Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Totally Lame-o Game-o

Paul Rekk tagged me with the following meme:

List 5 things that certain people (who are not deserving of being your friend anyway) may consider to be "totally lame," but you are, despite the possible stigma, totally proud of. Own it. Tag 5 others:

1. I can't smile without Barry Manilow. I can't laugh and I can't sing. I've been listening to Barry since I was five and know 3/4 of his repertoire. He puts out albums like a madman and, what with his covers of great hits from the 60's and 70's and his Labor Day albums, I can't keep up. I have had dreams of creating "Manilow! The Musical!" for quite some time now and dream of wearing yellow feathers in my hair.

2. I have a purple glow in the dark retainer with sparkles that I still wear. Got it in eighth grade.

3. I love and can tell you the back histories of most ABC soaps minus Passions.

4. I can sing to you the entirety of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, so if you've got six hours or so, you've got a date with destiny!

5. Even if you're my husband ... if you fall down unexpectedly or get hit in the face with something unexpected or trip or fall off your bike or anything that could get yourself on America's Funniest Home Videos, I will laugh at you so hard that I, too, will fall down and weep with joy at your situation. I'm sorry, but there's nothing to be done.

I now tag: The Olde Gentleman, Lisa Wilson, Pryce, Jay Raskolnikov and Kristen Strezo.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Five Strengths

Rob Kozlowski (thanks, Rob!) tagged me with the following meme so here I go.

"Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It's not really bragging, it's an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you'd like to see share their strengths."

1. I motivate my team and do my damndest to make everyone feel involved and a major part of the creation process.

2. I'm a Dynamo worker, according to m So, in a quick nutshell, that work mentality means I've got a lot of energy, I'm adventurous, I like to take risks. I like to lead and I don't expect others to keep up with me. I like to push the envelope. What's nice is ... Chris took this same test and he came out as a Dynamo, as well, so double the energy means double the fun. Which keeps us going and going and going and ...

3. I consider myself a life-long learner. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong, but I always want to learn from my experiences either way. I tend to shed my skin every six months and am constantly evolving ... I hope to continue my metamorphosis until I drop dead and then I'd like to start again, please. I like to ask questions and look at the world with a sense of wonder which helps me find the beauty in a lot of different types of things.

4. I believe in GreyZelda and the people who have worked with us. I'm loyal to a fault and will fight like a Mama Bear for what we're trying to do, if need be. It might leave me with sand in my eyes or egg on my face (and I always learn from my actions - see above), but if I feel that our beliefs (and that often means our fellow artists and their beliefs as well) are being fucked with, it makes me none too happy and I'll be a warrior for my theatre company and those in it.

5. I'm multifaceted and will help where I'm needed. I'm happy pulling curtains open and doing box office. I'm happy doing a walk on role. I'm happy directing. I'm happy putting up flyers. I'm happy to market and make the squeaky wheel phone calls and emails. I'm just happy to help in the world of theatre.

So, here's who I'm tagging: Lisa Wilson, Kristen Strezo, Dave Goss and Paula Pryce.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dada Is ...

We saw Soiree Dada: Blinde Esel Hopse, put on by WNEP Theater last night, starring lots of Dadas I know and Dadas I didn't know, but now do. The show was directed by Don Hall, the blog king of Chicago.

From WNEP's site, written by DH:

"The big question asked by interested parties is "What can we expect?"

Expect theater-in-the-round stirred up to resemble both the midway of Coney Island and The Island of Dr. Moreau. Expect to be a participant in the action. Expect that six people get wine. Expect that ten people get snacks. Six people get baby food. No one will get messy and your clothes are safe. Expect to dance and sing.

Expect an unexpectedly fun and erratic evening of anti-Art, nonsense poetry with a dash of vaudeville, some clowning, a bit of improvisation, a teaspoon of chaos, and served on a plate of Old Tyme Meeting Hall Politicking.

If you've seen SoireƩ DADAs in the past, this is like that on steroids and floating in the Macy's Christmas Parade. If you've never seen a SoireƩ DADA, it's time.


So, knowing what I could expect ... did all that happen?

When we entered the Dadas were milling around inviting the audience to games to determine where we would sit ... barking and selling their environments to us a la Coney Island. Chris is a hard sell and wanted to go to all the different stations ... I'm easy and got taken in by DADA Nip (see photo above - I sat in the seat that Dada Grizzle is firmly held in to) and got to experience baby food for the first time since being a wee thing - green beans and apple sauce. I preferred the apple sauce. The green beans needed salt. I think it would be funny to hear a tot say, "Hey, Ma - could ya pass the salt? These beans ain't cuttin' it for me." Anyway - Chris ended up with rowdy, randy DADA Rusty Cluster.

Photos by Michael Brownlee

There was a French Side and a German side. I liked those Frenchies. Chris enjoyed those Germans.

I shan't ruin your future experience of seeing the show by telling you this, that and the other thing, but do know this ....

We didn't get anything on our clothes. We felt safe. We felt engaged. We felt amused. We didn't feel bored (there you go, Don). We felt mischievous. We felt like cackling. We felt enchanted. We felt like we were a part of the action. We felt appreciated. We felt allegiance towards the Dada we sat with. We felt French. We felt German. We felt American. We felt encouraged. Mon Dieu, there was something almost familial in the atmosphere!

I danced and sang with Nip. I almost got wine, but then the show started, so c'est la vie. I even oinked.

If you haven't seen a Dada show, it is most definitely your time. Run! Skip! Roll, if you have to! But, for the love of bees, get to this show.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Storefront in Chicago (from

September 6, 2007

Fall Theater Preview: The Storefront Next Door

The “Chicago theater season” is as anachronistic as our Columbia House Record Club membership. August was simply a lull before the crush of Fall openings coming to major institutions and their well-funded houses, who'll receive sufficient ink and column inches in the daily and weekly papers. We’re turning an eye to those less heralded venues doubling as rental space, educational resource, and meeting locale. None of these theaters are named after deep-pocketed donors, but that shouldn’t diminish their interesting work.

Storefront Theater
66 E Randolph Street

Through Gallery 37’s Storefront Theater, DCA brings smaller, off-Loop companies (and their reasonably priced tickets) to a prime Loop location. The Storefront’s season is already underway with War, a pub comedy by Roddy Doyle (he of The Commitments and A Star Named Henry fame) presented by Seanachi Theatre Company. That Anglophilic feeling resumes over the holidays with Lord Butterscotch and the Curse of the Darkwater Phantom, a world premiere penned by three acclaimed locals, Lisa Dillman, Rebecca Gilman and Brett Neveu.

eta_2007_09.jpgeta Creative Arts
7558 S South Chicago Avenue

Artistic Director Abena Joan Brown first introduced us to eta at a downtown event where she presented the organization’s impressive community engagement and slate of productions and implored us to “get your ass down to the south side.” Looks like we’ll be bringing our skinny rear to either or both of eta’s most intriguing shows, each with a familiar sounding premise. The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae reads a little like that Woody Allen film where the actor leaps out of the movie screen. Only this time, two TV caricatures are pulled out of the screen and onto the witness stand. Playwright Karani Marcia Leslie, who has written for Cosby and is the only black female editor at CBS, has a uniquely qualified perspective on this issue. This Far By Faith, a gospel musical “about a minister, his job and his R & B artist son” sounds like a more sincere Trapped in the Closet.

Stage Left
3408 N Sheffield Ave

Lakeviewers, you’ve probably passed this unassuming rail front storefront a thousand times without realizing it houses a company tackling issues larger than Zambrano’s latest contract, including war, abusive relationships, and government surveillance. Two multimedia shows commandeer the modest space next year: Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, a Grey Zelda production, and the U.S. premiere of Tim Carlson’s Omniscience, produced by Stage Left.*

4210 N Lincoln Ave

Corn Productions doesn’t produce the best or most sophisticated work in town. In fact, we are eager to forget their long-running late night show and try not to discuss it in polite company. But production quality aside, Corn-sters (Cornheads?) always seem to be having fun on that oddly configured stage… even when we’re not. Their 16th season includes two intriguing, and rather adult, world premieres: The Horror (October 5 – November 3), a meta-examination of what makes us scream and The Lesser Assassins (April 18 – May 17), a musical comedy riff on a Sondheim classic. Also renting the space is Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, currently presenting the Sedaris sibs’ The Book of Liz through September 30 and bringing back Snubfest, a haven for rejected comics, in January.

By Justin Sondak

*I added the bold to the article. Storefront theatre rocks and it's encouraging to see such a nice write up about the interesting discoveries a theatregoer can find at some of the smaller, eclectic locales. I'm happy that we were included with Stage Left, a theatre that we've loved renting from. They produce great, thought-provoking theatre and they've been super cool cats to work with.

Monday, September 03, 2007

GreyZelda Halloween Fundraiser Extravaganza!!!!

Hi, friends!

Mark your calendars ... GreyZelda's having a Halloween fund-raiser on Friday, October 26th. Costumes are highly recommended as you'll be entering an abode of eeriness.

We'll be having an extremely special guest join us ... Brian Vander Ark, the lead singer of the Verve Pipe will be performing for an hour and it will totally be way too cool. He's an incredible singer/songwriter who has been very successful with his solo career since the Verve Pipe slowed down ... for more info on Brian please check out (I've been a fan of Brian's and the Verve Pipe's for years now and am elated that he'll be performing in our house. Way too stinkin' cool.)

The party/fundraiser will officially begin at 6:30pm and Brian will start playing an hour set at 7pm, so please make sure you get here earlier instead of later.

We're hoping to have some more musical guests as well as silent auctions of artwork, photography and other fabulous pieces of art.

Please check back here or for further information. You can also contact me with any questions about location details, Brian, Halloween ... whatev.

Rock and roll.