Out of Commission

Art, Food, Personal, Theater Add comments

Yep, blog posting has been sparse since the beginning of June, unfortunately, since I seem to have jumped on a careening, brake-less Metra train between dealing with lots of organizational transitions going on at my day job, helping the rest of the Board and the company of TUTA Theatre Chicago put on our annual fundraiser benefit (which we successfully pulled off last Sunday, June 7, yay, despite lots of anxiety and hairpulling, de rigueur for non-profit fundraisers of all kinds, I’ve come to find out), and co-chairing this year’s Steppenwolf Theatre Red or White Ball (which benefits the theater’s educational outreach, the Steppenwolf for Young Adults Program).  The Red or White Ball is tonight, and boy, if I was exhausted last year after the event, I’m not sure what state of physical and mental being I’ll be in tomorrow.  Putting up a fundraising event of this scope and scale is pretty intense, with lots of hard work and time commitment required, but I think it’s going to be a spectacular event for a cause I’m passionate about – as my blog readers know, I feel very strongly that the arts can only survive if we are able to successfully enthrall, convert  and immerse new audiences.  I’m psyched!  Despite all kinds of crazy busy schedules though, I still have a lot of things on my mind, so I’d like to give a shout out to these below (and there’ll be more blog posts starting next week!)

  • I am very stoked for my theater viewing this weekend.  On Saturday night, I’m off to see The Hypocrites’ version of Oedipus, directed by Artistic Director and sexy beast god of all things theatrically exciting Sean Graney.  Promenade staging, three actors playing all the characters, a punk sensibility, an original music score – of course the Hypocrites will put their indelible, unmistakable stamp on Greek tragedy.  On Sunday night, I’ll be catching Keith Huff’s play Mud People at Mary-Arrchie, directed by my friend, talented hyphenate actor-director Carlo Garcia.  I’m a huge Keith Huff fan, so I’m as excited as Speidi on a plane out of Costa Rica to see what Carlo and the rest of the rockin’ Mary-Arrchie crew have in store for Keith’s play.  And hey, he’s going to be HUGE after A Steady Rain premieres this fall on Broadway with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig playing Chicago cops (speaking of huge…suspension of disbelief…get your minds out of the gutter, people!), so this is a great time to experience Huff’s writing before all the hype sets in.
  • Speaking of hype (and all in a good way), the cast of the touring production of Steppenwolf’s August: Osage County, playing the Oriental Theater (no, not the Steppenwolf Main Stage) February 2-14, 2010, has been announced.  We always knew that Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons, who replaced our very own Tony winner Deanna Dunagan on Broadway, will anchor the tour as matriarch Violet Weston.  What’s great though is that there’s a whole tribe of Chicago actors joining her on the tour:  Shannon Cochran, who co-starred with Michael Shannon in the original off-Broadway production of August author Tracy Letts’ Bug, and last seen in Chicago at Writer’s Theater in The Lion in Winter is taking on the role of eldest daughter Barbara, which catapulted Steppenwolf ensemble member Amy Morton to New York theater stardom and a Tony nomination.  This pairing should be kick-awesome.  Other Chicago actors on the tour include Steve Key (love him) playing Little Charles; Amy Warren (loved her in the Goodman’s Rabbit Hole and Steppenwolf’s When the Messenger Is Hot, still kicking myself for missing her in the original Next Theater production of Adding Machine:  The Musical) as the youngest daughter Karen; Jeff Still as Barbara’s husband, Bill; and Marcus Nelson as the Sheriff.  Go Chicago!
  • NEOCON, the big international design convention that Chicago hosts every year at the Merchandise Mart is back next week.  Of course, there will be a slew of hot, hip, artsy events going on all over the place; my email box has been inundated with invitations and announcements for the past several weeks.  I’m going to some of them, but for me there are two unmissable events:  first up, on Monday, the 15th, off the NEOCON beaten track, the Mighty Bearcats and the Object Design League, two groups comprised of really hot, young, rising artists and designers we’ll be seeing a lot of in the near future (including the unassuming, but mega-talented, and blazing hot, metaphorically and otherwise, Steven Haulenbeek) is holding an Opening Night reception for their show ”The Promise of this Moment” at a raw space in Bucktown (2035 W. Wabansia).  I’m not sure what installations and art pieces will be on view, but given the eclectic tastes of the artists who will be exhibiting, I think the show will be out of this world.  Fifteen “you have otherworldly great taste” points to those who make it on Monday night!  On Tuesday, the 16th, I’m off again to the Guerrilla Truck Show at the Fulton Market warehouse district.  I’ve written about it in the past - I think it’s a uniquely fabulous Chicago summer event.  Great weather, great art and design, free booze, hypnotic music, U-Hauls, hey what a combo ha!
  • I am off to Sonoma for a reunion with my college girlfriends during the week of June 22.  But I’ve been pinching myself black and blue for a week already (and trying to self-administer some panicky, last minute liposuction- ha!) for getting a French Laundry reservation on the 24th (well actually, my friend Dulce’s husband Greg, who runs Gourmet magazine’s West Coast operations, got it for me, so I didn’t have to go through all the convoluted reservation hoohahs on FL’s website; he has officially joined Francis’s pantheon of deities that shall be unconditionally worshipped on all fours with forehead on the ground!)  I am really, really excited, exhilarated, inspired…name any positive emotion, I got it!  I’ll be sure to post (hopefully with photos) on my French Laundry experience.  In the meantime here’s a couple of interesting blog posts from various kinds of foodies- read them here and here.

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