Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Chicago Underground Comedy – $5, Many Laughs

It’s true, I produce this show, but let this video stand as unmistakable evidence of the amazing array of comedians we put onstage week after week. This brief, high-energy clip features all of our current cast members, a few alum, and some of our favorite guests. Got $5 burning a hole in your pocket? Need some comic relief? Come to the Beat Kitchen tonight at 9:30, and we’ll make you forget your troubles.

Poster for National Poetry Month

The Academy of American Poets has a really great poster for National Poetry Month which is in April. The quote, “Do I dare/ disturb the universe?”, comes from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot. The poster is available for FREE for schools, bookstores, libraries, or community centers. You can also get a copy for a mere $5. Here’s the web page with more information and other posters.

Wednesday Film Fun

What’s going on today? Two fun things involving movies. First the “tonight only!” going on.

I’m a huge fan of old movies, and became a huge fan of early film pioneer Georges Melies after reading the young adult novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Which means tonight is my lucky night because tonight at 7pm at Sonotheque is the “Magic in Cinema” showcase featuring films by Georges Melies. It’s only $8 to see silent films by the first special effects wizard. Worth every movie lover’s penny.

Also, going on every Wednesday night at 8pm at ComedySpotz Theater now till November 19th is the amazing Neutrino Project. The Neutrino Project is an improvised movie. The actors get a suggestion, run out the door with a camera, and then, before you know it, the audience is watching it all unfold on the movie screen in front of them. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and has a top notch cast of Chicago’s finest improvisers. Gather your $10 now while you enjoy this preview of the Chicago Neutrino Project:


Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band

I was at the Cubs game yesterday doing video work for a project, and I grabbed a few moments of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band, who nearly brought a tear to my eye.

My late Uncle Jim Snyder, who lived and worked in Chicago for all of his adult life, was widely regarded as the best Dixieland trombonist in the world. He began playing as a teenager, joined the now legendary Salty Dogs at Purdue University in the 1950’s, toured the world for decades, and recorded dozens of albums. He was a very sweet man who passed away shortly before I moved to Chicago.

At his funeral, his fellow musicians testified that his love for his art was so powerful that simply playing with him made them all better musicians. At that time I was still struggling with a long-delayed desire to finally move from my hometown to Chicago pursue writing and comedy, and witnessing the effect that my uncle’s love for his music had on his life and those of others was very inspiring to me.

But I digress. Here’s a bit of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band:


As an added bonus, I’m going to include this 1991 clip of Uncle Jimmy performing at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, Illinois, with the Chicago Salty Dogs. As the videographer admits, the picture quality isn’t great, but I defy you to listen to this tune and not find your toes tapping a happy little rhythm:


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.

Picasso for Sale

Picasso on Ebay
Local pickup only
, indeed.

You are bidding on a magnificent piece of public art. I am selling it in hopes that it will go to a deserving owner. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just taking up too much space and I am tired of getting comments from people who say it looks like a baboon or an aardvark or Larry King.

This is a statue by the artist Picasso, and is 41 years old. It comes with a certificate of authenticity, which I wrote myself.

Statue is in excellent condition despite its age. Has some minor wear and tear due to frequently being climbed on and constant use in photos by tourists. This use has only added to the item’s value and has been appreciated by many for years and would make a lovely addition to any home, garden or museum. I will not sell it to you if you tell me you are just going to sell it for scrap. You must show me a picture of where you will be keeping it, or I will not accept your bid.

Item may be viewed prior to purchase, no appointment necessary. Item must be picked up – WILL NOT SHIP! It is fifty feet high and weighs 162 tons. So you will probably need to rent a truck, and bring a few friends with you.

Due to the precious nature of this item, I cannot accept a check, money order or cashier’s check. I do accept PayPal.

(via Time Out Chicago)

Chicago’s Stand-Up Comedy Scene Keeps Getting Better

May I brag for a minute? By some cosmic twist, a reticent, relatively unambitious blogger (me) has become co-producer of arguably the best alternative stand-up showcase in Chicago (Chicago Underground Comedy).

Every Tuesday night, our show features four of our performers and two or three guests, including other promising up-and-comers in the Chicago stand-up talent pool, returning Chicago friends have found success on the coasts, and sometimes, comedy heroes whose resumes and upcoming projects are enough to make us stutter with awe when they take our stage.

Night before last we had what may be the strongest show we’ve ever produced. The lineup included our hugely creative and talented castmembers Dan Telfer (my co-producer, and a sometime contributor to this site), Sean Flannery, Prescott Tolk, and Adam Burke, and our pal Hannibal Buress, who’s dashing between appearances on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, Chicago Public Radio’s 848, the Craig Ferguson Show and a featured spot in the upcoming DC Comedy Festival.

Then there was the guest lineup, that had our packed house falling out of their chairs.

Get this: former Saturday Night Live writer Michael McCarthy (who’s moving to LA to write a pilot for Showtime), Chicago native Jimmy Dore, who’s about to have his first one-hour special on Comedy Central, and our pal John Roy, who comes home to Chicago every so often to sharpen up his bits for his latest Jay Leno or Craig Ferguson appearance.

Check out this ten minute highlight reel (edited by yours truly). If you’re at work, watch the audio, though, since the show included a tribute to George Carlin’s “Seven Words” bit (and because we’re comedians) there are a few naughty words included.


If you like what you see, pop into our show some Tuesday at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont). It’s well worth the $5.

Illinois Obama: Hobo

Illinois Obama

One of the features of John Hodgman‘s 2005 book The Areas of My Expertise is a list of 700 Hobo Names (expanded by 100 in the paperback edition). A group of illustrators, spearheaded by Adam “Apelad” Koford, took up the challenge of drawing the hobos behind each of those 700 names and they’ve done so nearly twice over. I bring this up now because I’ve just been reminded that Number 424 on that list is “Illinois Obama“. To what great heights hobos can aspire in America!

Two other ‘Illinois Obama’ illustrations:

Illinois ObamaIllinois Obama



It’s hard to walk a block in this city without seeing one of SOLVE’s eponymous stickers. And that’s not all SOLVE did — there are other stickers, paste-ups, boards, prints tucked into newspaper boxes. I never met the man, but I’m a fan of his work.

I only learned SOLVE’s real name this weekend, in the most horrible possible way. Brendan Scanlon was murdered Friday night in Logan Square. Chicago is poorer for this loss.

A suspect has been charged with the murder.

  • Gapers Block article on Chicago street art from last May, including SOLVE
  • SOLVE’s Flickr stream
  • Chicago Tribune on the murder
  • Memorial at Grand and Milwaukee
  • Chicago Street Art Flickr group discussion
  • (Links via Gapers Block, Upset Magazine, Chicagoist. Photo by josephp )

    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.

    Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.