Free Entertainment Topics in Chicago

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  • 88 Years and Counting: The Theatre of Western Springs

    Ginny Richardson, Actor for 35 Years, Theatre of Western Springs

    The Theatre of Western Springs (TWS) has a fascinating story to tell. Months before the Great Depression (1929), a Western Springs woman - Mary Cattell - founded the venerable theatre. In the 1970s, a theatre building was built. Today, mortgage free, it houses two theatres – the Mainstage seats 400 and the Cattell Theatre seats 150. MORE >

    There are no auditions. Rather, it’s a company of approximately 300 people, both backstage workers and actors. TWS has a unique system: a committee of non-actors does the casting and the play selections. It’s worked for 88 years.
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  • Leaving a Video Legacy

    Dan Gelfond, Former Steven Spielberg Project Interviewers, Personal History Interviews

    Former Spielberg project interviewers recount their stories from 4 years of conducting interviews with Holocaust Survivor's around the world. 17 years of interviewing parents and Grandparents after the project was over are also detailed. Funny, moving and inspirational stories from these experiences are presented. Video clips are also shown along with tips on how to gather a life story. MORE >

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  • The Internet Ate My Brain

    Bill Dyszel, The Internet Ate My Brain

    This critically-acclaimed program of hilarious topical songs and audience activities, "The Internet Ate My Brain skewers topics as varied as our obsession with online shopping, addiction to selfies, online romance, and more. Combining live music, multimedia, and audience activities, the show gives audiences an experience that nothing on the Internet can match. MORE >

    In its recent New York run, the show was nominated for the Broadway World Award, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets' MAC Award, and named as one of the Top Ten shows of the year by Theater Pizzazz.

    This is the kind of presentation that starts by asking, “Please leave your cell phones on.” In the course of the presentation, audience members participate via text message while playing games to win prizes.

    Here’s what New York critics are saying:

    “The blazing inventiveness, razor-sharp comedy, and musical wit of The Internet Ate My Brain is unmatched by anything currently on the cabaret stage.”-Veronica Harper, Theater Pizzazz

    “The Internet Ate My Brain is that rare ‘message’ show that manages to provoke thought without preaching or rehashing platitudes….smart and timely…. sweet, funny, and apt.”-Victoria Ordin, Cabaret Scenes

    “Sprightly and fun…in the tradition of such mid-Twentieth-century performers as Allan Sherman and Tom Lehrer…”-Mark Dundas Wood, Bistro Awards

    For best results, you'll need to provide a facility with a sound system and the ability show video from a computer. Inquire for further details.

    One free performance is available per month, NOT during business hours M-F 9 am to 5 pm. At this point the schedule of free performances is full through February 2017.

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  • In the Belly of the Blues

    Terry Abrahamson, Author, In the Belly of the Blues

    Terry’s talk is great for baby boomers, black studies groups and music lovers. He takes the audience back to the crossroads of musical history with tales and photos from his book, “In the Belly of the Blues,” of his days with musicians like the Rolling Stones, BB King and Howlin’ Wolf using rare music, video and hilarious first-person anecdotes. MORE >

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  • The Funniest Comedians of Radio and Television

    Larry Bergnach, Entertainer, Reminiscing with Larry

    Relive the laughs and skits of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Burns and Allen, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Fibber McGee and Molly, Victor Borge, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, The Bickersons and many more.

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  • All About The Theatre of Western Springs

    Bill Hammack, Theatre Junkie

    The Theatre of Western Springs is a very successful community theatre that has as its mission “to entertain, to educate, and to inspire across the generations through the art of live theatre.” As managing director of TWS for 8 years, Bill is in a unique position to talk about the history, the present and the future of this venerable playhouse. He illustrates his talk with photographs from past productions and fascinating looks behind-the-scenes of this 87 year-old institution. MORE >

    Note: This presentation requires the venue to supply a projector. Mr. Hammack will supply a laptop computer.
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  • Trails and Rails

    James Carr, Canaller

    My experiences after 15 years as a docent on Amtrak.

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  • The I&M Canal and Its People

    James Carr, Canaller

    Why was the I&M Canal built? How does it effect where you live today? “Meet” Timothy James Carr, a muleboy, tillersman, captain and locktender on the I&M Canal during the 1830’s!

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  • Video game accessibility

    Robert Kingett, Journalist, Freelance

    Video game accessibility is essential for all parties involved, from developers to gamers. This keynote lasts for about 30 minutes with Q&A afterwards but duration can be negotiable. In this keynote Kingett will talk about what makes a game accessible and why developers should strive for accessible game design.

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  • Hey Ref, You’re Missing a Great Game Down There!

    Yale R. Jaffe, Official, Illinois High School Basketball

    Based on 20 years of working as a H.S. basketball referee, Yale presents a fun talk that pokes fun at the good and bad sides of prep sports. Several themes are stitched together by firsthand anecdotes. This is a fab talk for sports fans, players, and parents.

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