Monday, April 20, 2015

OPENING: Shrek Jr. the latest in Avondale school’s “performing arts revolution” #FamilyFriendly

It's rare that Chicago Public elementary schools produce theatre, so here at ChiIL Mama we're more than happy to spread the word about Avondale-Logandale School. They're about to present their FOURTH musical! Tickets are only $5 or $12 for a “family pack” of four, so check it out for affordable, family friendly fun.

This month, the curtain rises on one of the most extraordinary under-the-radar theater productions in Chicagoland. From April 30 through May 2, more than 40 Avondale-Logandale School students from kindergarten to 8th grade will perform Shrek Jr., a musical based on the Oscar-winning animated film about an irascible ogre who sets off on an adventure to reclaim his home and finds love and friendship along the way. 

The production is the school’s fourth since music teacher Michael Jones launched the after-school theater program with kindergarten teacher Liz Dyrst, a local Logan Square resident and veteran of Chicago Public Schools. Since 2013, the school has performed The Hobbit, Seussical the Musical, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, which sold out both performances this past December.
“Through their performances, students learn about self-confidence, expression, and collaboration while experiencing the rush of creating art in front of a live audience,” said school principal Evelyn Román. “We believe all of our students deserve an inspiring arts experience as part of their education.”

The hour-long Shrek Jr. involves more students than ever. A middle-school sewing club is making costumes and seventh grade student Aslin Tanco, who previously appeared in Charlie Brown and Seussical, serves as stage manager while other students serve as dance captains and coordinate props.

The program is a much-needed positive outlet for students and also incentivizes good behavior. If students miss two rehearsals, even for detention, they are dismissed, regardless of their role.
“They show up to every rehearsal, and then they go home and practice,” Jones said. “And anyone in theater will tell you, that’s fine for two weeks, but after two months, it’s not fun anymore—it’s hard work. And it’s the commitment that keeps you there. Because you care about each other.” Dyrst added, “The bond they form is inspiring to witness,” “They form a family, kids of all ages taking care of one another.”

With near-professional-quality sets, lights, and sound equipment, which is purchased with grants, the quality of the productions are astonishing, as are the performances of the students, 96% of which come from low-income households and a majority of which are Hispanic. Last year, the school was awarded a “Level 1+” rating from CPS, the highest possible.

Performances of Shrek Jr. are Thursday, April 30, and Friday, May 1, at 6:30PM and on Saturday, May 2, at 2PM at the Avondale Auditorium at 2945 N. Sawyer. Tickets are $5, $12 for a “family pack” of four, or $100 for a VIP table that seats eight and includes free soft drinks and appetizers.

For more information contact

Saturday, April 18, 2015



Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we dig circus arts. We've covered circus from across Chicago and around the globe. Now we're thrilled to welcome The International sensation Cirque Zuma Zuma. They're coming to Glen Ellyn’s McAninch Arts Center (MAC), located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage, Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m and we can't wait to check them out. This thrilling and entertaining show, known as the “ultimate African circus,” combines the mysticism of Africa with the excitement of a theatrical cirque performance and is recommended for all ages.

A 2011 finalist on NBC’s popular program America’s Got Talent, Cirque Zuma Zuma wows audiences with non-stop performances of a wide range of African variety arts including live music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and comedy in a production marked with colorful costumes and dramatic lighting. An international sensation, Cirque Zuma Zuma presents more than 150 performances annually.

The tradition of dance and acrobatics in Africa goes back more than 2,500 years and the members of African Acrobats International Academy (AAIA) uphold this centuries-old tradition through their training, artistry and performances. The organization was founded in East Africa as a private school with a goal of providing entertainment to the tourist hotels in Africa. Cirque Zuma Zuma was established about a decade later, in late 2005, as a touring arm of the company with a mission of teaching the world about African cultures. AAIA now has training schools in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Las Vegas creating a pool of more than 100 performers.

Cirque Zuma Zuma comes to the McAninch Arts Center located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $46/$36 for youth age 18 and under. For tickets or more information call 630.942.4000 or visit

About the MAC
The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit You can also learn more about the MAC on Facebook at or on twitter at

McAninch Arts Center (MAC) is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation, visit or call 630.942.2462.

Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Friday, April 17, 2015

CIMMfest WEEKEND UPDATE: Sam Lay in Bluesland Show Added and Brian Wilson Call In #cimmfest

The 7th Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest), announces that the great and reclusive Brian Wilson will call in to John Anderson’s free “Cutting Room Floor” presentation, 7-9pm tonight at Logan Theatre.  Wilson will talk about his new biopic Love and Mercy, starring John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti and Paul Dano, which will be released nationwide on June 5.  Wilson will call into the CIMMcon presentation at 8pm.

Also, the World Premiere of John Anderson’s Sam Lay in Bluesland tomorrow night is sold out.  A second show has been added for 11 p.m. at The Society for Arts.

John Anderson: From the Cutting Room Floor
More than 95% of footage shot for documentaries doesn’t make the final product. In music documentaries, it’s not unusual for classic performances, in-depth interviews and one-of-a-kind material – the stuff that the serious musicphiles consider gold – to wind up on the floor due to time constraints, legal complications and bad hair days. Once again, Grammy-nominated Director John Anderson, (Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE) – whose subjects have included Pete Townshend, Jack White, Neil Young, Ray Davies, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, John Fogerty, Emmylou Harris, James Cotton, Cheap Trick, John Prine, Eric Burdon, Tiny Tim, Kanye West, Andy Summers and John Cage – opens up his vault and shares classic moments that have have passed through his hands on their way to the cutting room floor. Friday, April 17, 7-9pm at Logan Theater Lounge. Admission is free.

Sam Lay in Bluesland (John Anderson, USA).  WORLD PREMIERE
He was on drums when Bob Dylan went electric at Newport. He was in the studio and on the road with blues greats Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and James Cotton. He was a founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He is, at 79, still an active part of the Chicago blues scene and the man some call “the greatest drummer of all time.”  Blues’ most celebrated drummer finally steps into the spotlight in Sam Lay in Bluesland. Recognized almost as much for his sartorial style as for his signature double-shuffle beat — his capes, crowns, canes and cowbells are the stuff of legend— Sam Lay has played a key role in the evolution of the blues for almost 60 years. Against a backdrop of the troubled, racially turbulent 1960s, Lay’s singular life and career is told through his own words, music and personal films in this new feature-length documentary about his life and career, featuring appearances by James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Iggy Pop, Corky Siegel, Barry Goldberg, Nick Gravenites, Jim Keltner, Marcy Levy, Gary Mallaber and Kenny Wayne Shepard

Shows Saturday, April 18, 7pm at Logan Theatre. Filmmaker Q&A follows. SOLD OUT
A second, late show has been added for Saturday, April 18, 11pm at The Society for Arts.

The mission of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest) is to highlight the inseparability of film and music through the production of an annual four-day, multi-venue festival.  CIMMfest is a convergence event that highlights the interconnectedness of all people shown through the lens of music and movies, on stage and on screen.  All participating films have music at their center: short and long form documentaries and narrative fiction; concert films; animation; music videos; performances; live concert events; art exhibits; and panel discussions, presented at both new and historic venues around Chicago.  CIMMfest is a platform for filmmakers and musicians, artists and producers, to present their vision and offer a connection point for people to come together for a celebration of movies, music, and good times in the greatest city on earth – Chicago!  For more information, visit  

Corporate sponsors of CIMMfest No. 7 include Lagunitas Brewing Co, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Mailchimp and Softlayer- An IBM Company.



Here at ChiIL Mama we have been ardent fans of Cirque du Soleil for decades and it's been our great pleasure to catch a number of their performers and creatives for video interviews. We've also shot live show stills, published a photo feature on our behind the scenes tour, and reviewed numerous shows of theirs over the years. We're ecstatic they're finally returning to Chicago this summer with a new show, Kurios-Cabinet of Curiosities. We can NOT wait to see it. Don't miss this! Get your tickets early for the best price and date choices.

Kurios is written and directed by Michel Laprise, the new touring production will premiere under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top at United Center beginning August 6, 2015


Cirque du Soleil returns to Chicago after four years with its newest touring show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™, premiering under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top at the United Center parking lot, 1901 W. Madison Street, beginning August 6, 2015. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning April 17, 2015 by visiting or calling 1-877-9 CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets range from $35 - $145.
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities premiered to the world in Montréal in April 2014 and is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production. Since its debut, the critics have been raving: “KURIOS is Cirque du Soleil's strongest act in years…one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on a stage” (Toronto Star) and "KURIOS is the best Cirque du Soleil show in a long time.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed. The name of the show refers to the humble and strange characters that inhabit the Seeker’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting. A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world. When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.

Michel Laprise
Michel Laprise worked in theatre for nine years as an actor, director and artistic director before joining Cirque du Soleil in 2000. At Cirque du Soleil, Michel spent five years as a talent scout before taking on, in 2006, the role of Special Events Designer. In that capacity, he directed the act with Quebec diva Diane Dufresne during the Opening Ceremonies of the Montreal 2006 Outgames; the large-scale performance event created for the launch of the Fiat Bravo in Italy (2007); the Cirque du Soleil performance event celebrating Quebec City’s 400th anniversary (2008); the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect console at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, broadcast on MTV; the opening show at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Russia in 2009; and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 FIBA International Basketball Federation World Championships in Istanbul. In 2012, Michel collaborated with pop star Madonna, providing artistic direction for her performance at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show; he later went on to direct her MDNA tour. In 2013, he directed the musical Robin des Bois – Ne renoncez jamais, currently on tour in Europe.

Creative team
The creative team of KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities consists of 17 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté (Guide) and Jean-François Bouchard (Creative Guide):

Michel Laprise                   Writer and Director
Chantal Tremblay             Director of Creation
Stéphane Roy                    Set and Props Designer
Philippe Guillotel               Costume Designer
Raphaël Beau                    Composer and Musical Director
Bob & Bill                           Composers and Musical Directors
Yaman Okur                       Choreographer
Ben Potvin                          Choreographer
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui         Choreographer
Susan Gaudreau Choreographer
Andrea Ziegler                   Choreographer
Jacques Boucher               Sound Designer
Jean-Michel Caron           Sound Designer
Martin Labrecque             Lighting Designer
Rob Bollinger                     Acrobatic Performance Designer
Germain Guillemot           Acrobatic Performance Designer
Boris Verkhovsky              Acrobatic Performance Designer
Danny Zen                          Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer
Eleni Uranis                        Makeup Designer

Sponsors and partners
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities  in Chicago is proud to be presented by Visa Signature, in association with United Mileage Plus. We also gratefully acknowledge our official sponsors Xerox and DHL.

Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @Cirque #Kurios

Cirque du Soleil
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. The company, who celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, has brought wonder and delight to close to 150 million spectators in more than 300 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit
To find out more about the ONE DROP Foundation, visit

Thursday, April 16, 2015

KINDIE LAND: WIN Free Tickets To Concerts for Kids at Beat Kitchen Every Week From Press Sponsor ChiIL Mama #giveaway

ChiIL Mama, Concerts for Kids and Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago Present:





Apr 26 • 12 PM

May 3 • 12 PM

May 10 • 12 PM

May 17 • 12 PM

Our mailing address is:
Beat Kitchen
2100 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

About us: Bringing the best of Chicagoland's
Kindie Music to the stage from September til May at the Beat Kitchen 2100 West Belmont Ave!

ChiIL Mama's been stoked to be Press Sponsor for 4 Seasons of Beat Kitchen's acclaimed Concerts 
for Kids Series!

Get Social:
Follow us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER
so you don't miss out.
Follow us by RSS feed
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to the right) to get an easy e-mail digest and/or get real time updates & first dibs on giveaways via social media.

ChiIL Mama (family friendly) FACEBOOK PAGE and TWITTER 
ChiIL Live Shows (adult)  FACEBOOK PAGE and TWITTER

YOUTUBE (We have 240+ original videos on our YouTube Channel including video interviews with musicians, theatre people, parents in the arts, live show footage & more!)

WIN 4 FREE tickets weekly in our FLASH GIVEAWAYS

Check back with us 
for loads of original content, photo & 
video filled features, 
& the coolest 
fam friendly fun in Chi, IL & beyond!


Worlds Collide Alert
Monday, April 27th, 2015 at 7:00pm

Here at ChiIL Mama, we love it when our friends play nice together. We're going to be there for the press opening of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, so we were elated to hear that our friends over at Music Box Theatre will also be showing the 1995 movie version! Because you can never have too much SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, after all.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the 1995 film SENSE AND SENSIBILITY based on the Jane Austen novel. CST will introduce the film and its relation to CST's new musical adaptation of the novel. This world premiere musical of Sense and Sensibility will run at CST's Courtyard Theater from April 18th through June 7th, 2015. Join the Music Box Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in a unique intersection of literature, cinema and stage.

Monday, April 27th, 2015
7:00pm Introduction + Screening

Where: Music Box Theatre | 3733 North Southport Ave | Chicago, IL 60613

Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the recipient of seven Oscar (R) nominations. This film
version of Jane Austen's classic 1811 novel, which stars stars Emma Thompson as
Elinor Dashwood. Thompson won the film's sole Oscar (R) for her screenplay
adaptation of Austen's novel.

For the last two decades, the Music Box Theatre has been the premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films. It currently has the largest theater space operated full time in the city.
The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. We have evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at our home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. We serve as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 25,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome our free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city we call home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured our own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.


Get Social With BOM

This Saturday, 4/18/15, there's an opportunity for the Chicago community to engage with THE BOOK OF MORMON on social media and in person.  Winners will receive a pair of tickets to the show!! 

THE BOOK OF MORMON will be sharing clues on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts teasing the locations of hidden doorbells around Chicago.
To Play along follow THE BOOK OF MORMON on Twitter (@BookOfMormon), Instagram (BookOfMormon) or Facebook (TheBookOfMormonOnBroadway) and the hashtag #HelloChicago.

WHEN: Saturday, April 18 at 10am CST

Only one entry is allowed per person.  Winners must show valid ID at the Bank of America Theatre box office.

THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, now playing a limited engagement through May 17, 2015 at Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe).  THE BOOK OF MORMON holds the record for the largest weekly gross in the history of the Bank of America Theatre.  The national tours of THE BOOK OF MORMON have broken 76 house records in 41 venues across the country.  At Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, THE BOOK OF MORMON has broken the house record 49 times.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker

Tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Bank of America Theatre are on-sale now.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances.  For groups of 15 or more, please call Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at  Additionally, there is a day-of-show drawing for each performance, where a limited number of tickets are available for $25 each.  Visit for more details.

For more information, visit

Follow THE BOOK OF MORMON on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions Live Orchestra Tour Coming to Chicago Theatre 6/20/15 #Pokemon

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions 
Live Orchestra Tour Announces 30 New Dates

The Pokémon Company International and Princeton Entertainment announced today 30 new dates and locations for the official Pokémon live orchestral concert, Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions. After sold out performances in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA and selling 5,000 tickets in Philadelphia, fans across the country will soon get the opportunity to see and hear Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions in a city near them. More information about the new dates, locations, and how to purchase tickets can be found at  

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is the must-see video game concert of the year, giving fans and newcomers of all ages the chance to experience the evolution of the Pokémon franchise like never before. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to meet up with friends of all ages to catch, battle and trade Pokémon from your favorite games. All-new orchestral arrangements and carefully timed visuals draw from recent and classic Pokémon video games, including:

Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue Pokémon Yellow Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver Pokémon Crystal Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire Pokémon Emerald Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl Pokémon Platinum Pokémon Black and Pokémon White Pokémon X and Pokémon Y

The upcoming North America tour includes a first set of dates presented by Live Nation Entertainment in conjunction with Princeton Entertainment.  Performances will take place in some of the most prestigious venues in the country, including Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Chicago Theatre and The Greek Theatre, among others. A European tour is scheduled for spring 2016, with additional venue and location details coming soon.

Current Tour Cities:
Baltimore, MD, 5/1/2015, Joseph Meyerhoff Hall
New York, NY, 6/6/2015, Theater at Madison Square Garden
Cincinnati, OH, 6/12/2015, Riverbend Music Center
Cleveland, OH, 6/13/2015, Blossom Music Center
Buffalo, NY, 6/14/2015, Shea’s Performing Arts Center
Milwaukee, WI, 6/19/2015, Riverside Theater
Chicago, IL, 6/20/2015, Chicago Theatre
San Diego, CA, 7/9/2015, Copley Symphony Hall
Los Angeles, CA, 7/11/2015, The Greek Theatre
San Jose, CA, 7/12/2015, City National Civic
Vienna, VA, 7/18/2015, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Vancouver, BC, 7/22/2015, The Orpheum
Houston, TX, 7/25-26/2015, Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
Holmdel, NJ, 8/20/2015, PNC Bank Arts Center
Boston, MA 8/22/2015, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Toronto, ON 8/28/2015, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Montreal, QC 8/30/2015, Place Des Arts
Detroit, MI 9/11/2015, Fox Theatre
Indianapolis, IN 9/12/2015, Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
Seattle, WA 9/15/2015, Benaroya Hall
Portland, OR 9/17/2015, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Mexico City, MX 10/23/2015, Auditorio Nacional
Monterrey, MX 10/25/2015, Monterrey Arena
Sydney, AU 11/20-21/2015, Sydney Opera House
Clearwater, FL 12/3/2015, Ruth Eckerd Hall
Orlando, FL 12/4/2015, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Pittsburgh, PA 1/24/2016, Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
Grand Rapids, MI 2/5/2016, DeVos Performance Hall

“Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is a spectacular showcase of the memorable music that has been a hallmark of the Pokémon franchise for nearly 20 years,” said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. “The concert series serves as a thank you to fans and an invitation to share our passion for Pokémon by reliving some of our fondest memories with the brand. We look forward to seeing fans of all ages enjoying this very special Pokémon orchestral event together.”

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