This post is a little belated, but happy birthday to Erin!
First off, let me say that I still can't see what's so sad about a woman turning 32, or why it would sound like a sad trombone. Do men turning 32 also sound like sad trombones? I know I'm just a humorless old (I am 32, you know) curmudgeon, so I guess I just don't get the joke.
But that's OK, because the sad trombone show was a hit. We packed the room once more, and this time with many new faces. The performers had us all laughing our asses off, which is a nice break in November.
Anyway, as long as we're claiming the sound of birthdays, I hereby announce that the sound of a woman turning 33 in 2010 will be a trilling piccolo followed by crashing symbols. Just sayin'.
Eric Elshtain's Sonneteering show was a wonderful showcase of talent and poetry. I really do love that rec room allows for experimentation and collaboration in performance in ways that many other reading series do not, but every once in awhile I really appreciate a show that is just focused on the writing, and good writing at that.
Even focused on a single form--the sonnet--no two poems sounded the same. We had readings of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, sonnets in both English and Spanish (thanks Carl!), zombie sonnets, geography sonnets, feminist sonnets, collaborative via YouTube sonnets, computer and audience generated sonnets, and finally Jacob Saenz's incredibly raw and powerful sonnet based on a writing exercise.
It's great to have friends like Eric who can bring together a variety of voices. We always know it's going to be a good show when Matthias joins us, and it was great to hear Michelle (congrats on the book!) and Meg, even if we couldn't have them here in person. If you have a chance to catch any of the night's performers at a reading, I highly recommend it.
Thank you Eric for putting together a great show. Looking forward to working with you again!
Hey, you guys? Remember that movie called "Summer School" starring Mark Harmon (now of NCIS fame)? Yeah, neither do I. But what I do remember is Cassie Sparkman's incredible rec room show by the same name.
Cassie brought together writers & actors to interpret the writing of the students she works with. In some cases, writers used the students' poems as inspiration, writing responses or imitations of that work. In other cases, people performed the actual student work, giving us a glimpse of the kind of talent that most of us wish we could harness in ourselves.
Thank you to Cassie and Jenny for bringing this show to rec room. You work with amazing and talented kids, and it's really nice to know that they have the support of mentors like you to encourage them. And it's nice to know that we have awesome friends like you, too.
I didn't want to list performers for this show because it was unlike our regular shows. There was no separation of audience and performer; we were all just guests. Nic invited each of us to come out that night and give a toast to whatever we wanted to toast. And even though she asked us not tom, how could we help but toast to her?
This summer rec room has said goodbye to some very close friends. Nic flew off to the mountains of Colorado, and Meg packed up and moved to New York. We wish them the best of luck in their new homes, and seriously, we miss them everyday.
A couple of months ago Katie Hartsock put together an amazing show featuring a range of performers and performances. I don't think anyone who was there could have walked away without having heard at least one--and most likely several--pieces to really like.
Unfortunately, as things sometimes go, it took me too long to update this website to really do the show justice in this blog post. I'm unable to do a full rundown of performances like I normally would (and it's hard to type one-handed with a popsicle occupying my left hand at the moment). Things that stuck with me from that night: the dog that terrorized in Jacob's poem, Valerie's play about weird neighborly relations, the image of young Katie's neighbors playing in disgusting flood water while she and her family cling to furniture, the bar by Paul's house that none of us should ever enter. There was a lot more from the night than what I just mentioned, and I want to thank everyone who was part of show or the audience. It was a great night, and it wouldn't have been great without you.
And now, to leave you with a smile, a video clip of Mr. Rogers:
Reminder: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" at rec room TONIGHT!
Tonight Wednesday, May 6th, rec room presents: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Curated by: Katie Hartsock Show description: It’s a beautiful day for a neighbor—except when it’s not. Whether we live lawns away or narrow alleys apart, we’re exposed to—sometimes literally—a spectrum of experience through the people we arbitrarily spend most of our lives beside, above, or below. Rec Room invites readers to share their tales of neighborly bliss and woe, and everything in between.
With readings and performances by : Dan Alberti Jason Bredle Paul Durica Katie Hartsock Tricia Hersey (a.k.a. Lady Terror) Valerie Jean Johnson Parneshia Jones Becca Klaver Paul Martinez Pompa John Murillo Garrett Prejean Jacob Saenz Fred Sasaki and Jacob Knabb Erin Teegarden
Two months ago rec room did a reading panel at the AWP conference here in Chicago. Della Watson, Krista Franklin, Erin Teegarden, Allison Gruber, Nicolette Bond and I were on the panel. Afterward we had a lot of people tell us what a great panel it was, how much they enjoyed it, how it was the most incredible thing AWP had ever offered and they were honored to be there (that might be an exaggeration).
Anyway, I recently decided to google ourselves up with AWP and see if anyone in the blogosphere maybe mentioned us. And yes! I found these very kind words from random strangers who were lucky enough to make it to our panel:
"The Reconstruction Room performers were awesome. Awesome. If you live in Chicago and can go see a show, do so. Just do it." -jeffstumpo.blogspot.com
"I loved the panel I went to about the reading series Rec Room (in Chicago). There were five readers -- two read essays, two read poems, and then this amazing woman (whose name I don't remember...) did this audience participation performance piece that was indescribably brilliant. I would even go so far as to call it cute and sublime." - pshares.blogspot.com
"I went to a panel on the Rec Room Reading series (which also featured pictures of Jac Jemc.) and totally loved it. A lot of smart, funny women. I'm sad I don't live in chicago, but I want to steal all their ideas and start a reading in Providence." - coffeehousemt.livejournal.com
So if you haven't been to show in awhile, please come out before you miss out! We just celebrated our 5th anniversary, and we're still going strong. Our next show, curated by Katie Hartsock, is May 6, and the theme is "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" all about neighbors and neighborhoods. I really hope to see you there.
Also, I would love it if you added us to your blogroll and signed on as a follower of this blog. I promise to start posting more than once a month. It will be all vaguely literary and rec room related all the time, I swear!