Thursday, October 8, 2009

Look For ChiIL Mama This Weekend: Riot Fest, Veganmania, Northpark Nature Center Harvest Fest, They Might Be Giants Family Show, Gustafer Yellowgold

Chicago's Riot Fest turns 5 this year, and most of the fans of these predominantly 80's punk bands have spent the last few decades reproducing.


We'd hoped to catch up with some of the band members who are punk parents, for a ChiIL Mama feature, but Riot Fest had an extremely limited amount of press passes available.   Nevertheless, we plan to see 7 Seconds at Beat Kitchen tonight, and may make it over to Metro or Congress Theatre during the 5 night run, as well.

In 1996, when Chicago natives, Naked Raygun, reunited for Riot Fest, the band members brought all of their kids out on stage in various kid sized Naked Raygun tee shirts.   Their offspring ranged from toddlers to teens.   We've also run into 88 Fingers Louie's lead vocalist, Denis, with his young son, at Pitchfork and Riot Fest.   I'm interested to see these punk progeny in years to come.   Will they rebel and become Republican accountants, or build on their musician parents' past and take punk and hard core in a whole new direction.

The first year of Riot Fest, we saw The Angry Samoans and found kid sized tees for both Du-Jay and Sagezilla.  The band scours thrift stores for fun shirts and silk screens Angry Samoans in red across the recycled tees, for xtra cool, one of a kind creations. 

In later years, medium adult tees were the smallest, we could find.  But we expanded the kids punk rock wardrobes with tees from Naked Raygun, Blue Meanies and Bollweevils.   

Several years ago, we saw 7 Seconds at Metro and were surprised to run into 3 different parents there, we knew from playgroups, not punk shows.   Their kids ranged from 2 year olds to teens, graduating from high school.   We were amused when Kevin Seconds appropriately broke out a newer song, with the lyrics "this is your parents' hard core."

At past Riot Fests, we have seen quite a few 30 and 40 something punks introducing the bands of their formitive years to their children.  Despite a listing of "all ages" for most of the shows, Riot fest is better suited for kids who are at least teen agers.   But if you have a teen at home and remember livin' in the 80's, The Aragon Brawlroom, and the heyday of Chicago punk rock, this is a slice of nostalgia your teens just might embrace.   If we can walk together, why can't we rock together.

Saturday morning, ChiIL Mama will be at the biggest vegan party Chicago has ever seen.   Veganmania is coming to Pulaski Park Fieldhouse from 10-4 on October 10th.   Despite the manic name, our organizer friends have promised no hard sell conversion tactics will be leveled against mere vegetarians or.......gasp...........omnivores.    So whether you are hard core vegan or just like to eat a bit healthier and support local small businesses, Veganmania will be a tasty treat.  

Admission is free, and you’ll get 5 free “Grub Stub” tickets redeemable at any food booth just for walking in the door.   Early birds get the swag bag, loaded with wonderful vegan products, for the first 100 people (age 16 & over) to show up.  Veganmania's the place to be, for food samples, live bands, DJs, great speakers and a children's craft area. Check their website for a rundown of all the vendors.

Then we're off to Northpark Nature Center for their 18th annual Harvest Fest, running 10-3pm Saturday and Sunday.   We always enjoy Mark Kater's macabre storytelling, live music, the farmer’s market, hiking in the woods, and seasonal food and refreshments for sale.   However, the highlight of Harvest Fest is always the impressive scarecrow building contest.

We won a pumpkin last year, and a coveted buckthorn and corn husk ribbon with MOST CREATIVE
 engraved with a wood burning tool.   Here's our "Bad Dorothy", complete with beheaded lion, tin man and scarecrow, and Toto in a basket.   This year we have scarecrow Harry Potter and Hermione planned. 

Straw is plentiful, and wooden crosses to stake up the scarecrows are provided, along with string and huge piles of donated clothing.   Contestants can bring their own props and costumes or use the materials there.   I'd highly suggest bringing your own Sharpies.   The available markers are always a bit questionable.   Entrants are encouraged to take their scarecrows home.

Saturday afternoon at 4PM, They Might Be Giants rock the Vic Theatre with a family show.   They were awarded a 2009 Grammy for Best Children's Album for "Here Come the 123s".  We hope to post a full review of the show, as well as their upcoming kids' release, "Here Comes Science".   We've been laughing and learning with TMBG since the kids were toddlers, and are fervent fans of their podcasts.

Finally, Sunday at 11AM, ChiIL Mama will be rockin' out at Schuba's Tavern, with award winning entertainer, Morgan Taylor, and his cartoon creation, Gustafer Yellowgold, an alien from the sun.   We're looking forward to the multimedia show, featuring live music and minimally animated illustrations.

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