Tag Archives: Beverly Arts Center

More Standup Laughs with Emilia…

Emilia Aug ArtClick here for more information on The Comedy Store.

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How I Spent My Summer Sabbatical: Part One…

Having decided to take a two-month sabbatical from the television business this summer, I left the production of the first season of “Push Girls” (Sundance Channel) and the eighth season of “Little People, Big World” (TLC) still in progress – and flew up to San Francisco in the first week of June to begin my unusual adventure.

My sabbatical began in the Bay Area because our middle-aged rock & roll band, Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation, was playing a benefit in Portola Valley on June 8th to support Breast Cancer Action, an event organized by our drummer Rockin’ Ronny Crawford’s wife, JoAnn Loulan. My summer sojourn was off to a loud, rocking start for a very good cause.

My great friend, Rockme band mate (and freshman college roommate) Brad Hall accompanied me on the flight from LAX to SFO. Brad was also playing hooky from Hollywood.

After picking up Brad’s rental car, we traversed the surface streets of San Francisco, iPhone GPS in hand, from SFO to Brad’s sister’s lovely house overlooking The Presidio. I’d never spent more than a few days in San Francisco before, and I saw more of the city on that drive than I’d ever seen. I felt like Steve McQueen in “Bullit” (only going a lot slower) as we made our way up and down the groovy urban hill country toward The Presidio: that vast expanse of green space overlooking the Pacific Ocean commandeered by the U.S. military since the early 19th Century.

That first evening in San Francisco, Brad and I went to The Presidio Social Club to meet up with our gathering bandmates — Riffmaster Peter Van Wagner and Maurice Cleary (college roommates) and Terry Barron and Tom Larson (also college roommates. Sensing a pattern here?). I had the liver and onions. My meal was fabulous, as was the entire evening.

The next day, Brad and I made our way to rehearsal at Lennon Rehearsal Studios, located at 271 Dore Street in San Francisco, where our entire band was gathered.

Lead guitarist Riffmaster Peter Van Wagner…

Rhythm guitar player Maurice “Mr. Mo” Cleary…

Sax player Thomas “Wolf” Larson – who had traveled all the way from his home in Madrid, Spain…

Drummer Rockin’ Ronny Crawford…

Bass player Rush Pearson…

Keyboard wizard Steve “The Decider” Rashid…

And vocalist Casey “Casemo” Fox…

Our rehearsal at Lennon Studios went well. We actually made our way through most of the two sets we planned to play the next evening – and I managed not to tear my vocal cords to shreds prematurely.

The next evening, June 8th, we played the gig that had drawn us all to the Portola Valley: the benefit for Breast Cancer Action at the stunning, stately residence of Lori and Deke Hunter.

Lori and Deke have built an amazing house and grounds, featuring prolific flower and vegetable gardens. Seeing the impressive layout, I quickly spun a series of jokes about how Lori and Deke were actually poor subsistence farmers, barely managing to eke out a hardscrabble, meager living from their small, humble plot of earth. (Those jokes would serve me and Brad later during the live auction.)

At sound check — hours before the party got underway — Deke had growing concerns about the band. When I went into his house to print our set lists, Deke warned me that, “Volume could be a problem.” I replied that, “Volume is always a problem.” Needless to say, Deke was not reassured.

But before the night was out, it was Deke himself who led a packed dance floor, as he and his benefit guests rocked along with our second set. We came. We saw. We rocked. And we helped raise a lot of money for Breast Cancer Action.

“Bubba” George McClellan and the author cool our heels before the gig. (Looking as if we’d like to make you an offer you can’t refuse…)

Steve “The Decider” Rashid decides to look ultra-cool by the pool before the gig.

The next day, most of us gathered at a funky local eatery to celebrate a successful evening of riotous rocking and fundraising.

Then, it was time for Steve Rashid and I to fly to Chicago for the next stage in my sabbatical: “The Vic & Paul Show” at The Beverly Arts Center. The morning after we arrived in the Windy (and very hot and muggy) City, we went to the WGN radio studios in the Tribune Tower to promote “The Vic & Paul Show” in an appearance on Rick Kogan’s weekly radio program, “The Sunday Papers.”

To listen to our conversation with Rick, click here: vic and paul show

The day before we opened at The Beverly Arts Center, Victoria, Steve and I joined our good friends Dana Olsen, Shelly Goldstein and Stew Figa for a special one-night performance of “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood” at The Wilmette Theatre on June 14th. The show was made possible through the vision of another good friend and fellow NU alum, Nili Yelin Wronski, The Wilmette’s Director of PR and Marketing. Nili knows funny. (She’s a great entertainer herself!)

I had not shared a stage with Dana, Stewart or Shelly since our days at Northwestern – and it was as though the intervening three decades simply melted away in laughter and the joy of performance.

Shelly, Steve, Vic, Dana and the author. (Where was the great Stew Figa?)

We packed the house at The Wilmette Theatre – and the Chicago stage of my sabbatical tour was off to a great start.

Our choral salute to the legendary, corrupt, imprisoned Governors of Illinois. The great Stewart Figa stands second from right, next to the author.

The next night, Friday June 15th was the opening night of “The Vic & Paul Show” at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side in the neighborhood where Victoria was born and raised.

A front page article in The Beverly Review announced Vic’s return to her old stomping grounds — and the audience that gathered on opening night was swelled by her old classmates from Luther South High School, family members, and dozens of others curious to see the show that Victoria and her husband had come back home to perform.

Vic backstage at The Beverly Arts Center.

We’d done “The Vic & Paul Show” on Chicago’s North Side before – but this was our first time on the South Side. And by the time the curtain came down on our opening night show, we’d learned three basic things about Chicago audiences North and South.

— Boy-girl relationship jokes, comedy about marriage, getting drunk, and certain jokes below the waist are universal.

— Political jokes go over very differently on the North and South Sides. (Our biting, satirical song about the Republican Presidential candidates that knocked them dead at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park on the North Side? In Beverly — not such a laugh riot.)

— The South Side loves a good Catholic joke. In fact, nowhere on Earth (except, we would soon learn, Cleveland) would a reference to Saint Augustine get such a huge, knowing laugh.

Our two-weekend run at The Beverly Arts Center was off to a pretty good start – but it wasn’t over yet. Or was it?

Coming up next: Our run at The Beverly Arts Center continues – then it’s on to the wilds of northern Wisconsin and Cleveland’s Playhouse Square!

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“The Vic & Paul Show” in Chicago!

Last night, Friday, June 15th, The Vic & Paul Show began its 2-weekend run at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side. And a good time was had by all. For tickets to the rest of the run, click here. Come out and see the show, share some great laughs — and enjoy a drink at one of the many fine local Irish pubs. 

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“The Vic & Paul Show” Opens in Chicago Tonight!

Tonight — Friday, June 15th at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side — The Vic & Paul Show begins a 2-weekend run. For tickets, click here. See the show, laugh like crazy — and enjoy a drink at one of the many great local pubs. 

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“The Vic & Paul Show” Opens in Chicago this Weekend!

This Friday, June 15th at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side, The Vic & Paul Show begins a 2-weekend run. For tickets, click here. See the show, laugh like crazy — and then enjoy a drink at one of the many great local pubs.

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Just One Month until “The Vic & Paul Show” @ The Beverly Arts Center…

There’s only one month left to get your tickets for The Vic & Paul Show at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side at 2407 W. 111th Street from June 15-24th. For more info about the show and the Beverly neighborhood — Victoria’s childhood home — click here.

See you at The Beverly Arts Center in June!

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Visit “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood”!

Our very funny friend Dana Olsen, a fellow Northwestern University and Mee-Ow Show alum, is hosting “A Comedic Variety Show for the Middle Ages” at The Wilmette Theatre on June 14th. If you’re anywhere near Chicago’s North Shore, you won’t want to miss it.

Dana is comedian and screenwriter whose works include The ‘Burbs, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, George of the Jungle and Inspector Gadget. Dana is one of the funniest people I know — and I know lots of funny people: intentional and unintentional. With Dana, the humor is definitely intentional.

I’ve known Dana since we were both NU freshmen in 1976. He was a brilliant and captivating raconteur back then – and he’s even more fun to listen to now. Plus, he was recently named one of North Shore Magazine’s “Eligible Bachelors of the North Shore.” It’s truly groovy in Mr. Olsen’s neighborhood.

Victoria, Steve Rashid and I will be joining Dana on the bill that evening – just one night before we open “The Vic & Paul Show” on Chicago’s South Side at The Beverly Arts Center on June 15th.

Comedic chanteuse Shelly Goldstein, another fellow Northwestern and Mee-Ow Show alum (and the original director of “The Vic & Paul Show”) will also be appearing with us in “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood.”

“Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood” is the place to be on June 14th.

Then, after enjoying some laughs at The Wilmette Theatre on the North Side, come down to The Beverly Arts Center on the South Side for more laughs.

June in Chicago will be a very funny month.

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Countdown to Classic Comedy…

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Vic & Paul in Beverly Hills

The Vic & Paul Show is coming to Beverly Hills.

Not Rodeo Drive in the 90210.

We’re talking West 111th Street in the 60655.

We’re talking Beverly Hills on the southwestern edge of the South Side of Chicago. (Known to the locals simply as Beverly.)  

Yes, The Vic & Paul Show is going back to Chicago this summer.

And this time, it’s a special homecoming for my wife, Victoria Zielinski – because the show The Chicago Tribune hailed as “Old school sketch comedy done right” will be coming to Vic’s old South Side neighborhood.

The brilliantly funny girl who grew up at 91st and South Hamilton will be performing just 20 blocks from her childhood home when The Vic & Paul Show runs at The Beverly Arts Center at 2407 W. 111th Street from June 15-24th, 2012.

As always, Vic and I will be accompanied by our great friend, fellow Northwestern alum, and ridiculously talented musical director — the rather impish and thoroughly amusing Steve Rashid”*. Steve also performs his own brand of satirical songwriting in the show: songs,” notes Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune, “that recall the stylings of Tom Lehrer.”

(*According to The Trib’s chief theatre critic, Chris Jones – and we certainly agree.)

Last year, we appeared on WGN radio personality (and Chicago newspaper icon) Rick Kogan’s radio show, The Sunday Papers — and Rick introduced us by saying, One of the theatrical events of the year is the return of Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski to the Chicago stage with ‘The Vic & Paul Show’. I know it’s a lofty comparison, but you guys are the new Nichols & May, as far as I’m concerned.”

Talk about making us feel at home in Chicago after more than two decades.

Vic and I left the Windy City in 1991 to do TV work in Los Angeles – and raise our three wonderful daughters – but now that our kids are of age we’re back on the stage. And according to Chris Jones in The Chicago Tribune, domesticity has not dulled the itch of Zielinski and Barrosse for a Chicago comedy stage, a couple of hard-backed chairs, and each other.”

We’ve been having great fun trodding the boards once more with Steve at the piano, beginning with our June 2010 debut at Push Lounge in Los Angeles, directed by our good friend and another NU alum, Evanston’s own Shelly Goldstein. A year later, we brought The Vic & Paul Show to Chicago for the first time at The Prop Theatre in June 2011, followed by a great holiday season run at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park.

Now, we’re taking our “Evening of Comedy, Music, Marriage & Martinis” to Vic’s old stomping grounds in Beverly.

If you live in the Chicago area and you haven’t seen The Vic & Paul Show yet, we hope you can join us at the 400-seat Beverly Arts Center for this run. It’s a wonderful venue for the show – and you may want to get there early to check out the rotating exhibitions of contemporary art in The Beverly Arts Center’s four gallery areas: second floor East Gallery, Bridge Gallery, Theater Gallery and Atrium. These exhibits are free and open to the public.

After the show, you can enjoy the best of Beverly, including some of Vic’s girlhood haunts, like Fox’s Beverly Pizza Pub, or a magnificent frozen summer treat at Rainbow Cone on Western and 92nd. And, according to Wikipedia, Beverly is home to more Irish-style pubs than any other in Chicago. Satisfying after-show options abound!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

Sure, The Vic & Paul Show is crazy funny, The Beverly Arts Center is obviously a great place to see a show, and all those Irish pubs sound like a guaranteed good time – but how in the world did Vic’s old neighborhood get the name Beverly Hills?

That’s because Beverly is the only area in the City of Chicago that has hills: in fact, it’s located on the highest elevation in the city!

So, this June, it can truly be said that The Vic & Paul Show has reached the top.

Join us at the topographical summit of Chicago for two weeks of grown-up fun: sophisticated and irreverent improvisational sketch comedy and songs performed in a splendid theatre in a vibrant, historic neighborhood.

And did I mention Vic grew up there?


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