SHAME SHOW HOSTS Abraham Levitan & Brian Costello

Our worst moments,
revisited in song.

 

BY RANDY HARWARD

 

There’s a reason radio shows like This American Life and books like Mortified or Kick Me (by Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig) are
so popular. By sharing others’ emotional scars they put ours in perspective,
allowing us to smile at them instead of cringe. Baby Teeth frontguy Abraham
Levitan is combining such confessional therapy with music in “Shame That Tune.”

 

A live game show set in Chicago’s The Hideout and co-hosted by
author/musician Brian Costello, Shame
That Tune
finds audience members airing hideously awkward incidents from
their lives. Levitan immediately spins these into songs, in a genre determined
via a spinning wheel that features 11 styles of music plus one audience-chosen wild
card. It’s utter genius.

 

“Well, we’ve only had two shows so far, so we’re still
scraping a little bit [for stories],” Levitan admits. “Fortunately we have
friends who are total hams.”

 

In the first show Baby Teeth drummer Peter Andreadis talked
about attempting to kiss his middle-school crush. He’d landed on Metallica, which
Levitan calls a “perfect match” since Andreadis’s get-psyched mantra was “Taste
death, live life.” Another insta-gem was one guy’s tale of being dragged from a
rowdy high school party by his heavy-handed father. The wheel clicked around to
The Smiths. “There were so many ‘mean-daddy, vulnerable-kid’ moments in the
story,” says Levitan, “I could hear Morrissey singing it already.”

 

So far the response is “amazing” as Levitan reports belly
laughs and double the first show’s attendance. Long-term, he hopes to attract Chicago
Bull Joakim Noah-“he seems like he’d be down for it.” He also plans to document
Shame That Tune for “future
generations and/or species.” For now, that’ll mean YouTube videos but a
compilation CD or DVD may pop up. (Visit Shame That Tune on the web here.)

 

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