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Joffrey Ballet of Chicago: Bolero

Joffrey's Bolero Performing arts companies are stressed into creative innovation even more than usual during the Covid panic of 2020–21. One of the best responses has been by Chicago's Joffrey Ballet. As evidence, I offer this 19-minute new work recently published by the Joffrey on YouTube. The replay of the February 27th world premier will be available on YouTube through March 1, 2021 according to the most recent information I have. Joffrey Ballet of Chicago presents Bolero What would Maurice Ravel say were he able to see this incredible production using his iconic "experiment" Bolero? My guess is that he would not only approve, but enthusiastically so. Music is first-class (a London Symphony recording) and production values are high thanks to Jack Mehler's lighting and Big Foot Media directed by Tim Whalen. Choreography was by Yoshihisa Arai with Costumes by Temur Suluashvili, both Joffrey artists who we are more accustomed to see as dancers rather than the r
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The Great Chicago Snow of 20–21

The Great Chicago Snow of 20–21 Breaking a couple of records Chicago has had a pretty good run of mild winters, up until now, that is. According to Block Club , my local neighborhood news organization, we have seen more than 17 inches of snow fall in recent days, ...making it the snowiest three-week stretch in 40 years. Here's a video slide show of what the local streets looked like on February 16, 2021 when I ventured out after a couple of days indoors. But there's more! According to Block Club If the snow continues Wednesday, as expected, it will mean the city’s seen 10 consecutive days of snow — breaking Chicago’s record. The record was set in 1884 at nine consecutive days of snowfall. But if we have snowfall today and if it continues through Thursday, as is quite possible, we will set a new record at 11 straight days of snow. Also according to the Block Club article More than 34 inches of snow have fallen in the city in the past three weeks, and temperature

Life After Facebook

Life After Facebook Reflections on How Life Improves When Social Media Is Abandoned The Problem Most people that use Facebook regularly will quickly admit to the fact that the social media platform is highly addictive as well as an almost complete waste of time. We will do almost anything to generate that endorphin-stimulating "Like" that others bestow on our egos so easily and thoughtlessly. We post meme after meme or make silly and pointless comments or "respond" to someone else's pointless posting with our own pointless emoji so easily delivered. Underlying all of this activity many if not most people will discover, if they look deeply into their own hearts, that the quest is not unlike the quest for the Holy Grail. Like The Quest for the Grail, the reward is to become a highly valued citizen, respected and admired for our perceptive insights and even, perhaps, leadership toward some sort of ShangriLa that is only dimly imagined. Like the Quest for the Gra

Expectations and Technical Debt

The Employer's Dilemma Increasingly we read articles that examine the low US unemployment rate along with the difficulty in finding qualified employees to fill those positions. I recently came across an article that explores some of the reasons that according to author Josh Bersin contribute to the problem and perhaps more importantly, what can be done about them. Here's the full article:  The Ugly Side To Today's Low Unemployment Rate . My Reaction I read this article at least twice, took notes, tried to gain some sort of overview of what was being said, and came away feeling that while the article was "okay," it was hardly something I would call great or even above average. What Bersin Said to Me I actually found two key observations in Bersin's article, but I'm not certain he intended his writing to convey the importance I attach to them. Expectations and Reality After itemizing a bunch of statistics that highlight a disappointing state

The Gentleman Caller

Raven Theater,  6157 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660 Now thru May 27, 2018 Raven Theater Website Friday evening (April 27, 2018) I had a remarkable experience attending a performance of The Gentleman Caller, a world premier production of a Philip Dawkins play. The play attempts to imagine what might have happened when Tennessee Williams met William Inge in Inge’s St. Louis garden apartment and later in a Chicago hotel room in 1944 and 1945. We don’t know exactly what took place, except that Williams encouraged Inge to pursue play-writing. Dawkins’ script attempts to recreate those moments based on what we know of the two men’s lives. The fact that the program has a credit for David Wooley as Fight & Intimacy Choreographer should alert you to some of the play’s content. (The extent of the fighting was a single face slap as I recall, if that helps you imagine more clearly.) Both Williams and Inge were homosexual, although radically different in their self-acceptance and ultimate

33 Variations: Diabelli and Beethoven Explored

33 Variations by Moises Kaufman directed by Nick Bowling Timeline Theatre Company at Stage 773, 1223 W Belmont, Chicago 8/24/2012–10/21/2012 As I watched the play this evening I was struck by the fact that the ending to Act I is a fugue for actors. (I failed to pay attention to what the piano was doing during this finale so it may have well been Beethoven’s fugue along with the actors’ fugue.) Musing about things during intermission I focused on the notion that musical composition is generally a motif followed by instances of repetition, sequence and variation based on that idea. The Diabelli waltz actually yielded three (or possibly four, I am depending on external analysis here, not my ears) motifs from which Beethoven constructed the finished set. On the way home I mused over what the underlying motif of the Kaufman play might be. I walk about a mile and a quarter to get home from Stage 773 or Theater Wit so I had a good deal of time to muse. Upon arriving home I thumbed through t

The Newberry Consort (and Friends)

David Douglass and Ellen Hargis Show Dazzling Versatility I have only discovered the Newberry Consort recently, meaning that although I knew of the name I never knew exactly what they did or nor had I experienced any of their performances. Now, after exposure to three of their remarkable presentations I am beginning to gain an appreciation of just what these artists are capable of giving us and the enjoyable journeys the lead through the span of several hundred years of early music. Miracles, anyone? First I attended Rosa das Rosas, a work in honor of the Virgin Mary commissioned by Alfonso X, a twelfth-century king of Castille, León and Galicia. The performance was accompanied by interesting visuals prepared to compliment the early music. The venue, St. Michael in Old Town, with its white and gold icons and imagery, was a stunning accompaniment to music that was, in essence, a token of gratitude for divine intervention. Ellen Hargis This was largely a vocal p