Shame That Tune

23 Feb

My friend Abraham Levitan (of Pearly Sweets and the Platonics, when I first met him; now of Baby Teeth) warbles when he talks and warbles when he sings.  He is Mick Jagger meets Bruce Springsteen meets a cuddly cartoon pony . . . who is very tall with curly blond hair and a huge, endearing smile.  What?

Anyway, Abe is completely compelling as a performer – talented and clever and hugely entertaining.  If you can see Baby Teeth perform, you should.  They are great.  But this post is about one of Abe’s side projects that I had been meaning to check out for some time.Shame That Tune is a variety show of sorts hosted by Abe and Brian Costello at the Hideout on Wabansia and Elston-ish.

It is a completely random, ridiculous thing.  And it’s so funny.  This is (loosely) how it goes:  A contestant spins a wheel.  The wheel lands on a band, singer or music genre. The contestant shares something about his or her past in monologue-form – something vaguely embarrassing or in the style of a confession is preferred.After the monologue, Brian Costello interviews the contestant.  Actually, he just says hilarious things and the contestant laughs and tries (but fails, obviously) to offer something equally funny in return.  (By the way, Brian Costello is witty and quick and has that ironic public radio tone of voice that is so this gen.  Loved him.)Meanwhile, Abe sits at his piano and takes notes of the monologue and interview.  Even his profile is smiley!When the interview is over,  Abe plays a song in the style of the band, singer or music genre chosen by the wheel-spin.  The song summarizes the contestant’s story; rather, it highlights the most embarrassing points of the story.

Several contestants do a monologue and at the end a winner is chosen by the sound of audience clapping.  The prize is cupcakes.  Or something.

The point is, this chaos of spoken-word and conversation and music is unlike anything you’ve attended before, I’m sure (because it’s too weird).  You’ll laugh a bunch.  And it’s all quite impressive, too.

This is a perfect Chicago thing to do and a fun thing to do with the early part of your Friday night (STT starts at 6:30 p.m. on the second Friday of each month).  Don’t miss the next one (get there early if possible – it was standing room only when we arrived right on time).

At least join Baby Teeth’s (e)mailing list.


5 Responses to “Shame That Tune”

  1. Arianne February 23, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    Looks so fun! I want to check it out next time I go to Chi-town 🙂

  2. phillymcg February 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    You forgot to mention all episodes of Shame That Tune thus far are available as podcasts at!

    • Diz February 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      @phillymcg: Yes – thanks for that!

  3. John February 24, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Sounds like a great show. Cool to have wit, recollection, and improvisation all going on at the same time. Next time I’m in Chicago …

  4. Briana February 28, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    That sounds like sooo much fun! We are going to have to plan our next trip there to include this festivity.

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