The Daily Sizzle

A daily dose of arts and entertainment

image005.jpg (Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo)

Lincoln Park Zoo announced some new and adorable zoo babies on Thursday - six trumpeter swan cygnets that hatched June 5.

The cygnets, the first born at the zoo since 2009, will be released into the wild in four months as part of a wildlife reintroduction program the zoo has been involved with for a decade. The zoo previously has released 35 swans into Iowa.

"Trumpeter swans were literally on the brink of extinction just a few decades ago," said Sunny Nelson, Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds, in an email. "Now, thanks to reintroduction efforts like this one, these beautiful birds can be found throughout the region. Chicks hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo are actually breeding in the wild and creating the next generation."

Trumpeter swans are fiercely protective parents so don't get too close. The cygnets will triple in size in the next four months while acquiring skills necessary to live in the wild, Nelson said.

Credit: Rich Chapman/Chicago Sun-Times

Costumes! Booze! Arm wrestling! Booze! Smack talk! Booze! That's what awaits you at the next CLLAW (Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestling) blowout -- its 16th -- on Friday, June 7 at the Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N. Kedzie). The mayhem begins at 10 p.m.

What you'll see at this theatrical fundraising event for Sideshow Theatre Company : becostumed women -- tough dames and indelicate flowers like the Killer Bee and Macho Ma'am Candy Savage -- berating and beating up on each other during refereed matches. Here's a tip, though: you can buy "Cllawbucks" to bribe the refs -- or anyone else who'll help put your favorite grappler over the top.

Check out this Sun-Times story on the group for more elucidation on the subject.

"ON BALANCE, OFF BALANCE, DOESN'T MATTER," Savage blustered on Facebook. "I'M BETTER THAN YOU! And tomorrow, at CLLAW XVI, I take my RIGHTFUL seat as the MACHO QUEEN when I defeat The Killer Bee for the Championship Title! OOH YEAH! CAN YOU FEEL THE MADNESS?! YEAH! DIG IT!"

Music is provided by the Black Laces and the Lucky Shiners, general admission is only $10 (drink available at cash bar) and proceeds benefit Sideshow as well as C4 -- Community Counseling Centers of Chicago.

This weekend (Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m.) is your last chance to catch "The Silent Language," a magical production by TUTA Theatre Chicago. Anyone intrigued by the imaginative environments theater can conjure should try to see it.

Enter the second floor loft space of TUTA at 2010 W. Fulton and you might think you've stumbled into a wholly enchanted gypsy caravan camp, with great swaths of fabric draped from the rafters, a battered piano in one corner, battered trunks in another. The suggestive sounds of birds and other creatures can be heard in the background.

This is the fairy tale world of "The Silent Language," and the place where Poor Gasho, a hapless fellow, unexpectedly acquires the ability to hear and understand those animal "languages" and the those of the rest of nature, from the wind to the water. Gasho also becomes hellbent on saving an imprisoned princess held captive by a classic ogre. The show, in its U.S. premiere, is the work of Serbian playwright Miodrag Stanisavljevic. But the real enchantment here has less to do with the script than with the way director Jacqueline Stone has brought it to wondrous life.

Stone gets fine support from composer Wain Parham (a wacky Balkan band sequence is irresistible), from choreographer Ailen McGrody (who has staged a terrific Serbian wedding dance), as well as from her nimble cast of seven delightfully wily, frequently morphing actors (Max Lotspeich as Gasho , Laurie Larson, Jaimelyn Gray, Angela Bullard, Sean Ewert, Aaron Lawson and Carolyn Molloy). But the true brilliance here lies in the design team. Bravos for Michelle Lilly (set), Branimira Ivanova (costumes), Kirk Anderson (masks) and Joe Court (sound).

Tickets for the 90-minute show (a trim would have made it stronger), come in the form of suggested donations of $25 for adults and $15 for kids (age eight and up). The audience is seated on everything from posh antique chairs to settees. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit

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Raymond Luke Jr. (center) as Michael Jackson with the Jackson 5 in"Motown the Musical." | JOAN MARCUS PHOTO

The Broadway smash hit "Motown the Musical," based on the life and career of Motown founder Berry Gordy, will kick off its national tour in Chicago next year. Broadway in Chicago today announced the show will play the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, April 22-July 13, 2014.

The musical, written by Gordy and based on his 1994 autobiography ("To Be Loved: the Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown"), is blessed with a treasure-trove of iconic songs (many of them truncated or sung in medleys, according to hugely positive, yet still mixed reviews out of New York) from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. The stars represented in the show include Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, to name a few.

The creative team behind "Motown" includes Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum, who has close ties to Chicago.

"It's an honor to launch the tour of 'Motown The Musical' in Chicago-- I attended Deerfield High School, and it's where I developed my love for Broadway," McCollum said in a prepared statement. "Chicagoans have always had a deep appreciation for great music, great theatre, and great history, which makes it the perfect place to be the first city outside of NY to host Berry Gordy's incredible story and the legendary Motown catalog. It is a credit to the State Legislature's support of theater for the Illinois Live Theater Production Tax Credit, which made 'Motown' launching in Chicago possible."

The show is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox ("Blues in the Night") and Warren Adams ("Toy Story"), with music arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp ("Rock of Ages").

Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date. For more information, visit


Chicago native Chaka Khan has canceled four June concert dates after her doctor ordered a period of vocal rest. The canceled dates are a show at the Capital Jazz Festival in Columbia, Md., Saturday; Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Sunday; a concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Columbus, Ohio on June 14, and an appearance in "Joni: A Portrait in Song at Massey Hall in Toronto, June 18-19.

Despite the cancellations, Khan, 60, plans to attend the 8th annual Apollo Spring Gala on Monday at the Apollo Theater in New York City, at which she will be inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. R&B artist Erykah Badu will present Khan, who marks her 40th anniversary in entertainment this year, with the Apollo's highest honor. The program will include tribute performances by R&B/soul artists Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige and Deborah Cox.

Khan's upcoming album, "The iKhan Project: Alive," originally set for a July 2 release, has been pushed to this fall. "Due to her doctor's orders, it's best that we move the date to give her the proper and adequate time to promote and market the new album," said Tammy McCrary of Chaka Khan Management and Enterprises in a statement.

On her site,, she said, "Guess I won't be doing this for a little while. I really hate disappointing the audiences who were looking forward to my shows. Rest assured, I will be back and better than ever!"


The Sundance Institute is honoring former Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert by offering scholarships for the Indiewire Critics Academy at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The "Ebert Scholars" program also looks to match the critics with more experienced critic mentors.

"You can help keep Roger Ebert's inspiration, spirit and passion for the Festival going for another generation," according to an announcement here, where you can also donate to the scholarship fund. "Independent film needs thoughtful, authentic and independent voices in journalism."

The goal is to offer $25,000 per year for eight scholars.

Renoir_The-Loge.png ("The Loge," Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

The Art Institute of Chicago opens "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity," an exhibit jointly organized by the museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Musee d'Orsay, Paris, on June 26.

The exhibit, which features 75 figure paintings by Impressionists and their contemporaries, opened in Paris in October 2012, where it set attendance records. It aims to tell the story of the evolution of fashion in late 19th-century Paris and how that inspired artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gorges Seurat and Edgar Degas.

Museum admission and hour information, including information about extended summer hours, can be found here.

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Only 26 and the new sous chef at Henri in Chicago, Brandon Zarb beat out his competitors to win the Midwest regional stage of the Chaine des Rotisseurs "Best Young Chef" competition. On Saturday, June 8 at Kendall College in Chicago, he'll take on nine other regional champs in a bid for national glory.

Should he win, here's what he'll get: a crystal trophy, a red-ribboned medal and a three-year membership to Chaine -- which bills itself as an "invitation-only" association for "professional chefs and non-professional gastronomic enthusiasts." He'll also be jetted to Istanbul, Turkey, for an international contest that pits him against 23 other chefs from 80 member nations.

Zarb hails from Detroit, Michigan, the state where he got his first taste of the culinary life washing dishes at a busy bakery. His Henri gig started in May.

"I can't think of any better way to push myself," Zarb said of the Chaine competition. "Competing at this level makes you a better chef, win or lose."

5 Things to Do This Weekend 06.07.13

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No excuses! Get out there and enjoy!

Pitbull/ AP PHOTO

The rapper-songwriter-producerheadlines the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park at 7:30 p.m. June 9. Ke$ha shares the bill. $25-$140. Visit

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Shemekia Copeland

The CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL (June 6-9) is celebrating a storied musical road this year. The fest's overall theme focuses on music's journey from the Mississippi Delta to the legendary blues clubs of Chicago.

Headliners include: Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush and his Blues Band, Eddie Shaw, Larry McCray, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay, the Bar-Kays and so many more.

The fest is free and it takes place in Millennium Park (June 6) and Grant Park (June 7-9).

More information and a complete schedule of performers can be found at

The Fiesta Back of the Yards takes place along 47th Street, between Ashland and Damen, June 7-9. The cultural celebratoin features area merchants, food vendors, artisans, carnival rides, raffles and three stages of live entertainment. $50-$55. Hours vary. Visit

Mucca Pazza

Mucca Pazza, the 28-piece, punk marching band that thinks it's a rock 'n' roll band and is known to incite mass dance outbreaks, performa at 8 p.m. June 8 as part of the monthlong Pivot Multi-Arts Festival. Ami Saraiya opens.$15. FLATStheatre, 1050 W. Wilson. For a complete schedule of theater, music, dance, puppetry, community picnics and the rest of the fest, visit

The Features will perform at this weekend's Chicago Rib Fest.

It's the 15th year for Chicago Rib Fest, one of Chicago's biggest street parties, featuring more than 50,000 pounds of pork and as many attendees over the three-day music/food extravanza, June 7-9, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Lincoln, Irving Park and Damen. Local grillmasters will be back to win the coveted "best of the fest" barbecue rib crown. Indie rockers The Features are among the musical lineup. The fest's "Kids Square" also returns for hours and hours of fun and music tailormade for the kiddies. Visit for all the specifics. (Source:

Kristin Cavallari's friends feted her with a West Hollywood bridal shower June 2 in anticipation of her summer wedding to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

Cavallari, who made a name for herself acting inappropriately on reality shows, surprisingly said she is nervous for the guests' first glimpse of the bride.

"I'm only nervous to walk down the aisle, because everyone's staring at you!" she told E! at her bridal shower, which was sponsored by Cîroc.

The timing appears to be right for the on-again, off-again couple, who have a 10-month-old son named Camden, Cavallari told the cable station.

"I feel like with Jay and I, now we're really ready to get married," she said. "Two years ago, we weren't ready. If we would have gotten married I don't think it would have worked out. But I feel like now we're in such a good place and it's the perfect time to do it."

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