Friday, October 1, 2010

Lounge Act Weekend: 'Second City' review, plus tunes and trucks

Posted By on October 1, 2010, 9:05 AM

We have a few tips to make your weekend worthwhile, plus a look back at a fine September final courtesy of the Second City comedy troupe.---

I took a two-pronged approach to getting the most out of my last night of September. First I dropped by the Squatter's Brewery for a little soiree launching the new "Chubby" 5-liter kegs. The City Weekly editorial staff got a sneak peak of the tasty mini-kegs last week when we tapped into a batch of the Squatters IPA, and while we were initially outwitted by the process of tapping that bad boy (what, US read instructions? Baah), we eventually enjoyed a bounty of tasty suds with only a minor soaking of a computer and an intern during the tapping process. The Chubbies are also available in Wasatch's Golden Ale, and I'll heartily recommend either one. 

The Second City

Post-Chubby bash, I roamed up to check out the Second City touring improv and sketch-comedy troupe at Kingsbury Hall. The show was, not surprisingly, college-centric, and the five skilled performers (plus a musical director) made for an awesome evening of entertainment.

The best bits were the scripted skits, to be sure, which stands to reason given that the performers were drawing on five decades of Second City writing. As the original comedic home to folks like Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey, you can imagine the level of writing involved. These collegiate "greatest hits" had some brilliant moments, ranging from an awkward "is he gay or not?" study date to a long set-piece in which a girl studying for algebra is visited from heaven by Abraham Lincoln, launching a May/way-past-December romance, complete with cheesy falling-in-love musical montage.

The improv bits were nearly as successful as the tried-and-true skits, and truly showcased the talents of the cast. Particularly strong was a segment when two audience members provided random personal details from their Facebook accounts, and the cast took those details and created a 10-minute skit out of them. Not only did the exercise reveal how sharp and quick the cast is, thinking on its collective feet; it also brought the show into the Right Now, whereas some of the scripted bits were clearly years (or even decades) old.

Your weekend tips

Lots of great music to delve into this weekend. Friday night, I wish I was rolling to Wendover to see honky-tonk hero Dwight Yoakam, a true American classic. Sadly, that's not in the cards for me, but there are a few tickets still available if you're heading west for the night. Here in Salt Lake City, consider a trip to the Hotel to see Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs spin tunes at 9 p.m. Friday is also gallery stroll in Ogden.

Saturday night, the British reggae crew UB40 is headlining at The Depot, celebrating its 30th anniversary together. Could be worth the $45 just to hear the band's anti-apartheid anthem "Sing Our Own Song." A more reasonably priced option, though, is the rootsy folk-rockers Blind Pilot, headlining a gig at The Urban Lounge. Or Sea Wolf doing his solo thing at Kilby Court.

Also Saturday, you family-havin' types might want to take the little tykes to the Touch a Truck Family Festival at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the biking hordes of SLC will certainly want to check out the Bicycle Film Festival at the U's Post Theater Saturday.

Finally, take your Sunday night party posse to the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m., when the Joshua Payne Orchestra will be celebrating the release of its first 7-inch vinyl single, AND recording the show for a future release. It's jazzy, it's hip, and it beats the hell out of spending a Sunday night on the couch.

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Dan Nailen

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