WBEZ | Old Town School of Folk Music http://www.wbez.org/tags/old-town-school-folk-music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Roots music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/roots-music-101012 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNPfeI" width="500"></iframe></p><p>This weekend, the Old Town School of Folk Music debuts its new festival: <a href="http://www.squareroots.org/">The Square Roots Festival</a>. Actually it&rsquo;s Folk &amp; Roots Fest with some new twists, partners and locations (no more blankets set up in Welles Park). But the mission of showcasing genres such as bluegrass, folk and a bit of African music remains the same.</p><p>We thought this was a great opportunity to delve into a style of music that encompasses well, lots of styles: American Roots Music.</p><p>Broadly speaking, American Roots Music is bluegrass, country, blues, gospel, old time and jug, jazz and string band. I know I&rsquo;m probably missing something but if it&rsquo;s music that is native to the U.S., or was born out of foreign musical traditions on a level where the music experts realized was distinctly new, than it&rsquo;s considered roots music.</p><p>The roots of roots can be traced to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, when job seekers from small rural communities went looking for work in the big cities, bringing their regional musical traditions along with them. Of course folks like Alan Lomax played a big role in turning on big city folks to &quot;old timey&quot; and rural blues music.</p><p>Adaptation has always played a key role in the lasting survival of what we call roots music. We&rsquo;ve seen traditional American music amplified, sped up in tempo, sung in different languages and given a more pop flavor and it has remained roots music.</p><p>So before you hit Lincoln Square this weekend for the Square Roots Fest, take a look at some of mine and Richard Steele&rsquo;s picks in American Roots. You&rsquo;ll also find some picks from Bau Graves; he&rsquo;s the head honcho over at the Old Town School of Folk Music and he&rsquo;ll be joining Richard and I when the talk turns to roots music.</p><p>So here are my picks:</p><p>I thought it appropriate that my first pick come from a legend that we just lost to the big honky tonk in the sky. The voice of the great <strong>Kitty Wells</strong> is soulful even in its thin falsetto delivery. It always sounded so pained &mdash; and it never fails in bringing me back to the singing I remember as a little boy in my great uncle&rsquo;s Pentecostal church in Pilsen. Wells was a pioneer in country music; she was the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts with her hit <strong>&ldquo;It Wasn&rsquo;t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.&quot;</strong></p><p>The song turned Kitty into the first female country star. That status came despite a radio station ban on the song. You see, in 1953, the men running the show in Nashville didn&rsquo;t want that from their female country artists. But women in 1953 loved the tune and so eventually the station&rsquo;s bucked the ban and got on board.</p><p>Wells&rsquo; courage paved the way for artists such as Loretta Lynn and Hazel Dickens. Sadly she dies on July 16<sup>th</sup>. Wells ranks as the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of Billboard&rsquo;s country chart.</p><p><strong>Nitty Gritty Dirt Band</strong> is one of those band names that many folks may have heard at one time or another but who may not know much about their music. The country rockers have been around since 1966 but really came to the attention of a bigger audience in 1972 when they gathered some of the big names in bluegrass and country such as Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs and Merle Travis, along with a few rockers, for the first <em>Will the Circle Be Unbroken </em>release. The second <em>Circle II</em> featured Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and John Hiatt among others and it went gold and won two Grammys.</p><p><strong>&quot;Some Dark Holler&quot;</strong> comes from <em>Circle III</em>, which is a tribute to Mother Maybelle. Dwight Yoakam takes the vocal of this obscure tune written by an even more obscure rockabilly and country artist Bill Browning and gives it his signature honky tonk stamp. The dobro solo here is a thing of beauty.</p><p>Perhaps one of the least known chapters of American Roots Music is what is known as negro string music from the 1930s. The music sounds like a mix of church music, field hollers, blues and jug music.</p><p>The <strong>Carolina Chocolate Drops</strong> is a trio of young African American musicians who&rsquo;ve taken the music to a whole new level without betraying its roots. And they&rsquo;ve done their homework; learning the songs and history from an 80-year-old African American fiddle player.&nbsp; The band employs not only fiddle and guitar but also banjo, jug and even bones to bring life to a music that&rsquo;s full of life.</p><p><strong>City of Refuge</strong> is from the band&rsquo;s 2010 release&nbsp;<em>Genuine Negro Jig</em>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/clairegren.jpg" style="float: right; height: 346px; width: 300px; " title="(Flickr/clairegren)" /><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><div><strong>Joan Armatrading</strong> is a singer, songwriter and guitar player who has many influences in her musical DNA. She born in 1950 in the Caribbean on the island of St. Kitts. Her family moved to Birmingham,&nbsp;England,&nbsp;when she was&nbsp;a child. At an early age, she worked very hard on mastering piano and guitar. She got her first record deal in the early&nbsp;&lsquo;70s. Her music encompasses a variety of styles from around the world.&nbsp;<em>Into The Blues</em>&nbsp;was her first journey into that form. This track called <strong>&ldquo;Mama Papa&rdquo;</strong> reflects on her early childhood in St. Kitts and has a real roots music feel to it. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Pop Staples</strong> was a singer, songwriter&nbsp;and&nbsp;guitar player. He was also the patriarch of one of the most celebrated families of gospel, pop and R&amp;B music. The Staple Singers are a Chicago treasure,and their music was always rooted in the family spirit. So much so, that Pop&nbsp;Staples&nbsp;rarely recorded as a solo artist. The Grammy-winning album&nbsp;<em>Father Father&nbsp;</em>was one of those rare occasions .</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This track entitled &ldquo;<strong>Jesus Is Going To Make Up&nbsp;(My Dying Bed)&rdquo;</strong> is a testament to the special bond Pop Staples had&nbsp;to religion&nbsp;throughout his entire career. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Josh White</strong>&rsquo;s story is a fascinating journey into the life of a black man who was raised in the Jim Crow&nbsp;South. It&rsquo;s the story of a man who overcame the roadblocks of racism to become a successful singer, songwriter, guitar&nbsp;player&nbsp;and actor. He moved to New York in the early 1930s. That&rsquo;s when his career began to take off as he expanded his musical universe to include many genres of music. Unfortunately, his social protest music put him directly in the sights of the McCarthy-era investigations. He spent a number of years trying to clear his name while performing mostly in Europe.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This song called <strong>&ldquo;Hard Time Blues&rdquo;</strong> reflects on the plight of&nbsp;Southern blacks living in poverty. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/roots-music-101012 The Slide Guitarists of Old Town School perform on 'Eight Forty-Eight' http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-05/slide-guitarists-old-town-school-perform-eight-forty-eight-96975 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/slide guitarists.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>By day, they teach children, youths and people of all ages guitar, but by night, the faculty of the Old Town School of Folk Music jam out. They made an exception for WBEZ, and graced us with their presence this morning on 'Eight Forty-Eight' (our producer Joe was very apologetic about the early hour). You can also hear&nbsp;Steve Doyle,&nbsp;Jon Spiegel,&nbsp;Keith Baumann and&nbsp;Chris Walz&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2012/3/11_slideguitar.php">this Sunday at 7 pm</a>&nbsp;at the&nbsp;Myron R. Szold Music &amp; Dance Hall&nbsp;at the Old Town School.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/37969853?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ab050d" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 05 Mar 2012 18:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-05/slide-guitarists-old-town-school-perform-eight-forty-eight-96975 The Don't-Miss List: Get historical with 'Nuremberg' revisted, MLK day and 'Blizzard '67' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-12/dont-miss-list-get-historical-nuremberg-revisted-mlk-day-and-blizza <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/REDance Inhabitants.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/MLK-Project_Images2.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 231px; " title="">Lest we forget that this Monday's holiday is actually about something, Writers' Theatre will present a performance of&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/education?id=0003"><em>The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights</em></a></strong>.&nbsp;This one-woman show starring Melanie Brezill explores the history of the civil rights movement, and Dr. King's place in it, through poetry, hip-hop and excerpts from interviews with movement leaders and participants. The show will tour to area schools through February, as it has for the past several years, but this is the only scheduled public presentation. Come see it&nbsp;free&nbsp;at the Chicago History Museum on Monday at 11 a.m. Just show up---but show up early, as plenty of people will be trying to do the same thing.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>To me, party or club dancing is a hoot. On Friday night, check out the <a href="http://oldtownschool.org/55days/list/">first-ever <strong>Global Dance Party</strong> at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s brand-new building</a>, right across the street from the old one on Lincoln. The theme is Brazilian music and dance—always welcome in wintry weather. The model for these events is the city’s SummerDance program, so there’s a 30-minute dance class at 8:30 taught by OTSFM instructor Dill Costa, then music by the Old Town Samba School and Swing Brasileiro. Tim Harkins, who’s heading up the dance parties, assures me that “no one will feel out of place if they come without a partner.” And for all you crazy samba dancers out there, the fold-away stadium seating <em>will </em>be folded away.</p><p><a href="http://www.danceworkschicago.org/events.aspx"><strong>DanceWorks Chicago</strong> is busy, busy.</a> Today at noon they perform in the Harris Theater’s “Eat to the Beat” series. Friday they present a “Dance Flight” performance. And Saturday afternoon this company devoted partly to drawing audiences into the artistic process offers a user-friendly look at their own audition. It’s free, runs 1-4 PM at the Dance Center of Columbia College, and observers can come and go as they please.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/REDance Inhabitants.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px; " title="RE|Dance brings 'Flight Patterns' to Link's Hall"></p><p><a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">RE|Dance presents “<strong>Flight Patterns</strong>” at Link’s</a> Hall this weekend, featuring two works set in <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/redance-performs-flight-patterns-at-links-hall/Content?oid=5393389">its trademark evocative environments</a>. One piece is set amid tall grasses—<em>really&nbsp;</em>tall grasses—personally harvested by choreographer Michael Estanich.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/blizzard-67.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 260px; height: 167px; " title="">This is the first really big theater and dance weekend of the year with a dozen events and openings packed into four days. I’ll miss them all because I’m fighting my first (and only, I hope) ferocious head cold of 2012. But if I were going to be out an about, I’d head<strong> </strong>for Chicago Dramatists for the world premiere of<a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_blizzard-67"> <strong><em>Blizzard ’67</em></strong></a> by Jon Steinhagen, a recounting of what still is Chicago’s largest-ever snow storm, a 23” whopper in late January, 1967. My father, returning from Rockford, had to abandon his car on the shoulder of the road and was given a ride home by a trucker. Jon Steinhagen is a gifted playwright, composer and performer although I hardly think he’s old enough to remember the storm himself. <em>Blizzard ’67</em> runs through Feb. 12.</p><p>In an unusual one-off event at 12:30PM this Sunday (Jan. 15),<a href="http://www.shatteredglobe.org/current_production.html"> Shattered Globe Theatre</a> is joining forces with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (in Skokie) to present a staged reading of <strong><em>Judgment at Nuremburg</em></strong> by Abby Mann. Shattered Globe had a big hit in 2003 with a stage version adapted from Mann’s screenplay, and for this event the troupe has reassembled nine veterans of that production, among them director Louis Contey. What makes the event especially noteworthy is that post-show discussion will include observations from an eyewitness to the Nuremburg Trials, Peter Less, who was a translator in the courtroom.</p><p><o:p></o:p></p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-12/dont-miss-list-get-historical-nuremberg-revisted-mlk-day-and-blizza Daily Rehearsal: Old Town School of Folk Music new location opens http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-06/daily-rehearsal-old-town-school-folk-music-new-location-opens-95347 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-06/old town.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <a href="http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/shows_dyn.php?cmd=display_current&amp;display_showtag=intheheights12"><em>In The Heights </em></a>comes to Chicago early next week</strong></span></span>. In other related news, the Tony-winning creator of that musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is close to sucessfully adapting his rap about Alexander Hamilton for a grooving Obama couple (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jz1VRfdbmY">it went viral</a>) into "The Hamilton Mixtape", an album that will be partially performed January 11 as part of&nbsp;Lincoln Center’s <a href="http://www.americansongbook.org/?gclid=CKPW7fCZsq0CFegSNAodoxPHng" title="Web site for series">American Songbook series</a>. In sadder news, the producing pair that brought you <em>In The Heights</em>, Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller,&nbsp;are splitting up, <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/producing-partnership-behind-rent-and-avenue-q-comes-to-an-end/?ref=theater">reports the <em>New York Times</em></a>. It's all amiable.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Do you think it's weird</strong></span></span> that some of the most hotly anticipated shows of 2012 are all revivals? One commentor <a href="http://chicagolikealocal.com/2012/01/05/four-chicago-theater-shows-to-look-forward-to-in-2012/">does</a>. Should there be more original shows going up?</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-06/old town.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 207px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/55days/">The Old Town School of Folk Music</a>'s grand opening</strong></span></span> of their new location is Monday January 9. It's a "27,100-square-foot, $17 million facility greatly increases the School’s ability to meet growing class size needs and community demand for expanded programming in the vein of its current offerings." It's also a Gold level LEED building that&nbsp;<em>Eight-Forty-Eight</em> took <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-13/touring-old-town-school-folk-musics-big-new-digs-94853">a tour of in December</a>. Exciting news for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-13/bike-commuter-challenge-prompts-cycling-smackdown-87763">WBEZ's arch rival</a>. The ribbon cutting is at 10:30 am.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Watch or participate</strong></span></span> in a less-than-spontaneous ninth annual <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/322090957819358/">No Pants Subway Ride</a> on Sunday. <em>The A.V. Club</em> thinks it needs to get a little hotter, because being partially nude in public isn't as cool as it used to be. "Maybe a monthly or semi-monthly No Pants Ride would spice up Chicago a bit, turning tourists on to our sense of fun and absurdity," <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/no-shock-no-surprise-no-pants-why-the-no-pants-sub,67256">writes Marah Eakin</a>. It's at noon on Sunday.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. TUTA Theatre Chicago’s previewing their <em>Fulton Street Sessions</em></strong></span></span> in Millenium Park&nbsp;from January 12-14, 2012. The audience can "sit on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in a climate controlled environment and experience works in development by local theater artists." CLIMATE CONTROLLED. Considering it's 56 degrees outside right now, Chicago sure needs that.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 18:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-06/daily-rehearsal-old-town-school-folk-music-new-location-opens-95347 Touring the Old Town School of Folk Music's big new digs http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-13/touring-old-town-school-folk-musics-big-new-digs-94853 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/building_august.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/" target="_blank">Old Town School of Folk Music</a> has been part of Chicago for more than 50 years. So after a half century of concerts and classes, it was no surprise that they decided to expand. The <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/together/" target="_blank">new building,</a> right across from their main location in Lincoln Square, is state of the art and has studios with sprung floors and classrooms that have been acoustically engineered to prevent sound leakage. Bau Graves, executive director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, took <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> on a tour.</p><p>The new Old Town School location in Lincoln Square will open Jan. 9.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 15:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-13/touring-old-town-school-folk-musics-big-new-digs-94853 Theater picks for your weekend: Alexander before he was Great, Bad Boys of Dance and a vaudeville comeback http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/theater-picks-your-weekend-alexander-he-was-great-bad-boys-dance-an <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/Bad Boys of Dance Image 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.etacreativearts.org/index.php">eta Creative Arts</a> follows up its well-regarded <em>Flow</em> (which will have <a href="http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/school-news/27663-governors-state-universitys-center-for-performing-arts-presents-flow-saturday-november-12-at-8-pm.html">an encore presentation at Governors State University next weekend</a>) with <em><strong>Broke-ology</strong>,</em> a family drama about the intersection of brothers, elder-care and dominoes. Nathan Louis Jackson's play, directed by Artistic Director Runako Jahi, opens tonight on the Mainstage. Opening night tickets are only $10, with $20 Thursdays throughout the run; regular admission is $30. Through December 18 at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue.</p><p>Or, if you're among the teeming masses of the unemployed and are not busy <a href="http://www.thethirdcity.org/blog/jon-randolph/uncategorized/randolph-street-occupy-lasalle-street/">occupying LaSalle Street</a>, you could go to <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=545">Steppenwolf</a> this afternoon for a free reading of a new play by <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/bio.aspx?id=381&amp;crewId=721">Sarah Gubbins</a>, <strong><em>fml: or how Carson McCullers saved my life</em></strong> (an apt complement to <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=539">Steppenwolf's Theatre for Young Adults production of McCullers's <em>The Heart is a Lonely Hunter</em>,</a> which closes tomorrow). Gubbins is the author of <a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_the-kid-thing"><em>The Kid Thing</em>, whose world-premiere production at Chicago Dramatists</a> was one of the highlights of this fall's season. 3 p.m. at the Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted. The free readings continue&nbsp; through Saturday; the First Look series of performances continues through November 20, but this is the only weekend you can get $10 tickets including a free beer.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/vaudeville.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 169px;" title="">Even more exciting than the <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/?gclid=CJyLore4mKwCFcOd7Qodg2WULg">Old Town School of Folk Music</a>'s decision to branch out into theater is the subject of the show: <strong><em>Keep A Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em></strong>. It would be hard to top the array of talent involved: <a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=2324">Andrea J. Dymond </a>will direct the piece, whose creator-performers include the <a href="http://www.carolinachocolatedrops.com/">Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops</a>, the MacArthur Genius Grant-winning ragtime composer <a href="http://www.reginaldrrobinson.com/">Reginald R. Robinson</a>, and veteran Chicago tapper <a href="http://www.tapheritage.org/reggio.html">Reggio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin</a>. Tonight through Sunday only, in the School's Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue.&nbsp; Tickets are $45, $43 for Old Town School Members, $41 for seniors. The show is not recommended for children: adult language and content.</p><p>Finally, <strong><a href="http://www.rivernorthchicago.com/">River North Dance Chicago</a></strong> comes home briefly to the Harris Theater. The company's "Reality of a Dreamer" was, in its original form, the sexiest thing you'd ever see on a legitimate stage; they've reworked it as "Evolution of a Dream" and we'll see whether the libido still comes panting through. Tonight through Saturday only; tickets $30-$75.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/events/2011-2012-season/river-north-dance">The Harris</a>, at 205 East Randolph Street, is that glass box resembling a butt-plug for the Pritzker Pavilion. Still, there's not a bad seat in the house, and when you're inside you don't have to look at it.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>Word is that tickets are selling fast. On Saturday<strong>, </strong><a href="http://cso.org/TicketsAndEvents/EventDetails.aspx?eid=4296"><strong>DanceWorks Chicago</strong> shares the Symphony Center stage with the CSO</a> in two hour-long shows at family-friendly times. In “Magical Movements,” the six youthful DWC dancers help “build” the orchestra for the occasion’s finale, Benjamin Britten’s <em>The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra</em>. If for some reason you aren’t interested in being surrounded by kids age five to nine, <a href="http://www.danceworkschicago.org/Event/Dance-Flight-1111.aspx">DWC is also performing a “Dance Flight”</a> Saturday evening set to an eclectic mix of music: Vivaldi, Gershwin, and Sons of the Never Wrong.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/Bad Boys of Dance Image 2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 429px;" title="The Bad Boys of Dance"></p><p>They’re called <a href="http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/">“<strong>The Bad Boys of Dance</strong>,”</a> but they’re neither all-bad nor all-boys. Fans of <em>Dancing With the Stars&nbsp;</em>and <em>So You Think You Can Dance</em>—the Bad Boys have turned up on both shows—will relish the opportunity to see these six babe magnets and one babe (Adrienne Canterna-Thomas, also the choreographer) shake their stuff in pieces set mostly to well-known pop songs. Saturday and Sunday at the Auditorium.</p><p>In the department of continuing but soon-to-end shows…. Lucky Plush undertakes its second and final weekend at the MCA in <strong><em><a href="http://mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/740">The Better Half</a></em></strong>, a brainy, funny physical-theater take on the 1944 film <em>Gaslight</em>…. And if you’re a fan of zombies—you know you are—try to catch <em><a href="http://www.musicalofthelivingdead.com/Musical_of_the_Living_Dead/Welcome.html">Musical of the Living Dead</a> </em>before its last show, November 12.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/Hershey%2520showpage.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 225px; height: 300px;" title="">Gifted pianist, writer and actor Hershey Felder has entertained us before with his one-man shows—half concert and half play—about George Gerswhin, Frederic Chopin and Beethoven. Now he’s back as Lenny, baby, in <a href="http://www.theroyalgeorgetheatre.com/shows.php?s=51"><strong><em>Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein</em></strong></a> at the Royal George Theatre. Conductor, author, serious composer, Broadway composer, brilliant lecturer, dedicated liberal, husband, father and bisexual lover, Bernstein certainly was a multi-faceted showman (and he was, indeed, a showman). We’ll see how many facets Felder fathoms in 100 minutes or so. <em>Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein</em> continues through Dec. 30. However, Felder has found Chicago congenial and often has extended his shows.</p><p>Alexander of Macedon (not yet “the Great”) was whuppin’ the Persians when he was just 21 years old, leading his troupes into battle with wounds to prove it. This point is pertinent to the 2011-2012 season of <a href="http://www.thesideproject.net/">the side project theatre company</a> (sic, they use all lower-case letters), up in Rogers Park (1439 W. Jarvis), which has dedicated the year to issues of war and youth. Not only that, but the side project is presenting its six-play season in rotating repertory, three plays now and three more in the spring. The opening repertory, which rolls this weekend, includes the world premieres <strong><em>of Through the Middle Ground</em></strong> by Louis Cancelmi and <strong><em>An Interrogation Primer</em></strong> by Mike Nowacki, plus the Midwest debut of Brett Neveu’s <strong><em>Twentyone</em></strong>. The first repertory series continues at the side project through Dec. 18.</p></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 15:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/theater-picks-your-weekend-alexander-he-was-great-bad-boys-dance-an Jazz pianist Reginald R. Robinson keeps a 'song in his soul' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not every production boasts a certified MacArthur genius as an accompanist. But trust the Old Town School of Folk Music to know a musical talent when they see one.</p><p><a href="http://www.reginaldrrobinson.com/">Jazz pianist and composer Reginald R. Robinson</a>, 39, plays piano and contributes a few of his own neo-ragtime compositions to the school’s first excursion into theater, <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/"><em>Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em>. </a>Opening tomorrow and running just through Sunday, the piece is set during the Great Migration, 1910-1930, and looks to be a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 336px;" title=""></p><p>When Robinson got the $500,000 award, in 2004, he was flat broke and considering quitting the business. A Chicago native, he’d grown up too poor to afford music lessons. He dropped out of school at 15 to teach himself to play piano—a decision aided by his new neighborhood and high school in the Back of the Yards.</p><p>“I was sort of pushed,” Robinson says. “I could stay in school at that point and risk getting shot or jumped on. There was a lot of bad things happening in the school, in the area. And I was like, ‘Do I wanna continue to go through this? Or do I want to stay home?’” Sounds like a no-brainer, though quitting school isn’t usually the best way to pursue a career.</p><p>“My parents strongly objected to me leaving school,” says Robinson. “You know, they were typical caring parents: they did not want me to drop out. But I’d be getting to school late, and all kinds of stuff…. So I stayed home and mastered the music I wanted to play for the rest of my life.”</p><p>“I didn’t realize it would turn into anything like this. I just went along, doing the music, and one thing led to another.”</p><p>When Robinson went back to school to get his GED in 1992, some of the faculty noticed him writing down music in the hallway. One of them, musician Mac Olsen, invited Robinson to meet his piano teacher, who worked in a violin shop that hosted a jam session every Saturday. One day when Robinson was there, horn player Ira Sullivan came in.</p><p>“I couldn’t sit in with the other guys,” says Robinson, “cuz they were reading from charts. So I sat and listened, and after they finished, after about an hour and a half, I got up there and played some solo piano—‘Maple Leaf Rag’ and one of my own pieces, ‘Good Times Rag.’ And Ira Sullivan was like, wow. He said, ‘I know ‘Maple Leaf,’ but what’s that other piece? Is that Scott Joplin?’”</p><p>Sullivan introduced him to stride pianist Jon Weber, who paid for Robinson’s first demo and introduced him to Delmark’s Bob Koester. Robinson’s <em>The Strongman</em> came out in 1993; two other albums on Delmark followed. But sales weren’t great. The MacArthur grant enabled Robinson to self-produce <em>Man Out of Time</em> in 2007, made up of pieces he’d composed over the preceding decade; <em>Reflections</em> came out in 2010.</p><p>Asked whether the MacArthur award inspired him, Robinson says, “It confirmed what I knew, that my music was worth something. From that, receiving the award, things became easier. It’s like a magic carpet—it helps you go into places that you wouldn’t normally be able to go.”</p><p>Fortunately, being a bona fide genius hasn’t gone to his head.</p><p>The award, Robinson says, “is like the song, ‘Keep a Song in Your Soul.’ It’s about remembering where you come from. And it’s about the music. It wasn’t about the title. Nobody called me a genius before I got the award. I told myself I was a genius—in the privacy of my own room. ‘Hey, this is a good idea!’ I’d say it in a joking way. ‘This is perfect! Man, I like this!’”</p><p>“It was always about the music. Through it all, that’s what kept me going. Whether it’s good times or bad times, always writing music. My story before the MacArthur: it was music!”</p><p>Directed by Andrea J. Dymond, <em>Keep a Song in Your Soul</em> is a collaboration between Robinson, Grammy-winning string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Chicago choreographer Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin, all of whom also perform.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683 Global Notes: Local Iranian-American demonstrates his flamenco chops on ‘Musical Show and Tell' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-31/global-notes-local-iranian-american-demonstrates-his-flamenco-chops-%E2%80%98mus <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-31/GlobalNotes.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483706-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/wv_20110831b.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/28379129?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" width="601"></iframe></p><p>On this week's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/globalnotes" target="_blank"><em>Global Notes</em></a>, we return to our occasional series “Musical Show and Tell,” in which we learn about a global instrument: its history,&nbsp; sound and influence on music around the world.</p><p>Iranian-American <a href="http://www.flamencoguitarplayer.com/pages/home.cfm" target="_blank">Mehran Jalili</a> wrote us earlier this summer and offered to share his expertise of the flamenco guitar. Mehran was on his way to law school when he discovered flamenco. Instead he bought a ticket to Spain and chose to pursue a career in music. Now, Mehran teaches at the <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/" target="_blank">Old Town School of Folk Music</a> and, inspired by Iran's Green Movement, recently released an album called <em><a href="http://www.angelsofpersepolis.com" target="_blank">Angels of Persepolis</a></em>. He riffs with Jerome and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/radio-m" target="_blank"><em>Radio M </em></a>host Tony Sarabia about his musical career and plays a few of his songs.</p><p><strong>Track List</strong></p><p>1. Traditional Flamenco piece in the form of Buleria</p><p>2. Moon Desert</p><p>3. The Oblong Box</p><p>4. Ahriman</p><p><em>Mehran Jalili has several upcoming shows in Chicago. He will play at Uncommon Ground on Saturday, October 8, at Martyr's on Thursday, October 13, and at Northfield Library on November 6. You can follow his performance schedule <a href="http://www.flamencoguitarplayer.com/pages/schedule.cfm" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p><p><em>If you play a global instrument and want to appear on the show and tell us about it, send us an email at <a href="http://worldview@wbez.org" target="_blank">worldview@wbez.org</a>. Put “Show and Tell” in the subject line, and make sure to include your name, phone number and the instrument you play.</em></p></p> Wed, 31 Aug 2011 15:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-31/global-notes-local-iranian-american-demonstrates-his-flamenco-chops-%E2%80%98mus Daily Rehearsal: Tig Notaro at the Viaduct http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-15/daily-rehearsal-tig-notaro-viaduct-90598 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-15/3628196278_606b5d7d78.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. The Old Town School of Folk Music is producing their first theatrical event, to go up in November. Called <a href="https://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/11/3_vaudeville.php"><em>Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em></a>, the show&nbsp;is the combined effort of string-band Carolina Chocolate Drops, jazz pianist Reginald R. Robinson, and tap dancer Reggio "The Hoofer" Laughlin. It opens in November but contains adult language and themes! You may remember Old Town as the group that WBEZ beat in this year's battle to the death during <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-13/bike-commuter-challenge-prompts-cycling-smackdown-87763">Bike to Work Week</a>.</p><p>2. <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/subscription/explore/"><em>Clybourne Park</em></a> started rehearsals last week. The show is Steppenwolf's season opener in September.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-15/3628196278_606b5d7d78.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 225px;" title="Tig Notaro performing in California in 2009 (Flickr/Scott Beale/Laughing Squid)">3. Comedian Tig Notaro was <a href="http://www.zvents.com/z/chicago-il/tig-notaro-cameron-esposito-junior-stopka--events--202432226">at the Viaduct last night</a>, and she <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/comedian-tig-notaro-on-her-new-tv-show-her-great-great-grandfather-and-a-looong-career/Content?oid=4418031">tells the Reader</a> about her potential new show<em> Tig Has Friends</em>, a televised version of the variety show she hosts in LA.<em> "</em>Last I heard, we'll know something before the new year," Notaro said. "That's pretty much all I know. I certainly hope it airs. I'm really happy with what we did, and having the cast of&nbsp;<i>Mad Men</i>&nbsp;as my guests was pretty magically fun."</p><p>4. Rob Newhouse and Aerial Dance Chicago performed <a href="http://Rob%20Newhouse%20and%20Aerial%20Dance%20Chicago">today</a> at Millennium Park at the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/MP-Family-Fun-Festival/209774532396608">Family Fun Festival</a>. It's the final week of free family fun, so get your dance on.&nbsp;</p><p>5. The Neo-Futurists <a href="http://neofuturists.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=106&amp;Itemid=100013"><em>Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project</em></a> opens September 15. It <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-07/daily-rehearsal-trib-redesigns-their-theater-section-88824">explores the idea of failure</a>, and you can be a part of it, by participating in an "online journal" starting over Labor Day weekend. The show will also have special "pot luck Thursdays" with free admission if you bring a dish; email ladderpotluck@gmail.com if interested. It's an homage to the original production of The Ladder, during which Edgar Davis ran a free admission special for six months of the show and lost an absurd amount of money.&nbsp;Co-creator and performer John Pierson says of the revamp, "Once you understand the art, is it more difficult to mock? Our plan is to have a job that is never done - to constantly reevaluate the piece after each performance."</p><p>Also I'll be out learning about theater in other lands/really just lying on the beach, so look for Daily Rehearsal back on August 25. Don't miss us too much!</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:Play%20texts%20are%20not%20infinitely%20malleable:%20if%20the%20playwright%20calls%20for%20elms%20on%20stage,%20even%20naming%20the%20play%20after%20them,%20there%20damn%20well%20ought%20to%20be%20elms%20on%20stage.">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-15/daily-rehearsal-tig-notaro-viaduct-90598 Megitza Quartet brews a global blend of folk http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/megitza-quartet-brews-global-blend-folk-88877 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-08/Megitza Quartet.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The annual <a href="http://www.chicagofolkandroots.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Folk and Roots Festival</a> takes place this weekend in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood in its 14th year celebrating culture and music from around the world. One of the bands participating in this year’s fest is the <a href="http://www.megitzaquartet.com/" target="_blank">Megitza Quartet</a>, an amalgam of folk music from Eastern Europe and the U.S. with a particular focus on traditional Polish highlander folk and Roma music. <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Joe DeCeault recently caught up with a couple of the quartet's members.</p><p>WBEZ's Tony Sarabia will bring you an encore of the quartet when they come in for an interview and performence for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/radio-m" target="_blank"><em>Radio</em> <em>M</em></a>, Friday at 9 p.m. on WBEZ.</p><p><em>Music Button: Megitza Quartet, "Mamo Temera," from the release, Boleritza (self-released)</em></p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 14:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/megitza-quartet-brews-global-blend-folk-88877