Showing posts with label Chicago Public Library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago Public Library. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2022

Catch Mia Park's Live and Zoom Hybrid Event, Let Me Tell You, Monday, May 2 , 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 






Curator and Host Mia Park

A Live And Zoom Hybrid Event, Let Me Tell You Shares Stories of Healing, Mourning and Remembering

Admission is free, no RSVP required. Seating capacity is 65 people. Streaming options are available at

Mia Park has long been a Chicago favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows. When my kids were young, we joined her dance party for the CAN-TV show “Chic-A-Go-Go”. Since then I've seen her on stage in numerous productions. She's a Chicago treasure and we're happy to spread the word about her latest event. It looks like she's got a great lineup of talent slated. Don't miss this one night only event in person or streaming. 

Mia Park, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library, presents a one night only event, Let Me Tell You: Stories of Asian American Authenticity, Monday, May 2, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Bezazian Library, 1226 W. Ainslie Street. This is a free event commemorating Asian Pacific Heritage Month, which lasts throughout May, and designed to amplify the voices of Asian Americans in Uptown and throughout Chicago. 

Mia Park developed the theme of Let Me Tell You: Stories of Asian American Authenticity, an evening to share personal stories of healing, mourning and remembering in response to Anti-Asian sentiment in today’s Chicago. Dr. Ada Cheng was commissioned to teach the craft of storytelling, free of charge, to Asian American and Asian Pacific Island Desi Chicagoans who wanted to share and perform their personal narratives at this event. The performers, Hannah Ii-Epstein, Minky Kim, Thavary Krouch, Sangi Ravichandran, Peter Ruger, Jihar Shah and Giau Minh Truong represent mixed race, adopted, immigrant, and American born individuals from the diaspora. The performances are directed by Daniella Wheelock.

Park said, “It’s common in Asian cultures to suppress asking for help to force a harmonious society. The challenges of living in Chicago are not unique to this group, but the recent spike in anti-Asian violence is exclusively disturbing. Learning to share individual experiences can make the storyteller whole along with their community.”

This project is partially supported by a Neighborhood Access Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events to support the cultural vitality of the Uptown neighborhood and Barbara Levy-Kipper.

Top Row (L to R): Dr. Ada Cheng, Thavary Krouch, Hannah Ii-Epstein

Second Row (L to R): Minky Kim, Mia Park, Sangi Ravichandran, Peter Ruger

Bottom Row (L to R): Jigar Shah, Giau Minh Truong, Daniella Wheelock

Participants include:

ABOUT DR. ADA CHENG, storytelling instructor

An educator-turned artist, storyteller, and creator, Dr. Ada Cheng (she/her/hers) has been featured at storytelling shows and done her two solo performances all over the country. She has utilized storytelling to illustrate structural inequities, raise critical awareness and build intimate communities. 

Committed to amplifying and uplifting marginalized voices, she has created numerous storytelling platforms for BIPOC and LGBTQIA community members to tell difficult and vulnerable stories. 

Dr. Cheng has been a speaker for Illinois Humanities Speakers Bureau since 2019. She is currently a visiting associate professor with the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern University as well as an adjunct faculty at Dominican University. Her interests encompass academia, storytelling/performance, and advocacy. 



Hannah Ii-Epstein (she/her/hers) was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, received her MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage at Northwestern University in 2018. She is a creative writer, dramatist and artistic director of Nothing Without a Company. Ii-Epstein is a founding member of BearCat Productions, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, A 50th season writer at Kumu Kahua Theatre, a board member at Aloha Center Chicago and a member of the Ke Ali`i Victoria Ka`iulani Hawaiian Civic Club and Ke Kula Kupaa O Ka Pakipika hālau. She is a 2021 recipient of 3Arts Make a Wave grant and About Face Theatre’s Playwright Artist Grant.

ABOUT MINKY KIM, performer

Minky Kim (them/their/theirs) is a queer, non-binary transmasculine Korean personal trainer in Chicago. They founded Han Training (formerly LiftyBoi Training) early summer of 2019 after recognizing the lack of inclusive and accessible fitness trainers/spaces that align with the progressive and radical dismantling of white supremacy, queer/transphobia, fatphobia, ableism and classism. 


Thavary Krouch (she/her/hers) has an MFA in Writing/Directing from Columbia College Chicago. Her most recent short film, “Bitter Melons” (2020) screened at various film festivals such as the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Asian American International Film Festival in New York. She’s currently making a short documentary about the role of music and storytelling in healing. She is also a refugee from Cambodia. 

ABOUT MIA PARK, curator and host

Mia Park is a multi-dimensional artist based in Chicago, IL. Her boundless enthusiasm and energy fuel her community engagement through acting, producing events, teaching yoga, and more. She has hosted the cult favorite CAN-TV show “Chic-A-Go-Go” since 1998 and has played in several rock bands. Park is passionate about the potential in everyone and in the power of community. 


Sangi Ravichandran (she/her/hers//they/them/theirs) is a queer crip femme Desi immigrant artist, scholar, healer, grower and seed enthusiast. Their life’s work is geared towards building a world free from punishment and violence. Towards this end, their artistic practice brings together words, seeds, dyes, textiles, spinning, weaving and sewing, to explore the intersections between healing, community, growth, freedom and reimagining a newly transformed world. They see art as existing in the material world to make place, challenge, document, provide for and transform communities.


Peter Ruger (he/him/his) is honored to be a part of this amazing event. Born in Korea and adopted into a family in Oak Park, Ruger is proud to be a part of the Chicago theater community and has worked with amazing companies like Music Theater Works, Porchlight Theater, Black Button Eyes Theater and Underscore Theater among others.  


Jigar Shah (he/him/his) is the festival director of Chicago South Asian Film Festival. He is passionate about the connection between stories, films and community. He aims to share perspectives through films and art by providing a platform for talents who are overlooked, as he empowers each of us to see our inner artist. Shah holds several leadership titles and is an advisory board member to several nonprofits. He serves as a jury member in other international film festivals. Working in a leadership role in a global healthcare financial firm, he is a technology security leader who holds advanced degrees in Engineering, MBA (Chicago) and Law (Pritzker School of Law, Northwestern, Chicago).


Giau Minh Truong (he/him/his) was born in Vietnam and arrived in the USA in 1982 as a refugee. He studied film at Columbia College and he has conceptualized, acted in and directed numerous shows/events throughout the United States. Thruong is currently Links Hall's Tech director/associate curator focusing on developing use of tech in performance.


Daniella Wheelock (she/her/hers) is a Chicago-based mixed race queer theatre maker. Wheelock is an outspoken activist and is passionate about increased diversity in the theatrical room, from the casting room to the season selection committee.

Mia Park, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library, presents a one night only event, Let Me Tell You: Stories of Asian American Authenticity, Monday, May 2 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Bezazian Library, 1226 W. Ainslie Street. This is a free event commemorating Asian Pacific Heritage Month, which lasts throughout May, and designed to amplify the voices of Asian Americans in Uptown and throughout Chicago. Free admission, no RSVP required. Seating capacity is 65 people. Streaming options are available at

This project is partially supported by a Neighborhood Access Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and by the generous underwriting of Barbara Levy Kipper.

First Sip Cafe at 1057 W. Argyle St. is the cafe sponsor for this event. Stop by and mention the event for a discount.

Furama, an Uptown mainstay serving authentic Chinese cuisine and dim sum since 1985, 4936 N Broadway St. is the restaurant sponsor for this event. Mention attending the performance and receive a 15% discount before and after the show dining.

Monday, April 30, 2012

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

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