Of all the positive things that have led Joke Factory Comedy Club to succeed, two may be the most potent: the regular lineups of local and nationally touring standup talent and the sheer moxie of veteran comic and Florida talkshow host Artie Fletcher. The latter of those two helped nurture the venue's capacity to host the former, prompting popular southern comic Eddie Caylor to dub the Joke Factory "the little club that could and did." Today, after having firmly established itself on the comedy scene, the venue serves up big laughs every Friday and Saturday, alongside its signature adult beverage, "The Joke."
“The South Bend area has needed an upscale, high energy comedy club for a long time,” says James Witty and Derek Davis, the business partners who ended South Bend’s comedy drought by opening The Drop Comedy Club in November 2012. The bustling venue keeps its calendar packed with visits from headlining comedians who have appeared on major networks such as NBC and Comedy Central. It also directs the spotlight toward up-and-comers ascending the comedy ranks, as well as a stable of house comics on call for all funny-bone emergencies. The club also sports a restaurant and a full bar that cater to social mingling, romantic dinners, or diners who want to stifle heckles from growling stomachs.
Dubbing the theater “The Palace” when it opened in 1921, Chicago architect J.S. Aroner strove to capture a regal ambiance with a patchwork of diverse, though uniformly opulent, building styles. Patrons today can spot baroque, Greco-Roman, and even art-deco designs as they drift through the restored rose, blue, and cream entryway. But in 1959, The Palace was crumbling, and it seemed that future generations would miss out on this aesthetic experience. A concerned citizen by the name of Mrs. Ella Morris swooped in, though, purchasing the building for an undisclosed sum and then selling it back to the city for $1, which she promptly blew on gumballs. Newly named, the theater welcomed such acts as Louis Armstrong, REO Speedwagon, and Fleetwood Mac in the ensuing decades until a major, two-year overhaul began in 1998. Now restored to its original condition, the venue hosts standup acts, Broadway musicals, big-name concert performances, and fully produced ballets.
While audiences laugh it up at the rib-tickling comedians, Morty's slick performance space entertains their eyes. Eschewing the dowdy aesthetic of many comedy clubs, Morty's features sleek, modern tables and chairs and a wood-paneled bar. A full menu of tasty food, meanwhile, quells hunger while drinks and craft beers cool tongues and help keep people from spontaneously combusting.
The students of the Butler Ballet wrap up their season with Coppélia, a comic tale of love, wizardry, and perfectly lifelike dolls based on a lesser-known novel of E.T.A. Hoffmann. Pirouetting to Léo Delibes's sprightly, pastoral score—performed by the Butler Symphony Orchestra—the ballet navigates a love triangle between fiancés Swanhilde and Franz and the beautiful, mysteriously unflappable woman residing at the local mad scientist's house. As Swanhilde strives to prove the woman's unreality to her moonstruck, slightly dim husband-to-be, Dr. Coppelius reveals sinister designs for creating automatons that need only a soul and the ability to get hangnails to become fully human. Franz struggles to decide if he loves his human bride or the doctor's exquisite simulacrum, leading up to an ending that lands with unexpectedly humorous grace. Located on Butler's leafy downtown campus, Clowes Memorial Hall has been hosting accessible cultural events in its lavish red and gold auditorium for more than 40 years.
Ornamental hookahs tower over tabletops at Hookah Nites, sending swirling clouds of aromatic smoke out over cushy velvet couches and armchairs. Bartenders bustle about behind the dimly lit bar, mixing up specialty cocktails, doling out pitchers, and dishing out platters of sizzling specialty pizzas. A massive projector screen beams down on the scene, glittering with glamorous images from music videos or commercials where a timid band geek earns the admiration of the popular cheerleader after buying a fancy mouthwash.