Category Archives: Community/Culture

Conversations in community and culture

VF5 Poll

For our 5th annual short play festival, LiveWire asked you to help guide playwright submissions by choosing your favorite “Play on 5”. The poll is now closed. Playwright submissions will be accepted from January 15th through April 15th and must adhere to the winning “Play on 5” submission guidelines posted at


Unauthorized biography of Joel Ewing

There is really not a known origin for Joel Ewing and being close to him can result in mild burning, so rarely is much uncovered about the man LiveWire Chicago Theatre welcomes as their new Artistic Director.

But! If we were to guess, Joel was raised by a goose and a gander in the great state of Missouri where tigers roar and… well, Joel was born there so that’s two things from the great state of Missouri. They have schools! We know that. Joel must have gone to school. Yes, isn’t that fantastic! An educated man. Good catch… He is already caught ladies. Please… Joel is married. We are told she is a very famous singer and dancer. Ah, Joel, he is a lover of theater and art and music and drinking and eating and eating and drinking… His cupth do run overth. He has a shirt with just those words. Helvetica Neue. Not too aggressive.

Joel is fond of taking pictures with people. Here are some of them:

Disclaimer: We apologize. We thought we could get pictures of Joel with other people, but those were out of our price range, so we just stole these off the internet. Enjoy!

ewing at bat
This seems to be Joel posing next to some Broadway legend

ewing in the snow
Joel in his natural habitat

ewing and the bear
Joel waiting outside the opening of Yogi Bear

ewing as king
Joel asserting his dominance on the world

ewing and baby
Joel being put in his place by the actor who plays the stock trading tie loving baby in TV commercials

Which brings us to the present. Joel has been seen on the stages of Chicago. Most recently, Strawdog, Next, New Leaf and LiveWire, of course. Others like The Mill, Appetite, Sandbox and Open Cage where he also served as Artistic Director… Hmmm… We smell a theme here…

Nope. That’s just theater… Yay!

Welcome Joel!

Twitch and Shout

What a wonderful world it is when you check during a break from the dreaded Monday work day and see an article about a very inspiring person you just happen to know. Brad Cohen is a family friend and has been gaining more and more attention as an educator (yeah, an educator is actually getting attention). He has Tourettes and has spent the entire life battling people’s perception of the disorder while helping young kids cope with something he knows all too well. There was a made for TV movie about his own struggle that cheesed it up, but still got the point across about overcoming obstacles.

Check out what he’s doing now. Sounds like these kids are having the summer of a lifetime. Way to be Brad!

Anyone know of similar stories?

New stories don’t exist?

Listening to an “How to Audition” CD with some fine points, if nothing else, a great refresher of what has already been learned, but maybe forgotten or has become inherent. No one can argue that these refresher courses do harm. Not every needs them, but if you have the desire to take one then there’s some need there and it’s not gonna hurt to bone up. On anything, that is.

So, the speaker is talking about relationship…important… and how one should pull from their own relationships when approaching the relationship in a script… o.k…. and how every story has already been told, so if you’ve read enough you’ve seen it all and that should drive you when approaching auditions/scripts because, there are no new stories… huh?

Maybe what she was trying to say is that there are only a certain number of base stories one can tell, or hear, or put on stage, but what the speaker did not touch upon is the many levels every story has which makes it unique and its own challenge whether you are approaching from an acting, directing, designing, writing, etc. point of view. If this is an advanced course, then this is where folks should be, right? They shouldn’t be learning base, they should be learning levels and nuance. To trust one’s instinct is great and refreshing, but to grow as an artist there’s more. The benefit of the doubt would be given to said speaker if she didn’t also talk about archetype, which is a whole other blog/rant.

So, what’s the point? Suppose it depends on where you’re at and what you’re reaching for. Certain theater calls for archetype and base acting. Certain theater’s don’t. Certain artists call for the same. What do you aspire to? Your point of view is welcome…

Happenings… now?

Lunch hour downtown (Millennium Park) hundreds of people eating in the grass, or on the Patio, taking pictures with the Bean, general site seeing and sun bathing while a band plays some bluegrass/country at the Pritzker Pavilion, a couple artists paint part of the walkway and a group of mime musicians wander around seemingly looking to make something happen. Well, at least a few of them were trying. O.K., one of them was trying. The others were not playing their part and what could have been a cool thing to follow around the Park became something that just passed by. Encapsulating the feeling of disappointment in these middling mimes is a regular thought from Don Hall on his “An Angry White Guy in Chicago” blog that popped up again today, “Do it big or stay in bed, baby.”

Here are some folks deserving of getting up in the morning.

SIDE NOTE: Auditions for VisionFest 2009 are on Monday. More info here