Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: year two | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: year two 

Bobby Womack, Conor Oberst, John Cale, Jon Benjamin, El Circo Cheapo Cabaret, and more

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Bobby "the Sunday night headliner" Womack

Bobby "the Sunday night headliner" Womack

Jamie James Medina

Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements debuted last year with a lineup that offered plenty of entertainment for kids of all ages, as the saying goes. The festival returns this weekend, bringing circus spectacle, comedy, and an excellent, diverse musical lineup to the Riverfront Theater. On Friday music starts at 7 PM with gothy synth-pop singer Zola Jesus, who warms up for John Cale of Velvet Underground fame (see Artist on Artist). The night ends with a 10 PM comedy showcase featuring Seaton Smith, James Fritz, and others. On Saturday at 5 PM, Chicago's El Circo Cheapo Cabaret—a world-class collective of acrobats, jugglers, puppeteers, and clowns—kicks off an evening of entertainment that also includes singer, composer, arranger, producer, and (perhaps most famously) Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks at 7 PM, Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst at 8 PM, and a 10 PM comedy show with Jon Benjamin, Drew Michael, and more. Sunday's festivities consist of two sets of music: one at 7 PM from Ecuadoran-­American singer-songwriter Helado Negro (see Soundboard) and another at 9 PM from soul veteran Bobby Womack (see Soundboard). The comedy shows are both free, El Circo Cheapo costs $10, and the music varies by day: $25 for Friday, $30 for Saturday or Sunday. There are no festival passes, only tickets for individual events.

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