Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Yippie, A Hollie, Billie, And The Beatles Add Up To Another Awesome August


In Chicago, there’s just something about the months that start with the letter ‘A.’ April brings International Pop Overthrow - Chicago; Record Store Day; Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2);  and CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies and Music), all within a period of a few weeks. And every August, right around the middle of the month, we have the Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival; Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago; and Wizard World Comic Con Chicago.

Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins #27 kicks of next Friday, August 14 with the traditional gathering at Daley Plaza, followed by a march back to the Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s home base at the intersection of Sheridan Road and Broadway. Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky conducts the Opening Ceremonies in the persona of Abbie Hoffman at 7:00 PM, and from there, this freewheeling celebration of drama, comedy, performance art, and music runs virtually nonstop through midnight (usually later) on Sunday.

My recommendations include Diary Of A Madman performed by Rush Pearson; Gas Mask 101 performed by Mary-Arrchie Theatre; And Now performed by Black Forest; Organic Free-Range Non-Genetically Modified Comedy performed by Famous In The Future; and The Best Of Democracy Burlesque performed by Democracy Burlesque. Full disclosure: I was a member of Famous In The Future for 20 years. Famous In The Future founding member/Syd Barrett fanatic Frank Carr has posted the entire schedule on his comedy group’s website.

The Fest For Beatles Fans returns to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont next weekend, August 14–16. It’s a major reason I’ve declared this A Hollies Summer In Chicago, since this year’s guests include Terry Sylvester, who replaced Graham Nash in The Hollies and stayed with them for several years. He’ll be performing on Saturday and Sunday night at The Fest.

George Harrison’s sister Louise will also be there; along with former president of Apple Records Jack Oliver; Ringo Starr’s Musical Director saxophone player/vocalist Mark Rivera; musician/producer Mark Hudson; Bill Kinsley from The Mereybeats; and the Beatles tribute band Liverpool. The Weeklings, a new group featuring members of Liverpool that mixes Beatles rarities with original tunes, will perform on Sunday of The Fest. WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert will once again serve as Master Of Ceremonies; there will be several interesting guest speakers; Beatles art; and a huge marketplace offering every conceivable variation of Beatles-related goods.

This year, Wizard World Comic Con Chicago gets its own weekend; bringing movie and TV stars; comic artists; row after row of vendors; and lots of people in imaginative costumes to the Donald E. Stephens Center in Rosemont from Thursday, August 20 through Sunday, August 24. I’ll kind of miss that crossover of sci-fi and Beatles fans that happens when Fest For Beatles Fans and Comic Con take place simultaneously in Rosemont, across the street from each other.

Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler on Doctor Who and is also known for her work in Penny Dreadful and Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, will be there, as will be Arthur Darville, who played Rory Williams on Doctor Who and portrays Rip Hunter on the upcoming TV series DC’s Legends Of TomorrowOther major guests include Jeremy Renner from The Avengers movies; Emilie De Ravin from Once Upon A Time and Lost; Nathan Fillion from Castle and Firefly; and Kristy Swanson from Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to keep up an annual tradition by covering these events more extensively here on Broken Hearted Toy.

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