Monday, June 28, 2010

Signs of Note

Up close with Vanessa Shinmoto

Though I was familiar with artist Vanessa Shinmoto from her 'Maladjusted Art' book, which I own after swapping some found objects for it in a swap organized by paranoid girl/Kelly D. Pelka at Delilah's a few years back, I had not seen any of Vanessa's new work until I randomly ran into her at the Flat Iron Building this past week. Her work is on display in Studio 214 through this Wednesday.

Bead Me Up, Scotty

There will be a who-what-when-where-why in Tuesday's Pipeline. For now, here are a few beaded purses designed by WhizBang, which are on display at Daniel's Antiques.

Maybe I'll be excused from civic responsibilities tomorrow due to looking like a sleepless zombie. Apparently I'm not the only one... Earlier in the day, or yesterday, artist Tom Robinson whom I featured in the masthead of a previous issue, wheeled past on his bicycle, fanny pack and all, or perhaps I'm just imagining that detail, and looked at me kind of blankly before spouting out my first and last name and what I do. He then said something like, "Excuse me, I went to sleep at 4 AM and haven't slept in three days."

"Working on art?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied.

In a word: Understood.

Overpopulation Leads to B-Trail

It's nice to get away...

Images from the St. Hedwig Carnival

To again prevent scroll fatigue, I am hosting a few images snapped at this past weekend's St. Hedwig Carnival here. Some of the images will be I'Ded and linked to from the Pipeline.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Images, to be I.D'ed in next Pipeline

These random photos won't make any sense on their own, and I'm too tired for words, though rest assured they were all snapped in the neighborhood proper. There will be words accompanying a few of these images in the next pipeline and I will either link to the images, or run out of space to include them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Reading of New Stage Adaptation of Young Adult Novel at Adventure Stage Chicago


Sunday, July 18 at 1:00pm at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble Street, Chicago.
Admission is FREE! Refreshments provided. Call 773-342-4141 for reservations.

CHICAGO - Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC) presents the final play in this season's New Play Workshop Series: a reading of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember, adapted by ASC ensemble member and Director of Education Merissa Shunk.

Lights shine in the city of Ember - but at the city limits the light ends, and darkness takes over. Out there in the Unknown Regions, the darkness goes on forever in all directions. Ember - so its people believe - is the only light in the dark world. And now...the lights are going out. Is there a way to save the people of Ember? Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow set out on a quest to try.

ASC's New Play Workshop Series is an opportunity for our audience to gain a sneak peek at and share their thoughts on new plays we are considering for full production in a future season. The audience is encouraged to remain after the reading for a talkback with the director and cast. The City of Ember reading is directed by ASC ensemble member Sarah Rose Graber.

Merissa Shunk (playwright) has been with Adventure Stage Chicago since 2007 as the Director of Education. Before moving to Chicago she lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She is originally from sunny California where she studied theatre, taught theatre, and studied how to teach theatre at UCLA and Santa Clara University. She has freelanced as a curriculum writer and teaching artist for the Silk Road Theater Project, is the Fine Arts Curriculum Advisor at Rowe Elementary School, and has been a mentor (Drama Mama) in Redmoon Theater's Mentoring program, Drama Girls. In fall of 2008 she co-founded the Chicago Arts Educator Forum and also serves on the board of the Illinois Theatre Association.

The City of Ember is presented on Sunday, July 18 at 1:00pm at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble Street, Chicago. Refreshments will be provided. Admission is free, but reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 773-342-4141 for reservations. For more information on Adventure Stage Chicago, please visit our website at

Adventure Stage Chicago's mission is to create dynamic and transformative theatre for young audiences that activates the imagination, inspires dialogue and strengthens community among families, educators and artists. ASC is Chicago's only professional theatre company dedicated solely to theatrical programming for young people ages 9-14 and the adults in their lives. ASC seeks to cultivate and create challenging new work, produce celebrated stories, and become a leader in theatre education through professional development workshops, residencies and resources that offer innovative ways to infuse theater into the classroom. This is ASC's sixth season. (The first three seasons were produced under the name Vittum Theater.)

ASC has received numerous honors from local and national organizations since its inception in 2004, including:

* Two-time Finalist for the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award
* Participant in the New Visions/New Voices Festival at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington D.C.
* Zeta Phi Eta Winifred Ward Award for Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education
* Three-time Recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence Grant

Adventure Stage Chicago is a program of Northwestern University Settlement House, the oldest continually operating settlement house in Chicago. Throughout its 118-year history, the Settlement has remained committed to providing resources that empower our neighbors to overcome the obstacles of poverty. ASC extends this mission by presenting Chicago's young audiences, educators and families with an affordable artistic experience rooted in performance. Last season, ASC served 9,000 students from 82 schools throughout the Chicagoland area.

Please include this event in your listings. For questions about this press release, please contact Jennifer Mathews, ASC Marketing & Public Relations Manager, at (773) 209-3889 or

Monday, June 21, 2010

Images from Learnapalooza

A fun time was had by all at Learnapalooza this past Saturday. For an interview with co-founder Maggie Schutz, click here to read a story posted on Our Urban Times.

Here are a few pics that I took as well as a short video of executive chef Dudley Nieto of La Fonda Del Gusto making tilapia, which was sauteed along with tomatoes, garlic, raisins, salt and a few other spices and herbs that made it incredibly delicious when he passed lots of samples around to the 15 or so students, after having cranked at two other free cooking classes earlier in the day-- in a word: Wow! Unfortunately I misplaced the recipe, but if anyone wants it, feel free to email Dudley directly at with a subject header of "Tilapia"

Also pictured is a student attempting to self hypnotize himself with a bit of help from Kerry Mackenzie of Hypnosis Works Chicago in the Wicker Park Lutheran Church's beautiful and ethereal sanctuary, a few students on the steps of the church who were eager to pop in at the next yoga class, and Sarah Press, the festival's other cofounder, with her sister.

A Super Fun Issue Ahead & Some Father's Day Overage

Hi... by now, regular Pipeline readers know my quirky little drill: I often post stuff here on this SoW blog that is far too lengthy for the tidbit-centric pipeline, where I usually put in the first few paragraphs with a link to "read more," enabling the e-newsletter to not scroll on for way longer than any newsletter in its right mind rightly should.

Tomorrow's issue- if I ever finish writing it!!!!- will contain lots of fun pics of WPB Dads and their adorable little ones, an up close interview with the founder of the Miss Wicker Park Pageant as well as a lovely local contestant who gets my vote and hopefully the votes of many others too, two new columnists covering the merchant and dining scene --their joint submission cracked me up and introduced me to some new local spots!--- And finally an almost-but-not-quite visit to A.N. Pritzker School by Ron Huberman... for those that need a bit o' hard news to balance all the soft fluffy stuff which I prefer to write...

Today's issue is dedicated to my father, Gerald Myron Hauser, who died in 1990 while returning home from a sales trip in Indiana when I was 15 and in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, just a few months after my older brother had gone away to school in Kansas as a freshman and my mom had returned to the work force after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. Thus, along with my father's death, these events had turned us from a dinner table of four into a table of one on many nights. Before the tiny violins play, it must be duly noted I took full advantage of the dinner table scene inside a few close friend's homes where I could perhaps best be described as the annoying ever present neighbor "Kimmy" character from Full House, with a dash of eccentric Kramer from Seinfeld.

My dad was a manufacturer's rep for Stacy Adams, and Florsheim shoes. Though he did not work in a retail shoe store, he seemed to greatly enjoy and identify with the character of Al Bundy from Married With Children, a sitcom which was one of the few shows I'd leave the cozy confines of my room, Sweet Valley High books, and word processor for, so we could watch the Bundy family together as a family.

Over my father's career he had even worked with supplying some of the longtime local shops here in Wicker Park who carry those said 'uber urban' footwear brands, known for alligator skin ankle boots and snazzy wing tips! He also traveled by minivan to the south side of Chicago, Detroit, and Saint Louis, in addition to Indianapolis where he was returning from when his wood paneled mini van collided with a semi truck. He had likely suffered a heart attack behind the wheel of the car or perhaps drifted off to sleep, we'll never really know what occurred outside of the fact he'd veered out of his lane and into the path of a truck according to the accident's only witness.

My older brother was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1971, and I was born in Flint, Michigan in 1975- back when Flint was a great place to live, which I learned from watching the flashback footage in Roger & Me. We moved from Flint shortly after I was born, to my maternal grandparent's two flat in Oak Park, as my dad had briefly lost a sales job and we were saving money as a family of four before he started a new job, whereupon we moved to a townhouse in Hanover Park. The job would be the one he'd have until his death 14 years later. Our suburban garage in Buffalo Grove- when we finally had a coveted garage after moving to a single family home when I was 11- always smelled like shoe leather from all the samples stacked everywhere. At the time when he died, 49 still seemed "old" to me though in retrospect my dad was actually very young and the first of his close-knit crew of friends from Roosevelt High School to pass on.

One of my strongest memories is of my dad standing at the doorway to my bedroom, on a night when he wasn't on the road, warning "I'm closing the lights!" with his hand on the light switch because I'd be up late reading or writing on a school night. Though its been a long time since I've heard those words-- and really, had my dad never heard of flashlights?!-- some bad habits like not sleeping or 'speaking before thinking or emailing' haven't changed for me over the years. Most days I wish email did not exist, or that the send button is not such a convenient lil' trigger. Though he often read Stephen King books on the road and talked about how he'd wanted to be a writer, my dad was far more of an oral storyteller- and a great one at that!- than a writer, unless there are notebooks somewhere I don't know about, which I highly doubt. His first and foremost priority had always seemed to be working his tired tail off and striving to provide for his family, which he did by becoming one of the company's top salesmen and proudly wearing his "Million Dollar Club" ring, wherein a small diamond was added to the ring for every year when he billed over a million dollars worth of shoes.

Perhaps inspired by the short-lived 'family newsletter' I'd created on my trusty Smith Cornona word processor after interviewing aunts, uncles and cousins by telephone about their weekend adventures ("Rumor has it that Cousin so-and-so had enjoyed a romantic dinner at Red Lobster with girlfriend X- could an engagement be on the horizon?!" I'd speculated) and snail mailing the newsletter out to possibly eight readers, my dad urged me to pursue journalism and for some reason was obsessed with the idea of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern-- in fact I'm wearing a Medill sweatshirt he gave me in this photo, the last photo I have of us together which was snapped just a few hours after getting my braces off, quite the festive day and the reason for my big no-longer-metallic smile.

A few years after my dad's death and wanting to escape Illinois as well as the idea of mammoth student loans if I'd gotten accepted to the privately run Northwestern, I happily majored in poetry and creative writing at a state school in the much more laid back world of Southeast Ohio, nestled in the Appalachian foothills near West Virgina. During that time of failed stabs at fiction where I berated myself for not being a "real writer," or when I was 'always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride' having missed a prestigious poetry fellowship at a Pennsylvania university by being number three or four, or 'an alternate' for two open slots ("But if I got it, how could I still write for The Athens News from Pennsylvania?!" I recall moaning to a friend over a beer, equally hoping to get the fellowship and not hoping to at the same time) I became one of the most regular freelance contributors to a small local newspaper, a gig I got after writing a few impassioned letters to the editor of the school newspaper about various topics.

The editor of the town's paper tracked me down at my freshman year dormitory's main phone number after reading a few of my letters and asking if I'd like to write for him, which I began to do, arriving at the news office around 5 or 5:30 AM twice each week or more, due to not having a computer, and writing before 8AM classes, with my "deadline" for those initial $10 stories being I had to get to class and the reporter who occupied that desk full-time understandably needed her computer! Not long after I was writing cover stories and I recall making $60 or even $80 on some longer features in my senior year, all while maintaining a full-time class load, a part-time campus job, donating my plasma to make extra cash to avoid taking out a loan for extra expenses or having to ask anyone for help, jogging randomly into mountain towns 15 miles away where'd I beg for 35 cents in change before calling a boyfriend to come pick me up, and managing to miraculously have a few female friends, usually just roommates who were friends by proximity as I was so busy, or friends from my writing classes who shared my somewhat 'emo outlook' and cooked for me when I forgot to eat. I have no idea how, but I am still close today to a few of them, something I am very thankful for amid a life that at times feels too much like it's mired to a core theme of driftless-ness than "rooted" in a traditional sense.

After college I ended up working mainly in various sales-related fields because I tended to get obsessive with the writing-- shocker!-- when I worked in traditional newspaper jobs, aka too much rewriting and second guessing and wondering if I pissed off the subjects of my story, or being fearful of a nasty letter to the editor if I'd gotten too snarky in tone for a small town near Joliet, or any number of psychic attacks I'd waged upon myself with no clear basis for proof- in fact the letters from readers were all sweet with no trace of a bite despite the dark mental corner I'd lodged myself into after submitting a story for editing. I still feel a little like that when I read feedback emails from The Pipeline, though when people express that they feel slighted for my not having included them much or popped by their shops, I've slowly learned to take that as a compliment and not an insult.

Oddly enough, transitioning from writing to sales and following my father's tradition was a refreshing breather and "break" because I love people and also being able to 'turn it off' or shut down at 5 or 6 PM. I firmly believe working in any field of sales is a good primer for dealing with key aspects of life, like rejection, as well as navigating the nuances of human nature. People are often at their truest and most judgmental when being encountered by "a salesperson." They are also often at their best and most friendly when being approached by a writer and photographer, likely the reason there are far more "please, no soliciting!" signs on windows than "please, no reporters! No free and positively toned press!" which I have yet to find hanging on any window anywhere.

The Pipeline is a hybrid which evolved out of my skill sets and passions of writing and sales and photography. I frankly did not expect it to still be going strong 14 months and 63 weekly issues later, after now former chamber executive director, Paula Barrington, whom I'd met while selling her ad space for the Wicker Park fest in 2007, gave me a small freelance assignment in 2009 to write her weekly newsletter, Around the Water Cooler, which I renamed to Street Scene since most of her member readers worked in retail and not in corporate 'water cooler 'settings. When I told Paula shortly before she left last month, while sitting at Filter -- which she'd tipped me off to its long anticipated reopening by giving me Filter owner Jeff's digits-- that there would be no Pipeline if it weren't for her, she insisted that she was "just your cheerleader."

Thanks, as always, for reading, provided anyone is actually reading this longer than usual note. I guess you now know "my story" too. At least once a day someone asks me how I got the idea to start the pipeline, or if I ever worked as a "real reporter" and such, thus all those answers and much more you probably didn't want to know are found somewhere in the Brain Dump I just poured out-- and that Pat will thankfully not have to edit down to readable size since I am only posting the first paragraph in the actual Pipeline.

Below is a quote that my high school journalism teacher had posted as her Facebook update yesterday. Gerald M. Hauser definitely falls into the category of the kind of person I'd be unwise to not attempt to follow on some levels. And I am, in my heart, as I follow a dream that's never veered too far from my mind, yet I've lacked the courage to pursue it in full force, with undivided attention, until now. R.I.P. Dad. I never said it much or if at all to you when you were here, but I did love you and always will.

"Being a male species does not make a man a father, for a dad is a special blend of hero; a disciplinarian; a friend; someone to look up to; someone to model; someone who is big enough to say, "The fault was mine"; someone who lives the kind of life that makes you want to say, "I, too, shall follow him." (Dr. Alton Kaul)

Images and a video from Grown Folks Stories

I'd previously written about Grown Folks Stories at The Silver Room in the Feb. 23rd issue of the pipeline, thus will just post a few images and a video of GFS's host and founder Cara Brigandi explaining what it's all about. And it's not the hokey pokey. But close...