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Verbatim Verboten

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In Michael Martin's estimation, America is witnessing the "bedridden stage of privacy's decline." But that's all right with him if it means that the most embarrassing demons of the powerful and pretentious come to light. Always one to revel in popular culture's more contemptible impulses, he's now put together "Verbatim Verboten," a monthly cabaret series based on transcripts acquired secretly and/or illegally. For the debut episode Martin starts at the top: he plays President Nixon discussing some of the messier aspects of Watergate with various members of his administration--played by the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, a local activists' group (I've died and gone to heaven). Martin's lineup also includes Lusia Strus and Barrie Cole as Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky hashing out their boy troubles, Beau O'Reilly as Orson Welles floundering through a voice-over for a frozen-fish commercial, Steve Hickson and Ed Jones from the SweetCorn Playhouse as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles waxing rhapsodic over feminine protection, and members of the improv troupe O.C.Y.C. as Texaco executives debating the finer points of affirmative action. Martin says he's got enough material for many months of shows (and if all goes well he'll start another monthly series reading celebrity poetry). But the next time you flip out that flashy cell phone in your favorite upscale restaurant, remember: you could be next. Red Lion Restaurant & Pub, 2446 N. Lincoln, 312-409-2876. Sunday, November 7, 7 PM. $4.

--Justin Hayford

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