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Chicago Crush: Eva Ball (aka Linda Ballzenstein)

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Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.

Some crushes take more work than others. For example, back in ‘88, I flew all the way to Connecticut because David Letterman wanted me to deliver cookies and an empty whiskey bottle to his foyer before stealing his Porsche. I said, “David, can’t I vibe on you from afar?” But he was adamant. Man, the things I do for love!

Luckily, I stumbled across my latest crush right here at a Chicago summer street fest, you know, the one with the henna tattoo booth? Yeah, that one. I never miss it; I’m a sucker for $20 mojitos. I was haggling over the price of a toe ring (totally hip right now since it’s 1994) when the first snarling lines of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance“ wafted toward me from a nearby stage. Thinking it was Gaga and I could save myself a trip to L.A., I dropped the ring into a pile of bottle cap magnets and braided leather bracelets to race toward the music’s source.

My disappointment turned instantly to awe as I realized the performer before me, beautiful and charismatic, has one thing Lady Gaga doesn’t; she’s local.

Readers, meet August’s Chicago Crush of the Month:

Name: Eva Ball aka “Linda Ballzenstein”
Hometown: Oak Park
Profession: Rocker/Anti-Rape Activist
Hobbies: Friends, food, fun.
Our Town: I was surprised to find your background is in social work. How does your band, “Wedding Banned” fit in?
Eva Ball: Wedding Banned is ridiculously fun. And fun is important – especially for an activist. Wedding Banned reminds me not to take life too seriously. After all, it’s hard to get too serious when you’re hanging out with six guys in fake mustaches, wigs and ruffled tuxedos.
OT: What’s your onstage persona like?
EB: Equal parts comedian and sexpot, “Ballz” is a recovering alcoholic with a lifetime of performance experience. She starts the night conservatively dressed and sober but after being rebuffed by lead guitar player and love-of-her-life, Vinnie Van Action, she turns to Jack Daniels and ends the show in a sequin mini-dress.
OT: Best/worst performance moment?
EB: Best: playing to a sold-out crowd at Chicago’s House of Blues. Worst: any time an audience member confuses my short skirt with an invitation to treat me with disrespect.
OT: Describe your perfect day.
EB: Garden, read, eat, sex, nap, repeat.
OT: Relationship deal-breaker?
EB: Rigid notions about what a relationship “should” be. Make the rules up as you go along.
OT: First crush?
EB: My neighbor Zachary Crantz. At 5 years old I chased him around the house trying to kiss him. Although I never succeeded, it taught me to handle rejection, handy in my awkward teenage years.
OT: Why are you crushworthy?
EB: I understand that it’s not what you look like or what your wear that makes you sexy. It’s all about confidence.
OT: Any questions for me?
EB: Are those my initials carved into your leg?

Performing with Wedding Banned since 2005, during the week Eva Ball works as the Prevention Education Specialist at the largest anti-rape organization in Chicago. The founder of SHEER - Sexuality Health Education to End Rape, she holds a Masters in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work at UIC. An eternal optimist, Eva believes we can all be catalysts for positive change in the world, but not if we neglect to enjoy our lives and appreciate what we have. To learn more about Eva’s activism check out her blog at

Wedding Banned August shows include: Retro on Roscoe, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday; Lindenhurstfest 9:30-11:30 p.m., Aug. 14; and Northside Summerfest, 8-10 p.m. Aug. 21. Visit for more dates.

Think you or someone you know is crushworthy? Write Sarah at, subject line Sun Times Blog Crush. You provide the nomination, she’ll provide the binoculars.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Wood published on August 3, 2010 2:45 PM.

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