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« I Am A Camera @ The Neo-Futurarium American Heart Month »

Review Tue Feb 09 2010

That's Weird, Grandma @ The Neo-Futurarium

barrel o monkeys.jpg Barrel of Monkeys is an organization who's mission is summed up in the tag line: "Kids Write it. We Do It. World Saved." Every one of the 16 acts in That's Weird, Grandma was written by a Chicago Public School student. The company uses different techniques for each act: in The Mystery Glasses, written by Alicjak V. of Loyola Park, actors hold up colored papers printed with key words that move the story along; in Untitled (Graffiti Argument) by Anita M. of Little Village, scraps of fabric are deftly used to represent graffiti; and My Happy Remember, by Naudia W. of Reavis, is a miniature musical unto itself.

Over the course of an hour or so, BOM entertains the audience and finds the inner meaning in children's writing without becoming cloying or condescending. This is primarily a kids show, but I never felt out of place, and I doubt that anyone really could. There is something happily familiar about watching an ensemble of actors take on stories with titles like: Superheroes; My Dad at Panda Express; and Man in Jam in dress-up closet costuming and a playful confidence. It reminded me of the television of my youth -- shows like The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, and Sesame Street, only more entertaining and much funnier.

No two performances of That's Weird, Grandma are the same-- audience members fill out a survey highlighting the best and worst sketches from each show, and the next performance is revised accordingly. I circled my two favorites, but couldn't think of a single one that I didn't enjoy - the show was as funny and satisfying as anything geared towards adults.

That's Weird, Grandma runs on Sundays at 2pm through April 4, and beginning March 8 will also show on Monday nights at 8pm. Tickets are $9 for adults, $4 for children. For tickets and info call 312-409-1954 or visit Barrel of Monkeys.

 

LaShawn Williamis / February 9, 2010 7:44 PM

This seems real cool... Good stuff.

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Feature Thu Apr 16 2015

From Chicago to Senegal by Way of the Drum: Interview with Local Filmmaker Mallory Sohmer

By Ana Sekler

Mallory Sohmer is a freelance documentary filmmaker from Chicago and a Columbia College alumna. She co-directed the new film, Drum Beat Journey, the story of four inner-city youth who travel to Petit Mbao, Senegal, to participate in a drumming workshop. The program used music as a vehicle to capture and connect with the young men in an engaging and original way. But this is not just a film about drumming; it's about stepping into another culture to learn about oneself.
Read this feature »

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By Steve Prokopy

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