Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, December 6

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Burlesque Wed Feb 05 2014

Untitled Hosts "Unbustled," A Burlesque Competition

unbustled at untitled chicago burlesqueRiver North's Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie St., is known for two things: First, its incredible whiskey list (they boast nearly 300 varieties on their menu) and second, glitter, sequins, feathers and crystals -- they host one of the best burlesque nights in the City each Thursday.

Valentine's week, Untitled will pair up with Cointreau to present "Unbustled," their new two-night burlesque competition. The preliminaries will kick off on Monday, Feb. 10 at 7pm. Competitors will shake, shimmy and strut their stuff to try to win the prize of $1,000 and a chance to perform in a showcase later in the week. Come early to root for your favorites and come back on Wednesday to take in the semi-finals and the finals! The event will culminate on Thursday the 13th, when the bar will present the "Unbustled" performances with features by the winner. An illustrious panel of celebrity judges will pick the winner and special "Love Potion" Cointreau cocktails will be featured on both nights of the competition.

"Unbustled" is free, but you need to call for reservations at 312-880-1511.

Jeanne Newman

Burlesque Wed Nov 20 2013

Behind the Burlesque: Catching Up with Kiss Kiss Cabaret's Coquettes

Kiss Kiss Cabaret Holiday 2013.jpgIt's the night of the first snow in Chicago. The buses are running slowly and I'm running late. But even though it's cold outside, it's warm...even "hot" where I'm headed.

As I enter the darkened Greenhouse Theater, I hear Marc Bolan's "Get it On/Back Door Santa" fire up. "Get it on...HOHOHOHO...Get it on, bang a gong, get it on...they call me backdoor Santa, I make my runs around the break of day..." Over the heavy-metal and pop-inspired mashup, Elle Rioux, a petite brunette clad in black leggings, a coral scoopneck sweatshirt and black character shoes counts out steps and shouts instructions. The 20-strong ensemble of attractive young women behind her, grouped into fours, all shimmy their shoulders, pop their hips, throw their hair back and execute retro-'60s go-go dances again and again.

"WORM! ASS! SHIMMY! PONY!" Elle yells instructions, rapidfire one after the other, as she provides a steady eight count. The girls respond in perfect unison. They are learning a new dance for the holiday show. All in a day's work at Kiss Kiss Cabaret.

Continue reading this entry »

Jeanne Newman

Burlesque Thu Oct 17 2013

A Complete Guide to Halloween Performances & Theater

zombieprom2013.jpgThe weather is getting crisp, the leaves are turning colors and costumes of all kinds are festooning store windows. Must be getting close to Halloween! If you're like me, you want to start celebrating early. Check out some of these performances to whet your Halloween whistle.

For traditional spookiness, check out Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe, theatrical adaptations of The Telltale Heart and The Raven, among others, at Center Stage Theater in Naperville now through Oct. 20 ($16) or Creature Feature Radio Hour: The Wolfman on Mummy Island -- a ghostly Halloween radioplay -- at Chemically Imbalanced Theater. If you're into camp, take yourself to Nightmares on Lincoln Avenue, B is for Blood at The Cornservatory Oct. 17 - Oct. 31 ($7-$15) or The Rocky Horror Show (the classic, sans "Picture", with a steampunk theme) at the Chopin Theatre Oct. 24-27 ($20).

If you like a side of showtunes with your horror? Check out Zombie Prom at Mayne Stage (Oct. 19, Oct. 25 and Oct. 31, $20) with a special zombie prom-themed afterparty on Halloween and The Musical of the Living Dead at Stage 773 now through 11/9 ($25).

Continue reading this entry »

Jeanne Newman

Burlesque Fri May 31 2013

FilmStrips: An Evening of Cinematic Burlesque


Beginning June 7 through July 26, The Kiss Kiss Cabaret presents its summer blockbuster on Fridays at 11pm: "FilmStrips: An Evening of Cinematic Burlesque" at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave). "FilmStrips" will feature cinematic burlesque from The Kiss Kiss Coquettes and from special guests from the Indianapolis's Burlesque Troupe PUR. Hosted by the Flattery brothers and opening with a new number from choreographer Aimee Binder, the show puts a cinematic twist on the art of burlesque. Producer Chris O. Biddle says, "This is a great chance to see the sexiest movie characters strip down to their unmentionables and beyond! It's the perfect combination of cinema and burlesque!"

Chicago's only weekly burlesque and variety show, The Kiss Kiss Cabaret is an open run, Fridays at 11 p.m. at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave). Tickets are available at 773-404 7336 or Audiences are encouraged to make reservations early, to guarantee seating. For more information visit

Photo courtesy of

Caitlin Bergh

Burlesque Mon May 13 2013

Wiggle Room: Chicago's Most Intimate Comedy and Burlesque Show

brunolucha1.jpgIf you love burlesque, comedy, and BYOB venues, Wiggle Room at The Everleigh Social Club is where you will want to spend your Friday night. Wiggle Room brings huge talent to audiences in an intimate setting-- a stage surrounded by plush velvet sofas, beds and chairs.

Produced by Michelle L'amour and Franky Vivid, Wiggle Room features the World Famous Chicago Starlets (winner "Best Burlesque Group in the World 2010" at the Burlesque Hall of Fame) and some of Chicago's best stand-up comics, including host Adam Burke. On May 17 at 10pm, the show will be concluding their current run, with plans to come back in the fall.

I talked to Michelle L'amour about her one of a kind show, and why you won't want to wait until the fall to see it.

Continue reading this entry »

Caitlin Bergh

Burlesque Mon Feb 25 2013

Brass Chuckles: A New Kind of Comedy Show


Brass Chuckles is a playful, monthly comedy show at The Playground Theater that values genuine comedic expression over perfection. This makes sense given it was created by one Chicago's most exploratory artists, Tamale Sepp. Hanging out with Tamale at a tea lounge is just like watching her produce a show. She oozes positivity and acceptance, and she notices everything. Are you standing in the doorway and making everyone cold? She will politely ask you to move. Did you leave your mug at your table when you left? Tamale's got it. It is exactly these superpowers of perception and caring that make Tamale a fantastic producer.

Tamale, who has a background in fire dancing, burlesque, drag, sketch, improv and stand-up, created Brass Chuckles to foster comedy in Chicago that is as interdisciplinary as she is. Brass Chuckles performances range from drag to videos to performance art, with comedic expression as the through-line, and Tamale hosts the whole thing with an upbeat charm. The show aims to bring different artistic communities together to play and to learn from each other. A stand-up who watches fire dancing, for example, can learn a new meaning of silence from a crowd. "When I'm fire dancing, my audience does not talk," says Tamale. "People are hypnotized, so they don't have a lot of response. This does not equate to them not being invested or completely involved in that experience. It's the opposite. And that can be true during tension-filled moments of stand-up."

Continue reading this entry »

Caitlin Bergh

Preview Fri Jan 25 2013

Preview: Kiss Kiss Cabaret's 2nd Anniversary Show

KKC 2nd anniversary Show.jpg

If a night of risqué comedy and provocative burlesque performances sounds fun, or even just plain interesting to you, then look no further than Kiss Kiss Cabaret's Second Anniversary Show on February 1.

This special anniversary show features Kiss Kiss Cabaret's full lineup of comedians, burlesque performers, musicians, jugglers, magicians and hosts. Guests are even invited to partake in post-show birthday cake. Maybe this is what they meant by having your cake and eating it too.

This second anniversary party also marks Kiss Kiss Cabaret's 100th performance since the company was founded. The Cabaret's burlesque troupe, "The Kiss Kiss Coquettes," includes performers who have traveled the world practicing their craft. Bella Ciao, Naughty Natanya, and the rest of the company are sure to entertain.

The 18-and-over show is happening February 1 at 11pm at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The show is expected to sell out, so it's a good idea to purchase in advance.

If you can't make it for the celebration, Kiss Kiss Cabaret puts on a weekly show every Friday at the Greenhouse Theater Center.

Sarah Shuel

Burlesque Sat Dec 22 2012

Before It's Gone: Season's Geekings at Gorilla Tango

It's that time of year again: the trees come out, the lights go up, and the War on Christmas begins anew. And no, not conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly's seasonal coverage of what he perceives to be the assault on American religious tradition. No, this war--though surely the kind of thing that would invoke the ire of O'Reilly--involves considerably lower stakes and much less clothing. It's a battle that provoked sex columnist Dan Savage to complain, exasperated, on last week's Savage Lovecast, "There's nothing sexy about Christmas." But in Season's Geekings: A Gorilla Tango Burlesque Holiday Special, the theater's in-house troupe poses the question, "Isn't there, though?"

Continue reading this entry »

Austin Bernhardt

Burlesque Fri Oct 05 2012

Preview: Boobs of the Dead at Gorilla Tango

A strange virus known as "B1Z3" is infecting citizens of Chicago, with the CDC warning that "virus carriers have been observed performing elaborate dance routines while removing sequined corsetry before committing heinous assaults on confused onlookers." Can the Sheriff, Wife Lady, Old Dude, Best Friend and Southern Guy fend off the glitter-dusted ghouls long enough to survive?

'Boobs of the Dead' zombie burlesque

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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