Cast announced for The Artistic Home’s ‘Ada and The Engine’

CHICAGO – The Artistic Home Ensemble this week announced the cast for its final production of the 2018-19 season – the Chicago premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s ADA AND THE ENGINE, which was given its world premiere by Central Works Theater Company of Berkeley, California in 2015. ADA AND THE ENGINE is an historical drama about Ada, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and Ada’s friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future.

IWU grad publishes LGBTQ young adult novel

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan University alum Sabina Khan has just published a novel for Muslim LGBTQ youth. A press release from IWU said the book, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, follows the story of Rukhsana Ali, a Muslim American teenager in a secret relationship with her classmate Ariana. Her parents send her to Bangladesh in an effort to distance their daughter from Western influences. But she finds her grandmother’s diary and gets inspiration from it. “There are a hundred different versions of Rukhsana’s story out there and it would still be about a South Asian LGBTQ Muslim,” Khan told NBC in an interview.

Cast announced for Midwest Premiere of Steven Dietz’s MAD BEAT HIP & GONE, opening May 4

CHICAGO — Promethean Theatre Ensemble will close its 2018-19 season with the Midwest Premiere of MAD BEAT HIP & GONE, by Steven Dietz, author of LAST OF THE BOYS and PRIVATE EYES and over thirty other plays that have been produced by regional theatres across the country, internationally, and off-Broadway in New York.  MAD BEAT HIP & GONE, which had its world premiere in Austin, Texas in 2013, follows two young Nebraska men who meet beat generation writer Jack Kerouac.  Rejecting the established order of mid-1950s America, they follow Kerouac’s example and hit the open road in search of truth. Do they find it? And what can we learn from their travels? Promethean’s production of  MAD BEAT HIP & GONE will be just the second production of the play and the first to employ revisions Dietz has written since its 2013 world premiere. It will be directed by Jess Hutchinson, Artistic Director of Chicago’s late New Leaf Theatre, where her directorial credits included ARCADIA, THE DINING ROOM, and world premieres of BURYING MISS AMERICA, LIGHTHOUSEKEEPING, and THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY.

New exhibition at Chicago’s Leather Archives & Museum

CHICAGO — The Leather Archives & Museum (LAM) is presenting “Fruiting Bodies,” a solo exhibition by Andrew Bearnot, starting on March 2. The LAM made the announcement in an email to supporters. The exhibition will include new artworks by Bearnot shown alongside archival objects from the LAM collection, including important artifacts from Chuck Renslow and Sam Steward, as well as the personal erotic correspondence collection of Robert Gaylor, recently acquired by the LAM. Bearnot (MFA, University of Chicago) is a self described “materialist”: he thinks with and through the substance of things. Informed by a background in material science (ScB, Brown University) and glass (BFA, Rhode Island School of Design), Bearnot explores moments of transcendence in the everyday.

Call for entries with Queering UP The Arts: Juried Art Exhibition

CHAMPAIGN — The UP Center of Champaign is asking for entries in the Queering UP the Arts exhibition this April. From the UP Center Facebook page:
Queering UP The Arts: Juried Art Exhibition
April 1 – May 12

The UP Center of Champaign County is seeking applications from local/regional artists for display in the Murphy Lounge at University YMCA in Champaign. We hope to showcase queer artists and artwork in a month-long exhibition. This exhibition will overlap with the Legacy Wall visiting from Chicago in mid-April. We welcome 2-D submissions in any media and in any style (we regret that we cannot accept 3-D works for this event).

LGBTQ short rejected by high school to screen at Big Muddy

CARBONDALE — A student’s LGBTQ themed short film, “Since the Day We First Met,” that was rejected by his high school film festival will be screened at the Big Muddy Film Festival of Southern Illinois University. From Alex Rodriguez in The Southern Illinoisan:

Originally being rejected by his high school’s film festival for “clearly illustrating LGBTQ themes”, the short had picked up traction around the internet, being picked up for several other festivals and Singleton even being interviewed by queer news sites for the situation. The official reason given to why his film was rejected was because of LGBTQ themes, which, according to the MPAA, are categorized with a PG-13 or R rating, allowing the festival’s committee to reject it on those unjust grounds. Thanks to backlash and the efforts of many online, Singleton’s film, along with others rejected on similar grounds, were readmitted into the festival, sending a clear message that queer cinema has a place in all film festivals. “Since the Day We First Met” centers around a deaf high school student named Max.

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus announces first-ever national LGBTQ center for the arts in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) announced that the first-ever National LGBTQ Center for the Arts will open in San Francisco, CA. With a primary focus on performances, public programs and community partnerships, the Center provides a space to bring the arts community and SFGMC together. Purchased for $9.6 million, the new Center will house a cutting-edge media center, provide a creative space for LGBTQ artists, serve as a meeting location for community leaders, host trainings and internship programs and more. Located at 170 Valencia Street, the Center also marks the first permanent home for SFGMC since its inception over 40 years ago. The four-story building, which will undergo significant renovations to modernize and adapt its use for a performing arts organization, allows SFGMC to embark on never-before-possible programs. SFGMC will now be able to host ongoing master classes and an interview series with notables such as Award-winning composers Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lippa and actress and singer Laura Benanti, community sing-ins, a new and exciting virtual reality experience and a recording and production studio.

Heartland Theatre Company debuting ‘Marjorie Prime’ on Feb. 7

NORMAL — The Heartland Theatre Company will debut it’s production of “Majorie Prime” on Feb. 7 at their space in Normal. From the Facebook event:
MARJORIE PRIME by Jordan Harrison
Directed by Don LaCasse

Once a celebrated violinist, eighty-six year old Marjorie spends her final, ailing days with what appears to be a younger version of her deceased husband, Walter. But who is this new Walter and what does he know and understand about the past, if anything? As their interactions deepen, Marjorie’s family begins to develop diverging accounts of their lives, drawn into the chance to reconstruct the often painful past.