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826CHI students visit the White House!

826CHI students visit the White House!

May 11th—

At the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama, 826CHI visited the White House to participate in a poetry workshop with some of the brightest names in the arts and humanities. Sitting in the State Room, 826CHI high school students Sarah Meyer and Phoebe Murtagh learned about the pain, pleasure and power of poetry from the likes of poet laureate Billy Collins, Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Kenny Goldsmith, Alison Knowles and Aimee Mann.

Though perhaps not the most poetic description of the afternoon, the students' chaperone uttered, "This is awesome." The sentiment was quickly heightened by Sarah, "This is beyond awesome."
 

826CHI Presents: An Evening of Rock ‘N Roll

826CHI Presents: An Evening of Rock ‘N Roll

March 21st—

We like all kinds of music at 826CHI (you'll rarely walk into The Boring Store without hearing some foot tapping tunes) and that definitely includes rock music. Which is why we're excited to have a handful of amazing bands (Like Pioneers, BOAT, The Buddyrevelles, Milagres and Creeping Weeds) playing at The Double Door on Thursday, April 7th in support of 826CHI.

To get you even more excited for the show (if that's even possible at this point), we gathered interview questions from a number of our students and sent them along to the bands. Every couple of days leading up to the show, we'll be posting the results of those interviews.

Like Pioneers consists of members of Bound Stems, the Narrator, Chin Up Chin Up, Vacations, and a whole host of other Chicago bands. Last year, they joined forces to record the LP, Piecemeal, which you can read a review of here written by long-time 826CHI volunteer, Adam Kivel. Five of the 42 members of Like Pioneers, Bobby Gallivan, Dan Radzicki, Matt Holland, Jesse Woghin, and Janie Porche, took a stab at answering our questions.

826:Why did you pick that name for your band and what other ideas did you have?
Bobby Gallivan: We picked that name to avoid talking anymore about picking a name. "Grape" was another idea that I had. No one liked that name, including me.
Dan Radzicki: It initially sounded funny and sarcastic. The problem with that being when you repeat something dozens of times it is drained of sarcastic humor and just becomes unexplainable.
Matt Holland: It is totally funny, and is not a name that has the word "THE" in front of it, that's why I like it.
Jesse Woghin: I wanted to call our band Ghost Jeans or Ghost Genes, because someone said it to me once and it cracked me up. As you can see I got outvoted.

826: Where did you learn to play rock 'n roll?
BG: Solid Gold.
DR: From a Def Leppard tour poster on my neighbor's wall.
MH: Videos on MTV and my walkman. Do those things make me sound old?
JW: I'll answer this one honestly: I got a guitar for my 16th birthday. I'd just sit in my room and listen to all my Ramones, Descendents, & Nirvana CDs over & over & over until I knew how to play my favorite songs. After that, I just started to write songs that I thought sounded kinda like those until I felt good about them. I really have no clue how to technically "play" a guitar to this day, but I think my favorite bands served me better than any lessons could have.

826: How much do you hate the question "Where do you get your inspiration?"
BG: Very much.
DR: I hate it so much I wanna write a song about it.
MH: A lot.
JW: It's definitely not my favorite question. Today I'm getting my inspiration from coffee. Lots of it.

826: What is the band's favorite color and why? (You all have to agree on one color).
Janie Porche: I'd offer green and orange.
BG: Green.
DR: Green, because sometimes it's just easier to agree.
MH: Green.
JW: I'm gonna go with green, because it's nice not to argue. If I had to guess why we picked green, I'd say it reminds us of open fields.

826: How did you pass geometry?
JP: Once I learned that geometry helps you dominate at ping pong, I started paying more attention.
BG: With grit and determination.
DR: I wanted it more than the next guy.
JW: I really like shapes, especially rhombuses, so I think I'm just kinda built for geometry. Oh, and I did my homework. Do your homework, too!

826: Have you ever had a wedgie?
JP: Yes to wedgies, once in a swimsuit.
BG: Yes.
DR: Never on purpose.
JW: I may or may not have a wedgie at this very moment. I plead the fifth.
MH: Oh yeah. I'm alright at giving them as well.

Doors are at 8:00pm on April 7th, the bands will start around 8:30. Tickets can be bought at the door or on-line.

Essay Fiesta

Essay Fiesta

March 10th—

Break out the streamers, noisemakers and well-crafted writing pieces, you are invited to an essay party! The brain child of Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon, Essay Fiesta brings together awesome folks from Chicago's art and writing communities, once a month, for a night of first-person, non-fiction essay readings. On top of that, the nights seek to raise funds for a local nonprofit.

Well, we're extremely excited to reveal that Essay Fiesta has chosen 826CHI as its beneficiary for the upcoming year. It's a match made in party heaven.

Come on out, Monday, March 21st, at 7pm to the Book Cellar for this month's installment. As usual, this month's reading is loaded with some very cool people reading very cool things. And mark your calendar to join us every third monday of the month at 7pm throughout the year! Visit essayfiesta.com for more information!
 

A Jolly Great Time

March 7th—

To all you kings, queens, knights, Sherlock Holmeses, Beckhams, Poshes, Demon Barbers, giant bags of tea, underground tube maps, chimney sweeps, Hogwarts teachers, Sir Isaac Newtons and Apple trees, Helena Bonham Carters, Modest Proposals, Union Jacks, Wimbledon players, Fair Ladies, Peter Pans, Wendys, cricketers, Steve Bobbits as Rod Stewarts, and the like, a tremendous THANK YOU for making PROMME a success.

Our annual big dance to raise some fun and funds was absolutely fabulous.

Clearly, you should continue to drink brews from Haymarket Pub & Brewery, the great donors of the evening's pints. Not only are the people there incredibly nice, their beverages taste delicious.

Thanks as well to the British Consulate-General who lent us portraits of Her Majesty and many royal flags and banners.

Thanks to our DJ's 'Frier' Tuck and DJ KimBell. Thanks to our photographers, Sarah Jane Rhee and Justin Goh and co. Some pictures are already up here, with more to come!

Thanks too to our generous donors to the silent auciton and raffle: Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Parkways Foundation/Lollapalooza, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, WBEZ, Sound Opinions, Rock Candy By Helen, Revolution Brewing, Multilingual Chicago, Vosges Chocolate, 105f Bikram Yoga Chicago, Improvised Shakespeare Co., The Spice House, Terin, Elephant & Castle Pub, Greatlakes Brewing Co., Butcher & Larder, Reckless Records, Myopic Books, Peggy Notebaert Museum, Mr. Barna, Jerry's Sandwich Shop, Salon Blonde, Zanies Comedy, Second City, Comedy Sportz, Fairmont Hotel, Worm Hole Coffee

E Pluribus ‘Awesum’

February 28th—

E Pluribus Unum is certainly a nice phrase to mold into coins. But, dare we argue, it's an even nicer phrase to build a book from. Yes, "out of many, one" has been our guiding force as we move into the final phases of our Big Spring Book Project. The project: one amazingly big story created by many, many, many students from all over Chicago.

Students from one school developed the characters while students from another came up with some pivotal plot points. Students from one school were fleshing out some telling scenes while students at another school threw came up with crucial twists and maybe even a villain or two. At every turn, students are learning about what goes into a fantastic story while simultaneously unleashing their imaginations on the prompts they're given.

We will certainly let you know when this one book will be available for you to give as a gift to yourself and your many, many friends.
 

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