Costes | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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The last time French performance artist and musician Jean-Louis Costes came through town, a large, hesitantly curious audience dwindled steadily during his 45-minute noise opera till it was down to a couple dozen iron-stomached folks who could handle the sex, violence, piss, vomit, blood, and feces--it's not every day you see a guy stick a needle up his urethra or set his pubic hair on fire. His current piece, Les Petits Oiseaux Chient ("Little Birds Shit"), is less a horror show than a filthy comedy acted out to his spastic, boingy, flickering tracks, which not even the outrageousness onstage can overshadow. Sometimes deliberately facile, sometimes totally inexplicable, Costes and stagemate Lisou Prout play a grotesque parody of a prototypical couple, tearing apart an enormous array of props (a real toilet, several dildos, their own bodies) to hammer home a caveman's message: the world is shit--glorious, horrendous shit--so just chug another beer like a frat boy/noise nerd/miserable alcoholic with sad fantasies of escape. Their infantile simplicity undercuts conventional notions of love, fulfillment, and success, boiling them all down to mindless consumption and expulsion, screwing and shitting: shit out shit, shit out babies, get shit on and shit out by corporations. The show eventually devolves into surrealistic miasma, cartoonish and disgusting, a rabbit hole swimming with a mishmash of iconic imagery that gets you so lost that nothing has meaning anymore. And then, Costes seems to say, you are free. Cock ESP, Panicsville, and Mr. Natural open. a 8 PM, $10 requested donation. Venue information available at A


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Tegan and Sara Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University
October 15

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