They say the second time is a charm, and I hope ArtsMANIA 2 is just that… a charming event that showcases all 55 Partner Organizations of Arts Quincy. This will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 12 to 4 pm at the Quincy Mall. There will be free performances, demonstrations, ticket give-a-ways and more!
My first year at QCT, QSFA’s Rob Dwyer asked if the theatre was participating in Riverfest. I said “Yes sir!” There was some slight resistance by my staff, because they said it had sort of fizzled out in the last few years due to rain. It indeed fizzled to a halt after a rained out affair, once again, and it was the last year for the event.
Well, when I became ED of AQ a few years later, I certainly wanted an event that allowed all of our partners to show their wares in a one-stop environment, hence ArtsMANIA!
So, what is ArtsMANIA!? Glad you asked. It is an Expo of Arts and Humanities non-profits as they give Adams County, and surrounding area’s residents an opportunity “See their stuff.” Special Discounts for tickets, volunteer opportunities, performance schedules, class offerings etc…
I’d love nothing more than to host this event along the river, but the mall provides a number of plusses. First: Sponsorship. They really go all out to help us. Second: Free and ample parking. Second-to-lastly: a controlled environment. Last-lastly: great performance and demonstration space as well.
A perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon, with a room full of creative people.
Now join us and make some Art!!
This has been a crazy few weeks: getting ready for the Arts Dollars and Instant Arts grants, the new AQ Mag, a fundraising event, Chalk-A-Thon, and gearing up for ArtsMANIA! October will be busy as well: the execution of the fundraising event and Arts MANIA, Oktoberfest with The Rotary Club. Makes you want to murder someone! Oh, speaking of murder, there is the Concert Reading of Macbeth as a fundraiser for one of our Partner Organizations, the Washington Theatre.
As many of these other events come to a close, this is one that is very close to my heart! Even though this is a script-in-hand affair, there are still scores of things that need to happen: must select the cast (mostly done), must schedule the rehearsals, must work on all of the marketing aspects, coordinate with the Washington Theatre Commission, lean on my friend Paul Denckla to assist with the technical aspects (he was going to be in the production, but is a pirate instead! Let me know when you figure that one out!) Oh, and working on the script. This is the thing about script-in-hand readings, you don’t have to memorize, but you do need to be familiar with it. I will be playing the title role and there are a number of big monologues that I’d like to BASICALLY have memorized.
I must admit, as much as I love my new job, I do really miss the theatre… the intimacy of working so closely with others, the debates over the meaning of a line, the drinks afterwards. So as busy as these few months have been, it is certainly worth it.
We hope this is successful event. All the money that is raised will go directly to the Washington Theatre to keep the heat on so the building doesn’t crumble. Just imagine, what a jewel in the Gem City crown it would be to have that facility up and running. The event will take place on Friday, October 30 @ 7:30 pm. Doors will open @ 6:30 for free tours of the facility. Tickets are $15 for the reading $20 for reading and after-party.
Now get out there and make some art of your own!!
This last weekend, Tricia and I went to Hannibal to enjoy the Steampunk Festival. Gads of activities, booths, fun and games. But what is steampunk? According to Wiki:
Steampunk refers to a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.
Believe it or not, this venture was perhaps my first “Cosplay,” dressing up to participate in a group activity, one that is not "a play." Tricia, my wife and I have been involved with the theatre for so long, we were able to pull costumes from our closets.
3 things prevented us from having a fantastic time:
All in all, everything looked pretty cool. This was the second annual, and we’ll know for next year to pre-book the events that look good to us so we don’t miss out. Also, will choose to come during the evening hours when things have cooled off next year.
A great event to go to with a group of friends all dressed up!
Now go out there and make some art!
On Friday, Anne St. John, founder of Trees for Tomorrow invited me to meet a special guest who was interested in hearing more about the efforts of many people in town to restore the tree canopy lost during the huge straight wind storm that devastated us in June.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin came and wanted to hear about the storm and its devastation, and what we’re planning on doing to make it better. I was impressed.
It inspires me to know that people care enough to hear what is going on in our communities, and that they recognize those individuals that put service over self in making our community a better place to live.
Senator, thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to hear our sad story, and to rejoice in our plans.
Anne, thank you for all you’ve done this past decade in keeping Quincy a “Tree City.”
Trees for Tomorrow committee, Mr. Mayor, Rome Frericks of Quincy Park District, Mary Winters and Tom Van Ness of QNI, keep up the excellent work!
And all of the individual and business donors to this program-I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the care and pride you show for our fair city.
The Quinisippi Needleworkers is a Partner Organization of Arts Quincy. They are a part of a national guild of needleworkers. The new president, Ann Bergman has given me some insight as to what exactly needleworking is. Very interesting. She also is an example to fellow needleworkers, whether they are a part of The Guild or not.
This is Ann’s 2nd time entering works for the Illinois State Fair…and the second time she’s won a blue ribbon! Results from her second year entries are:
Now when I see those many awards, I want to see her works, and works of the members of The Guild. Lucky for us, we have some of them on display here at our Arts Quincy Office, along with a display of fantastic QCT performance shots and of course, selections from the Architectural Exhibit.
Stop on by to see some of her work, and say hello to the AQ staff.
Now go make some art!
Schooool’s Out!! That’s what my Mother used to say to us kids growing up when we did something bad, “Schoool’s Out!!!
Of course, I rarely heard that (Yeah, right), but my wife and I now have our godson living with us for one year. He will be a senior at QHS. His name is Leon (he pronounces it ‘lay-on’), he’s an American citizen, but has lived in Berlin for nearly all of his life, and since we’ve never had children, we have a whole new experience ahead of us.
So, knowing us, of course, we did many artistic activities this weekend, including the penultimate Blues in the District, and saw one of the Park Districts movies at the Redmon & Lee center. I also wanted him to know a few faces in the crowd at school, so we had our wonderfully talented friends from Avenue Beat assist us in inviting a diverse crowd of high schoolers over for yard games, Wii and pizza. The party was advertised from 1 pm to 4 pm, so understand we were ecstatic that it went till 7 pm, and a group ended up going out to an area restaurant. He’s already made some friends.
Most of them were from the “A” building, which means they are mostly involved in the arts, but there were science kids, volleyball kids and I’m sure plenty of other “types” there as well.
I want him to get involved with the “A” building kids. We know how focused, hard-working and just dog gone nice most of them are (every child said goodbye and thanked us for hosting this party, and left our house in pretty good shape to boot!). We know from study after study the multiple benefits students get from the arts, such as higher SAT scores, better grades, more participation, creative thought processes-they become great citizens.
So he’s not into music, or acting or painting, but he just might get involved in “crew,” working back stage on shows. That would make me happy. Or he just might find something completely cool for him…that would me great as well, just as long as he’s not sitting up in his room on snap-chat 24/7. That would not be cool.
If that last one is the case, then you know what? SCHOOOOL’S OUT!!
If you see Leon, say "hi!"
Now get out there and make some art!
Last week I was up in Chicago, serving on one of the grant review panels for the Illinois Arts Council Agency. I find it a real privilege to serve on this panel, to work so closely with the leaders and board members of the Arts Council. This is my second panel I’ve served on (3rd year). This Panel is PIE, for Partners in Excellence, and Arts Quincy is honored to be recognized in the state of Illinois as a major organization and a part of this elite group of arts organizations.
Not only are we honored, but I personally am humbled! There are nearly 30 organizations in this group, including Chicago Shakespeare Co., Ravinia Music Festival, Steppenwolf Theater, Lyric Opera, and the Art Institute of Chicago…then there’s little ‘ol Arts Quincy, plugging along with the icons.
I certainly know that our mission is very important to our region, and that many of our programs have been used as models for other communities. The impact our 58 partner organizations’ events have on our patrons is huge, but still, when I review the Lyric Opera’s individual contributed income for last season at $34 million dollars, all I can say is Wow! Or when I see that Ravinia has a $100 million dollar endowment, I can’t help but be a little jealous. I take my responsibilities very serious, as did all the panelists, but I was inspired by all of the good work so many organizations do in the fine state of Illinois.
The IACA likes the panelists to do as many site visits as possible, so in the few days I was up there, I ‘cultured up’ a bit. I saw a wonderful production, Grand Concourse at Steppenwolf with an intriguing post-performance talk-back, saw another new play, Stupid Fu@#ing Bird by one of the smaller storefront theatres working out of Victory Garden’s space (this play was written by one of my colleagues back in New Jersey before I left). I also receive a personal tour of the Art Institute, with special insights and answers. Of course, while I was there, I had to hang out at my favorite river spot, Cyrano’s (also my favorite play of all time), and forced myself to enjoy ethnic food choices that we just can’t get here in Quincy…poor me!
All in all, I had a wonderful time, was inspired, and did an awful lot of walking, which is good, since I did an awful lot of eating too! The only way it could have been better is if my wife could have joined me.
Chicago, Chicago, I’ll show ya around
No get out there and make some art!
Oliver-Bluff City Theater
No, Lionel Bart is not my uncle, but I wish he were, especially based upon the delightful, daring and environmentally-based production of Oliver I saw this weekend at Bluff City Theater in Hannibal (they are also currently doing The Heiress, based on a Henry James novel, in true Repertory style). There are still performances coming up this weekend. If you can make it, DO! http://bluffcitytheater.com/
Bluff City Theater is a new, developing professional theater, and I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
In this production of Oliver, they staged it in the old Federal Bank building on Broadway, and they’ve used multiple areas within for different settings. The audience moves from place-to-place, in some cases, being a part of the action, and invited to sing along with the Oom-Pah-Pah song. Being a professional theatre, they used about 5 or more professional actors to augment the use of local talent, as well as a score of local kids-including Ziven Crist as The Artful Dodger. I was so impressed with the kids, the clear singing, the tight 6-piece orchestra, the staging, the local talent, and of course, loved the acting. What a wonderful opportunity for these local actors to work alongside professionals. They all seemed to truly enjoy working with the kids and adults, and it showed in everyone’s performances.
Most of the professional actors are also in The Heiress. It is a rare opportunity for actors to work on two shows simultaneously these days…they just don’t do Repertory theatre anymore, so it’s a great challenge, and the actors really rise to the occasion. I remember touring with The National Shakespeare Company, doing three shows in rep all over the country. Hard, but rewarding work.
I say, this is a great company to support, and hope you have a chance to see this before these production end.
If anyone says they are bored in Quincy, they’re not involved in the arts! Volunteers are the life blood of not-for-profits, especially arts organizations. There is so much to do, and so little money to do it with.
So, what does that mean, exactly, to volunteer for an arts organization? Well, it can mean any number of things. Assisting with filing, answering phones, helping with an event, or performing with an ensemble...or making someone FLY!!
Let me use one event as an example: QCT’s Mary Poppins. I saw their delightful production over the weekend, and there were nearly 40 volunteers involved. Not as actors on the stage (volunteers) or musicians in the pit (mostly volunteers), but people involved in other capacities.
If you’ve seen the production, or plan to this weekend, you’ll note the wonderful sets/costumes and the “flying” that takes place with two characters. You may have also noticed that practically every seat in the house was full. These things don’t just happen. It takes the hard work of dedicated volunteers to insure the intent of the organization. In the case of Mary Popping: There is a team that is on the “Fly system.” They make sure the actor is clipped into the harness correctly, and there is a vertical and horizontal line handler. They must be big and strong to handle the task. Then there’s the “Fly Line,” the ones who fly scenery off and on for scene changes, as well as the “grips” on the “deck” who manually shift set pieces on and off into the “wings.” Wardrobe assistants to help facilitate fast changes, and perhaps a back stage adult to “Wrangle” the young cast members. Let’s not forget the people who operate the light board, sound board and follow spots.
Now, to get the audience in and seated on time for the curtain, there are two box office volunteers, two ticket scanners, and eight house managers/ushers to insure you’re in the right seat-All volunteers.
All of this is hard work and time consuming. But boy, is it fun in a challenging way. I think one of the best parts of volunteering for an arts organization is the wonderful people that you meet and work with. Many of them become life-long friends.
Oh yes, you can audition for a part in the play, the symphony or the chorus. Or, as I said earlier, there are a myriad of opportunities awaiting you behind the scenes for groups like Quincy Art Center, Friends of the Castle, Sunday Music Series and more. Call me if you have questions, and I’ll see if we can get you set up with something!
Now get out there and make some Art!!
End of World!! Yes, it may have started as a reference to the Mayan calendar back in Dec. of 2012, when it was “The End of the World Party.”
Now, it’s just “End of World.” Nothing apocalyptic about it just that it’s held on 42 acres of pristine land on the edge of town-hence the new meaning of “End of World” -reclaimed to make the best damn music festival in the region!
Free parking, free camping, coolers are allowed, not to mention four bands, a drum circle, Go Go Dancers, a health and wellness center, with essential oils, massage, chiropractic care, and herbs and spices. And did you know that the proceeds go to non-profit orgs.-The Rotary Club of Quincy and Arts Quincy. WOW!
All this, plus wonderful arts activities- all for the price of $20!!! This is a steal folks.
Let me be straight, this is held on private property, there will be a sheriff presence, there will be inside security, and lots of staff members roving the areas to insure a safe, fun event is experienced by everyone. You are free to have a great time, as long as you stay within the boundaries of behavior (you know what I’m talking about people!).
I like to think of this as a blending of older, established artists and arts goers, with the new, younger, less-established groups, all participating in a wonderful experience. Come and celebrate “Fun” with us…oh and while you’re there, make some art!