Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grammy Winning Okee Dokee Brothers Interview With ChiIL Mama #originalvideo

It was our great pleasure to catch up with the Okee Dokee Brothers for a video interview.  They'd just played our concert series at Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids in Chicago.  They had to cancel their last scheduled Beat Kitchen show, earlier this month, which fell on Grammy Sunday.   The boys were a bit in demand as this year's kids album winners!   That's a good excuse to miss a gig if I've ever heard one.   They've promised to reschedule and make it up to us.    

Check out their live show footage from Beat Kitchen interspersed in the interview above, and find out what other kindie favs of ours also played on their Grammy winning album.    Hint:   We just gave 4 tickets & brunch for 4 away for a show with one of them last weekend....   

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer Fun At Beat Kitchen #originalphotos #review #gofobo #warnerbros

Jack the Giant Slayer fun at Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids last weekend With ChiIL Mama

Beat Kitchen is THE place to beat the winter blahs, beat drums, and as of last weekend... BEAT GIANTS!

We rocked the Jack goodies at two of the Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids where all ages were happily sporting "I'm a giant slayer stickers".   ChiIL Mama's proud to be the press sponsor for the kids' series again this year.  

Last weekend we were proud to present The Boogers, Ramones style punk for your punk kin, and Apples Peaches Lemonade, sweet songs for little folk, with kids in the band as well as the audience.   Here at ChiIL Mama we give away free family 4 packs of tickets to EVERY Beat Kitchen concert for kids, so enter weekly for your chance to win tickets to some rockin', live all ages shows.   Shows are every Sunday at noon and now we're adding some Saturdays at 3:30 as well!


Our Jack the Giant Slayer giveaway table was a huge hit there on Saturday and Sunday.  


People especially dug the eco-friendly bags, hats, tees, temp tattoos, screen cleaners, posters, book marks and even creative bean shaped ear buds (perfect for Jack The Giant Slayer apps and free video games on line here)!

The giants are coming...  Jack the Giant Slayer opens THIS Friday.....March 1st!

Disclosure:   Thanks to Warner Brothers, Gofobo, and the Jack the Giant Slayer movie for tickets and goodies to review and give away to our readers.  You rock!   Check out the Jack and the Giant Slayer movie opening 3/1/13.  All opinions are our own.

REVIEW: Jack the Giant Slayer 3D #original photos #review

ChiILin' out with ChiIL Mama & Jack the Giant Slayer Giveaways at CircEsteem Circus Arts School Monday

We've been eagerly anticipating the press preview of Warner Brothers' latest, Jack the Giant Slayer 3D, and we finally got to see it last night!   It was truly epic and the whole family loved it.   This show combines all the elements of great cinema, action packed battles with mythical creatures, unique costumes, brave underdogs, evil underlings, visually stunning scenery, romance, and a princess who kicks butt instead of staying home and being prissy.    

Sagezilla, my 9 year old daughter, was so jazzed to have another strong, female role model instead of the comatose princesses of my childhood, sleeping their lives away, awaiting a kiss from a prince.   Isabelle is a rockin' role model who longs for adventure and sneaks out often incognito.  She's even got a cool mom who gets it, and encourages her to have adventures as a child, and see how the world works, so she can better govern later as a queen.

Sure, the whole premise of man eating giants descending on mankind is pretty intense, and if you have younger kids and you're in doubt, read up, check out on line previews and reviews or see it yourself first.  We've found some sensitive tweens have trouble with extreme action films and some younger kids are just fine.  Everyone knows their own children's limits best.  Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG13, but we were confident our 9 & 11 year olds could handle it just fine.   Jack the Giant Slayer is no more creepy or scary than Harry Potter, Star Wars, or the Lord of the Rings films.

The kids were enthusiastic in their praise for the movie.   Sure, it's based on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale and has other familiar elements.   My kids noted the "farm boy" and kids in bed hearing stories nod to Princess Bride, and the very gollum like mini head on the creepiest giant.   Yet, Jack the Giant Slayer is an entirely new tale as well, and one that's sure to become a family favorite for generations.

Sage looked at me with a huge grin as the movie ended and said "I may have nightmares for a month, but it was worth it!"  She slept just fine last night without a giant nightmare in site.  Jack the Giant Slayer is entertaining, enchanting and highly recommended.

Bean Stalk Scalers & CircEsteem Shows

WORLDS COLLIDE ALERT:  Two shows are opening in Chicago this Friday, that we're super stoked about, here at ChiIL Mama.... Jack the Giant Slayer 3D movie and CircEsteem's Performing Troupe Show, Circus Symphony, for two shows only.   

If a plague of giants descended on us, I'd want these super climbers on my side!   These confident kids don't flinch at heights, could scale a bean stalk with ease, and rock the aerial arts and acro...useful life skills whether you're battling oversized, man eating bullies or keeping fit and entertaining your friends.

We gave away 400 Jack the Giant Slayer 3D movie preview tickets to our readers and they were gone in a matter of hours.  When Warner Brothers offered us Jack the Giant Slayer show swag, too, we instantly thought of the CircEsteem circus stars.   Who better to show off the Next Big Thing T's than Chi-town's larger than life circus troupe?!    

One of the Circus Troupe kids is even named Jack!

These kids have some super sized skills and they're the most likely to actually be able to scale a bean stalk and take on a race of giants with panache. 

CircEsteem Proudly Presents

The CircEsteem Teen Ensemble!
Don't miss 'Circus Symphony'- the 4th annual youth created, directed, and produced circus show presented by the 'CircusTeens' of CircEsteem.

Circus Symphony is a fusion of circus arts and music that explores two seemingly separate worlds as one by combining the unique talents of the CircusTeen group.

CircEsteem's CircusTeen program engages young performers by offering participants  employment in the arts. CircEsteem hires the most talented and skilled teens to teach, perform, and mentor younger students and collectively have performed hundreds of shows around Chicago, the United States, and the Globe.

Showtimes are Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd at 7pm and tickets are sold on a sliding scale between $7 and $20.

For more info please visit our website!

2 Mar 2013 - 7:00 PM
4730 N Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60640

The troupe show is entirely written, produced and publicized by the kids themselves.   Come check 'em out.   We caught up with them at rehearsal Monday, and they were digging the Jack swag!

Sagezilla & other girls of action need great role models like Jack & the Giant Slayer's Princess Isabelle, whose not only pretty & passionate, but adventurous, active, brave, smart and kind, too. 

We adore mighty girls, and know they have a nurturing space at CircEsteem, where boys & girls from toddlers to teens can embrace their strength and climb, flip, roll, and fly.

We adore CircEsteem for their mission statement, too.   They're a non profit and keep classes sliding scale.  They also offer free tutoring, college scholarships, and work programs to keep circus arts accessible and affordable to all Chi-town's kids, which is a giant sized task, especially in tough economic times when corporate donations are down!   

The team kids encompass a huge variety of races, income levels, and areas of town, and form lasting friendships with kids they'd otherwise never cross paths with.   If you're in a position to support them by seeing their shows or kicking in some monetary support, we highly recommend it.

If you're looking for circus arts classes for kids or adults or a rockin' summer camp, check them out.   Our family has been personally involved with CircEsteem for close to 3 years and couldn't be happier with the experience.   Our kids have grown physically, mentally and emotionally, in stunning ways, all while laughing, playing, and having too much fun.  

Even my son who was firmly on the shy side, has become a seasoned, confident performer.   I've never seen him grin so much and have such a great time as he does at CircEsteem.

Coming THIS Friday.....March 1st!

Disclosure:   Thanks to Warner Brothers, Gofobo, and the Jack the Giant Slayer movie for tickets and goodies to review and give away to our readers.  You rock!   Check out the Jack and the Giant Slayer movie opening 3/1/13.  All opinions are our own.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Woo Hoo-We've Been Chosen 2013 World Book Night

ChiIL Mama will be giving away 20 free copies of  The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in person in Avondale/ Logan Square to light or non-readers who don't own or have access to a lot of books, for World Book Night 2013.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers for ever. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is such a book. With over 65 million copies sold worldwide and translated into 71 languages, The Alchemist has already achieved the status of a modern classic.
This is the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the exotic markets of Tangiers and then into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.
The Alchemist is a story about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts and, above all, following our dreams.

Author biography 

Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil and has become one of the most widely read and loved authors in the world. Especially renowned for The Alchemist and most recently his worldwide bestseller Aleph, he has sold more than 140 million copies worldwide and been translated into over 71 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, including the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France’s Legion d’Honneur, Paulo Coelho was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. Paulo is a force in social media. His Facebook followers number 6.5 million.
Also by this author: The PilgrimageBy the River Piedra I Sat Down and WeptThe Fifth MountainVeronika Decides to DieThe Devil and Miss PrymManual of the Warrior of LightEleven MinutesThe ZahirLike the Flowing RiverThe Witch of PortobelloBridaThe Winner Stands AloneAleph.

For more information:

What we do
World Book Night U.S. is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when 25,000 passionate volunteers across America give a total of half a million books within their communities to those who don’t regularly read. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany and saw over 80,000 people gift more than 2.5 million books.

How it works

Each year, 30 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers. 
After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.
Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night.  On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or access.   

Saturday, February 23, 2013

ACT OUT: Get Skooled by Actors Gym Through 3/23 #Review

Dean Evans gives  "class clown" a whole new level of meaning!   With a talented cast of Chi-town's best and brightest circus pros and protégées, Skooled shines.

All production photography by Ellen Prather of 8 Eyes Photography


A Study in Circus 

Feb 16 - March 23 
Opens this Weekend! 
Life's lessons come in many forms and some people always end up in detention. This year's winter circus spectacular takes audiences on a journey of eccentric clowning, aerial acrobatics, live music, and devilish pranks.   Featuring the work of Dean Evans, Co-Artistic Directors Larry DiStasi, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi and an amazing team of designers and performers, this circus production explores the school of hard knocks. Last year's winter circus shows sold-out, so don't wait!  
Fridays @ 7:30pm 
Saturdays 4:30pm & 7:30pm
Sundays @ 3pm

ChiIL Mama had a chance to check out Skooled on opening night and we were wowed and amazed.   Highly recommended family friendly fun for all ages!    Du-Jay & Sagezilla (11 & 9) adored it, and as students of circus arts at CircEsteem for over 2 years, they're well versed in what makes for a good show, and they're harsher critics than I am.   Actor's Gym has a small performance space and shows do tend to sell out, so don't miss out.    

Actors Gym excells in couching excellent examples of circus arts within' compelling plot lines.   Their choice of songs and use of live instruments add depth and layers to elevate performances from showcase to full on show.      
Performances run February 16 - March 23, with shows at 7:30 pm on Fridays, 4:30 and 7:30 pm on Saturdays and 3:00 pm on Sundays (No 4:30 show on 2/16). Ticket prices range from $15-20. Tickets can be purchased online through or by calling the office at 847-328-2795. Please call the office for group ticket pricing and availability.  
The Actors Gymnasium is located at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL - just off of the Noyes purple line 'L' stop. For additional information on The Actors Gymnasium's innovative programming, please visit or call 847-328-2795.
About The Actors Gymnasium
The Actors Gymnasium is dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the American Theatre. Encouraging ground-breaking theatrical exploration, The Actors Gymnasium teaches circus arts, physical theatre and multi-disciplinary performance to children and adults; produces original, daring works of circus-theatre; and serves as a talent resource, providing performance opportunities to our students and innovative professional event entertainment for a wider audience.  At The Actors Gymnasium, people Learn To Fly - physically, emotionally, intellectually and creatively.