Thursday, March 31, 2011

SXSW Bands Update-Smoking Popes Play Double Door 4/3

The bands are filtering back now from all the Austin excitement of SXSW.   Lucky for us!   This weekend, Smoking Popes, who played a couple Austin shows, are back in Chi Town.  They play  Double Door at 8:00pm this Sunday 4/3, for a big CD release show.   Tickets are just $15.00.

Check out their website HERE for videos, ticket info and some amazingly cool merch.    Like many bands now, they're not only offering This is Only a Test as a download and CD, they've released it on sweet white or blue vinyl!   Check it out.   They're all autographed by the band and every purchase enters you in a contest for 5 rare Jay Ryan Metro posters and handwritten lyrics.   Winners picked April 12th.

The Smoking Popes are an American rock group from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1991. They play punk-influenced pop music with crooning vocals. The core of the group is composed of brothers Matt Caterer , Josh Caterer and Eli Caterer.

The Arrivals open for them
The Arrivals made its full-length debut with Goodbye New World on the Windy City's Thick Records in 2000, emerging from the same Chicago punk scene that spawned Naked Raygun, Pegboy, Blue Meanies, and Alkaline Trio. Sounding an amalgam of their Midwestern predecessors, Issac Thomas (guitar, vocals) Dave Merriman (guitar), Dave Kaktis (bass), and Ronni Dicola (drums) got together in 1996 to self-produce their first EP, Songs From the Cabal Headquarters

Smoking Popes Celebrate This is Only a Test with Local Record Release Parties at Chicago’s Double Door April 3rd & Palatine’s Durty Nellie’s on April 8th

“Ever wonder what a traditional saloon singer would sound like backed up by a punk band? The Smoking Popes take that concept one step further: They've created a unique kind of music that some listeners are describing as ‘hyperkinetic tear-jerkers’." Los Angeles Times

Smoking Popes built a relationship with their legion of fans and fellow musicians by melding raw songs about bittersweet heartache with soaring melodies, power chords and punk spirit. Wielding such musical influence is remarkable, and their latest album This is Only a Test is perfect proof that their sparkling lyricism and ineffable charm is still intact. This is Only a Test is the Smoking Pope’s first ever concept album, exploring the life of a fictional high schooler. The album hits the street on March 15th, sparking a spring tour to celebrate, beginning at SXSW in Austin. Before they hit the road, the band will play live on WGN in their hometown of Chicago to launch the album’s release.Join the Smoking Popes in celebration at their local record release parties at the Double Door in Chicago on Sunday, April 3rd and in Palatine at Durty Nellie’s on Friday .
This is Only a Test's songs explore themes of identity, musical aspirations, love and teen suicide." Singer/Guitarist Songwriter Josh Caterer explains, “When I first got the idea to write from a teenage perspective, the individual songs came really quickly. I wrote a song a day for five days. That’s half the album in less than a week. I never write that fast! Each song stands alone as a snapshot from this kid's life. The story doesn't unfold like a narrative. It's more like a collage."  Recorded at Chicago’s Atlas Studios in 2010, the album was produced by Matt Allison (Alkaline Trio, Lawrence Arms, Less Than Jake).
Some may assume that This is Only a Test is autobiographical but Caterer lays that notion to rest, saying, “The main character on this album is definitely a creation. He’s not me. Well…he’s similar to me, but he’s not limited by the realities of my own experience. I created a character that basically has the same view of the world that I had when I was in high school, but he’s his own person and he does some things that I never did.”
Smoking Popes first burst onto the scene in 1991 and released several albums on various local labels. They signed to Capitol Records in 1995 and re-released Born to Quit¸ one of Smoking Popes landmark albums, to an even larger fan base gained by touring with bands like Jawbreaker and Jimmy Eat World. Praise from SPIN, Alternative Press, Rolling Stone and Billboard arrived with the re-release and later that year, “Need You Around” was also featured in the hit movie Clueless. Musical icon Morrissey raved: “Did you ever hear Born to Quit? It’s by the Smoking Popes. I thought that album was extraordinary, the most lovable thing I’d heard in years”.
In 1997, the Smoking Popes released Destination Failure. The album challenged the idea of what a pop punk band could do, with lyrics that told tales of love and longing with heartbreaking details. To the shock of many, Smoking Popes decided to throw in the towel in 1998. In 2005, rumors started flying that the band would perform again. Their sold out reunion show at Chicago’s Metro on November 11th sparked a resurgence of Smoking Popes fans, leaving the crowd yearning for new material. The band was re-energized and reformed for good, releasing Stay Down in 2008 and in 2010, Its Been a Long Day, a compilation of songs released on rare vinyl singles.
Smoking Popes
Sunday, April 3rd
Double Door
1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 489-3160
8:00pm $15

Are You One Of The Lucky Eight?- Winners Announced

 Gustafer Yellowgold signed, numbered INFINITY SOCK collector poster.   

We have a big prezzy day for my birthday today.   Our month long contests for 4 books, our collectible poster, and our punk DVD end today.   We're also announcing our 21+ night out pair of tickets for this Friday 4/1, and our new March kindie rock CD "WANT" duo winners.    Did you win?

  • Deborah B. has won our pair of Tixs to Lubriphonic at Double Door, Friday, 4/1 at 9:30pm AND a download of their new release, The Gig is On!   Click HERE for further details.   Your name (+1) will be on the guest list at the door.

  • Nicole F. is our winner of 2 "WANT" CDs-All I Want and I Want a Dog.    She likes to rock out to Bari Koral and Mindy Hester with to with her children, Charlotte, Elijah, and Caleb.

  • John J. is our winner of the Gustafer Yellowgold signed, numbered INFINITY SOCK collector poster.   He likes to rock out with to Poochamungas, The Okee Dokee Brothers, & The Verve Pipe with his children, Malina and Stefan.

We have 3 winners for our Cinderella Ate My Daughter give away.
The following have all won this excellent 
hardback book 
by Peggy Orenstein:

  • Carolyn C. from Oak Park
  • Natalie H. from Chicago
  • Danielle P.
(books will be sent directly from the publisher)

  •  Laura L. has won Hand Songs CD/Book Combo

  • Deborah S. from Chicago is our winner of  A History Lesson Part 1-Punk Rock in LA in 1984-The Meat Puppets, Redd Kross, The Minutemen, Twisted Roots

She has a daughter, Violet Sky, and
her family likes to rock out to The Ramones, Hole, Nirvana,  & Johnny Cash

Click HERE for more details and ordering info on this month's featured books, DVD and CD give aways.   We try to send out all prizes by the end of each month, although some come from the publishers or the bands themselves, so please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.   Once again, big congrats to all our winners.   

Check back in April like we vote in Chicago...early and often.   We'll have a big Eco-Orlando feature and lots more great give aways including the American Girl Doll of the year, Kanani.  We also have more kindie music tickets and CDs from Mindy Hester and Dreamtree Shakers.   For adults and older kids, we're reviewing and giving away Bob Dylan and Anywhere USA DVDs.   Click HERE if you missed our April sneak peek.

Thanks for reading!

chiIL Mama
because life doesn't end with birth.........

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who Says Practical and Pretty Can't Walk Hand In Hand? #tcmheroes

If Twitter streams ran in colors...there would be a palate out there right now.  A rainbow of newly painted nails are clicking the keys on at least 18 blogs today.  The 29th began with a blog party at Pinky Nails and the creative color choices went waaaay beyond pink.   Mine are shimmering blue and there was an iridescent green and at least one other blue among more traditional reds and mauves.

Thanks again to @drivingmidwest #tcmheroes and The Chicago Moms for adding a bit of color and fun to the week.   It was extra great timing since tomorrow is my birthday and I met another blogger there who said her birthday is April 1st.   So, that was a little early, extra bonus birthday pampering for both of us.

I was happy to see that I didn't have the only short nails in the group!    I didn't see any super long, glam nails in the bunch.   This was a hard working, fast tweeting group of wordsmiths.   We're all used to putting our fingers to the keys, to send our thoughts out over the internet via smart phones, laptops and ipads.   

But who says practical can't be pretty, too?    We saw a couple of pretty practical ChevysThe Cruze and The Traverse LTZ, which had me drooling over the extra seats.    We've had to do a lot of extra driving, when we could have carpooled, and skipped play days with friends we couldn't squeeze into our Toyota RAV4 or our Mitsubishi Montero Sport.   Seating for seven would be amazing!   

I wish I could remember which blogger said it, but my favorite quote of the day was about the Traverse.   She'd driven it and was raving about the camera that shows you a rear view.   She'd just borrowed one to test drive for a week and gushed, "I love that camera.   I really need it, so I can see what I'm running over when I back up."

There was also a raffle to test drive a new Chevy Volt, electric car, for a week.   These aren't even available yet!   We're all about keepin' it eco-friendly and living as gently on the earth as we can.   We've been interviewing bands now since last August and asking a number of them what they do to make the world a greener place.   We may just have to break out They Might Be Giants great Electric Car tune, and take a Volt for a spin some week this summer.

It was also fun to catch up with a number of familiar faces from local events and more than a few #DisneySMMoms, freshly back from The Magic Kingdom.   We're going April 9th, and the last time I saw many of them was out at Disney Vacation Club before their fun in the sun.   It sounds like everyone had an amazing time, despite a few lost shoes and an unseasonable heat wave.    Can't wait till we're Orlando bound!

We also had a great talk with Mary Kay from Chitag, The Chicago Toy and Game Fair we were so impressed with last November.   They're relaunching under a new twitter name, starting a blog, and posting info this week on their young inventors challenge for kids 6-18!  We'll keep all of our readers up to date.   In the mean time, follow and check them out @ChitagFair and save the dates-CHICAGO TOY & GAME FAIR Nov 19 & 20, 2011 - Navy Pier. Come out & play at America's largest public toy & game event! 

Thanks again to Chevy and The Chicago Moms for a fun and informative, social event.   We've got a road trip coming up to Cincinnati in June and we'd love to try out a Traverse for a week.   We'll also be catching all of our readers up on Our Town Our Heroes.   Check out their site to find out how to nominate and celebrate the heroes you know.   

Lubriphonic at Double Door 4/1-Free Pair of Tickets (21+)

Need an adult night out?    Come check out Chicago's own funk rock masters, Lubriphonic.   They're playing  Double Door at 9:30pm this Friday, 4/1.   One lucky winner will get a free pair of tixs to their show and a free download of their new release, The Gig is On.   No foolin!   Enter below for your chance to win BOTH.   Entries accepted through midnight TONIGHT.   *Spread the word.   Xtra entries for every FB share, Tweet, and other social media share.

Got kids?   You can also use the same entry form for family 4 packs to The Boogers (straight up punk for kids in the style of The Ramones) and Dreamtree Shakers (punk tinged alt-country-folk from a band who says they hate labels and are in the "playing good music for people" genre).    Check out ChiIL Mama's original interviews with both bands and live concert footage on our YouTube and Vimeo channels in the side and bottom bars.

ChiIL Mama will be at The Lubriphonic show Friday and we can't wait to see these guys.   You can check out a video of the band in action, and download a bunch of free tracks at their site HERE.   You can also read more about 'em in this recent article in The Chicagoist.

We'll have a photo filled recap and review of their latest release after their show.

Relix Magazine: “Superb, adventurous, diverse, simply mesmerizing instrumental work. Steeped in soul, rock, pop, and blues Lubriphonic's members play with a tenacity and precision that sets them apart from equally proficient bands.”

Enter here for your chance to win!

Free Ticket Tuesday Winners For Mindy Hester and Sugarcreek Road

Big congrats to our 2 family 4 pack winners this week.   

*Amanda J. won 4 tickets to Kara Kesselring & Sugarcreek Road at Beat Kitchen

*Lori M. won 4 tickets to Mindy Hester at The Heartland Cafe 

We'll have our interview with Mindy Hester and live footage from her last show at Beat Kitchen up for you tomorrow.   She's our ChiIL Mama Win A Disc Wednesday feature artist this week.

You can enter to win a copy of her award winning CD, Juicebox Hero starting tomorrow.   And we'll have more upcoming chances for you to win again in upcoming months.    Check out her live show for clever, reinvented lyrics and familiar rockin' tunes.

Mindy Hester and The Time Outs!

Saturday, April 2nd- 4:00 pm
The Heartland Cafe
7000 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago
Come out for an acoustic, "unplugged" rock show for all ages!
visit for tickets and details

Monday, March 28, 2011

Enter Here-Big Give Aways Round Up For The Final Week of March

Through our blue, chattering lips we swear Spring really IS here...

March was a record breaking month at ChiIL Mama with TWENTY TWO give aways.   And we saved some of the best for last.   It's not too late to win the last week's worth of sweet books, DVDs, CDs, concert tickets and a collectible poster.   Links to all of our remaining give away entry forms are below.

In like a lion and out like a polar bear, seems to be the phrase of the week here in Chi town.   With snow still forecast for March 30th and April 1, the weather's more lame than lamb...unless by out like a lamb ya mean don't put that bulky wool sweater into storage yet.   You're gonna need it!

Nonetheless, my birthday's coming on the 31st, woo hoo, and flowers and tree buds are making a valiant effort to spring forward.    I still love this time of year  best, because I know there are 3 seasons of warm, nice weather comin'.    Even though it's my birthday, it's better to give than to receive sometimes, so we're giving away great stuff all week.   Enter below for your chance to win.

We'll sum it all up with the deadlines, and give you another chance to enter below.   If you've already entered, it's good to share, so we'll let you enter again for every documented social media share.   Here's the scoop, and good luck!

Enter through Monday midnight (that's today people):

2 Chicago family friendly concerts

Mindy Hester and The Time Outs!
Saturday, April 2nd- 4:00 pm

The Heartland Cafe
7000 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago
Come out for an acoustic, "unplugged" rock show for all ages!
visit for tickets and details
*Mindy is a this week's ChiIL Mama Win A Disc Wednesday feature artist, and we'll be posting lots of our great, live footage and our video interview from her last show at Beat Kitchen in the near future.   Come check out her Heartland Cafe show.   Fun for all ages.
Winners will be announced tomorrow on Free Ticket Tuesday.

Enter through Tuesday midnight:
Nationwide CD give away-new March releases

  • Win A Disc Wednesday double feature All I Want and I Want A Dog

WANT to win?   WANT a disc?   WANT to know who's got brand new, March releases?   WANT a dog?    WANT music for aardvarks?   WANT some rockin' new tunes you're gonna love?   

This week, our 2 Win A Disc Bands are both new releases I WANT A DOG by Jamie Broza and ALL I WANT by David Weinstone presents Music for AArdvarks and Other Mammals.    The second track on this one is I Want A Puppy!   (Hmmm.   I sense a theme.)  We'll have full reviews up soon, but for now, ENTER HERE this week through midnight 3/29 for your chance to win both CDs.

Enter through Wednesday midnight:
Nationwide Book, DVD & Collector's Item Give Aways

  • 2 Great Books:

  • Hand Songs-Read and Rhyme With Me From Many Lands--a multicultural book/CD combo-This lovely, durable book from Chicago publishers, Stepping Stones Media Productions, features sign language, Spanish, French, Hindi and Mandarin. Check out ChiIL Mama's Review then explore Hand Songs website HERE.
    Enter HERE through midnight 3/30 to win your own copy.

  • Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
    --We'll be reviewing this timely exploration of our cultural obsession with pink and princess themed merchandise, TV shows and films and what the new girly-girl culture might mean for the future of women, for feminism and for mother daughter relationships. Check out Peggy's website HERE. 
  • We have 3 great, hardback copies for 3 lucky winners. Enter HERE through midnight 3/30.   I was so enamored with this book I read it in one sitting, and really hadn't planned to.   I tucked the kids in, planning to check out a chapter or two.   The next time I looked up it was 3:00am!     Cinderella Ate My Daughter makes ChiIL Mama's highly recommended list, wands down.   We'll have our own full review up in the very near future.

  • 1 rockin' adult punk DVD (nationwide):

    A History Lesson Part 1-Punk Rock in LA in 1984-The Meat Puppets, Redd Kross, The Minutemen, Twisted Roots 

    Check out our photo filled coverage HERE.  This rockin' documentary screened at The Girls Rock Chicago benefit with Minutemen Cover band, Econoline.    Now YOU can own it and air guitar along in your own home.    Last chance to enter to win.    

    Enter HERE through midnight on 3/30 to win your own DVD: A History Lesson Part 1-Punk Rock in LA in 1984-The Meat Puppets, Redd Kross, The Minutemen, Twisted Roots 

    • 1 signed and numbered collectors item-
    Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock Poster (nationwide):

    We're celebrating the March release of another amazingly cool DVD by our favorite yellow, alien.   Infinity Sock is amazing.   Even my 10 year old "tween" is still entranced by Gustafer Yellowgold and the quirky, cool sense of humor that shines through in these songs and animated illustrations.   Check out Gustafer Yellowgold's website here for DVD ordering info, kids games, video clips and more.   Last chance to enter.

    *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 HERE through midnight 3/29.

    Good luck, and thanks for reading ChiIL Mama.   Check back in like we vote in Chicago...early and often.   April will bring lots more great reviews, news, and give aways.    

    Remember our regular give aways happen weekly on Free Ticket Tuesdays (Chicago Area) and Win A Disc Wednesdays (nation wide).    We generally accept entries all month for books, toys and other great freebies.    Check back in for additional give aways as the month progresses. 

    chiIL Mama
    because life doesn't end with birth......... 

    E-Mail RSS Feed-Easy New Way To ChiIL Out And Not Miss Anything

    We're excited to offer a new way to follow ChiIL Mama and our other ChiIL blogs. In the side bar of each, you can now select FOLLOW BY E-MAIL.   This will give you a once daily digest of our posts via e-mail RSS feed. 

    *The e-mails will not be shared, stored or used in any other way.   

    It's a super easy way to keep up with all of our great nation wide give aways, music, theatre and book reviews, free Chicago tickets and upcoming events.    Check it out.   Of course, if you're not already following, you can still do a traditional RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.   Thank for reading ChiIL Mama and we're happy to make it easier than ever, to hear about quirky, cool new artists, authors, and events.

    chiIL Mama
    because life doesn't end with birth.........

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Adventure Stage Lives Up To It's Name With Sinbad: The Untold Tale

    The cast of Sinbad plus Bella, the niece of one of the genies-post show Q & A   3/19

    We had the great pleasure of checking out Sinbad:   The Untold Tale last weekend.   The production was a multicultural feast, skillfully combining acting and puppetry styles from many lands, and a cast that hails from around the globe.   We particularly loved the illusions based on Japanese Koken work, which comes from traditional Kabuki theater.    People (characters and stage hands) all dressed in black in front of a black background so we don't "see" them as they transform sticks into swords, or fly around on a carpet.  In fact, all of the actors were on stage for almost the whole show, either as characters or black clad magic makers.

    Our favorite scenes were the fabulously fun stage combat scenes, especially the clash of the genies.    The fight scenes were uniquely choreographed, and took the characters through an exciting array of hand to hand, staffs and sword fighting.   Effective use of props made comic bookesque metallic energy bursts and streams visible through expert illusions.   We even wholeheartedly believed the illusion, as a life sized genie was pulled into a tiny bottle and imprisoned.

    It was especially excellent to see a show with such a rockin' female co-lead.    Sinbad's daughter, Ittifaq is no princess in a coma or fairy tale girl, sitting home waiting to be rescued.    She takes an active part in the adventures and is truly her daddy's girl.   Sure she needed a bit of saving, when she fell for a trap, but turned right around and rescued her rescuer.

    We're big fans of literature based productions, but Adventure Stage took the classic, tried and true Aladdin and Arabian Nights tales to the next level, with their U.S. premier of Charles Way's Sinbad:  The Untold Tale.

    **Note:   Recommended for ages 9 and up (4th thru 8th grades).
    Children under age 5 are not permitted in the theater.

    SINBAD: THE UNTOLD TALE cast includes Esteban Cruz (Abu Nuwas), Dana Dajani (Ittifaq), Adam El-Sharkawi (Sinbad the Sailor), Mildred Langford (Jan Shah), Mike Ooi (Silent Genie) and Edgar Sanchez (Sinbad the Porter).   

    In the post show Q & A, all the actors had a chance to tell the audience where they were originally from, and there were an impressive array of countries represented, and none repeated.   The actors also shared when they began acting, and my kids were particularly impress that half the cast caught the theatre bug as early as kindergarten!

    "Filled with magical moments, thrilling combat and awe-inspiring special effects" - Centerstage Chicago

    Ittifaq, the pampered daughter of famed sailor Sinbad of the Seven Seas, bristles under her father’s overprotective care and longs for an adventure of her own. Young Sinbad, an orphaned porter, lives on the streets and relies on his clever wit to survive. The two meet by chance just before a bitter sorceress casts a poison cloud over the city of Baghdad. The unlikely duo soon find themselves facing good and evil genies, daring swordfights, magic boats and flying carpets. But can Sinbad and Ittifaq defeat the sorceress in time, or will their beloved city be destroyed forever? 

    U.S. Premiere


    Written by Charles Way
    Directed by Amanda Delheimer

    March 19 - April 16, 2011

    Education Matinees
    Weekdays: 10:30 a.m. March 22, 24, 31 and
    April 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15
    Previews: 10:30 a.m. March 17th and 18th
    For more information about booking school groups and our Second Show Discount, click here.
    Tickets for these shows may be purchased by the general public, however, they are not available on-line. Please call 773.342.4141 to buy.

    Family Matinees
    Saturdays 2:00 p.m.  
    March 19 (Ice Cream Social after the show)
    March 26
    April 2
    April 9 (Performance is part of ASC's Spring Fling)
    April 16
    Special Evening Performance: Friday April 8th at 7:00 p.m.

    Learning Guide
    Our Education Department produces a Learning Guide for all of our productions. This text is FULL of fun background information about the show, pre-show and post-show discussion questions, as well as art and language activities. While we primarily make it for our educators, we think parents should check it out as well. Click here to join the fun!

    Read the Book, Join the Conversation!
    For every production we do at ASC we host a book discussion at Sulzer Regional Library. This year, we are proud to also be hosting at the brand new West Town Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Check the details below for book and registration information. Each book discussion participant receives buy-one-get-one-free tickets to our upcoming production of Sinbad; The Untold Tale.

    March 29, 2011 - 4:00pm
    West Town Branch - 1625 W. Chicago Avenue
    Book Discussion of A Fistful of Pearls and Other Stories from Iraq / retold by Elizabeth Laird 
    Call 312.743.0450 to register.

    About the Playwright
    Charles Way has written over forty plays, many of them for young people, including Sleeping BeautyThe Search for Odysseus (produced by Adventure Stage Chicago in 2007) and A Spell of Cold Weather, all of which were nominated as Best Children's Play by the Writers Guild of Great Britain. His play Merlin and the Cave of Dreams was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for Outstanding New Play. He has recently published the book collection Classic Fairytales Retold for the Stage. Mr. Way's play Red Red Shoes was named 2004's Best Play for Young People by the Arts Council of England. His plays for adults include a well-known version of Bruce Chatwin's On the Black Hill and an adaptation of Independent People by Halldor Laxness. Recent new plays include Still Life and The Long Way Home

    See Sinbad the sailor and Sinbad the porter and expand your horizons!