Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

No pants, no problem!

If you have not heard of Improv Everywhere, then you must be new to the internet, and welcome.

What’s more likely is that you have heard of the New York pranksters and seen their videos. You probably also know of their wonderful group pranks, and possibly even participated in the MP3 bit back in October. Now you can join in another one with No Pants 2009. This is where a flash mob of folks in Chicago, New York, and other public transportation blessed cities will ride the (in our case) the El without any pants.

Full details are available at the No Pants subway ride Chicago Facebook group. Basically, show up at the Granville station this Saturday January 10th at noon wearing pants (don’t forget the undies!). Instructions will be given out from there, but the whole point is to look like you have no idea that you walked out of the house without your pants. To inspire you, here is an old cartoon promo discussing pants vs. no pants:


Obama Grant Park Rally Guide

The Trib has a great article that answers all your questions about the Obama rally in Grant Park tomorrow. I got an e-mail from the Democratic Party saying that I will get a ticket this afternoon. I’m hoping it’s legit and not a Nigerian spam scam using Obama tickets. I’ll probably see you there.

(photo from hryckowian)

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.

Obama in Grant Park on election night

According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama will hold an election night eventin Hutchinson Field on the south side of Grant Park. I guess you should start silk screening your “Obamapalooza” shirts now for the November 4th fete.

(photo from enigma personification)

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! to speak tonight

If you’ve been keeping up with the conventions, I’m sure you know all about the protests and scary police tactics used against journalists and protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Amy Goodman, reporter for Democracy Now!, was one of the more famous journalists arrested last week, partly due to the whole incident being captured on camera and put on youtube:


She gives an entire account of the incident in a press release here.

Anyone who has interest in the freedom of press and/or this election, would do themselves good by heading over to hear Ms. Goodman’s talk at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center (828 S. Wolcott Ave). Her talk is entitled “The Politics of Race, Gender, and Economics in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Race”. The talk is free and will go from 5-6:30pm.

Two Chances to Laugh and Raise Money for Charity

What could be an easier way to contribute to charity then watch a comedy show? How about if that show has some of Chicago’s best stand-up comedians in it. Boom! I’m sold.

This Friday at 9 PM, amazing Chicago comedian Carrie Callahan will be hosting a benefit comedy show called “Easier Then Running a Marathon”. It takes place at the Lincoln Restaurant (home of the famous comedy showcase The Lincoln Lodge) at 4008 N. Lincoln. The cost is only $10 and all proceeds go to AIDS research.

Then, Saturday is “Angel’s Farewell Show”. This is a send off to much beloved Chicago comedy super-fan Angel Busque. The show will feature her favorite Chicago comedians which means for only $10 you can see Jason Fever [The Mockumentals], Brian Potrafka [Doug Stanhope’s The Unbookables, author of “Small & Wrong”], Dan Kaufman (The Bob & Tom Show), Sean Flannery (producer and co-host of the Internet radio talk show the Visitors Locker Room), David Kovac (Performed at the request of Mayor Richard M. Daley for the 73rd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors), Ricky Carmona (HBO Latino), Brendan McGowan (Chicago Underground Comedy), CJ Sullivan (Visitors Locker Room, Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye), Renee Gauthier (Victoria Beckham: Coming to America), Cayne Collier (producer of Chicago’s longest running stand-up showcase, the Elevated), hosted by local favorite Bradley Fojas (NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity). Plus, all the money goes toward Lupus Foundation of America, Illinois Chapter. Doors for this show open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8 PM.

Chicago Comedy Festival

Back in February of this year, I heard some rumblings about a Chicago Comedy Festival taking place on Navy Pier during the autumn of this year. It’s supposed to have 100 performers, three stages, and a partridge in a pear tree. I know it’s still summer, but we’re not too far from autumn, and I have yet to hear anything more about this Chicago Comedy Festival (the website is just a placeholder with no information). I’m intrigued, but it’s easier to find information on the Just for Laughs festival coming to Chicago in summer of 2009. I was starting to loose hope that this Chicago Comedy Festival thing was going to happen.

Then today I found this youtube channel labeled Chicago comedy festival. This channel has been uploading segments of a documentary hosted by comedy legend Bob Zmuda about the Chicago Comedy Festival from 2001 over the past two days. If you have 30 minutes (or eight chunks of about five minutes) and you have an interest in comedy, then check out these videos. The documentary is filled with comedy treats, but one of the biggest treats for me was seeing one of my favorite rooms in Chicago, The Lincoln Lodge, pop up around the 2:30 mark in this segment. During that segment you also get to see alternative comics like Neil Hamburger, and SNL’s Fred Armisen playing his character Fericito. Of course, Chicago comedy stalwart, Zanies, is there with a whole mess of amazing comedians to numerous to list. To start you off, I’ll put the first part of the documentary here:


Stressed? Learn some Zen Mediation today

my other vehicle
The class begins today at the Zen Buddhist Temple(1710 W. Cornelia Ave). It goes from 7pm to 8:30 (though don’t get too hung up on time, it can go long sometimes). The cost is $160 and the course lasts 8 weeks. If you’re interested you can give them a call 773-528-8685.

A couple of months ago I decided I need to learn to meditate. At the time, I was a first year teacher teaching 33 8th graders all subjects on the west side of Chicago. I also heard that meditation might help with a whole bunch of health related things such as ADHD, stress, and high blood pressure.

Teaching is a stressful job in and of itself. Add to that the fact that I was teaching way too many students every single subject (which is way too much planning for one teacher) and the other stresses of being a Chicago public school teacher (such as not getting paid for a month due to an accounting error), then it makes sense that I had high blood pressure and a pretty negative mental state.

I’ve always had an interest in Zen Buddhism partly because of my fascination with samurai and the Beat Generation. So I signed up for a five week zen meditation course at the Zen Buddhist Temple. I loved it for two reasons: one, it is a great and thorough introduction to the practice of mediation, and, two, it was a wonderful and insightful introduction into the ways and beliefs of Zen Buddhist. And meditating felt great, especially after a crazy day in the classroom. However, meditation is not easy for me. My thoughts move fast, and my body does not like to hold still. That means that I would get frustrated when the yoga instructor in the organic cotton sweat pants makes meditation seem like the easiest thing to do and find time for. Sure it’s easy if your job consists of helping adults stretch for an hour. Try spending 6 hours absorbing a deluge of misdirected anger while trying to get an unenthusiastic group of youth to focus on passing state standardized tests in math and reading so your school does not get shut down, then close your eyes and see what your brain has to say. (Quick post script to that: my students were 80% passing in reading and math which is pretty amazing and worth me taking this time to brag about it)

I am not telling you my frustrations to let you know I should have chosen to be a yoga teacher instead of an 8th grade teacher. I am telling you my frustrations because I want you (the person who is interested in Buddhism and/or meditation) to not be intimidated, and go learn. I still suck at meditation, but it is a practice. Like any practice, it’s awkward and difficult at first. Take time to enjoy that awkwardness and difficulty because as adults we don’t experience that enough. I also don’t make a very good Buddhist, but I’m a pretty lousy follower of any religion including atheism.

If you don’t have the money or can’t commit five Tuesdays, then stop by the temple for one of their two Sunday meditations. There is a service at 9:30am and 4:00pm. The services involve sitting meditation, chanting, and a dharma talk. If you are not sure what to do then just follow what the other people do. I never do the chanting since I do not know the Korean words they are saying. The dharma talks are talks lead by the head of the temple about some aspect of Buddhism, and are more enjoyable then my lackluster description just made them. In fact, the dharma talks are my favorite part of the services. Afterwards, you can have tea and go to an “ask a Buddhist” session to quench your curiosities about Buddhism.

Meditation is not a panacea, but it definitely helped me. Hopefully, it can do the same for you.

(“my other vehicle is the Mahayana” photo by ktheory)

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!

City Council Votes on Event Promoters Ordinance Tomorrow!

The Event Promoters ordinance will go before the city council at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 14th. I received an e-mail about a campaign to flood city hall with opponents of this ordinance. The campaign is being organized through The Point, and the goal is for 100 people to commit to attending the council meeting tomorrow. Save Chicago Culture will present a petition opposing the ordinance at the meeting.

Because the proposal was fast-tracked through committee, the Chicago arts community has had very little time to respond. I, for one, will be attending the council meeting tomorrow. If you care about preserving Chicago’s theatre, music and comedy I expect to see you there too. If you can’t make it, please e-mail your alderman today and express your opinion.

Otherwise, I suppose you could just pay a hundred bucks a pop and go see Wicked again.

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