Banana Shpeel – Offering up a new take on tap

Directed by David Shiner, Cirque du Soleil is putting a contemporary twist on Vaudeville by infusing this classic form of theatre with a modern flair. Http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/vaudeville  Banana Shpeel is currently playing its world-premiere at The Chicago Theatre on State Street

BET presents its 5th-Annual Black Playwrights Festival

 

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Black Ensemble Theater presents

The 5th-Annual Black Playwrights Festival

DECEMBER 7-14, 2009

Jackie Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Black Ensemble Theater, is proud to announce the 5th Annual Black Playwrights Festival, produced by the Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI). running from Monday, December 7 through Monday, December 14, 2009.

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The Black Playwrights Festival was created by playwright Jackie Taylor to provide adequate exposure to the members of the Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI), offer a professional platform to have members’ works produced, and bring attention to the high quality of work that African American playwrights from Chicago have to offer. The BPI is a program created and developed by Taylor for the purpose of highlighting Chicago’s rich community of African American playwrights and to help strengthen the pool of Chicago playwrights by providing a forum for play readings, year round classes, workshops and resources. Additionally, the BPI was created to provide a continuum of scripts for the Black Ensemble Theater, helping to expose playwrights on both a local and national level.

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Highlights of the Black Playwrights Festival include readings of “Nothin but the Blues” written by Joe Plummer and David Barr; “The Dancesical, a play performed through dance choreographed by Rueben Echoles; and “The Clark Sisters” written by Dawn Bless Mitchell.

All performances will take place at the Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon St. Single tickets are $10.00 per night. A “Playwrights Pass” can be purchased for $30.00 and can be used for entrance to any night. Valet Parking is available for $8.00.

Below the fold is a complete schedule for the 5th Annual Black Playwrights Festival. All plays are works in progress and the first acts will be the only acts presented for the reading. Audiences will have the opportunity to discuss each reading with the writers and offer feedback and reaction to each work.

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Spend New Years Eve with Neo-Futurists

new-years-toastToo Much Light” New Year’s Eve

On Thursday, December 31, doors open at The Neo-Futurarium at 9:30 p.m. for non-alcoholic refreshments and hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Market Sauganash. A performance of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, created by Greg Allen, begins promptly at 11:00 p.m. (no admittance after 11:00 p.m.) The performance ends at 12 midnight with a New Year’s toast and The Neo-Futurists’ signature pizza. Admission is $40. Advance tickets are required and available online at www.neofuturists.org. Although “Too Much Light” New Year’s Eve is an all-ages show, it is not appropriate for children.

  • Thursday, December 31, 2009
  • Doors open at 9:30 p.m. for non-alcoholic refreshments and hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Market Sauganash
  • All-ages performance of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind begins at 11:00 p.m. sharp — no admittance after 11:00 p.m.
  • New Years’ Toast and pizza at midnight

ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED ($40): www.neofuturists.org

For more information, call 773-275-5255

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Review: Collaboraction’s “G.I.F.T.”

You Can Have Your G.I.F.T. Back

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Collaboraction presents:

G.I.F.T.

Reviewed by Timothy McGuire

G.I.F.T. by Collaboraction is a different form of theatrical performance compared to the traditional plays around the city. It is an unconventional multimedia event that makes an effort to appeal to all of your senses. Unfortunately, this innovative an artistically funky production fell short of entertaining me.

G.I.F.T._2 G.I.F.T. is more of an event than a traditional play. Walking into the large warehouse in a single file line, swerving around a gravel path into a “fantasy” room filling up with a hazy, glowing fog; strangely dressed people in an over-stimulated euphoric state greet me beaming with smiles and warmly welcomed me as if we have been best friends for years. I paused, turned to my guest and jokingly said “I think I have been to this party before.” I smell the incense, looked around at all the crazy characters moving about as if in their own pleasant world and said, “…and I might have been on the same drugs before too.”

Needless to say, G.I.F.T. opens with a trippy, unorthodox experience of mingling-with-the-cast-and-audience in the fictional world that Collaboraction has created. The shock-effect wears off quickly; soon you might find yourself standing there holding weird objects I never knew the meaning of as well as talking to friends about other plays they have seen throughout the week. The audience is left standing around too long to maintain the initial feeling of entering into another dimension and soon one loses interest in what is going on around them.

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Eventually we are led out of the foggy realm and through another door for the main show. I felt a little like “Alice” who has just climbed through one rabbit hole into a crazy utopian circus and being led into another with no idea what to expect. Through the door you get a sense of intimate space, created by the white glowing floor that curves up into the walls, leaving no corners on the stage. The set design and lighting creates a mystic atmosphere that allows one’s imagination to determine the exact location (I imagined the north pole.)

The main performance consists of a series of reenactments signifying what a gift means, none of which are very enlightening. The acting feels rehearsed and the interactions in each skit feels more like an actor’s exercise. Collaboraction may have been trying to reach out to a more artsy audience – one that is looking for something new and innovative – but G.I.F.T. is just weird and boring.

Rating:

 

G.I.F.T. is playing at Firehouse Square, 459 N. Wolcott through Nov. 29th



Featuring: Saverio Truglia, Aurelia Clunie, Carla Kessler, Hannah Phelps, Catherine Glynn, Antonio Brunetti, Gregory Hardigan, Scott Cupper, Jeremy Harris, Andy Junk, Emma Stanton, and Amber Robinson.

Nominee for World’s Worst Idea: Steering Wheel Laptop Desk

This is not a hoax – it’s for real!!

steeringwheel-laptop-desk Some people text while driving. The Laptop Steering Wheel Desk could let them type on a computer, too

Mobile Office’s Steering Wheel Desk seems to have been made for those who think tapping on a BlackBerry or iPhone in the car isn’t enough.

The device attaches to a steering wheel to form an on-the-go desk that be used as a "writing and drink storage surface" or "to form an on-the-road computer desk," according to its description on Amazon.

Amazon reviewers have been surprised, entertained, and even outraged the strange device, and have posted a plethora of both serious and tongue-in-cheek reviews describing the device:

This has been a total lifesaver. It allows me to prop my sheet music against the wheel, allowing me to play the guitar with both hands while driving.

Another posted:

This awesome bit of kit changed my life. The extra hours of work I could get in whilst driving on the freeway has made me so much more productive. In fact I directly attribute this to my improved bonuses and recent promotion.

And yet another wrote,

I loved my Laptop Steering Wheel Desk so much I got one for my 90yr old mother. She is an avid crossword puzzle fan and now she can work on them while she is driving back and forth from bingo at the senior center.

Perhaps hypothesizing the consequences of actually using the Laptop Steering Wheel Desk to type and drive, several user added photographs to the item’s description showing various car collisions, such as the one below:

However, the seller does warn,

For safety reasons, never use this product while driving.

What do you think of the product? Tell us below!

h/t to Huffington Post