GENRE-THON COMEDY FESTIVAL AT OTHERWORLD TO HOST FINAL PERFORMANCE OF IMPROVISED STAR TREK

GENRE-THON COMEDY FESTIVAL AT OTHERWORLD TO HOST FINAL PERFORMANCE OF IMPROVISED STAR TREK

(Chicago)  Otherworld Theatre proudly presents it’s end of Summer comedy festival, Genre-thon on August 23rd-25th

This geek and genre-centric comedy celebration features headliner Improvised Star Trek, who announced on Monday morning they would be retiring the classic show after 10 years of award winning live performances and podcasts. They will play their final live performance Saturday August 24th at 9:30pm at Otherworld in the Bradbury Theatre 

Additionally, the lineup features headliner Improvised Jane Austen, the all female regency-style improv team that has been going strong since 2008.  It also highlights Otherworld’s in-house improv team, Out On A Whim (Improvised Dungeons and Dragons) who will be releasing a brand new character, Magnar Tinforge, at 7pm on Sunday during the festival.  Additionally, Otherworld’s in house parody team’s latest production “A Taste of Man-Flesh: A Lord of the Rings Parody” will be playing Friday and Saturday nights.  Action film inspired sketch team, The Stuntmen bring their prop heavy comedy to the fest, The Shrews Improvisation performs an all female Shakespearean play,  and P.S. Burlesque brings some sexy nerdlesque to the scene. Things get even more niche with groups like Geekspeare bringing a Shakespearen parody of “The Room”, and the farewell performances of Hero’s Journey Improv and Lost in Space/Time Improv. 

Managing Director and Festival Curator Katie Ruppert states; “It’s been a remarkable privilege to bring these different groups together. This festival is in honor of what the comedy world calls “the geek slot”. Usually there is only room for one nerdy piece in every show, or program schedule. Groups like Improvised Star Trek, Tinderella and  Improvised Riverdale only perform live rarely these days, so this is a really special opportunity. Improvised Star Trek’s retirement is a huge moment for the Chicago Comedy Community, and it’s made this festival truly a once in a lifetime experience.”

Passes for the entire festival start at $30 and are good starting Friday night, day passes for Saturday and Sunday start at $20. Some shows may have limited tickets available at the door for $10 a piece but the only way to secure your seat is to purchase a pass. More information as well as a full schedule of events are available at www.otherworldtheatre.org

 

 

About Otherworld Theatre

Otherworld Theatre Company, a non-profit arts organization, was founded in June 2012 with the mission to bring a theatrical experience to the science fiction and fantasy genre. Our work celebrates the depth of human imagination by engaging our patrons with high quality storytelling. Otherworld Theatre also curates events to create dialogue between patrons and artists, furthering our connection to the Chicago community.

Visit the Otherworld virtually at OtherworldTheatre.org and on Twitter (@OtherworldThtre), Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

 

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The Legend of Q

The Legend of Q

This story is about an extraordinary cat, a black cat to be a bit more specific. Wait, let me back track a bit. This is not a story but a legend. The difference here is that every single word of this legend is absolutely true. This is the legend of Q.

I can still see him crossing the courtyard like he owned the place, and a number of estimations that might have well been the case. Sleek and lean, with smooth shiny black hair, his intense Spring-green eyes reflect the August grass. His stride is confident. He is master, and undisputed.

One Summer, some years back, a murder of blackbirds were stalking him. Six gathered on the power lines at the back of the yard. I shooed them away several times, but Q seemed content to taunt them, moving and crouching about the yard. I went back to work in the house, prepared, should I hear a fight I was sure Q would not win. Each of the birds, experienced predators all, probably outweigh Q by better than a pound and a half. Apart from sharp size, claws and deadly beaks Q was outnumbered six to one. All at once at the patio door came a terrible screeching sound. Bolting to my feet I discovered Q holding one of the Blackbirds between the wing and torso, the creature squawking and beating its wing madly. Those proud and satisfied eyes were stunning. Throwing a blanket over the bird, I released it out doors and promptly gave Q a small treat. We never saw those Blackbirds again, and little did I know, would spark a prolific partnership in the annihilation of vermin in the neighborhood.

We live in condos on sort of a wedge-shaped island between three busy streets. At the back of the property, across the smallest of the three roads a steep bank of weedy trees hides the metra rail track. Beyond that, more houses and apartment flats. Long neglected, like any unmanaged urban space, trash and a lack of predators attracted rats. A lot of rats. a McDonalds on the corner and Misricordia across the street attracted still more. Not necessarily the best place to raise cats, but as it turns out, a veritable oasis for a preeminent predator.

Q came to Ana and me quite by accident late one frigid December night. We’d spent more than a week scouring the neighborhood and animal shelters for our rescue black cat, Jinx. Ana and I nicknamed Jinx “Archie Bunker” after he adopted our leather recliner, hiking one paw over the armrest. That point is important, even a bit eerie, as we’ll soon see.

Ana and I went to bed that night prepared to reconvene the search for Jinx in the morning. we’d just fallen into sleep when Ana’s phone rang. it seemed that someone had found Jinx almost a mile from the house. Teeth chattering, in coast and still in our pajama’s we jumped in the car and raced right over. A young couple out walking their dog couldn’t shake this persistent black cat following them down the street. Recalling a post to social media about Jinx, they made the connection.

Overcome, I thanked them profusely, swept the wayward little scamp into my arms and rushed to the car. Ana lifted the cat before her and promptly announced, “Bill, this isn’t Jinx. I think this is someone else’s cat!”

Back at the house, Ana and I prepared now for a continued search for Jinx and to find the owners of this new black cat. As we were discussing the possibilities this new cat leapt onto the recliner and immediately assumed Jinx’ position. We’ve had other cats over the years. None of them ever took to the recliner. It struck us as a bit odd.

It was two days later. By now, having had no luck finding the new cat’s owners and with overwhelmed shelters unable to take on any new animals, we gave him the interim name of Q, for question. Later that day a neighbor discovered Jinx. He’d been hit by a car and managed to pull himself into the weeds along the tracks where he succumbed the night we found Q. Ana remarked, “I think Jinx sent him to us.”

If that was true, Jinx had one hell of a sense of humor. Q was hardly content as an indoor cat. What was more, be had an uncanny way of communicating when he wanted something. It was incremental. First came a paw brushing a calf or arm. Depending on his mood, he might do that a couple of times. Then the claws came out. Just a touch at first, but then a bit harder. Not enough to break the skin, but enough to get attention. If that filed, he’d knock something off a shelf. Something carefully chosen that it wouldn’t break, but make a lot of racket. failing that, the nuclear option. He’d pee in a plant! We were family, Ana and I. We were Q’s sanctuary, but fate was all his own. A strange thing to say about a cat, but Q was no ordinary Cat.

We learned that quickly when rats that had proliferated unchallenged along the tracks began appearing dead, lined up along a tree in the yard. In a dish by the door, Q would meticulously clean himself with a bit of water, eat and sleep on Jinx’s chair through the day. Rinse, dry, repeat. Three rats the first week. Seven the next. We kept count.

q quickly became master of the Fountainview condominiums of Rogers Park. he adopted the elderly Cuban Couple two doors down and the Hungarian opera singer across the courtyard. I knew whom he had visited by the scent of their cooking, or a hint of tobacco in his fur. The rats piled up beside the tree. If they were too big to carry, he’d drag them into the street. Rinse, dry, repeat.

I contend that Condo association meetings are the only known cure for insomnia and neighborliness. They are the only natural competitor to drying paint, hospital waiting rooms and economics text books. then came the Fountainview condo association meeting of October 2016. Twenty owners sat in the laundry room on chairs I supposed were last used as torture devices prior to the Nuremburg trials. We were listening to riveting narratives such as the income and maintenance costs of coin operated washers and dryers, and peonies along the back wall: Pro or Con?

Ten minutes into the meeting there arose racket at the door, a fervent sweeping or brushing sounds. Opening the door, in walked Q, tail up, brushing against various neighbors. Reaching the center of the room, Q laid down and sat with us through the entire meeting. When the meeting adjourned, he rose and strode satisfied from the room.

Rinse, dry, repeat. the rats grew more and more scarce. Q would leave them by the treat, come for his reward, clean himself and fall fast asleep. It got so neighbors would tell us they’d seen a rat-vermin 911. I’d deliver Q to the spot and by morning I’d dispose of yet another unlucky critter. By Christmas 2018 we’d counted better than 600, now mostly small and foolish rats venturing into the wrong neighborhood maintain by the right cat.

Not just rats. Q dispatched a fair number of wild rabbits now threatening to become a nuisance. One night chatting with a neighbor, a wild commotion drew our attention. Out of the trees along the tracks came red fox with Q in hot pursuit. once, confronting a n’er-do-well in the alley, the dog turned and retreated. Q, ready for a fight sat down right beside me.

That winter was tough on Q. he picked up a nasty infection. Sniffing, a terrible discharge from his eyes. He was losing hair and weight at an alarming rate. Bloody sores appeared round his mouth and ears. it attacked his left eye. He rarely went out, hardly ate. it seemed so cruel the king could be felled like this, wasting away. Visits to the vet weren’t productive. I daily cleaned his sores, but I feared losing Q. Didn’t look like he’d survive the Spring.

I knew it was an infection. The hit and miss antibiotics from the vet weren’t doing the trick. At a local feed store I picked up a bottle of farm grade antibiotic made for sheep. Adjusting for size and weight, I tripled the dosage the vet prescribed. Risky, but Q was on death’s door already. There wasn’t much to lose. By April, after two exhausting months Q recovered, though the damage to his left eye was permanent.

For Q the rats were now simply a maintenance problem, should any critter happen into his domain. while the city grappled with a growing rat problem driven by perennial budget problems our advice was simply this-Support your local cat! Q now turned to the rabbit issue in the neighborhood.

Every morning come 5:30 I’d walk the dog. Invariably Q would appear, trotting up the driveway to join us.

“Come on, Little Legs,” I’d say, urging the dog to wait for Q to catch up

He’d meow good morning and rub up against my leg. The three of us would make the rounds. I’d scoop Q up, appreciating the sound and vibration of his soft purr against my chest.

Friday, August 18th was the 2 year anniversary of the passing of Smudge, our 21 year old cat. She’d fallen ill suddenly that summer. Smudge passed quietly in our arms within a week of falling ill. The date wasn’t auspicious. We missed it that Friday. Life overwhelms.

A security camera at the front of the building is focused on a small fountain and the yard. at the top, beyond the sidewalk and narrow parkway runs busy Ridge Avenue. across the road is the front gate of sprawling Misericordia, a vast array of resident homes, buildings gardens and lawns. The rabbits love it there. Q rarely crossed Ridge, even when he had two good eyes. That night he chased a rabbit across the street. the camera caught him emerging from the gate and sitting on the sidewalk. Always keen and even a little wary of traffic one thing could be said for Q, and that was he was never impulsive and generally cautious to a fault. It was just past 9pm. Traffic was much lighter than normal.

It feels a little odd treating the video of a cat like the Zapruder film. But comparatively, at least in my life, that damn cat held far more relevance. I keep watching, as if Q randomly bolting directly into the path of a minivan might somehow make sense. Maybe it was the bad eye, or just one of those random miscalculations in the moment we all are prone to, but nothing of it ever fully explains.

At the last instant Q ducks, but it is too little too late. the bumper catches him across the side of the head. There’s no blood or apparent outward damage. Q tumbles beneath the van, which likely never saw the black cat dashing across fresh blacktop at night. It doesn’t stop. Miraculously, Q finds his feet. We’ve seen him take down prey, dispatching a squirrel once in the blink of an eye. He knows how to roll. He staggers three feet to the grassy parkway.

Despite knowing, I stare at the screen, thinking each time somehow it will be different. But it is always the same. The damage to Q is catastrophic. Just five minutes earlier Ana had asked me to take the dog out for walk. It’s been a long hot day and I just want to go to bed. The humidity comes in waves, rising an collapsing. Reaching Ridge, I’m lost in an article on my phone. Bleu, or lab/corgi mix is sniffing along the hedges behind me. From the corner of my eye, I spot an odd dark shape beside a small tree at the curb. I believe, or a moment, it is part from car.

“Q!” i gasp, falling to my knees beside him. he’s breathing, but not well. he’s barely semi-conscious. The end of his tail curls slightly. I can’t be sure, but believe he recognizes me.. Maybe he’s only knocked cold, I hope, and by morning he’ll wake up with little more than nasty headache.

My fingers move over his lean body and limbs. Nothing feels broken. His belly feels normal. Then I see dark ruby-red blood pouring from the side of his mouth. His eyes rolled back and I know.

“Oh, Q,” I sigh, voice quivering slightly. Bleu comes close and lays beside us, concerned. Gently, I scoop him into my arms. He is warm but limp. I know he is filing. Fifty feet to the house feels like a lifetime.

“We love you, little buddy,” I say again and again, hoping he will hear. “You’re home, little legs.”

Bleu follows dutifully, close at my side-the first damn time he’s done that without being told six times. he hardly takes his eyes off his mortally wounded feline pal.

I leave Q on the step with Bleu watching over him and rush to find Ana. She’s in bed, turned on one side. her face is gently lit by the glow of the phone. I dread what I am about to tell her. There is no other way.

“Ana,” I find the words, choking at the back of my throat. they don’t seem to make any sense. “It’s Q.”

“Oh, no,” she gasps, bolting upright in bed. She can hear the anguish in my voice, the tragedy in my expression.

“I found him out front.”

“Is he…?’ she begins.

I grab a small pet cushion. “He’s breathing, but…”

Back outside, slipping the cushion carefully beneath Q, I can see he is still breathing, but it is desperately shallow now. His pupils are fixed and dilated. Blood his pooling beneath his cheek, I am shallowly comforted in that he isn’t suffering now. His lips sag from the gums. The paws and end of his tail are so much colder now. Ana and I resolve to stay with him. We won’t let him go alone…

A day after we laid Q to rest, someone from McDonalds stopped by, having heard. Someone else brought us a mixed berry pie. neighbors were in tears. two blocks away, a veritable other world in a big city, a neighbor commented forlornly about Q’s passing. the condo association lamented now the rats would return. Q was hardly just a cat. he was a lesson. He was larger than life. He was a personality. He live the perfect life of a cat. he had everything.

Many years ago, I use to sit and visit with this large Black woman everyone called Mama. She had a hole-in-the-wall kitchen at the corner of Sheridan and Columbia in Chicago with the best Steak Fries and Rib Tips I ever tasted. Drenched in Mama’s homemade BBQ sauce in a round tinfoil plate, I would sit and chat with Mama. Everyday I’d see her through the window or on the step. Then one day the place was closed. Mama never closed. A week I found her sitting on the step in her spotted apron.

“I lost my boy,” she said, telling me that he’d gotten shot by gang member. i hugged her and said how sorry I was.

“One thing I can say,” she replied. “I told that boy every day that I loved him, so I know he understood that he was loved. Best I could do.”

Do animals feel love? that’s an arguable point. But Ana and I have always made a point to telling our animals that we love them in direct relation to treats and petting and nurturing in hopes they will equate the sound of the words with us and with pleasure. in that way they construct their own concept of love. in that way love truly becomes universal, transcending species.

Strange, but in the weeks before Q passed, I told him more than usual how much I loved him and that he was a good boy. I rubbed that belly as if I was savoring and saving up the moments for something I feared might happen. We’d always feared something like this would befall Q, but his life would have been miserable locked indoors, and he would have been intolerable. We saw Q as a member of the family, with his own agency and his own life. We were just thankful that he chose to include us as strongly as he did. More than that, Q knew that he was loved.

We’ve discussed getting another good mouser to continue Q’s extraordinary legacy, apart from giving another cat a loving home. There is no replacing Q, and it would be unfair to another animal to attempt such a thing. We’ll do our best to train the new cat to the property as we’ve done successfully with two other cats, but they are less pets and more family. As for Q, lot’s of heartbreak, but not a single regret. He live a life. He lived a cat’s life and made us a part of his life on his own terms. Painfully poetic that he was gone just as suddenly as he arrived. Thanks Jinx. See you in the great beyond, Q. Rinse, dry, repeat.

One Hand On My Heart, the new EP from Tonya Gallagher

One Hand On My Heart, the new EP from Tonya Gallagher

Light. I’ve been writing and researching light lately for a new book. A particular topic of study is the 16th Century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, whose masterful use of light and shadow makes Vermeer one of the preeminent artists in history. I’d been staring at  Vermeer’s iconic The Girl with the Golden Earring for perhaps a little too long one night last week. It was late. The new EP, “One hand on My Heart,” by Florida singer/songwriter Tanya Gallagher was playing in the other room, sort of spilling through the house. with a bourbon on the Rocks before me, the slowly melting cubes blending in to a crystalline topaz hue in the glass. The art, the liquor, Tanya and the night blended seamlessly.

One hand on My Heart is  a collection of 6 solid songs, underscoring the broad range of this unique artist. Sometimes a little Bluey, sometimes bordering on pure Pop, always soulful.

The song Barren Land drips with a 2 a.m. tavern, watered down whiskey and  a sultry voice that send you back to a broken heart, a first kiss, the long road home and shoulder shrugging regret. the lyrics are soulful and vulnerable all at once, “Come down off of your mountain, because I don’t quite understand how you can take me high as heaven and bring me down to barren land…”

Gallagher’s voice evokes the best of Liz Phair Jillian Jacqueline, little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild or Sheryl Crow. The production is spot on, aided by Daniel Mendez (Noah Gundersen, The Native Sibling, Alexi Murdoch). Mendez and Gallagher teamed to whittled down the long list, honing in on the organic, roots-driven sound that now defines the twelve songs they recorded together.

“One hand on My Heart” is a qualitative leap forward from her 2017 Album Virginia, building on the strength and heart breaking depth of songs like 3002 Miles, and A Farewell To Arms. Gallagher wrote all of the songs on “One Hand On My Heart” while pursuing her PhD in forestry in Vancouver. Heartbroken after a split with her longtime boyfriend, she nearly found the stress of academia too much to take.

Had it not been for music, I don’t think I would have made it through my PhD,” says Gallagher. “There were so many times I wanted to quit.”

Gallagher persevered, finding a therapeutic outlet in songwriting. Within a year, she had written over 200 songs. By day, this Pensacola, Florida native—who once interned for NASA—practices cartography, turning geographic information into maps for Santa Rosa County, where she resides. By night, she pens the infectious introspective songs that comprise her new EP, including the Jason Mraz-esque lead single, Dark Side.

My current fav is the autobiographical Dolphin In The Snow; toe tapping, moody and pure Tanya. This song, like all of “One Hand” belongs in any serious collection.

Visit her Website, Like Tanya Gallagher on Facebook, Instagram. Follow her on Twitter, subscribe to her Youtube Channel and download “One Hand on My Heart” by Tanya Gallagher on Spotify and Soundcloud

Liner Notes:

Release Info
Artist Name: Tanya Gallagher
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Release Name: One Hand On My Heart
Release Date: Aug 06, 2019
Label: Independent
Producer: Daniel Menzez

Track List:
1. Dark Side
2. A Little Effort
3. Barren Land
4. Mistake
5. Dolphin in the Snow
6. Magic

Musicians:
Tanya Gallagher: Guitar and Vocals

Press Quotes
“This batch of songs goes down smooth like an easy going Fiona Apple who grew up on southern music and power pop.”~ Dwight Baker (The Wind & The Wave)

“Tanya’s album speaks from a maturity beyond a lifetime. The craftsmanship in song and production really sets this album apart in today’s music climate.”

~ Ryan Williams (The Native Sibling)

“Much like Brandi Carlile and Bon Iver, Gallagher’s silky smooth voice and longing- lled lyrics evoke a strong sense of nostalgia.” ~ Huffington Post

“Gallagher’s vocal delivery [is] often as haunting as an unexpected whisper in the night.” ~ Vancouver Weekly

Accolades
Tanya will be playing the Mile of Music Festival in Appleton Wisconsin August 1-4 of this year. She has also recently graduated with a PhD in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

 

Here is where we are at. My wife, who has been an AMERICAN citizen for 20 years, who in a ceremony before a US magistrate swore an oath of allegiance to the nation is now terrified, not just of being swept up by ICE on suspicion of having an accent, but fears some angry republican who doesn’t like her upholding some company policy might turn her in to ICE as a suspected undocumented alien-because of her accent. Out of a very real fear of an insidious policy perverted through a twisted nationalism, and spurred by FOX news, Rightwing radio and bigotry purveyors like Dan Proft and others awakened today and said, “I’m going to start carrying my naturalization papers at all times, in case someone bitches at the store and turns me in to ICE.” She is hardly alone. Absolutely this conversation and those fears are taking place in every immigrnt household, underscoring that this country, or at least a substantial and powerful part of it views them as less than American. in that regard it dmages the nation, its cohesion and erases the fundamental promise and structure of the American experiment forged in the constitution. It makes Trumps words of go back where you came from an eclipsing tenant of the nation instead of the constitution and bill of rights. I makes America a lie. It proves the experiment is not failed, but has been purposely failed…

I will debate Dennis Prager any place, any time, but he won’t debate me…

I will debate Dennis Prager any place, any time, but he won’t debate me…

Just for the record, I have offered on many occasions to debate Dennis Prager. I have even offered to give him my show every Sunday 1-3pm on WCGO in Chicago. On his show today he said that he would debate liberals anywhere at any time. He said that liberals don’t want debate. I am not asking Mr. Prager, I am begging. But I know that he won’t. Likely, rather than respond, he or his network will send an attorney to shut down my free speech.

Dennis Prager is a liar. That isn’t opinion, it is a fact. he is a liar by omission. He self-aggrandized himself over  a partisan speech he delivered before Republican cohorts in the Senate in a bid for an end run for complete control of the flow of information. he propagandized and lied about the threat to free speech. He is a Troll, who has found worth within the Rightwing in harassing Google as a means of forcing Republican messaging as a priority and preference in internet searches. Prager uses cover of the government and corporate-integrated network he ingratiates himself within. my evidence? Never once did he acknowledge the absolute hegemony of Rightwing radio over all other voices. His pretense at intellectualism merely masks an arrogance and pomposity, abusing the good believe in faith of listeners that borders on, and I generally eschew this word, evil. he never has questioned the free speech writes of CNN and MSNBC, the BBC and other news channels who are not allowed or included in basic cable as FOX News is. That market reality allows FOX and men like Prager to extoll the wildly inflated popularity of FOX over other market crippled channels. That seems like a glaring oversight by the pious and brilliant Prager. That either makes him woefully uninformed about what he is talking about, in which he had no place sitting before congress, or it makes him a liar by omission.

Prager is not interested in free speech. He is interested in monopoly that he pretends as free speech. on the same program today Prager was breathless with outrage when a guest asserted that Google was cooking its search engine in favor of the Left. that guest, who was not challenged in the slightest by Prager lied in saying that a simple Google search garnered page after page of anti-Trump results. The fact that Prager accepted something that turns out to be blatantly untrue, who claims accuracy is a standard, without verification makes him either a near criminally irresponsible broadcaster or a liar.

I’m not sure which. Perhaps it is both. a debate would help clarify this issue. as evidence that Prager and his guest were being, at the very least disingenuous, below are screen shots for the Google Search in question. There are 7 which shows all of the first page of more than 1 billion results. do your own search. Men like Prager hope you won’t…

 

COMEDYSPORTZ CHICAGO AND GAME ON! SPORTS CAMP 4 GIRLS

COMEDYSPORTZ CHICAGO AND GAME ON! SPORTS CAMP 4 GIRLS
COMEDYSPORTZ CHICAGO AND GAME ON! SPORTS CAMP 4 GIRLS CREATE UNIQUE COMEDY CLASSES FOR GIRLS, 
THROUGH JULY 29

ComedySportz Chicago (CSZ)  Introduces Improv to Campers in Three One-Hour Sessions to Develop Confidence, Communication and Comedy Skills


CHICAGOComedySportz Chicago (CSZ) is proud to announce a partnership with Game On! Sports Camp 4 Girls, July 8 – 29. CSZ’s program will teach Game On!’s older campers (3rd – 7th  graders) about improv and performance with the intent to improve their communication and leadership skills, in addition to developing a voice in comedy and an appreciation of the art form. The improv sessions are held on three Mondays during July; July 8, 22 and 29 at Game On!’s Chicago location, Walt Disney Magnet School, 4140 N. Marine Dr.


ComedySportz Chicago’s Artistic Director Jason Geis said, “ComedySportz Chicago is known for its family-friendly approach to comedy and these classes allow us to introduce improv and its basics to an eager audience. The girls, who will also be performing comedy, can use these “lessons” to help in their everyday lives, too.”


Barb Lazarus, founder of Game On!  Sports 4 Girls, added, “Game On! is all about harnessing the power of sports to shape strong girls who can thrive both on and off the sports fields while learning and having a blast. Our exciting and unique partnership with ComedySportz fosters this mission by integrating improv (communication and expression) with sports and a whole lot of fun.” 


ABOUT COMEDYSPORTZ CHICAGO
ComedySportz is the longest-running, game-based, short form improv comedy show in the comedy capital of the world, perfect for all ages, offering comedy for everyone! ComedySportz’s interactive format is emceed by a referee overseeing a hilarious battle of wits between the home team, the blue Downtown Chicago Bosses, and the “visiting” red team, scored by live keyboard music and rocking popular music between scenes!.Using audience suggestions and willing volunteers, our professional players create short games, scenes and songs on the spot, and the winner is determined by the Applause-o-Meter and your laughs. CSZ Theatre, the home of ComedySportz is located at 929 W. Belmont Ave. For more information on performances and rentals go to CSZChicago.com.


ABOUT GAME ON! SPORTS 4 GIRLS
Game On! Sports 4 Girls, proud recipient of the 2018 Rings of Gold Program Award presented by the U.S. Olympic Committee, offers unique multi-sport programing with the goal of harnessing the power of sports to shape girls that are strong in body, mind and team. We accomplish this mission with a focus on camps, classes, events, clinics and special projects customized just for girls, boasting an environment balanced by learning, fun, warmth, positivity, spirit and a whole lot of girl talk. And we can’t forget the importance of exposure to role models who share our passion to pass on the gift of sports. Well into our 13th year, we can say our impact is real. And it’s about time that girls have a private multi-sport program to call their own. It’s about time that girls can stand proud to play. In essence, All girls, regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status, size or physical challenges, deserve the confidence to “go after the ball,” both on the sports fields and off!  For a better understanding of who we are and our passion, visit our website at gameonsports4girls.com.

Light, The Eye and the Ultimate Feedback Loop

An excerpt on a project exploring the roots of design and creativity by WC Turck

John 1:5 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

A critic asks once asked Claude Monet “What, sir, is the subject matter of that painting?” Monet replied, “The subject matter, my dear good fellow, is the light.”

 

 

This story begins 13.8 billion years ago. Actually, it begins a bit later than that, about 10 seconds after our current Universe was created. That is when the first photons, the curious little bundles of information energy we perceive as light, came into existence from the unimaginably hot, dense eruption of the Big Bang, or for those who prefer the theory of a more cyclical Universe, the Big Bounce. They are the first indications of the dark void heralding the birth of our creation. Close your eyes and imagine trillions of points of light percolating into existence, rushing outward in every direction, defining the ever expanding boundaries of the nascent Universe.

All this means that photons are about as fundamental to the Universe as one can find. Unlike every other particle in the universe the photon might have the capacity to exist forever because it has absolutely no mass. Not bad for something that carries an immense amount of information about our Universe.

The photon is the velocity regulator, and the ultimate measure of time and distance.

The oldest archaeological photons are at least 13.4 billion years old. The oldest known object in the observable Universe is a tiny irregular galaxy dubbed. GN-z11. Located in the constellation Ursa Major, GN-z11 is, or was little more than 3-5 thousand light years across, a mere fraction of our own Milky Way Gallaxy. The distance to GN-z11 is determined by measuring the Red shift of known molecules or atoms. The greater the red shift the greater the distance. That, courtesy of our little friend the photon. And what those photons reveal to us about GN-z11 is that, by our current understanding of the Universe we are seeing what may be one of the very first congregations of matter capable of producing the very first stars. Astronomers estimate the galaxy’s stellar age at roughly 40 million years, very close to the end of the so-called Dark Age of the Universe, a time when, while light was possible, nothing in the universe had congealed enough to create light.

our interest, however, is with light itself. Cosmologists identify a period of time immediately following the beginning of our Universe as the start of the so-called Photon Epoch, which lasted for the next several hundred thousand years. Granted, this is an unorthodox place to begin an exploration of creativity and design. But for any true exploration of creativity and design that is the only place to begin. It is, as this book contends, where our entire concept of design originated and where creativity was born.

The interesting and necessary aspect of our little photon, which is also important to our exploration of the origins of design, is the duality of its existence. Recently a possible third property of light, torque, or the ability to twist and turn may have been discovered, according to researchers reporting in the Journal Science(Generation of extreme-ultraviolet beams with time-varying orbital angular momentum; Science  28 Jun 2019: Vol. 364, Issue 6447, eaaw9486 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw9486 ). How about having the ability to shine a flashlight around corners? That isn’t completely pertinent to this story, but it’s pretty neat.

The photon epitomizes the quantum nature of the universe in that it is both a particle and a wave and is as much a something as it is also virtually nothing. If that sounds contradictory, the nature of matter and reality itself is fundamentally contradictory. Reality may be a perspective and not at all an integral or necessary function of our Universe. What we perceive and assign to be reality is the natural interaction of the constituent aspects(Note that I did not say parts or particles) of our Universe. Reality and its cousin, meaning, requires a pathway, a host- a feedback loop. Welcome to the Universe of Quantum Mechanics!

Just for spits and giggles, let’s follow the path of a single photon from the start of time, or at least as those first nascent stars blink on around GN-z11. Bear in mind that it is travelling at 186,282 miles per second, the speed of, well, light. We know these photons have survived nearly for the entire lifespan of the Universe. they are the archaeological relics of the infancy of our current reality. The echoes, or haze, resulting from the Big Bang is measurable, and exactly where it was predicted to be at the Gamma Ray wavelengths of photons in the electromagnetic spectrum. This odd infinitesimally small thing is both a particle and a wave(And holds the possibility for angular momentum as well) with strange abilities and a single unique and often overlooked characteristic. The photon is hardly just the light we see, but the fundamental information delivery system for the universe.

The photon is the force carrier for one of the four fundamental forces of nature, the electromagnetic field, EMF, which affects electrically charged particles like Protons(Positive) and electrons(Negative). the electromagnetic field is the fundamental glue that binds all matter. Essential to that function is that the photon itself has no electrical charge. Moreover, imbued with the photon is time, distance and the transmission of information that informs temperature. Not bad for something that virtually doesn’t exist. Without the photon our universe simply would not exist and we would not have necessary references to establish reality. All of this is essential for life as we know it and imperative to the Artist. Indeed, light is religion to the Artist.

Moreover, in combination with a functioning eye and brain, the photon creates the ultimate feedback loop in giving the universe meaning. Simply the idea of the feedback Loop may also prove to be a Universal paradigm, like wave structure, reflective angles, the spiral, the circumference of a circle. The feedback loop pertaining to the EMF describes how charged particles generate both electric and magnetic fields, which fields interact with one another. Those fields then act upon particles which move in space generating more electric and magnetic fields, and so on and so forth. There won’t be a quiz, but it is important to understand. Everything is, well, connected.

Let’s break down that loop a bit and look at the constituent parts.

Truly, the loop begins with the photon. Photons communicate an astounding amount of information about our Universe. Virtually everything we know about our Universe and reality begins with that simple elementary particle. Even our perception of what reality means to our species, to every species on the planet is predicated in large part by information gleaned from the photon. And the information imbued in that curious little quanta of energy is astounding. Take, for example, an October 2017 experiment, published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Geneva Switzerland in which a single photon revealed the Quantum entanglement between 16 million atoms in a crystal.

Quantum theory is unequivocal: it predicts that a vast number of atoms can be entangled and intertwined by a very strong quantum relationship even in a macroscopic structure. Until now, however, experimental evidence has been mostly lacking, although recent advances have shown the entanglement of 2,900 atoms. Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, recently reengineered their data processing, demonstrating that 16 million atoms were entangled in a one-centimetre crystal… Fröwis and his colleagues chose a more indirect route, pondering what measurements could be undertaken and which would be the most suitable ones. They examined the characteristics of light re-emitted by the crystal, as well as analysing its statistical properties and the probabilities, following two major avenues: that the light is re-emitted in a single direction rather than radiating uniformly from the crystal; and that it is made up of a single photon. In this way, the researchers succeeded in showing the entanglement of 16 million atoms when previous observations had a ceiling of a few thousand. In a parallel work, scientists at University of Calgary, Canada, demonstrated entanglement between many large groups of atoms.

Journal Reference:

  1. Florian Fröwis, Peter C. Strassmann, Alexey Tiranov, Corentin Gut, Jonathan Lavoie, Nicolas Brunner, Félix Bussières, Mikael Afzelius, Nicolas Gisin. Experimental certification of millions of genuinely entangled atoms in a solid. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 1038/s41467-017-00898-6

 

Université de Genève. “Single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms: Researchers have demonstrated the entanglement between 16 million atoms in a crystal crossed by a single photon, confirming the theory behind the quantum networks of the future.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171013091023.htm>.

 

The point here is an illustration of the immense and incredibly diverse amount of information about our Universe revealed by the photon. It’s resiliency is unparalleled, with the ability to change from particle to wave and back again, to slow down as it passes through a medium, such as a pane of glass and then resume its original speed without additional energy or force being applied. It is also the definition of time, or at least one definition of time, a commodity sublimely important to autonomous creatures. The foundational measure of time is the light year.

Collectively, photons encountered by the eye and falling upon the rods and cones of the retina communicate the 10 million or so shades of color the human eye perceives. The eye’s ability to collect and disseminate a breathtaking amount of information in real time reveals an evolutionary complexity which hints at a theory of creativity, which we will come to in due course. But there is a far larger story of the, at least here on Earth, the proper accounting of our little wayward photon.

Fast forward about 13.8 billion years later, give or take a million years. A tentative branch of primates on a rocky planet orbiting an exceedingly average yellow dwarf star discovers the utility in glassy obsidian as a cutting tool, or maybe they just liked shiny objects and arrived at its utility as an aside. Regardless, that simple discovery by our distant most ancestors began a love affair which would ultimately illuminate untold mysteries of the Universe on both the micro and macro scales.

Since we are all about perspectives, mankind has existed in the fraction or a fraction of the blink of the Universal eye. If the Universe was a clock, beginning 13-8 billion years ago at midnight, with 12 noon current universal time, our planet only accreted into existence sometime around 8 o’clock in the morning. The first life appears in the fossil record around 9:30. Life on land about 3 seconds before noon. Mankind’s earliest ancestors appeared hundredths of a second before noon.

Our experience with the Universe is a conundrum. The earliest known appearance of our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens dates to roughly 350,000 years ago. If we average the age of a Human female to reproduce at 19 years, that gives us just over 18,400 generations. This author spent several years researching 15 generations, near the limit of the emergence of surnames for non nobility, or about to about 1500 AD fractions of a percent in the lifespan of the species. Still, that represents a massive amount of time for a mortal creature. And 350,000 years is imperceptible against the age of the Universe.

Back to our feedback loop, I left out one critical aspect of the feedback loop: Glass. Not the shiny found Obsidian of our ancient ancestors but rather something that belies intent, or at the very least something which begins the 5500 year journey from the glimmering flakes of a primitive smelting byproduct to the Hubble Telescope and the fuzzy images of those first primordial galaxies. Clear, crafted, polished glass, the stuff of lenses which magnify light otherwise imperceptible to the natural eye.

It is that glass has allowed us access to the fullest extent of the feedback loop with our friends the photon. It is the manipulation of glass which revealed a larger universe, as well as the micro-verse. All of this makes glass, and lenses, the mechanical addendum to our Feedback loop.