Monday, November 29, 2010

i ♥ Faces--Scenic B & W Photo Challenge

It's hard to believe this massively tall Redwood was transplanted to Portland from California when it was just a twig.   Now it towers over everything around.  My daughter's doing her yoga tree pose, to feel rooted next to it's awe inspiring height.   Click below for more entries.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday-ChiILin' At The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

               She thinks I'm cuuuuuuuuute!

We've seen circuses of all sorts...    


 Just clownin' around at The Greatest Show on Earth

Clown College Bound?

For the sheer spectacle, nothing compares to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's FUNundrum!

We had the pleasure of checkin' it all out from the 4th row on Sunday, and the whole family had a blast.   We'll have a full review up soon, but for the moment, we'd just like to share some family fun shots with at least a hint of yellow, for Mellow Yellow Monday.

There are few places in the city as colorful as the circus on a drab, November day. Click below for more photos from across the city or around the world, featuring a little or a lotta yellow.


Best Theatre and Dance Shows Of November/December: Lookingglass' Peter Pan, Traces and Course of Empire

 We've devoted a fair amount of time to some bigger shows this week.   However, our 3 favorite recent productions took us back to our punk roots with stripped down, bare bones sets and high energy creativity.   We'll be featuring full reviews of Breakbone Dance Company's critically acclaimed Course of Empire, Lookingglass' Peter Pan, and Traces this week.   We've recommended and done short reviews on all 3 productions, but we'll have a more in depth look later this week.   

Course of Empire -- Breakbone DanceCo performing in Chicago pedestrian tunnel (left to right) Anita Fillmore, Mindy Meyers & Atalee Judy. Photo by Carl Wiedemann 2010 

Course of Empire is gone but not forgotten.   Check Breakbone DanceCo out on social media like Facebook for reviews, photos and updates on their next work in progress.   You can friend, follow and like them all from their main Breakbone page HERE.

Peter Pan has been extended and now is the ideal time to follow Lookingglass on Twitter and other social media.   

Lookingglass Theatre
**Watch out for a special Cyber Monday deal November 29 to save up to 60% on a limited number of tickets to Peter Pan!
Traces has also been extended due to popular demand and will now be in Chicago through January 1st.   Check out Broadway in Chicago for tickets and show times.
7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts de la main) is an astonishingly talented French Canadian company that has pioneered a whole new brand of theatrical entertainment, and their smash-hit production, TRACES, will launch its U.S. tour in Chicago this fall. Combining awe-inspiring acrobatic training with infectious urban energy, seven performers deliver dazzling, gravity-defying displays of skill that produce “one of the most creative and inspiring pieces of entertainment I’ve ever witnessed” (Edinburgh’s The Sun)– balancing on each other’s heads, tumbling through hoops and leaping spectacularly up giant poles without using their hands. More than just a display of acrobatic brilliance, the audience is gradually drawn into the performers’ real life stories and, by the final, dramatic climax of the show, on the edge of their seats, willing them to pull off the seemingly impossible. “Mesmeric, spontaneous and unpretentious,” (London’s Metro), this thrill-a-minute show will leave you begging for more.

Ticket prices are $50 to $71.50 and may be ordered through
Ticketmaster, or see Ticket Information for more options.

Special rates for groups of 10 or more! Call (312) 977-1710 to inquire.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Look For ChiIL Mama This Weekend and Think Globally, Play Locally: The Hundred Dresses, Pole-looza, FUNundrum, Legally Blonde, Wicked


The Hundred Dresses 
Click HERE for ChiIL Mama's review.

The Hundred Dresses is a great all family outing Thanksgiving weekend after a day of holiday shopping. Children attending any 7:00pm performance will be given Free Friendship Bracelets* as a holiday gift from Chicago Children's Theatre. Purchase your tickets now, or purchase day of at the box office. See you at the theatre! 
Show Information 

Only through December 2nd
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd
For children ages 6 and up 

Special Thanksgiving Weekend Performances:
Saturday, November 27th, 1pm & 7pm
Sunday, November 28th, 1pm

Click here for tickets or call 847.673.6300

*while supplies last 


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents FUNundrum!
Through November  28, 2010
There are 5 shows left.   Don't miss out on your chance to see FUNundrum!
Saturday 11:30am, 3:30pm, and 7:30pm and Sunday 1:00pm and 5:00pm
Ticket Prices:$12.00 - $92.00


KidsWork Children's Museum at 11 S. White Street, Frankfort, IL) presents Holiday Pole-Looza, a special afternoon of holiday delights perfect for families on Sunday, December 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Museum in partnership with The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University. 

Special Family Four-Pack ticket giveaways will be held during Holiday Pole-Looza at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. for Salt Creek Ballet’s [Saturday, December 11] performances of
"The Nutcracker" at The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University!

Tickets for Salt Creek Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” will also be available for purchase at a special discount on-site at KCM throughout
Holiday Pole-Looza, courtesy of The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University.   This critically acclaimed rendition of the timeless Christmas classic is performed 1 day only, Saturday, December 11 at 1 and 5pm.

The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University presents Salt Creek Ballet's critically-acclaimed production of “The Nutcracker,” with its magnificent sets, costumes and talented cast of more than 75 dancers from throughout the Chicagoland area on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1 and 5 p.m. The production also features guest soloists from American Ballet Theatre,plus live music from Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Special holiday concessions and photos with Santa Claus are available for purchase throughout the afternoon.  Tickets to each show start at just $15, and are available online at


Wicked is back in town with Broadway in Chicago.   When you've
overdosed on sugar plum fairies and holiday cute, come down to The Cadillac Palace and get Wicked.   I saw this production several years ago and was blown away by how good it was.   The sets, costumes and acting were fantastic.   I'm hoping to bring the kids this time around.   Wicked runs December 1 through January 23rd.

Theatre : Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago Illinois
Dates : December 01, 2010 - January 23, 2011
Running time: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes including one 15 minute intermission
Other information: Tickets are now on sale!


The Broadway smash “Legally Blonde” is coming to the Rosemont Theatre Dec. 3-5 only.    

ChiIL Mama readers special offer:   a $20 discount off the top ticket price to this wonderful musical (a favorite with Moms and daughters!)

When purchasing tickets, use the code GETOUT .  ($59.50 tickets can be purchased for $39.50).  Does not include $2 facility fee or any applicable Ticketmaster fees.  Ticketmaster fees do not apply to tickets purchased in person at the Rosemont Theatre Box Office. Subject to availability.

As a blonde haired, blue eyed smart girl, I lived with dumb blonde jokes and stereotypes all my life.   I'm hoping to take my blonde haired, blue eyes MIL to check out Legally Blonde with me.   I know she loved the movie.

She gave birth to two dark haired boys, and I'm the blonde daughter she never had.   Of course, after I also gave birth to a dark haired boy and was pregnant with our final child, she said, "That better be a girl or you're out of the family."   I told her, I had nothing to do with it.   That was all on her dark haired son.   Lucky for me, Sagezilla was a girl, albeit a rough and tumble tom boy of a girl,   and I'm still in the family.

This movie was a hoot and I'm excited to see how it translates to the stage.   ChiIL Mama will be there opening night with a full report.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL will return to the Chicago area with performances Dec. 3- 5 at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road.  Tickets are now on sale.

Sorority star Elle Woods doesn't take "no" for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to oneself never goes out of style.

In its first year on Broadway, LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL earned seven 2007 Tony Award nominations, ten 2007 Drama Desk Award Nominations, and a 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award.  The musical also ranked in the top ten list of the most requested Ticketmaster “Arts & Theatre Events” for 2007. LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL received three 2009 Touring Broadway Awards in New York City on May 4, 2009. The show won awards for Best New Musical, Best Production Design and Best Choreography of a Touring Production.

In the fall of 2007, MTV aired LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL in its entirety to stellar ratings and was subsequently nominated for two 2007-2008 Daytime Emmy Awards.

As on Broadway, Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell is the director and choreographer. Music and lyrics are by both Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and the book is by Heather Hach.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL will take you from the sorority house to the halls of justice with Broadway's brightest new heroine (and of course, her chihuahua, Bruiser). The verdict? This much fun shouldn't be legal!

Tickets, which range in price from $24.50 - $59.50, are now on sale.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased can be purchased online at or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at the Rosemont Theatre box office and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!

The Chicago Blackhawks may be on that annual extended road trip affectionately known as "the circus trip", but you can still visit The United Center.   Through this Sunday, instead of cold steel on ice, see hot circus acts with FUNundrum!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth!  

Leap aboard and go on an unbelievable excursion that brings together performers and characters from exotic countries all over the world.  From the moment that you arrive, the momentum explodes as The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived.

Thrill-seekers may pay for the entire seat, but will only need its edge as a rip-roaring motorcycle troupe braves fear and physics in the 16-foot Spherical Miracle.  Height-seeking high-wire artists perform 40 feet in the air, all while at a 45 degree angle.  Body Benders use their bodies in the ultimate test to see how far the human body can be pushed in a mind-blowing world of distortion and contortion.    
Just as the Ringling Bros.® train keeps traveling from city to city, Barnum’s FUNundrum! keeps the energy going as each extraordinary act blends thrills and contemporary spectacle to overdeliver a heart-racing experience that, until now, was beyond imagination! 
At Barnum’s FUNundrum!, the funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers the FUNundrum! “What wonders create The Greatest Show On Earth?” 

Show Times:Friday, November 26th at 11:30am, 3:30pm, and 7:30pm
Saturday, November 27th at 11:30am, 3:30pm, and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 28th at 1:00pm and 5:00pm
Ticket Prices:Celebrity Circle: $92.00
Front Row: $62.00
VIP: $52.00
100 Level: $26.00
200 Level:$26.00, $21.00
300 Level: $15.00
(Ticket price includes parking; prices include $2 facility charge)
Kid/Youth Discounts:$12.00 Flat Ticket Rate
(Not Valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, VIP Seats. Ticket Limit: 4 Kids tickets per adult)
Thursday, November 18th at 10:30am & 7:00pm
Friday, November  19th at 10:30am
Tuesday, November  23rd at 7:00pm

Group Sales:For information on group sales, please contact a Group Sales Representative at 312-455-7469

The United Center is pleased to offer free parking during Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents FUNundrum! Please visit our Parking Information page for details.

Purchase Tickets:Tickets are available in person at the United Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at

Please visit or for more information regarding Circus Celebrity Seating, All Access Preshow, and Meet and Greets.

Win A Disc (& $25 Card) Wednesday-The Boogers Are Back

Our local, punk rock favs, The Boogers, are back with their long awaited 2nd CD, "Let's Go!".   Hot off the presses and available as of 11/23/10.   We'll be offering 3 for Win A Disc Wednesdays in the coming months.   

We've done a number of reviews and live concert footage from The Boogers CD pre-release party at Schubas.   You can check it all out on The ChiIL Mama Channel on YouTube.   We have 8 live songs off Let's Go! and an exclusive interview with the 3 Boogers, Crusty, Greeny and Sticky.   For our prior feature and recap of the Schubas show, click HERE.

Check 'em out live at Subterranean:
House Call Entertainment, Inc. Presents!!

The Boogers
Saturday, Dec 11, 2010 3:00 PM CST (3:00 PM Doors)
Subterranean, Chicago, IL
Tickets just $7.00!

Enter below to win your own copy in our weekly Win a Disc Wednesday give away.   We have so many great things to give our readers in the weeks leading up to Christmas and the holidays, we're sweetening the deal each week.   

To start things off we have two treats, one to pick and one to eat!   Just don't forget which one is which.   We have the hot, new, kid punk release by The Boogers, as our pick for the hardest rockin' kid band around.    AND we have a $25.00 gift certificate from to use on a restaurant of your choice.   These guys offer discount certificates to thousands of restaurants in cities across the nation and beyond.   Check 'em out if you love to eat and love to save money.   Enter here to win both.

Contests are always open till midnight Tuesday and winners will be announced Wednesday, December 1st.   Winners are chosen by   All info remains confidential.   One entry per family per week, please.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Win NHL Slapshot for Wii ($59.99) and a stick signed by hockey great, Luc Robitaille (priceless)!! -And The Winners Are...

We have our 2 big winners...

*Denise D. from Lockport, IL whose all time favorite player is Eddie Olczyk!  We love Eddie O. too, and listen to the Chicago native all the time.   He currently serves as a television color commentator for NBCVersus and Chicago Blackhawks games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV. He played 1,031 NHL games and produced 342 goals and 452 assists for a total of 794 points between 1984 and 2000.   

(Olczyk also has two children playing hockey: Eddie plays for the UMass Minutemen in Amherst, Massachusetts and Tom, who plays for theSioux City Musketeers. His younger brother Rick Olczyk is a former hockey player for Brown University and is currently an assistant general manager for the Edmonton Oilers.)

*Gloria B. from Chicago whose favorite current and all time favorite players are Patrick Kane & Joe Sakic.   Our neighbors to the north at EA Sports will be happy with that choice!

In our give away, we had a wide variety of states represented, with entries from as far away as Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.   Of course Chicago and all the burbs represented heavily.   Thanks to all who entered.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.   At ChiIL Mama we're thankful for our readers and for finally having an awesome hockey team that brought home The Stanley Cup for the first time in our lifetimes.   We're also thankful for family and friends and for fun games like NHL Slapshot to keep 'em entertained! 

Check back in with ChiIL Mama often for more great give aways, reviews, and photo filled recaps.

Win 5 Hardback Books From Picture Window Books-And The Winners Are...

 1. In One Ear Out The Other--Lisa (at Redbird Visual)

2. Eco-Family's Guide to Living Green--Lori C.

3. The String Family in Harmony--Dina

4. Hello Goodby and a very little lie--Greg, Nicole, 

    Charlotte, Elijah and Caleb

5. Pony Brushes His Teeth--Christine (JusticeCW)

We had so much fun with our countdown to Chicago Public Library's Bookamania with 5 children's books from Picture Window Books, a Capstone imprint.  

Winners have 1 week to contact us at with a contact
name and address and we'll send your books right out to you.   Otherwise we will draw a new winner.   All info is strictly confidential and not shared, sold or stored in any way.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all.   We're thankful for all of our great readers, and for living in a town with so much truly amazing stuff happening all the time.   We're also thankful for living in a time and place where we have access to excellent books, creative toys and games and rockin' awesome music.

Enjoy friends, family and food this weekend.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Final Day To Enter-Win an NHL Slapshot for Wii ($59.99) and a stick signed by hockey great, Luc Robitaille (priceless)!!

NHL Slapshot for Wii by EA Sports in ACTION

Does your little player have a TASTE for hockey?

Enter here through midnight tonight (11/23/10) for your chance to win an NHL Slapshot for Wii ($59.99) and a stick signed by hockey great, Luc Robitaille (priceless)!

Enter HERE 

Two lucky winners will be chosen by,  from entries on both ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Out-Chicago Parent.

The kids have been all over this excellent Wii game since we got it.   EA Sports has really outdone themselves this time.   We had an older version of Wii hockey from several years back and there's just no comparison.

It's easy to pick up and learn quickly, but hard to outgrow.    There are multiple levels of play and a variety of choices from mini-games to entire seasons of play.   Everyone's unanimous favorite so far has been the Pee Wee to Pro.   The kids get a big kick out of playing their favorite Stanley Cup Winning Blackhawks  as kids.   Check out ChiIL Mama's review of the basics here.

Our only complaint was that you need to remove the Wii controls from the hockey sticks to initially get the game started, which is inconvenient, but certainly not a deal breaker.    Otherwise the sticks are responsive and excellent at enhancing game play.    Get your hockey lovers of all ages off the bench and into the game with EA Sports NHL Slapshot.   

Check out the rave reviews NHL Slapshot has been getting here.   We highly recommend NHL Slapshot.   Today's your final chance to enter here and win with ChiIL Mama.   Otherwise, tell Santa to check in with our fun friends over at EA Sports  for a list of your local and on line retailers.  Good luck!