A New Holiday, Just ‘Cause

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Yesterday turned out to be Incredibly Awesome Thursday, and I’m determined to make it a weekly occurrence. Essentially, Incredibly Awesome Thursday (IAT) involves saying “yes” to something that you normally wouldn’t, perhaps because it sounds boring, it’s too far away and you’re lazy, whatever. My “yes” last night was to a dance performance at the Chicago Cultural Center featuring Matthew Hollis’ and the Power of Cheer. My mom, a former high school cheerleader extraordinaire, was quite keen on going, so I somewhat reluctantly agreed to tag along…and it ended up being awesome. Incredibly awesome, in fact.

Matthew Hollis, an amazing choreographer, dancer, and performance artist, presented a taste of the work he’s developing with a grant from the Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum, a unique blend of cheerleading, modern dance, theater, activism and a little bit of therapy. Hollis and his troupe of equally talented dancers (did I mention they’re all in short shorts?) act out stories from Hollis’ life, including a particularly impressive number performed on teetering stilettos. The cheer that I can’t get out of my head? “Guns are bad, guns are gross, you might as well eat poo on toast!” Well put.

Before the performance, we popped into the Gallery 37 Store, which was chock full of fantastic artwork by Project Onward artists, from colorful silk screened tees and bags to vibrant pastel drawings. Project Onward is an organization designed “to support the creative development of visual artists with developmental, cognitive, and mental disabilities.” Rock on.

We also had a chance to investigate the Puppet Bike, which, unfortunately, was out of commission by the time we arrived, but even the outside of this happy little cart covered in whimsical paintings of frolicking bunnies and kitties was entertaining. According to the Puppet Bike website, the stage on wheels was created by Mr. Trusty for a bipolar friend who couldn’t hold down a conventional 9-5, but the portable theater offered the perfect solution–work when you want, park it when you get bored. I’ll definitely be heading down to Millennium Park this summer so I can see the Puppet Bike in action. (Metblog’s Fuzzy Gerdes beat me to the Puppet Bike punch in his February post, but I just had to ramble on about it again.)

So that, my friends, is what Incredibly Awesome Thursday is all about. Next week–who’s with me?

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