Thursday, May 27, 2010

Broken Bones--That Childhood Right Of Passage, Trolly Treats in Millennium Park TODAY starting at 11:30, and Hepheastus--making aerial tricks look easy without ending in a trip to the ER

Well, we managed to make it through the first 10 years of parenting, without any broken bones.   But our streak of luck ended this week as Sagezilla aerial cartwheeled her way right into the ER at Children's Hospital with a broken right ankle!!!!

According to Wikipedia, An aerial cartwheel is an acrobatic move in which a cartwheel is executed without touching hands to the floor. During execution of a standard cartwheel, the performer's body is supported by the hands while transitioning through the inverted orientation, whereas an aerial cartwheel performer is airborne while inverted. To compensate for lack of support from the hands, leg momentum is employed to keep the performer airborne until the leading foot touches down. Aerial cartwheels can be executed while running or from a stationary, standing position. Aerial cartwheels are also known by various other names, including side flip, side aerials, no-hands cartwheels, or simply aerials.
They generally don't give crutches to kids as young and small as she is, because they're too difficult for them to manipulate.   But Sage insisted that she could handle it, and she's learning fast.   She may be off the gymnastics mats for now, but in 4-6 weeks she'll have some mighty strong arms and a left foot that's gotten a great work out.
 She's in good spirits, not in too much pain, and actually excited to show off her injuries and tell her no handed cartwheel tale.   At Children's I told her, "Now you look like all those older girls at the gym meets, with their ace bandages and wrapped limbs."   Sagezilla smiled conspiratorially and added, "....or, like the roller derby girls."

Good news is, we're going into a long weekend, so she won't have to scoot up and down the stairs to her 2nd floor classroom again till Tuesday.   Bad news is......we had a big hiking and camping weekend planned.   So, we'll be back next week with the saga of "how to tackle trails on a broken ankle" and "crutch camping at it's finest"!   Happy Memorial Day all.    Play hard, have fun, and tuck n roll when you fall.

If you happen to be staying in town, check out how the pros do aerial tricks without landing in the ER.   Looking Glass Theatre's Hephaestus is playing at The Goodman Theatre through June 6th.   This show is truly mesmerizing and exciting for kids and adults.

Finally, if you're downtown today, we also recommend the city's premier hop-on hop-off (just don't hop on one leg with crutches!) sight seeing tour company's kick off to summer.


First 250 In Attendance Receive Free Passes For Chicago Trolley’s Signature Tour.
FREE Event For All Ages Features Tasty Treats And Prizes From Across The City

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. will kick off the 2010 Summer Season with the official opening of the seasonal Park Shop location in Millennium Park Thurs., May 27 at 11:30 a.m. The first 250 people in attendance will be given a free All–Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Signature Tour ticket. Free treats will be available, including Garrett’s popcorn, Hershey’s chocolate and a trolley-themed Eli’s Cheesecake. Attendees will also have a chance to “Spin to Win” prizes from the Chicago Cubs, Blue Man Group, Cirque Shanghai: Cloud 9, Park Grill, the Museum of Science and Industry and more.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Win-A-Disc-Wednesday--Another Chance to Win Road to Rock by The Boogers

 These were the sweet, free t's Psychobaby generously gave out at the Reggie's show.   Oi indeed!

If your lil' boogers were banging their heads when you lost out on Road to Rock two weeks ago, don't tear out your mohawk.   You still have 2 more chances to win and one of them starts now, just in time to get everyone all revved up and ready to go to Metronome Celebration June 12th & 13th.   It'll be the last show of a 2400 mile road trip for The Boogers.   So let's welcome 'em home in style.

Metronome is not your average fest pablum in the band booking department.   These guys will be sharing a line up with some truly great bands booked by Empty Bottle and MP Productions.

The 2nd Annual Metronome Celebration is set to once again bring together the Logan Square community Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13. In addition to expanded rides and attractions for kids in the School's Out Forever Zone and a Latin Rock Stage selected by the Congress Theater, the event will again feature an Indie Rock Stage planned by Empty Bottle Presents, a Punk Stage curated by MP Productions, and a Folk Stage booked by The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival. Add in a diverse menu from over 20 restaurants, Green products and service providers, arts, crafts, jewelry and more, and you've got a quarter-mile of the best of what Chicago has to offer.

Check out The Boogers Website
Join The Boogers on Facebook!

ChiIL Mama winners will be picked by random number generator and I promise not to share, sell or print your contact info on any coffee house stall walls.

Fill out the form below for your chance to win Road To Rock.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music Lovers Break Out The Calendars--Big Summer Fun from Blues Fest to Lollapalooza

I love spring in Chicago, because I know all the summer music is coming with a vengeance.   It can be a little daunting to try to plot a course through the rock filled shores.   Of course, as we tell the kids, everyone has their own taste in   But ChiIL Mama can post a short list of our favorites and you can personalize it from there.

Of course, the big heavy hitters are Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza.   ChiIL Mama has been there with Sagezilla and Du-Jay for as long as both fests have called the Windy City home.   We'll just hit a brief summary here, with in depth coverage as the dates draw near.   Check out their web sites for band details, ticket info, etc.

Pitchfork Music Festival July 16-18th

Modest Mouse
Broken Social Scene
The Tallest Man on Earth
Sharon Van Etten

LCD Soundsystem
Panda Bear
Wolf Parade
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Titus Andronicus
Real Estate
Bear in Heaven
Free Energy
The Smith Westerns
Kurt Vile
Freddie Gibbs
Sonny & the Sunsets

Big Boi
Major Lazer
St. Vincent
Lightning Bolt
Beach House
Sleigh Bells
Neon Indian
Cass McCombs
Here We Go Magic
Surfer Blood
Local Natives
Washed Out
Best Coast

Pitchfork Family Pros:   some big shade trees and grass where you can spread a blanket, park a stroller and hang out if you go early, great bands to introduce the kids to, a good variety of healthy food, and plenty of craft fair/booth swag for the littles to collect

Pitchfork Family Cons:   predominantly full of 20 something hipsters, too few porta potties with loooooong lines, (tho most people will let you cut to the front if your child hops up and down in urgent distress), side stages can get uncomfortably crowded and the music's loud, so bring earplugs for the kidlets.

Still, despite the bearded, hipster heavy crowds, we love it!   Where else are your wayyy under 21 offspring gonna get to rock out to David Yow and Jesus Lizard, like Zilla and Du did last year.  Kids are free with paying adults.

Both Sagezilla and Du-Jay have gone to school with the kids of several band members from Tortoise.  

So they get even more of a kick out of seeing musicians they know as parents, up on the stage.


Lollapalooza and Kidzapalooza are an annual family event for us and far and away our favorite.   The kids area is amazing and children 10 and under are free with a paying adult.


Other Fests And Concerts Worth Checkin Out: 
  • Millennium Park excellent music in a number of genres, at "the big silver sailed pirate ship" (AKA:Pritzker) Pavilion from spring through fall
  •  Chicago Summerdance June 17-August 29th (free-numerous styles of dance, various locations around the city-all levels welcome)
  • Tortoise benefit for Drummond Montessori Magnet School June 3rd 8pm at Lincoln Hall--open to the public.   
A Benefit for Drummond Montessori Magnet School,
a Chicago Public School (

also with D. Rider, a great new band fronted by Todd Rittman formerly of US Maple, Robt. Johnson and the Browns, Singer, etc.

    • Phish at Toyota Park June 11 and at Alpine Valley August 14 & 15
    • Chicago Folk & Roots Festival July 10 & 11 (Old Town School also has numerous concerts and event all season long.   Check their home page for details.)

    Chicago knows how to rock, and we make the best of our warm weather days.   So get that calendar out and fill it now, so you know what's comin'.   
    See ya out there.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    I ♥ Faces--Yellow

    Yellow is the theme of the weekly photography contest over at 

    I ♥ Faces 
    which needs to include a human face and feature yellow.
    A human face just doesn't get much more yellow than this masked mascot for The Manic Attackers!    The kids and I met up with a friend and went to the final bout of the regular season for the Windy City Rollers .   The Fury beat The Double Crossers 95-69 and in a super close bout that had the crowd on their feet, The Manic Attackers overcame The Hell's Bells 108-93. 
      ChiIL Mama is featured on the Windy City home page under IN THE MEDIA:  TOUR DE PAIN.   Check it out with the links below.   We'll have new coverage up from the 22nd, later this week.

    This week The Windy City Rollers gear up for the final bout of their regular season with the help of Metromix and blogger fans Peter Coffinail and ChiIL Mama.

    ChiIL Mama

    The kids had fun with the masked manic, and Mya Ssault still gamely smiled and posed for pixs after getting smashed in the face.

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Look For ChiIL Mama This Weekend: Rockin' With The Buzzcocks, Cheering On The Blackhawks, Parading With The Pooches & Checkin' Out Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies

    FRIDAY:  There's lots of great stuff goin' on this weekend including just for the parents shows and family fun.
    First, call out the sitters tonight.   Theater Oobleck is back with more cutting edge theatre, and you can feel xtra good about your cultural self, because tonight only, half of the proceeds go toward peace and justice work.

    Theater Oobleck opens "Casanova Takes a Bath" tonight, in a benefit performance. Half the proceeds go to the American Friends Service Committee, to support their work in peace and economic justice.  Check 'em out on Facebook and YouTube.

    Throw a little shark steak on the grill and cheer The Blackhawks on to victory in game 3 of the Western Conference Final at 7pm Friday.   We're in it to win it!   Game 4 is Sunday at 2pm.
    The official start of the festival season is upon us with Mayfest leading the pack.   There are bands galore on Friday through Sunday, but we're aiming for 11am Sunday for the pet parade. 
    On Sunday, pet lovers unite to enjoy our world-famous Mayfest Pet Parade - Sponsored by Higgins Animal Clinic. Here is your chance to showcase the talents of your furry friends and take the stage for our unique per-friendly party. Awards are presented for the ‘Best Looking’, ‘Largest’, and ‘Owner Look-A-Like’ and others. If your pet can do an incredible trick, make sure to sign up for our ‘Pet Trick’ Portion of the show.
    The largest Green Festival in the nation is back at Navy Pier this Saturday and Sunday.   Bring a reusable bag and stock up on green samples and swag.


    • Volunteers - learn how to volunteer!
    • Bike riders with valet ticket - courtesy of Clif Bar's 2 Mile Challenge
    • Students with ID
    • Youth ages 18 and under
    • City of Chicago Employees
    • Green America & Global Exchange members
        $5 Discount:


    • Seniors 62 and over
    • Public transit riders with transfer or pass
    • Union members with valid ID 
    • Otherwise, admission is $10 a day or $15 for the weekend. 

    Our favorite derby girls are back in action.   Come cheer the Windy City Rollers  on at 6pm Saturday at UIC Pavilion.   Fun for the whole family.
    We'll be featuring Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies in an upcoming Win-A-Disc-Wednesday, but why wait?   You can check 'em out in person this Sunday, May 23rd at 12pm  at the Beat Kitchen  *followed by arts and crafts with Unicoi Art Studio.  Tickets are only $5.00. or get in touch with Mr. Singer on Facebook .

    Now, Sunday night, there's a band for the big kids (AKA:  grown ups and those offspring over 21).   Can you name that foursome?  No..............not the Beatles, tho they begin with the same letter, hail from the same country and were once referred to as "the Beatles of punk".

    We may all be a bit older, fatter and grayer than we were "back in the day", but we're not dead yet, and we still like a good live show!   So, come on out to the Double Door and see The Buzzcocks this Sunday at 8PM.   The Dollyrots open.

    In case you're not familiar with the band or need a refresher course in Punk101.   Here's the band's bio off their "official site"

      There are hardly any bands performing today that genuinely deserve the adjective ‘legendary’. Buzzcocks are one of those very few. Their achievements are staggering: one of the original holy trinity of British punk (with the Sex Pistols and the Clash), innovators of the independent record scene and genuine punk rock superstars who have been cited as inspirational by bands as diverse as REM, Nirvana and Green Day. Eight studio albums, over twenty singles and EPs, a constellation of compilations, covers by other bands and songs on film soundtracks and advertisements have put Buzzcocks among the top echelons of British recording artists. A Mojo Inspiration award in 2006 is just one of the many accolades they have received for their work.
    Buzzcocks have been thrilling audiences for over thirty years. Once called ‘the Beatles of punk’, their music blends high-octane guitar, bass and drum power with heartrending personal statements of love won and lost or dismay at the modern world to create a unique catalogue of unforgettable and immortal music – music they continue to deliver to fans old and new around the world with undiminished passion and energy.

    Buzzcocks have forged a unique relationship with their public and are deeply loved and revered by a global audience. They are simultaneously true to their original ideals and open to new ideas – a happy result of their own uncompromising and individual standing.

    Over the years, generations of musicians have tried the Buzzcocks methodology and have made their own variations of it. Most are generous in their thanks to the band that started it all. Those impressed by the recent waves of 'punk' bands would do well to spend an afternoon with Buzzcocks' seminal pop treasure Singles Going Steady, consistently the band’s biggest seller and a masterclass in genre-busting songcraft. This compilation of their first UK Top 40 hits is a classic album in every sense, an astounding collection of stunning moments such as ‘Orgasm Addict’, ‘What Do I Get?’ the anthemic ‘Harmony In My Head’ and, of course, the song that has become their calling card: ‘Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t’ve Fallen In Love With?)’. These songs have been covered by dozens of groups in many styles, a testament to the originals' strengths not as slices of punk rock history but as examples of songwriting craft.

    Buzzcocks are the true godfathers of punk-pop, having laid down that infinitely superior archetype. They are also a band with a past, present, and future. It is a history the group's members could never have imagined back in the hot punk rock summer of '76. Says Pete Shelley: "Looking back on it now, what's going on is like echoes of the Big Bang. You look around you in society and the culture; so many things would not have been the same if there never was punk rock. It's strange; it's like a science fiction novel. But to us at the time, it just sprung naturally."

    They're still doing it, better than anyone. Sometimes the archetype is clearly the best. Buzzcocks – no. 1 in people’s hearts. Icons, superstars, legends.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Win-A-Disc-Wednesdays: Little Miss Ann CLAP FOR LOVE

    There's a giant in Chicago's children's music scene, despite her diminutive name and stature.   Little Miss Ann (AKA:  Ann Torralb) may only be 5'2", but this mama belts out folk and rock tunes and plays guitar with the best of 'em.   Her music is aimed at the under 10 crowd and skews young, but adults will find themselves humming along and thoroughly enjoying her upbeat originals and folky classics.     

    Clap for love, her latest release, contains 10 sweet tunes that don't get old.   Enter here win one for your family.   Enter till midnight on Tuesday.  Winners will be picked Wednesday, May 26th.

    Little Miss Anne melds rock, folk and world music to create an appealing mix.    "Good Morning," is up first, with a mellow, gentle beat.   Then, "Stand Up" will have the littles rocking out and assimilating the importance of standing up for what they believe in. "Mockingbird" brings things back to the quieter, gentler folk roots with a cool message about individuality.   Then Ann Torralba's rockin' versions of "Over in the Meadow"  and "This Little Heart of Mine" take us all back to childhood classics.   By the time the title track "Clap for Love" comes on, everyone will be dancing.

    Our family favorites are the South African hymn "Siyahamba," sung in both Zulu and English, with excellent drums. "Wheels on the Bike", and "All Around the Kitchen".    With it's eclectic, unique mix of instruments and musical styles, Clap for Love will appeal to older kids as well as young.    Later in the summer, we'll feature Little Miss Ann's sweet tunes for the tiniest, Music for Tots.

    Little Miss Ann has been teaching at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music for years and she brings a different sound and face to kids music. She uses her experience as a first-generation Filipina-American woman, a Chicago Public school teacher, mother, and band front woman to inspire a grand ole time. 

    Little Miss Ann and her husband enjoyed making Clap For Love together. After putting their then 4-year old daughter down to bed, they would go down into the basement of their home and practice their tunes together.

    Fame and Acclaim
    • Warren Truitt, writer for and (Children's Music) picks Little Miss Ann: Music for Tots as "one of the best new music cd's for babies and toddlers".

    Radio play:
    Little Miss Ann's cd has been played on Spare the
    Rock, Spoil the Child, WLUW Kids Play, Saturday
    Morning Cereal Bowl, and Gooney Bird Kids!

    This Spring and Summer, Miss Ann is one busy Mama, with numerous local shows scheduled, including a Family Cruise!   Come on out and enjoy a true Chicago gem.
    Oak Park Public Library
    Thursday, June 3, 2:30-3:15pm
    834 Lake Street
    Oak Park, IL 60301
    Do-Divison Fest
    Saturday, June 5th, 5:15–6pm
    Time Out Chicago Summer Splash Family Cruise
    Saturday, June 12th,10-11:30am
    Taste of Chicago
    Sunday, June 27th, 3pm
    Westfest - KidFest
    Saturday, July 10th, 5:15-6:00pm
    KidFest (on Wolcott between Chicago Avenue and Rice Street)
    Taste of River North
    Sunday, July 18th, 12:30pm
    Tall Ships Fest
    Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
    Friday, August 27th, 5:15pm
    Downtown Palatine Street Fest
    Sunday, August 29th, 2pm
    On the Waterfront Fest
    Rockford, IL
    Saturday, September 4th, 2pm and 4pm

    Solo dates
    Ravenswood Care Fair
    Saturday, June 5th, 12 – 12:45
    Winnetka Library
    768 Oak Street
    Winnetka, IL 60093
    Saturday, June 19th, 10:30am
    Hinsdale Library
    Tuesday, June 29th, 10:30am
    Millenium Park
    Wednesdays, June 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 10am
     Friend Little Miss Ann on Facebook for the latest updates and current show schedule.

    Win-A-Disc-Wednesday Winner--Road to Rock by The Boogers

    A big woo hoo for the Coleman family, who won The Boogers Road to Rock.   Send your contact info to and we'll get that right out to you.   

    If you didn't win, we still have 2 more copies of Road to Rock for Win-A-Disc-Wednesday.   The next one is coming up Wednesday, June 2nd, just in time for their outdoor show at the rockin' awesome Metronome Fest in Logan Square.   Check 'em out.   Choosy kids pick Boogers.

    They're playing 4 dates outta state, but after that there are 3 local chances to catch these guys live.   

    JUNE 13: Metronome Festival
                Milwaukee Ave. @ Armitage & Western
                On the Punk (South) Stage
                Chicago, IL   12:30 pm
    here for more info

    JULY 31: The S.P.A.C.E.
                 1245 Chicago Ave.
                 Evanston, IL    2:00 pm
    here for tickets and more info

    AUG 01: Wicker Park Festival
                 Chicago, IL    TBD pm

    May Night Sage Outtakes Slideshow

    We had too much fun setting up the May Night Sage shoot for
    I ♥ Faces, so we just had to share some of the funnier outtakes, since only one shot can be posted per contest.   Here's a little slide show of our own Salvia Sylvestra being watered by big brother.  Enjoy!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    I ♥ Faces--Faces & Flowers

    Happy 7th Birthday May Night Sage
    5/11 2:10AM
    (Salvia Sylvestris--May Night Sage)

     I ♥ Faces--Faces & Flowers
    May you bloom and grow.   You have sage colored eyes, and love the color green.   You are my little green girl.  Your first name, Sage, means wise one, and your middle name, Ani, means beautiful.   
    It's lovely to watch you grow in wisdom and beauty every year.  

    Windy City Rollers Fun: Sagezilla and Du-Jay Go VIP for May Day

    We finally got our act together early enough to score press passes, for an up close and personal view, for The Windy City Rollers May Day bouts.   So, we splurged on VIP seats for the kidlets, so we could all be down on the floor, for the first time ever.   

    As you can see from the plethora of pixs, we all had a blast!


    It was so much fun to be close to the action.

    Sagezilla was entranced to see her teacher on skates, and Sheik Yerbouti was happy to have copies of some of the better shots for teacher appreciation day.

    Evidently everyone just snaps the skaters and the refs get ignored.   But they look so cool in black and white............

    The kids from The School of Rock brought down the house during breaks.     

    Check out their upcoming shows at Reggie's.   Those little kids can rock.


    We came without the entourage of 12 friends we came with last bout, but ran into some old friends from the T.V./film industry--one who's now a cameraman in LA.

    Zilla and Du caught their own share of the action, as front line jr. photojournalists.   

    Here's some of their work.  These are a few of Dugan's shots from the last 3 bouts:


    The kids had fun with the masked manic, and Mya Ssault still gamely smiled and posed for pixs after getting smashed in the face.



     From autograph seeking littles to sign wielding fans, there were plenty of happy people enjoying the action.

    The bouts were exciting and fun right down to the last hugs

    and announcing of the best players of the night.

    The kids almost made it through the whole evening, but both crashed in the last half hour.   

    It was a little too much fun, a little too much past bedtime.

    Here's the official recap from Windy City's site:

    photo by Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay


    May 11, 2010 - Chicago - The Windy City Rollers, Chicago's nationally ranked women’s roller derby league, will play the sixth and final bout in the closing of their regular home season on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 6 p.m. at UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave. General admission tickets are $20 in advance and $21 at the door.
    This bout will be in effect a dress rehearsal for the Ivy King Cup Championship, as the match-ups of the contenders in this double-header reflect the lineup for the final showdown to come in June. The first game on May 22 pits the two first place teams against one another, The Fury versus the Double Crossers. Neither team has won a league championship for for at least two seasons.
    In the second bout, the reigning league champion Manic Attackers won't get to defend their title this year, but they will want to end on a winning high note in competition against an ever-improving rookie-heavy Hell's Belles, who have drastically improved their game since the start of the season. Don’t miss any of the action as all four home teams go for broke one last time.

    Tickets for the May 22nd bout are available online through Ticketmaster, the UIC Pavilion box office or from any WCR skater. Group tickets are always available for groups of 15 or more, at 40% the face value for general admission. Contact by May 19 for group tickets.
    Be sure to arrive early; the first 300 fans through the door get a free WCR offical keychain!

    Entertainment will be provided by The Revelettes, a 1960s-inspired go-go troupe whose exuberant costuming and choreography have entertained Chicagoans since 2007.

    The National Anthem will be performed by Brock and Abrams

    Come on out with ChiIL Mama, who will be family free for a Mama's night out, at the last game before the championship, May 22nd.