Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chicago Calling - October 1, 2008

When Dan asked to do a show at Rec Room as part of the 3rd Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival, we knew immediately what a great idea it was. CCAF featured Chicago-based artists collaborating in performances and projects with artists living in other locations — both here in the U.S. and abroad. These collaborations will be prepared or improvised, and some performances will involve live feeds between Chicago and elsewhere. While Rec Room may only seem to take place monthly in the back room of a little bar on Damen and Addison, really it is happening all the time in many places. Ideas and thoughts are bounced off each other from coast to coast as our old friends move away and our new friends arrive.

To have the work of Della, Erin and eric—the three original founders of rec room—was a really special treat. They are separated by thousands of miles but have never stopped writing together, and we saw that in the visual presentation of postcards. Della’s words were voiced by the audience (I was Della #2, fyi), and eric was able to join us in person for the first time in years!

Dan put together quite a show, and Rec Room really got its money’s worth out of the A/V equipment we recently bought (with the help of a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation). A live feed from Ray’s Book Store in Philly brought us Ray Garman, ? and ? The stop-motion feel to the visual added its own poetry to the night.

In a particularly long-distance collaboration, Divik Ramesh gave us a call from India, where he was about to start his day. He read several poems he was working on in collaboration with Dan, who then responded with his own poems.

Locally, Quraysh and Shanta entranced the audience through storytelling, poetry and music. It’s not often, or ever, that someone brings a sitar to Rec Room! Eric Elshtain and Mathias Regan rounded out the evening, with Mathias asking us to voice our dissent, or someone’s idea of dissent, under our breath and over the voices of others (usa, usa, usa).


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