Un-Cabaret founder and comedian Beth Lapides says that one of the most memorable moments in the show's history happened when now-deceased comedian Judy Toll told "the story of defecting from the Church of Scientology and brought in her 'E-meter' [a device used by Scientologists to measure supposed mental hindrances] and a giant Xeroxed blow-up of the refund check for $30,000 that she got them to write her."
Other notable performances include club comedian Dana Gould's tales of insomnia and nervous breakdown and Margaret Cho's "stories about being molested by some producer," as Lapides puts it.
Sound miserable? It could be -- but Un-Cabaret, a long-running LA-based comedy show, turns true confessions into tragicomic gold.
For more than ten years, Un-Cabaret has featured a who's who of the American comedy elite; Scott Thompson, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, Andy Kindler, Kathy Griffin, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and dozens more have come clean in a unique format that blends performance art and psychotherapy with improv and standup comedy.
Lapides explains the rules of Un-Cabaret: It must be true and it must be funny. The material may be prepared before the performance, but there are plenty of unscripted moments, too -- that's because Lapides stands in the back of the venue with a microphone and becomes "the voice of the audience," interrupting the comedians to ask them questions designed to get them to go deeper.
"Birth, marriage, break-up, divorce, career disaster -- it's always exciting," says Lapides. "You have that sense that you don't know quite what's going to happen."
Washington University's Ovations! series welcomes Andy Dick, Tim Bagley, Beth Lapides and Sherri Shepherd to Un-Cabaret at the Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard, $30, 8 p.m., 314-534-1111, www.uncabaret.com). -- Byron Kerman
Circle of Love
Because nothing says "I love you" better than a long, romantic walk, Joe Edwards and company invite you and your sweetie to spend Valentine's Day roaming our prime pedestrian district as part of Love in the Loop. Eat at any of Delmar Boulevard's myriad restaurants and then shop for each other's gifts at the many shops offering a 10 percent discount (including Vintage Vinyl and Subterranean Books). Cap off the evening with a discounted art film at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-1100) or two-for-one tickets to COCA's performance of Love Letters (524 Trinity Avenue, 314-725-6555). For more information on Love in the Loop, call 314-727-8000. -- Niles Baranowski
Goths Just Wanna Have Fun
Postmortem Productions resurrects its obscenely popular "Death on Wheelz" skating party for a second My Bloody Valentine's Day at the Skatium (120 East Catalan Street, contact www.postmortem.us.com for info) from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Goths, would-be goths, and the goth-curious are invited to crack the whip and shoot the moon while enjoying the moody music and dramatic fashion and makeup that has come to define a generation of theatrical types. Haven't you always wanted to hold your beloved's hands while spiraling out of control in ever-widening gyres as "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again" sulks through the sound system? Sure you have. $5 gets you a pair of skates, and the BYOB rule is in effect. -- Paul Friswold
So you know the only person to work on both The Godfather and The Wizard of Oz (effects artist A.D. Flowers) and how much Dustin Hoffman earned for his role in The Graduate (a cool $17,000). You have a jack installed at the base of your neck so the Internet Movie Database can be mainlined deep into your skull. Put this nearly useless knowledge to work and help support the art form you love at Cinema St. Louis' first-ever trivia night at the Richmond Heights Community Center (8001 Dale Avenue) from 7 to 10 p.m. Teams of eight players pay $20 per person in advance or $25 at the door; call 314-454-0042 or e-mail for more. -- Jason Toon