Marriage | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Local queer duo James Tsang and Math Bass combine simple, art-damaged songs and simple, art-damaged videos with forced, overearnest arm gestures and homemade costumes that pile up the most inconvenient elements from each gender's stereotypes (glitter, ruffles, football pads): a year and a half ago, the first time I saw them, they unraveled balls of yarn while singing along to lyrics superimposed over clips projected behind them--a cat running around, for instance, or somebody unzipping a sofa cushion and working the dust out of it. They gleefully belt out their tunes like kindergartners in choir, purposely letting their voices crack or fall flat, but when they hit the notes they're aiming for, they sound wild and raw in a very grown-up way. They write lyrics like they're still learning English ("I am always for you in love"), and the dystopian melodies, on fanciful Casio vibraphone or weepy accordion, have to compete with maudlin horns, tumbling waves of psychotic guitar distortion, and ill-tempered canned snare hits and wood-block snaps that seem to go off at random. In the video for my favorite ditty, "Glorious Cave," a shoddy yarn god's eye twirls on a string in front of a backdrop of clunky houses with misplaced windows, flirting with and bonking into a pyramid made of Popsicle sticks that's twirling on another string. It's oddly touching, but I can't tell how sincere these guys are--they're either totally transparent or shrouded in layer upon layer of self-consciousness. Of course, that ambiguity is a good sign in and of itself. Flight opens. Fri 2/18, 9 PM, 3030, 3030 W. Cortland, 773-862-3616, $5-$10 suggested donation. All ages.

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