Monday, April 30, 2012

Sandman LIVE at Hideout Chicago-Persian Den of Sin

It was great to see Sandman, of Roll Out Cowboy documentary fame, back in Chi-Town for a concert at The Hideout Thursday night, 4/26.    Check out ChiIL Live Shows' original footage of his hilarious live performance of Persian Den of Sin.   We'll have our video interview with Sandman (AKA:  The Rappin' Cowboy or Chris Sand) and local fav, Tony Rogers, along with loads more live footage from both of their sets coming soon.    So check back with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   

Sandman flew out to NYC from Chi-Town, for the DVD release of Roll Out Cowboy.   The award winning doc had a Chicago Producer and Director--Elizabeth Lawrence and Warner Boutin.    Check out their main site here, for purchasing links, FB page, cast/crew list, and more.

The Mariachi Man Drinks to a Cinco De Mayo Burlesque

 Diva LaVida as El Mari Chi Chi
"The mariachi man's music is set to the tune of guns!"
 *photo by Jason Brown,

One day only, May 5th, Gorilla Tango presents a multicultural Mexican, interactive drinking game, Burlesque Show!

Pints, pasties...parodies of cult classics like Desperado...what more could ya want for Cinco de Mayo?!


The Mariachi Man Drinks to a Cinco De Mayo Burlesque 

Gorilla Tango Burlesque is pleased to present “A Very Special El Mari Chi Chi: A Cinco de Mayo Burlesque” on Saturday, May 5 at 11:59pm at Gorilla Tango Bucktown (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647). For one day only, in celebration of Mexican Heritage and drinking holidays everywhere, GTB the cast of El Mari Chi Chi will perform an interactive drinking theme burlesque show! 

The audience may keep up with the characters on stage and take a drink for each time a character takes a swig.  Written by the Salsation Theater Company, this show is a parody of Robert Rodriguez’s cult classic, “Desperado.”  El Mari Chi Chi runs every Saturday at midnight at the Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647.  Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at the theater box office, or by phone (773-598-4549), or online at

Mari, a guitar playing musician, was a man in love until his amor, Conchita, wrongfully crossed the path of Mierda, the powerful drug selling gangster, who ultimately took her life.  Now Mari hitchhikes town to town with only his guitar case to return the murder of his lost love to Mierda.  With Buscame as his ally informant, Carolina - his new love interest, and his fellow mariachi players – Lorenzo & Fidea, he vows to take down Mierda’s militia. 

Can a mariachi guitar player overpower such a strong militia with just his street smarts and stunning good looks? Will Mari defeat the demons of his nightmares while looking for his own true love? And will his little amigo, Nino, ever learn to become a real mariachi player in such a corrupt town?

With Robert Rodriguez’s memorable characters from the indie film classic, Desperado (1995), the women of Gorilla Tango Burlesque add a Latino flavor to their well known repertoire of nerd parody shows.  Cameo appearances from well known Rodriguez collaborators, such as Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino, should have audiences recognizing references to the proud Mexican Director’s filmography. 

Not just boys' fun...Gorilla Tango Burlesque is very girl positive and playfully hilarious.   There are plenty of couples and women in the audience.  

Gorilla Tango Theatre (GTT) provides year-round theatrical venues where audiences of all ages can consistently go to see a wide variety of talented artists. GTT exists to provide artists with an opportunity to produce their work in professional environment. GTT was created by Dan Abbate and boasts two venues: an 80-seat performance space in Bucktown and a 150-seat performance space in Skokie. GTT Bucktown is conveniently located at the intersection of Western and Milwaukee in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.

Easily accessible by public transportation, GTT is steps away from the Western Blue Line stop and the #49 Western, #73 Armitage and #56 Milwaukee buses. Street parking is readily available.  Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre is located in the heart of Downtown Skokie; street and lot parking available. With shows for all ages, all GTT performances are on a rating system, similar to the one used in movie theatres. GTT offers a variety of affordable beer and wine for purchase. Consult the website for show details, rating information, tickets, and more.

Venue provided by Floyd's Pub, Chicago, IL. – 773.598.4549
Gorilla Tango (Bucktown) - 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre - 7924 Lincoln Ave. Skokie, IL 60077

Steppenwolf Stepping Up To End Youth Violence & Intolerance

This morning, heads of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves announced Now Is The Time, a season-long initiative to inspire a citywide conversation about making positive change in our communities to stop the trend of youth violence and intolerance.  The above photo is from this morning’s press conference.


Heads of the Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves and Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced today a season-long initiative to inspire a citywide conversation about making positive change in our communities to stop the trend of youth violence and intolerance. These three Chicago institutions have joined forces for Now Is The Time (NITT), a themed initiative throughout 2012/13 linking major projects at each institution, including the Fall 2012 One Book, One Chicago selection, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, a staged adaptation of Zusak’s book at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and a major Facing History and Ourselves exhibit titled “Choosing to Participate.” 

Each institution, through these major projects and under the Now Is The Time umbrella, will focus outreach and programming on questions of social activism and civic responsibility, particularly among Chicago’s youth. Also engaging in related programming will be DePaul University students and more than 15 Chicago-area theater companies, along with additional organizations to be announced later. The citywide project was announced during a press conference this morning at the Chicago Public Library.

“Violence involving young people has become all too common in our society,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “It’s time for all of us, in every community, to come together to talk about ways to resolve our differences without violence and how to treat each other with respect.  I applaud these three institutions and the funders of this initiative for creating the space for us to do just that, especially with our young adults.”

“In recent years, violence towards youth has become overwhelming. As theater artists working in schools, the teens we work closely with in the classroom are scared to be outside in their neighborhoods or face torment at school from bullying,” commented Hallie Gordon, Artistic and Educational Director, Steppenwolf for Young Adults. “As artists, we have a unique opportunity to help teens give voice to this epidemic. We encourage our civic partners and other cultural organizations to join us—now is the time.”

The initial roster of Now Is The Time projects includes:
August 27 – November 11, 2012: Facing History and Ourselves brings the powerful multimedia exhibit Choosing to Participate to the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center. This free exhibit encourages young people to recognize the importance of a democratic society through installations about people whose stories illustrate courage, initiative and compassion—including a display about local unsung heroes making a difference in Chicago.

Summer 2012 – Winter 2013: YOUmedia, a teen learning space housed at the Chicago Public Library, will use the themes of NITT for workshops on digital media creation, developing teens’ skills in critical thinking, creativity and tangible digital media skills, all the while engaging them in this conversation on civic responsibility.

October 2012: Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is the Fall 2012 selection for One Book, One Chicago. The award-winning 2006 novel explores young people’s choices and their potential as civic participants. The author will visit the Chicago Public Library and participate in events with the public, with teachers and librarians, and with high school students.

October 16 – November 11, 2012: In Fall 2012, Steppenwolf Theatre Company will produce a stage adaptation of The Book Thief, adapted by Heidi Stillman, directed by Hallie Gordon, as part of the theater’s Steppenwolf for Young Adults program, combining play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families.

February – March 2013: Oral histories about youth violence, collected from across the city by DePaul University students, will be used to create a play at Steppenwolf, curated by Professor Miles Harvey. Traveling to libraries in different communities across the city, each reading will be followed by a teen-led workshop.

September 2012 – May 2013: More than 15 of Chicago’s finest theater companies are also involved in NITT through their unique commitment to the campaign, Now Is The Time to A.C.T: Affect Change through Theater. Confirmed participating companies include: About Face Theatre, American Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Writers’ Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Congo Square Theatre, Free Street Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Adventure Stage Chicago, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, Storycatchers Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Raven Theatre and more. These companies have all pledged to focus their 2012/13 programming on issues of youth violence and will present productions, panel discussions and teen-centered community events in conjunction with NITT. A youth council will be drawn from teen members at each participating theater company.

“One Book, One Chicago has a 10 year history of bringing together Chicagoans of diverse backgrounds to discuss issues around a specific piece of literature.  While The Book Thief is set 70 years ago, sadly the topics it addresses are very much alive today:  intolerance and violence.  Now Is The Time offers all of Chicago a wonderful opportunity to create, as the Dalai Lama recently called for, ‘a century of dialogue.’  The Library is proud to partner with Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Facing History and Ourselves to start that conversation,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon.

"Facing History and Ourselves is thrilled to bring an exhibit to Chicago that examines the impact of racism and injustice and the consequences of choices we make every day to help build inclusive or exclusive communities,” said Bonnie Oberman, Chicago director of Facing History and Ourselves. “We know that the privilege of partnering with the Chicago Public Library and the Steppenwolf Theatre means that thousands of Chicagoans will have access to a citywide conversation around issues critically important to all of us."

The goal of Now Is The Time is to spur youth activism and creative self-expression around the themes of social responsibility and civic engagement. Youth involved in NITT will participate in skill-building around their interests such as design, spoken word, music, film, writing, performance and digital media creation which they can share with fellow citizens via the Now Is The Time website. Participating youth will be better prepared for the demands of citizenship by being supported to think critically, to empathize, to recognize moral choices, and to make their voices heard.

Now Is The Time provides ample opportunities for additional program partners, large and small, from around the Chicago area. Throughout 2012/13, NITT’s call to action will inspire themed activities from organizations engaged in theater arts, youth work, digital media, education; participants connect via the NITT website,

Now Is The Time is funded by the Hive Learning Network, an initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and the Smart Chicago Collaborative fund of the Chicago Community Trust.


Since first opening its doors to the public in 1873, the Chicago Public Library has maintained its status of one of the City’s most democratic of institutions — providing all Chicagoans with a free and open place to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed. The more than 70 locations of the Chicago Public Library are at the forefront of providing innovative library services, technologies and tools Chicagoans need to achieve their personal goals and to establish the City’s role as a competitive force in the global marketplace. Through its rich and current book collections, state of the art technology and cultural and public partnerships, the Chicago Public Library is a thriving, engaged leader in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Throughout its 139-year history, the Chicago Public Library has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority. Since the fall of 2001, One Book, One Chicago has encouraged Chicagoans of all backgrounds and ages to read the same book at the same time, and come together to discuss a great piece of literature. The Fall 2012 One Book, One Chicago is presented by the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Allstate and BMO Harris. For additional information, visit

Facing History and Ourselves is a leader in history and civic education. For more than 35 years, the international education organization has been linking the past to the moral and ethical questions of our time through a rigorous examination of the root causes of antisemitism, racism, and other hatreds. The overarching goal is to help young people understand the importance of their choices in building a just, inclusive society and to empower them to be active, informed, compassionate citizens in their schools and communities. Facing History's quality resources, professional development, and public forums provide opportunities for students and adults to explore the connections between history and their own lives. Facing History reaches 1.9 million students each year through a network of 50,000 educators. In 2009, the Facing History and Ourselves website received more than 700,000 visits from people in 215 countries, with 2.6 million page views. The Chicago office of Facing History and Ourselves celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2010. More information is available at

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is one of the nation’s leading ensemble theaters, producing annually up to 16 productions and nearly 700 performances, readings and other events in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community that has been its home for 36 years, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including a Pulitzer Prize for ensemble member Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, an Illinois Arts Legend Award and nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit, and

Xoe Wise-Archive of Illusions Out Tomorrow

Xoe Wise-Archive of Illusions

Xoe means life in Greek (whether they called themselves Greeks or not), and with a last name like wise, Chicago singer-songwriter Xoe Wise has a lot to live up to.   Her sophomore album,
Archive of Illusions
, does not disappoint.   The album will be officially released tomorrow, May 1.   You can check out her insightful lyrics here.

We're pretty enamored with her poetic word play and imagery.   The depth and intensity of her lyrics and her sweet, evocative vocals belie her age.   Check out the following excerpts: 

All You Gave

Written by: Xoe Wise
Album: Archive Of Illusions

You know it’s bad
When you have to go to sleep
Just to feel safe inside a dream
Oh you know it’s hard
Letting someone in
I could say it twice
And again
All you gave to me was love

Flowers on the stand
Coffee by the bed
You didn’t understand
When I turned my head
Oh I apologize for timing
I shouldn’t have held your hand
Until mine were clean
All you gave to me was love

Glow in the Dark

Written by: Xoe Wise
Album: Archive Of Illusions

I met you
Corner of Asbury Avenue
Middle of May
Sky the deepest blue
Do you believe in weather changing our mold?
My palm shape of yours, left side walking me home
Do you know that your heart glows in the dark
Do you know that your heart glows in the dark
I'm watching your lips move and talk of inferior love
Perfection philosophy and love has to grow to stay
Greeks never called themselves Greeks anyway
When did it become cool to think of the alphabet as an acronym list
If so my fingertips are standing for all of yours
Do you know that your heart glows in the dark
Do you know that your heart glows in the dark 

Your Love
Written by: Xoe Wise
Album: Archive Of Illusion

We might be staying here too long
Singing the same song
Green eyes are bringing me to the edge
Bring me to the edge
And they're so open to my ways
On a Tuesday
How you heard I had a bad day
And drove from 3121 Clyde place just to say
Your love your love your love your love oh
Ill take Ill take Ill take my time so
Your love you love your love your love oh
Your love will follow me
And I want to be the melody that’s in your soul
The one that drifts in and falls asleep
Only to wake at your heart beating
And I want to be the daydream inside your head
How we danced and all the words we said
So easily
And if somehow oh if somehow oh if somehow
You lose your words
Ill help you find your way because
Your love your love your love your love oh
Ill take Ill take Ill take my time so
Your love you love your love your love oh
Your love will follow me
La la la la 

Xoe Wise has toured nationally with fellow Chicagoan Matt Ryd and has
opened for Greg Laswell, John Legend, Colbie Caillat and Lisa Loeb.
Check in with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   We'll have details on her summer record release party, as soon as they're available.

Xoe's local TV debut on WGN is slated for Friday, May 25.

Here's Xoe's bio (from Martyr's band descriptions)

Xoe Wise

Picking up the guitar at five years old, Xoe and her younger sister wrote their first song for their sick baby goat.
From a small town on the ocean in NC to a brief period in Michigan she
continued to pursue music and now is based in Chicago, IL.

She entered the Chicago music scene in 2009 collaborating with Ethan
Stoller. Stoller has contributed music to the DVD featurettes and promo
materials of several major Hollywood films, including V for Vendetta
(film), Ninja Assassin, Sherlock Holmes and more.
 Xoe released her
first album Echo that October.

After growing in the Chicago music scene and simply growing up, her
music has taken on a dreamy folk tone drawing comparisons to a female
Bon Iver with her 6 piece band selling out shows in Chicago.
has been heard at venues from Hotel Cafe in CA to Hard Rock in
Nashville. She has been supporting acts with artists Lisa Loeb, Greg
Laswell, John Legend, and Colbie Caillat.

Microsoft scooped Xoe up when opening their IL store now helping sponsor her 25 stop US tour.  Xoe
continues to rise to the top charts winning pop
categories, and having been featured multiple times. Chicago Innerview
recognizes Xoe as "easily the singer/songwriter and pop counterpart to
Columbia native Chaz Bundick’s (a.k.a. Toro Y Moi) laconic chill-wave
synth ballads. Both share an evanescent “dreaminess,” as if washing in
the aquamarine surf of their native environs.

On Wise’s first album, Echo, simple guitar and keyboard arrangements back
up almost deliquescent vocals and lyrics tinged with starry-eyed
romanticism." While Chicago Redeye states "the song as something of a
spiritual accident."  Xoe Wise has played the Korean festival with 3000+
audience, as well as Oakland arena in MI for the Miracles for Life
benefit show alongside Rolling stone featured band Jamestown Revival.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CHI, IL LIVE THEATRE: Chicago Improv Festival Finds The Funny

Chi-Town's 15th annual Improv Festival is in full swing with a multicultural medley of improvisors from around the world.   Check out an array of great acts through this Sunday.   I came from an improv background and founded and directed a troup at Miami University (No, directing improv is not an oxymoron, contrary to popular quips!).   So, I know how challenging, fresh and fun the genre can be.  Check in soon for our review of the highly recommended, hilarious Improv Play at DCA Storefront Theatre through May 20th. 

We also have an exclusive video interview we'll be running soon, from the CIMMfest opening of High Road.   ChiIL Live Shows interviewed the
director, Matt Walsh, who was a founding member of Upright Citizens
Brigade.   We also spoke with actors and caught the Q & A.   So
check in with us like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often for great
entertainment news!

High Road:  Director, Chicago native Matt Walsh (The Hangover, Upright
Citizens Brigade, HBO’s upcoming Veep), joined by actors Lizzy Caplan
(Mean Girls, Bachelorette), Joe Lo Truglio (Wanderlust, Superbad), Joe
Nunez (Bridesmaids, Neighborhood Watch), James Pumphrey (Players) and
Zach Woods (NBC’s The Office, Damsels in Distress)…

This year’s CIF is themed 
“Celebrating the Art of Play”

We've got friends incoming from that state that's hi in the middle and round on both ends.   Don't let their name fool ya.   ChiIL Live Shows will be documenting See You Thursday's daring dramatics SATURDAY night at The Playground.

We're jazzed that more than 75 improv
groups from 16 U.S. cities and countries as far away as Russia and
Norway are descending on Chicago from April 23-29 for the 15th annual
Chicago Improv Festival.
But we're also setting our sites a little closer to home.  See You Thursday will be the only Ohio troupe represented on the 2012 CIF performance roster, a program that includes Eastbound & Down's Ike Barinholtz and Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. See You Thursday will perform 8:30PM Saturday, April 28 at Chicago’s Playground Theater, 3209 North Halsted Street. 
2012 Show Dates: through April 29 , Tickets: $10-$20


We're particularly jazzed for Thursday night at Annoyance Theatre

**@ Annoyance Theater, 4830 N. Broadway, 10:30PM, $15/$10
Messing with a Friend (Chicago) [special guest Lance Baker]
Tickets are available at Annoyance (773.561.4665) or ONLINE
@ The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St.
7pm, $15/$10
1) Harri Olli Improvised Theatre (Zurich)
2) WiseSnatch (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE
9pm, $15/$10

1) pH Productions (Chicago)
2) Mullaney Chain (Chicago/New York)
 Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE

Friday, April 27

ImproTOP - Mexico City
@ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 1, 2936 N. Southport Ave.
7:30pm, $20/$15
1) Curtains (New York)
2) BASSPROV (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE
9pm, $20/$15
1) Classy D (Chicago)
2) Matt Naas & The Sing-a-long Singers (Detroit)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

10:30pm, $20/$15
1) Claymore (Chicago)
2) Last Action Movie (Minneapolis)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 2, 2936 N. Southport Ave.
7pm, $20/$15
1) SAM (Chicago)
2) The Mighty They (Detroit)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

8:30pm, $20/$15
1) Improv Stands Up! (Chicago) [w. guest comic Dan Telfer]
2) The Amie and Kristen Show (Philadelphia)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE
10pm, $20/$15
1) Out of Character (Chicago)
2)North Coast (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Athenaeum Theater, Studio 3, 2936 N. Southport Ave.
7:30pm, $20/$15
1) Almost ATLANTA (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

9pm, $20/$15
1) Awkward (Kansas City)
2) New England (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

10:30pm, $20/$15 
Jorak and Jorak Do Movie (Austin)
Pimprov (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Chemically Imbalanced, 1420 W. Irving Park Rd., 10:30pm, $15/$10
1) Dead Parrots Society (Bellingham)
2) Droppin’ $cience (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the CIT (773.865.7731) or ONLINE

@ Laugh Out Loud Theater, 601 North Martingale Road, Schaumburg
7:30pm, $19/$12
1) Border Patrol (Bellingham & Edmonton)
2) Laugh Out Loud (Schaumburg)
Tickets can be bought at LOL (847.240.0386) or ONLINE

9:30pm, $19/$12
1) Border Patrol (Bellingham & Edmonton)
2) Laugh Out Loud (Schaumburg)
Tickets can be bought at LOL (847.230.0386) or ONLINE

@ The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St.
7pm, $20/$15
1) King Friday (Philadelphia)
2) Weekend of Regret (New York)

Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE
8:30pm, $20/$15

1) The Bully Union: Local 128 (Baltimore)
2) Magnet Theater Touring Co. (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE

10pm, $20/$15

1) Danger Snack (Los Angeles)
2)My Grandma's a Fat Whore in Jersey (Chicago & Los Angeles)

Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE

@ The Second City Skybox, 1618 N. Wells, 4th Floor
7pm, $20/$15
1) Process (Chicago)
2)Twinprov (Oklahoma City)
Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

8:30pm, $20/$15
1) We're From Here (Toronto)
2)TBA (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

10pm, $20/$15
1) 2-Man No-Show (Toronto)
2) ImproTOP (Mexico City)
Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

Saturday, April 28


Hello Laser - New York

@ Annoyance Theater, 4830 N. Broadway, 11:59pm, $10/$5
1) Mullaney Chain (Chicago & New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Annoyance (773.561.4665) or ONLINE

@ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 1, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

7:30pm, $20/$15
1) B.F.F. (New York)
2) BASSPROV (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

9pm, $20/$15
1) Border Patrol (Bellingham & Edmonton)
2) JR Varsity (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

10:30pm, $20/$15
1) Hello Laser (New York)
2) Pimprov (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 2, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

7pm, $20/$15
1) Improv Nerd (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

8:30pm, $20/$15
1) Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton)
2) The Minneapples (Minneapolis)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

10pm, $20/$15
1) Local Honey (Dallas)
2) Stage Fright: A Tribute to Hitchcock (Philadelphia)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Athenaeum Theatre, Studio 3, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

7:30pm, $20/$15
1) Maat Naas & The Sing-a-long Singers (Detroit)
2) Bootsy Collins (Los Angeles)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

9pm, $20/$15
1) Harri Olli Improvised Theatre (Zurich)
2) The Shelter (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

10:30pm, $20/$15
1) Brick (New York)
2) Skinny Jeans (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the Athenaeum (773.935.6860) or ONLINE

@ Chemically Imbalanced 1420 W. Irving Park Rd., 10:30pm, $10/$5
1) Indie Cage Match UCB (New York)

Tickets can be bought at CIT (773.865.7731) or ONLINE
@ Laugh Out Loud Theater, 601 North Martingale Road, Schaumburg

7:30pm, $19/$12
1) 2-Man No-Show (Toronto)
2) Laugh Out Loud (Schaumburg)

Tickets can be bought at LOL (847.240.0386) or ONLINE

9:30pm, $19/$12
1) 2-Man No-Show (Toronto)
2) Laugh Out Loud (Schaumburg)
Tickets can be bought at LOL (847.240.0386) or ONLINE
@ The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St.

7pm, $20/$15
1) DMNK (Chicago)
2) The Garys (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE

**8:30pm, $20/$15
See You Thursday (Columbus)
Kiss*Punch*Poem (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE
10pm, $20/$15
1) Ted Dangerous (St. Louis)
2) Chet Watkins (New York)
Tickets can be bought at the Playground (773.871.3793) or ONLINE
@ The Second City DeMaat, 1618 N. Wells, 3rd Floor

7pm, $20/$15
1) Formal Apology (Chicago)
2) The Era (Chicago)

Tickets can be bought at the SC DeMaat (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

9pm, $20/$15
1) Just Ben (New York)
2) The Playboys (Chicago)

Tickets can be bought at the SC DeMaat (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

10:30pm, $20/$15
1) Simply Coney (Detroit)
2) Twinprov (Oklahoma City)
Tickets can be bought at the SC DeMaat (312.337.3992) or ONLINE
@ The Second City Skybox, 1618 N. Wells, 4th Floor

7pm, $20/$15
1) Improv Boston (Boston)
2) Sheila’s Sister (Chicago)
Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

8:30pm, $20/$15
1) Mayor Karen (Philadelphia)
2) The Improvised Shakespeare Company (Chicago)

Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

10pm, $20/$15
1) STACKED: All Girl Musical Improv (Chicago)
2) ImproTOP (Mexico City)
Tickets can be bought at the SC Skybox (312.337.3992) or ONLINE

About CIF: The Chicago Improv Festival,
founded in 1998 promotes and teaches improv as a true form of art. Over
the last 15 years, the festival has featured some of the biggest names
in comedy today: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers (SNL), Horatio Sanz,
Neil Flynn (The Middle) and more. CIF is now seen as the largest and
most prestigious improv festival in the world and has already presented more
than 850 acts from 15 nations and 45 cities; had improv workshops
taught by more than 50 instructors; and has given various awards to 45
improv artists.

Click here for all the 2012 acts.
Click here for tickets and performance schedule.
Click here for Chicago Improv Fest's main site, full schedule, tickets and more.
Follow CIF on Facebook here.

Sandman The Rapping Cowboy at Hideout Tonight #Album Review

Only merch table I've ever seen selling silk screened pillow cases!!   Check out an even odder assortment of one of a kind merch (beaver skull & birds nest anyone?) and more standard fare here.

We gave you a "save the date" heads up, last month, and today's the day.   The Sandman (AKA:   Chris Sand or The Rappin' Cowboy) will be playing tonight at Hideout!   He opens for local fav, Tony Rogers.   We'll be there to shoot the show and are setting up interviews as well.

Sandman's father to a recent baby girl, Stevie!

We got permission to repost this gorgeous shot of Sandman's wife, Hana,
and new daughter, Stevie....Yes, there's life after birth, and tattooed
parents rock!!

Check out our Pinterest Board all about How Creatives Parent and How Parents

Create, for our original video interviews with parents in bands,
theatre and other creative fields, on how they strike a balance and how
becoming parents influences their creative work and vice versa....

Tony Rogers

Tony Rogers

Thu 4/26
9:00 pm



Come on out for some hilarious folk-rap-country that defies description.    Chris Sand's documentary screened at Facets last year and he gave a mini concert in conjunction with the film.   Here's our film review and photo filled feature about Roll Out Cowboy in particular here  And more prior coverage.

We thoroughly enjoy his 2008 CD, Rough Notes from Otter Cove.   Sandman is pretty prolific and has a number of CDs out, but he said this is a good one to start with and kicked us a copy.  It has some kid appropriate tunes and more mature, irreverent material as well.   Purchase your own copy here or at Hideout tonight.

Rustic and playful. Highly listenable lo-fi production by Froseph Kujawa. Includes a limited edition 24-page lyrics booklet, handset and pressed on a 130-year-old print machine.


1. Crazy Animals

2. The Hermit

3. PO Box 7

4. Addie Paul

5. Artesian Lover

6. I Love Everyone

7. Natty Joy

8. Shelly The Sea Turtle

9. Wedding Song Man

10. Unabomber

11. End Of America

My kids adored Shelly The Sea Turtle and Crazy Animals, but at ages 8 & 11, they dug the silly, dark ones like Unabomber just as much.   There's nothing too over the top.  Addie Paul and my favorite, Natty Joy, are catchy and likely to get stuck in your head, when your brain goes into screensaver mode and you're not actively thinking of something else.   

Check out the artists' sites here, for song samples, merch and more.   

Chris Sand

Tony Rogers

Check out The Hideout's main site here for tickets and further information.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Witchburn LIVE Show Shots-Opening for Prong at Cobra Lounge

ChiIL Live Shows original live shots-Witchburn at Cobra Lounge opening for Prong, Chicago 4-20-12

Check 'em out!   Great for your METAL HEALTH...

Band Bio from their main site:

Heavy, down tuned, southern fried, whiskey soaked sabbra cadabra. Their live show pulsates with seething and sultry, sweaty energy. Bringing as much groove as brutal thunder, the music is like a hammer straight to your soul, crashing down through the sky... only you welcome its impact the moment they tear into their first song. 

Spilling their guts on every stage they play, they've opened for Slipknot, Helmet, Crowbar, Saint Vitus, Blue Cheer, Mudvayne, Fu Manchu, 3 Inches of Blood, Trouble, Zeke, Pentagram and Valient Thorr, to name a few. 



Featuring the soaring, soulful vocal power and prowess of Jamie Nova and the monster riff-crafting of Mischa Kianne on guitar and occasionally violin, 

along with the unmatched low-end heaviness of Jacy Peckham on bass coupled with the bone-crushing, rock solid anchor provided by Dana Sims on drums, 

Witchburn is the sound of rebellion in the voice of a hate-child conceived during a mythical orgy between Black Sabbath, Janis Joplin, Ronnie James Dio and Heart.

Witchburn delivers passionate, moody southern metal, made even more potent by the band's fierce energy and considerable musical chops. The smoky grooves are deep and heavy, tapping into a classic rock vein with gritty guitar lines, seamlessly blending vintage rock influence with that of modern metal. Their ready-for-battle anthems, apocalyptic overtones and dirty, doom-laden riffs keep your ears glued while confirming that these are dedicated musicians with genuine love for all that is heavy. 


Singer Jamie Nova is also well known for her former role as lead vocalist in the all female AC/DC tribute band Hell's Belles, in which she portrayed Bon Scott and Brian Johnson with her surprisingly expressive vocal range. 

Seeing what else this band is capable of becomes even more attractive when the black-dreadlocked guitarist trades her Les Paul for a violin on a song or two. 

Their mighty riffing, powerful vocals and kick ass, shout-along choruses completely galvanize even the most skeptical listeners, sending them promptly into blissful abandon as they surrender to pumping their fists in the air.

In the summer of 2010, the band independently released their first full-length album, This Is How We Slay Our Demons... which features 13 original tracks and was produced by Seattle's legendary Jack Endino (Nirvana, High on Fire, Zeke, Valient Thorr, 3 Inches of Blood to name but a few). They followed the release with aggressive touring throughout the western half of the US that summer, the following winter, and into the spring. 

They were also featured in the line up of Northwest summer festival concerts PDX Rockfest and the KISW Pain in the Grass 2011 alongside Korn, Queensryche, Chevelle, Hinder, Five Finger Death Punch, All That Remains and more, as well as Bumbershoot 2011 in Seattle with Pentagram, Valient Thorr, Red Fang and more. The band completed a European tour of in the fall of 2011 and are about to head to Hawaii for just a couple of dates before they hit the road to tour the states again in both March and April.

Witchburn has also garnered strong support from radio, including KISW in their native Seattle. The opening track on their debut offering, "Bleed the Stone", was featured in the KISW 9 O’clock Cockfight with Jolene, where it went on to win the maximum 7 times in a row before the song was placed in the Cockfight's "Hall of Fame". The station has also featured Witchburn as BJ Shea's Loud and Local Band of the Week on two separate occasions. 


Plans to record the follow up to their debut album are quickly coming together for the band to enter the studio with Jack Endino once again. Both the band and Endino are excited to work together again and the record’s completion is expected sometime in late spring or early summer, 2012. 

Pouring their whole hearts into their own bluesy brand of sultry Sabbath sludge, Witchburn commands you to throw your metal horns up high!


En Masse Live Show Shots-Opening for Prong at Cobra Lounge

ChiIL Live Shows original show shots

En Masse opened for Prong at Cobra Lounge, 4-20-12. 

Here's their deal, according to their FB Page:

Hometown: Batavia, IL
Genres: Metal / Metal / Metal
Label: N/A
Members: Don/Vocals, Parrot/Drums, Tony/Bass, Mike/Gutiar
A metal band. From the Chicago land area. They formed in 2010 to create a mixture of traditional Thrash/Death Metal with old school Hardcore and made a new mix. If you are a fan of Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, DRI, Slayer, Deicide, Pantera, Pestilence, Lamb of God, Possessed and Death, then you will like the fast hard hitting beats, riffs and vocals that they produce. They are an In Your Face band that will be sure to melt your face in the pit.

Prong Video Interview With ChiIL Live Shows & Live Show Shots From Cobra Lounge, Chicago #Album Review

ChiIL Live Shows caught up with front man, Tommy Victor and drummer, Alexei Rodriguez, before their 4/20 set at Cobra Lounge, Chicago, for an exclusive video interview.   We talked about everything from their new album, to that crazy chaos that's parenting and touring as a musician.   Tommy and Alexei both have daughters on either end of the age spectrum-about to graduate from high school and 20 months old.   They had some insights for our continuing series on How Creatives Parent and How Parents  Create.   Check it out here.

Prong is back with a vengeance.  Their 8th studio album, Carved Into Stone is just released and their recent 4/20 Chi-Town show at Cobra Lounge sold out!  Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've been giving Carved Into Stone a listen repeatedly, and can't get enough.   Hopefully Tommy's serious when he says they're writing new material and want to put out back to back albums, and ride the momentum of this sonic boom, Carved in Stone, instead of slipping back into oblivion, and releasing another album in 5 years.    This album, the first all new material in 5 years, indeed, is an amalgam of the best of Prong's past and fresh new fury.   

These 11 tracks of rage will bring joy to metal fans world wide.  There's not a weak link in the bunch, but Revenge_Served Cold will warm hearts.   This album comes out swinging with Eternal Heat, and doesn't ease up.   Ammunition, State of Rebellion, and List of Grievances (likely our favorite) provide plenty of rebellion ragers.   We also really dig Keep on Living in Pain and Eternal Heat.  Even the slower title track, Path of Least Resistance and Reinvestigate which close out the album, are strong and full of sweet riffs.  Carved into Stone is a metal must have. 
On 4/20, we caught a little of En Masse and Witchburn's whole set and were super impressed with Witchburn in particular.   We'll have live show shots from both bands up in the very near future.  We'd seen some past Witchburn clips online that were interesting enough, but they just don't do their live show justice.   Check 'em out when you can!

During Prong, the pit was so frenetic and outta control they had to send in the bouncers and toss a few bodies out of the club.   I got smashed into the side of the stage a half dozen times and eventually had to duck behind the merch table fast.  I spent a few days limping, but my camera gear all survived.   Despite the near brawl, it was a welcome reunion and the band sounded great!   They've still got that legendary power to stir things up. 

*Tony Campos is presently touring with Soulfly.   Phil Zeller (Toxic Holocaust) is on bass
Tommy Victor began as a sound guy for CBGBs, and formed the first incarnation of the band with bassist Mike Kirkland who was CBGB’s doorman.   In the past 20+ years, Prong has been through many incarnations and weathered the death of their bass player, ex-Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven, at age 46.   They've been on tour with many of the big boys like
Sepultura, Pantera, Soulfly and Fear Factory, among others.   Tommy took a hiatus from Prong around 2000 and played with Danzig and Ministry.   He'll be back out again in May with Danzig Legacy.   Check Prong's site for dates/cities.

They were signed by Epic in 89 and unceremoniously dropped in 96 after the album Rude Awakening turned eerily prophetic, and proved a rude awakening for the band, indeed, when it didn't sell as well as anticipated.   In our interview, Tommy conceded that for a while after that he wanted nothing to do with Prong, but eventually ran out of money and decided to give it another go.   We hate to sound all schadenfreude (happy about the misfortunes of others), but the metal world was not finished with Prong, and we welcome you back with bursting ear drums and head banging mosh pits.    Your cash flow problems = our gain.   And failure, struggle and loss make for great material.

With fresh material in mind, Prong tapped producer, Steve Evetts (Dillinger Escape Plan, Suicide
Silence), who worked them relentlessly to make Carved Into Stone as good as it gets.   Tommy and Alexei spoke humorously, heatedly, and at length about the whole brutal recording process.  As so often happens, we had our best conversations off camera, once the lens wasn't pointed at the band.   Suffice it to say, all the hard work paid off and they're pleased with the final result.

Evetts was a great fit for polishing up Carved Into Stone, so all the raw power, energy and emotion come through, combined with technical prowess.    They may have hated the tedious retakes, but with high production values and a perfectionist streak, plus a healthy ear toward not overproducing, Evetts earned his excellent reputation and did right by the band.


Here's Prong's take on Carved Into Stone off their home site:

What becomes an iconoclast the most? Carved Into Stone sums up what
Prong stands for. This is an album slaked in hostility, personal
detachment and seething with the urban paranoia that's long been the
mark of this sonic triad. It's eleven tracks that don't merely settle
into the New York City-born band's cannon of material that has yielded
post-metal classics including Beg To Differ and Cleansing. It exceeds

"I hate nostalgia," says mainstay, vocalist and guitarist Tommy Victor
whose musical and personal outlook belies his current Los Angeles
environs. "But this record literally has every strand of Prong's DNA
spliced together in a way that feels more exciting than it has in some

Produced and mixed by Steve Evetts (Dillinger Escape Plan, Suicide
Silence), Carved Into Stone picks up where Prong's classic albums left
off. Opener "Eternal Heat" sets things off at a blistering pace fueled
by drummer Alexei Rodriguez and bassist Tony Campos' formidable rhythm
section. Meanwhile, the likes of "Revenge…Best Served Cold" is absolute,
classic Prong: a huge riff slaked with bitter sentiments.

Tommy Victor admits that Carved Into Stone is the first time Prong has
taken direction from a producer in the studio. "It's also the hardest
I've ever worked on a record," he says of working with Evetts. "I'm
happier with the way it came out more than almost anything I've ever
done but there were points during it I wanted to kill myself and
everyone around me."

Prong emerged from the New York City underground of the late 80's,
quickly setting themselves apart from the conformist culture of the
city's hardcore and metal scenes. They were recognized internationally
for their first two independent releases: Primitive Origins and Force
Fed. When Prong's dalliance with the outer limits of the mainstream
acceptance came via Epic Records, it proved more successful than the
underground-bred trio ever expected. The band's "Snap Your Fingers Snap
Your Neck" from Cleansing became Prong's calling card.

"It felt like the world had finally caught up with us," says Tommy.
Prong's influence was being felt in the scene around them. Bands from
the likes of Pantera to White Zombie to Korn were taking notice of
Prong's purposeful, creative riffing and making that the template for
platinum selling success. "I wasn't jealous," Tommy recalls. "But I
could take a royalty check or two."

At the beginning of the 2000's, Tommy put Prong aside for a time to
play with Danzig and Ministry. It was a much-needed time for Victor to
refocus his energies. When Prong finally twisted itself back into form,
they toured exhaustively both headlining and supporting the likes of
Soulfly and Fear Factory. Slowly but surely, the songs and ideas that
would become Carved Into Stone began to take form. "The songs I was
writing felt more like Prong than anything I had written since Raven was
in the band," says Tommy, recalling the era when the recently deceased
ex-Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven was one of his co-conspirators.

Prong's Long Branch Records/SPV debut Carved Into Stone isn't merely
another chapter in the band's many-storied career or the much clichéd
"return to form". It's the sound of Tommy Victor and Company stating
exactly who Prong is. Like it or not, they aren't about to go away any
time soon.  

Like Tommy said in our interview, they're busy gorging on Beg To Differ on those long stretches in the van, so they'll be ready to bust it out in May for their European Tour.

Check out Prong's main site here.

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