This ambitious showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest. Now it's produced by the Curious Theatre Branch; in addition to the Curious folks, participating artists this year include John Starrs, Julie Caffey, Michael K. Meyers, Michael Martin, and many other ensembles and soloists. Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali's use of the term "rhinocerontic" (it means real big), the 13th annual Rhino Fest runs through October 13. Performances take place at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, and at Prop Thtr, 4225 N. Lincoln. Admission is $10 or "pay what you can"; for information and reservations, call 773-327-6666.
Following is the schedule for September 5 through 12; a complete schedule is available on-line at www.chicagoreader.com.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
This one-woman play, written by Teresa Weed and performed by Lisa Wagner, examines the experiences of dying patients and their caregivers. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
See review in this section. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
The Very Long Kiss
Go Cougars! Theater Company presents Joe Meno's play about a widower's second chance at love. Lunar Cabaret, 9 PM.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
The Curious Theatre Branch performs a quartet of stories by Bryn Magnus under Ron Bieganski's direction. "Magnus's writing explodes with adventurous wordplay and riveting imagery," said Reader critic Justin Hayford when he reviewed these pieces as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company's "Love & Sin: A Solo Experience" earlier this year. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
Truck in Pieces
See Critic's Choice.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
I Can't Remember Any Kids' Names on That Trip to Go Drinking in Lake Geneva, Rawkus Down, and Super-Learning With George
This triple bill begins with a play by John Starrs about high school. Johnny Mars's Rawkus Down is described in festival publicity materials as "a tale about sleaze, greed, and a few good tunes," while Super-Learning With George, written and performed by Robin Cline and presented by Theater of the Catbird, imagines a books-on-tape class in which former heavyweight champion George Foreman urges us to "learn big." Lunar Cabaret, 3 PM.
Interviewing the Dead, a Fictional Autobiography
Veteran performance artist Michael K. Meyers presents this tale of a man seeking communion with his dead father. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
The Hermit Theater presents writer-director Idris Goodwin's play about two men whose longtime friendship is altered when one seeks to be more like the other. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
New Antarctica, A Babel Fish for Charlie Brown's Mom, and Tales From the Crib
The first piece on this triple bill, written and directed by Dan Telfer, involves a man fighting his gregarious alter ego. "Telfer's funny, poignant New Antarctica explores daydreams as self-imposed exile," said Reader critic Kerry Reid when she reviewed the show as part of Flush Puppy Productions' "Night Visions" last year. Rory Jobst's A Babel Fish for Charlie Brown's Mom concerns a 1970s video game pioneer; Tales From the Crib, by Laurel Haines, examines the darker side of family life. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
A history professor returns to the small western hometown she abandoned after high school in Heidi Broadhead's play. Ned O'Reilly directs. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
See listing for Thursday, September 5. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.
Playwright-actor Karine Koret's based this one-woman play on interviews with her Polish grandfather, who escaped from Nazi-occupied Poland. Prop Thtr, 7 PM.