Campy, sure, but too fascinating to feel contrived, the local time warp called the Tingle-Tangle Menagerie reinvents the variety show of yore as a seamless evening of disorienting entertainment. You'll be watching a peep show through a hole in a wall painted with women's asses and then notice that the haunting sounds of Spires That in the Sunset Rise--an all-female band whose members switch off on zither, cello, banjo, drum, and tambourine--are wafting through the room like poisonous pheromones. Recurring organ music helps blend the segments into a dreamlike sequence; in this edition they'll include Drew Zeigler's puppet show about an increasingly tormented man's journey in search of his severed ear; Celestial Ramblers, a ukulele-and-vocals solo act by a bitter, sentimental fool who's too smart for his own good; and Miss Raven Hinojosa's immaculately poised (and netless) trapeze performance. Serafima the Soggy Songstress would stand out on any bill: dressed in a dirty, pit-stained broadcloth frock and sitting on an elaborate wooden swing contraption, she belts out dirges while creepy children skulk around, preparing whipped-cream pies for the audience to fling and pulling levers that dump buckets of tar, feathers, and fetid raw fish on her. This gorgeous, elaborate showcase for local artists who seem to have been born in the wrong century is a welcome respite from shows by trendy technophiles with zero stage presence. With Sir David Marine playing the theremin, butoh by Angela and Alvis, singing saw and electronics from Burger Damage, conceptual video and song by Math and James, and chanteuse Farfalina. Saturday, December 6, 10 PM, Texas Ballroom, 3012 S. Archer; 773-254-5356.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Alyce Henson.