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Showing posts with label Rhinofest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rhinofest. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

REVIEW: Full Moon Vaudeville Kicks Off Rhinofest, Longest Running Chicago Fringe Fest Through February 24, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
 The 30th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival 
(Rhinofest) 
January 12 – February 24, 2019



Chicago’s Longest Running Fringe Festival Returns with Six Weeks of Performances and Special Events Including Full Moon Vaudeville and a Celebration of Poet and Teacher John Starrs

Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr are proud to announce the 30th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival (Rhinofest), January 12 – February 24, 2019 at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. The 2019 Rhinofest includes six weeks of new plays, dance, devised works, variety shows, comedy, live podcasting, fresh takes on classic texts, and more. Tickets now on sale. Performances are $15 or pay-what-you-can, and run daily except Tuesdays. A complete performance schedule with performances, dates and times is available at RhinoFest.com.


FULL MOON VAUDEVILLE 
Review
by bonnie kenaz-mara

Long live Chicago's fringe fest scene. The Rhinofest has a long and storied past and this prescient pachyderm is still running, barreling into the future with the city's hottest collection of acts that couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't... be produced anywhere else. That's what I learned at the kick-off festivities. 

Avondale's funky Prop Theatre is the consummate host and ideal local for the fest. Despite snowy conditions, the opening night vibe was a happy hybrid of cast party and family reunion, replete with pizza and venn diagrams.  

FULL MOON VAUDEVILLE
On January 12th, I caught the traditional opening ceremony for Rhinofest, the Full Moon Vaudeville 2019, which was neither very vaudeville nor on the night of the full moon. January's Super Blood Wolf Moon with an Eclipse thrown in for good measure, is still coming January 21st, and with a title like that, it may well deserve its own top billing. 


(L to R)  Heather Riordan, Beau O'Reilly, Jenny Magnus, T-Roy Martin and Vicki Walden of THE CROOKED MOUTH, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Jeffrey Bivens

Described as a variety spectacular and communal how-do-you-do for show makers and audience members alike, curated by Rhino co-founder Beau O’Reilly, Full Moon Vaudeville played out like a family reunion full of inside jokes and fond recollections of shuttered venues and past productions. The original folk stylings of The Crooked Mouth were fun to hear, though many of the vocals were tough to make out, and that's where this band shines. There was less theatre than I'd hoped, loads of reminiscing, glowing odes to theatre as an art form, and even a power point presentation. All in all, it was a fun evening and a blast from the past. 

I first moved to Chicago in the fall of 1990, so Rhinocerous Fest and I share an anniversary. Back then I was a wide eyed newbie to big city life, with a freshly minted college degree, a minor in theatre arts, a desire to see EVERYTHING, and no disposable income to speak of. I started catching every "pay what you can", free, and cheap performance I could find, and quickly became a fan of the smart, quirky, bizarre stylings of Curious Theatre Branch and Maestro Subgum and the Whole. I still have a CD of theirs from back in the day.

We've all grown up and grown older together, and it's exciting to me to see this intrepid band of thinkers, writers, actors, and musicians still producing new works and performing on stage, as well as teaching and mentoring the next generation. At Saturday's kick-off, Curious Theatre Branch called for all the audience members and performers near 60 to stand, and celebrated them. Sure, there's plenty of new blood on stage at Rhinofest #30, but the old guard is still kicking ass, taking names, and rockin' the "air cane". 

We hope to catch much more of this year's iteration of Rhinofest. It's an eclectic lineup and an exciting chance to pick diamonds or drek. It's a gamble worth taking.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly). 


more about the crooked mouth
We will be honest with you. The Crooked Mouth is hard to classify stylistically. Our sound weaves its way through different genres without fully making a home in any of them. We've been described as alt-country, alt-punk and cabaret. We all write songs and we all have our own way of coming at things, which lends itself to the sonic variety. It all comes together in the live shows. You should come and see us play.  No one can tell a story and captivate an audience better than our front man, Beau O'Reilly.

Beau and Jenny have been musical collaborators for decades—their previous band, Maestro Subgum and the Whole, was big, bold, cabaret-inspired, and beloved by many. Former Maestro fans have become our fans as well. Wander over to our music page, have a listen, and decide for yourself. Thanks for coming. We are always glad to see you.

We are:
Beau O’Reilly – lead vocals, cane, banter

Jenny Magnus – drums, vocals

T-Roy Martin – guitar, ukelele, trombone, banjo, vocals

Heather Riordan – accordion

Vicki Walden – bass, vocals


The Crooked Mouth is based in Chicago, on the uvulittle record label.
Download our eponymous CD, Yes Face, and/or LoveLoveLoveLoveStopLoveLoveLove at uvulittle or CDbaby.

"Yes Face is a terrifically good record. It travels on vocal harmonies and drums while it shimmers and jangles with strings. The drumming and bass are great, tempos and sophisticated time signatures change without fanfare, but rather with ease and confidence in a way the body experiences joyfully without having to filter it through the intellect."  — Jeff Dorchen for Chicago Arts Journal 

“Okay, The Crooked Mouth is just…I mean…Really, there is just no other band like The Crooked Mouth. The only other bands anything like The Crooked Mouth are with people who are already in the Crooked Mouth or existed with people in The Crooked Mouth before there was a Crooked Mouth. What a mouth is this Crooked Mouth. Yes. What other band has songs about belonging and not showing up, the heartbreak of professionalism, and having interesting middle-age problems? Furthermore, there are stories in between about enunciation and Bruce Willis, not to mention dynamic air-cane playing, acoustic guitar played in an insane electric way among other silky, stringed things and drums to piano and back and forth and back again with a percussion in the percussion of percussion.”    — Barrie Cole






CURIOUS THEATRE BRANCH AND PROP THTR PRESENT THE 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, 
JANUARY 12 – FEBRUARY 24, 2019 AT PROP THTR 

Julia Williams of SKRIKER, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Jeffrey Bivens

(L to R) Beau O'Reilly, Patrick Ford, Bethany Arrington, Emily Rich, Barry Lohman and Julia William of SKRIKER, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Jeffrey Givens 

First organized in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Rhinofest, the longest-running multi-arts fringe festival in Chicago is unique among national fringe festivals in that artists are never charged a fee to participate, and each year programs are individually curated by a rotating selection committee composed of Curious and Prop artistic leaders, led by Beau O’Reilly, rather than selected on a lottery basis. The Rhinofest provides production and exhibition opportunities to hundreds of artists, from Chicago companies and national artists alike, drawing thousands in attendance each year.

The 30th Rhinofest begins Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. with Full Moon Vaudeville, featuring The Crooked Mouth, piloted by Curious co-founders Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus with special musical guests Matt Test, Jeff Kowalkowski, Mac Modean Greenberg, Leo Brün and more. 


Rhinofest2019-5 - Violet of BI-POLAR BITCH, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Larry Hart

(L to R) Diane Hamm, Robert Puig Cuevas, Violet and Kelly Anchors of BI-POLAR BITCH, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Larry Hart

Fiercely independent and committed to discovery, Rhinofest this year features many young performing companies including The Neighborhood Collective, El Bear, Uploose Odditorium, and others along with festival veterans including beloved Chicago playwright Barrie Cole (performing from her latest work in a two-evening engagement), animator Chris Sullivan, Susan Parenti and Mark Enslin (of the School for Designing a Society), Charles Pike (performing a new monologue by David Hauptschein), and Prop Thtr co-founder Scott Vehill. 

Littlebrain Theatre premieres a new devised adaptation of Vittoria de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves written by Zach Barr, Tara Branham directs Tanuja Jagernauth’s new interactive work Lockpickers, and Rob Onorato performs Night of a Million Barbras, a drag monologue and political paean to the enduring star. Curious Theatre Branch premieres Matt Rieger’s new razor-sharp comedy My Dinner with... Joe and a staging of Caryl Churchill’s dark fairytale The Skriker, while Prop Thtr produces a weekly live taping of Ben Moroney and Rahim Salaam’s arts and culture podcast “What About Chicago?!” And on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m., during the final week of Rhinofest, a special event celebrates John Starrs, the Chicago poet and teacher who has appeared in every Rhinofest since 1988.

Diane Hamm of CABARET PROP'D, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, part of the 30th ANNUAL RHINOCEROS THEATER FESTIVAL, photo by Beast Women


About Prop Thtr
The Prop Thtr is a DIY incubator for new performance work in all disciplines, and is a charter member of both The League of Chicago Theaters and the National New Play Network. Prop Thtr produces new plays, special events, rolling world premieres with their NNPN members; they also helped launch The New Play Exchange and co-produce the annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival. Prop Thtr is a renter of performance and rehearsal space and camp/class space and collaborates with productions on location and around the city. Prop Thtr is an Illinois Not-For-Profit 501c3 Organization that benefits from support by the MacArthur Fund of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and The Illinois Arts Council, in addition to being supported by artists and audiences of Illinois.

About Curious Theatre Branch
Founded in 1988 by Jenny Magnus and Beau O'Reilly-as the Curious Theatre "Branch" of the alt-rock cabaret act Maestro Subgum and the Whole-Curious has consistently worked with an ensemble of artists in a non-hierarchical decision-making process, through which the philosophy of collaboration as a social force is explored on every level.

Curious Theatre Branch has produced more than 100 full productions of world-premiere shows in 30 years. Curious has developed its own recognizable style, using an economy of means and production to make deeper and deeper, rather than larger and larger, work. 

Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr are proud to announce the 30th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival (Rhinofest), January 12 – February 24, 2019 at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. The 2019 Rhinofest includes six weeks of new plays, dance, devised works, variety shows, comedy, live podcasting, fresh takes on classic texts, and more. Tickets now on sale. Performances are $15 or pay-what-you-can, and run daily except Tuesdays. A complete performance schedule with performances, dates and times is available at RhinoFest.com.

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