Sunday, April 24, 2011

With friends, Eldridge Shannon to hip hop his way to graduation May 7

Hip hop dancer Eldridge Shannon, winner of this year's E-Town Idol, has recruited his fellow dancers and friends for Dance Class of 2011 Benefit Show. Scheduled for May 7 at BooCoo, this rare show aims to showcase some of the best young hip hop dancers in the area and raise the funds Eldridge needs so he can graduate in June from ETHS with his class.

Eldridge and I recently discussed his ambitions and the show:

Q: You need money in order to graduate from school. Why? Is someone holding some test scores hostage or something?

Eldridge: No, no, nothing like that. Everyone's been great to me. I took a trip with my theatre class to Canada. It was great, something I'll remember for the rest of my life. We all did some fundraising, but unfortunately I didn't make enough money selling those candy bars, so I had to borrow some from the school. It's time to pay them back.

Q: How much do you owe?

Eldridge: Approximately $480. I'm hoping to have at least 80 people at the show, hopefully more.

Q: What if the show is so well-attended that you make more than you owe ETHS?

Eldridge: I'd like to use some of the funds toward another dance show to raise funds for dance education. The dance community has been so great to me. I want to find a way give a little back.

Q: What are your plans after graduating ETHS?

Eldridge: More dancing and theatre. Also, I'll be going to the Illinois Institute of Art in the fall to study media and animation.

Q: You've got some great friend who are stepping up to perform. Who's performing and what kind of a show can we expect?

Eldridge: JigguRs Dance Company, Nonstop Dance Company, Variations Dance Crew, Samantha Lento, Nicholas Brownlee will be there, and hopefully Kirby Reed and his dancers will come by. The show will be stellar, nothing short of amazing. I'm taking all these great dancers and putting them all under one small roof (lol). I'm trying to make this the biggest local hip hop dance performance Evanston has ever seen.

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Dance Class of 2011 Benefit Show: One-night only performance at BooCoo on May 7 starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale online and at the door.

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Full disclosure: Eldridge is my pseudo-nephew, for lack of a more descriptive term. I've known him and his mom since he was 9 years old, back when we all lived on Brummel in Evanston.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Conversation: Photojournalist Lynsey Addario May 3

This in from the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media...

The public is invited to a special evening presentation and discussion with Institute Fellow and award-winning photographer, Lynsey Addario, in conversation with Executive Director Jane M. Saks.

Tuesday, May 3, 6:00 p.m.

Columbia College's Film Row Cinema
1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor

As an Institute Fellow, Addario was commissioned to create portraits of women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the internationally traveling photography exhibition, Congo/Women Portraits of War, co-produced by the Institute and Art Works Projects. The exhibition premiered at Columbia College in February 2009, and is currently touring internationally through 2012.

A MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for team reporting, Addario photographs for numerous publications, frequently focusing on human rights and women’s lives around the world. She is a member of the prestigious VII Network, and was recently named one of O Magazine’s “Power List of 2010.”

This will be Lynsey Addario’s first live public program in Chicago since she and three New York Times colleagues—Stephen Farrell, Tyler Hicks, and Anthony Shahid—were held captive in Libya for a week in March by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi loyalists.

This program is presented by the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, with support from the Leadership Donors of the Institute, and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information, or to request ASL services (48 hrs advance notice): 312-369-8829.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All-You-Can-Eat Pizza at PizzaFest May 3

This in from Evanston Rotary...

Pizza lovers from near and far are invited to the Evanston Rotary's annual PizzaFest.

When: Tuesday, May 3 from 4:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Giordano's of Evanston, 500 Davis St., Evanston (public parking by Hinman entrance)

Cost: $15/adult and $7/child in advance via Rotary members or online. Tickets will be $17 and $8 at the door.

The menu includes all the cheese, veggie, and cheese and sausage thin crust pizza you can eat, plus soft drinks and beer.

Celebrities and Rotarians will be serving up the pizza and drinks. Evanton's City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, Nineth Ward Alderman Coleen Burrus and Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendam have signed on. Stay tuned for more details.

PizzaFest is just one of the ways Evanston Rotary and it's charitable fund raises money to support youth-focused projects and non-profits in Evanston. This year's beneficiaries include Y.O.U. of Evanston, First United Methodist Church, Childcare Network and McGaw YMCA.

To advertise on PizzaFest placemats--business-card-sized ads for $50--contact Herb Rivero at or 847-866-9777.

Big thanks to the Rotarians organizing this event--Pam Johnson, Bernice Valantinas, Kelly Gilbert, Maggie Noonan, Joe Brownlee and Herbert Rivero--and all those selling tickets, publicizing it, plus serving and helping out on the May 3.
Full disclosure: My husband Joel Lerner and I are Rotarians. We joined a year ago and are enjoying it. Our club includes some of the most substantial, funny, talented, community-oriented people we've ever met.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homestay hosts needed for high school teachers from Madrid

This just in from World Chicago...

World Chicago is seeking homestay hosts for up to 30 bilingual (Spanish/English) high school science teachers from Madrid, Spain June 26-July 23, 2011.  Monday through Friday, the teachers have a full set of classes at Roosevelt University downtown, but most weekends and evenings are free for these teachers to explore Chicago together with their host families.
We ask the homestay hosts to provide:
A separate bedroom for the delegates and access to a private or shared bathroom;
Breakfast and dinner daily; and
Quality time spent with Spanish guests to share experiences/insights about daily life and culture in Chicago and help them practice their English while becoming familiar with American culture!

A stipend will be made available to homestay hosts.

If interested, please contact Marian Reich at (312) 254-1800 x103 or

Spain flag
Karen here: World Chicago, formerly known as the International Visitors Center, has been hosting visitors from every corner of the world for many years. I've participated on their programs as a volunteer and paid project leader and found the organization great to work with. Marian Reich is especially wonderful.