For those of you who don’t know the Chicago area, I just need to share an experience from yesterday and introduce you to one of its eclatic neighborhoods. In celebration of my new book (The Brooch) being completed we went to Chicago for a day of frolic and fun. After doing our own walking tour of our haunts from our youth on Rush. St. and Old Town we went to the Renaissance area called Bucktown. I was amazed at what they have done with this neighborhood. We went to Church at St. Mary of the Angels, which is something out of Europe with its dome and fresoces that are just magnificiently restored. Afterwards we weren’t quite sure how to get to the theater for which we had tickets for a play. I asked a young woman ,who happened to be walking down the street, for directions she ended up driving us to the theater. She in turn turns out to be a designer who was originally from Georgia and lives in Bucktown and is working in Lake Geneva,WI (near me) on a project. She was terribly excited to help us when she learned we were going to the theater and enjoying her nieghborhood. Any way, back to my story. We were going to the Collaboraction theater in the Flat Iron building in Bucktown for a performance of “Dark Play or Stories for boys.” We had no real idea as to what it was about except that a guy invents a girl on the web and places her in a chat room where another guy falls for her and so the drama begins from there. The entire cast did an outstanding job but let me present to you a couple of their names. For one day, if there is justice in the world and God is in his heaven these young people will be familiar household names. Clancy McCartney is a DePaul Univeristy graduate who plays the lead. His emotinal range in this production which runs 90 minutes without an intermission, is phenomenal. He tears your heart out and then makes you laugh your a__ off in mere moments within the action. We had the chance to speak with him prior to the performance. We arrived early to pickup our pre-ordered tickets. He was just sitting on a table in the lobby. We chatted and he told me about Olivia Dustman and Aaron Kirby his co-stars. I was wearing the sweatshirt my wife gave me which asks says, “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.” So I had a chance to share an overview of my books. Let me just say this. This young man on the stage as he took on his character neither resembled nor behaved in his stage mannerisms as the lad in the lobby. His transformation into character was amazing as his assumed the role of Nick, a fifteen year old boy, who falls in love with the guy, Adam, who has fallen in love with his made up sister, Rachel, in the chat room. Like Clancy, Aaron has a tremendous emotional range from innocence, to erotic behavior, to love sick puppy, to threatened and intimidated youth, to one who loves the creator of his chat room girl friend. He makes one believe that he’s this sixteen year old youth who doesn’t have a clue about life and love until he chats with Rachel and Olivia, the actress, takes you into the emotions of her made up character with passion who links Nick and Adam in real life. This was the last week-end of the production. It was wonderfully acted, with intense subject matter as it turns out and this little theater group is simply a sight to behold. As a writer myself I must rave about Carlos Murillo the playwright of this piece. So too, I must say that Anthony Mosley, its director handled some very intense sequences with taste and while bringing the audience into the passion, lust and youthful emotions of the characters’ actions in the erotic scenes and the horror and love gained and lost in the powerful scenes leading to hate and destruction.I am actually going to ask if those actors would be interested in participating in a dramatic enactment of scenes from my screenplay for CAN-TV,Chicago. Being new to the screenplay writing genre, it is my hope that this production of a dramtic “Table Read” will attract attention to my work based on my book:The Stone Cutter Genius. So if you’re ever looking for local theater action while visiting Chicago, I’m suggesting Collaboraction in the Flat Iron Bldg. at Damen/Milwaukee interesection.http://www.collaboraction.org. Right now they’re seeking 300 sponsors so that they may expand their productions. That building is also a throw back in history, quite cool in itself. It reminded me of those old places in New York which I like to visit around “Little Italy,” Columbus Circle and Washington Square. Then there’s also the art galleries that fill it, which are also great to visit. I happened to have met the owners of one of those art galleries and it turns out that they also run a Film Production Co. (http://www.hesperidianproductions.com) They are charming people (Even if they didn’t express interest in discussing the creation of a production of scenes from my screenplay) who are premiering a short twenty minute Film Noire movie (Stiletto) at the Portage Theater on March 30 at 8 p.m. with music, and events and so forth. And it’s free, so what’s there to lose but a great night out on Bucktown for dinner then off to the Portage Theater which is one of those old movie palaces. In fact, if you’re in Chicago and attend, you might meet me, because I’ll be there. Okay so the night ended with us walking the eight blocks back to the train. On the way I stopped at a bar, where I ordered bottles of water for the ride back to Wisconsin. The place was packed with young people coming up in the world and out for a Saturday night fling. The bouncer takes one look at my GRAY hair and gives me a look like “Are you sure that you want to come in here?” I explained that I just wanted to order bottles of water. So this bomb shell of a blond is bartending with her assets well presented. She is pouring shots for the group of dudes at the end of the bar to my right side. This huge guy next to me points to an empty shot glass which she fills. He, in turn, moves it in front of me. I explain that I was ordering water not shots. “OH no it’s for you.” I thank him and explained that I am on my way to the train. “No, really it’s for you.” This interaction now has virutally the entire bar’s clientele shouting encouragement for me to drink it. “Ok” peer pressure, I guess it never changes. So I take a sip. They roar in laughter. “No, chug it.” he says. And of course I do as I am told being a good Catholic boy who obeyed the nuns and my teachers without question. I thought that my throat was going to burn out. But I did it, thanked the cheering crowds for their hospitality, took my bottles of water and ran out to the train station unscrewing the bottle cap to put out the fire. And that is how this older dude with gray hair took the first SHOT, of God only knows what, in his life at the Garage Tavern on Courtland St. in the Bucktown area of Chicago. Now keep in mind that this has come on the heels of a Birthday bash at a pub up here in WI with a St. Patrick’s Day flair for my daughter last Sat. This older Dude is doing stuff he didn’t do when he was a young dude in training. And now it’s retelling will probably end up in one of my books down the pike. And that’s my week-end story.