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Hey Columbian Exposition Fans!

I will be going out of town in a blaze of Historical Lecturing Glory with three Columbian Exposition presentations (at three separate Mather’s More Than A Cafe locations) set before I depart:

June 29 at 2:15 PM. (3225 N. Central)
The Midway Plaisance (Part 2).

July 10 at 1 PM (33 E 83rd St)
The Columbian Exposition Virtual Tour (Part 1)

July 13 at 1 PM (7134 W. Higgins)
The Foreign Buildings (Part 4)

I’ll also be posting about them individually as the dates approach. Also doing three more Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition Presentations that I’ll be flogging as well.

BTW- I’ll give a Special Rate if anyone wants to host Part 3 (The State Buildings) in their apartment! 

That would actually be pretty easy if you have a computer-enabled TV and PowerPoint on your system. Have a Chicago History Party!!!

 

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Time For The June Hootenanny!!!

Bring A Live Performance* & A Dish To Pass!!!

FRIDAY, June 12 at 8 PM

The Roots Room, 5203 N. Kimball

 One Of The Last Chances To See Me Perform Before I Flee The Country!

I’ll Be Bringing My Internationally Acclaimed Hummus. Feel Free To Bring Whatever Tasty Treat You Wish.

*This Hootenanny Will Have The Theme Of DREAMS:

Dreams Literal & Figurative, The Dream World, Sleep & Wakefulness, All Meanings And Connotations Encouraged.

(But Don’t Fret If Your Performance Doesn’t Conform To The Theme)

 

 

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Time To Let It Out!!!

 

ATTENTION CHICAGO MUSICIANS, POETS,
STORYTELLERS, STAND-UP COMICS, MAGICIANS, AND PERFORMERS OF ALL KINDS!!!

I’m Hosting The Next Open Mic/Variety Night At The RootsRoom!!!

FRIDAY, June 12 at 8 PM

The Roots Room is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When I host Open Stages I create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

My greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

The Roots Room is BYOB & All Ages.
$10 Suggested Donation (or pay what you can).

WHEREAS:

As those who’ve known me for a long time are aware of, I generally have tried my best throughout my life to “walk it like I talk it.”

AND WHEREAS:

As those who know me on social media are aware of, I have been doing a LOT of talking in the last few years.

AND WHEREAS:

I have grown tired of “liking” memes about following your dreams, doing that thing which scares you, following your bliss, living your art, embracing your destiny, becoming your best possible self, going where you are celebrated and not staying where you are tolerated etc. etc. etc. etc. etc…

AND WHEREAS:

I have grown REALLY tired of seeing jets flying overhead out of O’Hare and wishing I was on them.

THEREFORE:

Last week I purchased a one-way plane ticket to Berlin and will be leaving in late July to fully consummate my lifelong love of The World.

I give my deepest thanks and love to everyone I have known in Chicago. It’s been a wonderful 27 Years!!!

But the same irresistible forces that impelled me to move here in 1987 on the strength of three months of Stand-Up Comedy Club Bookings are calling me to bring what Chicago has given me and taught me to the People Of Earth.

I am filled with equal parts Joy and Terror as I begin to take Life Inventory over the next two months and prepare for this next chapter in my Story.

I can only hope it will be as Epic as the one that is now coming to an end…

 

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ATTENTION CHICAGO MUSICIANS, POETS, STORYTELLERS, STAND-UP COMICS, MAGICIANS & PERFORMERS OF ALL KINDS!!!

I’m Hosting An Open Mic

  Friday, May 8

It will also be a Celebration Of My Birthday

(3 days off but close enough)

And (OF COURSE) I’ll be bringing my Internationally Acclaimed

Homemade Hummus!!!

rockinout

LET IT ROAR!!!

 

 

The Roots Room is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When I host Open Stages I create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

My greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Writer reading their work in front of others for the first time, a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem— The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

The Roots Room: 5203 N Kimball

BYOB & All Ages.
$10 Suggested Donation (or pay what you can).

Here’s an appearance I recently made on the local series, Authors Showcase, which can also be seen on Chicago Cable Channel 25:

 

In Case Ya Missed It:

Much fun was had at the Roots Room last night! Began the night with a brilliant singer named DeWayne and had a contingent of poets and writers do some fantastic work. Stann Champion displayed his guitar mastery.

And I got to do some poems, standup (very rusty but I had my moments), a long story piece, and just generally get my shamanic jibber-jabber on— which felt tremendous after a long Winter of Hermitude.

I always hope for what I call a “Triumphant Moment” in my Open Stages- that moment where someone feels comfortable and/or bold enough to stretch themselves as a Performer/Artist (or to perform/read for the very first time).

Last night’s Triumphant Moment: When Writer/Actor Robert Strasser got up on stage (again) and borrowed Stann’s guitar to do a heartfelt rendition of Long Black Veil.

The next Open Mic at The Roots Room shall be on May 8 (a mere 3 days after my Birthday).

Please Stop By And Be My Triumphant Moment!!!

singin

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Let It All Hang Out. And This Is One Of Those Times!!!

 

ATTENTION CHICAGO MUSICIANS, POETS, STORYTELLERS, STAND-UP COMICS, MAGICIANS, AND PERFORMERS OF ALL KINDS!!!

I’m Hosting The Next Open Mic/Variety Night At The Roots Room?!!!

FRIDAY APRIL 10

RootsRoomFlyer

The Roots Room is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When I host Open Stages I create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

My greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Writer reading their work in front of others for the first time, a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem— The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

The Roots Room: 5203 N Kimball

BYOB & All Ages.
$10 Suggested Donation (or pay what you can).

 

Here’s the link to my appearance on WGN 720 AM Radio on Wednesday, March 11 with host Mike Stephen on his program, Outside The Loop Radio. I did the segment with DNAinfo Chicago reporter Tanveer Ali, who has created an awesome interactive map of 2014 Chicago Production.

Click Here To Listen

 

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Chatting with Tanveer and Mike in the WGN Radio 720 Studio. Nothing like sitting in that glass fishbowl looking out on the Mag Mile to make you feel like an important Chicagoan!!!

 

Click here to check out Tanveer’s Map.

 

Fantastic Fun!!!

 

 

 

 

I was tagged into this game on a certain social media network and thought it would be edifying to the public to redo it (with some bells and whistles) on my blog.

The rules were: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen films you’ve seen that will always stick with you- not necessarily the best films. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

I obviously took more time than that on this post, but the list itself came to me in a few minutes. It’s uncanny how the ones you just think of turn out to be influential in other ways, especially to someone whose upbringing was as odd as mine.

Here Are My Fifteen, Roughly In The Order I Saw Them:

 

1. Night Of The Iguana: Stayed up to see it on TV when I was five because the voice over made me think it was about giant lizards attacking people. Or something with scary monsters. Here is a longer version of the trailer they showed that grabbed my attention:

 

Turned out to be much scarier of a premise to a five year old but I was riveted through the whole thing.

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2. Ring Of Bright Water: Not very memorable except it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. In fact, I had to Google for the title because all I could remember was that it was about a guy who has an otter named Mij.

 

 

3. 3 Days Of The Condor: Robert Redford’s character in this movie became a lifelong role model. He’s able to thwart the entire CIA because of things he learned reading books. I was already on that path but I wanted even more to be that guy whose depth and breadth of knowledge struck fear into The Man. Best exchange between CIA wonks: “He Reads!” “So what?” “No, you don’t get it. HE READS EVERYTHING!!!”

 

 

4. Jaws: Saw it in the theater and was scared when swimming in my boyhood Wisconsin lake for the next two years.

 

5- Love And Death– Saw it in the theater with my parents at age thirteen and was so proud that I got all the jokes.

 

 

6- The Godfather: What can you say?

 

7- Blue Velvet: Saw it by myself in an empty theater in the middle of the afternoon and was almost traumatized by it. It was so raw and so far beyond anything I had ever seen.

 

8- Stop Making Sense: Cried after seeing it because it seemed so beautiful and perfect and I felt like I could never create anything (film, music, novel, etc) so powerful and moving. Then that evening I did a standup comedy set with my parents in the audience (seeing me for the first time) and I killed. I felt like it was the power of the Talking Heads that gave me strength to fight the butterflies and also that perhaps someday I could contribute something worthwhile to the World Of Ideas.

 

 

9- Wings Of Desire: In 1987 I was crashing on some friends’ couch in Chicago every weekend and auditioning/performing at comedy clubs with an eye to moving down here. One of the friends was a film major and we watched this one afternoon. It introduced me to the films of Wim Wenders and the music of Nick Cave- and gave me a HUGE crush on Solveig Dommartin.

 

 

10- Matewan: One of my favorite dramatic films. The sequence that cuts between the boy preacher and Chris Cooper & James Earl Jones talking is one of the best in all of Filmdom. And this scene here isn’t so bad either.

 

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11. Shakes The Clown: Bob Goldthwait’s saga of a misanthropic alcoholic birthday party clown is still one of the craziest and most twisted films ever. Where else you going to see Aunt Esther from Sanford & Son talk about her punani? And Tim Kazurinsky is hilarious in his cameo, too bad the clip cuts off before his brilliant response.

 

 

12. Rikky And Pete: A delightfully quirky Aussie Indie comedy with a score by Crowded House.

 

 

13. Pow Wow Highway: Great Native American road comedy. Just see it!

 

 

14- Sans Soleil: Chris Marker’s video essay totally changed my ideas of what a documentary film could be.

 

 

15- You Me And Everyone We Know: Miranda July created one of the most bizarre yet most strangely realistic indie films ever. It’s a meditation on how amazing it is that (considering how insane and damaged we are) humans are able to connect with each other in way at all.  I couldn’t stop crying for 20 solid minutes after watching this, for reasons I still can’t quite understand. Then I wrote a heartfelt email to Miranda July at 3AM. She never responded, but from her end it probably seemed much more crazy and stalker-ish than heartfelt.

 

 

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this long trip through the underpinnings of my psyche!

I am appearing at the Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling on Thursday, September 11 at 7 PM.

I’ll be discussing Chicago Film and selling & signing copies of Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition.

 

It’s free but you need to sign up:

Click Here To Do So.

 

Hope to see you there!

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