Big laughs in a little tent in Pilsen | Comedy Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Big laughs in a little tent in Pilsen 

The Southside Ignoramus Quintet adopts an old tradition.

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Ruth Guerra, Ricardo Gamboa, David Pintor, Veronika Miranda, and Mario Sanchez

Ruth Guerra, Ricardo Gamboa, David Pintor, Veronika Miranda, and Mario Sanchez

Courtesy SIQ

Inspired by carpa—a form of outdoor folk theater that originated in Mexico and the southwestern United States—and by the lack of affordable performance spaces in Pilsen, David Pintor put up the Theater Tent for the first time in 2009. Each summer since, he's used the cozy venue to host comedy shows with his sketch group, SIQ (Southside Ignoramus Quintet). Ma and Pa Pintor take money at the gate, and there's a hole cut into the side of the wedding-reception white vinyl where Pintor's girlfriend takes donations for beer. What could make a cool DIY space even cooler? SIQ is a funny group of performers and this weekend might be our last chance for a while to comfortably take in some outdoor entertainment.

Pintor joins Ricardo Gamboa, Ruth Guerra, Veronika Miranda, and Mario Sanchez in this brazen troupe. Their scenes range from delightfully immature—a pillowcase becomes foreskin, a mouth an asshole—to laugh-so-you-don't-cry: 18th Street turns into a Sesame Street nightmare of gentrification. Kicked out of heaven by Black Jesus, Rahm Emanuel gets served some mean street justice.

Gamboa writes in an e-mail, "We try and represent Latino reality without replicating the cliches that don't actually show the complexity." Bring a blanket if you want, but the energy of an audience happy to see comedy close to home and the heat from the lights in the little tent should also help keep you warm. Nana Rodriguez opens.


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