Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

A Tough Break for a Chicago Theater Favorite

According to Ron Kuzava, Will Schutz is one of Chicago’s two greatest living character actors. The other, according to Ron, is Ron himself. Apparently they pass the title back and forth. Ron is a very silly man. However, I cannot argue with the idea that Will is indeed one of the finest actors in the city, and simply an awesome guy. I first saw him in Defiant Theatre’s Action Movie: The Play as one of the most over-the-top ridiculous Blofeldian villains I have ever seen on stage.

I finally met Will (and Ron, for that matter) in 2004 while working on Defiant’s production of A Clockwork Orange. Will had a small role in the show, but it was the kind of part that you loved to watch from the wings because it was so damned hilarious every time.

I next worked with Will in The Hound of the Baskervilles in 2007. I could not help but admire his stamina as Watson. He never left the stage for the entire show and as the narrator carried at least three-quarters of the total load of dialogue. And his dialect was dead on.

A few weeks ago Will was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Like so many of us, Will does not have health insurance. He is keeping positive and has vowed to fight this with all he’s got. He could use, and certainly deserves, all the help he can get. A few events have been planned around the city to help out with expenses during this difficult time, including a benefit at Sofo Bar (4923 North Clark Street) on Sunday, February 7 and a one-night only concert reading of Robert Emmet Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Abe Lincoln in Illinois at City Lit on Thursday, February 12th.

A fund has been started online for Will. If you have a few bucks to spare, please go to to help out.

Sadie Hawkins Day Bike Race!

I never had a Sadie Hawkins Day dance at my school. I did not really know of the concept till I moved up north so the whole thing seems exotic to me. I’m too old for dances now, but not to old to smoke some chumps on my bike. That’s why I’ll be smoking chumps at the Sadie Hawkins Day Bike Race on November 8th at 5pm. It’s $5 for women, $10 for men racing with a female partner, and $20 for everyone else. I like raising money for good causes as much as I like biking, and this money goes to the Chicago Women’s Health Center. If that does not lure you, then come for the beer: $1 for the first, $0.25 for every one after that. I’ll put a blinky light on the back of my bike so you know which champion to buy a quarter beer for later.

Chicago Autumn is Chilly, Bright, and Beautiful

Sure enough, Chicago winter is on its way, and while no one is looking forward to shivering on an El platform in the winter darkness, let’s remember that Chicago’s colder months are still full of sunshine and natural beauty. My appreciation for this fact was recently renewed while perusing the aisles of lush flora at Gethsemane Garden Center at 5739 North Clark Street in Chicago’s Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood. Urban gardeners are just as passionate about their well-tended green spaces as suburban and rural folks, and a place like this is proof. Check out this little one minute clip I made of a recent stroll through just a small part of Gethsemane Gardens.


When Will the Rain Stop?

Your guess is as good as mine. All the usual weather sources say this last 24 hours of rain we’ve had are going to stretch out into a couple of days. Let’s just be thankful we’re not getting what the storm is giving people in Galveston, Texas right now.

Take a peek at this one minute video I made just for Chicago Metblogs that proves Chicagoans are still out enjoying the day, even when it’s gray and puddly out there. (Watch for the bit at the end where it gets all meta and stuff.)


Bye Bye Bastion

Wise Fools Open MicAmazing Chicago comedy blog The Bastion is shutting down after two years of dedicated service to the Chicago comedy community. This is sad for a couple of reasons, one is that I know of no other web site that wants my photos of Chicago comedy, and two the bastion has been a great source of information about the vibrant Chicago comedy scene.

I will try my best to post comedy goings ons here on metblogs. You can also go to the blogs of the Bastions main writers Elizabeth McQuern and Kristy Mangel for their super-fan’s-eye view of the Chicago comedy world.

Chicago 2016 Channel

We know Chicago has been working hard to lure the 2016 Olympics here. Now, as part of Chicago’s efforts, there’s a website called Chicago 2016 Channel. Here Chicago folks like you and me can submit our videos to answer the question “Why Chicago?” Starting today, if your video answers that question well enough you can win their “why Chicago competition”. The winner gets honored at a 2016 event on October 3rd and will get to meet Olympic swimming wunderkind Michael Phelps.

Not much of a film maker? Then just go over and watch a few. Amazing Chicago sketch group, Schedenfreude has contributed some including one of my favorites:


Introducing The Hub


If Metblogs is a city, hub.metblogs is the playground. We kept hearing from people that one of their favorite parts of Metblogs was meeting and interacting with readers and writers from other parts of the world, as well as getting requests for more ways that readers could be involved besides just posting comments. We thought about this for a while and decided that with a network like this, a giant community area where folks from all over the world could hang out, post photos and videos, talk with each other, form groups, play games, send messages, and do about a million other things was probably a pretty fun idea. The Hub is that.

If you have any tech ideas or suggestions join this group and speak up. See you on hub.metblogs!

Help a Chicago artist pay for his medical bills

As reported on this morning, talented Chicago artist Matthew Woodson is accepting commissions to help pay for his medical bills (you can check out some of his art here). What’s he recovering from? A FREAKIN’ POISONOUS SPIDER BITE! Here’s the rundown from his blog:

On Monday of last week I was bitten by a yet unknown poisonous spider on my right knee. By Tuesday I was running a high fever and unable to walk. On Friday evening I collapsed and was rushed to the ER. After a series of x-rays and a whole lot of examination, I was informed that I had a rather large abscess and cellulitis due to the spider’s bite. I was sent home early Saturday morning after having my knee surgically “drained”, and in more pain than I have ever been in. After a doctor’s appointment this Monday, another abscess was drained and I was informed that I would need to see a doctor weekly until the wound had healed, which could possibly take up to 8 months. Within these 8 months there will remain the very real threat of the infection spreading into the bone of my knee, as well as the possibility of blood poisoning.

All of this happened to Matthew between changes in insurance companies which means he’ll have to pay for all of that expensive medical care the way 47 million other Americans do which is out of pocket. I recently had to have simple outpatient surgery on a bulging disk in my neck. I have insurance and a steady job, yet still had to pay an enormous amount of money for the surgery and physical therapy. I cannot imagine how expensive this spider bite recovery is going to be. Unfortunately, I do not have the money to hire Matthew. You might though. Here’s what he laid out for those of you looking to hire him:

Any possible commission you could have for me; gifts, wedding invitations, cards, wall art, tattoos, anything. I am interested in the job. I will also definitely consider larger personal commissions, considering the work involved. I would prefer to only be working in black and white, but don’t be afraid to ask about color. I haven’t exactly figured out how pricing will go yet, but obviously pricing will be negotiable and varying, but for small to medium sized drawings I was thinking between $100 – $500 through paypal.

Don’t have $100-$500 but like Mr. Woodson’s work. Then head on over here and pick up a $20-$40 print of his work and help a Chicago artist out.

Help me get on Comedy Central!!!

Don’t Spit the Water is going to Hollywood, CA to audition for Comedy Central. That’s right! We are an amused programmer away from being on basic cable which is my glib nonchalant way of hiding the excitement of possibly doing comedy for a living.

However, traveling to LA is expensive. And we don’t make any money doing the show in Chicago, and we don’t make gobs of money working for a (from left to right in the picture) homeless shelter, Chicago public radio, and the Chicago public school system. In case you were wondering, I’m the guy in the lucha libre mask sans shirt.

That means we need your help to make this trip less expensive for us. All you have to do is join us for drinking, eating, and karaoke at Trader Todd’s this Thursday 8pm-10pm for Blewt! Sings! Your $40 will help send us on our way to stardom and on your way to all you can drink and eat and sing. The crazy characters from Don’t Spit the Water (recently featured on WGN morning news) will be there performing special songs just for the night.

If you can’t make it out on Thursday, then go our website anyway and donate what you can to help us out. Help Chicago’s favorite live comedy game show become America’s favorite live comedy game show!

Huzzah! (For Now)

According to Sun-Times columnist Jim DeRogatis’ blog, the “Event Promoters ordinance” has been tabled, at least temporarily. Alderman Eugene Schulter, Chairman of the City Council License Committee, decided not to present the ordinance to the full council after meeting with members of the Chicago Music Commission and local promoters and venue owners. According to Mr. DeRogatis’ blog the ordinance will return to committee for at least another month, during which time the committee will hear more input from the public.

I note that it is the local music community that has taken the reigns here, and I applaud them for it. I would like to remind the theatre and stand-up scenes that they have a stake here as well, and they need to make sure their representatives have a place at the table while this ordinance is reworked.

Well done, everybody who voiced their concerns.

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