Details Are Sketchy
Naked guns: Fordham University Comedy Troupe
The Super Bowl is still a good three weeks away, but those hankering for a taste of hard-fought competition fraught with blood, sweat, tears—and, bonus: laughs—can get their fill this weekend at Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, a 131-show collection of the best of short-form comedy running through January 18th at Theatre Building Chicago (1225 W. Belmont Ave.; chicagosketchfest.com). Highlights include Unintentionally Hilarious, written and performed by junior-high students (because what’s more painfully funny than those awkward tween years?), 1 p.m. Saturday the 10th, or, for the truly bloodthirsty, Fordham University Comedy Troupe (whose acronym we’ll avoid spelling out here), a group that pulls no punches—seriously: check out their skit Nun Ruler—8 p.m. Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th. Tickets are $12.50 per show or $150 for a fest pass.
Four Flicks to Catch This Week:
The Second City cofounder Howard Alk had a brief but lasting impact on Chicago’s best-known comedy institution—and that’s just one accomplishment in a life that reads like the CV of a charter member of Overachievers Anonymous. The late Alk was also a filmmaker, and despite having collaborated with the likes of Bob Dylan, A Life on the Edge, presented by the Chicago Film Archives, is the first-ever retrospective of his films. Catch the opening-night screening of Janis, Alk’s biopic on Janis Joplin, 8 p.m. Friday the 9th at the Siskel Film Center (164 N State St.; siskelfilmcenter.org). The series continues through February 1st.
Can’t bare the thought of facing the snow/cold/sleet/slush? Stay in and get some culture from the couch when Every Dancer Has a Story, a documentary on the River North Chicago Dance Company, airs 3 p.m. Sunday the 11th on WTTW. The first doc on the company won a regional Emmy, and the second received four noms, so we’re psyched for this behind-the-scenes sneak peek of the troupe’s upcoming program at the Harris (February 13th and 14th; harristheaterchicago.com).
If you Netflixed the imminently skippable Burn After Reading over the holidays and need a reminder why you love the Brothers Coen, head to the University of Chicago’s Doc Films (Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.; docfilms.uchicago.edu) Wednesday nights through March 11th. Next up in the weekly series is Raising Arizona, 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday the 14th. Cult hit The Big Lebowski screens January 28th, and February 25th is O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) was hoping to release his documentaryesque Chicago 10, on the 1968 Chicago Conspiracy Trial, in time to influence the 2004 presidential election. He didn’t quite make it—the film first screened at Sundance in 2007 and made its Chicago debut in 2008—but in the wake of another heated presidential election, not to mention the trial’s 40th anniversary, it’s as relevant as ever. See the flick, which pairs archival footage with animation and modern music (Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine), for free with museum admission, $14, 1:30 p.m. Sunday the 11th at the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark St.; chicagohistory.org).