-4000

ComedySportz Theatre

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10 PM, Sat 6, 8, and 10 PM
ComedySportz Theatre 929 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$19


Part of a national chain of comedy clubs, this company is known for quick improv games (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), but it also stages long-form improv. LCD screens and sophisticated lighting and sound systems amplify the sports-style improv of the company's eponymous production, ComedySportz. There's a snobbery in the Chicago improv community that looks up at the "art" of the long form, with its emphasis on story and characters, and down on the "entertainment" of the short, with its emphasis on games and punch lines. ComedySportz falls emphatically in the entertainment camp; its bottom line is laughter, and it gets plenty of it. The show is structured as a competition between two teams performing multiple games that require audience participation. A referee ensures that the players--a rotating roster from a company of about 50--work clean or they finish the game with a brown bag over their heads. The formula is practically foolproof: players may flash their quick wits in winning responses, but they're even funnier when they fail. In one game a team had to devise a pick-up line, each member contributing a word. Moving rapidly from player to player, the line developed: "Tonight-I'll-tango-with-your-face." Probably wouldn't work at a bar, but at ComedySportz it killed. --Ryan Hubbard 773-549-8080 or 312-559-1212

18+
Always Never

Thu., Jan. 24, 9 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-525-2508

Birddogs, Bambiraptor, Matt Waters

Fri., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.
Elbo Room 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-549-5549

RFA, Pooky

Sat., Jan. 26, 7 p.m.
Elbo Room 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-549-5549

Michigan Rattlers

Sat., Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Tickets


773-525-2508

Swing Caribeno

Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.
Las Tablas 2942 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-871-2414

Elley Duhe, Tatiana Hazel

Sun., Jan. 27, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-525-2508

Tommy Newport

Tue., Jan. 29, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview


773-525-2508

Half Alive, Joan, Austin Prince

Wed., Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Ticketssold out


773-525-2508

Role Model

Sat., Feb. 2, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Festival of Flesh

Open run: first Sat of each month, 10: 30 PM and midnight
Underground Lounge 952 W. Newport Ave., Chicago Lakeview


Gothic illusionist and proud floor-length-leather-jacket owner Ron Fitzgerald emcees Arkham Noise Productions' burlesque show, which caters to a wide array of fetishes with an alternating lineup of about 100 performers—around a dozen acts on a given night, curated by producer/DJ Miss Ellie Noise. Audience members can watch the show from their bar stools; this month's range of fantasies included domination, flesh hooks, IKEA (DIY kink?), and bathing in public. Still, nearly every act was a striptease at heart, and followed a familiar trajectory: gloves to girdle to brassiere, and then an exuberant reveal. It felt more silly than sexy, and the only clothes remaining onstage at the end were the basketball jerseys that line the back wall of the bar. —Hannah Gold 773-327-2739

Yoshi Flower

Tue., Feb. 5, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

God, Sex & Death Variety Hour

First Wednesday of the month: 7:30 PM
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview


Many a mental health professional advises that if you're really afraid of something, the best thing to do is confront your fear. That's sort of what comedian/musician Danny Black is up to with the God, Sex, and Death Variety Hour. During his opening monologue at the August show, Black, who plays host, admits he's terrified of death but swears that "talking about it makes it better." In reference to the god part, Black says he had a religious experience on a retreat once—god spoke to him, obviously—but he mostly ignored it at the time; so giving the guy (or gal) a nod now seems like the polite thing to do. The inclusion of sex as a topic—at any time, in any universe—seems self-explanatory. Continue reading >> 773-525-2508

LP

Fri., Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m.
The Vic 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy Ticketssold out


773-472-0449

Spencer Sutherland

Tue., Feb. 12, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Shad

Wed., Feb. 13, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Warbly Jets

Fri., Feb. 15, 9 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

This Must Be the Band

Feb. 15-16, 8 p.m.
The Vic 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-472-0449

Skela

Sat., Feb. 16, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Graves

Fri., Feb. 22, 9 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Sat., Feb. 23, 8 p.m.
The Vic 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-472-0449

Adia Victoria

Mon., Feb. 25, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Buck Meek

Tue., Feb. 26, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Lily & Madeleine

Sat., March 2, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Justin Nozuka, Craig Cardiff

Mon., March 4, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Mxmtoon

Wed., March 6, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508