Handsome Boy Modeling School | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Handsome Boy Modeling School 

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White People (Atlantic) just may be the first hip-hop album where the skits are more riveting than the music--and in this case that's saying a lot. Prince Paul and Dan "the Automator" Nakamura first revealed their lounge-lizard personas, Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Merriweather, on the 1999 tour de force So . . . How's Your Girl?; the trip-hop shuffles they come up with for White People are slighter, which befits the duo's intention to bring the funk to the most unlikely melanin-deprived artists. Anybody can devise passable settings for all-pro rappers like De La Soul and Del the Funky Homosapien, after all. But it takes real talent to coax an ace Fiona Apple impression from Cat Power's Chan Marshall, extract blue-eyed soul from slack Jack Johnson, and teach callow British Rat Pack wannabe Jamie Cullum how to croon like a man. A pair of comics run away with the show, though. HBMS graduate Father Guido Sarducci, aka Don Novello, proclaims in the intro that "beauty is truly in the eye of the tiger," and the Ladies Man, aka Tim Meadows, competes in a parody of The Dating Game with a mock Jay-Z ("I might take you over Dame's house . . . 'cause my girl's at the crib") and a faux RZA (who'd "pick you up in the Wu-mobile, bwought to you by Cwysler, you know, the cowabowation that we just came with"). If they had a smidgen more self-discipline, these two trickster-producer-DJs could be the hip-hop equivalent of the Firesign Theatre. But their lack of focus is part of their charm. K-os, Rondo Brothers, Dynamic Vibrations, and DJ Intel open. Sat 4/9, 1 AM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $20 in advance, $22.50 at the door, 18+.

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