Category Archives: Art

Tickets Now On Sale for “Practical Radio Theatre On The Air”

Radio Art 4The Practical Theatre is back in the Chicago area with a classic radio show featuring grown-up comedy, great live music and ingenious handmade sound effects! Plus adult beverages! Join the fun as the PTC records two shows at Studio5 Performing Arts Center in Evanston for later broadcast on Chicago’s premier jazz station WDCB 90.9 FM.

There are just 2 shows: Friday December 28 and Saturday the 29th. Tickets are now on sale at Brown Paper Tickets. Click here for ticket info and reservations.

SingersPractical Radio Theatre on the Air is a radio show format filled with high spirits, satire and song, featuring writer-performers Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen with music by Steve Rashid and his Studio5 All-Stars, and special appearances by one of Studio5’s favorite singers, Paul Marinaro, recording artist Eva B. Ross, and Giggle Break’s Daniel Rashid having fun with those handmade sound effects.

DanielRashidHeadshot1Friday night’s performance begins with an opening set of songs by Paul Marinaro. On Saturday night Eva B. Ross opens the show. But the fun begins as soon as you get there!

The Studio5 All-Stars are Steve Rashid (keyboards), Don Stiernberg (guitar), Jim Cox (bass) and Robert Rashid (drums).Band

Join the live audience and be an integral part of the show, sipping a smart cocktail in the comfort of the North Shore’s most intimate performance venue, located at Dempster and Dodge in Evanston — with acres of free parking!

It’s another holiday happening to remember!

Doors open for cocktails at 7:30. Showtime is 8:00.

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Studio5 calendar:
Brown Paper Tickets:

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Holiday Fun Comes to Evanston: Practical Radio Theatre On The Air!

Radio Show Poster #2The Practical Theatre is coming back to Chicago’s North Shore with a classic radio show featuring grown-up comedy and great live music! Plus adult beverages! Join the fun as the PTC records two shows at Studio5 Performing Arts Center in Evanston for later broadcast on Chicago’s premier jazz station WDCB 90.9 FM.

VPD_-0009_High_ResFollowing their smash holiday engagements the past two years at Studio5, writer-performers Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen return with Practical Radio Theatre on the Air, featuring music by Steve Rashid and his Studio5 All-Stars, with special appearances by Giggle Break’s Daniel Rashid and recording artist Eva B. Ross.

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Eva B. Ross

Practical Radio Theatre on the Air is a classic radio show format filled with high spirits, satire and song.Join the live audience and be an integral part of the show, sipping a smart cocktail in the comfort of the North Shore’s most intimate performance venue. Studio5 Performing Arts Center, located at Dempster and Dodge in Evanston, features comfy seating, great sight lines, state of the art sound and lights — and acres of free parking!

DanielRashidHeadshot1

Daniel Rashid

It’s another holiday happening to remember!

There are just 2 shows: Friday December 28 and Saturday the 29th. Tickets are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets.

There will be a cash bar for both shows. Doors open for cocktails at 7:30. Showtime is 8:00.

Each night’s performance begins with an opening set of songs by Eva B. Ross before the radio show gets underway — but the fun begins as soon as you get there!Studio5+Seats+Eva

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Your hosts at Studio5: Impresarios Bea & Steve Rashid

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The Latest Recording from Eva B. Ross: “Friends, Like Me”

As many of you know, my daughter Eva is a singer-songwriter who recorded a cache of great songs in Nashville. “Friends, Like Me” is her latest single — and one of my favorites.

Check out the video on YouTube — but even more importantly — stream the song on Spotify. It’s all about the streaming numbers these days…

EvaBR

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The Practical Theatre Company: Scenes from the Early Days on Howard Street

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The front window of 703 Howard Street, painted by John Goodrich. Winter of 1980-81.

sc0000c1b2Practical Theatre member Reid Branson (AKA “Reedo”) sent me this cool stash of photos from the very first days and months on Howard Street in the winter of 1980-81 — when the 42-seat John Lennon Auditorium was under construction. Reid took the photos and his wife, Kathy Hahn, made the photochemical magic happen in the darkroom. That’s Reid in the photo above left — in character as Reedo Branson, the PTC’s street theatre candidate for President in 1980. Since we hadn’t built the theatre yet, all of us kids had to play in the street. (It’s the only photo in this post that I took.)

And now, here are the rare early JLA photos from Reid and Kathy…

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(L to R) Brad Hall, the author & Rush Pearson — with evidence of theatre construction and band rehearsal in the background. We got a lot of use out of 703 Howard Street even before the John Lennon Auditorium was finished.

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Rush Pearson (Left) and a guitar player whose name I don’t recall. (Sorry, sir!)  The stage has yet to be built — but there’s a stack of plywood against the wall. The Chicago Theatre Festival banner came by way of Rush, who had been a member of the Festival’s street theatre company.

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Looking toward Howard St., the author is in silhouette — and the seating framework is just starting to take shape. We did all the construction work ourselves, guided by the theatre’s designer, the late, great Louis DiCrescenzo. Work proceeded slowly for two reasons: none of us were great carpenters & we had to raise money in fits and starts to buy lumber and materials.

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Another angle on the construction of the 42-seat auditorium. The author can be seen in the background wearing headphones (yes, they had them back then) — and you’ll note some sort of play-pen or crib on the floor in front of me. So, what’s in that crib?

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It’s my infant daughter, Maura. She was born in July of 1980 (the same month that the storefront at 703 Howard Street was leased and dedicated) so she’s around 6 or 7 months at the time this photo was taken in the lobby of the unfinished JLA. Lucky for me, Maura was a patient, good-natured baby who seemed to thrive amid the creative chaos of those early PTC days.

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Taped to the wall is the poster for “Thrills & Glory”, designed by cast member Gary Kroeger. “Thrills & Glory” (which also starred Reid Branson, Rush Pearson and yours truly) was the first show to be performed in the completed John Lennon Auditorium. We had to work like demons to get the theatre ready for the show’s opening on March 21, 1981. We never lacked for confidence.

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It looks as though the theatre seats (donated by nearby Wisdom Bridge Theatre and its director, Bob Falls) have been installed – though the stage and “the monolith” have yet to take shape. That looks like PTC member Al Leinonen at right. The little ceramic chap to his left, wrapped in odd garments is our mascot, Sri Abdul Aziz, whose unblinking eyes watched over the theatre.

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Another angle on Al, looking toward the house and those 42 magical seats. Behind Al, Sri Abdul Aziz gazes at the auditorium in wonder. Atop Sri’s head is the hat I wore as Infra-Death in the 1980 Mee-Ow Show. I hope that Al isn’t holding an umbrella because the roof is leaking…

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PTC member Herb Metzler naps in the foreground, as Brad, the author and Rush work out a tune in the lobby of the theatre. It doesn’t appear as though the box office as been built yet. But, heck, we’re writing a show — and there will eventually be a finished theatre to perform it in!

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This appears to be a gathering of Sturdy Beggars, including (L to R) Rush, Jamie Baron, Danny Deuel, Herb, Jeff Semmerling (?), the author and Brad. Perhaps it’s an early “Thrills & Glory” preview, maybe a break in construction work — or just another opportunity to party.

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Casey Fox, Brad and Gary Kroeger — most likely at a “Thrills & Glory” rehearsal. Casey shot short comedy films for the show, Brad did his best to provide some direction — and Gary (the lone beardless cast member) played all the female roles. Ours was a very Elizabethan approach. Not.

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Portrait of the author as a young theatre builder. I loved that storefront. Still do.

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LeBron James Comes to Los Angeles: It’s Good vs. Evil.

Those who follow this blog know that I’m a Cleveland, Ohio boy, born and raised – and a LeBron James fan. Just as I was a Jim Brown fan in my boyhood days. What else can you possibly be when the greatest player in a particular pro sport plays for YOUR hometown team?

But unlike many in Northeast Ohio, I continued to be a LeBron fan even after he left town to pursue championship rings in Miami.

Then, like everyone in Cleveland, I rejoiced in King James’ homecoming – and the fact that he took the Cavaliers to four NBA finals appearances in a row. And, oh yeah, the glorious moment when he brought Cleveland it’s first pro sports championship since Jim Brown led the Browns to the NFL title in 1964.

So, when LeBron decided to take his talents to Los Angeles this summer, I did not waiver in my fandom.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve lived in Los Angeles since 1990 – but that’s not the reason I’m still a loyal fan of The King.

charlie-hall-nathan-taphorn-0310In fact, the reasons that I approve of LeBron’s move to Los Angeles have been best expressed by the passionate words of a native of L.A., the son of a great friend of mine – and a wise young man who plays varsity basketball for my alma mater, Northwestern University.

Charlie Hall says it better than I could myself. (In bold italics below)

I am a LeBron James fan. I am a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Despite being from Los Angeles, I have NEVER been a Los Angeles Lakers fan. That being said, this is bigger than me. There is a larger mission here. That mission is simple: restore good in the universe.

ct-northwestern-charlie-hall-tino-malnati-20170317In other words: Beat the Golden State Warriors. The 73-9, adding Kevin Durant, dancing, gaslighting, EVIL Golden State Warriors.

Perhaps shooting threes is more efficient than a hard drive into a contact layup. It’s worth more points and it takes less energy. I get it.

However, jacking up a three point shot from damn near half court and shimmying your way to your bench to high five Kevin Durant? That lacks heart. That lacks integrity. That lacks ANY of the qualities that are consistent with why we love basketball. The grit. The strength in the face of adversity. It’s all gone.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, the Warriors are going to win. Again and again. Forever. Or until a core member leaves or gets injured.

ts_lbj18Now, there is ONE other factor that can derail the Warriors. His name is Lebron James. The philanthropist, family man, forceful inside presence. The man that brought a championship to the city of Cleveland. The GOOD GUY.

He needs guys around him and didn’t have that in Cleveland. Let’s get one thing straight, he doesn’t have it in Los Angeles either. However, he CAN attract the talent. The talent needed to dethrone evil. Horrible, horrible evil. 

A part of me wishes LeBron stayed. The little kid from Akron, bringing championships to his hometown, with little to no help? It’s picturesque. It’s gorgeous.

But he’s 33 years old. His time is running out. The chances of him bringing more rings to Cleveland were zero. ZERO.

I’m not sure how much time we have left with this legend, the greatest ambassador the league has ever had — this role model for so many. But I do know one thing: His work isn’t done. We need him to give us one more unforgettable moment. One more.

That moment could’ve happened in Philly, Houston, Boston, San Antonio, anywhere. But now it has to happen in Los Angeles.

Draymond+Green+Golden+State+Warriors+v+Cleveland+GXzIHuIEVQklSo please Mr. James. Whatever you have left. Use it to dunk on Stephen Curry. Use it to defend Kevin Durant. Get Draymond a tech. Do what you have to do. But let’s be clear: You HAVE to do it. There is no other option.

Forever a Cavs fan.

Forever a LeBron fan.

And for the sake of all things good: A newfound Los Angeles Lakers fan. 

Charlie Hall

 

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Amid “Roseanne” Fallout, USA Cancels “Trump”

USA FINALLY SAYS, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Following ABC’s swift decision to cancel its hit series “Roseanne” in the wake of a firestorm over racist Tweets by the show’s star, Roseanne Barr – USA moved quickly to stop production on “Trump”, the absurdist political tragi-comedy which launched to mixed reviews in the Fall of 2016.

roseanne-2018-tv-show-cast-episodes-wikiUnlike “Roseanne” — which drew 18.2 million viewers for its debut in March 2018 and established itself as ABC’s highest-rated and most watched new series of the 2017-18 season – “Trump” had suffered from historically poor ratings from the outset.

GettyImages-491877616.0.0Savaged by the critics, “Trump” relied on relatively strong numbers among its core demographics: poorly educated whites (ages 50-105), white evangelicals (ages 45-Rapture) and racists and xenophobes of all ages.

“Roseanne” was a re-boot of Ms. Barr’s popular blue-collar family sitcom, which ran from 1988 to 1997. “Trump” was the unlikely spinoff of “The Apprentice”, the NBC reality competition series in which Donald Trump played a business mogul who knew how to run a successful organization.

2-200Trump became famous for whittling down the contestants by firing one of them at the end of every episode. “You’re fired” became its host’s trademark line.

Now, ironically, “Tump” has been fired by USA.

Unlike the format of “The Apprentice”, which required its host to project an image of an executive endowed with high business acumen, core competency, wisdom and intelligence, “Trump” turned that model on its head. In “Trump”, Donald Trump’s petty, vulgar and narcissistic “President Trump” character lurched from one chaotic episode after another, displaying none of the admirable executive qualities he’d shown in NBC’s long-running reality series.

gettyimages-617806568Though Trump still fired one or more employees at the end of every episode, the “Trump” series format was confused and convoluted — made even more so by a drawn-out subplot in which Trump was investigated for various sinister activities ranging from money laundering and paying hush-money to porn stars and Playboy bunnies to conspiring with Russian agents to steal the 2016 election. Though these plot twists made headlines, they failed to lift his sagging ratings beyond his core demo of greedy sociopaths, hypocritical self-styled Evangelicals and angry, aggrieved white people.

Trumpy 2In a statement announcing the cancellation, USA noted that “’Trump’ was never a ratings winner, but we hoped that it would improve over time and widen its appeal to a larger, more inclusive audience. It failed to do so.” Left unspoken but resoundingly clear in USA’s statement was the fact that “Trump” attracted a negligible audience among blacks, Latinos, and other minorities – nor was it a hit with large majorities of women, educated whites and religious people with a moral conscience.

trump-cabinet-insiders-outsiders-millionaires-1480717606838-facebookJumbo-v2USA’s statement went on to say that, “Over its less than two-year run, “Trump” presented an increasingly skeptical public with a revolving cast of ever more bizarre characters and outrageous plot lines that defied credulity and provoked confusion and disgust among the wider audience we had hoped the series might someday attract.”

USA insiders say that the final nail in the “Trump” coffin may have been driven in by its titular star’s recent Tweet wishing Americans a “Happy Memorial Day!”

Said one USA executive who spoke on background, “That ham-handed, insulting Tweet represents the kind of lousy writing, poor editorial judgment, low character, and hostility toward American norms of decency, dignity and honesty that ultimately doomed “Trump”.

For some inexplicable reason, USA plans to run the remaining episodes of “Trump” until the mid-term elections in November 2018.

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Eva B in Concert at UCLA!

Dinkinesh-V2-WEBMy daughter Eva B. Ross will play a free concert at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall on Thursday, May 3 at 8:00 PM.

TMIJ_LogoOpening for Eva on this impressive, eclectic bill are the acclaimed Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Ensemble and Superdevoiche, the UCLA Balkan Women’s Choir. All that great music – and it’s free!

Seating is limited. So RSVP here. RSVPs are priority up until 15 minutes before the show. Standby is on a first come, first seated basis. Early arrival is recommended.bulgaria2010bittel2

From the UCLA School of Music website:

“Song of Ourselves,” the Herb Alpert School of Music’s all-day musical celebration of diversity, concludes with a concert featuring Eva B. Ross, winner of the 2017 UCLA Spring Sing. We’re calling the concert “Dinkinesh,” which roughly translates to “You are marvelous.” (and you are!)

a8544b4dcb2f8d37ff0b1aa261f20d12Ross is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter who grew up in Los Angeles performing in her family’s garage band. As a freshman at UCLA, she formed her band, Eva B. Ross Foundation, and independently set out on a European tour in the summer of 2014.

In 2015, she released her first independent single “Nick’s House” and in 2017, she won UCLA’s Spring Sing at Pauley Pavilion with her original composition, “Chicago.” She is currently working on her debut EP, which will be co-produced by Grammy-winning producer Justin Niebank and Emmy-winning producer, Steve Rashid.

Schoenberg Hall is located at Charles E Young Drive East 445, Los Angeles, California. Parking for Schoenberg Hall is in UCLA Parking Structure 2. Find maps and parking rates here.

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