Interview: Harrison George of Seance: An Exploration Of The Metaphysical Hosted By Ms. Ella Rothschild

 Chicago-based improvisors Harrison George and Libby Schreiner have concocted an impressively ambitious new horror show, which takes audiences of 10 through a series of sporadically interactive scenes, full of detailed props and dark characters. CIC is converted into a Victorian mansion owned by Ms. Ella Rothschild, we meet a spiritual medium whose seances have unsettling and unexpected results.

Going beyond the typical "guy in a mask with a chainsaw" manipulations, Harrison and Libby have opted for more challenging scares with their take on a haunted house, using their experience as comedic performers to explore darker topics. Following a successful opening weekend, I spoke with Harrison about the show's creation and his motivations behind crafting an experience like this one.

A few tickets remain for this weekend's shows, which happen every hour, on the hour, from 1pm-5pm this Saturday and Sunday, October 25th and 26th. Reserve those by emailing cic.seance@gmail.com now!

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Goodrich Gevaart and saki Present Fill Up My Bag! featuring Tommy Crowbar

As a big fan of hardcore, it’s an honor that The Steamroller asked me to introduce you all to the legendary Tommy Crowbar.  While bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Cro-Mags take up most of the conversation about hardcore punk history, anyone really into hardcore knows Tommy, his band, and his larger than life reputation.  

Forming the band Street Justice in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1979, Tommy was the face of intense, aggressive music for decades. His on and off stage antics have gotten him banned from literally every venue he has ever played at, be it a Moose Lodge in New Bedford or CBGB in New York. His band is on it’s fourth or fifth reunion tour with Tommy as the only original member still performing. He’s been criticised for being a “cash grabber”, “opportunist”, and “overall piece of shit” by many hardcore luminaries.

Saki records was cool enough to reach out to Tommy to start their new feature, Fill Up My Bag.  Watch the video and respect the history this man represents.

-Goodrich Gevaart

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Letters between Uncle Rob's niece and nephew before Uncle Rob's Big Day

This weekend, our Uncle Rob will be reborn in the image and likeness of our dark lord and savior, Follicanis. It’s a big day for everyone, and we’d love to share the food, the fun, and the ceremony with you.

Uncle Rob's Big Day is an immersive experience. You will meet a variety of characters and be invited to explore the entirety of our homestead. You can follow one character the whole time, or you can follow wherever your interest takes you. You'll often be rewarded with interesting discoveries if you pay close attention. And this is a real BBQ. Uncle Rob's Big Day is completely free, but we would be grateful if you brought along some hot dogs or beer.  

It will be occurring four times: October 4 and 5, at 3:00 pm and 4:15 pm. If interested, please email UncleRobsBigDay@gmail.com with the date and time you’d like to attend. Once you’re confirmed, we’ll send you the address of our homestead and a few preparatory notes.

Ordinarily, the god of luscious full hair, Follicanis, demands a high level of secrecy. But recently, a series of letters between Uncle Rob’s niece and nephew, the twins Gary and Stephanie, was leaked to the press. They can be read in their full, unfiltered form below, offering a rare glimpse inside the lives of this extraordinary family.

-Gary Pascal & Steph Cook

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Freak Happening: The Real Story

Today is the 2nd anniversary of The Steamroller.

If you've ever written, read, or re-posted something from the site in these last two years, thank you!

If you've ever performed on or came out to an event produced by The Steamroller, thank you!

I rarely appear onstage or screen, that sort of thing is not really for me. That said, when I found out the a documentary team was hoping to get an inside look at the history of the monthly comedy show I help produce, Freak Happening, which also recently celebrated an anniversary, I was happy to take a seat in front of the camera and share my experiences.

Happy Birthday Steamroller. Happy Birthday Freak Happening. Happy Birthday everyone.

An Encounter with The People's Temple of Comedy by Randolph LeGrasse

Earlier this week I received an unsolicited email from an anonymous email address with no text in the body, only the subject like "For Steamroller" and a text file attached. I cautiously opened the text file and have copied + pasted its contents below. What follows appears to be an account from an Arkham, MA-based scholar about his experiences with and attempts to understand The People's Temple of Comedy, which begins a residency at the Laugh Factory this Sunday.

Those who are poorly acquainted with reality often believe that everything of interest to history has been documented to build up the knowledge base of future generations. Those unfortunate souls, such as myself, who are offered a terrible glimpse behind the veil, know all too well that sometimes secrets are kept secret for nameless eons, never meant to be peered upon by public awareness.

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Harrison George On The Closing of The Upstairs Gallery

In 1964 Isaac Asimov was asked to speculate on what life in the year 2014 would look like. Some of his predictions were spot on (cordless appliances), while others were way off (flying cars). The goal of this piece is something similar, to attempt in some small way to predict what Chicago might look like in the next 1-5 years.

Last month we saw the closing of The Upstairs Gallery, an ambitious 3 year experiment in alternative-theater spacework. Now that the theater’s closed, I’m wondering what comes next, if we’ll see new spaces inspired by Upstairs; an UG 2.0 if you will.

There are lots of ways things will be affected by UG’s closing. Here are my guesses.

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The Steamroller presents: Manchilds on Film with Daniel Kibblesmith and Cullen Crawford!

Tonight at The Hideout, The Steamroller will present a special one night only engagement featuring Onion/Clickhole writers Cullen Crawford and Daniel Kibblesmith doing goofs on/about/inspired by the 2007 action/fantasy film 300. Manchilds on Film will feature sketch, film commentary, and the potential for audience participation if we're not all too shy!

Things kick off at 8pm and tickets cost $5.

Interview: Raw Nerve's Rebecca Krasny

Rebecca Krasny's new variety show, Raw Nerve, was created with a special focus on experimental improvisation, with the hopes to create the sort of experiential, you-had-to-be-there style moments that come from the most honest and exciting improv. Following last week's inaugural edition of the show, which runs Tuesday nights at The Mission Theatre at the new iO space, I spoke with Rebecca about the birth of the show and her growing interest in solo improvisation, which was, in part, the catalyst for Raw Nerve's creation.

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