Carnival Animale | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Carnival Animale 

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Lisa Buscani tells stories the way Dorothy Parker wrote--by opening a vein and letting it flow. And like Parker Buscani tempers her mostly autobiographical tales with a bitter, pointed wit that skewers sentimentality. Her sweet recollection of a childhood trip to a petting zoo ends with her almost being mauled by several cuddly, ravenous lambs. She reduces Hitchcock's art, as revealed in The Birds, to "tits and fear." The stories in this show are collected around the general theme of animals and animallike behavior. I suppose the latter explains the inclusion of a very funny anecdote about performance goddess Paula Killen and a bunch of beastly drunk Cubs fans. Best known as the 1992 National Poetry Slam champion, La Buscani reveals in this show that her gifts as a poet extend to prose. When she was a regular performer in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind she used to hold an audience rapt for 90 seconds. Here she does it for 90 minutes. At Zebra Crossing Theatre, 4223 N. Lincoln, 248-6401. Opens Sunday, February 26, 7 PM. Through March 20: Sundays, 7 PM; Mondays, 8 PM. $8. Buscani will perform excerpts from this show at "Solopalooza," February 23 through 25, at the Splinter Group, 1937 W. Division (call 342-7656 or see listing for details). She reads from her collection of poems Jangle at Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan at 7 PM on Saturday, February 25 (call 573-0564).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Brian McConkey.

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