Self (The Remix) | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Self (The Remix) 

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"Did you ever notice that when people call you 'exotic,' they look at you like you're some kind of experiment?" asks poet-performer Robert Karimi during a rare aside in this brisk hour-long autobiographical monologue based on the notion that personality is created through sampling and blending. Karimi's candor in discussing his own Iranian-Guatemalan heritage is refreshing, but his easygoing manner belies a lingering discomfort. DJs D Double and Franco de Leon spin records and stand guard while Karimi recounts daily beatings at school during the Iran hostage crisis and his discovery of rap music--a lifeline--at the onset of puberty. The piece could stand to be unpacked more: a work in progress, it dwells on his childhood in the Bay Area, making lengthy detours at ages 8 and 13, and fades out during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. A former National Poetry Slam champion, he's likely accustomed to a more elliptical mode of performance. But the bottom line is he's discovered a powerful, distinctive voice; all he needs now is an audience. Opens Thu 3/10, 7 PM. Through 3/13: Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM. HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chuck Przybyl.

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