Thursday, April 19, 2018

OPENING: Jane The Virgin's Ivonne Coll Stars in Teatro Vista's World Premiere of The Madres

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Award-wining Latin film, TV and stage star Ivonne Coll, who plays matriarch Alba Villanueva on TV’s Jane The Virgin, will lead the cast of 
Teatro Vista’s Spring world premiere, 
The Madres.

ChiIL Live Shows will be out to review the World Premiere of The Madres at Victory Gardens on April 29th. The story of Argentina's terrifying reign of state sanctioned abductions and incarceration should have a voice on stage. I'm glad to hear Teatro Vista's staging this powerful work and bringing awareness of the tragedies that have been occurring for generations to Chicago audiences. Check back soon for my full review.

Set in the late 1970s during Argentina’s notorious Guerra Sucia, or “Dirty War,” The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker tells the empowering story of three generations of women - a grandmother, a mother and a daughter - and their desperate attempt to keep their family intact in the face of state-sponsored intimidation, kidnappings and murder.

Teatro Vista Executive Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez directs The Madres, which makes its debut in Chicago as a National New Play Network 2018 Rolling World Premiere.

Teatro Vista’s cast for The Madres: (from left) Ivonne Coll, Lorena Diaz,
Ramón Carmín, Felipe Carrasco and Ilse Zacharias. Stephanie Alison Walker is the playwright.
Teatro Vista Executive Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez will direct.

In addition to Coll as Josefina, the grandmother, The Madres stars Lorena Diaz (Carolina, the mother), Ramón Carmín (Padre Juan), Felipe Carrasco (Diego) and Ilse Zacharias (Belén, the daughter). Designers are Jose Manuel Diaz (set), Uriel Gomez (costumes), Jessica Doyle (lights) and Eric Backus (sound). Jennifer Aparicio is production manager. Stage manager is Stephanie Hurowitz.

The Madres premieres April 21-May 27, 2018 at Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, in the Richard Christiansen Theater. Previews are Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m., and Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. 

Performances run through May 27: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$45, and go on sale March 5 at 10 a.m.

For tickets and group discounts, visit, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773) 871-3000, or visit Victory Gardens (The Biograph) during box office hours. Metered, street and valet parking is available near the Biograph. The theater is easily accessed on the CTA Red, Purple and Brown lines via the Fullerton stop. The CTA 8 Halsted and 74 Fullerton buses also stop at Fullerton and Halsted, 1/2 block south of the theater. For more information, visit

Más about The Madres (The Mothers)

It's 1979 in Buenos Aires, Argentina where people are disappearing right off the street. The so-called "Dirty War" waged by the military Junta against its own people is in full-swing. Carolina and her mother Josefina are searching for “Caro’s” pregnant daughter Belén, who has been missing for twelve weeks. Then they receive a surprise visit from a priest who is now the chaplain to the military at ESMA, a known concentration camp. Next to drop by is Diego, a young soldier from the neighborhood, also stationed at ESMA. Their visits lead Josefina and Carolina to devise a plan to try to see Belén one last time. Will it work? Will they save her baby? Will they be able to save themselves?  

The “Dirty War” was the name the Argentine military dictatorship used for a period of state terrorism in Argentina from roughly 1974 to 1983, who targeted anyone believed to be a subversive or in any way associated with socialism. This included students, artists, journalists, political activists, mothers looking for the disappeared, nuns and anyone who spoke out against the military's reign of terror. As estimated 30,000 Argentines disappeared and were never heard from again.

Photo of Las Madres courtesy Argentinian photojournalist Daniel Garcia

Las Madres, also known as the Mothers of the Disappeared or Madres de los Desaparecidos, are a group of brave women who, when public protest was outlawed by the military dictatorship, marched in front of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) demanding the truth about the whereabouts of their missing children and later, grandchildren. Three of the original founding members ended up among the "disappeared." They began marching every Thursday in 1977 and continue marching today.

About the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere Initiative

Teatro Vista’s production of The Madres is presented with support from the National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere initiative. With support from NNPN, The Madres will receive four consecutive productions in 2018, kicking off in Los Angeles with Skylight Theatre Company, then Chicago at Teatro Vista, followed by San Diego at Moxie Theatre and Austin with Shrewd Productions. NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere program supports three or more theaters that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period, allowing the playwright to develop a new work with multiple creative teams in multiple communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production. For more information, visit

About Teatro Vista

Teatro Vista produces, develops and commissions plays that explore the wealth and variety of the human experience from a Latinx perspective. The company provides work and professional advancement opportunities for Latinx theatre artists, with special emphasis on the company’s ensemble members, and seeks to enhance the curricular goals of Chicago students through theatre. Teatro Vista was recently celebrated as one of “Chicago’s Cultural Leaders” by the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and received the League of Chicago Theatre’s Artistic Leadership Award.

Teatro Vista’s primary focus is producing new works by Latinx theatre artists and presenting classic plays featuring artists of color. Its artistic vision is shaped by the company’s ensemble members, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi- disciplinary artists. They inform Teatro Vista’s artistic aesthetic by devising original works as well as by selecting plays with themes that are engaging and relevant to Chicago’s diverse population.

Teatro Vista was founded in 1990 by Edward Torres and Henry Godinez. As Teatro Vista’s first Artistic Director, Godinez guided the company during the formative years. He helped stage successful productions and establish vital relationships with other theatre companies and artists. When Godinez stepped down, Torres was appointed Artistic Director. Under Torres’ direction, Teatro Vista used the stage to engage, connect and challenge audience members using the company’s mission as his guide.

In 2012, Torres moved to New York and the Board of Directors promoted Associate Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez to the position of Executive Artistic Director. In 2017, Sylvia Hevia joined Teatro Vista as Managing and Development Director. Previously, Hevia was Director of Marketing and Development of the International Latino Cultural Center and had her own multicultural event production company.

In addition to Gutiérrez, Teatro Vista ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Desmín Borges, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Ivonne Coll, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernández, Khanisha Foster, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Issac Gomez, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Eddie Martinez, Salome Martinez, Joe Minoso, Ayssette Muñoz, Christina Nieves, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruíz, Nate Santana, Cecilia Suarez and co-founder Edward Torres.

Teatro Vista’s Board of Directors includes Ezequiel “Zeek” Agosto, President; Rodrigo García and Rosanna Márquez, Vice Presidents; Joan Pantsios, Secretary; Tom Vega-Byrnes, Treasurer; and Bhuvana Badrinathan, Edgar Delgado, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Sylvia Hevia, Kareem C. Mohamednur and Angel Torres.

Teatro Vista is supported by The Joyce Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago, The Shubert Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Bayless Family Foundation and The Saints.

Purple Group is Teatro Vista’s Headline Season Sponsor. Teatro Vista is a Victory Gardens Resident Theater. For more information, visit


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


 The 2018 Season Includes:
Emmerich Kálmán’s operetta The Csárdás Princess (July 7 – 22),  
Forbidden Opera multi-media concert (October 18 and 21),
Franz Lehár’s Children’s Holiday Operetta Peter & Paul in the Land of Nod (December 2018)

 Attached image features lead actors in The Csárdás Princess
William Roberts (Boni), Emma Sorenson (Stasi), Lani Stait (Sylvia) and Jonathan Zeng (Edwin) 

Folks Operetta also announces The Korngold Initiative - A fundraising campaign to bring Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s rarely heard opera Die Kathrin (Kathrin) to Chicago for its American Premiere in 2019

Folks Operetta is proud to announce its 2018 season and a new fundraising campaign, The Korngold Initiative. All of these projects are part of their new Reclaimed Voices Series, which focuses on recovering and reviving the lost music of the Jewish composers of the Second World War. The series grew out of their research on operetta and the disproportionate numbers of Jewish composers who were silenced both before and after the Second World War. Jewish composers of opera suffered a similar fate. In a world where old prejudices resurface and where a new generation demagogues seeks to draw new lines of division and enmity, the stories of these composers take on a new urgency. Their works need to be heard, their stories told, and their memories restored.

This season includes the fully-staged Emmerich Kálmán masterpiece, The Csárdás Princess, July 7 – 22; a multi-media concert, Forbidden Opera, Friday, October 18 and 21 and for families celebrating the Holidays, Franz Lehár’s children’s operetta Peter & Paul in the Land of Nod, December. Specific details for each event are listed below. Tickets are on sale and available at

The 2018 Folks Operetta season includes:

The Csárdás Princess
July 7 – 22
Music by Emmerich Kálmán
Book by Leo Stein and Bela Jenbach
English translation by Hersh Glagov and Gerald Frantzen
Directed by Gerald Frantzen
Conducted by Mark Taylor
Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Opening Night: Saturday, July 7 at 7:30 PM
Performance schedule: Fridays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $40 for adults, $35 for seniors (65 years and older) and $25 for students (with student ID)

Folks Operetta’s 2018 season kicks off with Emmerich Kálmán’s operetta The Csárdás Princess. Kálmán’s mastery of the Viennese waltz and of the music of his native Hungary have made this show an enduring favorite in Europe. The story follows the ups and downs of the unlikely love affair between an aspiring young singer from the provinces and the scion of a wealthy Viennese family. Kálmán, as an assimilated Hungarian Jew living in Vienna, would have been well aware of the pitfalls of navigating the upper echelons of Viennese society. The Csárdás Princess, which takes aim at the rigid class divisions of Kálmán’s time, resonates in our own. Critics consider The Csárdás Princess to be Kálmán’s masterpiece.

Written in 1915, the show played on Broadway under the title The Riviera Girl in 1917 – just as the U.S. was entering “The War to End All Wars.” Broadway would not prove to be the boon that Kálmán had been seeking as it ran for only 78 performances. P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, who were responsible for The Riviera Girl’s book and lyrics, admitted that the fault lay with them, not with Kálmán. Wodehouse later wrote that “the Kálmán score was not only the best that gifted Hungarian ever wrote, but about the best anybody ever wrote.” With America’s entry into the War, anti-German sentiment was high, precluding more performances of the show. It would not be performed again in this country until 1932, when it was given at the St. Louis Municipal Opera and warmly received.

The Second World War would take a tremendous toll on Kálmán. Although he managed to escape, first to France and then to America, many of his relatives died at the hands of the Nazis. Settling in California, Kálmán suffered the indignity of having his music declared “degenerate” by the Nazis while finding himself in a strange country with no prospect of work. He tried writing film scores, but the industry proved to be a hard fit. He died in 1953, leaving his last show Arizona Lady, an homage to his adopted country, unfinished. (Folks Operetta gave the U.S. premiere in 2010.)

The production team includes Conductor Mark Taylor, Director Gerald Frantzen, Set Designer Eric Luchen, Lighting Designer Erik Barry, Costume Designer Patti Roeder, and Technical Director Josh Prisching.

Forbidden Opera
Multi-media Concert Including Five Singers and a Small Chamber Orchestra
October 19 at 7:00 PM and October 21 at 2:00 PM
Directed by Gerald Frantzen
Written by Gerald Frantzen and Hersh Glagov
Piano and small chamber orchestra
Illinois Holocaust Museum, 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie
Tickets: $35

As part of the Reclaimed Voices series, Folks Operetta takes a look at the composers of opera that time has forgotten. During the Third Reich Jewish composers, as well as any composers whose music did not suit the Nazis, were banned and labeled degenerate. Some Jewish composers such as Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullman, Hans Krasa, Erwin Schulhoff and Pavel Haas, would perish in the Holocaust. The more fortunate ones (Ernst Toch, Hans Gál, Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Arnold Schoenberg, Egon Wellesz and Erich Wolfgang Korngold) would ply their craft in their newly adopted homelands. For all of these composers, whether they survived the war or not, the post war years inflicted a further indignity; there was no one to champion their music after the war.

The concert Forbidden Opera will feature the work of these composers and the stories of their lives. This multi-media event will feature five singers, a small chamber group, a narrator and video projections.

Peter & Paul in the Land of Nod
A Children’s Operetta Workshop
Music by Franz Lehár
The Nineteenth Century Club
Performance schedule: 3 shows
Tickets: $35, $30 for groups
Recommended for families and children ages 5 and older.

Folks Operetta brings back Franz Lehár’s Peter and Paul in the Land of Nod, as part of its Reclaimed Voices series. Boasting nine ballet numbers á la The Nutcracker, this magical show was the first operetta Lehár wrote following his success with The Merry Widow. The librettists were Fritz Grünbaum and Robert Bodanzky. Grünbaum, a popular actor and cabaret performer and satirist,  would meet a terrible fate at the hands of the Nazis in the Second World War.

This wonderfully human story with its message of hope and love is a poignant reminder of the loss of writers such as Grünbaum and their contributions to art and music. The company will present this wonderful show in a new production with an English translation in rhyming verse by Hersh Glagov and Gerald Frantzen.  Featuring performers from the  Chicago Symphony  Orchestra  Chorus, children from the Children’s Operetta Workshop, a 15-piece orchestra, and leading ballet  dancers from the Chicago area, this is a holiday show not to be missed.

The Korngold Initiative
The Korngold Initiative is a two-year fundraising campaign to bring Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s rarely-heard opera, Die Kathrin (Kathrin), to Chicago for its American premiere. The goal is to raise $150,000 to employ local singers, actors, musicians, artists and designers for a new production of the opera at the Athenaeum Theatre in 2019. Folks Operetta’s version will be faithful to Korngold’s original intention to set the show in occupied Germany following the First World War. In keeping with Folks Operetta’s mission to make shows accessible, we will translate the libretto and perform the opera in English.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was one of the most unjustly neglected composers of the twentieth century. A child prodigy, he was praised by Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss and considered by many to be the successor to Mozart and Beethoven. His father, the prominent Viennese music critic Julius Korngold, was careful to nurture his son’s remarkable talent, securing composition lessons for the boy with Alexander Zemlinsky. Erich Wolfgang Korngold already had a sizeable body of work to his credit when he burst onto the world stage with his opera, Die tote Stadt, in 1923, at the tender age of 19.

Die Kathrin was Korngold’s last opera. He began working on it in 1933, when he was engaged in re-orchestrating some of the classic operettas of Johann Strauss Jr. and Leo Fall. A first performance, scheduled for 1938 in Vienna, was cancelled. This opera by a Jewish composer, depicting a love story between a German woman and a French soldier in French-occupied Saarland, was destined to run afoul of Nazi censors. The opera received its European premiere in Sweden in 1939, where it was given an overtly harsh and anti-Semitic review. To make matters worse, Die Kathrin was almost lost forever when the Nazis broke into Korngold’s villa to destroy his work. Michael Haas, in his book, “Forbidden Music, “writes: “Weinberger [music publisher] employees broke into the cellar, recovered what was left of the manuscript, and returned it to Korngold by interleaving sheets between pages of Beethoven, Mozart, and other acceptably ‘Aryan’ composers and posting them to the composer in California.”

Die Kathrin was finally given its Viennese premiere in 1950, but ran for only eight performances. In 1997, the BBC Orchestra created a complete recording of the work.

Since then, the work has seldom been performed. Its music, however, is compelling and masterfully written. It deserves another look. Folks Operetta is uniquely suited to the task of reviving Korngold’s masterpiece.

Folks Operetta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit theater company devoted to the nurturing of live operetta through articulate and dynamic productions. In the belief that the arts serve to illuminate the human condition, Folks Operetta is dedicated to the revival and development of operetta, a popular and accessible form of music and theater for general audiences. In particular, the Folks Operetta concentrates on producing both Viennese and American operettas from the early 20th century. Our mission also includes recovering the lost operas of Jewish composers who suffered or perished during The Second World War.

Lois D. and Maurice Jerry Beznos, Mr. Jerry Critser, The Pauls Foundation, The Richard Driehaus Foundation, Northern Trust


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:



All photos by Josh Hawkins
Chicago Tap Theatre Celebrates the Conclusion of Pride Month and Returns to the Athenaeum for an All-new Program of Dance Inspired by Divas and Featuring Live Music by the JC Brooks Band, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and other Special Guests

Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) present Tapped for the Very First Time at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave.,  Saturday, June 23 and Friday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tapped for the Very First Time coincides with the end of Pride month and is a celebration of divas and their music that have inspired all of us to dance for decades including Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Madonna and others. Tapped for the Very First Time is hosted by the incomparable Mattrick Swayze and has performances with all new arrangements and live music by the JC Brooks Band and featuring special appearances by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. 

Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the running time is two hours with one fifteen minute intermission. Tickets are $24 - $65 for reserved admission seating and may be purchased at or by calling 773-935-6875 or at the door. Group discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more. A preview rehearsal is open to the press at the Joel Hall Dance Center, 5965 N. Clark St. on Sunday, June 10 at 2 p.m.

“Two years ago we presented our first Pride-focused evening, We Will Tap You, to the music of Queen, and it was a HUGE success,” said Artistic Director Yonally. Indeed, that year’s production ended up on the Chicago Tribune and Windy City Times “10 Best Dance Events of the Year” list, with the Chicago Tribune saying, “an entertainment that, in under two hours, brought everybody to a new plane of joy and love.” Also, worth noting, three of the four reviews specifically asked for this to be an annual production!

“To make the 2018 performances even bigger, we have added the JC Brooks Band who are arranging and performing the music live. If you have never seen JC Brooks in person, you are in for a treat. I am also thrilled to be partnering with the Athenaeum Theatre to present TWO performances this year,” Yonally continued.

“Audiences who saw “We Will Tap You” remember CTT”s big over-the-top moments with unexpected guest artists, humor and passion. They have chosen to reprise the Act One closing scene, “Somebody to Love,” which left the audience and even many on stage with tears running down their face. Showcasing artists such as  Cher, Chaka Kahn, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and others, gives the company many opportunities for more over the top madness and rhythmic sublimity.”

Chicago Tap Theatre is also pleased to bring back one of the most talked-about elements of We Will Tap You - host Mattrick Swayze. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Gay pride…reached new heights here, thanks in part to the extensive contributions of Swayze, backed by the Swayzettes. Truly funny, outrageously sexy, he not only offered various factoids on Freddie Mercury (which he found on the internet, so of course "they're all true!") but devised burlesque vignettes”

Tapped for the Very First Time features choreography by Mark Yonally and Kirsten Uttich. Dancers include Mark Yonally, Jennifer Yonally, Kirsten Uttich, Isaac Stauffer, Aimee Chase, Sara Anderson, Emily Broeker, Bailey Caves, Anabel Watson and Chris Matthews. Music will be arranged and performed by the JC Brooks Band, with guest artists including the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, the Lakeside Pride Freedom Marching Band and many surprise guests.

Mark Yonally is currently the artistic director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded companies in Chicago. Yonally has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. As a company member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC), Yonally performed at such prestigious festivals as the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Royal Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. Furthermore, Yonally has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Yonally also maintains a longstanding professional relationship with Valérie Lussac, Artistic Director of Tapage of Toulouse, France. Yonally is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Yonally is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine.

Mattrick Swayze AKA Matthew Hollis is a long-time friend and fan of Chicago Tap Theatre.  As a dancer, Swayze has had the pleasure of performing for Hedwig Dances, The Seldoms, Joe Goode Performance Group and Mary Zimmerman.  As a choreographer, he has been a recipient of The Chicago Dancemakers Forum Grant and has presented his work throughout the world.  As a fitness expert, Swayze is a personal trainer and the co-creator of POMSQUAD Fitness which has been featured on WGN “Midday Fix,” NBC’s “1st Look” and WCIU’s “You  & Me in the Morning.”  Swayze is also a sassy mouthed high heel wearing host and late night fixture with The Chicago Dance Crash’s long running dance battle KTF. Mattrick recently competed on Wheel of Fortune, where he won fabulous cash and prizes.

JC Brooks is a musician and actor who's main pastime is writing love letters to the Chicago arts scene. He makes a unique brand of "indiesoul" with some of Chicago's best musicians in an eponymous project (formerly The Uptown Sound). Sometimes you can catch him with electro-r&b duo, the K.i.D., or as a solo singer/poet.  He's played several Chicago venues from sweaty dance parties at the gritty Door#3 to laidback cabaret nights at City Winery to a sold out House Of Blues. Beyond Chicago he's been tapped for a week-long residency in Brooklyn at a one-of-a-kind multimedia salon called Nightcap Riot and also to play in Milan for its mayor's reception dinner for their new sister city, Chicago. He'll be releasing a brand new EP this upcoming April- find out where you can catch him at:

Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move Chicago audiences for over 10 years.

YOB: Share New Song "The Screen" via Rolling Stone; Our Raw Heart is Due Out June 8

YOB: Share New Song "The Screen" 
via Rolling Stone
Our Raw Heart is due out June 8 on CD/2xLP/Deluxe 2xLP Boxset/CS/Digital

Photo Credit: Jimmy Hubbard

YOB, who recently announced the release of their eighth album, Our Raw Heart, on June 8 via Relapse Records, share “The Screen” on Rolling Stone HERE as the Oregon trio reveal the album artwork and pre-orders are made available.

“There was no guarantee that I was going to live long enough to record the album," said singer/guitar player Mike Scheidt in an accompanying interview about the 7-track release. 

Physical pre-orders are available via HERE with various physical bundles including a super deluxe 2XLP boxset (limited to 100 copies), a white/gold splattered deluxe version (limited to 300 copies), various merchandise and other formats including cassette and CD. Digital downloads can be found at the AT THIS LOCATION and include an instant download of “The Screen.”

Our Raw Heart was co-produced by the band and Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, Ore., with mastering handled by Heba Kadry (The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galas, Slowdive). Decibel Magazine and Stereogum named the release as one of their most anticipated albums of 2018.

Our Raw Heart tracklist:

The Screen
In Reverie
Lung Reach
Beauty in Falling Leaves
Original Face
Our Raw Heart

YOB’s most recent release, Clearing the Path to Ascend, was one of 2014’s most heralded releases, with Rolling Stone saying the music “makes perfect bedfellows of volume and beauty, pain and transcendence.” Stereogum said the four-track album offers “a universe unto itself” while Decibel said the songs were “as riveting as you could ever hope for them to be.”

YOB Tour Dates:

May 25 Vancouver, BC @ Modified Ghost Festival

--- All Dates Jun 14 - Jul 14 w/ Bell Witch ---

June 14 Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
June 15 Austin, TX @ Austin Terror Fest
June 16 Little Rock, AR @ Mutants of the Monster 2018
June 17 Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone
June 19 Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
June 20 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
June 22 Orlando, FL @ SoundBar
June 23 Wilmington, NC @ Reggies
June 24 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
June 25 Raleigh, NC @ King’s
June 27 Baltimore, MD @ Metro
June 28 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
June 29 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
June 30 Boston, MA @ Middle East
July 02 Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rosa
July 03 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
July 04 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
July 06 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
July 07 Detroit, MI @ El Club
July 08 Chicago, IL @ Reggies
July 09 Chicago, IL  @Reggies
July 10 St. Paul, MN @ Club
July 11 Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
July 12 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
July 13 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
July 14 Boise, ID @ Neurolux


Twisted Prayers
Available June 01

Available May 11

Control Denied
The Fragile Art of Existence (Vinyl)
Available June 01

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NEW RELEASES: SONS OF AN ILLUSTRIOUS FATHER Announce new album Deus Sex Machina: Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla Out June 1st, 2018


Announce new album 
Deus Sex Machina: Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla
Out June 1st, 2018

"When Things Fall Apart"

(Photo credit:  Ebru Yildiz)

New York City's Sons Of An Illustrious Father - comprised of Josh Aubin, Lilah Larson, and Ezra Miller - are proud to announce their brand new album, Deus Sex Machina:  Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla, which will be released on June 1st, 2018.  Following a brilliant video for the song "Extraordinary Rendition," which came out earlier this spring, the band today share another taste of the album with the song "When Things Fall Apart," which premiered today via Clash.  Click HERE to listen to it. 

Sons Of An Illustrious Father were born from an inherent need to represent Otherness within personal identity, continuing the astounding lineage of punk rock icons before them who pushed the boundaries of popular culture via explorations of gender definition and sexual fluidity.  Theirs is a sound that leans back towards the outsiderdom and recklessness in music that paved the way for the likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, X-Ray Spex, Bikini Kill, and so many more. 

It is from this path that Deus Sex Machina: Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla has sprung -- a daring record stuffed to the brim with socio-political ideas and sprawling gender theory which also just happens to be their most epic, most infectious to date.  The album is a distinctively literate statement of intent, an act of resistance from the outsiders and the fighters, aimed at the cerebral cortex even as it inexorably moves your hips. It's a specific direction they have charted ever since they first emerged a few years ago, before finally coalescing into a glorious, head spinning whole on this triumphal record. 

Casting a critical eye over a society rotting from the inside out - in their own words, "it's a funeral march for our world we have lost" - the music is anything but bleak and morose. Instead, it sounds enormous, weaving in sepulchral folk, punk, electronica, rock, and much more to dizzying effect. They define their undefinable sound as "genre queer," which sounds idiosyncratic to say the least, but self-analysis is not a preoccupation of this band.  And why should it be? Their obsession with the wholly immersive and visceral experience of music makes them wilfully flippant where particulars and details are concerned, and this record makes good use of their heart-and-gut-wrenching reactions to the dismal current state of affairs.  Indeed, Sons of An Illustrious Father have a miraculous way of turning the atmospheric anger, confusion, and turmoil into chest-bursting anthems meant to bring people together during disparate times.

Over the 9-song span of Deus Sex Machina:  Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla, Sons Of An Illustrious Father's particular vision is celebrated fully and without cliché. Like all the seminal oddballs and aliens that came before them, they are looking at the chaos and disorder in the world right now with resourceful, refined eyes, and they see the glorious opportunity and enormous responsibility that affords. These songs are the end result; listen on and marvel. 

Sons Of An Illustrious Father will be touring America this spring; tour dates are below.

US Gay
Crystal Tomes
Extraordinary Rendition
When Things Fall Apart

6/11 - Washington, DC @ DC9
6/12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere - Hall
6/13 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
6/15 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
6/18 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's
6/19 - Detroit, MI @ El Club
6/20 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
6/22 - San Francisco, CA  @ The Chapel
6/23 - Los Angeles, CA @ Echo

Sons Of An Illustrious Father:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Hypocrites'

The eleven comedies of Aristophanes adapted into a five-hour marathon event, complete with food and a cash bar. The Hypocrites’ Lead Artist, Sean Graney will direct this script he adapted as a stand alone follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Our Tragic.

Aristophanesathon Tickets

THE ARISTOPHANESATHON: The eleven comedies of Aristophanes adapted into a four hour event, complete with food and a cash bar. Artistic Director will direct this script he adapted as a follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Our Tragic. Six actors perform twenty-drive actors in this energetic exploration of connection, failure, government, humor, and death.  (By the way, can you name the eleven Aristophanes plays? The Acharnians, The Knights, The Clouds, The Wasps, Peace, The Birds, Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, The Frogs, Ecclesiazusae, Wealth.)

Tickets are moving fast, buy them early!

Tickets are $60, includes a light meal and snacks. Click any of the dates below to order your tickets.

Friday, April 20, 6:30pm

Saturday, April 21, 6:30pm

Sunday, April 22, 4:00pm

Friday, April 27, 6:30pm

Saturday, April 28, 6:30pm

Sunday, April 29, 4:00pm

Friday, May 4, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 5, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 6, 4:00pm

Friday, May 11, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 12, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 13, 4:00pm

Friday, May 18, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 19, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 20, 4:00pm

Friday, May 25, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 26, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 27, 4:00pm

For the first production under the Ticket Pledge system, the Hypocrites will perform The Aristophanesathon, Sean Graney’s follow-up to All Our Tragic, a four-and-a-half-hour adaptation that combines the eleven surviving plays of the Old Comedy Greek Playwright Aristophanes. This play exists in the same universe as All Our Tragic, but also acts as a stand-alone piece. The cast of six will feature Hypocrites Ensemble members Breon Arzell, Sasha Smith and Tien Doman.

The Hypocrites are working off of a new non-profit business model after the company was forced to cancel a portion of their 20th anniversary season. Instead of a traditional season of shows, The Hypocrites will operate on a project-by-project basis and secure all production expenses before each individual show is programmed. The company says “the capital for our productions will be obtained mostly through negotiated contracts with partner organizations but we are also creating a new system for funding self-produced show while testing audience viability, called Ticket Pledges.”

The company has invited thirty actors to join the ensemble, who will collaborate with Sean Graney to develop new material for the company. Dropping the title of Artistic Director, Sean Graney will become the Lead Artist. Kelli Strickland, the former Executive Director, will continue as a contracted advisor. The Hypocrites Board of Directors remains.

When the Hypocrites have a project for consideration, they will post the description of the proposed show online and ask for a set number of ticket pledges that will cover all production costs. Patrons may either Purchase a ticket or Pledge to Purchase a ticket. The Ticket-Pledge window will remain open for ten weeks. When a patron makes a Pledge to purchase a ticket, they will collect the patron’s name and email, but no credit card information. They will also be accepting tax-deductible donations that will be go toward covering the cost of the production.

Once a show reaches its “Critical-Interest” number of ticket pledges, the company will officially program the show and the patrons will be contacted to make purchasing arrangements. If a proposed show does not reach its minimum amount of ticket pledges, the company will not pursue that project.

The company will also continue touring their popular Gilbert & Sullivan adaptations featuring many Ensemble members and longtime artistic collaborators.

“We are extremely excited to announce these changes to our organization that will lead to stronger, more successful art being brought into the world. We want to make theater for audiences. Therefore, we are making the audiences a central part of the dialogue for programming each show,” said Graney.

“This decision just makes good business sense. This way, the business side of the company will always be operating in the black without reliance on surpluses in sales goals or fundraising to plug any revenue holes,” said Strickland.

In December, financial constraints forced the well-respected company to cancel the final two shows of their season and cut short the run of their well-received production of WIT. David Cromer and many of the cast members from they original blockbuster production of OUR TOWN returned for a benefit performance the help right the ship in January.

The Hypocrites Ensemble ensemble is now comprised of Aja Wiltshire, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Breon Arzell, BrittneyLove Smith, Dana Omar, Deanna Myers, Doug Pawlik, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carrillo, Elle Walker, Emjoy Gavino, Erin Barlow, Geoff Button, Greg Hardigan, Isa Arciniegas, Janelle Villas, Jennifer Grace, Joel Rodriguez, John Taflan, Kate Carson-Groner, Kurt Ehrman, Lauren Vogel, Leslie Ann Sheppard, Matt Kahler, Maximillian Lapine, Mechelle Moe, Rob McLean, Sasha Smith, Shawn Pfautsch, Tien Doman and Tina Muñoz Pandya. The Ensemble is managed by Justine Palmisano and Miranda Anderson.

"Festival" Documentary Following Fans at Chicago Music Festivals Gets Distribution 

What We're Watching:
Festival A Documentary 
The film was shot, crewed and produced solely by Chicagoans.

Festival, a documentary following five fans as they prepare, attend, and reflect on their music festival experience, is now available on Amazon Prime, YouTube Red, Vimeo On Demand  & iTunes. The film can be streamed online and on all major streaming devices including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and several XBox and Playstation consoles.

The documentary examines these individuals’ personal experiences and motivations against the backdrop of the festival industry’s much-discussed evolution from the late-60s to today.   
“It aims to be an honest and detailed look at why our generation attends massive events, what is sacrificed, what is gained, and why it matters,” says the film’s director and executive producer Michael Raspatello. “This is a collection of stories from real individuals, a snapshot of what happens when 100,000 people descend on a festival weekend.

Alongside footage of the FESTIVAL’s protagonists — a group of men and women whose ages range from 20 to 40 — the documentary promises a never-before-seen performance from Benny Benassi and in-depth interview with Bonnaroo and Outside Lands co-founder Rick Farman.  Somewhat inspired by the time-capsule appeal of cult-classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986), FESTIVAL entwines historic footage of unnamed fans at Newport Folk, Monterrey Pop, Isle of Wight, and Woodstock ’99 throughout.

Festival simultaneously debuted last summer at both Bonnaroo and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, later appearing as an “Official Selection” at Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco and Hip Hop Film Festival in NYC.  

“Music festival culture hasn’t been in the film and television limelight much, our film provides a look into that world, without over-sensationalizing it,” notes Brent Kado the film's assistant director and co-producer. 

Check it out:

• Trailer:
• Link to Amazon Prime Video Listing:
• Link to YouTube Red Listing:
• Link to Vimeo Listing:
For details on FESTIVAL go to


New Releases On Our Radar:


 The story of Link Wray sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. In 1937, a boy from the Shawnee Indian tribe was taught guitar by an African American traveling carny named Hambone in the segregated south.  

“He’s the king.  If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and Rumble, I’d have never picked up a guitar.” - Pete Townshend

“Rumble had the power to help me say ‘fuck it,’ I’m going to be a musician.” – Iggy Pop

“Link Wray was a huge influence on all modern rock guitar players.  If they say he didn’t influence (them), they’re lying!” - Wayne Kramer, MC5

60 years ago, legendary guitarist Link Wray released his influential instrumental song “Rumble,” and changed the face and sound of rock and roll forever. The song has now been inducted into the very first class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Singles. This marks the first time The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has honored songs in addition to artists, and Link Wray’s “Rumble” was immortalized alongside five other singles. “Very happy to see Link Wray’s “Rumble” get its much deserved recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” said Dan Auerbach about “Rumble’s” induction. “It’s a song that changed everything and influenced all that came after it. It's now time for that impact to be fully recognized and for Link to be inducted to the Rock Hall as an artist, where he always belonged.” Read the full details about the song’s induction via Billboard.

Dan Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound has released “Son of Rumble,” Link’s intended, but never released follow-up to the song that introduced the world to power chords and intentional distortion. “Son of Rumble” is a never before released or heard track from the Link Wray archives, and the song, along with b-side “Whole Lotta Talking,” is now available as 7” vinyl here.

Link Wray’s “Rumble” became a flash point for countless musicians including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Steven Van Zandt, Jeff Beck and Elvis Costello. The song was banned in New York, Boston, and Detroit, for fear it would incite juvenile violence, making Wray the only artist in history to have a banned instrumental.

In 1953, that boy became a Western Swing musician who played the wake of Hank Williams.  By 1957, he was a Korean War Veteran who lost a lung to TB and was told he’d never sing again. Yet, Link Wray spent the next half-century as the only one-lung singer in rock and roll, and lay the foundations for what the genre would become. The impact of Link Wray, one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, can be heard in generations of American and British metal, punk, grunge, thrash, and psychobilly rockers, all of whom have claimed him and “Rumble” (and follow-ups “Raw-Hide” and “Jack The Ripper”) as their own. 

“Son of Rumble”
”Whole Lotta Talking”

Monday, April 16, 2018

HELP OUT: CHRIS’ 4th Annual BIRTHDAY BELT FEST Is Raising Funds for Howard Brown Health 5/15/18

Help Out:

The 2018 Chris’ Birthday Belt Fest is “CO-ED,” and Features, For the First Time, Male Soloists Joining Chicago’s Top Music Theater Performers 
Raising Funds for Howard Brown Health

Jeff Award-nominee and HIV+ director/producer Christopher Pazdernik is pleased to announce the 4th annual Chris’s Birthday Belt Fest, a benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, Monday, May 14 at 8 p.m. at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. Tickets are $30, in advance; $40, at the door on the night of the performance, and are available at or by calling 773.867.1946. Uptown Underground is a 21 years old and older venue and advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Pazdernik’s journey with Howard Brown Health began in 2009, when he was diagnosed HIV+. He has been receiving his treatments at Chicago’s health and wellness center ever since and has even become the Community Advisory board chairperson. In 2015, Pazdernik was looking for a way to give back to Howard Brown Health and raise much needed funds for the organization. As a popular and respected member of Chicago’s theater community, Pazdernik asked his friends - who happen to be many of Chicago’s leading talents – to donate their time and celebrate his birthday singing high-energy songs from musicals with 100% of the ticket proceeds going directly to Howard Brown Health and Chris’ Birthday Belt Fest was born. Since its inception four years ago, Belt Fest has raised more than $5,000 for Howard Brown and each year the concert’s audience and amount raised has increased. 

This year, Aaron Benham returns as music director and pianist for the evening and, for the first time, Belt Fest goes “CO-ED” featuring male soloists joining the “who’s who” of performers including Missy Aguilar (Porchlight Music Theatre’s In The Heights); Stephen Allen, Jr. (Porchlight Music Theatre’s Memphis); Justin Brill (original Broadway cast member of High Fidelity); Aaron Choi (Marriott Lincolnshire’s Honeymoon in Vegas); Nathan Cooper (Paramount Theatre’s Sweeney Todd); Max DeTogne (Jeff Award-nominee, Refuge Theatre Project’s High Fidelity); Nick Dryzbanski (Jeff Award-nominee, Refuge Theatre Project’s High Fidelity); Billy Dwyer (Pride Films & Play’s Yank!); Amanda Falls (Wisconsin actor and director and Pazdernik’s childhood friend); Nicole Michelle Haskins (Refuge Theatre Project’s The Spitfire Grill); Angela Ingersoll (Jeff Award, Porchlight Music Theatre’s End of the Rainbow); Callie Johnson (Jeff Award, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pal Joey); Molly Kral (Boho Theatre’s Urinetown); Ryan Lanning (Haven’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch);  Michelle Lauto (Jeff Award, Chicago cast Spamilton); Eric Lewis (Jeff Award, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Dreamgirls); Yando Lopez (Jeff Award-nominee, Chicago cast Spamilton); Donica Lynn (Jeff Award, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Dreamgirls); Adam Michaels (Paramount Theatre’s Rent); Lauren Paris (Refuge Theatre Project’s The Spitfire Grill); Samantha Pauly (Marriott Lincolnshire’s Honeymoon in Vegas);  Laura Savage (Jeff Award-nominee, BoHo Theatre’s The Spitfire Grill); Andrew Sickel (Kokandy Production’s Heathers) with additional performers to be announced. 

About Howard Brown Health
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves adults youth and children throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, Howard Brown provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally renowned clinical and behavioral research.

About Christopher Pazdernik
Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with "a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals" (Newcity). He is best known for the critically acclaimed production of High Fidelity (Jeff Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical) at Refuge Theatre Project, where he also serves as artistic director. Recent credits include Carrie (Ohio Northern University), Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Planted (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), Make Me a Song (Eclectic Theatre Co.) and Story of A Story (The Untold Story) (Underscore Theater Co.). He is also a frequent cabaret director and curator including Broadway's Cult Classics at Davenport's Piano Bar and the His & His series at Pride Films & Plays.  At Porchlight Music Theatre, Pazdernik is a proud artistic associate, and serves as company manager and casting associate and has directed, choreographed and assistant directed many productions. An openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik was a 2016 Windy City Times 30-Under-30 honoree for his contributions to Chicago's LGBTQ community and he currently serves on the Ambassador Committee for the AIDS Run/Walk Chicago and as chairperson on the Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ organizations.

Photo by Matt Percy

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