Archive for the tag “Chicago Reader”

Cupid Has a Heart On: A Musical Guide to Relationships

WHAT: Cupid Has a Heart On: A Musical Guide to Relationships
WHEN: 8pm on Saturdays
WHERE: Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave.)
RUNTIME: 1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission (can vary)
WHO: The Cupid Players
PRICE: $20

OUR RATING: Do It!

Picture 18The fact that Chicago is the King of Comedy shouldn’t be surprising to any reader by now. But, if all you’ve seen is The Second City, you’re just scratching the surface of this vibrant and evolving scene that is perhaps best reflected in small productions at less well-known venues. The Cupid Players’ weekly show at Lakeview’s Stage 773 is Chicago creativity at its best and is in fact funnier than most of its more mainstream counterparts elsewhere. An all-musical production with big ensemble pieces and hilarious solos, each night is an extravaganza and completely different to the last.

Picture 22Adam: There’s one word that comes to mind when thinking of The Cupid Players: ensemble. This is a strong team who, after at least a decade of work, have become flawlessly enwoven to create a wonderful variety of hilarious, all original works.

Located in 773’s Cab theatre, decked out cabaret style with tables, chairs and booths, the intimate space allows for maximum interaction with the characters being forged before you, who sometimes jump right into your seat. And expect them to be singing something extremely dirty while they’re coming for you…that’s part of the game. With musical genres deriving mainly from Broadway, but also Rock and Barbershop, the group moves effortlessly between characters, highlighting everyday troubles in the most elevated manner, from the walk of shame to more taboo topics in songs like “Bathroom Time” and “Parents.”

Witty, vulgar, fun and full of energy, I was laughing through every minute of their material. After being around for over 14 years, let’s hope they stick around for another 14 and more.

Picture 20Alicia: The Cupid Players and their production moved from the iO Theater to Stage 773 back in 2011, and both Stage 773 and their Cab Theatre serve as the perfect venue for this intimate and hilarious crew, named by the Chicago Reader one year as “Best Sketch Comedy Group”. Directed by Brian Posen, this talented crew of comedians were the longest running revue in iO history and continue in popularity on their newer stage.

Picture 19I’ve had the opportunity to see The Cupid Players perform twice, each time incorporating different material with a few of the same songs here and there, all originally written and all completely hysterical. The repertoire is diverse, with anything from ballads to pop, and even a little bit of rap and rock n’ roll, just to keep things interesting. They even mix things up, with some numbers performed by a single individual, but with plenty of group numbers to kick things up a notch. And sure, most of their songs are a little raunchy, so this probably isn’t the kind of thing you want to take the kiddies to, but the songs are smart and catchy, so it all balances out in the end to create a night of extreme fun.

Final Thoughts: Relationships might be painful, but the only pain you’ll get with The Cupid Players and their musical guide to relationships will be the pain in your side from laughing too hard. Go for a crazy fun night out, and laugh the night away.

Vertigo Sky Lounge

WHAT: Vertigo Sky Lounge
WHERE: 2 W. Erie St. (Dana Hotel & Spa)

OUR RATING: Do It!

Picture 64Recently, Storefront City had the unique opportunity to attend the Chicago Reader’s 2nd Annual People Issue Party, honoring the 25 Chicagoans featured in this year’s People Issue and held at Vertigo Sky Lounge. We enjoyed complimentary cocktails from Tuaca, Korbel, Gentleman Jack and El Jimador, food from Benny’s Chop House, and music spun by DJ All the Way Kay. We loved the lounge so much in fact that we attended Fire & Ice, their relaunch of their ice bar, this past Friday.

(vertigoskylounge.com)

(vertigoskylounge.com)

Situated at the top of the Dana Hotel on the 26th floor of the Dana Hotel and Spa, Vertigo Sky Lounge is the only year-round, indoor/outdoor lounge in Chicago. Ready for this? They have an outdoor fire-pit and in the winter, the city’s only outdoor rooftop ice bar, 10-feet and 3,000 pounds of pure ice!

One of the major reasons Vertigo floats our boat is the total lack of a cover charge. You can literally just turn up, show your ID, check your coat downstairs (complimentary) and head on up to one of the sleekest experiences in the city. If you are visiting on a weekend, make sure you arrive early, as a line develops extremely quickly.

At this point, you have a choice: either squeeze into a space inside on one of the beautiful upholstered and plush window seats, grab a drink from one of Vertigo’s 3 indoor bars, or head out to the rooftop lounge, which is the highlight of this space. If you aren’t lucky enough to snag a free El Jimador margarita at an event, drinks will set you back $6-14 (since this is the city, that’s practically tuppence).

Bartenders are quick and polite, not making a fuss with preparation and being genial in every respect. Although we didn’t get a chance, you may also want to try some of their light bites: sushi, sliders and sharing platters make up the bulk of this menu. But this is nothing compared to the unparalleled outdoor space Vertigo offers if you’re courageous enough to brave the cold weather.

(vertigoskylounge.com)

(vertigoskylounge.com)

Festoon yourself in one of the lovely black terrycloth robes, a faux fur blanket or two, and amble onto the patio that, in this season, features a solid ice bar, ice sculptures and a roaring fire pit, stools included. You can even order flaming drinks at the ice bar, making a well-rounded fire and ice experience.

Storefront City and friends enjoy the fire pit!

Storefront City and friends enjoy the fire pit!

Also included are a selection of ice tables, which keep your drink cold while you stay toasty. It’s an entire new and magical world, a play land for adults in the middle of a Chicago winter. The whole setup reminds one of a scene from James Bond, so make sure you have your pithy remarks ready.

(vertigoskylounge.com)

(vertigoskylounge.com)

Another nice feature of this lounge are the bathrooms. They are kept immaculate and also include a chalkboard for you to write your comments on (yes, we left a message there).

So, if you are in the Gold Coast, drop in and have a martini or two while reminiscing about the last time you skied through the Alps after gambling with Goldfinger in Monte Carlo. Oh, and do make sure you are well dressed.

The Paper Machete

WHAT: The Paper Machete (Variety Show)
WHEN: Every Saturday from 3pm
WHERE: The Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway Ave.)

OUR RATING:
Do It!–Our experience
Chance It!–Possible future performances

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

The Paper Machete is a town crier for the modern age, providing audiences with amusing, serious and diverse entertainment covering pop culture, current events and a good dose of musical interlude. Originally launched in 2010, and created and hosted by writer Christopher Piatt, The Paper Machete tickles nearly every fancy, and allows one to experience the iconic cocktail lounge The Green Mill (of Prohibition fame) in the same manner as generations past: with a complete variety show.

Creator and Host Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Every Saturday afternoon at 3pm, this “live magazine” offers patrons a chance to connect with stars from the likes of iO, The Second City, the Neo-Futurists and beyond. Named best comedy variety show of 2011 by the Chicago Reader, the show encompasses an array of performances that are sure not to disappoint regulars and newcomers alike.

(greenmilljazz.com)

(greenmilljazz.com)

This past Saturday, Storefront City had a chance to visit this historic location and listen along to this rapid-fire magazine of popular thought. Our afternoon began with a rather serious interlude into environmental protection by Rachael Mason of iO. What appeared at first to be a paean for environmental action, soon showed its true colours as an amusing reflection on her childhood poetry for Earth Day, that brought up important and pertinent issues related to the recent Hurricane Sandy and its effects on her family. Masterfully blending humor and reality, Mason kept our attention and made us appreciate the awesome destructive power of nature, and man’s influence on it.

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

In keeping with this serious nature, Lisa Buscani of the Neo-Futurists’ investigation into the sordid world of Sandusky, from the perspective of another inmate at the same prison, provided a reflective moment to appreciate the situation of those who are behind bars and the circumstances that lead society to imprison.

Ike Holter

Ike Holter

But, let’s be honest, a magazine is never all about it’s newsworthy material, and we were treated to an inventive series of laughs as well. Ike Holter, popular playwright of Hit the Wall (first performed by The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf last year, and now moving to Off-Broadway), gave us an op-ed monologue musing on this year’s selection for the Academy Awards. Featuring quotes from “that owner of 7 Eleven who shouts at hipsters” to acceptances speeches themselves, Holter was full of ingenuity and verve.

(reformedwhores.com)

NYC’s Reformed Whores (reformedwhores.com)

And what variety show would be complete without music? We giggled with NYC musical comedy duo Reformed Whores, and swung along to the dulcet tones of Bethany Thomas (of Porgy and Bess fame), who created an atmosphere entirely appropriate to such a venerated establishment as The Green Mill.

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

A well-rounded current events publication needs a sports section, this one provided by resident puppet Chad the Bird (a Josh Zagoren creation). Staging in the venue was divided between the main stage towards the back, and the bar area, where Chad gave us his weekly sports roundup.

Matt Braunger (thepapermachete.com)

Matt Braunger (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Finally, Matt Braunger (love your website!) provided the capstone to the afternoon, also performing from the bar area. With topics covering Chicago staples such as certain kinds of people on the #22 bus, to tripped out nights dressed as clowns downtown, Braunger tapped into the audience and hit all the right notes. We highly recommend you see him if you can in the future.

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Busy on Saturday afternoons? Not to worry! Every week The Paper Machete and host WBEZ create a podcast, also known as “The Paper Machete Radio Magazine,” with selections from the latest show.

The Paper Machete comes highly recommended from Storefront City. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends (the space is crowded) and a relaxed attitude, performances may vary week to week, but if the quality remains the same as last time, you will not be disappointed.

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