Attention Writers

Last September we began a project to bring the Arts and Art’s issues to the air. Now in our 5th month, Playtime with Sid and Bill Featuring Kerri Kendall, is the best and most comprehensive Arts program on Commercial Radio in the United States. 2018 is the year of the writer on our program. If you missed last week’s show, check out the Facebook Live rebroadcast as we talk with Author and Loyola University educator Nadine Kenney Johnston about the art of writing memoirs. this week we are back like speaking with Jill Pollack from Story Studio Chicago, a local and online resource and workshop for writers. The show airs every Sunday at 1pm on 1590WCGO in Chicago, but streams world wide at Help us to strengthen the writing community across America, and shine a long missed light on the great Authors and writers…and bloggers…across the nation.

Also joining us on today’s program is the Artistic Director of Chicago’s Prop Theatre to talk about Rhinoceros fest, a juried show to highlight the best in up and coming and innovative playwrights and Theatre companies.


Frantic nation…

I use to be on Blood pressure medication, but it was doing weird things to me, particularly on the creative side. I would zone out and produce little if anything substantive. I couldn’t concentrate or focus, but I was calm and sedate, and nearly a shell floating through life. It also affected me physically, in a number of ways that were corrected, thanks to  a pharma-loving family physician, with, you guessed it, more drugs, that low and behold had more side affects, which were solved with…breathe! You get the picture.

So I got off the drugs, began to exercise more and began eating better. In the interim, I completed several paintings (Including one of my very best) wrote three books, a play that received critical acclaim, dozens of articles and now host a successful radio program. Help the homeless. All in the span of a couple of years.

And all would be peachy if I lived in a bubble, or in the northwoods, and not in a major metropolitan area. Moreover, sometimes I wish that I could simply ignore what is going on with our politics, the economy, the world. The curse of Plato’s parable of the Cave, in which society is deluded by the shadows upon the cave wall, and heap derision upon those who turn to face the sunlight as well as the shadow makers. Most people are comfortable with the cognitive illusion of the shadows and become hostile when forced from the illusion of security within the illusion.

Part of that is noting that our society has become increasingly frantic. The wife pointed out to me that since coming off the meds I am more agitated. That may very well be, and probably is true, but to a degree I have some cause. That was illustrated as I drove home from dropping her off at a friends earlier when this silver Suburu in front of me could not wait 20 seconds for the vehicle in front to make  a turn, and thus drove up onto the sidewalk. Let me say that again; drove ONTO the sidewalk.

It use to be maybe once a day or so, driving around the city and suburbs I would see something so egregiously obnoxious and dangerous. Now, simply running from here to the grocery store  a few miles away feels like running a gauntlet of survival, as people routinely blow through street lights and stop signs, weave at perilous speeds, cut others off without remorse or worse. And it isn’t just on the roads, it is in our politics. It has infected the instant profit economy, invades our shopping malls and poisons our religions. Now-nOW- NOW!!!

America has become a frantic nation of pushy, self-concerned, frightened and frantic people. Friends in retail and restaurants have noted the frantic up-tick to the culture. Customers curse, berate and assault clerks, cashiers and managers because a holiday line isn’t moving fast enough. Or they barge in the middle of other customers demanding immediate attention for THEIR needs. Less than a week before Christmas, with the USPS, UPS and FedEx all at or beyond peak loads, especially in the age of Amazon, this exchange between a store manager and a customer.

Customer: I want this shipped and I want it to arrive by Christmas Eve.

Manager: We can ship it, but I can’t guarantee this close to Christmas that it will arrive by Christmas Eve.

Customer: Can’t you overnight it?

Manager: UPS and Fed Ex is swamped this close to the holiday.

Customer: Well, can’t you make it a priority?

I so wanted to hear this beleaguered manager to shake this lady by the shoulders and snap, because the millions of packages everyone else hopes will arrive by Christmas aren’t nearly as important as yours!?!?? And, oh, by the way, lady, if you weren’t so pushy and frantic you might be happier, the people around you damn sure would be and I probably wouldn’t have to TAKE ALL THESE DAMNED MEDICATIONS!

Okay, part of that might have been me. Too frantic? Preachin’ to the choir, sister.

Calamity West’s “Hinter”, based on a chilling true crime

For immediate release

By Calamity West
Directed by Brad DeFabo Akin
January 25 – March 3, 2018

Whispers and rumors had been swirling around the Gruber family farm long before the bodies were discovered on that cold April day. It’s 1922, and a remote community in Bavaria is reeling in the aftermath of World War I: gender roles are shifting, a generation gap is emerging, and farmers are battling poverty in the shadow of a growing urban Intelligentsia. Inspired by a chilling and true unsolved crime, Hinter is a darkly comic thriller by one of Chicago’s most exciting new playwrights.

In January, Company Member Brad DeFabo Akin returns to Steep to direct the world premiere of Calamity West’s Hinter, which was commissioned by Steep Theatre. West has quickly emerged as an important Chicago playwright, with recent acclaimed productions of her works Rolling (Jackalope Theatre) and Give It All Back (Sideshow Theatre). Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune dubbed West “the real deal“ and “one of this city‘s most exciting new voices.“ DeFabo Akin has delivered notable Steep productions including strangers, babies, Book of Days, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and 2016’s The Few.

Hinter will feature Aurora Adachi-Winter, Lauren Sivak, Sasha Smith, Sigrid Sutter, Nate Whelden, Eunice Woods, and Steep Company Members Alex Gillmor, Peter Moore, Jim Poole, and Melissa Riemer.

“With her singular inventiveness and imagination, Calamity has breathed life into this obscure, terrifying incident from long ago and created a story that resonates deeply with much of what we’re wrestling with today,” said Steep Artistic Director Peter Moore. “It’s a fascinating story from a truly unique voice.”

About the Playwright
Calamity West is a Chicago-based, Kilroys-cited, award-winning playwright. Her play Hinter, is scheduled for its world premiere at Steep Theatre Company in the winter of 2018. Her newest play In the Canyon is currently in development at Jackalope Theater Company, and she recently joined TimeLine Theatre Company’s Playwrights Collective where she will be in residency for the next two years. Other full-length plays by Ms. West include: Tony Kushner Considers Writing A Gay Fantasia Based On National Themes (2017), Rolling (2016); Give It All Back (Kilroy-cited 2015); Ibsen is Dead (2014); The Peacock (2013, Kilroys honorable mention); The Gacy Play (2012); and Common Hatred (2012). Calamity is a company member of Jackalope Theatre Company and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. She teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago and is represented by The Gersh Agency.

About the Director
Hinter marks the eighth show Brad DeFabo Akin has directed at Steep, where he’s been an ensemble member since 2005. Past Steep directing credits: Book of Days, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Insignificance, Greensboro: A Requiem, Under the Blue Sky, strangers, babies, and The Few. Outside of Steep, his Chicago directing credits include: The Orchestra (Akvavit Theatre), Crimes of the Heart (Step Up Productions), Edgar & Annabel (Poor Theatre), The Revenants (WildClaw Theatre), OOHRAH! (LiveWire Theatre), and Where We’re Born (Steppenwolf Garage). Brad served as Steep’s Literary Manager for 11 years, helping to cultivate the company’s relationship with new playwrights, developing relationships with MFA playwriting programs, and supporting the development of three world premieres at Steep – including Calamity West’s Hinter. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Step Up Chicago Playwrights, where he supports the work of local playwrights in telling the story of our city. Brad also has the honor of teaching North Carolina’s best and brightest young minds every summer, as part of their Governor’s School program.

About Steep Theatre
Housed in what was once a small grocery store steps from the Berwyn Red Line stop, and lead by an ensemble of 34 actors, directors, designers, writers, and other theatre artists, Steep is the quintessential storefront theatre. Described by Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune as “a storefront theater known for the power of its acting,” Steep creates powerful productions of plays by today’s most exciting writers and features the work of Chicago’s hottest theatre artists in an intimate, accessible space. Currently in its 17th season, Steep is known as a home for hard-hitting, finely tuned ensemble work. With each production, the company has shepherded a growing community of audiences and artists into bold new territories of story and performance.

Steep Theatre is conveniently located by the Berwyn Red Line stop and is within blocks of the #92, #36, #146, #147, and #151 buses.

Steep Theatre
1115 West Berwyn, Chicago, IL 60640

January 25 – March 3, 2018
Press Opening: Thursday, January 25 at 8:00pm
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8pm
Sunday matinees at 3pm on February 4, 11, 18, and 25
Accessible Performances:
-Audio Description: Sunday, February 18 at 3:00pm
-Open Captioning: Sunday, February 25 at 3:00pm

General Admission Tickets: $27
Reserved Seat Tickets: $38
Access Tickets: $10 (Steeps universal discount for students, artists, whomever)
(773) 649-3186

Twitter: @SteepTheatre
Facebook: SteepTheatre

Kate Piatt-Eckert
Cast photos and bios are available at

Aurora Adachi-Winter
Alex Gillmor*
Peter Moore*
Jim Poole*
Melissa Riemer*
Lauren Sivak
Sasha Smith
Sigrid Sutter
Nate Whelden
Eunice Woods

Director – Brad DeFabo Akin*
Stage Manager – Lauren Lassus**
Set Designer – Lauren Nigri
Lighting Designer – Pete Dully*
Sound Designer & Composer – Thomas Dixon**
Costume Designer  – Mieka van der Ploeg
Props Designer  – Kathryn Johnson
Violence & Intimacy Choreographer – Sasha Smith
Dramaturg – Neena Arndt
Assistant Director – Almanya Narula
Production Manager – Catherine Allen

**Denotes Steep Artistic Associate
*Denotes Steep Company Member

FUN-draiser for Clean Count Cook County with DB Comedy

2018 is coming, and after that 2020!

Do you want to actually switch out some of the corrupt Politicos for candidates who are much more progressive?  Then please show your support for Election Integrity.

Come on out Tues, Nov 7th to Andersonville, in Chicago, to this comedic FUNd-raiser for Clean Count Cook County.  This will be a fun way to support our work getting a Clean Count of our votes in Cook County.

FUN-draiser for Clean Count Cook County with DB Comedy

Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 PM –9:30PM

Mary’s Attic, 5400 N Clark St
(Above Hamburger Mary’s),
Chicago, Illinois 60640

Tickets just $15  ($12 for seniors and students with ID)
Please mention “Clean Count Cook County” when you buy tickets online or at the door, then we get some of the proceeds – thanks!
Buy tickets here
Thanks for your support, and for sharing this email,

Bloody Theatre

My personal thoughts on Las Vegas? The media is already talking about “mental illness,” but only in the context of White people getting shot. An irrelevant diversion. No indication of mental illness here. In fact, if you are around a person struggling with a mental illness, statistically, and in my personal experience, you are far safer than with a “normal” person. By that standard, I’d like to see greater control to prevent starfish and grasshoppers from getting guns. That is how foolish and irresponsible and diversionary the knee-jerk reaction to insinuations of responsible and reasonable gun laws.
Not the time for analysis or asking hard questions? When is the right time when a crime has been committed, or  that the status quo is always leading to the same tragic result? Is it when NRA surrogates in talk radio and cable TV news tell you it is time?
$18.6 million. That’s how much the NRA contributed via its corporate gun and ammo producing backers to politicians in the 2012 election. $18.6 million, compared to $245,000 on the non-corporate, predominantly victim and survivor funded opposition.  The numbers aren’t in for 2016 yet, but recall Trump is quoted saying he would be the best friend the NRA ever had. Add to that cash poured into the media. And what has that wrought for the gun industry? Mind you, as an aside, it tends to be working class and poor people who are the victims of gun violence. There are theater shooters, gang shootings, nightclubs, country western concerts, Army bases, small business, schools where the shootings happen. Exclusive country clubs…not so much. That’s not a dare, it is an indication that the people who have no voice in the issue tend to be the ones being shot. America’s gun issue doesn’t really affect rich people, the ones who can pick up a phone and get right through to whichever price-tag politician they may have helped purchase.
And I do mean purchase. Coming back to the $18.6 million to politicians primarily in Washington D.C, did you know the center for disease control is forbidden from studying gun violence, by law? That was a policy encouraged and promoted by the gun and ammo industry. And did you know federal dollars are prohibited from going to gun research in Universities? Why would that be?
America has no interest in honestly addressing this issue, and so, like the constant hysterics of an insane girlfriend, I am learning to tune out the crocodile tears and faux outrage. At this point we’re just waiting for the next greatest mass shooting in US history in the next six months, and the one after that and the one after that. At this point, it’s just macabre theatre of the bloodiest kind.

PlayTime Picks: A Thursday peek at what’s hot each weekend around Chicago

It’s Thursday and time for Playtime picks the best and most unique in entertainment and events in and around Chicago. Playtime is heard each and every Thursday on French and Friends from 5-7pm on AM1590 WGCO in Chicago. Playtime is part of “Playtime with Sid and Bill, heard every Sunday from 1-3pm on WGCO, Chicago’s only and most irreverent radio show for the Arts and entertainment!  This week. bacon and beer, more beer. Music, and beer, Halloween a sing along at the bean, Beer! a meat market and the end of the world postponed.

  1. This Saturday, the bacon and Beer classic kicks off in Daley plaza from 1-6pm, 12 noon if you are on the VIP list. General Admission Tickets start at $55 for unlimited food and beer, plus a commemorative glass. VIP tickets start at $69, but that gets you in an hour early with an exclusive VIP line 50 brewers, including some of Chicago’s best, like Some of Chicago’s best beers: Metropolitan, Baderbrau, and Half Acre, and truly some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, like:

Ms. Tittle’s cupcakes

Flo, an interesting Mexican and American fusion place at 1434 west Chicago. Recommending their Sloppy Flo $10, made with Ground beef stewed in a red chili BBQ sauce on a toasted kaiser bun with red onion and pickled jalapenos, or the Guacamole BLT $9, made with Guacamole, thick cut bacon, tomato and romaine on toasted baguette. Personal favorite, their short rib tacos

Also Evanston and Wilmette’s own Bangers and lace, with their Duck BLT, made with duck sausage, tomato bacon chutney, arugula and a garlic aioli on chabatta roll. or Kielbasa and pork belly with beer braised Brussels sprouts, fried egg, potatoes and a mustard vinaigrette.

The public house. 400 north state, public for their brunch, gluten friendly, main menu and late night menu. Excellent burgers and sandwiches, ask about house cocktails, such as their Bad Apple- made with citron, apple liquor, lemon, guava, raspberry.

For information and tickets:


  1. The bacon and beer fest too pricey? Something for the whole family? How about free???? Join St. Benedict’s parish and neighbors Friday through Sunday, as they celebrate their German roots with the 52nd Annual St. Benedict OktoberFest. Held in the courtyard at 2215 west Irving. This is all ages, but you must be 21 to consume alcohol. Live music, Friday 6pm the Bratwurst brothers. Free still too steep? Volunteer for the event! And of course, it is for a great cause!

details and info at

 3. For two nights only, October 6, 7 at The Chicago Theatre Comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short. The show, a retrospective about their lives in show business, includes stand-up, film clips, musical numbers and conversations

  1. Shout out to bassist for The Imperial Blue Dogs Nick Georhke, who will be playing this Friday at the Basket Brigade Band Benefit 2017, their annual band benefit also performing with The Imperial Blue Dogs: Chasing Alice, U.F.C Raffles and auction items.  Friday at 6 PM – 11:59 PM The Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill7 W Streamwood Blvd, Streamwood. 100% of the proceeds goes to building Thanksgiving food baskets for needy families!
  1. And from Diana Dalnes, Sunday, OCT1st, 730pm at the Millennium Park Bean  

“This Is Halloween” To start off a kick on the first day of October we shall be singing “This Is Halloween” from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”! Show your Halloween Spirit!!!!!


  1. Running Saturday through Thursday October 5th, at the Steep Theatre 1115 West Berwyn, Chicago The Invisible Hand, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and directed by Audrey Francis tells the story of an American banker taken hostage by an isolated militant group in Pakistan. When his ransom goes unpaid, his only hope is to trade on his expertise in international finance to earn his way to freedom. This tense geo-political thriller asks, just how free is the free market?   

The Steep has won critical acclaim for outstanding works, brilliant acting whose previous plays, include HINTER, about a brutal murder and Earthquakes in London Earthquakes in London about the end of the world!


  1. And in a continuing effort to help Dan French find things to do  that don’t require travel or parking, Sep 30-oct1, from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm It’s the Argyle and Andersonville Global Food Tour…Toast like a Viking in a haunted speakeasy? An Asian market and mural walk on Argyle Street, French-Vietnamese Street food, tour Charlie Chaplin’s Essanay Studios, Taste your way through a Middle Eastern spice bazaar. $55 per person  Book online at


  1. From our friends at RadiO.D. congratulations as they celebrate their 100th show, and being voted the number 2 music radio DJ in the 2017 Chicago Reader poll this Friday with live performances featuring Evil Engine! in an exclusive event 6-9 pm, 2643 West Chicago Ave,Chicago!


Friday at Underground Lounge, 56 West Illinois St. it’s “Sasha’s crazy birthday party time extravaganza” w Battalion Of Saints/ The Nobodys/ The Cryptics plus locals Law Of Keanu/ Landspeeder/ Shots Fired Shots Fired

 10/1: @ Brauerhouse: Screaming Females also w/ Street Eaters/ Rad Payoff Brauerhouse, 1000 Rohlwing Rd, Lombard

 Sat & Sun, Sep 30th & Oct 1st @ Bottom Lounge, Riot Fest presents 2 Nights w/ Between The Buried And Me (Colors 10th Anniversary Tour). Also with The Contortionist/ Polyphia/ Toothgrinder Both shows are All Ages / & Both shows r @ Bottom Lounge, 1375 W Lake St, Chgo

 Sep 29th thru Oct 1st: @ The Metro. Cracknation Records presents “Cold Waves Vi”. 3 day fest of industrial music. The headliners by day are: Fri: Stabbing Westward link Sat: Front 242 link Sun: KMFDM All shows are 18+ / Metro, 3730 N Clark St, Chgo

 9/30: @ Reggies Rock Club, Empire Productions presents Agnostic Front(35th Anniversary Tour)/ Spare Change/ Crime Spree/ Decline 17+ / Reggies, 2105 S State St, Chgo


  1. Fulton Market Harvest Fest brings together Chicago’s restaurants, fantastic craft beer, live music and cooking demonstrations to celebrate the city’s rich culinary history. Curated by Chefs Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan, Fulton Market Harvest Fest unites the city’s top culinary talent with notable chefs from around the country for three days of pop-up dinners, food and beverage classes, cooking demonstrations and a neighborhood street fest. Proceeds from Fulton Market Harvest Fest benefit the food-focused charity, Pilot Light. Entrance on Fulton Market & Halsted St.

Saturday, September 30th 11am to 10pm, Sunday, October 1st 11am to 8pm

Something for the kids as well, with storytelling, music classes from The Old Town School of Folk Music, DIY snacks, a coloring station, pumpkin decorating and yoga with Barefeet Power Yoga.

Details, and a rundown of restaurants and some great music, including 2:45pm-4:00pm Golden Horse Ranch Band, rockabilly and roots country. The O’My’s Saturday at 7:15

Get the full itinerary at


  1. And finally, the end of the world has been rescheduled for sometime in October. The predictors of doom point to a math error and apologize for any inconvenience. The end of the world is an all ages event. We will let you know when the great tribulation has been rescheduled…


And that is Playtime Picks. This week on Playtime with Sid and Bill, featuring Kerri Kendall, Comedian Thomas Bottoms. Search Inc and Visibility Arts, a local effort supporting adults with developmental disabilities, a new segment taking an Arts approach to those with chronic pain and Fibromyalgia, The Art of Recovery with Stacy Ihlenfeld, RadiO.D., hot off their 100th episode celebration for the best in live metal and punk music. Sid gets a job and a date and Kerri toasts her friend, the late Hugh Hefner.


SORRY. Must Rant on Transgenders in the Military. Caution: Adult Language

A pal says this is another distraction, which is true to an extent. I would argue that the blatant and gleeful rollback of human rights regardless of the size or uncomfortable nature of that minority is dangerous to us all. Next, and mark my words, Trump will return the military to forcing homosexuals from the military. Once we get on that slippery slope, we’re on it, baby, and we are on it!

Regarding the transgender issue in the military. I’m hearing two arguments from the right against having transgender personnel in the military. The first is that keeping them out of the military is important for our national security. Number 2 is that the transgender personnel in the military are a tiny, tiny minority less than two-tenths of a percent. So which is it? If there’s such a tiny minority then it really doesn’t affect National Security which would seem to entirely in the gate the administration’s excuses.

Today the administration announced it would remove Transgender personnel from the military. I am confused, because I thought the Right was all about logic and a patriotism which extolls our soldiers-ALL of our soldiers?

I thought that everyone who serves in the military is a hero and we owe them an unending expression of gratitude, and yet not one person is saying the transgender people in the military ALREADY haven’t done their jobs. Like they all lay around all day dreaming of their new taxpayer-paid vaginas and penis’. So they aren’t being discriminated against based on merit.

As for the figure of 250 current taxpayer funded transgender surgeries to military personnel…I’ve known a lot of fat Type II diabetic motherfuckers in the military or spawning one too many army brats, getting hospitalized for drunken brawls, raping women overseas-and here- ALL ON THE TAXPAYERS DIME-I could go on and on about a whole fucking universe of “LIFESTYLE” issues costing me as a taxpayer money so spare me the bullshit propaganda about the cost of a surgery or two, or a couple hundred. Seems some schmuck dragged us into an unnecessary war costing taxpayers about 4000 funerals, better that 25000 injuries and lifetimes worth of rehab and medical costs.

And the final argument regards this fiction of unit cohesion, that in battle LGBTQ soldiers and service members will run away like dainty children or spend their energies checking out fellow service members rather than watching for the enemy. That would come to a great surprise to men like Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a decorated airman who flew combat missions over the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, or 10 year veteran and Army Captain, who sought a Texas congressional seat in 2012, or Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben who fled persecution in Europe when his homosexuality was revealed. Von Steuben was instrumental in helping America win its independence. More than 200 homosexual soldiers died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Maj. Alan Rogers who was killed in January 2008 in Iraq by a roadside bomb while on patrol.

Rush Limbaugh, Denis Prager and Kate Daly all expressed alarm that soldiers might see a vagina or a penis in a shower and lapse into a stupor from which they might not survive. having been to war, in the middle of battles, if those snowflakes are more upset by a non-lethal genital that seeing bodies ripped apart, not to mention the overall misery and trauma of the war experience, then I say, get rid of them all and give me a 100% LGBTQ military!