I can’t be the only one who’s peered into the windows of the cathedral-like building along the 3400 block of Fullerton Avenue with a feeling of longing. Sandwiched between the bodegas and phone stores looms Charnel House (3421 W. Fullerton Ave.) with its impressive Gothic facade, lead pane windows and Castle-Dracula-style arches.
Proudly boasting it was once a place to bid adieu to Granny with Old World flair, the building no longer serves as a funeral home and chapel. Today the multi-arts center is a unique performance space.
The theater lobby is barely visible, even if you press your face to the glass. Red lights glow inside, promising the kind of adventures that I used to stay up past bed time to read about—even though my parents had banned the scary stuff. So walking past this neighborhood treasure has become a daily torture—because I never catch them when they’re actually open.
You could almost say it’s been haunting me. Geddit? Didja geddit? Shut up, my jokes are awesome.
No more of that—the doors are thrown open, no doubt with a spine-tingling creak, to welcome guests brave enough to walk inside and take in a show that is almost impossible to describe, yet I just can’t help myself.
They Saved Hitler’s Brain and Put It in Walt Disney
This show, They Saved Hitler’s Brain and Put It in Walt Disney, is the latest work by Chicago playwright and director Billy Bermingham. Bermingham has already gifted this city with seminal works like Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack and Shannon Doherty Shoots a Porno—but he is not resting on his laurels with this one. He has pulled out all the stops.
This show has it all: Hitler, Disney characters running brothels and planting bombs, Satanic sacrifices, gender reassignment surgery and helpful advice on how to do it at home, Karl Rove, virgin blood (for the brain), the delusions of a would-be restaurateur, drugs that make you republican, Krav Maga chick fights, seemingly prescient hordes of lawyers, and an orgy featuring illustrious symbolic avatars such as Fast Food and Sarah Palin.
But wait! There’s more.
Actually, that’s as pared-down a recital of plot points/featured characters as I dare to give. But I you’ll agree with me: When you buy a ticket for They Saved Hitler’s Brain … you are getting a lot of show for your money.
Tickets are $12 at the door or purchase tickets for the last two shows at Brown Paper Tickets. However, reservations are recommended since the Charnel House shows typically draw a line around the block.
Catch the show every Friday and Saturday night (except Thanksgiving!) through Dec. 7. Show begins at the very adult hour of 9 pm and you had better be over 17 or with a well-mannered parent or you are NOT getting in here, whippersnapper!