Monday, July 6, 2020

Virtually Mystify The Whole Family With DENNIS WATKINS': “THE MAGIC PARLOUR AT HOME”

KIDS GETTING SQUIRRELLY FROM SPRING AND SUMMER IN QUARANTINE?
DENNIS WATKINS INTRODUCES NEW VIRTUAL SHOW:
“THE MAGIC PARLOUR AT HOME”
Tickets on Sale Now for Virtual Performances 
Every Friday and Saturday in July

"The Magic Parlour at Home” is recommended for adult audiences. Guests ages 12 and up are welcome to join, while guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 

For a fully immersive experience, guests are recommended to sport cocktail attire 
and bring their own deck of cards. 

REVIEW: 
By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara


Friday night, my son and I ditched our quarantine casual wardrobes, donned cocktail party attire, and settled in to enjoy opening night of an interactive magic show in real time. The audience included folks from multiple states and even Mexico. It was at once familiar and completely new. In the era of Covid-19, when all live shows have gone dark, Dennis Watkins has worked nothing short of real magic, creating an astonishing social distancing show that still feels remarkably intimate and engaging. 


Like his acclaimed Palmer House iteration of Magic Parlour that's been wowing people for 9 years now, audience members are called on to assist with every trick. As individuals were called on via Zoom, our screens would appear, inset in the larger image of Dennis' show. We got to introduce ourselves and where we were watching from, then join in the fun as magician's assistant. 


With all mics unmuted, the interconnection of show goers was palpable, with audible applause, laughter, and reactions, missing from so much theatre online. It was also fun to catch a sneak peak "behind the curtain" as Dennis gave us a quick tour of his home studio space, designed specifically to morph remote magic into table magic, in your own home! Theatre people are nothing if not creative, and Dennis has discovered a way to reinvent post-covid parlour magic and storytelling in a way that works wonderfully.


The $75 ticket price may seem a bit spendy for an online show, but you can bring the whole family or a party of friends, all included in the base price, as long as you're watching in the same location on one screen. And this is no prerecorded piece. This is personal and worth every penny. 

As a third generation magician, Dennis' shows are a bit family history, a whole lot of mystery, and pure joy. We're no strangers to the Magic Parlour shows. I did a video interview with Dennis back in 2012, and I'd seen his act years before that even, in the pre Palmer House days, when The Magic Parlour was in the basement of Chicago's beloved House Theatre. 

So much has changed in the intervening decade, even pre-coronavirus. Dennis Watkins is a father to an adorable toddler now, and has been featured on Penn and Teller: Fool Us. Since opening at The Palmer House on New Year’s Eve of 2011, The Magic Parlour has enjoyed phenomenal success and unimagined growth. With fewer than 50 seats available per show, The Magic Parlour has entertained over 45,000 guests in its nine-year run. Additionally, it has hosted more than 1,300 ticketed audiences and dozens of private groups, facilitated three truly magical wedding proposals, and has been featured in two books (Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle and 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die).

I've taken my whole family and several lucky friends to Magic Parlour at Palmer House over the years, catching the show a handful of times, and it's always just as baffling and brilliant as the first time. Even with a jump to Zoom now, Dennis' world class prestidigitation, storytelling, and showmanship hasn't changed. The pandemic may be winning in the world at large this July, but it can't keep a great magician down. 


One of our favorite new bits is a group card trick where everyone brings their own deck. Despite copious amounts of shuffling, ripping of cards, putting a bit aside, and discarding of varied numbers of half cards (different for everyone), we all ended up reuniting two of our half cards in the end! In a time when disconnection from family and friends is taking a toll on everyone, this group magic is particularly gratifying. The whole show is a welcome and invaluable break from reality.


My son was called on for a mind reading bit, traditionally done in person with books, cleverly converted to cellphone. Dugan secretly picked Narwhals (his favorite animal) on Wikipedia from millions of possible entries, then randomly 
highlighted a word from the article that happened to be recommended. Even remotely, Dennis successfully divined both and wrote them in sharpie, amazing and amusing us all! I've got to agree with that choice and add another word... highly. “THE MAGIC PARLOUR AT HOME” is highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly). 




Tickets on Sale Now for Virtual Performances Every Friday and Saturday in July
(Great for ages 12+ through adults of all ages)

Famed third-generation magician, Dennis Watkins, is taking his one-of-a-kind magical experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed “The Magic Parlour at Home.” The new virtual magic show, designed for group and family viewings, will offer multiple performances every Friday and Saturday evening in July. After the roaring success of several livestreams hosted on The Magic Parlour’s Facebook page, Watkins developed “The Magic Parlour at Home” to dazzle audiences with new and interactive magic and mindreading available directly on their screens.



Tickets are now on sale for $75 and can be purchased online at themagicparlourchicago.com. A maximum of 30 tickets will be sold for each performance and each ticket will admit one “household” or up to 10 guests on one screen. All performances will take place via Zoom and require a computer with a functioning camera and microphone to participate as well as a high-speed internet connection. After tickets are purchased, patrons will receive an email containing instructions and a link to access the performance. “During this time, I’ve learned to adapt my craft to be able to virtually perform the same caliber of magic my guests have come to expect from my performances at the Palmer House,” said Watkins. “The new acts I’ve created for The Magic Parlour at Home will provide a truly engaging and participatory magical experience for my virtual audience.”

"The Magic Parlour at Home” is recommended for adult audiences. Guests ages 12 and up are welcome to join, while guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For a fully immersive experience, guests are recommended to sport cocktail attire and bring their own deck of cards. 

 A complete list of performance dates and times is below. Additional 9:30 p.m. performances may be added subject to demand:

Friday, July 3: performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4: no performances due to Independence Day Friday, July 10: performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 11: performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 17: performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18: performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 24: performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25: performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 31: performance at 7:30 p.m. For complete details and information on “The Magic Parlour at Home” and Watkins’ other virtual experiences including corporate and private events, teambuilding workshops and magic lessons, please visit: themagicparlourchicago.com.

Check out our 2012 interview with Dennis Watkins here for a blast from the past:



About The Magic Parlour
The Magic Parlour is an intimate evening of classic magic and mind-reading featuring the work of third-generation magician Dennis Watkins. Guests to this intimate, magic-packed evening gather at Potter's in the Palmer House lobby before Watkins personally escorts them to the performance space. Once inside, the audience participates in much of the performance as Watkins wows the room with classic sleight of hand, unbelievable mind-reading and magical wisdom passed down from his grandfather.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of Teenage Dick at Theater WIT For Purchase On Line

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

A NEW WAY TO SEE THEATER: CHICAGO’S
THEATER WIT TO VIDEO STREAM 
TEENAGE DICK


EXPERIENCE MIKE LEW’S BRUTALLY FUNNY NEW COMEDY INSPIRED BY THEATER’S MOST FAMOUS DISABLED CHARACTER ONLINE THROUGH APRIL 19

**Teenage Dick runs 100 minutes, no intermission**

Tonight, while most Chicago theatre venues have gone dark during the pandemic, I'll be virtual ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Theater Wit for the press opening of Teenage Dick! You can have your theatre and practice social distancing too. The up side is, drinks are cheap and you can stay in your pajamas. Even better... there are no geographic constraints, so join us in Chicago, wherever you call home or got stranded. Check back with ChiILMama.com soon for my full review.

*The show must go on(line): Remote viewing launches Wednesday, live performances canceled
In response to Illinois State Governor JB Pritzker’s newest mandate to close bars and restaurants due to concern about COVID-19, Theater Wit is suspending live performances of its upcoming run of Teenage Dick .




“All the world’s a stage” takes on new meaning with Chicago’s Theater Wit’s announcement that it is selling remote viewing tickets to online, streamed video performances of its Chicago premiere of Teenage Dick.

Here’s how this new way of ‘attending’ theater works: 
Patrons buy a ticket for their desired date and time, same as always. Ten minutes before the show begins, all remote view ticket buyers will receive an email with a private URL and password to watch the performance on Vimeo. The performance will be shot on two cameras, using mixed video to provide close-ups and full coverage of the staging. At the end of every performance, the video stream will conclude and no longer be accessible.

Starting Friday, March 20, performance/streaming video show times will adhere to the original schedule through April 19: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
                                                                  
Remote view tickets are $28. For remote view tickets and information, visit TheaterWit.org or call (773) 975-8150. Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

In a statement posted on Theater Wit's website, Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler wrote:

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary ingenuity. Theater audiences and artists are collateral damage in this global catastrophe. The unfolding disaster robs us of the simple joy of coming together for a shared story. So we asked ourselves—how can we safely bring everyone together?”

“Even before large gatherings were restricted in Chicago, we were thinking through issues of accessibility. Teenage Dick gives the disabled community its first true anti-hero. We wanted everyone, regardless of their health status or physical limitations, to see MacGregor Arney’s fantastic portrayal of the title role.”

“Mounting concern about coronavirus spurred our decision to make this option available to every audience member. The playwright, publisher, cast, and crew all got on board right away. We worked through the details with Actors’ Equity and now, here we go. We strongly encourage anyone who loves live theater, no matter where they are located, to join us and 97 other members of our community online or in person to experience Mike Lew’s devastatingly funny, sharply written new play.” 

Playwright Mike Lew added, “Amidst a health catastrophe that's brought Broadway itself to a standstill, I'm thrilled Theater Wit has found a safe way to keep our show running and keep honoring the hard work and immense talent of our artists. I urge Chicagoans to witness Teenage Dick as much for the experience of the play as for joining this experiment in social connecting despite social distancing.” 

“Now is the winter of discontent made glorious summer at Roseland High.”

In Teenage Dick , Lew revives theater's most famous disabled character, Shakespeare’s Richard III, like you've never seen him before: scheming his way through the brutal, no-holds barred world of high school. Picked on because of his cerebral palsy (and his semi-creepy tendency to monologue), Richard is determined to become class president. But the road to power is never smooth and Richard must decide: is it better to be loved? Or feared?


Director Brian Balcom and the cast in rehearsal for Teenage Dick


Brain Balcom, a Chicago and Minneapolis-based director and head of the Access Project at Victory Gardens, directs the Chicago debut of Teenage Dick at Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater.

“We are thrilled to have Brian at the helm of Teenage Dick , his first full professional production in Chicago,” said Wechsler. “Brian is a young, disabled, Asian-American director who has brought a highly nuanced take to this new work by one of today’s most important young Asian-American playwrights. Brian, his design team a terrific cast of disabled and non-disabled theater artists have created a raw, hilarious, vitally important live theater experience that portrays disability issues in a radically new way.”
The cast features MacGregor Arney as Richard, Liz Cloud as Elizabeth, Ty Fanning as Eddie, Courtney Rikki Green as Anne, Kate Niemann as Clarissa and Tamara Rozofsky as Buck.

Wit’s production team is Jake Ganzer (choreographer), Sotirios Livaditis (scenic designer), Izumi Inaba (costume designer), Michelle Benda (lighting designer), Eric Backus (sound designer), Almanya Narula (intimacy/fight choreographer), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (props designer), Clare Cooney (casting director) and Sean McStravick (stage manager).

Biographies


Mike Lew's (playwright) works include Tiger Style!, Collin, Bike America (Alliance, Atlanta; Ma-Yi, NYC; Juilliard and Lark workshops, NYC; Kennedy Center/NNPN workshop, DC; Playwrights Foundation workshop, SF); microcrisis (Ma-Yi, NYC; InterAct, Philly; Next Act, Milwaukee); Stockton (AracaWorks and EST workshops, NYC); and People’s Park (Victory Gardens Ignition Festival). Shorts include Tenure (24 Hour Plays on Broadway), In Paris You will Find Many Baguettes but Only One True Love (Humana Fest, KY; InspiraTO Festival winner, Toronto), Roanoke (Humana) and Moustache Guys (Second Generation, NYC). He is a former resident writer for Blue Man Group and Bon Appetit . Several of his short plays are published by Playscripts. His awards include the Lanford Wilson Award (via the Dramatists Guild), Helen Merrill Award, NYFA Fellowship, Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, AracaWorks Graduate Playwriting Award, Heideman Award, Sam French Festival and Battle of the Bards. He is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, the largest Asian-American playwrights’ collective in the country. Other residencies are Ensemble Studio Theatre, Youngblood, Old Vic New Voices and TCG Young Leaders of Color.He is married to playwright Rehana Lew Mirza. Training: Juilliard (2013), Yale (2003). mikelew.com


Brian Balcom (director), a disabled, Asian-American director, moved to Chicago to earn his MFA in directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Since graduating, he was a Multi-Cultural Fellow at Steppenwolf Theater, directed readings and short plays at Route 66, Broken Nose, The Gift, Silk Road, A-Squared, and La Jolla Rep, and currently works as the access coordinator at Victory Gardens Theater. He earned a BFA in directing from Carnegie-Mellon University, where he started a small theater company dedicated to commissioning work from Jerome and McKnight fellows from the Playwrights Center. He produced and directed seven new plays and his company was invited to present at the Southern and Guthrie Theatres. In Minneapolis, he also worked with Gremlin Theater, The Playwrights Center, Walking Shadow Company, Artistry, and Mu Performing Arts. He has upcoming productions with Mu Performing Arts and American Stage in Florida.    

MacGregor Arney (Richard) received his BA in theater performance from Western Michigan University and his MFA in acting from the University of California, San Diego. Since then he has acted all around the country, most recently at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he played Silvius in As You Like It and Lennox in Macbeth . He has also played Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Fielder in Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies at Mixed Blood in Minneapolis. In Denver, Arney played the Baker in Into the Woods with Phamaly Theatre Company at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, and in Washington DC, he played Jonas in Going to a Place Where You Already Are with Theater Alliance at the Anacostia Playhouse. Arney lives with his wife in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he develops independent films with his production company, Rag n' Tag Productions.

Liz Cloud (Elizabeth) received an After Dark Award and a Joseph Jefferson citation nomination for her performance of Charlotte Bronte in Bronte . She regularly can be see performing in full habit as Sister in the long running one-woman (or more correctly one-nun) comedy Late Nite Catechism (Royal George Theatre). Credits include the Fool in King Lear (Redtwist Theatre), The Laramie Project (AstonRep), Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest (CenterStage), Letters Home (Griffin Theatre), Kathleen in Flanagan’s Wake (The Noble Fool Theater), Mrs. McBride in Bible Bingo (Nuns4Fun Productions), the Shepherd in The Winter’s Tale (Odds Bodkins) as well as the terse librarian in the independent film American Fable . She is a founding member of the improv comedy ensemble, The Free Associates. 

Ty Fanning (Eddie) has crediting including Lindiwe (Steppenwolf), Short Shakespeare! Macbeth , Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare), She Stoops to Conquer , Three Sisters , Book of Will , Macbeth , A Midsummer Night’s Dream , Cyrano (American Players Theater), Utah Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare Company, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. Film credits include Secrets of a Psychopath , Home Run , Hollis , Dancing in the Chamber (Best Actor, Trail Dance Film Festival), Nora  and Bob Dylan’s web video Like a Rolling Stone . 
 
Courtney Rikki Green (Anne) trained as a youth at the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center, where she learned multiple styles of dance. In high school, her interests shifted to theater, though she still loves to dance. She recently graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting and is an original member of Chicago's Drunk Shakespeare Society . Her most recent role was Queen Anne in The Three Musketeers at Syracuse Stage (Syracuse Area Live Theatre Nomination - Best Supporting Actress in a Play). 

Kathleen Niemann (Clarissa) was recently seen touring the U.S. with Griffin Theatre’s Innovation Nation Live! and performed a solo show she wrote and choreographed herself called The Ones to Remember . She is a graduate of Ball State University and is proudly represented by Gray Talent Group.

Tamara Rozofsky (Buck) is a writer, teacher, performer and storyteller from Tallahassee, FL. She contributed to the "A Ramp is Not Enough: Religion and Disability Conference" at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and has given workshops, corporate trainings and presentations for BMO Harris Bank, Hyatt Hotels, Southern Shakespeare Company, Camp Horizon for adults with physical disabilities, Columbia College, Notre Dame De Namur University, University of the Pacific and California State University. She is a graduate of the Second City's Sketch Writing and Conservatory programs and iO Theater’s improv program. She was featured in The Bentwood Comedy Festival, Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and Chicago Women’s Funny Fest. She has written and appeared in the original sketch comedy revues Wigs & Bad Accents, or Identity Politics , 16 and Pagan and A Box Full of Kittens . She improvises at iO Theater with the team “Bad Bear.” Since 2015 she has been involved with Tellin’ Tales Theater and has contributed to several productions, including Six Stories Up in a Snowstorm and Divercity , Lifeline Theatre’s Filet of Solo and Lyric Opera’s Chicago Voices, Community Created Performances . 

Teenage Dick understudies are Jodi Gage (Elizabeth), Mikey Gray (Anne/Clarissa), Terri Lynne Hudson (Buck) and Matthew Schnitker (Richard).

Thursday, March 12, 2020

GIVEAWAY: WIN A Family 4 Pack to Lifeline Theatre's KidSeries, Neither.

**Canceled due to Coronavirus Closures**

ChiIL Mama’s Chi, IL Picks List:
Family Friendly Theatre Fun


ChiIL Mama's giving away a family four-pack ticket giveaway for Lifeline's newest production in their KidsSeries, NeitherThis is a family-friendly show recommended for children ages 5 years and older. 


Enter below through midnight March 17th, for your chance to win  A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Lifeline KidSeries' Neither! 
Winner's choice of any March show date/time pending availability. 

My fabulous freelancer, Kim, and her kids will be out to review at the press opening this Sunday, so check back soon for her full review. 

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents Neither, a world premiere based on the children’s book by Airlie Anderson, co-adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Bilal Dardai, with guest artists Oly Oxinfry, Emilie Modaff, and Jeff Trainor, music and lyrics by Emilie Modaff, and directed by Oly Oxinfry. 

In the land of “this and that” there are only two kinds of animals, “these and those.” Until one day something different hatches! But it isn’t this or that. Is it both, or is it neither? What do you do when you feel you don’t belong? Based on the book by Airlie Anderson, explore the things that make us unique in this world premiere musical that teaches that it’s our differences that make us special. This production runs approximately one hour with no intermission. 

Neither runs Saturday, Mar. 14 – Sunday, Apr. 19 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Press Opening is Sunday, Mar. 15 at 1 p.m. Regular performance times are Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with an added autism/sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, Apr. 19 at 3 p.m. (Previews are Saturday, Mar. 14 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Mar. 15 at 11 a.m.) 

Don't miss the final show in Lifeline's 19-20 KidSeries season with Airlie Anderson's Neither!

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children (up to 18 years of age)
To order your tickets today call the box office at 773-761-4477 or book online.

Accessible Performances
Open Captioning:
Saturday, March 28 @ 11am & 1pm

Audio Description & Touch Tour
Sunday, March 29 (10am Tour & 11am Show)

Sensory-Friendly Performance
Sunday, April 19 @ 3pm

LOOKING FOR MORE FUN?
Join us any Saturday or Sunday (following the 11am show or before the 1pm show) for our Stories Come Alive Hour!

Stories Come Alive
Kids get up close and personal with the book behind the play with on-your-feet theatre GAMES exploring the characters, plot, and themes of the book. This experience will make positive connections with your child and books for years to come, and it's super FUN!

Only $5 per child! Reservations are recommended (though not required). Contact the Box Office at 773-761-4477 for more info!








Enter HERE through midnight March 17th, for your chance to win  A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Lifeline KidSeries' Neither! 
Winner's choice of any March show date/time pending availability. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

DISCOUNT CODE: ChiIL Mama's Readers Get $4 off on Tickets to The Chicago Flower & Garden Show

**Canceled Due to Coronavirus Closures**

Tired of winter? 
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show 
presented by 811 Chicago and Peoples Gas, 
brings a welcome hint of spring. 




There's fun for all ages with a full lineup hands-on fun and learning for future gardeners in the Kids Activity Garden sponsored by JULIE.



Kids activities include:

Bugs & Worms – The U of IL Extension Insect Petting Zoo showcases Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Bess Beetles, American Millipedes, Ant Farms, Tarantulas, and more. Kids will learn the basics of worm composting and can even dare to eat bugs (dried mealworms, crickets and other crawly treats)!



Craftapalooza in the Children’s Butterfly Garden -Offering a myriad of educational activities throughout the weekend!

Tea Time Socials – Kids will marvel at the unique fairy and gnome tablescapes as they enjoy a tea party!

Paint ‘n Take Birdhouse Station

Nature Play
     *From Forest Preserve District of Cook County and Conservation@Home – Kids can help built forts, dress up as woodland animals, and more. They’ll also learn how animals help pollinate plants through hands on activity.
     *From the Chicago Park District – Kids will enjoy a variety of ecological sites where they can learn and explore new ways to connect with nature.

Click link to book your tickets. ChiIL Mama's Readers get $4 off on all adult tickets with Code: ChiILMama20 (not case sensitive)



This is the ONLY Flower & Garden Show in America that offers a Kids Garden. Click here for the full activity lineup!

The Show is open Wed., March 18 – Sun., March 22, held at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Festival Hall.
Hours: Kids activities available at the show between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily
Tickets: Adults $20; Kids $5 (ages 5 – 12) *Click link to book your tickets. ChiIL Mama's Readers get $4 off on all adult tickets with Code: ChiILMama20 (not case sensitive)

The City of Chicago’s longest running event, The Chicago Flower & Garden Show (presented by The Get Growing Foundation) inspires, educates, and motivates the next generation of gardeners and shows people to make gardening a part of their lives in so many different and approachable ways. This year’s impressive lineup includes FREE hands-on fun and learning for future gardeners presented by the Chicago Park District, University of Illinois Master Gardeners, Forest Preserve District of Cook County and more. 



THE GET GROWING FOUNDATION PRESENTS:
“20/20 FOCUS ON FLOWERS” 
CHICAGO FLOWER & GARDEN SHOW
Blooming with New Garden Exhibits, Activities, Exclusive Plant Varieties, Nightly Spring Fling Events, and More



The Get Growing Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring interest in horticulture and the environment – especially in under-served communities – presents the “20/20 Focus on Flowers” Chicago Flower & Garden Show featuring a fresh experience for gardening enthusiasts of all ages and expertise.  Dating back to 1847, the annual Show will kick-off the region’s gardening season by inspiring, educating, motivating and entertaining patrons with stunning gardens, “how to” seminars, a marketplace of the latest gardening trends and products, a culinary stage, new nightly themed events, and much more.

  New to the 2020 Chicago Flower & Garden Show:
·        Bask in the must-see display of floral quilts and quilt-pattern garden of flowers by The American Quilter’s Society.

·        Experience a rare look at a locktender wife’s garden with the interactive Illinois & Michigan Canal Corridor 1848 Garden.

·        Enjoy the magnificent selection of more than 700 plant varieties, including a new exclusive Wave Petunia, unveiled at and only available for purchase at the Show.

·        Be among the first to see new technology for outdoor spaces in unique rooftop exhibits.

·        View stunning floral fashions by local designers with the Hort Couture exhibit and vote for your favorite design.

·        Tour the one-of-a-kind Plant Truck Chicago, a mobile garden boutique operated by The Get Growing Foundation, to bring much needed plant material to urban and under-served local communities.

·        Get ideas for small spaces and parkway gardens with an original exhibit.

·        Stay for the new, nightly Spring Fling events featuring live music, craft beer, local wineries, distilleries and more.



The 2020 Show also brings back:
·        the popular Potting Parties, container garden make and take workshops;

·        Garden Gourmet stage featuring culinary demonstration by top Chefs;

·        free Kids Activity Garden with fun, experience-based learning activities presented by the Chicago Park District, University of Illinois Master Gardeners and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County

·        Horticulture Photography Competition; and

·        Tablescapes Exhibit, featuring creative ideas for the dining table presented by leading interior and floral designers. 

Where: Navy Pier
600 Grand Ave., Festival Hall A & B
Chicago

When: *Wednesday, March 18 – Saturday, March 21; 10 am – 7 pm
*Sunday, March 22; 10 am – 6 pm
*Nightly Spring Fling Events; 
visit www.ChicagoFlower.com for details

Tickets: *$20 per adult one-day ticket Jan. 1, 2020 – March 22, 2020

*$5 per child one-day ticket, ages 5 – 12 years old
*$10 -$25 per person Spring Fling event (after 4 p.m. admittance)

*Discounted rates are available for groups of 15 or more.
Contact groups@chicagoflower.com for more information.

Parking: 
*Navy Pier offers a pre-paid reduced daily parking rate of $34; a five-day pre-paid pass is $133.
*Three additional lots serviced by the Navy Pier Trolley offer a discounted daily rate of $15 with a validation by Navy Pier.



Hotel Deals:       
Visit www.ChicagoFlower.com for discount codes and reservations to the following hotels:

*The St. Clair Hotel
                                162 E. Ontario Street
                                $94/night, plus taxes

*Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott – Downtown Magnificent Mile
                                216 E. Ontario Street
                                $129/night, plus taxes

                                *Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile
633 N. St. Clair Street
$139/night, plus taxes

About The Get Growing Foundation
The Get Growing Foundation (TGGF) is a Chicago-based 501c3 nonprofit organization providing year-round educational programming and community outreach, including garden installations, to inspire interest in horticulture and the environment, especially among youth in underserved communities.  GGF produces the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show, kicking off the region’s gardening season, and operates the new Plant Truck Chicago, a seasonal mobile gardening boutique providing access to much needed plant material in urban and under-served communities.  


SAVE THE DATES: Spektral Quartet presents world premiere ENIGMA with the Adler Planetarium, June 11 & 12, 2020

Spektral Quartet presents world premiere ENIGMA
with the Adler Planetarium, June 11 & 12, 2020


New multimedia work for string quartet includes 360-degree video experience in Adler’s Grainger Sky Theater

Multi-Grammy nominees the Spektral Quartet present the world premiere of a groundbreaking new multimedia work, ENIGMA, in partnership with the Adler Planetarium on June 11 and 12, 2020. The live music and 360-degree video experience was created for the string quartet by Icelandic artists Anna Thorvaldsdottir (composer) and Sigurdur Gudjonsson (video artist). Following its world premiere in the Adler’s Grainger Sky Theater, ENIGMA will tour to other dome theaters throughout the country and internationally. For more information, visit spektralquartet.com/enigma.

ENIGMA was inspired in part by the 2017 solar eclipse. Created for an immersive, full-dome theater experience, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s enchanting and beautifully disorienting sounds take on an even more vivid hue through Sigurdur Gudjonsson’s evocative imagery—expanding a fragment seen through an electron microscope into a massive 360-degree video, exploring scale and perception as well as the concept of the in-between.

Tickets for the world premiere of Spektral Quartet’s ENIGMA at the Adler Planetarium (1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago) will go on sale to the public in April. Public performances are Thursday, June 11 at 7 p.m. and Friday, June 12 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. For more information, visit spektralquartet.com/enigma.

ENIGMA is presented in partnership with the Adler Planetarium and is co co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Washington Performing Arts and Spektral Quartet NFP. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and mediaThe foundation inc.

Artist Bios
Recipient of the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists and the New York Philharmonic Kravis Emerging Composer Award, Anna Thorvaldsdottír is a composer who frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere. Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions - most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming.

Sigurdur Gudjonsson has been selected to represent Iceland at the 59th Venice Bienniale, to be held in 2021. He studied in Vienna, Reykjavík, and Copenhagen, starting his exhibition career at the turn of the century in the artist-run experimental scene in Reykjavík that has fostered new art in temporary venues all over the old city. His dark and moody videos immediately set him apart and attracted attention not only in Iceland but also in Berlin, New York, London, Beijing, Seoul, and wherever they were exhibited. He mostly uses video but in many ways his work could as easily be classed as music. He exploits the potential of time-based media to produce pieces that rhythmically engage the viewer in a synesthetic experience, linking vision and hearing in ways that seem to extend one’s perceptual field and produce sensations never felt before. Usually slow and often repetitive, his pieces draw you in and gradually start to expand, creating complex loops and rhythmic schemes that can almost overwhelm the senses. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarborg, Iceland, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany, Arario Gallery, Beijing, Liverpool Biennial, Tromsø Kunstforening, Norway, Safn Reykjavík, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Kling & Bang Gallery and Bergen Kunsthall Norway.

About the Spektral Quartet
Multi-Grammy nominees the Spektral Quartet actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional repertoire and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Since its inception in 2010, Spektral is known for creating seamless connections across centuries, drawing in the listener with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.

With a tour schedule including some of the country’s most notable concert venues such as the Kennedy Center, Miller Theater, Library of Congress, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, the quartet also takes great pride in its home city of Chicago: championing the work of local composers, bridging social and aesthetic partitions, and cultivating its ongoing residency at the University of Chicago.

Named “Chicagoans of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017, Spektral Quartet is most highly regarded for its creative and stylistic versatility: presenting seasons in which, for instance, a thematic program circling Beethoven seamlessly coexists with an improvised sonic meditation at sunrise, a talent show featuring Spektral fans, and the co-release of a jazz album traversing the folk traditions of Puerto Rico.

About the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium connects people to the universe and each other. Whether it is introducing a guest to the Ring Nebula, a neighborhood school to a community partner, a research team to a network of citizen scientists, or one staff member to another, the Adler’s focus on meaningful connections dates back nearly a century.

Today, the museum hosts more than half a million visitors each year and reaches millions more through youth STEAM programs, neighborhood skywatching events, online citizen science, and other outreach projects. With the Adler’s support, people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities gain the confidence to explore their universe together and return to their communities ready to think critically and creatively about any challenge that comes their way.


REVIEW: Grand Opening of Game Night Out at Chicago's Century Shopping Centre

GAME NIGHT OUT INTRODUCES 
THE FIRST OF ITS KIND, INTERACTIVE 
‘GAME NIGHT’ EXPERIENCE

Founded by Chicago-based brothers Aaron and Brandon Mojica, this hot new destination takes game night to a whole new level, featuring over 2,200 square feet of space to test your group’s communication, teamwork, critical thinking skills, and creativity



By Catherine Hellmann
Lucky Guest Critic


“Quite entertaining. You won’t be disappointed at the grand finale. It’s ‘dynamite,’” quips my best date Chris. Game on!!

Want to host one heck of a party, but don’t want to have to clean your condo beforehand (and after!), provide drinks and snacks, play host/hostess, worry that your guests will be bored/make up excuses to leave early, etc.?? “Oh, the babysitter needs to get home and study for her algebra final…” It’s just too much work, right? 

Have Game Night Out play host for you! At their new location (same building, different floor---with twice the space as before), the location looks like a really cool apartment you wish you could move into. 



Imagine having your friends over to play party games...and you can bring your own drinks. Game Night Out is fine with BYOB. 

As their website describes it: “Game Night Out takes this to the next level and invites you to game night at our place. This is a fun opportunity to connect with family, friends, or co-workers -  a chance to showcase your knowledge, compete head-to-head, work as a team, make new friends, and uncover inside-jokes.”   

Game Night Out can be rented for one, rwo, or three hour time slots. What a fun way to plan an outing for team-building with your fellow employees or entertain those out-of-town relatives! If you feel that you don’t know enough party games to keep everyone engaged, Game Night Out takes care of that, too! With an enthusiastic, outgoing staff, they will recruit even the shyest participants to shed their inhibitions and have a blast! There is a wide variety of activities: “guessing, logic, skill, strategy, knowledge, and pop-culture based group games.  Each game is challenging enough to keep you guessing,” but familiar enough for everyone to catch on and jump in. 

 The food was great, lots of cheeses, veggies with hummus, curry chicken, meatballs, and yummy desserts. 

Catherine Hellmann prefers board games over party games, but has a fondness for charades. 



Game Night Out
2828 N. Clark St. at The Century Shopping Centre on the 4th floor   Chicago, IL 60657


This isn’t just any old game night. Game Night Out, Chicago’s first interactive ‘Game Night’ Experience, has officially opened its doors in the Lakeview East Neighborhood on the fourth floor of the historic Century Shopping Centre at 2828 N Clark St. This new, one-of-a-kind space offers a fresh type of group activity, inviting friends, family, and colleagues alike to compete, in teams, during a private experience of original party games. Whether it’s an employee outing, a relative’s birthday party, or friends looking for a unique night out, Game Night Out invites everyone to get competitive in the name of fun. 

“The idea behind Game Night Out first stemmed from family game nights growing up,” said co-owner and creator Aaron Mojica. “My brother and Co-Founder Brandon and I really wanted to elevate the classic game night and make it more of a full interactive experience, and that’s how Game Night Out was born.”

Game Night Out’s sleek 2,200 square-foot new home, designed in conjunction with Chicago’s Aria Group, invites guests to unplug from the moment they step foot in the space. Just as their motto ‘It’s Anyone’s Game’ expresses, the highly adaptable two-room facility is just as cozy to a group of 6 as it is inviting for a group of 60. Your guests are welcomed by candle-lit fireplaces, a conveniently stocked kitchen with ample counterspace, and plenty of comfortable areas for guests to let their guards down. Each game moves fast and keeps players on their toes, requiring them to think quickly and work as a team. The experience is guided by a Host who helps explain the rules, encourage competition, and keep the experience on track and full of laughter.

To learn more about Game Night Out or to reserve a room, please visit www.gamenightout.com or call 312-448-7247.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd now accepting applications for the 2020 Powering the Arts grant program

Grants assist local arts and cultural institutions reach new and diverse audiences
Applications due 5 p.m. March 13, 2020


The League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd are now accepting applications for the 2020 ComEd Powering the Arts grant program to help local arts institutions reach audiences that otherwise would not have access to the arts. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to nonprofit arts and cultural institutions located within ComEd’s service territory in northern Illinois. Eligibility details and applications are available at LeagueOfChicagoTheatres.org/ComEdPoweringTheArts/ and due by 5 p.m. Central time Friday, March 13, 2020. 

Recognizing that access to art is crucial to the quality of our lives, ComEd partnered with the League of Chicago Theatres in 2018 to commit to supporting cultural institutions in northern Illinois in their efforts to reach new and diverse audiences in ComEd communities. The ComEd Powering the Arts Program provides funding for some expenses toward these goals. Through this program ComEd and the League of Chicago Theatres look to reach audiences that have been unable to access the richness of cultural offerings available throughout the ComEd service area.

In 2019 ComEd and the League of Chicago Theatres awarded a total of more than $100,000 in grants to 13 non-profit arts organizations throughout northern Illinois. From local performing arts troupes to galleries and theatres, each grantee proposed a unique project to support the expansion of arts and cultural offerings for new audiences in the communities ComEd serves.

The 13 ComEd Powering the Arts Program grant recipients for 2019 were: Citadel Theatre (Lake Forest), Shattered Globe Theatre (Chicago – Lakeview), Adventure Stage Chicago (Chicago – West Town), Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (Chicago – Loop), Esperanza Community Services (Chicago – West Town), Repertorio Latino Theater (Chicago – Bridgeport), Warehouse Project & Gallery (Summit), Chimera Ensemble (Chicago – Wicker Park), CircEsteem Inc. (Chicago – Uptown), Experimental Station (Chicago – Woodlawn), Faubourg Theatre (Hanover Park), Elmhurst Choral Union (Elmhurst), and Side Street Studio Arts (Elgin).

Program Guidelines
Eligible Powering the Arts applicants are nonprofit arts and cultural institutions located within ComEd’s service territory in the following counties: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford. Projects located outside the ComEd service territory boundaries are unable to be funded. Schools, school districts, governments, and government run organizations are not eligible to apply. Eligible applicants must be in good standing with ComEd related to provision of utilities and cannot have previously received grant/sponsorship funding from ComEd or Exelon within the past two years. 2019 Powering the Arts grant recipients are not eligible to apply. 

Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate the ability to reach significant numbers of new and diverse audiences and commit to retaining the underserved audiences after the funding period ends. Powering the Arts grants will be for amounts up to $10,000 and may be used to pay for up to 75 percent of eligible activities. The grantee must have either secured a source of matching funds or have submitted a pending application for such funds. Applicants awarded funds for their projects will be expected to fully expend the grant award within 12 months of receiving funds. A final grant report is due within two months of the full expenditure of funds.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.  Applications will be reviewed and ranked by an advisory committee composed of members of the region's nonprofit arts and culture community. Final decisions on awards are at the discretion of ComEd and will be announced by late June or early July 2020.

Additional information on the ComEd Powering the Arts Program can be found at: LeagueOfChicagoTheatres.org/ComEdPoweringTheArts/.

About ComEd 
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 100 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement 
Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverages its collective strength to support, promote, and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.   

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, ChicagoPlays.com. Half-price tickets to the current week’s performances as well as future performances are available at HotTix.org and at the two Hot Tix half-price ticket locations: across from the Chicago Cultural Center at Expo72 (72 E. Randolph) and Block Thirty Seven (108 N. State).  

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