I’ve been on the road for the past few days, so this week’s list will include some out-of-town recommendations along with some leads on what’s happening near my home base in Indianapolis. Thanks for visiting.

Who’s Yer Con 

Gen Con eats up a lot of the attention when it comes to tabletop game conventions in Indianapolis. But if you aren’t into the spectacle of tens of thousands of dice-rollers, dodging cosplayers, and maneuvering through aisle after aisle of retailers…no, wait. I’m going to start again. Because I’m not here to dis Gen Con, which I love. And there’s not reason to put it down in order to raise up Who’s Yer Con. So let’s try again.

Who’s Yer Con

For pure gameplay fun, no convention in Indy rivals this rapidly growing gathering. There’s a small dealer hall and a smattering of programming, but this one’s really about what happens at the tables. It features an extensive game library, newcomer friendly signage for games that are looking for players, plenty of tournaments for those who like to test their skills on their favorite games against strangers, and a lively, spirited crew of volunteers. I’ll be there playing most of the weekend (don’t be shy about saying hi) while also taking time out on Saturday to lead a geek-centric pub trivia competition. Amazingly, the convention is FREE…although you can kick in some bucks to get a swag bag full of gamer merch. March 30-April 1 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West  Info here

The Ascent

In one of the most exciting and encouraging developments recently for the performing arts in Indianapolis, Summit Performance Indianapolis is about to be open for business. What is Summit? It’s a new professional theater company devoted to producing “top quality theatre that explores the lives and experiences of women.” Necessary? Yes. About time? Yes again. To experience Summit from base camp, if you will, check into its first event, a benefit celebrating the stories of “women who have overcome remarkable things, who have had to have courage in moments of chaos, who have gone through peaks and valleys to become who they are and who are making our city a wonderful place to live.” Look for info on its first full production, Lauren Gunderson’s “Silent Sky,” coming soon. March 29 at the ArtsGarden

CSz Women’s Weekend

Funny women from Boston, Chicago, San Antonio and even Indianapolis will be exclusively generating the laughs for six performances at CSz (aka ComedySportz). If you go on Friday, stick around for the final installment of this year’s Gal Pal Comedy Fest. March 30-31 at CSz Indianapolis

“Weird Al” Yankovic

I’ll admit it. Back in my Dr. Demento formative years, I questioned the staying power of Weird Al. Yes, I laughed. I knew he was far better than the song-parodying MadYankone-hit wonders around him. And, once I became a professional stand-up comic, I developed a greater appreciation for how truly difficult it is to craft funny songs that remain funny on repeat listenings. And so, it is with humility and respect that I welcome his Yank-ness back to Indiana. And to state my belief that “Amish Paradise” still holds up quite well.  March 29 at the Palladium

 

“Until the Flood” and “An Enemy of the People”  

Travels this week took me to Milwaukee for the first time and to Chicago for the I-have-no-idea-how-many-enth time. Among the trio of plays I caught in beer city was Dael Orlandersmith’s one-woman show–performed by the playwright–centered on a range of reactions of ordinary people to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A deep-seated humanity permeates all of the monologues, with the only strained notes arriving in the final, unnecessary moments when poetry took over from people. Otherwise, eye- and heart-opening work that never reduces or simplifies. Here’s a look.  In Chicago, a new adaptation of Ibsen’s classic, “An Enemy of the People” proves disturbingly relevant as a doctor with science on his side naively believes that his beloved town will listen when he discovers that the local public bath waters are poisonous. Such truths prove, well, inconvenient in a play where, just when the protagonist seems to be scoring points, his inability to reign in his arrogance gets in his way. And here it gets a crowd of 40 for the town hall meeting. How? Take a look here. Let’s do a reading of this one in Indy soon, folks. Whaddayasay? “Until the Flood” runs at Milwaukee Rep through April 22. “An Enemy of the People” runs at the Goodman Theatre through April 15.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

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