Friday, October 11, 2019

FREE Posters Launched To Build HEALTHY FUTURES For LGBTQ & GENDER DIVERSE CHILDREN & YOUTH

NEW RESEARCH-BASED POSTER SERIES LAUNCHED TO BUILD HEALTHY FUTURES FOR LGBTQ & GENDER DIVERSE CHILDREN & YOUTH



Family Acceptance Project Poster Series Guides Families & Caregivers on Reducing Risk for Suicide, Drug Use and Other Serious Health Risks & Promoting Well-Being for LGBTQ Youth

Designed for Use in Public Spaces & Everywhere that LGBTQ Children & Youth Are Served

High levels of risk for LGBTQ adolescents for suicide, substance abuse, depression and victimization call for evidence-based approaches that increase support and connectedness at individual and institutional levels, starting with the family. Foundational research from the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at San Francisco State University has shown that parents and caregivers have a compelling influence on their child’s risk and well-being that provides a behavioral framework to reduce risk, strengthen families and support positive development for LGBTQ children and youth. In conjunction with National Coming Out Day, FAP is releasing a new series of posters that are designed to be used in public spaces like libraries and community centers and everywhere that children and youth are served, including schools – to share key information from FAP’s peer-reviewed studies and family support work with ethnically, racially and religiously diverse families and their LGBTQ children.



Disseminated in conjunction with a range of international, national and local groups, the posters will educate the public, families, youth, religious leaders and others about the critical link between specific family rejecting and accepting behaviors with risk and well- being for LGBTQ children and youth – especially suicide. They provide a dynamic education and intervention resource to help families decrease rejection to prevent risk and increase acceptance and support to promote well-being for LGBTQ children & youth.



Often compared to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study that is shaping interventions to prevent health risks, FAP’s research has identified specific family behaviors that predict risk and well-being for LGBTQ youth in adulthood. In addition, FAP has developed the first evidence-informed family support model that is being integrated into systems of care including behavioral health care, family preservation services, foster care, school-based care, trauma-based care and faith-based mental health care that will use the posters and other FAP evidence-based materials that are also Best Practice resources for suicide prevention. FAP’s research has found that family behaviors such as not letting an LGBTQ youth learn about their sexual orientation and gender identity, have an LGBTQ friend or participate in an LGBTQ support group have the same impact related to risk as physically beating an LGBTQ child. Similarly, FAP’s research has found that supporting a young person’s gender expression is among the most wellness- promoting behaviors that help protect against risk and foster well-being.



FAP’s poster series is being released in conjunction with National Coming Out Day in the U.S. and internationally in English and Spanish to emphasize the importance of family and caregiver reactions to LGBTQ and gender diverse children and youth. FAP is working with groups in the U.S. and other countries to disseminate the posters in a wide range of settings, including public spaces, clinics, schools and congregations to promote open conversations between parents and children, between young people and their providers and in families and communities to increase acceptance and support for LGBTQ children and youth. FAP is partnering with University of Oregon Implementation Science and Prevention Science researchers to evaluate the impact the posters have on care for LGBTQ young people.



Direct links:
Main landing page: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/poster  
English main page: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/poster-english
Spanish main page: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/poster-spanish

Said Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Office of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: “We know that suicide risk is increased for LGBTQ youth, particularly when rejection occurs in their lives. So educating parents and others about the research surrounding the critical role they can play in the risk and well-being of their children is vitally important. We all need to learn more about what constitutes accepting verses rejecting behaviors. These posters are a prime example of how research can be turned into lifesaving action.”



Dr. Judith Cohen, Co-Developer of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the most widely used trauma treatment model for children and youth, noted that, “FAP’s posters provide simple, evidence-based ways for families to support their LGBT children and improve their health and happiness. We’re very excited to integrate FAP’s posters and intervention strategies into Trauma- Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for LGBT youth who have experienced trauma.”



Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project, noted that: “The posters are key resources to help families and providers understand the critical need for family support and the impact that specific family accepting and rejecting behaviors have on risk and well-being for LGBTQ children and youth. Efforts to change, deny and minimize a child’s LGBTQ identity and gender expression start at home and last a lifetime just as affirmation and support build healthy futures for LGBTQ children and youth. 



The posters are free and available for all to use. We hope that agencies, congregations and communities will download, print and use them everywhere.”



For more information about the Family Acceptance Project and to view and download the posters, visit http://familyproject.sfsu.edu


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

REVIEW: FORCES + FATES: THE BEAUTY AND VOLATILITY OF PLANET EARTH Chicago Sinfonietta Season Opening Concert

FORCES + FATES: THE BEAUTY 
AND VOLATILITY OF PLANET EARTH  

Led by Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, Chicago Sinfonietta’s season opener highlights the current endangered state of the world and acts as a call to conserve




Guest Review
by Catherine Hellmann

It’s not every day that an audience is treated to fabulous music, an education from the conductor, a multicultural orchestra, and a free tree (well, a stick for now) in a container to take home as a physical, lasting memory of the experience.

Chicago Sinfonietta was praised by the Chicago Tribune as being “the city’s hippest orchestra,” and it is easy to see why. The evening began with Principal Percussionist Jeff Handley receiving recognition for “The Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service” for his dedication to underserved students in Chicago for 15 years. 

Next, there is the sheer diversity of the ensemble. It is truly exciting to see so many women and musicians of all races in the orchestra. The opening conductor was Jonathan Rush, who is a Project Inclusion Conducting Fellow. The program is another facet of the Sinfonietta that sets them apart from other orchestras--developing young, diverse talent for conducting and leadership. One of their past participants now plays with the prestigious Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. 

Three of the dynamic compositions, collectively named Earth Triptych which focused on the environment, were world premieres. Each selection was unique: The Soul of Gaia by Stefan Smith depicts the land, undisturbed before humans. Earth “before money, politics, chaos, uncontrolled destruction.” The second movement, by Michelle Isaac, a composer based in Chicago, invokes a rain dance ritual with wind and thunder. Some of the sound effects were provided by the audience where we were instructed to tap our laps for light rain and clap for the heavier rain. (Another unusual feature was seeing the musicians participate through singing or wind “blowing,” not just the expected playing of their instruments.) The peaceful music was interrupted by the jarring blast of the trombone section to depict pollution. By the third movement, earth is in dire straights: the last movement is entitled Extinction and Rebirth. As stated by the composer, Fernando Arroyo Garcia-Lascurain, “This is the reckoning, like a terrifying fire ablaze in the distance. Things are beyond urgent-there is chaos.” By the end, the only thing remaining is hope. 

Maestro Mei-Ann Chen exhibits astounding enthusiasm and passion for the material. She also has to be one of the most gracious and generous conductors I have ever seen, acknowledging many of her players at the conclusion of pieces, applauding soloists and sections. The composers were brought onstage after their selections were played and presented with flowers. The Sinfonietta is a joyous group with a conscience--even their programs were made entirely from recycled paper!

To further their message and mission, the Sinfonietta included activities that addressed positive impacts on our planet: 

From their website: “Plus, join us in the Grainger Ballroom during intermission for BRIDGE — our audience engagement program sponsored by Macy's! Create your own seed bombs with Plant Chicago, learn how to be zero-waste with Collective Resource Inc., immerse yourself in a rare plant installation with The Plantier, take home a free tree from The Chicago Region Tree Initiative, learn how to protect Lake Michigan with The Shedd Aquarium, and more! “ 

I told my companions that I really did see audience members walking around holding plants. My daughter popped up and announced she would go get a tree to take home. Um...we live in a condo with a tiny yard, so where was she planning to keep this tree? “In my room,” she explained. Silly me---of course! (We were still debating a name for her stick, er- tree--on the way home…) 

The second half featured Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. We all know it best from those famous opening four notes: “Da-da-da-DUUUUUM!” Maestro Chen had all of us sing it as part of her introduction. I was thrilled to hear this complete symphony. I am sentimental for Beethoven, my father’s favorite composer. My dad was also a violinist, gardener, birdwatcher, and environmentalist way before it was cool, so he would have adored the concert and the mission of the Chicago Sinfonietta.

My guests enjoyed the show. Courtney from Out of Town said she loved the venue and acoustics at Orchestra Hall. She didn’t expect the concert to be so “engaging” with Maestro Chen explaining what we were about to hear and the significance of the piece. Courtney felt like the audience was really a participant, not a passive listener. She also commented how the Maestro obviously “super enjoys what she does.” I was thinking how much kids would enjoy this interesting concert and was pleased to see so many children at intermission. 

My daughter Camelia, the Tree Girl, had the funniest summary of the whole experience: “It was definitely the Liberal Agenda, but in the best possible way.” Explain further? “Lots of diversity on stage, a woman conductor, music about global warming, giving away trees...it’s everything a Conservative Southernor thinks we do in the North that’s so terrifying.”
Out of the mouths of teenagers...  

As the Chicago Sinfonietta describes themselves: “We are an orchestra in action. We are looking forward to a season-opening that makes our audience reconsider the role of classical music — and how it can quite literally change the world.” 

Bravo on a memorable night of through-provoking, glorious music.  

Catherine Hellmann is a theater lover, lover of books, Mom of three, longtime educator, and at one point in her life, delivered singing telegrams.


The nation’s most diverse orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta is thrilled to present the standout 2019-2020 season opening concert, Forces + Fates: The Beauty and Volatility of Planet Earth, a performance centered on awe, imperfection and disorder found on Earth and how the future may rest in the hands of the human race. Forces + Fates looks not only to push boundaries, but also help raise awareness and spread knowledge on this critically timely topic through music. Featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, the “fate” symphony plus a world premiere work commissioned by Sinfonietta, listeners will experience a musical journey that celebrates the beauty that surrounds us while posing the question of what do we need to do to protect the planet. 

Chicago Sinfonietta’s performances will occur Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 8 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, and on Monday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Under the direction of 2019-2020 Assistant Conductor and Project Inclusion alum Jonathan Rush, Chicago Sinfonietta will open the season with Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Op.26, which allows audience members to explore the astonishingly geometric Fingal’s Cave, known for its natural acoustics and spine-shivering harmonies in the British Isles. Music Director Mei-Ann Chen takes the podium for the rest of the concert and will conduct a world premiere piece commissioned by Chicago Sinfonietta, Earth Triptych, composed by Stefan L. Smith, Michelle Isaac and Fernando Arroyo Lascurain. A three-part co-composed work, Earth Triptych explores life before humanity, present time and the mystery of the future, in a dark, yet hopeful piece. The three composers of Earth Triptych each bring a distinct voice to this work, yet each movement leads cohesively to the next.

Referencing the rainmaking rituals and the evolving nature, Clarice Assad’s Nhanderú showcases the worshipping rituals of the Amazonian Tupi-Guarani tribes when asking for help with their crops. Forces + Fateswill also feature George Walker’s Lyric for Strings and the concert ends with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 6. 

“The Chicago Sinfonietta is an orchestra that thrives on reflecting the important conversations of our society. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the Sinfonietta opening the new season with a very hot global topic which is also a very innovative one relating to orchestral repertoire,” said Mei-Ann Chen, music director of Chicago Sinfonietta. Besides the obvious choices of works inspired by nature, such as in the case of Mendelssohn and also in the new work by our dear friend, Clarice Assad, our brand new Sinfonietta commission will feature three composers of diverse backgrounds piecing together a new symphonic sketch centered around Earth’s past, present and future through the Earth Triptych. With our Mother Earth facing more detrimental threats than ever, we need Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to remind us that our fates are intertwined and only universality and the brotherhood/sisterhood of mankind can save our planet!”

“My relationship with Chicago Sinfonietta stems back to 2008 as a viola fellow in the Inaugural Class of the Orchestral Freeman Fellowship. Maestro Freeman gave me the opportunity to showcase the second movement from my first symphony during the annual Martin Luther King concert of 2009. So, I’m extremely excited to collaborate with them once again on this project,” said Stefan L. Smith. “It is clearly evident that climate change is real, and I try to do my part in taking the necessary steps to contribute to helping this cause. It is only fitting that I feel called to musically create a change within us to respect our beautiful planet. My movement, entitled “The Soul of Gaia,” takes the audience on a journey through the majesty of our planet before civilization. In the first movement, a serene flute solo leads the listener to constant changes of harmony, symbolizing the evolution of our planet. I feel that it accurately displays the vast, serene, and introspective qualities of the place we call home.”

“Music is a powerful tool for experiencing empathy. Uncommon in a concert setting, Forces + Fates has an important theme of environmentalism, allowing Chicago Sinfonietta concert goers to both celebrate the beauty of the earth and to reflect on our responsibility to ensure the earth’s longevity,” said Michelle Isaac, Chicago-based composer and orchestrator. “As the composer of the second movement of Earth Triptych, I felt a responsibility to tell the tempestuous story of the present relationship between humans and earth. The middle movement illustrates a symbiotic relationship devolving into one of parasite and host, often putting the listener on edge. It is my hope that this piece, along with the rest of the program, invites a dialogue of empathy surrounding our current climate crisis.”

Fernando Arroyo Lascurain, Composer and Violinist who is working with Chicago Sinfonietta for the very first time added, “Having composed pieces inspired by the social and natural climate of our world in the past, collaborating with such a talented group was a welcomed prospect. The third movement is a mixture of ominous grandeur, intimate introspection and uncertainty. In light of recent events regarding climate change, orchestral works like these provide a space to reflect on the consequences of our actions as a society and how it affects this beautiful planet we call home.”

To celebrate the start of the 32nd season in advance of the Chicago performance, Chicago Sinfonietta’s Associate Board is hosting Prelude 2019: Rhythm + Flow Monday, October 7, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at Symphony Center. The annual fundraising event features networking, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and silent auction and raffle, with the opportunity for local young professionals to interact with major players in the arts community. Tickets range from $40 to $100 each.

Since its inception, diversity, inclusion and bold and dynamic programming have been at the center of Chicago Sinfonietta’s mission. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was one of just 14 organizations in the nation to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions – the “genius award” for nonprofit organizations. The Sinfonietta was also selected in 2016 by the Chicago Innovation Awards in recognition of its innovative approach to programming.  Prior to that, Chicago Sinfonietta was named by ASCAP as the recipient of the 2011-12 Award for Adventurous Programming and in 2013 was dubbed, “the city’s hippest orchestra” by the Chicago Tribune, always embracing the daring programming that has been part of its history. 

Chicago Sinfonietta is grateful to concert sponsors Walder Foundation and William Blair. Season sponsors including BMO Harris Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Northern Trust and its season media sponsors including Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, NapervilleMagazine, WBEZ and Chicago Tribune. 

Tickets to Forces + Fates: The Beauty and Volatility range from $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online. For tickets or more information, please visit www.chicagosinfonietta.org.


About the Sinfonietta
Now in its 32nd year, Chicago Sinfonietta has pushed artistic boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra and is dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, racial and cultural equity in the arts. Each concert experience blends inventive new works with classical masterworks, each from a diverse array of voices, to entertain, transform and inspire. In 2016, Chicago Sinfonietta was the proud recipient of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions (MACEI). This award recognizes exceptional organizations that are key contributors in their fields.

The orchestra was founded by Maestro Paul Freeman to address the disconnect between the utter lack of diversity in orchestras and the vibrant, nuanced, communities for which they play. For more than 32 years, Chicago Sinfonietta has made it their mission to represent the city of Chicago, reflecting that vibrancy on stage and in their programming, making classical music accessible for anyone. In everything they do, Chicago Sinfonietta is inspired by founder Paul Freeman (1936-2015). The orchestra’s 32 years have been highlighted by six European tours, two Kennedy Center performances, three Millennium Park concerts attended by over 21,000 people and 16 recordings, including Project W, which was released in March 2019.

About Mei-Ann Chen
Innovation, imagination, passion and dynamism are the hallmarks of conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011, and Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival since 2016, Ms. Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm, high-level music-making, and galvanizing audiences and communities alike. A sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Chen’s reputation as a compelling communicator has resulted in growing popularity with orchestras globally.

North American guesting credits include appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Oregon, River Oaks Chamber, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. Overseas engagements include the symphonies of BBC Scottish, Denmark’s National, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Odense, Sweden’s Gävle, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Malmö, and Norrköping, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Norwegian Radio and Trondheim, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, Austria’s Grosses Orchester Graz, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and National Taiwan.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

KINDIE LAND: Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies To Release Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town” Cover This Friday, October 11, 2019

Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies, Chicago’s most energetic, award-winning band for kids, are releasing a spooky single this Friday! Their cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town” is due out October 11, 2019. Keep an ear out!




Here at ChiIL Mama, we've been covering Chicago's own Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies since their first release waaaaay back in 2005. They're favorites of ours and we've done video interviews with the band, shot them live in concert at our weekly kindie rock series, Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids, and teamed up with them on numerous giveaways for our readers. 

They've been playing Devil Town at rockin' Halloween shows for years. I even shot them at Beat Kitchen doing this awesome cover back in 2011. Check it out here:



Speaking of Halloween spirit and weird creatures, we're also pretty big fans of their covers of The White Stripes' Little Ghost and The Cramps Goo Goo Muck. Great tunes that are fun for all ages.






If you like “Devil Town”, be sure to check out their 2018 album, “Happy Haunted Halloween”, and keep your ears peeled for “You Rock!” their most rocking album yet. Due out in early 2020.


“Lots to like about the Sharp Cookies.  Any band with the Ramones as a major influence is way cool in our book.”  - Lou Carlozo, Chicago Tribune

“Part of being a kid in Chicago is rocking out with kindie/folk icon Mr. Singer.”- Red Tricycle

Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies are the husband-and-wife team of Neil and Kerry Firstenleit (“Mr. Singer” and “Kerry Appleberry”), along with dynamo drummer Michael Massett (“Marius Mustard”). The band’s rocking, electric sound has been described as “like June & Johnny Cash playing The Clash while riding unicycles through the zoo!”

Both onstage and in the studio, Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies specialize in fresh, positive, high-energy music at kid-friendly volumes, sneaking a little mischief, a little sweetness, and a lot of fun into their clever originals. The Sharp Cookies music salutes the ancient concept that one of the most fun things about being a kid in October is the anticipation of getting your socks scared off of you,

Albums by Mr. Singer & the Sharp Cookies include: Happy Haunted Halloween (2018) Going to a Party (2017), Bouncing Ball of Energy! (2012), and Muddy Water Beaver Dam Band (2005).

All are available wherever music is streaming, including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, CDBaby, and more. 

Want to learn more? Check out MrSingerAndTheSharpcookies.com 

Our Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/singercookies/

Our award winning music school’s site
https://www.leithauschicago.com/

A few live videos:
Come On, Come On, Come On!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Fke_0kmSQ

Just for Fun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqQVEyaPAmc

Rudy Rockhopper
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJQMZ4qBNPU

Animation
Kirei Ladybug
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmgrZ6kMrdo


OPENING: ROMEO AND JULIET: A Spectacular Retelling of The World’s Greatest Love Story November 7 – 9, 2019 at The Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Chicago Premiere!
The Family Crest, The Den Theatre & 
Jacaranda Collective Present

ROMEO AND JULIET:
A Spectacular Retelling of The World’s Greatest Love Story

(pictured) Kade Cox (Mercutio) 
Photo by Audrey Palumbo

Text by William Shakespeare
Music by The Family Crest
Directed by Sam Bianchini
Choreography by Julie Brannen

November 7 – 9, 2019 on The Heath Main Stage


The Family Crest, The Den Theatre and Jacaranda Collective are pleased to present the Chicago premiere of ROMEO AND JULIET: A Spectacular Retelling of The World’s Greatest Love Story, Shakespeare’s timeless tale cinematically reimagined using live music performed by indie rock darlings and NPR music favorites The Family Crest, whose unique and sweeping orchestral sound perfectly scores the most famous love story ever told. 

 (left to right). Halie Robinson (Juliet) and Alex Quiñones (Romeo) in a publicity image for The Family Crest, The Den Theatre and Jacaranda Collective’s world premiere of ROMEO AND JULIET: A Spectacular Retelling of The World’s Greatest Love Story. 
All Cast Photos by Audrey Palumbo.

The cast includes Alex Quiñones (Romeo), Halie Robinson (Juliet), Bailey Savage (Benvolio), Kade Cox (Mercutio), Dan Lin (Tybalt), Susan Fay (Nurse), Jess Ford (Friar Laurence), Terence Sims (Capulet), Ashlea Woodley (Lady Capulet), Gaby Labotka (Prince), Julie Brannen (Dancer), De’jah Jervai (Lady Montague, Dancer), Michael Gee (Montague, Dancer) and Manisha Mahaldar (Dancer).

(left to right) Ashlea Woodley (Lady Capulet) and Terence Sims (Capulet)

Directed by Sam Bianchini with choreography by Julie Brannen, this innovative combination of actors, dancers and live music by The Family Crest will play a limited three-show engagement from November 7 – 9, 2019 on The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.thedentheatre.com, in person at the The Den box office or by calling (773) 697-3830.

Somewhere between a rock concert and a classic Shakespearean play, ROMEO AND JULIET finds new life through enigmatic staging, engaging choreography and an emotionally expressive soundtrack. Treated as party guests, the audience is dropped into the middle of this sensational epic in an immersive night that feels like a music video come to life.  

 (pictured) Dan Lin (Tybalt) 

 (pictured) Bailey Savage (Benvolio)


The evening features favorite hits from The Family Crest, (some of which can be heard in their iconic Tiny Desk concert), combined with never-before-heard tracks from their upcoming album, The War: Act II, which debuts in 2020. The grandiose, symphonic sounds of these classically trained musicians provides the inspiring soundtrack to the familiar tale and paints the picture like it’s never been seen before.

 The Family Crest – Photo by Christopher M. Howard.

The collaboration between The Family Crest, The Den Theatre and Jacaranda Collective creates an ideal recipe for a special event. They welcome you to join this unforgettable experience.

The production team to date includes Emily Smith (scenic design), Alon Slotter (lighting design), Gaby Labotka (fight choreography) and Amanda Jean Grissom (stage manager).


(pictured) Gaby Labotka (Prince)

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Cast (in alphabetical order): Julie Brannen (Dancer), Kade Cox (Mercutio), Susan Fay (Nurse), Jess Ford (Friar Laurence), Michael Gee (Montague, Dancer), De’jah Jervai (Lady Montague, Dancer), Gaby Labotka (Prince), Dan Lin (Tybalt), Manisha Mahaldar (Dancer), Alex Quiñones (Romeo), Halie Robinson (Juliet), Bailey Savage (Benvolio), Terence Sims (Capulet) and Ashlea Woodley (Lady Capulet).

Location: The Den Theatre’s Heath Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Dates: Thursday, November 7, Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9

Times: Doors open at 9 pm; show at 10pm

Tickets: $33. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $60 (VIP Tickets include premium mezzanine table seats, a digital album of The Family Crest music from the show, including 3 new tracks off the not-yet-released The War Part II, and a signed collectible poster). Tickets are currently available at www.thedentheatre.com, in person at the The Den box office or by calling (773) 697-3830.


About The Artists
The Family Crest (Music) The brainchild of composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Liam McCormick, orchestral indie rock band The Family Crest was started as a recording project in 2009 with co-founder John Seeterlin (bass) as a final release before bowing out of the industry. Instead of leaving music, they were inspired by their peers to set out to reinvent how a band could be created, starting The Family Crest with an audacious and bold vision of cultivating a musical community. “We always liked making music with people –  getting a bunch of people together and singing. So we put ads everywhere,” says McCormick. “We posted on Craigslist, distributed flyers, and emailed old friends from school.” The outcome was greater than the original duo imagined, with over 80 people credited on their first recording and over 500 musicians credited throughout their catalog.

Beyond the core band of McCormick and Seeterlin, Anthony Franceschi (drums), Laura Bergmann (flute, piano, percussion, vocals),Owen Sutter (violin) and George Samaan (trombone), over 500 “Extended Family” members participate on recordings, live shows and across the artistic spectrum. Known for their jaw-dropping live performances, The Family Crest has toured extensively domestically and internationally, garnering the support of fans and the press alike. Bob Boilen of NPR's “All Songs Considered” said of The Family Crest, “Seeing is believing. Liam McCormick is a knockout singer, you simply must hear him live... There's a decent chance you're about to discover your favorite new band.” 


 The Family Crest – Photo by Christopher M. Howard.

The Family Crest has released three full-length albums and three EPs, including their critically-acclaimed breakout Beneath the Brine, which SPIN magazine called, “…a masterfully arranged epic… sharp strings, galloping percussion, and an ambition wide enough to swallow you whole.” Most recently, the band has been releasing pieces of their current musical concept album series, The War. “The War represents the next version of The Family Crest,” says McCormick, and indeed, the album reveals a band more in tune with its own large-scale Baroque eclecticism. Jim Vorel of Paste Magazine described their first offering, The War: Prelude to War, as “A sound so big, it feels like it could collapse in on itself at any moment to form a black hole… One thing is certain: These guys are just as explosive as ever, and these songs are going to bring the house down in a live setting.” The War: Act I, the second installment in the concept series brought about similar sentiments as EARMILK stated, “The Family Crest deliver complex arrangements with such confidence that each varying sound produced is done with effortless intent and is never perceived as an afterthought… a stunning explosion of color and emotion and just another reason why I'm continually captivated by this group.” They are currently slated to release the next chapter in the series, The War: Act II in 2020.

Sam Bianchini (Director) is a director, actress, writer and producer who has worked in LA, NYC and Chicago on both the stage and screen. She began her professional career in the storefront Chicago theatre scene at 17, while obtaining her BFA in Acting from Roosevelt University’s CCPA, which shaped her artistic voice and provocative, intelligent and heartrending style. She went on to receive her MFA in Acting from UCLA. Since then, Sam has been writing, acting and producing immersive and awe-inspiring pieces of theatre and film. A meticulous eye, attention to rhythm, and musicality of emotion are main staples of her distinctive direction. Recently relocating home to Chicago, Bianchini's accomplished voice and bold vision bring fresh ideas and electrifying storytelling to the Chicago Theatre scene. Select West Coast credits: Romeo and Juliet (LA and SF), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Cherry Orchard, Down in the Face of God and Talking Blues (director). Select Chicago Credits: An Ideal Husband, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, The Nebraska Project, My Name is Rachel Corrie (director) and Mad Like Us (director). TV/Film: Chicago Fire, The Next Big Thing (film), Lost Angeles (writer). www.sambianchini.com 


About The Companies
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den Theatre in 2010 with a single theatre space. Seven years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to seven resident theatre companies including First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre, WildClaw Theatre and Firebrand Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit www.thedentheatre.com.

Jacaranda Collective is a multi-media production company formed upon the principle of creating art to explore both the struggle and the beauty of existence, without claiming one Truth. Just as the Moon is rarely seen in full, we acknowledge and celebrate all phases of Life, while allowing the audience a safe space to navigate their own personal landscape. At Jacaranda, we aspire to inspire your belief in magic, and your potential to create it.

Jacaranda Collective burst onto the Chicago theatre scene earlier this spring with their knockout production of My Name is Rachel Corrie, produced at The Den Theatre. The company arrives as a passionate and provocative addition to Chicago's storefront stages. Spearheaded by artistic director Sam Bianchini and associate artistic director Halie Robinson, Jacaranda combines big, energetic vision and striking storytelling with precision and care. Bianchini and Robinson set out to make theatre that is a gift to the audience. For additional information, visit www.jacarandacollective.com

NINTH OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO, OCTOBER 19-20, 2019 VIA CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE CENTER

CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE CENTER ANNOUNCES SPECIAL PROGRAMMING FOR 
NINTH OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO, 
OCTOBER 19-20, 2019


Highlights of FREE Programs Include:
· Open House Chicago’s Family Festival
· Live music performances including the World Premiere of a site-specific composition in partnership with Access Contemporary Music (ACM)
· Guided tours with special behind-the-scenes access
· Theatrical readings, staged presentations, and film/TV screenings

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) today released the list of special programs for Open House Chicago 2019—now in its ninth year and one of the largest architecture festivals in the world. This free two-day public event, taking place Saturday-Sunday, October 19-20, offers behind-the-scenes access to almost 350 sites in 38 neighborhoods, many rarely open to the public, including repurposed mansions, stunning skyscrapers, opulent theaters, exclusive private clubs, industrial facilities, cutting-edge offices and breathtaking sacred spaces. In addition to free access, Open House Chicago offers activities at various sites all weekend long, including cultural performances, kid-friendly activities, and more.

Family Festival

Open House Chicago will host a free Family Festival on the Pritzker Pavilion stage Saturday-Sunday, October 19-20 from noon to 4:00 p.m. Participants can get an up-close look at the Frank Gehry-designed performance space. Self-guided tours and make-and-take activities are available both days.

Music Performances

Chicago-based chamber music ensemble Access Contemporary Music (ACM) continues its multi-year partnership with Open House Chicago, commissioning music inspired by unique, and uniquely Chicago, spaces. This year, ACM musicians will premiere a work composed specifically for The Forum on 43rd Street on Saturday, October 19 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Performances will take place every 15 minutes. A sampling of other music presentations includes:
·         Pop-up cabaret performances at Newport Theater on October 19-20 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. both days
·         A 1935 Moller Organ concert featuring selections such as the “Game of Thrones” theme music and the famous Bach Toccata at Carl Schurz High School on October 19-20 at 2:00 p.m. both days;
·         An afternoon of organ music from a variety of styles at Luther Memorial Church on Saturday, October 19 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
·         An organ and electronic bell system performance at St. Mary of the Lake on Saturday, October 19 at 2:30 p.m.
·         Sunday Service with DJ Duane Powell at Stony Island Arts Bank on Sunday, October 20 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
·         The Jazz Vespers at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, October 20 at 4:00 p.m.
·         The Spanish-language Los Angelitos Children’s Choir at St. Mary of the Lake on Sunday, October 20 from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Guided Tours

Guided tour highlights include:
·         Special guided tours of the Convent of St. Anne at the Church of the Ascension on Saturday, October 19 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
·         A Michelin-starred brunch and guided tour of Thalia Hall on Saturday, October 19 at 11:00 a.m. (reservations required)
·         A brewery tour at Eris Brewery & Cider House on October 19-20 at 12:30 p.m. both days
·         A behind-the-scenes tour of LEED sustainability features at the Rotary International World Headquarters Building October 19-20 at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. both days (reservations required)

Readings/Performances/Screenings

Continuing its celebration of the City’s 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, Open House Chicago includes special theatrical presentations at several sites, including:
·         30-minute lively readings of the classic book Corduroy with Emerald City Theatre at Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, October 19 at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:15 p.m.
·         Blood Line, an acoustic installation and performance that remembers the 1919 Chicago Race Riot and those who died in the uprising of that "red summer,” at Augustana Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 19 at 1:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 20 from noon to 5:00 p.m.
·         A film screening of the documentary The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow at the Stony Island Arts Bank on Saturday, October 19 at 3:00 p.m.
·         The premiere of Chicago-produced TV show “Dearly Departed” about Chicago’s south and west sides at Ingersoll-Blackwelder House on Saturday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. (RSVP required)

Information about Open House Chicago special programs is available at openhousechicago.org/programs. For a complete list of participating Open House Chicago sites, visit openhousechicago.org/sites. Most Open House Chicago sites are free and do not require a reservation but select Open House Chicago sites require advance registration (usually due to security or capacity constraints) and will not accept drop-in visitors. Participants are encouraged to sign up to receive event e-newsletters and last-minute announcements. Get the latest news and fun facts about Open House Chicago by following the Chicago Architecture Center on Twitter (@chiarchitecture) and Facebook (facebook.com/chiarchitecture).

Become a CAC member at openhousechicago.org/membership to receive a Priority Access Pass, which gives exclusive access to Members Only sites and the ability to skip the lines at busier Open House Chicago sites.

Open House Chicago is a celebration of Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities with some 50+ community partners helping make the event each year. The Open House Chicago Community Partners for the Northwest Side expansion include the Six Corners Association and Northwest Chicago Historical Society.

In 2018, Wintrust became the Presenting Sponsor for Open House Chicago through 2020. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, ComEd, TAWANI Foundation, and DCASE (Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events). Open House Chicago partners include Choose Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and Open House Worldwide. Media sponsors include Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ 91.5FM/Vocalo.org.

Open House Chicago is part of a worldwide movement of free open house events that began in London in 1992. Today more than 50 cities worldwide hold similar weekend festivals. Open House Chicago is the second largest event of its kind globally.



About the Chicago Architecture Center
The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. As an education leader in architecture and design, The CAC is a hub for everything architecture in Chicago offering tours, programs, exhibitions, field trips, curricula and online tools that are part of a dynamic learning journey for all ages. Proceeds from CAC’s tours and store, as well as grants, sponsorships and donations, support this educational mission. For more information, visit www.architecture.org.

KINDIE LAND: NEW SINGLE FROM MOOZIKA! "MOOSE ON THE LOOSE" OUT OCTOBER 11, 2019


THERE'S A MOOSE ON THE LOOSE IN MANHATTAN!
NEW SINGLE FROM MOOZIKA!
"MOOSE ON THE LOOSE"
SET FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 11, 2019


"His original songs, like 'Moose on the Loose' ... are absurdly invigorating — everyone bops and beams. Everyone." — New York Magazine

"Gleefully existing in its own time zone, this is pretty much like nothing in kids' music that you've heard before." — Midwest Record

"The CD is like a soundtrack for a super fun playgroup music time." 
— 2019 NAPPA Award review

Beloved Brooklyn-based music educator. singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Goldman will release the first single off his 2019 NAPPA Award-winning debut family album Moove to the Moozika! on Friday, October 11.

The single, "Moose on the Loose", is one of the biggest hits from Jesse's acclaimed Moozika! music classes and the shows he performs for kids and families with his Moozika! band.

A goofy city-based adventure song, "Moose on the Loose" is the perfect tune for working the wiggles out. Relatable for city kids and wish-they-were-in-a-city kids alike, "Moose on the Loose" bring wildlife to the urban jungle in an udderly silly way.

Named one of the top three “Absolute Best” kids’ music classes in NYC by New York Magazine, Moozika!’s Spanish - English curriculum is powered by an ethos of expansive love and gentleness that also permeates every playful song on Moove to the Moozika! The album will be released on October 25.

“This album represents a capstone celebration of more than five years of creating vivid musical experiences for the hundreds of children who’ve participated in Moozika! classes and attended Moozika! band shows throughout Brooklyn,” says Jesse Goldman. “I want to see families rocking out to Moove to the Moozika! ‘til the cows come home and then discovering fresh new ways of making each song a living thing. Can they decorate the melodies with their own variations or even create new music inspired by the album? Moove to the Moozika! is an invitation to play!”

Jesse Goldman is passionate about using his skills as a musician, fluent Spanish speaker, music educator, and community organizer to create a more loving world. Counting Bobby McFerrin among his personal mentors, Jesse has long been active in improvised music circles in NYC, where he facilitates workshops for learning to create spontaneous a capella music. He has teamed with acclaimed artists of all stripes, from jazz/hip-hop drummer Makaya McCraven to Grammy-winning musical theater writer Ty Defoe, and his original music has been featured in venues throughout NYC, including the Queens Museum, 54 Below, the Duplex Theater, ShapeShifter Lab, and the Laurie Beechman Theater.

"Moose on the Loose" will be available at Bandcamp on October 11, 2019.

The complete Moove to the Moozika! album will be available at CDBaby, Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and www.Moozika.com on October 25, 2019.

For more information, please visit www.moozika.com.



Moove to the Moozika! Album Release Celebration for Kids & Families!

WHERE: Dekalb Stage, Dekalb Market Hall, 445 Albee Square West, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Basement Level)

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 2, 2019

ADMISSION: $15 at the door. $10 in advance for adults and children age one and older. $8.75 per person for families of four or more.

ADVANCE TICKETS: Visit Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

INFO: Visit the Dekalb Market Hall website, call 917-670-3618, or email jesse@moozika.com

Friday, October 4, 2019

REVIEW: LUNA Via Filament Theatre Now Playing Through November 3, 2019

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: 
Excellent Family Friendly Theatre

Filament Theatre Presents 
LUNA
By Ramón Esquivel
Directed by Alejandro Tey
Now Playing Through November 3


Sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, October 20th

 Credit for all production photos: Christian Libonati



Guest Review
by kimberly robb baker

When you have no permanent physical home, where does your sense of place come from?

For Soledad, the daughter of migrant farm workers, it comes from her parents and from Luna, the moon, who follows her wherever she goes. As the audience, we too are grounded by the ever-presence of the small nuclear family and the moon as we shift with them in a non-traditional seating arrangement that requires us to relocate so that a new home, school, or workplace can be set up for Soledad and her parents.


Also, audience members become stars who are the moon’s friend and help the story along, even advising Soledad on what to do when she grievously hurts Luna’s feelings, causing her to vanish from the sky.

We liked that farm workers were portrayed in the context of their personal lives. They were humanized and we were reminded that there are people who travel constantly and work very hard so that we can stay at home and enjoy all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

We also liked that the play was bilingual, in both English and Spanish.

Most of all, we liked learning that the needs of children are just as important as the needs of adults and that “Taking risks is hard to do, but taking risks builds courage too.”

While the younger children in the audience were active and enthusiastic participants, the 11-year-old and adults in our party found we had learned a lot and had the foundation for some good post-show discussions.

Our family was enchanted with this—more than a play—this experience. Yours will be too.



*Note: The role of Soledad usually played by Aissa Guerra was performed by Samantha Nieves at the press opening we saw.

Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. You can find her worky stuff here: ThisLittleBrand.com and her artsy fartsy stuff here:  DisruptiveMama.com.


Filament Theatre brings to the stage Ramón Esquivel’s Luna directed by Filament Resident Artist Alejandro Tey, playing September 21 - November 3 at Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. This story about the daughter of migrant farm workers was developed in collaboration with elementary children in Mattawa, WA, a town predominantly populated by migrant farmers. Filament’s interactive and embracing style will welcome young people and families on a journey toward friendship and belonging. Tickets are currently available at www.filamenttheatre.org/luna. 


Luna tells the hopeful story of Soledad, a young girl who dances with the stars and sings with the moon. Her family follows the crops and with every move comes a new school and the struggle to make new friends. The imaginative Soledad finds solace in her constant companion, Luna — the moon. On her search for human friendship Soledad must challenge the world she knows and discover that “Taking risks is hard to do, but taking risks builds courage too.”


In an artistic statement, playwright Ramón Esquivel wrote, “My stories are about the search for belonging. They are about vulnerability. Most of all, my stories are about conflict between people who love each other. I hope my stories inspire empathy, connection, and wisdom—and that they make audiences laugh along the way.” 


The cast of Filament Theatre’s Luna (top, l to r):Jean Claudio, Aissa Guerra, Deanalís Resto (bottom, l to r): Gaby FeBland, Mateo Hernandez, Raquel Torre


Luna features Filament Resident Artist Aissa Guerra with Jean Claudio, Gaby FeBland, Mateo Hernandez, Deanalís Resto, and Raquel Torre. Understudies include Elizabeth Nungaray and Isaura Flores.

The production team for Luna includes direction by Alejandro Tey, set design by Amy Gilman, costume design by Stephanie Taylor, sound design by Sarah Espinoza, lighting design by Ellie Humphrys, and stage management by Natalie Cohen. Produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company, Inc., Woodstock, Illinois. Luna is supported in part by production sponsors Lyons Family Eye Care and Dr. Dominick and Sylvia Maino and preview sponsor the Stephanie Cutter Group. 

For more information visit www.filamenttheatre.org/luna

Accessible Performances: 
Filament Theatre offers a sensory-friendly performance of Luna on Sunday, October 20th @ 10am. This performance is reserved specifically for families who have at least one member with special needs. Tickets are now available.

Location: Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60641

Dates: 
Previews: Saturday, Sept 21 @ 2:30; Sunday, Sept 22 @ 1pm; Saturday, Sept 28 @ 11am

Press performances: Saturday, Sept 28 @ 2:30pm; Sunday, Sept 29 @ 1pm

Regular run: Sept 28 - November 3

Curtain Times: Saturday @ 11am & 2:30pm; Sunday @ 1pm.

Ticket Prices: Previews: $16. Regular run $16 for children, $19.50 for adults, $18 for seniors. All ticket fees included in price. Tickets are available at www.filamenttheatre.org/lunaFor questions call the Filament office at (773) 270-1660.

About the Artists:
Ramón Esquivel (Playwright) is a writer and educator based in Seattle. His plays have been produced in New York City; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Vancouver, British Columbia; Seattle and elsewhere in North America. His play The Shahrazad Society won the 2014 Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award from the New England Theatre Conference. Three works, Nasty, Nocturnal and Luna, are published through Dramatic Publishing. Nocturnal is also part of New Visions/New Voices: 25 Years/25 Plays, an anthology commemorating the Kennedy Center festival, and Luna is featured in the upcoming Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latin@ Theatre for Young Audiences. He has degrees in history from Yale University, educational theatre from New York University and creative writing from the University of British Columbia.



About Filament Theatre:

Filament Theatre creates immersive and site-specific theatre that inspires, empowers, and activates young people and their communities. Filament envisions a future in which the leaders of tomorrow approach others with radical empathy, serving as ambassadors for their communities and stewards of the Earth. 

The company’s staff is comprised of Julie Ritchey (Artistic Director) and Christian Libonati (Managing Director).

Filament Theatre’s full season of programs is supported in part by the Alphawood Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Saints, and Wintrust Community Banks. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For additional information visit www.filamenttheatre.org 



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