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Freak Machine 

Thursday, Aug 4 2011
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What are the two most dangerous words in the theater? Anyone tempted to answer "performance art" may want to consider the peril and precarious possibilities inherent in the term "open mic." The ultimate in un-curated, vox populi free expression, the open microphone is an engraved invitation to uninhibited exhibitionists of all stripes and their masochistic, enabling audiences. Happily, as practiced by deadpan emcee Darren Schroader, this forum proves to be a surprisingly warm and entertaining talent showcase. Twelve slots are up for grabs, first-come, first-serve. Schroader mitigates the hazards by imposing an ironclad, dignity-saving time limit of five minutes per performance. On this evening, the hits far outweighed the misses with Schroader himself — in a Glow Stick-stuck body suit — warming up the crowd in a delightfully bent interpretive dance burlesque. Folk-music parodist Ukulady Jaimie (aka Jaimie Devitt) weighed in with her hilarious, ukulele mashup of T-Pain's "Apple Bottom Jeans," Lil John and the East Side Boyz' "Get Low" and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back." Broadway belter Rena Strober showed off her satirical side with an outlandish anthem to the capaciousness of feminine empowerment, "Vigantic." Bill Lawrence limned a bewildered Ozarks pet cemetery director delivering a comic eulogy for a despised poodle in "The Marmot Speaks." And the standup team of Doug Perkins and Kip Madsen gave new meaning to stage fright in their bit, "Comedy Coach." For the misfires, audience shill Michelle Miracle was on hand to talk them off the stage with her well-timed wit and ad-libbed quips. Circle X Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave.; last Mon. of every month, 8 p.m., through Sept. 26. (323) 644-1929. AtwaterVillageTheatre.com. What are the two most dangerous words in the theater? Anyone tempted to answer "performance art" may want to consider the peril and precarious possibilities inherent in the term "open mic." The ultimate in un-curated, vox populi free expression, the open microphone is an engraved invitation to uninhibited exhibitionists of all stripes and their masochistic, enabling audiences. Happily, as practiced by deadpan emcee Darren Schroader, this forum proves to be a surprisingly warm and entertaining talent showcase. Twelve slots are up for grabs, first-come, first-serve. Schroader mitigates the hazards by imposing an ironclad, dignity-saving time limit of five minutes per performance. On this evening, the hits far outweighed the misses with Schroader himself — in a Glow Stick-stuck body suit — warming up the crowd in a delightfully bent interpretive dance burlesque. Folk-music parodist Ukulady Jaimie (aka Jaimie Devitt) weighed in with her hilarious, ukulele mashup of T-Pain's "Apple Bottom Jeans," Lil John and the East Side Boyz' "Get Low" and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back." Broadway belter Rena Strober showed off her satirical side with an outlandish anthem to the capaciousness of feminine empowerment, "Vigantic." Bill Lawrence limned a bewildered Ozarks pet cemetery director delivering a comic eulogy for a despised poodle in "The Marmot Speaks." And the standup team of Doug Perkins and Kip Madsen gave new meaning to stage fright in their bit, "Comedy Coach." For the misfires, audience shill Michelle Miracle was on hand to talk them off the stage with her well-timed wit and ad-libbed quips. Circle X Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave.; last Mon. of every month, 8 p.m., through Sept. 26. (323) 644-1929. AtwaterVillageTheatre.com.
Last Monday of every month, 8 p.m. Starts: July 25. Continues through Sept. 26, 2011
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Reach the writer at braden@laweekly.com

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