The Best Place to be Late Next Month!

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November 19, 2021 · 9:16 pm

Studio5 in Evanston is the Place to be this Holiday Season!

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November 17, 2021 · 8:08 pm

Practical Theatre Comedy Fun in Evanston for the Holidays!

THE PRACTICAL THEATRE CO. & EVANSTON’S OWN STUDIO5 

PRESENT 5 NIGHTS OF SMART, SEXY & SATIRIC COMEDY & MUSIC, 

“VIC & PAUL & DANA’S POST-PANDEMIC REVUE” – 

STAGED LIVE AND COVID-SAFE FROM DECEMBER 29th TO JANUARY 2nd.  

It’s time again for classic improvisational sketch comedy. 

Time to get out of the house and gather in a comfortable cabaret with fellow human beings for a memorable evening of laughter, music, and adult beverage

The Practical Theatre returns to the Chicago area with the latest in a series of hit holiday shows, “Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue,” starring writer-actors Victoria Zielinski, Dana Olsen, and PTC co-founder, Paul Barrosse.

Great, groovy music is provided by PTC musical director and Studio5 impresario Steve Rashid and his Studio5 All-Stars: Rockin’ Ronny Crawford on drums, Jim Cox on bass, and Don Stiernberg on every stringed instrument known to man. 

“Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue” is a smart comedy cocktail, mixing sex, music, variety and vaudeville — while stirring in everything from marriage to quarantine to cancel culture, conspiracy, climate change, Olympian gods, William Shakespeare, Rod McKuen, Looney Tunes — and the fragility of major appliances. It’s an intoxicating comic combination!

There’s no better place to enjoy a comedy revue with your favorite friends than Evanston’s own Studio5, which has comfortable, socially distanced seating, state of the art sound and lights, and acres of free parking

Proof of vaccination is required. Studio5 will observe the mask rules in effect Dec. 29 to Jan. 2. Socially distanced seating means limited seating — so getyour tickets now!

Operated by Bea and Steve Rashid, Studio5 is located at 1934 Dempster Street in Evanston. (It’s on the southwest corner of Dempster and Dodge, adjacent to Dance Center Evanston.) Website at: https://www.studio5.dance


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The Future of California (and the Country) is on the Ballot.

Make no mistake – you must vote for Gavin Newsom.

As for the forest fires? Gavin Newson called for global action to combat climate change. Trump told Californians to rake the forests. Trump and the GOP were head-in-the-sand fools. Governor Newsom told the unpopular – yet utterly honest – truth. Climate change is real. And the need to act is NOW!

I don’t care if you think Gavin should’ve passed on a party at a swanky restaurant during the pandemic. The fact is, he stood with teachers, medical personnel, first responders, and union members who demanded that masks be worn to defeat Covid-19.

On September 14, 2021, Californians will decide whether to retain Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom – or elect any one of a clown college of Republican opportunists, taking advantage of our state’s archaic laws to supplant the will of the vast majority in favor of a radical minority.

For this – and so many more reasons – my fellow Californians, you must send in your ballots ASAP in favor of Gavin Newsom!

Gavin Newsom is the best bet for the future of our beloved Golden State! And the world!

The future of your children is on the ballot THIS YEAR!

Vote AGAINST the cynical Republican recall — and double down on Democracy!

And then, there’s THIS from Ron Crawford — who always manages to capture the moment!

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Just 3 More Weeks to go “Into the Mist”!

Those wacky veteran vaudevillians, Morty & Mitzi, will be joining their fellow performers from 1927 for the next three Fridays, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30, before our online interactive virtual playground “Into the Mist” takes a pause.

That doesn’t mean the end of “Into the Mist”. After this pause, our brilliant, inventive friends at Studio5 in Evanston, Illinois will work out a new chapter of this bold new entertainment vehicle. After all, the show has garnered a lot of great press and audiences have responded. Check out this article that just came out on the home page of Downbeat Magazine — the premiere national jazz magazine since 1934! 

So, you’ve got three last chances to see what the buzz has been all about. Tickets for all three shows are now available on the intothemist.net site. 

Group sales incentives are now available, so if you or someone you know is part of a group of any kind (families, friends, coworkers) they'll get a 20% discount if they purchase 10 or more tickets. Anyone interested in a group ticket purchase of 10 or more should email Lauren at info@intothemist.net.

Get yourself “Into the Mist”. Morty & Mitzi will be waiting for you!

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Morty & Mitzi Go Into the Mist!

This Friday, March 26th, my wife Victoria and I will join the cast of “Into The Mist” as the husband and wife vaudeville duo, Morty & Mitzi. For the past few months, we’ve been playing the roles of Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway — but that was a pre-recorded performance. Morty & Mitzi will be serving up the jokes LIVE.

Drop by our dressing room this Friday if you’re in need of a few good laughs.

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Have You Been “Into the Mist” Yet?

If you haven’t checked out “Into The Mist”, don’t miss it. My wife Victoria and me performed in a variety of ways over the year — but this is truly the most unique venue we’ve every played. It’s like find your way through an old hotel to experience a door-to-door, interactive variety show. Actually, it’s hard to describe. Go “Into the Mist” yourself and have fun back in 1927!

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“Into the Mist” Has Fun Circa 1927

My wife and comedic partner Victoria Zielinski will be playing Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway among a wonderful cast of characters inhabiting a hotel in 1927 as part of an immersive virtual experience called “Into the Mist”. What exactly is “Into the Mist”?

I’ll just let Steve Rashid explain…

Step with us … Into the Mist.

Dear Friends,

A new year. A new day. A new hope. May 2021 bring us a measure of calm, peace and health we so desperately need.

As you know, our aim at Studio5 is to help build community through the performing arts. So I had an idea for a new project back in October, and the concept arrived fairly fully formed. I imagined an entire online world that would place a musical performance in a meaningful and entertaining context. Like time travel, it would be a virtual portal that would give the music an added, dreamy resonance.

I came up with an initial design, talked to a few people to gauge interest in being involved as performers, and got to work. Web designer, Lauren Biolsi, came aboard, and my sons, Robert and Daniel joined to co-produce with me. Three months later, here we are, with a live, immersive, interactive, 1920s jazz-themed event, featuring a diverse cast of over 20 musicians and actors spread literally from coast to coast.

Opening Friday, January 29th, we invite you to step with us … Into the Mist.

Music is a reflection of a time and a culture. That was never more true than in the Jazz Age: America in the 1920s. How exciting would it be to travel back to 1927 and hear a live band? How much more exciting would it be, if, before they started playing you had the opportunity to wander freely through the world of that raucous decade? What if you could choose to hang out in a speakeasy, attend a rent party, play blackjack against a shady dealer, watch some fancy footwork in a dance hall, converse with literary figures of the day, glimpse a fashion show, go to the cinema … and then gather with your friends in a club to hear a hot band? Sound like fun? That is the world that awaits you, starting January 29, 2021 at Studio5 online. Step with us … Into the Mist.

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Victory at Pearl Harbor

(This was orginally posted in 2010.)

The significance of December 7, 1941 is something that most of our parents do not need to be reminded about. It was a shocking, indelible moment for them, much like September 11, 2001 was for another generation of Americans. I don’t want to spend time here comparing those two disastrous attacks: one by a hostile state, the other by a handful of extremists. That’s for another time, another post.

This is a day of remembrance.

There are few veterans of Pearl Harbor still with us. Not many are left who saw the Japanese planes diving out of the sky, felt the concussions as great battleships shuddered, burned, and sank. Not many left who can stand on the observation deck of the USS Arizona Memorial, gaze at that sunken iron tomb and say, “I knew a guy who went down with that ship.”

On December 7th, we remember what was lost at Pearl Harbor: the lives, the ships, the planes – our national innocence.

But on this day, we should also remember the miracle of Pearl Harbor: the incredible effort that raised so many of those ships from the bottom of the harbor, patched them up – and sent them back into the fight. Only three of the ships that were bombed in Pearl Harbor on that day of infamy were forever lost to the fleet.

And of the 30 ships in the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor, only one survived the war without being sunk.

The dynamism, optimism and resolve displayed by those military crewmen and civilians who, within months, raised and repaired the devastated wreckage of Pearl Harbor are qualities that Americans must call on once again to overcome our national challenges. Would that our leaders would spend less time sowing the fear of future attacks – and more time appealing to the better angels of our national identity.

“Can do” was the unofficial motto of the Seabees, the legendary Navy outfit that led the reconstruction effort at Pearl Harbor.

Where’s that American “Can do” spirit now?

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P.S.S. On this day, let’s remember one of the great WWII POW escape artists. If you have any pals who love The Great Escape or Shawshank Redemption, please point them toward the story of William Ash: Texan, RAF pilot, POW — and a guy who escaped the Nazi prison camps 13 times!

He’s the guy that inspired Steve McQueen’s character in The Great Escape.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481088858/

Kindle ebook: (free to Prime members) http://amzn.com/B00AF4I0K8

Comments from authors on UNDER THE WIRE:

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What a splendid book! A young Texan brought up in the middle of the Depression who pulls himself up by his bootstraps, thereafter hikes to Canada to fly Spitfires for the Brits while America is still neutral. Just as the U. S. enters the war, he is shot down, and another exciting and terrible episode in his life begins. Living under terrible conditions he makes several attempts to escape until he finally succeeds in saving himself and many of his fellow POWs. This is a moving and heroic story of a young man who overcomes all obstacles with a sense of humor and succeeds in the end. Hollywood should snap this book up in a flash. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.

Charles Whiting, author of Hero: Life and Death of Audie Murphy

Ash

UNDER THE WIRE is a well-written and exciting memoir of wartime captivity that is packed with incident and vividly recreates the oft-neglected early days of Stalag Luft III and the now forgotten mass escape from Oflag XXIB, Schubin — a sort of dress rehearsal for the famous Great Escape. The author himself is one of the great unsung heroes of the Second World War, as are some of those whose adventures he records in this remarkable book. It also makes a refreshing change to read a memoir by someone who is politically literate and knew exactly what he was fighting against and what he was fighting for.’ There are passages in this book – particularly those concerning the political awakening of POWs and their determination to create a better post-war world – that make the reader want to stand up and cheer.

Charles Rollings, author of Wire and Walls, Wire and Worse

UNDER THE WIRE is everything I would expect from a memoir by Bill Ash — fast-paced, exciting and moving, but also colored by his mischievous sense of humor. He has a real gift as a storyteller — the characters and events come off the page as if we were meeting and experiencing them ourselves. Bill Ash was one of the great escape artists of the Second World War, and always managed to put himself in the centre of the action. He endured a lot, but never lost his essential humanity and zest for life, something that comes through very strongly in his book. That’s what makes UNDER THE WIRE such a joy to read — getting to know the irrepressible Ash and reliving his adventures with him.

Jonathan Vance, author of A Gallant Company: The Men of the Great Escape.

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The Size of the Biden-Harris Victory!

In this strange time when we await the transition from the unfortunate Trump administration to the most welcome Biden administration, let us consider the size of Biden’s victory over Trump.

As of this moment, Joe Biden leads Trump in the popular vote by nearly 5 million votes.

5 million votes. That’s a very big lead.

How big?

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won more votes than the total voting age population of 7 states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont – a total of 4,716,657 voters.

Joe Biden has already won more votes than that – and the counting continues.

Go ahead, GOP, make my day.

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