Jaywalker | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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It seems every performer passes through LA--the desire to hit it big is just too great. Even edgy, alternative artists go there, hoping to pull an Eric Bogosian or a John Leguizamo and earn big showbiz bucks. Of course they expect to keep their integrity, but it's a hard act to pull off. Hundreds fail one way or another. And every once in a while a sharp-eyed, witty performer will do what New York-based monologuist Marga Gomez has done: come back from the entertainment underworld full of comical stories. Jaywalker is Gomez's fascinating autobiographical account of her futile attempts to sell out in tinsel town. Predictably, this hard-edged Latina found her opportunities limited; she kept finding herself competing for parts with stars like Jennifer Lopez. And one time she lost a part to a Chihuahua. But even more powerful than her tale of losing out in an Anglo world is her critique of California's car culture. A native Manhattanite, Gomez didn't drive when she moved to LA and refused to learn. Her adventures promenading around LA on foot, which make up the bulk of this inspired show, reveal more of that alien land than a thousand true-life stories about trying to break into the big time. Black Orchid, Piper's Alley, 230 W. North, 312-944-2200. Saturday, October 7, 7 and 10 PM. $20.

--Jack Helbig

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

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