Just Two Weeks Until the New Year’s Fun Begins…

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Paul Barrosse, Victoria Zielinski and Dana Olsen veterans of Practical Theatre Co., founded by Northwestern students in the 1980s, are hosting a holiday show Dec. 30 and 31 at Studio5 in Evanston. (Bradford Rogne)

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Pioneer Press

Three veterans of the Practical Theatre Co. will once again share its signature blend of social commentary and comedy in “Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party,” Dec. 30 and 31 at Evanston’s new Studio5.

Husband and wife Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski of Los Angeles, and Evanston resident Dana Olsen, were members of the company founded by Northwestern University students, which achieved acclaim throughout the 1980s.

The trio first reunited onstage four years ago at the Wilmette Theatre, performing a variety show called, “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood.” Two years ago, they did “Mr. Olsen’s New Year’s Rockin’ Neighborhood” at 27 Live. Last year, the three of them presented a version of the current show in Los Angeles, joined by longtime friend Steve Rashid of Evanston, a noted musician and composer, who co-owns Studio5 with wife Bea Rashid.

“We thought, this being an election year, this would be a perfect time to collaborate,” Zielinski said. “We collaborated on the sketches, imagining Hillary Clinton’s presidency and Donald Trump as a kind of jokester. Now we’re scrambling to rewrite two central numbers.”

“Which we think we’ve done successfully,” Barrosse added. “But it’s been a mixture of laughter and tears.”

Olsen, who hosts, describes the show as, “Our sort of tribute to the old network holiday shows you used to see on NBC, like Dean Martin or Bob Hope or Andy Williams used to host.”

Zielinski added, “Those are the things, as we grew up, we would go to in front of the television at Christmastime. Now that we’re getting to be a little bit older, we thought it would be funny to mix the Practical Theatre zaniness with kind of an Andy Williams Christmas special.”

In one of Olsen’s favorite sketches, he plays an administrative official at Northwestern who is talking to two professors. “They’re delivering the results of a very arcane research project that they’re pitching to the university,” he said.

In another Olsen favorite, the three performers play a trio of animals, which Olsen admitted is tough on his back.

“We’ll be getting into film noire,” Barrosse added, and then revealed, “Victoria is wincing because she doesn’t want me to give away any premises. She wants nothing but surprises.”

“I’m not wincing,” Zielinski interjected. “It’s my normal attitude.”

She added that this show lets audiences know, “There’s a real excitement and sex and fun to being over 50 and having a great time from a comedic standpoint. It’s not a voice that you hear represented a lot onstage.”

Music director Rashid on keyboards will lead a quartet featuring drummer Ronny Crawford, Don Stiernberg on guitar and mandolin, and bassist Jim Cox.

Talented members of the second generation will also perform. That includes standup comedians Emilia Barrosse and Giggle Breaks’ Daniel Rashid. Barrosse and Zielinski’s other daughter, singer Eva B. Ross will also entertain, as will Rashid’s son, drummer Robert Rashid.

Steve Rashid knows how spontaneous his Practical Theatre Company friends can be. “From a musical standpoint, I have to always be prepared because anything could happen.”

‘Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party’

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 30 and 31

Where: Studio5, 1934 Dempster St., Evanston

Tickets: $35-$45 Dec. 30; $60-$75 Dec. 31, which includes light food and post-show dancing

Information: studio5-holidayparty.bpt.me

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

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Emilia’s Pre-Christmas Comedy Tour

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The Party’s Less Than A Month Away…

new-show-artActually, it’s a bit less than three months away — but comedy lovers in the Chicago area looking to shake off the madness of this wild and crazy year still have a chance to ring in 2017 with a raucous good time at Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party. Tickets are going fast — but you can still join the party!

For Tickets go to: http://studio5-holidayparty.bpt.me

 Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party is a classic holiday variety show featuring grown-up sktetch comedy, live music, standup comedy, adult beverages — and The Mr. Olsen Dancers! It’s happening at Studio5, Evanston’s newest, classiest performance venue at 1934 Dempster Street (at Dempster & Dodge).

nye-art-a-copyPractical Theatre Company veterans Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen will perform comedy sketches and topical songs from “The Vic & Paul & Dana Show”, accompanied by keyboard wiz Steve Rashid, drummer Rockin’ Ronny Crawford, bassist Jim Cox — and Don Stiernberg playing every stringed instrument imaginable.

The PTC’s next generation is also on the bill: standup comedienne Emilia Barrosse and Giggle Break’s own Daniel Rashid, plus singer-songwriter Eva B. Ross (whom North Siders have seen at Katerina’s Jazz Club, The Beauty Bar and The Whiskey Lounge at 27 Live) and drummer Robert Rashid.

Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party runs for two shows: a performance of the comedy-variety show on December 30 — and a New Year’s Eve party on December 31st featuring the comedy-variety show (including light food) followed by live music by the Studio5 All-Stars, who will keep the dance floor grooving into 2017!

Studio 5 has acres of free parking – and there will be a cash bar on both evenings.

For Tickets go to: http://studio5-holidayparty.bpt.me

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Saturday Night’s Alright for Grooving in Garvanza!

14632920_883401725130722_3761693527721862408_nIt’s time for Ms. Maura’s 1st Annual Holiday Happening – a Highland Park neighborhood party to kick off the festive season!

unnamedGet ready for Live Music, DJ, Dancing, Re-Gift Boutique, Tasty Drinks, and REAL LIVE SNOWMEN!

Ms. Maura recommends that you put some jingle bells on your dancing shoes, grab some pals — and join in the festivities!

You’ll enjoy some rocking holiday music like this…

Lineup:

15055693_366371327029201_6236591052833145170_n8:00 PM — Eva B. Ross Foundation

9:00 PM — Ms. Maura & The Misters

10:00 PM — DJ Brian Waters

Location:

The Offbeat

6316 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

There’s plenty of parking in the lot across the street

No Cover

21+

It’ll be a great way to kick off the holidays!

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Victory at Pearl Harbor…

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.

There are not many veterans of Pearl Harbor still with us. Not many 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?

P.S. Click here for a WWII-era Pearl Harbor song I found online. It may seem a bit too upbeat at first, but in the context of our ultimate victory at Pearl Harbor, it’s not too bouncy after all. It’s got that confidence and “Can do” spirit.

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Just One Month Until The Big Party!

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For tickets go to: http://studio5-holidayparty.bpt.me

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

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Eva B’s Vlogumentary…

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