Comedian Ian Belknap is one of the most fascinating assholes currently performing in Chicago. Mind you, he's not one of those loudmouthed "I'm going to tell you everything on my mind" assholes--we've got too many of those already. He's one of those sly, postmodern, still-waters-run-deep assholes, self-involved and subtly judgmental. The funny thing is that he judges himself too. As the emcee of this cabaret based on the seven deadly sins--with different performers representing each sin each week--Belknap loves nothing more than to mock himself for the choices he's made. He no sooner enters, dressed as Mephistopheles, than he's rolling his eyes at his own stupidity thinking we would be amused by his cheapo costume-shop horns and cape. But despite his protestations, Belknap's got good taste. His own routines--which usually revolve around some facet of his assholeness--are sly, subtle, and strong. And he's not afraid to gather around him similarly talented performers. The rotating roster for this series reads like a who's who of Chicago's cutting edge: Debra Downing, David Kodeski, Susan Messing, Lusia Strus, Jenny and Bryn Magnus. Of course, only an asshole would think he could hold his own with so many talented people. The thing is, Belknap can and does. Pride may be a deadly sin, but it's also essential to showmanship. Tuesday, September 19, 8 PM.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bill Ward.