Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Part of YOUR Community

A community is built on sharing our lives and experiences with each other. In the past two weeks we have been privileged to welcome so many of you to performances at the MAC. We are so grateful to be a part of YOUR community. We look forward at each performance to visiting with you and getting to know you better.

If you don't have a chance to visit with us at a performance or just have a question please feel free to email us at

We also want to share with you the photographs from September's Blues & BBQ Birthday Bash. What a great night it was and we were thrilled to have so many from our community there to celebrate with us.

Thank you again for welcoming the MAC into your community.

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men." ~Herman Melville

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweet Baby Ray's and Two Brothers Announce Menu

The best purveyors of barbecue in Chicagoland have announced their menu for the MAC's 25th birthday bash. After being treated to some of these dishes I can assure you that Chef Dylan is a barbecue artist.

Sweet Baby Ray's Sandwiches accompanied by a side of creamy coleslaw
Pulled Pork
seasoned with our special rub, smoked low & slow for up to 12 hours hand pulled and tossed with sweet baby ray's barbecue sauce
Pulled Chicken
seasoned and smoked then hand pulled tossed with sweet baby ray's barbecue sauce
Sliced Texas Brisket
seasoned with our Texas rub, smoked for up to 14 hours sliced and served with our Texas inspired barbecue sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's Martinis
Classic Barbecue Martini
layers of our signature creamy coleslaw & our housemade barbecue baked beans garnished with a single bone of our award winning sweet baby ray's ribs
Green Chile Mac Martini
our housemade signature green chile mac & cheese garnished with honey kissed cornbread

Housemade Caramel Chocolate Bread Pudding

Sweet Baby Ray's Signature Housemade Side Shots
Sweet Baby Ray's Signature Barbecue Baked Beans
Creamy Coleslaw
Green Chile Mac & Cheese

The guys at Two Brother's Brewing Company are also artists in the craft of making amazing beer. They will feature three fine artisan brews this weekend.

Domaine Dupage
A french country ale with a toasty and sweet caramel start with a light hoppy finish

Bitter End
An American pale ale with a subtle malty character that combines three classic American hop varieties

Pararie Path Ale
A crip and drinkable golden ale with a complex malt character paired with Saaz and Golding hops

We look forward to seeing lots of our friends this Saturday for good food, good beer and good Blues.

be well

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Music of a Mountain Man

By Amy Calhoun

Wade Mainer, the “Grandfather of Bluegrass,” passed away on Sept. 12 at the age of 104.

A legendary banjo player, Mainer influenced many including the likes of David Holt, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley.

A pioneer in the bluegrass and country music world, Mainer performed regularly with his wife Julia.

Mainer’s musical contributions will continue to live on in the sounds of today’s country and bluegrass bands.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lights Camera Action

By Amy Calhoun

What is it that draws us to film? For some it is action, others the story and some would say cinematography.

In his book, The Power of Film, UCLA professor Howard Suber suggests it is the give and take of film that makes is appealing and memorable.

"The audience projects onto the image on the screen the relationship between thought and emotion. It is therefore an active collaborator in the process ofconstructing the story.

The trick, of course, is to get the audience to project onto the screen what you intend them to."

While Suber is specifically referring to memorable American films, the same still spplies to the viewing of international films - maybe even more so.

In languages you may not even speak, you are actively projecting upon what you are viewing as well as quickly absorbing the dialogue through subtitles - and you are drawn in. The protagonist and antagonist demonstrating their "individual human decisions and actions, and the consequences of both" (Suber) often relate to our own lives through these actions.

Film in any language can fascinate us, help us to create our own stories and simply release us into an experience outside of our own.

At the MAC, we look forward to sharing Global Flicks with you this season and hope you will join us this fall for three films.

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Sita Sings the Blues
Web site

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Web site

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Web site

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Season Announced

We have announced our 2011-2012 season - and we think it is pretty special.

We have some great events including Rosanne Cash, Garrison Keillor, Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain, Buckwheat Zydeco, Hot Club of Cowtown, Patricia Barber, and much much more. Including our gallery shows, the Schoolstage series, Global Flicks, and our lecture series there are over 70 events for arts lovers to choose from.

Donors and past subscribers may purchase now through June 14.
On June 15 MAC Packs (subscriptions) are available to the public and on
August 10 single tickets go on sale.

Brochures are in the mail or available at our ticket office. If you have not received one you may contact our ticket office and we will be happy to mail one out. View the MAC PACK 2011-2012 Subscription E-Booklet! MAC Ticket Office: 630-942-4000

Hope to see you at the MAC.

be well

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love, Marriage … and Divorce

by Jessica Lippman, PhD

Noël Coward’ s Private Lives focuses on a couple who have divorced after a volatile three-year-long marriage, and, five years later, discover that they are sharing a terrace while on their honeymoons with their new and spouses. Despite the stormy marriage, which was filled with screeching egos and obsessions, they realize that they still have feelings for one another.

“Love is no use unless it's wise, and kind, and undramatic,” Elyot insists to his new wife Sybil. “Something steady and sweet, to smooth out your nerves when you're tired.”

Amanda and Elyot fight, shriek, scream and yet love each other all the way through the play. Yet, they have an unbreakable bond and cannot live without each other, although they also appear to have difficulty living with each other. By the end of play they are older and wiser and aware that what unites them is more powerful than what divides them. The audience witnesses that there is something like love or at least the romantic fascination cloaked in bruised hostility. Marriage and romance are difficult but the poignant point is that they are an essential aspect of the human condition.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, is the author of the often quoted adage, “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” This appears to be the axiom that Elyot and Amanda follow.

Elyot and Amanda had an explosive partnership while married to each other. After their divorce they operated on the principle that opposites attract and apparently that is what they sought in their new relationships. This proved to be unfulfilling and uninspired, and, at the end of the play, they are reunited.

Although the play lampoons the social conventions of the early 20th century, today two million couples marry each year. One million couples file for divorce every year, and over seventy percent of second marriages end in divorce. In the United States alone, 2.2 million people under the age of thirty-five get divorced. The people who seek therapy may change but over time the problems remain the same, relationships and communication.

I tell my patients there are 8 C’s that are important and required for every relationship if the connection is to work:

1. Commitment to the relationship and to each other –spend time with one another and do not be prone to run out of a relationship when things go wrong.
2. Connection - people often marry because they want to be married not because they want to be married to that particular person. You should feel a real deep connection
3. Chemistry
4. Communication
5. Concern and empathic involvement
6. Caution – words and actions have consequences on another person.
7. Clarity – do not have unrealistic expectation of the other person. Know and accept the other person. Do not marry thinking you will change your partner. Probably, one of the major reasons for divorce.
8. Changing someone –I want to say, expect the unexpected- Untoward (inconvenient) things happen - example losing your job, people getting ill.

Divorce and its aftermath is a lifelong force that follows an individual and helps to guide their decision making throughout their life.

Many people who are contemplating divorce feel lonely and alone and overwhelmed by what lies ahead of them. How do they handle their own emotional upheaval let alone be available and helpful to their children who have to handle the residual “fall out?” While the decisions of the couples in “Private Lives” affect only one another, in reality any discussion of divorce must encompass the impact on children, if any.

Some important considerations for people with children who are thinking of a divorce, in the middle of a divorce or are divorced:

1. It is important for meaningful relationships to remain undisturbed.

A. School, sitters, daycare, contact with family, grandparents, neighbors.
B. Sometimes the extended family will feel it is disloyal to their daughter or son if civil relationships are continued. Maintain these important relationships. A couple divorces one another they do not divorce the children or meaningful family or community relationships

2. If it is possible stay in the same home. Sometimes this is not possible because of finances, or job issues.

3. Degree of support that the home parent offers is of primary importance.

4. It is important not to devalue the other parent because if this is done it can be another loss for the child. It is important to value and not denigrate the other parent, because the child may identify with that parent. The identification is an aspect of the child’s self.

5. IF HOSTILITIES can be contained THE FAMILY support network can remain intact.

6. Parents when under stress often accuse a child of being “just like” the absent parent in a derogatory way. This is not helpful.

7. It is found that having community and social networks in place is important for helping people to deal with the consequences of adverse events, like divorce.

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's production of PRIVATE LIVES runs from May 5 to 29.

Jessica Lippman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Chicago, Illinois for more than 30 years. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, IL and is the co-author of two books, "Divorcing With Children: Expert Answers to Tough Questions from Parents and Children" and “Helping Children Cope with the Death of a Parent: A Guide for the First Year” . She regularly treats children, adolescents and adults who have experienced divorce themselves or have experienced the divorce of their parents. Dr. Lippman regularly appears in media and has been interviewed and featured in the Wall Street Journal, London Times, Chicago Tribune, Sirius Satellite Radio’s Judith Regan and Out Q.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Next Season - Already?

Folks have been coming up to me and asking about the 2011-12 season. I'm thrilled people are so eager to learn what is coming next year. Although we still have many great events left in this season - NYG&S Pirates of Penzance, John Pizzarelli, Capitol Steps..., everyone at the MAC has been working hard to button down our plans for next year.

New Philharmonic is considering a big Beethoven and a concert featuring a Van Cliburn finalist. Kirk will announce their season at the April 15 and 16 Brahms concert.

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble has another great slate of dramas and a side splitting farce in store for theatre patrons and will announce their season this May during the run of Noel Coward's Private Lives.

The MAC hopes to kick off its season with a Blues Bash celebrating homegrown Chicago Blues. I can tell you that the season will be full of Taiko drumming from Japan, American roots music from a legend, passionate Flamenco from Spain, Afro-Latin Jazz, Grammy winners in Country, Bluegrass, Jazz and Pop, and much, much more.

Sorry to be coy, but we are finalizing our deals and hope to have more information out in late May.

be well

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One of the Best Voices I’ve Ever Heard

By Amy Calhoun

I was introduced to Rani Arbo’s beautiful vocals back in 1997 when she and bandmate Andrew Kinsey were part of a group called Salamander Crossing.

Fast forward 13 years and you can imagine my surprise when I learned Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem had been booked for Club MAC. I was thrilled!

Why am I looking forward to Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem so much?

Their voices blend into a cohesive sound creating the most beautiful harmonies I’ve ever heard. From upbeat bluegrass tunes to lilting ballads, the band’s delivery is like butter melting over hot toast.

One minute you’re bouncing along to a catchy gospel number and the next you’re choking back tears over a heartfelt strain about love and romance.

From joy and laughter to compassion and sorrow, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem gets into your soul and takes you on a harmony filled musical journey.

If you want to check out the band, take a listen to this interview and live performance on Minnesota Public Radio.

You can be sure I’ll be at the Club MAC performance (March 18 and 19, 8 p.m.) and I can’t wait to introduce my kids to this great music on Saturday morning (March 19, 10 a.m.) when Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem hold a Pajama Party and feature songs from their kids cd Ranky Tanky.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jazz took me to Taiwan and back

by Amy Calhoun

Jazz was not always part of my life.
I didn’t grow up with parents who listened to jazz.
I didn’t know there were radio stations dedicated to the genre.
I was a trumpet player, but the jazz band at my school had been cut before I even entered high school. Then I went away to college.

I attended Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA. I participated in the marching band and concert band for the first two years, but really had no interest in being part of the jazz band. I didn’t know how to improvise and I really wasn’t familiar with the music. However, a group of my closest friends were in the band and in my junior year they really encouraged me to be a part of the jazz band.

I did not want to add another rehearsal to my academic schedule. With theatre rehearsals, two choirs and band, I was booked. However, my friends knew something I didn’t – during J-term, the jazz band was going on tour to Taiwan and they wanted me to go too!

That trip sold me. I had never been overseas and the idea of visiting Asia sounded fantastic.

After Christmas break, we rehearsed everyday for two-weeks. I had never in my life practiced my trumpet so much! During that time, I was introduced to jazz artists like Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. We worked hard during those rehearsals and became a fairly tight college jazz band.

We trekked to the other side of the world in mid-January and became quasi-celebrities for 10 days. Playing at schools, city plazas, on television and for the opening ceremonies of a major sporting event, we came face-to-face with a new culture and language, and we communicated through music.

We played tunes like “String of Pearls,” “Take the A Train,” “Birdland,” and “Hay Burner.” Our vocalists added their talents to favorites like “Fever” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” We nearly always concluded our performances with the theme from the Flintstones, and the audience would go wild.

Kids would swarm us after concerts asking for our autographs, others were like groupies and would hang-out at our hotels. Some of the youngest students had never seen westerners before and they would rub our pale skin or want to touch our hair. We were American musicians and in their eyes that equated to being famous.

As 19 and 20 year olds kids we enjoyed our Taiwanese fame. It probably went to our heads. We had two security guards, a tour guide and a translator. We were treated to gifts, fancy dinners, and nice hotels. Some of the notoriety freaked us out a bit, but ultimately we soaked it all in.

At the end of that crazy, tiring tour we boarded a plan and made the 18-hour trip back across the Pacific. Greeted by the snow and winds of the Midwest, our systems were shocked back to reality. We were just regular students again who had just had a musical experience of a lifetime.

It has been fourteen years since that trip, but every time I hear a great jazz tune I am transported back to amazing memories of being in a jazz band.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

FROZEN with grief

by Jessica Lippman, PhD

Byron Lavery's most well-known play, Frozen, is set in present-day England and features three main characters: Ralph, a serial killer who kidnaps and murders a young girl; Nancy, the girl's mother; and Agnetha, a New York psychiatrist who is visiting London to do research for her thesis about whether serial killing may be considered a forgivable act. One of the main themes of the play is the mother’s 5-year search for her missing daughter and follows her journey from grief to forgiveness.

The emotions of all of the characters of the play are, in effect, frozen. The play is an examination of how they begin to melt.

The death of a child is a perversion of nature. Our children are supposed to outlive us. Grief combined with unimaginable tragedy is an added distortion of life. It raises questions such as; can forgiveness ease the pain of grief? Losing a child makes us feel disoriented. Losing a child can make us feel like Nancy, the character in the play, frozen, cold and unable to feel. Losing a child suggests the loss of hope and of a future. In the play these feelings of loss are intensified because of the pain and suffering Nancy’s child undoubtedly experienced. As parents we feel our first responsibility is to protect and shield our children. The viciousness directed towards the young girl in the play is the kind of senseless violence that is all too common in contemporary society.

In the play we watch Nancy’s ability to move forward from her brutal loss and begin to embrace life rather than death. She does not turn tragedy into triumph but is able to make a transition towards a future without her daughter.

There are no right or wrong ways to experience grief. It is very personal and people deal with their emotions as it reflects their personalities. No one is ever prepared for the death of a child. Death and the accompanying grief is something that people are uncomfortable with and is a subject we often avoid speaking about.

The following points are the observations that I would like to make in dealing with grief and the loss of a child.

Point 1
When a child dies suddenly, the parent is normally in a state of unexpected shock. Sudden deaths lead to a feeling of greater vulnerability to grief that is prolonged and more difficult to integrate and resolve.

Point 2
It is even more difficult when there is no preparation for a death of a child. Do not participate in a conspiracy of silence. Tell your children and people close to you in a simple, concise way what they are able to handle and comprehend developmentally. Euphemisms are not a good idea. They muddle, and do not clarify and children will inevitably find out what really happened and then feel betrayed and angry.

Point 3
The manner in which the parent and other adults, friends and siblings handle the death and respond to the bereaved makes an enormous difference in a person’s ability to cope after the event and later in life.

Point 4
Death of a child leaves person with a sense of powerlessness, and betrayal. After a death we must confront the sense of our own mortality - Up until now we have felt in control of our lives.

Point 5
As a first priority the adults, need to re-establish a sense of stability, predictability and successful functioning for the sake of themselves and those around them.

The circumstances of a death address how we see the safety and stability of our world. As adults we have to help our children and ourselves sort out the reasons and circumstances of a death: the implication and meaning.

Point 6
The profound loss of a child makes you different and sets you apart from peers. You have a sense that none of your friends understands what you are going through.

Point 7
We never contemplate having to confront the possibility of the death of a child.

Counseling can help a parent or child work their way through the miasmas of premature bereavement. The death of a child is a yawning loss And, if the loss is unexpected the loss will initially be even more difficult to bear. Sometimes, the untimely death of a child can be the motivation for greatness. Often we translate our guilt into a living memorial, foundations, scholarships and legislation.

Point 8
Encourages people who've lost a child to write about their memories, and to find the courage to go through old family photos and videos, even if it's painful at first.

“With all children murdered in the United States in 2005, three-quarters of
those murders were related to something other than gang violence, and over a fifth of the killers being a member of the victim’s family or an intimate partner. Yet, these are children killed senselessly at the hands of another out of anger, panic, revenge or in a desperate attempt to end perceived suffering. The bottom line is that factual accounts show that thousands of children are dying on our own soil every year for reasons such as abuse, neglect, murder, alcohol and drugs.”
In 2009, 8.1 million children under five died.

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's production of FROZEN runs from Jan. 21 to Feb. 6.

Jessica Lippman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Chicago, Illinois for more than 30 years. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, IL and is the co-author of two books, “Helping Children Cope with the Death of a Parent: A Guide for the First Year” and ““Divorcing With Children: Expert Answers to Tough Questions from Parents and Children.” She regularly treats children, youths and adults who have lost a parent or a child.

Dr. Lippman regularly appears in media and has been interviewed and featured in The Wall Street Journal, London Times, Chicago Tribune, Sirius Satellite Radio’s Judith Regan and Out Q.