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Archive for the ‘theater’ Category


Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chicago is an amazing city for many shows to shine. Whether it is a pre-Broadway production, post-Broadway tour or a one night only concert – this city has many wonderful options to choose from.

With Guy Laliberté, Founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel: A New Twist on Vaudeville is previewing at the Chicago Theatre until January 3, 2010 before it embarks on a new journey to Broadway in early February. The show has mixed reviews. It’s heavy on comedy and choreography, blending slapstick with tap and hip-hop dance forms. The show’s plot revolves around a producer named Schmelky who is trying to put together a variety show. This production is very different than other Cirque du Soleil shows. There aren’t as many aerialists, contortionists, etc. Come in with an open mind.

Another show that’s set to appear on Broadway is The Addams Family Musical, currently playing at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre until January 10, 2010. Veteran actors Nathan Lane (Gomez) and Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) star in this unique musical. The Addams Family musical takes place as Wednesday Addams is older and the show’s two hot topics were love and sex. Lane was amazing portraying Gomez and Neuwirth did a decent job as Morticia.

With Zachary James who plays Lurch and Kevin Chamberlin who plays Uncle Fester in The Addams Family Musical

In an interview, The Addams Family musical actors Zachary James (Lurch) and Kevin Chamberlin (Uncle Fester) noted the show has been cut down 30-minutes from the original time. It will be interesting to see what the show is like once it graces the Broadway stage.

The New Mel Brooks Musical, Young Frankenstein, just wrapped up their tour in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre last night. The production began on Broadway where 484 shows were performed. The musical features Desperate Housewives guest actor, Roger Bart, as Dr. Frankenstein. The actors in Young Frankenstein were brilliant and notable songs included “Puttin’ On The Ritz”, “Transylvania Mania” and “He Vas My Boyfriend”.

With Kleetus, Guy Fieri's friend and sous chef

With Kleetus, Guy Fieri's friend and sous chef

The Guy Fieri Road Show stopped for an evening of fun at the Rosemont Theatre. Fieri is known for hosting Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. He says the show “is food, rock n’ roll and everything they won’t let me do on TV!”

The opener for Fieri was Australian native and World Champion Flair Bartender, Hayden “Woody” Wood. Wood was dancing, clapping and twirling bottles during his presentation. He made apple spice martinis, pear margaritas and eggnog.

Once Fieri took the stage, he got the audience dancing to good ol’ rock music. A DJ was supplying all the tunes while Fieri shared his cooking stories, Thanksgiving turkey mishaps and answering questions from the crowd. Fieri also had a karaoke contest and pulled members of the audience up on stage to sing for prizes.

Coming soon to Chicago theatres near you are the following shows: In The Heights (which opens tomorrow), The 101 Dalmations Musical, Mama Mia!, Annie, Dreamgirls, Billy Elliot The Musical and more!

For ticket information, visit www.Ticketmaster.com or www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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Eric Smith, NBC5 Street Team

On location at Eve’s Parlor in Humboldt Park.

On a recent evening, I was given a unique look into what I makes Chicago tick. And what makes Chicago tick is the unique personality of the artistic community that beats to their own drum. In this instance I had the opportunity to meet Chicago’s very own Angela Eve.

Eve's Parlor

Angela Eve is a Headliner, Producer, Artist, Model and photographer. She is an accomplished multi-media and performance/dance artist-graduate of The Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in Fine Arts. She is a professionally trained actor and graduate of The Second City Conservatory. She has her own line of wearable art, toured with major music festivals including OzzFest and has established her own Twisted Tassel Burlesque Festival among quite a few noteworthy accomplishments.

It could be easy to see why she is a person of interest; as a driving force and icon on the Chicago art scene. But even more compelling is what is in her heart and the compassion she feels for others. Splitting her time between Chicago and New Orleans, Angela Eve-along with fellow artist Anastasios Ketsios-has been at the forefront of a fine art photo documentary project entitled, “Home, This Was”-a narrative involving the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the people and their daily lives. Together they examine and analyze this narrative through the lens of a camera for all to see and experience.

Even more close to her heart has been the recent diagnosis of her mother having breast cancer. While the debate rages on in Washington for Universal Health Care for all-in Angela Eve’s case it couldn’t be more obvious the importance of the matter. Her mother, who is far from wealthy, has insurance coverage…although no where near adequate to cover the whopping $15,000 deductible required for treatment.

It will be Angela Eve’s new mission to raise the money to help her mother in this time of need-the best way she knows how. As such she will be organizing her only Fall show/benefit-“Kinky Xmas” on Wednesday, December 9th at the Debonair Social Club with two performances at 10pm and the other at Midnite-admission is free. Ring in the holidays with a sense of purpose and have some fun while you’re at it!

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Eric Smith, NBC5 Street Team

On location at La Fonda Del Gusto in Wicker Park with Cesar Rolon.

Tell us about your background…how did you get to where you are?

My professional background started in Radio and TV where I worked as a PR Executive for radio stations covering a great portion of the Chicago market.  I also have served as Executive Director of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce-revitalizing it’s commercial business district and the Puerto Rican Chamber of  Commerce which ultimately led to me working to establish the Hispanic Woman’s Business Conference.

Cesar, Eric and James

What motivates you?

I absolutely love what I do.  I am a workaholic. I come from a family of 5  originally from Puerto Rico and history ignites my fire.  I feel a sense of obligation to payback and return the favor of those who came before me.

What inspired you to create Latino Fashion Week Chicago?

Years ago, while attending the parade of sculptures along Michigan Avenue produced by the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, I discovered they didn’t have one figure created by a Latino.  Then visiting stores along the Mag Mile I asked if anyone carried a Latino designer to find there were none.  This became my motivation to create a platform for and to promote Latin fashion designers.  As a result,

Sonya Galaviz

I have helped launch the careers of several prominent Latino fashionistas including designers James De Colon and Sonya Galaviz and Sin Cosmetic’s Hernan Rivera.

What else have you done?

I created Chicago R.E.A.C.H.-Reaching Elderlies Across Chicagos Horizons-the only all inclusive adult care center for seniors 65 hrs and older.  The mission of the center is to serve those who are most devastated by life’s circumstances-we provide the necessities including covering medical prescriptions.

Currently, I am partnering with American Family Insurance and Ikea to create DreamRoomGiveaway-a 6month campaign accross 7 cities where the  5 most needy families in each city can apply to win $5000 in furniture for their own Dream Room.

So what’s next?

Runway Samba

2010 will be quite busy.  I’ve got Latino Fashion Week Chicago whose theme will be “The Passport”.  We are looking to establish Chicago’s first Cuban Music Festival.  And I’m contemplating a collaboration on the Festival Metropolatino on the grounds of Soldiers Field in July.

Looks like Mr. Colon will be quite busy in the new year-can’t wait to see what comes next so stay tuned!

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chicago’s hit rock ‘n’ roll musical, Million Dollar Quartet celebrated its one-year anniversary this month.  Having rocked Chicago at the Apollo Theater for a year, this inspiring show has been extended through March 28, 2010.  In the springtime, Million Dollar Quartet is set to rock Broadway.

mdq_keyArt_horiz_copyMillion Dollar Quartet is inspired by an actual event that occurred on December 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together at the Sun Records’ studio in Memphis.  Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” discovered the four musicians and brought them together for the only time in their careers for one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time.

You walk into the theater as if you’re in Sun Records’ studio where a drum set sits, an upright bass is rested on its side, a piano stands still, guitars are propped up ready to be strummed and four shiny, classic, chrome microphones lay resting on mic stands waiting for soulful vocals to be sung into them.

Picture 004The performers walk out and embrace the stage singing an unbelievable collection of featured songs including “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Who Do You Love”, “Great Balls of Fire” and many more hits.

The stars of the show have an uncanny resemblance to the star recording artists they’re portraying.

Their musical talent and acting abilities work very well together.

The production stars Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley; Lance Guest as Johnny Cash; Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis and Rob Lyons as Carl Perkins.  Chicago’s very own Tim Decker plays the “Father of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sam Phillips, and Chicago-based actress Kelly Lamont plays Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne.

Throughout the performance, audience members were tapping their feet, rocking their bodies, shaking their heads and singing along to the tunes.  This musical journey to the past is a “must-see”!

For more information visit www.MillionDollarQuartetLive.com

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

In the fourth year of installment, Fashion Focus Chicago once again lit up the runway with the latest couture fashions this past weekend at Millennium Park. A gathering of the City’s upscale fashionistas and industry insiders, this was a collection of creative intellectuals on the scene-to push the envelope of Chicago’s fashion industry. A call to all in the know that although we are in the Midwest-far away from the East and West coasts, the Windy City is here-determined to make an imprint in the marketplace, and we will do so with our own sense of style and flair.

Chicagos Hot Couture

Fashion in Focus

Within minutes of arriving I was graced with the presence of Melissa Gamble- Chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fashion Council, Jason Felger-Executive Vice President of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Alice Berry-Chicago Native-designer and Fashion Council member and the one and only Mayor Daley who launched the Council and subsequently Fashion Focus Chicago to establish the city as a fashion destination.

Most impressive was the fact that these collections debuted the next rising stars of top students from Chicago’s fashion design schools: Columbia College Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, Academy Chicago and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.

ChicagoRisingStar

Dress Code 2009

From the looks presented on the runway this evening, the goal of establishing a fashion mecca here is well in sight! To learn more and score event tickets visit
Fashion Focus Chicago.

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Eric Smith, NBC Chicago Street Team

On location at the Studio L’amour, West Loop. There is nothing better than an original, and Michelle L’amour is just that-dancer, choreographer, business woman, teacher, promoter and most of all Queen of Tease!

How did you become Michelle L’Amour?
My background training was in Classical Dance. But I didn’t get a chance to do Burlesque until after college when I was asked to choreograph and perform a Burlesque show. I didn’t really know what it was at the time but I said yes because I wanted to dance and perform. Then I heard the music and was completely hooked and knew that this is what I was meant to be doing.

So when you say you heard the music can you elaborate on that?
The music is the classic dirty jazz, bump and grind style music…it’s really great…great drums, horns…

Michelle L'amour

Michelle L'amour

What makes you different than most women in and outside of the business?
Well, one of my goals was to draw attention to the Chicago Burlesque scene and what I was doing here. I really wanted to pull attention to this city because I love this city and I think it’s great and deserves the attention. My first step in doing that was winning the Ms. Exotic World title in 2005, which is like the World Series of Burlesque. And then I did America’s Got Talent the first season so that definitely drew attention here. But I had also been teaching, because this was one of my goals, to educate the people in the city about Burlesque what it was and what it can be today. I’ve been teaching Burlesque for about 4 years now and have since opened my own dance school Studio L’Amour which has been open for about a year.

For those of us who don’t know can you describe what Burlesque is?
Burlesque is all about the tease. Exaggerating your femininity, showcasing the curves and really playing up the fact that you are a woman.

So would you define what you do more as art or entertainment?
I think art can be entertainment. And I think I do both.

How did you take something like this(Burlesque) and do it in Chicago visa vis New York or LA?
I really think that teaching women helped break the ice a bit. If you can get women on your side you are in good shape, we are harder to please. Women learn in class what it takes to do Burlesque, that it is not as easy as it looks and it is my job to make it look easy. So when they come to class using muscles they didn’t know they had, and let things jiggle that they didn’t think they were supposed to let jiggle one gains a large amount of appreciation for the art form. It’s something fun you can bring your boyfriend to-it brings sexuality in a great light.

Well enough read…to hear the entire interview click to download now.

Stay tuned for upcoming events at Studio L’Amour including:

StripTease Classes/Dr. Sketchys-Figure Drawing Class/LipShtick

Naked Girls Reading/Sex Body Fashion Show/The Tassel and Twirl Workshop

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NBC5meThe vision came initially in 1996 to husband and wife team Donzell & Aliza Starks. They just wanted to bring cinematic entertainment to inner city neighborhoods.  In November 1997, the Starks fulfilled  that dream and made history by bringing Hollywood back to the ‘hood in Chicago. Through a joint venture with one of the largest movie exhibitors, this dynamic duo of an investment banker and a marketing expert, accomplished what few thought possible – the revival of movie theaters in inner city communities on the south and west sides of Chicago.
 The project included the construction of three state-of-the-art complexes – ICE Chatham 14, ICE 62nd & Western 10, and ICE Lawndale 10. The Starks financed this $39 million project and all three multiplex theaters opened to the public on November 24, 1997.
Today,  twelve years later, ICE Theaters still brings moviegoers big screen motion picture entertainment right into urban neighborhood communities. And the goal of ICE Theaters remains the same – to symbolize the glamour of Hollywood, incorporate the latest technologies, offer superior customer service and add pride to each community it serves.

In keeping with the mission of the founders, Deon Taylor, a native of Gary Indiana chose the ICE Chatham Theater to host the world premiere of his suspense thriller “Dead Tone.” And to the moviegoers and my surprise, Hollywood actually showed up in full regalia on the red carpet, just arms length away from Jewel, Harold’s Chicken and Starbucks!  Onlookers snapped away on their cell phones as Cherie Johnson, Brian Hooks, Antwon Tanner and Deon Taylor made their way into the theater joined by special guests NBA star Bobby Jackson, and NFL stars Ray Crockett and Blaine Bishop.

Dead Tone Cast

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said director Deon Taylor. “This event brings Hollywood to Chicago and I look forward to sharing this high-energy film with the community, especially the area teens.”  In the tradition of Scream and When a Stranger Calls, Dead Tone is a horror slasher about a group of college coeds making a game out of murderous crank calls. Stars Rutger Hauer, (Blade Runner) Jud Tyler (Charlie Wilson’s War, That 70’s Show) and Antwon Tanner (One Tree Hill).

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by April Lawson

NBC5me

It’s official. Hollywood has gone completely south… in the windy city, that is. They’re rolling out the red carpet on 87th street this Thursday with the premiere of the movie DEAD TONE.  In the tradition of Scream and When a Stranger Calls, Dead Tone is a horror slasher about a group of college coeds making a game out of murderous crank calls. Stars Rutger Hauer, (Blade Runner) Jud Tyler (Charlie Wilson’s War, That 70’s Show) and Antwon Tanner (One Tree Hill). The star studded affair starts with a red carpet at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 7:30pm at the ICE Chatham 14 Theater on 210 W. 87th Street. So, grab some popcorn and a friend to scream with.

Dead Tone

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Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Penny Starr Jr., producer of “The Velvet Hammer Burlesque” a self-titled documentary film on the Los Angeles neo-burlesque troupe, will be in town to conduct a burlesque workshop August 29 at Think Big Studios located at 2120 W. Grand Ave.Penny Starr Jr

The granddaughter of Philadelphia’s legendary burlesque performer Penny Starr, Starr Jr. decided to dedicate herself to uplifting the legacy of her grandmother after producing the film. “You can only live with the circus for so long before you want to join,” said Starr Jr.

The workshop boasts the following classes:

11am-12pm – A Burlesque Routine in 10 Moves or Less

12:15pm-1:15pm – Rhinestone Application & Design Principles

1:30pm-2:30pm – Take it Off: Pop vs. Peel Striptease Techniques

In addition to holding the workshops, Starr Jr. will also assist Chicago’s own burlesque production company Vaudezilla in celebrating the year anniversary of BROADZILLA!, a free burlesque show held the last Friday of every month at Exit, 1315 W North Av.

For more information on the workshop, visit http://vaudezilla.com/pennystarrjr.htm

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Christmas is coming this weekend to Chicago’s Union Station as Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour arrives.

July 24 – 26, get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the all-new motion picture, Disney’s A Christmamas Carol, starring Jim Carrey and directed by Robert Zemeckis.ACCTT Logo lo-Res

The best part, it’s all FREE!

A five-car train will be on Track One and will feature an entirely interactive experience. Visitors will enter through the first car, and proceed through the length of the train where they will enjoy many exhibits.

Those exhibits include a digital portrait gallery, a model shop featuring actual models used in the filming of the movie, the Tunnel of Technology where people will learn about the motion-capture techniques used in theChristmasCarol1 film, an HP TouchSmart PC Face-Morph station where kids & and adults can age themselves and alter their photos (like Jim Carrey does to create the seven characters he plays in the film) and more.

The world’s largest inflatable state-of-the art 3-D theatre will be located in the Great Hall, and will feature exclusive clips from the film.

Throughout Union Station, the halls will be decked, snow will be on the ground (yes, snow in Chicago in July) and carolers will sing Christmas favorites.

Website: www.ChristmasCarolTrainTour.com
Tour Dates: Friday, July 24 – Sunday, July 26, 2009
Opens 9 am Daily
Chicago’s Union Station
225 Canal Street
Free Admission

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

Father’s Day is right around the corner and this year, try something different with the father figure in your life.  How about getting him to try something old, something new, something borrowed or something blue?
 
Something Old:   Real Men Cook” is a time-honored Chicago Father’s Day tradition, and this year, it’s more impressive than ever!  On Sunday, June 21, Real Men Cook moves to an expansive (and technologically and architecturally impressive) venue – Kennedy King College.  The Washburne Culinary Institute provides fantastic cooking facilities and there are ample grounds to allow fathers, foodies and more to spread out at this indoor/outdoor To-Do.  You’ll be amazed by the wonderful variety of food, prepared with love, that you’ll be able to savor!
 
Health and Wellness is an important component at Real Men Cook and at events leading up to the main event.  On Saturday, you can join Real Men Cook’s Father’s Day Wellness Weekend Walk & Health Experience and start your morning off right at the beautiful 63rd Street Beach!
 
Just the Two of Us - Al Hawkins

Just the Two of Us - Al Hawkins

Something New:   How about an new exhibit at one of many art galleries on the South Side?  Yes – many!  On Thursday, June 18, check out eta’s opening reception for “Through My Eyes,” an art exhibition by Al Hawkins, before taking in the play Pill Hill, opening this week at eta.  Or, at Gallery Guichard, both the novice and experienced collector would enjoy the Collector’s Champagne Preview.   On Friday, June 19, the Bronzeville Art District Third Friday Trolley Tour resumes just in time for this Father Day weekend.  Hop on board and enjoy the ride as you meander through opening receptions at FaiE African Art, Gallery Guichard and South Side Community Art Center. 

Something Borrowed:  Pappa’s gonna be livin’ on borrowed time if he doesn’t take care of himself!  So, on Saturday, June 20, get him (or yourself!) on over to the the Thapelo Institute’s Health & Fitness Experience for African and African American Men.  With a variety of programs offered during a seven hour period – learning opportunities are abundant!  The Thapelo Institute is a taking a holistic approach to dealing with the health issues of African and African-American men.  Free testing for a variety of common issues will be available, and you’ll also find workshops that address body, mind and spirit.  And – it’s Free!
 
Something Blu(e):  So, its Thursday evening, you’ve spent a couple of hours at the Collector’s Champagne Preview, you’ve enjoyed some wine and hors d’ouevres and now you want a little more.  Well, plan ahead and make reservations for dinner at Blu 47 and enjoy a one-set performance by Yaw at Illuminata – A Father’s Day Celebration. If you’ve been to the Events by Eve Summer Breeze Jazz Concert Series, you know that you can expect a mature set of predominately African-Americans, who dress appropriately without being told!  Come in your favorite jeans or come in some sparkles and feel completely comfortable either way!  If that’s not enough blue for you, douse yourself in cool, blue vibe and and energetic sounds at the Close Up 2 Indoor Smooth Jazz Festival.  From Thursday, June 18 through Saturday, June 20, enjoy live entertainment by Detour JazFunk, Corey Wilkes, Marqueal Jordan Project – and more.

Still want a little more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com for tons of options!

 
Happy Father’s Day!
Stephanie!

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video) In this day and age of ringtone rappers, one-hit wonders, and soft-core sex-laden R&B, it’s like a breath of fresh air when a hidden gem can shine through all the filler. With a small selection of songs in commercial radio’s playlist, consumers sometimes are force-fed a daily dose of “microwave music” where the supply often overshadows the demand. Quality soul music is more abundant than one may think…you just have to “listen”. Julie Dexter is here to fulfill that demand. The world-renowned, Birmingham, England-bred, singer/songwriter displayed her dynamic range at a rare showcase this past weekend at the new “it” spot, julie dThe Shrine (located at 2109 S. Wabash). Julie Dexter’s vibrant style and jazzy vocals exude soul and her followers came out to support her. The showcase presented by IGM Entertainment had a record crowd turn out to hear the UK songstress perform favorites such as “Ketch A Vibe” and “Faith” off her 2002 album, “Dexterity”. The very popular jazz group, Zzaje, backed the intimate performance at The Shrine. Dexter, who has shared the stage with soulful legends such as Sade and modern heavy-hitters like Jill Scott, Eric Roberson, and Amel Larrieux kicked off her set with a tribute to another legend that inspired her by the name of Michael Jackson. She later transitioned to a jazzy bebop version of Beyonce’s “Déjà vu” that would have made the best “scatters” proud. After paying homage to other greats, Julie Dexter gave the crowd what they came to see…a one-hour set spanning her decade plus career from her first EP, 2000’s “Peace of Mind” to 2005’s “Conscious”. It’s not too late to get familiar with this classically trained musician who writes, arranges, composes and produces her own music. “The Julie Dexter Collection” drops this fall. Do yourself a favor and “Ketch the Vibe”. www.juliedexter.com

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Glenn Murray, NBC Chicago Street Team

While I sit here in Orlando (ready to go cheer for the Lakers to beat the Magic) my mind is actually on the busy weekend coming up in Chicago. So here are a few of my prime choices ranging from cultural, to culinary and even comical, for this coming weekend.

Friday, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli visits Allstate Arena to date, the international star has recorded over twenty pop and classical albums as well as seven complete operas. He has sold over 65 million albums worldwide. Tickets are still available at all Ticketmaster Outlets

Saturday, Studabaker Classic Cookieswill hold its official launch party. The event is free and open to the public The Launch event will be held at Kitchen Chicago located at 324 N. Leavitt from 7 to 10pm , enjoy lots of samples of their all natural cookies as well as an opportunity for more information. To find our more visit http://www.classiccookies.net

Also Saturday Night, visit Second City and catch “Rod Blagojevich Superstar,” Second City’s musical parody of the former Governor’s rise and fall. The improv company announced the real Gov will show up during the show to help announce the extension of the satirical spoof through Aug. 9. Blagojevich will also take part in the improv set that follows the show.
Tickets: http://www.secondcity.com

If you’re not too tired on Sunday, visit the Chicago Blues Fest and catch the finale at the Petrillo Music Shell featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

That should fill up your dance card for this wonderful June weekend. I Can’t wait, I’ll be rooting my heart our at the Amway Arena tonight, but I’ll be on the first plane back to Chicago Friday morning…

See you this weekend.

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Dave Leonard, NBC Chicago Street Team
This past weekend I was treated to a fun and engaging comedic experience from seven of the funniest and most talented ladies I’ve ever seen…The Elite Delta Force 3.  This all-female sketch comedy troupe have been selling out shows in the Los Angeles area and after checking them out in one of two shows at the Harold Washington Cultural Center (located at 4701 S. King Drive) on Saturday, I can see why.

The Elite Delta Force 3 is comprised of native Chicagoans Nefetari Spencer, Robin Thede, and Leshay Tomlinson-Boyce in addition to Angela Yarbrough, Nikea Gamby-Turner, Nika Williams, and rotating cast member Indira Gibson.  These dynamic women who wrote, produced, and of course appear in these hilarious sketches have resumes that are comparable to seasoned comedy veterans and their “no holds barred” impressions take on everything from politics to pop culture.  Their mission is to “save the world…one sketch at a time”. Two words…mission accomplished!

CIMG0152

The ladies of Elite Delta Force 3

The show opens with a comical video intro reminiscent of cheesy ‘70s & ‘80s action serials like the “A-Team” meets “Charlie’s Angels”, showcasing each of the ladies as gun-toting, wall-climbing, karate kicking, Bond-esque divas.  From there, the live sketches kick-off with a musical number that parodies the popular “Dreamgirls” anthem “One Night Only” and puts an unflinching racist spin on it.  The ladies do quick wardrobe changes as they go from sketch to sketch and get a brief respite in between, while the audience is treated to their natural comedic talent in short pre-taped “behind-the-scenes” video vignettes where the EDF3 troupe spar off with one another in their writing sessions and rehearsals. 

In one of the funnier sketches, the ladies take on MTVs “America’s Best Dance Crew” where Thede and Gamby-Turner do dead-on impressions of judges Lil’ Mama and Shane Sparks.  Other highlights include the farcical “blind date” sketch, the “new girl at Hooters” piece, and my personal favorite, “Bear Stearns Meets Breakin’” where EDF3 even makes light of the economy.  I won’t give away the ending, but the ladies do not disappoint with a sexy tribute to one of America’s iconic heroines.

If you’re looking for side-splitting, adult humor, these seven talented beauties definitely deliver.  Chicago is the first of many cities where Elite Delta Force 3 will be touring.  Do yourself a favor and check them out now.  To find out what other cities they’ll be invading and to get more updates, check out their website at www.elitedeltaforce3.com


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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

The Goodman Theater’s annual Gala fundraiser is one of the most anticipated black-tie events, and this year is no exception. Chicago native Mandy Patinkin will headline the affair, taking place this Saturday at the Fairmont Hotel (200 N. Columbus). Known as the “musical force of nature,” Patinkin is a Tony Award-winner for his performance in Evita and an Emmy Award-winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger in “Chicago Hope.” Impressive? Of course, but with a pedigree that includes entertaining audiences through film, television and stage over the past 30 years, recognition is inevitable.

Gala Co-Chairs and Students

Gala Co-Chairs and Students

The evening kicks off at  6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by Patinkin’s 7:30 p.m. performance with Paul Ford (recognized Broadway pianist) on the piano. The duo will cover an array of favorites ranging from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim, Harry Chapin and Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. The music continues after dinner, when guests will have the opportunity to put on their own “performance,” dancing to the sounds of Gentleman of Leisure.

The annual Gala is hosted by Goodman Theater’s Women’s board, with proceeds benefiting the Goodman’s Educational and Community Outreach programs. Goodman Women’s Board members Sondra Healy and Cynthia Scholl are the Gala Co-Chairs and Keith Green is the Corporate Chair this year. For tickets and information about the Gala, call Katie Frient, at 312.443.3811 ext. 586.

 

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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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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

With the departure of the musical Wicked from the Oriental Theatre, The Chicago Theatre is welcoming the national tour of the Wizard Of Oz, for a limited time.

Wizard of OzThis iconic musical premiered tonight and brought back to town, the good witch and the bad witch; along with Dorothy, Toto, her family and friends.

There were a dozen Chicagoland children performers who played the roles of the Munchkins.  The children were from local performing groups.

Cassie Okenka, who plays Dorothy, was seen as a top ten contestant on MTV’s “Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search For Elle Woods“.

The Wizard of Oz runs through May 3rd with six performances to choose from. Tickets range from $45.00-$75.00.

For more information, visit The Chicago Theatre website at www.TheChicagoTheatre.com.

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

For dance fans in Chicago, Spring means much more than the anticipation of good weather — it means that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Auditorium Theatre!

This year, Alvin Ailey celebrates its 50th Anniversary, and there are numerous ways to join in the celebration.

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

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Damaris Woodbury, NBC Chicago Street Team

This is just the coolest thing ever and something every up and coming Artist with big dreams yearn for!

Whatever your media: Oral, digital, paint, film, performance, music, photography, etc., this expo is for you! The only one of its kind in the entire nation, Chicago is hosting the Creative Chicago Expo on Saturday, April 4th from 10am – 4pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. This one-day, free event that is open to the public is intended to connect business, space, housing, and cultural resources with individuals and organizations in all artistic disciplines, including music, film, fashion, theater, dance, visual arts, design and new media.

In its 6th year, the Expo adds new exhibitors and additional workshops to its line-up. In 2009, the Expo introduces “Consult-a-thon,” a unique opportunity for artists to schedule appointments for one-on-one consulting offering Career coaching,and industry specific experts offering advise. The one-on-one consultations are $10 for 20-25 minutes with an expert in your field. The complete list of consultants and a link to make appointments are posted on www.chicagoartistsresource.org. Check it out! The link has been posted since March 16th so get your spot now!

They have free 45 minute “how to” workshops ranging from “Art Festival How-To” to “Building a Board of Directors” to “Time Management for Artists.” Click here for a list of “Ask the City” representatives that will be available to answer your questions as well as the latest list of exhibitors.

This is a network opportunity like no other! Get out there, network and be on your way to making your artistic dreams a reality!!!

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team
It was an event that captured the attention of the entire country. An image that many thought was the Virgin Mary — and other, a salt stain — appeared under the Fullerton Avenue overpass, prompting hundreds of people to visit the shrine for days on end.

The event provides the inspiration for Teatro Vista’s latest production, Our Lady of the Underpass. The play is currently on-stage at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse through March 29.

The play, written by Tanya Saracho, is a story about men and women from all walks of life who are brought together through the real-life event.
Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

Well – I’ve got some great ideas for ya! From the incredibly expensive to the unbelievably free, there’s always something To-Do in Chicago!

For those of you who have managed to remain recession-proof, celebrate your accomplishment at the fabulous Night of 100 Stars!  This red carpet gala takes place at the DuSable Museum and honors Chicago’s African-American Historymakers.  Unlike some black tie galas, guests at the Night of 100 Stars honor “the code” and dress in their finest!  At $300 per ticket, you can mingle throughout the museum while sipping cocktails, enjoying lavish hors d’ouevres and being entertained by live music.  A brief program will honor the Historymaker Award recipients, yet provide ample opportunity for you to soak in the ambiance as you begin to realize that you, too, are one of the beautiful people!

John Francis Ficara

John Francis Ficara

If that price tag is a little too steep for you, for only the $3 cost of DuSable Museum admission, you can take a tour of “Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule:  Black Farmers Since Reconstruction.” 

Black family farms, formerly a way of life and source of pride for many, are fast disappearing. Explore the changes through the eyes of award-winning photographer John Francis Ficara.

In five distinct sections, Distant Echoes follows Black farmers through their daily struggles and triumphs. In Legacy of the Land, family farms are brought to life through images of husbands, wives, and children at work on the farm. African Americans have come to equate land ownership to independence, wealth, and full citizenship. Believing that owning and working the land makes them masters of their own economic fate, Black farmers have frequently sacrificed everything to keep their land and remain independent farmers.

Real Men Charities is hosting a Recruitment Breakfast on Saturday morning to recruit a few good (real) men for its annual Father’s Day Real Men Cook event.  Enjoy complimentary breakfast and find out how you can be a participant in this year’s 20 year anniversary for Real Men Cook.  They’ll also be offering a three-hour sanitation training session, which, I believe, is a prerequisite for participation in the event.

The African Festival of the Arts is also celebrating the big 2-0 this year!  The African Festival of the Arts is one of the most highly anticipated and widely attended neighborhood festivals.  Full of good food, good vibes and – oh yeah – great art, the festival energy is contagious!  The 2oth Anniversary Celebration begins this Friday with a free exhibition of the African Festival of the Arts Featured Fine Art Collection: 1993-2008.  How many posters have you collected over the years?  Come and check out what you’ve missed!

We’ve got a lot of culturally-themed theater productions in town at the moment and they cover a broad range of topics, which raises the issue of “traditional” versus “urban” Black Theater.  The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit takes this discussion head on with A la Carte:  The Candied Yams EditionThink that August Wilson is more of a cultural icon than Tyler Perry? Then come and “duke it out” with another fiery discussion that will sure to keep you coming back for more! Our panel consists of Adrian Dunn and Byron Johns from Hopera World Music Inc.’s Chronicles of a Fallen Hero and Rashida Shaw, a Performance Study PHD Candidate from Northwestern University, among other notable panelist and participants.

Looking for more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com and make it a fabulous weekend!

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC Chicago Street Team

The concept of the musical re-make of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film Xanadu walks the thinnest of lines between delightfully shameless glow-stick parody and awkward, somewhat scary comedic attempts (i.e., creepy talking baby/animal commercials). I am happy to report that Xanadu successfully emerges as an energetically entertaining production worthy of all the excitement — glow sticks and all.

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

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

As part of my effort to compile a calendar of culturally diverse Chicago events, I routinely scour the internet looking for interesting events that tend to otherwise elude my subscribers. But, every once in a while, something even gets by me. In this case, while I picked up the Performing “Other”: Constructing Race and Gender Onstage and Off discussion, the related performance got past me – and has caused a bit of an uproar.

Kate Valk as Emperor JonesYesterday marked the Chicago premiere of the Wooster Group’s take on The Emperor Jones at the Goodman Theatre, performed in “blackface” by Kate Valk. Yes, blackface. Provocative? You bet.

First released in the early 1930s, The Emperor Jones, starring Paul Robeson, tells the story of a Pullman porter who loses his temper and his job; lands not only in jail, but on a chain gang; kills a white guard, but manages to escape to Haiti where he crowns himself emperor. In this production, The Wooster Group, apparently notorious for their radical productions, clearly has a message that they find well-worth the risk of offending cultural sensibilities

Barack Obama’s historic “post-racial” bid for presidency may, for some, signify the end of racism in America. But, we’ve got a mighty long way to go before the revival of a seemingly minstrel-like performance can escape the ire of people who routinely feel the effect of racism in this country. That being said, Goodman Theatre has an undisputed record of including culturally diverse productions – and not just during the month of February! Giving Goodman the benefit of the doubt, I would be disappointed if the use of “black face” were purely gratuitous.

I sure am curious to see what the deeper meaning of this provocative production could possibly be, so I intend to see it and judge for myself. If you’d like To-Do the same, don’t miss this short window of opportunity. The Emperor Jones continues through Sunday, January 11th.  A post-performance discussion is scheduled for Saturday, January 10th and is free to the public with reservations.

Stephanie!

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