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Ten Days of Talent

Minimum wage, the pay standard, will net you $206 after 40 hours of cleaning toilets/changing diapers/mowing lawns. Minimum Wage, the performance group, sets the small indignities of $5.15 an hour to music, a sort of "Steven Sondheim works at Starbucks" concept. Except they're belting out tunes about slaving away at a fast-food restaurant as the headline performance for the fifth annual Out of the Loop Festival at Addison's WaterTower Theatre. Their a cappella musical comedy is imaginative, with melodious homilies on spatula work gone askew, the "Histoire du le Burger" and a brilliantly bizarre choreographed rap number. Minimum Wage's act is one of more than 50 performances at this year's festival, featuring 19 theater, dance, music and art acts (most of them locals such as Bootstraps Comedy Theater and Cyrano Players). More than 4,000 people attended the 10-day event last year to catch singers like M. Denise Lee and Gary Floyd paying tribute to Duke Ellington and Fats Waller. Other notables include Audacity Productions performing The Last Castro, the tale of a boy born without a penis and his love affair with a girl born with her skin inside out. Singapore's only diva of the theremin will take part in Shuehli's Xenovibes, a compendium of ancient art and modern technology. The STDs (Second Thought Dramatics) combine improv games and sketch comedy to cover topics from Saddam Hussein to God, culminating in "Coitus: The Musical." Sondheim never did take on the automated phone-sex industry, so this is your chance to venture to the edge of the arts. The Out of the Loop Festival runs March 2 through March 12 at the Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road. Showtimes vary. Festival passes, which include one admission to each festival event and an advanced reservation option, are $50. Tickets to individual events are $5 to $15. Call 972-450-6232 or visit
March 2-12


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