Hello Blogosphere! I’m here to tell you about an amazing event that will be occurring very soon. For the past 9 years, Barrel of Monkeys has been presenting our Fancy Schmancy Benefit for the enjoyment of all and more importantly, to support our programming in under-resourced Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park Districts. In order to truly embrace the nature of our writing residencies at the event, the theme of the evening will be “Magical Place”, based upon an audience favored story penned by Dulce H. from Columbia Explorers Academy* when she was in 4th grade. Read this story and so many more in our Story Archive!
We are particularly excited about seeing Magical Place return to the stage after a year-long run and a four month hiatus during the live performance at the event.
Other highlights: New this year is a raffle for a trip for two to New York City to see Saturday Night Live! Includes round-trip airfare for two and two tickets to a live taping of SNL. Sorry to say that raffle laws prevent selling tickets online, but they are on sale weekly at “That’s Weird, Grandma” up until the drawing on October 22 - no need to be in attendance to WIN!
And! We are procuring some pretty incredibly unique and exciting auction items which we will tell you more about in future blog entries. Stay tuned, and monkey on!
*This school year will mark Barrel of Monkeys’ 10th Anniversary of partnering with Columbia Explorers Academy!
First and foremost, big time congrats to all the students we taught during the year, the partner classroom teachers, and all the schools that welcomed us in their doors. Yes. You guys rock!!
Celebration of Authors 2010, what can I say; there’s absolutely no better way to cap off the school year. The chance to reconnect with fellow Monkeys, seeing students you taught during the year, and of course all the wacky things that go on back stage. (IE) The ride em cowboy pre-show warm up…. enough said.
Pulling off the show is such a herculean effort, I always feel part of a rag tag army setting out on mission impossible. And after all the hard work, there’s nothing like seeing the crowd file in and then taking to the stage for Show Time.
There were countless highlights, but here’s a few that stuck in the good kid’s mind: Meeting a few of the student’s parents and taking pictures; running into the house to catch the “Snow Ball Fight”; and trying not to break when Philip came out in his fancy dress and hat as Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler…. hilarious!!
So here’s to another great year Monkeys, I’m already looking forward to COA 2011. Oh Yeah!!!
Sadly, there will not be a performance of “That’s Weird Grandma” this evening. Happily, there WILL be a FREE performance tomorrow night! Tuesday, June 8 at 7pm, Barrel of Monkeys will perform Celebration of Authors at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 Martin Luther King Dr. Click here to make a reservation!
Because artistic director extraordinaire, Luke Hatton, was so generous in offering me a part in this year’s Celebration of Authors, I have been spending much of my time in the last week watching the brilliant Monkeys at work, attempting to keep up, and on my own, doing some intense Michael Jackson choreography research.
Being in the room with the Monkeys at work is like nothing I have ever experienced in my decades in the performing arts (albeit, the majority of which had a heavy dance emphasis). Just the term “team work” does not really do this group justice. I have seen the Monkeys work as a small group in the classrooms, but that controlled chaos pales in comparison to that in the rehearsal room when there are 35 Monkeys!
I was amazed watching rehearsal for “The Tale of the Twelve Hip Hop Dancing Proncess”. While Carly was reviewing choreography with everyone, Philip was teaching the vocals, and on the side, Musical Director Laura had an idea of layering in some more vocals. She touched base with fellow Monkey musician Erick to see what he thought. As he was encouraging, she went to Philip to see what he was good with it. After a quick agreement from Philip, Laura had Mari and Rachel on their feet playing around with the additional vocals. After some wrangling by Artistic Director Luke Hatton, and approximately 30 minutes, the play was ready to go!
I’ve always loved the process of art making, and the Monkeys have the process to beat all processes!
The most amazing thing is that the passion and dedication of each individual Monkey is inspired by one thing: the children. The intense urge of each Monkey to do justice to the student author’s story and make them proud is palpable. The question after a performance by a Monkey is never “How was I?” it is “What did the author do when we were performing his/her story?”