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Posts Tagged ‘theater’

Laura Lodewyck, NBC Chicago Street Team

Collaboraction upturns Theatre-with-a-Capital-T in their 9th Annual Sketchbook Festival, closing this weekend at The Building Stage. Formerly held at the Steppenwolf Garage, Sketchbook feels at home here with the casual party vibe provided by the space at The Building Stage – with tiers of open seating, live bands or DJs to accompany seat-shifting and meandering between pieces, and a byob policy (highly recommended) — Sketchbook careens through a weirdly haunting, high energy program of short, strange teeth1performance pieces. The visual elements, supported by performance-inspired artwork decorating the space, add striking images to the pieces: a forgotten Nazi hangs suspended from his “zeppelin” in the ceiling; a giant parachute descends to consume the stage; an enormous paper-mache head is worn by an actor in skin-tight, skin-colored leggings (with a lumpy-stuffed crotch). Sketchbook is indeed a show you have to see to believe. Even better is that the mixed program provides for entertainment that satiates the short attention span — each piece runs less than 10 minutes. Check it out this final weekend, tonight through Sunday

nudehipponbc_largeEmail me at llodewyck@nudehippo.com with any wacky, under-discovered events in Chicago, and check out my reports with Nude Hippo.

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last weekend, my brothers were in town and I wanted to make sure that I showed them a really good time for the short few days they were here. We went to parties, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and more!

I asked friends for suggestions for where to take my brothers and got the Tommy Gun’s Garage recommendation by my good friend, and fellow NBC Chicago Street Teamer, Jim Grillo (HeresChicago.com) …and what a great suggestion it was!

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com

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Jennifer and Brooke, NBC5 Street Team

It was built in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire and is the last remaining riding stable within city limits. It’s location is a little tricky to find and may not be common to most. But if you happen to take North Avenue to Orleans and go south, you will find one of the most intriguing theaters in town.

Over the weekend, Brooke and I attended a birthday party at the Noble Horse Theater. The theater reminded me of a smaller version of Medieval Times, with its dimly lit castle-like auditorium complimented with hostesses dressed in 19th century wardrobe. Once I got past the smell of horse excretions, the aforementioned factors made the venue seem both intimate and inviting. (Who am I kidding — I never got over the smell.)

The feature presentation was the famous Washington Irving folk legend, the Legend of Sleepy Hallow, which will be performed now though November 6th. Not surprisingly, the kids were both amused and engaged by this horse-themed show. After all, who wouldn’t like to see a headless horseman, especially around Halloween?

There was a woman dancing with fire and classic horseback riding mixed with amazing tricks. At the end of the show, pony rides were offered to the audience for a small fee. The only thing that was ill-fitting about the performance were the lengthy breaks in between the narrated story. Somehow the transitions from one scene to the next seemed a bit awkward at times.

But aside from the annoying breaks, Brooke and I had a wonderful time, and plan to catch the Noble Horse’s rendition of the Nutcracker.  I will just be a little more careful where I park on our next go-round.  While taking a short-cut through the side alley, my tires engaged with some horse patties. Needless to say I had to go straight to the car wash.

Brooke’s Blog: My favorite part of the show was watching the scary girl dance with the real fire! It was awesome and lots of fun because I got to ride in the horse-drawn carriage and I even rode on the actual horse too! 

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

Ok, Shameless self-promotion time! This weekend, Chicago Fusion Theatre presents bobrauschenbergamerica, a fitting tribute to the profoundly influential visual artist Robert “Bob” Rauschenberg, who passed away this May. Written by Charles Mee (Big Love), the production is presented as a wild collage of characters and stories: where a life-size martini meets chicken jokes; a tongue-in-cheek performance art piece mixes opera and underwear; and the action could be interrupted at any time by either an assassination or a line dance. As Rauschenberg once famously quipped, “If it wasn’t a surprise at first, by the time I got through with it, it was.”

Directed by Court Theatre Artistic Associate Jack Tamburri, Chicago Fusion Theatre’s production is inspired by Rauschenberg’s vibrant aesthetic and boundless generosity. Much like Rauschenberg’s famous “combines”, which incorporated everything from paint and photographs to busted tires and taxidermied animals, this play mixes the mundane and the sublime in a daring exploration of the American experience. It is a love letter to audiences, artists, and America.

Come see ME! in this weird, wild show through September 28 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 7:00 pm). Call the Gorilla Tango Theatre Box Office at 773-598-4549, or visit Gorilla Tango online at www.gorillatango.com.

Type “Lodewyck” into the Search bar to check out my past blogs and pieces with Nude Hippo. Email me at llodewyck@nudehippo.com.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

I love my husband more than words can say. Seeing him happy makes me so happy. Without a doubt his favorite rocker is Eddie Vedder and his favorite sport to watch is hockey – specifically, the Detroit Red Wings. As he would say to anyone who questions his loyalty to the Wings…two words: Stanley Cup. Lot’s of ‘em. So what a thrill it was to be with him last night as he got to experience them both together.

Pearl Jam is an amazing band to see live and I’m happy to say we’ve had the pleasure many, many times. Part of the appeal is not only the band but also the fans – everyone seems to be instant friends at every show which is pretty cool. We saw Vedder with The Who and on another occasion with Robert Plant (my all time favorite rocker) at the House of Blues – wow, those were spectacular shows. We were pleasantly surprised to see Vedder walk out onstage during a Springsteen concert at The United Center a few years ago (absolutely the highlight of that show even though he sang my least favorite Springsteen tune, “My Hometown”). But this was a rare Eddie Vedder solo tour and we were ecstatic to be at the closing night in Chicago.

We made it to our seats in the Auditorium Theatre about 10 minutes before Eddie Vedder hit the stage, just in time to see Chris Chelios walk out onto a balcony holding the Stanley Cup! The crowd went absolutely crazy. My first thought was “does he carry that thing around every where he goes?” and my second thought was “I want to touch it!” but unfortunately we were too far away.

Eddie Vedder was in top form, his voice and guitar playing perfect and his interaction with the crowd at times halarious. At one point he told a drunk heckler to shut the F-up, then said “That was impolite. I meant to say shut the F-up…please.” Later in the show he said he wasn’t going to get “too political” and then someone walked behind him on stage with a massive “Vote For Barack Obama” sign. Vedder wore a white lab coat, making him look either like a crazy scientist or the musical genius he is. Included in his song selection were many mainstream and deeper Pearl Jam songs, four Who covers and selections from his soundtrack to the 2007 film ”Into the Wild.” After the last encore he brought out “Into The Wild” director Sean Penn (who it turns out was singing backup onstage – I was too far away to realize it), opener Liam Finn, and many other people he credited with making his solo tour such a great success.

Excellent show. But the best part was seeing my husband smile nonstop for hours, from the time he saw the Stanley Cup until his head hit the pillow when we got home.

(There’s already video popping up on the internet from last night’s show)

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

A quick note of advice: if you see “A Steady Rain,” do it on a sunny day.

Paul Banks of The Sports Bank and my fellow NBC5 Street Team-er invited me to last Sunday’s performance of the critically acclaimed play. It was a gorgeous afternoon with nary a cloud in the sky. Before we entered the theater I felt it was a shame to be inside on such a beautiful day, especially when there were so many outdoor festivals. As we exited the theater we were thankful for the sudden rush of brightness and light.

A Steady RainA Steady Rain” is a two-man play about two Chicago cops. Joey’s a recovering alcoholic who struggles with loyalty to his childhood friend and partner and the conflict that creates with his own morality. Denny’s a powerful force who justifies his increasingly dangerous behavior with the age-old defense of “family.”

There are a considerable number of cliches. A couple of times Paul and I looked at each other and guessed what would happen next. Those could be forgiven though, because while the storyline itself wasn’t overly original, the complexity of the characters made them believable. The performances by Randy Steinmeyer (Denny) and Peter DeFaria (Joey) were so disturbingly convincing it felt like I’d actually witnessed their characters’ decline. Both of them at times made direct eye contact with me and I wanted to look away to avoid being drawn into their psychopathy.

There’s an almost oppressive feel to the play, but there isn’t the relentless, pounding evil of “There Will Be Blood.” Despite the tragic nature of the story there were moments of humor. While they were necessary to relieve the ever-mounting tension, laughing still felt slightly inappropriate, as if it made us participants in Denny’s degeneration.

“A Steady Rain” is an intense character study that illustrates nuances in a good guy-bad guy relationship; Joey isn’t all good, and Denny isn’t all bad. Any plot contrivances are swallowed by the intricacy of the characters and the intensity and quality of the performances by Steinmeyer and DeFaria.

“A Steady Rain” closes this Sunday, June 8. Go. See it. You’ll know you’ve witnessed something remarkable.

Just check the weather first.

Type The Local Tourist into the Search bar in the upper right hand corner of the page to see my reviews, bands of the week, trivia questions, upcoming events, and more or just click here. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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