Monday, February 28, 2011

Theatre Recommendations For Parents' Nights Out-2 by Neveu

These are the final days to catch The Earl & Odradek by Brett Neveu playing at The Red Orchid and The House (Chopin) respectively.   We've mentioned both productions a number of times before, but if you like your live theatre bloody, these two shows are for you.   Both are keeping Ben Nye stage blood in the black, with their macabre, nightly splatter painting on stage.   Both are highly recommended by ChiIL Mama and a host of others.

Check out the theatres' websites for show times and ticket information.   The Inconvenience presents The Earl at Red Orchid through this Wednesday, so you only have 3 chances left to catch this show.   Odradek must close March 5th, and is playing Thursdays through Saturdays at The House

For ChiIL Mama's interview with playwright, Brett Neveu and his LA punk band, The Noses and friends, click HERE.

For ChiIL Mama's review of Odradek, click HERE.

I finally had a chance to see The Earl last night and loved it.   I've seen my share of stage combat, but this fast paced dance, complete with tire iron beatings, darts, coffee in the face, and copious amounts of blood, was amazing, just for the sheer fact that none of the blood was real.    As all 3 brothers took turns slamming a rolling chair into each other, threw punches, and flailed away at each other with a tire iron, the fact no one got seriously injured in real time, is a testament to the skill of the major players.   

I thought the psychological elements and the rules made and broken were just as intriguing as the intense physical play between the brothers and later, The Earl.   The actors had a compelling give and take of power between the pain, and the polite small talk became hilarious, within the context of the brutality.  

This show is obviously not for children, unless your offspring are of the much older variety.   But the exploration of family traditions, sibling violence for fun, and the sick creativity of the game are edgy and fun.   Watching The Earl is like rubbernecking at a nasty car accident.   You may cringe a little, and suck in your breath with a sharp gasp, but it's hard to look away.

The choreography was believable and impeccably executed in this fraternal Fight Club.   It was like watching The 3 Stooges on speed.   Dialogue is terse, but all the more powerful for it's brevity.   I loved the twist that these guys are brothers (and The Earl is the LA boss of one of the brothers, a respectable, well dressed, older gentleman from the B movie industry).   None of them are enemies, rival soldiers, or likely targets for victims of brutal beatings.   The laughter far outweighs the outcries and moans, and it's apparent that all the brothers are enjoying their brutal game, despite the physical toll.

I do know someone in real life, with a number of brothers, who played hospital trip inducing games with each other growing up.   Most of theirs were Jackass style dares and tricks gone wrong, but they pummeled each other for entertainment, too.   They broke bones and required stitches so many times, their mother learned how to sew the brothers up at home, with a needle and thread, to save the cost of another emergency room visit.

Even my mellow, pacifist husband had his share of bloody boy bonding growing up.   He broke his leg when a kid dropped in on top of his motorbike with their own, in a poorly timed jump.   And he has a dimple on one cheek from being shot in the face with an arrow by a childhood playmate.   So I found the premise of The Earl to be within the realm of believable.

Thankfully, all of my own friend and family induced violence was fictional.   I took stage combat classes in college, along with fencing and other movement and theatre classes.   But, even knowing a few of the tricks of the trade just gave me even more respect for what the cast of The Earl has accomplished.   This is a compelling bloodbath of bets and brotherly bonding that's not for the squeamish, but something to see.

*Note-you may get bloody yourself if you choose to sit in the front row (though, rumor is-unlike Lady Macbeth's bloody problem-this splatter washes out).   All tickets are open seating.   Also note, this show may be addictive.   Several audience members there last night were repeat customers.

Check out the final days of The Earl before it's gone.

Mellow Yellow Monday-Dropkick Murphys

We'll have a full slide show up soon, with the best of Dropkick Murphys, Naked Raygun, and Off With Their Heads, from their Saturday show in Chicago.   For now, here's a teaser with a few yellow hued shots for Mellow Yellow Monday.   The bands were anything but mellow, but hearing live music is our favorite way to mellow out on the weekends.   Evidently around 4,000 other people at The Congress Theatre show agreed.   Enjoy!

Dropkick Murphys is a unique band and unbelievably fun to see live if you like punk and heavier stuff.    Where else can you see people crowd surf to bagpipes, accordion, and violin?!

We'll have a full feature later, but many of the guys in the band are dads and they even have a small daughter singing back up vocals on their new CD, Going Out In Style, coming out TOMORROW.   They even have a Boston show coming up where you have to have a kid with you to get in.

We have NEVER seen as many young kids at an adult punk show as Dropkick Murphys Saturday night.   It was fantastic to see so many families rock together!   We'll have a big show shots family gallery up soon, too, filled with just kids and families.   Maybe we caught you or someone you know.

Thanks for an excellent weekend.   These Irish punks know how to rock!   

Click below for more Mellow Yellow shots from around the world.


i ♥ Faces-Anything But Faces

Look faces.   There's a unique challenge this week at I ♥ Faces.   Our entry is from the Circus Teens show at CircEsteem, Chicago.   These talented teens wrote, directed, choreographed and executed every aspect of their show themselves.    Here's a daring leap over 7 peers and a grown up!

The kids are CircEsteem summer camp councilors, teachers and mentors to younger circus hopefuls, and world traveling performers.   Click below for more non faces this week.

CircEsteem-Circus Teen Show 2011

Double click slideshow for full screen and other options

We were quite impressed with the completely kid created, kid performed Circus Teen Show this past weekend.   These teens work with younger children at CircEsteem classes and summer camp, and they travel the nation and even the world performing!    This weekend was their chance to really shine, as they took on every aspect of creating a show, from music and lighting to choreography and publicity.   All ticket proceeds go right to the circus teens program.

We highly recommend checking out CircEsteem's shows and excellent programming for kids 7 and up, and even for adults.   Click on their website HERE for more details.   Spring classes are starting up the second week of March, and registration is open for classes as well as summer camp sessions.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dropkick Murphys Today and Tomorrow at The Congress Theater

"snaked Raygun"--2 of our favorite things goin' down today.
Snake handling indoors at Polar Adventure Day-Northerly Island
Naked Raygun opens for Dropkick Murphys tonight.   Against Me opens Sunday.

Now in their 14th year, the Dropkick Murphys have risen from their Irish-punk roots to become one of the best-known celtic rock bands in the world, thanks to their ability to tap into the working-class and their reputation for phenomenal live shows and political activism. This gang of 7 singers and multi-instrumentalists meld Irish musical tradition to hardcore punk and perform with such explosive energy that they’ve built legions of rabid fans worldwide and particularly in Chicago, an Irish stronghold in the Midwest. 

The band arrives in Chicago in February for two shows at Congress Theater. Saturday, February 26th they’ll play with Chicago legends Naked Raygun co-headlining. On Sunday, February 27th Against Me! joins the bill.

Tickets are $25.00 per night or a 2-night pass can be purchased for $40.00 here:

The hardcore punk/Celtic folk outfit Dropkick Murphys formed in South Boston in 1995; vocalist Mike McColgan, guitarist Rick Barton, and bassist Ken Casey comprised the original nucleus of the group, with a series of drummers passing through the lineup before the addition of Matt Kelly in 1997. After a series of EPs including Fire and Brimstone, Tattoos and Scally Caps, and Boys on the Docks, the Dropkick Murphys signed to Hellcat Records to issue their 1998 full-length Do or Die, produced by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen; McColgan exited the group soon after (he later went on to form the like-minded Street Dogs) and was replaced by vocalist Al Barr for the follow-up, 1999's The Gang's All Here. Frederiksen, who produced the band's first two albums, left the Dropkicks to venture out on their own for their third studio effort, Sing Loud, Sing Proud.

The Murphys reworked the Boston Red Sox anthem "Tessie" on their mid-2004 EP Tessie, which subsequently became the theme song to the Sox's World Series run that year. Warrior's CodeThe Departed. Soon after, the band recorded The Meanest of Times, a collection of songs about family loyalty, featuring guest appearances by Spider Stacy of the Pogues and Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners, released in mid-September 2007. 

Live on Lansdowne, Boston MA, a CD/DVD of tracks culled from 2009's week of St. Patrick's Day shows in Boston, was released in 2010. Warrior's Code followed in 2005, and one of its songs, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," was later used in the 2006 Martin Scorsese film The Departed. Soon after, the band recorded The Meanest of Times, a collection of songs about family loyalty, featuring guest appearances by Spider Stacy of the Pogues and Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners, released in mid-September 2007. Live onLansdowne, Boston MA, a CD/DVD of tracks culled from 2009's week of St. Patrick's Day shows in Boston, was released in 2010.

w/ Naked Raygun Saturday, February 26th  -- w/ Against Me! Sunday February 27th
Doors Open 6:30pm Tickets 25.00 or 40.00 for two nights
2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago - 773-227-7595 -

Friday, February 25, 2011

Think Globally-Play Locally: Best of The Weekend Bands, Art and Theatre

 Earwax-Wicker Park, Chicago

Friday-Eaxwax Cafe is closing after this weekend!    Check out the article in Huffington Post HERE.   This funky, fun diner has been a favorite of mine since I moved to Chicago in 1990.   We used to live in the same block as the owners.

My kids grew up on Earwax, from the time they were babies in slings.   As toddlers they went through a time where they called it Earwackies, and given a choice to choose a restaurant, they always requested to go there.   In fact, nearly 10 years later, it's still their favorite restaurant, bar none.   Sagezilla cried when she heard they were shutting their doors for good.

We have the fondest memories of their decadent French Toast, stuffed with pastry cream, and their veggie chili.    We have a lot of veg, vegan and omnivore friends, and this was a place we could all meet and eat.   The kids will never forget playing I Spy games with the freaky decor.   I spy a circus freak eating glass....I spy a giant dragon head.    Earwax, you will be dearly missed.

I went for lunch and there was only a 15 min. wait, but there was a line out the door by the time I finished a breakfast burrito and latte.   People were buying Earwax coffee cups and snapping phone shots.   I'll have a bunch of last goodbye photos (from my Canon) up soon.   The crowds may be outta control, now that we are down to the 3 day count down.   But we're going to try to duck in today after school for last time.

On a happier note......

Theater Wit is kickin' ass and takin' names.   They are in a new space that's been getting rave reviews (“The best new performance venue of 2010” 
— Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago), and they have a new show opening tonight called This.   

ChiIL Mama's going and will have a full review up soon, but if you wanna check it out yourself ASAP, they have generously offered totally FREE tickets to our readers for this weekend only.    And not just one lucky winner.   It's a free for ALL.   So get a sitter and come on out for a free theatre night out.   Parenting, sleep deprivation, and attraction to your friends' partners is way more funny when it's happening to someone else!   Read more details about the show HERE.

****Shows are 8:00pm on Friday and Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday.   Use our special code CHILLOUT when you reserve on line, for free tickets this weekend or $10 off subsequent shows (toward a babysitter).

Saturday & Sunday-

Come see High School a circus show. Inspired by real life experiences, this second annual youth created, directed, and produced circus show addresses ideas of individuality and the struggles of high school.   

Circus acts include juggling, gym wheel, trapeze, trampoline, and acrobatics and are presented by the CircusTeens. These young performers are part of CircEsteem's youth employment in the arts program that hires the most talented and skilled teen performers and teachers. Collectively, they have performed hundreds of shows throughout the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Argentina.  

Don't miss this great opportunity to support local, grassroots, youth created social circus in action.  

Saturday February 26 at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday February 27 at 3pm, at Alternatives Inc. 4730 N Sheridan, Chicago, IL.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids. Tickets can be purchased at the door and all proceeds go directly to the CircusTeens.

Can't make it to the show?  Please help support this youth employment initiative and forward this email or make a donation to CircEsteem. 
Your gift really makes a difference! 

For more info, please contact CircEsteem at 312-731-HAHA or visit 

****As a Montessori family, we're all about DIY and child led events.   These remarkably talented teens wrote, directed, choreographed and handled most aspects of this show themselves!   They even designed the fliers.   Come support this excellent program.   We take classes at CircEsteem ourselves and highly recommend it as a magical, amazing place that nurtures and grows strong, creative kids.

Saturday-Dropkick Murphys and Naked Raygun (more Chi Town punk Dads who still know how to rock) at The Congress Theatre.  Naked Raygun, brought all their collective kids up on stage with 'em when they headlined Riot Fest in 2007.   

The kids were all in mini Naked Raygun T-shirts.   I wrote 'em later to see where I could get the tiny t's, but they said they only made a small run for their kids.   My littles are finally big enough to commandeer our Raygun wear, but hey.......if they ever do onesies or toddler t's, ChiIL Mama will let you know here first.   

Friend, follow and find 'em both on their main page links above or on Twitter and FB.

Hopefully The Congress stocked up on beer.   They vastly underestimated the drinking power of a capacity crowd at the sold out Motorhead/Clutch show last Saturday and ran out of everything but Bud light!   Despite the drinks dearth, the show was a rockin' good, high energy time.   ChiIL Mama will have a full view from the photo pit, slide show of stills, from Clutch's excellent set up soon.

*Crazy coincidences:   gotta love those freak meetings and chance encounters.   We ran into 3 old friends we've known close to 20 years, which wasn't so strange, but was a lotta fun.    Then things got weirder from there.......

I talked with a girl I'd never met, in the beer line, then later ran into her at Late Bar, only to find out she's a producer my husband knows and has worked with multiple times.   Dug ended up in the line to pee, right next to the dad of one of Sagezilla's, small, elite team of competitive gymnasts.   What are the odds?    With a capacity of 4,000 at The Congress, we couldn't have planed those meet ups if we tried!


Karen for Kids at Beat Kitchen-noon concert for kids.    Click HERE for more info.

The Earl (by Brett Neveu) at Red Orchid Theatre.   Click HERE for more show info.   The show ends March 2nd.   Catch it while you can.

Also Recommended:

SATURDAY:   The Bike Winter Swap and Sale
Join other bikers on Saturday, February 26 at the annual Chicago Cycle Swap presented by Active Transportation Alliance for a bike swap and sale at the Pulaski Park Field house (1419 W Blackhawk). Your $5 admission goes to benefit Bike Winter. There's still plenty of space if you'd like to have a table or sell a bike at the swap-visit: for more.

The Last Polar Adventure Day of This Winter

Polar Adventure Days
All ages. Free. Don't let winter slow you down - come out and enjoy it at the sixth annual Polar Adventure Days series. Watch as amazing ice sculptures are created, meet live animals, make winter-themed crafts, sip on hot cocoa, and much more. Don't forget to dress warm.
Date: 02/26/11
Start Time: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Cost: free
Location : Northerly Island 
Designed to help Chicagoans of all ages experience the wonder of nature right here in the city, the Nature Oasis program was launched by the Chicago Park District in the summer of 2001. This exciting program is currently based at parks with large natural areas such as, Gompers, Humboldt, Jackson, Washington, Northerly Island and South Shore Cultural Center and works to increase environmental awareness by offering a wide range of nature-based programming throughout the seasons. These programs and events are planned so that you, your friends and family can come to a local park to get inspired, get in touch with nature, get your hands dirty or simply enjoy the beauty of the seasons.
Click HERE for ChiIL Mama's coverage from this excellent event last year.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Okee Dokee Brothers LIVE in Concert at Beat Kitchen, Chicago

Here's some lively live Okee Dokee Brothers footage that ChiIL Mama shot at Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids.   These guys are so much fun in concert, and were one of our Win A Disc Wednesday bands this week.   
We still have our review of their award winning CD, Take It Outside coming up.   This puppy already won a NAPPA Gold Award, 2010, a Parent's Choice award 2010, and 6th favorite album from Fids and Kamily.   We gave one away yesterday and we still have 2 more to go.   So check in at ChiIL Mama early and often.   If you just can't wait, click HERE and order your own.
For ChiIL Mama's national kindie fans, and travelers, here's the Okee Dokee Brothers' gigs through April.   Check 'em out if they're coming your way.   
Upcoming Shows!
February 19th - 10:30 am - Jammin' Java - Washington, DC
February 19th - 1:15 pm - Calvary Children's School - Arlington, VA
February 20th - 1:45 and 4:30 - Rock the Cradle - Minneapolis Institue of Art - Minneapolis, MN - FREE!
February 26th - 11am and 1pm - Town Hall - Seattle, WA
February 27th - 10:30 am - KidsQuest Children's Museum - Bellevue, WA
March 6th - 11:00 am - 92Y Tribeca - B.Y.O.K Series - New York City, NY
March 12th - 11:00 am - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA
March 13th - 3:15 pm - Jalopy Theater with Rolie Polie Guacamole - Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY - Kids = $5, Adults = $10, Family = $20 - FREE HUMMUS!!
March 26th - 1:00 pm - 93.9 The River's Meltdown - Northampton, MA
April 30th, 10:00 am - May 1st, 3:20 pm - Los Angeles Times Book Festival Presented by Target - Los Angeles, CA

The Noses Live in Concert at Beat Kitchen, Chicago

video credit-Tim Morris

Adult bands full of parents who still rock (rock/punk):

We're so happy to be able to share some live Vimeo and YouTube footage shot by Chicago videographer, Tim Morris.   Tim, you rock!    I shot the sound check, but my awesome pro location sound guy/husband was en route to Baltimore, then a shoot in Honduras and couldn't make the show.   So, my audio of the live stuff was a bit too crunchy.   However, the interview is golden, so if anyone missed our post earlier this week, you can check out ChiIL Mama's interview with The Noses & This Magazine is Haunted members HERE.


video credit-Tim Morris

Poochamungas Live Concert Footage From Beat Kitchen: Mommies Song

The Poochamungas were one of ChiIL Mama's Win A Disc Wednesday bands this week.    Here's some live footage we shot at Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids Series on 1/16/2011.   Enjoy!

Video Interview: Poochamungas founder, John Joyce, & his young daughter

ChiIL Mama caught up with John, the alpha dog of NAPPA award winning kindie band, Poochamungas, after their January show at Beat Kitchen.   Check out our interview here.   Our CD review, plus loads of live footage will be up throughout the week.   The Poochamungas were ChiIL Mama's Win A Disc Wednesday band of the week this week.


If you didn't win and would like your own copy of Mud, Mommies and Mayhem, check out their My Space page here or friend/follow them on Facebook HERE.   You can also check out their upcoming tour dates and hear sample tracks.

Catch em Live: playing at the DesPlaines Public Library this Sunday at 2pm. Free Show!

They're also playing bluesbar with many of our other favorite local kindie bands.

We'll leave you with a fun music video of theirs that will remind you summer will eventually return.   Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Win A Disc Wednesday-And The Winner Is....

Laura Meyer.   You have won BOTH The Okee Dokee Brothers-Take It Outside and Poochamungas-Mud, Mommies and Mayhem.

Laura and her kids, Millie and Jasek, like to rock out to Little Miss Ann, Pinkalicious Soundtrack, Annie Soundtrack.

Check out The Okee Dokee Brothers website for videos, songs, tour dates, rave reviews, multiple awards and more.   We're running a bit behind, but we'll have a full review of their award winning CD and live show footage up as soon as possible.  We saw them at Beat Kitchen in January and they were fantastic!

Check out The Poochamungas MySpace page for free tunes, tour dates, and more.   We'll have a full review of their NAPPA award winning CD, an interview, and live show footage up as soon as possible.   We also saw them in January at Beat Kitchen and they put on a good show.   I've always been a sucker for saxaphone.   Several band members are firemen by day and rock out for fun.   We'll tell you in our review, how these philanthropic, dog lovin' musicians are turning their passion to profits for the firemen's fund.

Mud, Mommies and Mayhem has won a National Parenting Publications Award. Music for kids that the whole family can enjoy.

Free Ticket Tuesday Entry Form-February & 1st Half of March Shows Are Up

photo by ChiIL Mama-taken at Schubas

Human Tim + Robot Tim will be playing Beat Kitchen March 6th and ChiIL Mama will be posting a video interview, stills, and live footage from their Schubas show last month.   We also have a family 4 pack of tickets for 1 lucky winner.   Enter at the bottom of this post for all ticket give aways through mid March.

*We'll also be giving away 3 of their Pop of the Tots! CDs on upcoming Win A Disc Wednesdays starting with the first one in March.   Enter for all monthly CD give aways on our Win A Disc Wednesday form.

How Far To Austin, an adult but family friendly, rock/pop/soul band, featuring Chicago parents Tate and Katie Troelstrup, have offered our readers a great give away.   *We have 2 pairs of tickets to their show on 3/11/11 AND 4 signed CDs for all winners.   Enter below for your chance to win and/or click  HERE to purchase tixs. 

Tate says:   The show is all ages, and we are supporting our friends (and fellow CHICAGO ROOTS COLLECTIVE artist) The Future Laureates for the release of their new e.p.  Mayne Stage is an absolutely incredible venue, and we're very excited to be playing at 9:00 p.m. so that our younger fans can get out and see the show!

Little Miss Ann and Candy Band are on a double bill at Beat Kitchen, Sunday March 13th.   We'll be posting interviews, live footage and lots of pixs of both bands, leading up to the show.   Enter below for your chance at 4 free tickets.

*In conjunction with the show, we have a 3 CD special for one lucky winner--Candy Band's latest release-High Five plus Little Miss Anne's Clap for Love AND Music for Tots.

This week, we'll also be reviewing a brand new, March 1st DVD release, by Gustafer Yellowgold, one of our all time favorites.   

*Our give away is a special, limited edition, signed and numbered, “retro-screened” Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock poster.  (These are screen printed, and when Morgan Taylor first saw them he was a bit surprised at how they looked, and felt that they had a “retro” feel)  This poster will look like the Infinity Sock logo (the cover art for the DVD/CD set) shown above.   One lucky winner will take home the Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock poster the last Wednesday of March.   Enter all month through midnight 3/29

Dreamworks Madagascar Live! is coming to Rosemont Theatre starting March 16th, and you can still enter to win a family 4 pack of FREE tickets to opening night right here!   We'll have a full review after the show, but we've got a sneak peek, photos and fun facts coming up this week.

Enter for any or all 5.   You can keep sharing on FB, Twitter and other social media and entering here, for your chance to win 4 tickets to any or all of the shows, through the posted end dates.   Good luck!

ChiIL Mama's Free Ticket Tuesday Details:

ChiIL Mama has Free Family 4 Packs of Tickets to all Beat Kitchens Concerts for Kids through the first half of March and for entries for a family 4 pack to Dreamworks Madagascar LIVE! at Rosemont Theatre's opening night, 3/16.  And...1 super special, numbered and signed poster of Gustafer Yellowgold.

Winners will be announced every Tuesday. 
Enter below for your chance to win!

1.   Follow ChiIL Mama on Twitter, Google Friends Connect, Networked Blogs, or RSS.   

2.   Fill out the form below, and you're in.

1 entry per person.   Entries counted until midnight the Monday before each drawing takes place.   All contact info remains confidential and will not be shared, sold, stored or written on bathroom walls.   Winners first name, last initial and city will be published.

**Bonus:   We think sharing is great, so we'll give you 1 xtra entry for every documented share on social media sites.   Twitter, FB and share away.   Include your link on additional entries.

We'll also give you 1 xtra entry if you "like" us on Facebook.   Good luck!