The Neo-Futurists Set 2014-15 season, Welcome New Artistic Leadership Team

The Neo-Futurists Set 2014-15 season, Welcome New Artistic Leadership Team

The Neo-Futurists announce their 2014-15 season to include a TML pre-show event INFILTRATION, curated by Jane Beachy, Joseph R. Varisco and Malic White; Pseudo-Chum written by Sean Benjamin and directed by Carolyn Shoemaker-Benjamin; Redletter, created by Lisa Buscani and directed by Jen Ellison, Trust Us/Screw You, created by Dan Kerr-Hobert and Phil Ridarelli, and another great year of the smash hit, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. The Neo-Futurists also welcome the addition of Artistic Director, Kurt Chiang.

With former Artistic Director Megan Mercier's move to California, The Neo-Futurists are pleased to announce that Kurt Chiang is stepping into the role of Artistic Director to work alongside current Artistic Director, Bilal Dardai.

Dardai states, "Kurt has been a valued artist of the Neo-Futurist collective even before he joined the ensemble...he has an inherent grasp of our aesthetics and makes work that is surprising, honest, and sometimes brain-bendingly weird. His artistic leadership before stepping into the role of AD has been an inspiration to many in the company, and we're glad we have the opportunity to channel his energy in new and challenging ways."

Kurt Chiang has been a Neo-Futurist ensemble member since 2008 and has written and produced 196 plays within the long-running Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays In 60 Minutes. The Neo-Futurist ensemble is the center of his artistic creativity, having worked on many of the theater's prime time shows as a performer, designer, choreographer, and director. In 2013, he premiered his full-length show, Analog, for which he was a sponsored artist through High Concept Laboratories. This year, Kurt will have played a key part in the development of the Neos' next book, The Neo-Futurists: Body, for which he was co-editor. Currently, he is directing the upcoming prime time show, Haymaker, created by Trevor Dawkins. As a performance-writer and teacher, Kurt is dedicated to Chicago. He contributes regularly to various readings and live-lit events, including The Paper Machete, Write Club, West Side School for the Desperate, and The Marble Room. He is a company member with Barrel of Monkeys, where he teaches writing residencies at Chicago Public Schools and performs in That's Weird, Grandma. Kurt is also an artist-in-residence with Snow City Arts, an organization that provides bedside art tutoring to children and young adults in hospitals throughout Chicago.

Prime time shows are performed at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland (at Foster) in Andersonville. Tickets are $20, $10 for students/seniors with ID, or pay-what-you-can on Thursdays. For tickets or information, visit or call The Neo-Futurist Box Office at 773-275-5255.

Presented in collaboration with Salonathon
Curated by Jane Beachy, Joseph R. Varisco and Malic White
Friday evenings before Too Much Light..., August 8 - September 26, 2014 at 10:30pm

The Neo-Futurists and Salonathon Present: INFILTRATION, a collaborative project that connects underground artists throughout Chicago. On Friday nights in August and September, the Neo-Futurarium features work by artists who frequently share their work at Salonathon, a weekly performance series at Beauty Bar that aims to create a home for emerging underground and genre-defying art. Curators Jane Beachy, Joseph Varisco and Neo-Futurist ensemble member Malic White have put together a lineup of performers whose work explores "infiltration." This fall, Salonathon artists collaborate with the Neo-Futurist ensemble on guerrilla theater pieces throughout the city that interrogate what it means to be a fringe artist in Chicago: Where is our home? Where do we want to explore? What does the art world look like when the underground infiltrates the mainstream?

Jane Beachy is a curator and producer of genre-defying performances and parties. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Salonathon, a weekly performance series for emerging and genre-defying art that has been running since July 2011. She also founded Salonathon Presents, which has produced large-scale events in Chicago at the Metro, Steppenwolf Garage, Logan Square Auditorium, Berlin Nightclub, Columbia College and aboard the Tall Ship Windy in conjunction with the Chicago Reader and Empty Bottle Presents. In the fall of 2013, Salonathon co-produced the spectacle and performance REVIVAL at the Jay Pritzker Auditorium through a residency with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Jane also produces large-scale performance parties under her own name, including the widely attended gala FALL BALL at Logan Square Auditorium (co-produced with The Empty Bottle) and Bottom's Up: NYE 14 at Bottom Lounge. She recently served as a panelist for Charlotte Street Foundations Generative Performing Artists Awards in Kansas City, and has worked in various other capacities at arts organizations and arts service organizations in Kansas City, Seattle, New York City and Chicago. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa.

Joseph R. Varisco is a queer HIV+ multimedia producer and queer historian utilizing creative collaborations as a means of building community relationships and deconstructing boundaries. Since 2009 Varisco has invested in Chicago's creative queer communities as the founder of JRV MAJESTY Productions, Creative Director of Chicago IRL, Teaching Artist with About Face Youth Theatre, and curator of monthly performance event Salonathon: LEX·IC·A. He is the creator of the Queer Lexicon oral history project and the ongoing series QUEER, ILL, & OKAY featuring queer artists living with chronic illness.

Malic White joined The Neo-Futurist theater ensemble in October 2012, where Malic assistant directed The Miss Neo Pageant and performs in Too Much Light... Malic's storytelling, dance and performance work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Pritzker Pavilion, the Logan Square Auditorium, Tour de Fat and Chances Dances. Malic's writing has appeared in Bitch Magazine, Windy City Times and The Huffington Post, plus all over Twitter and Facebook.

Written by Sean Benjamin
Directed by Carolyn Shoemaker-Benjamin
Previews: Thursday, October 16 through Saturday, October 18, 2014
Opening Night: Monday, October 20, 2014
Performances continue through Saturday, November 22, 2014
No performance on Thursday, November 6
Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

The stage blood is in the water. Pseudo-Chum juxtaposes the creation (The Rehearsal) and the production (The Performance) of Chum with the destruction of the playwright (The Interview). The Interview: The story of the playwright who wrote the play Chum as a protest against the government-sanctioned systematic destruction of sharks along the coast of Australia. Is the playwright a bold activist or a shark-like opportunist? The Performance: The play Chum is the story of a shark-fishing family struggling over the impending death of the patriarch. Who will be the new captain? The eldest, but unfit, son? One of the three daughters? The Rehearsal: And what about the actors fighting to be in the play? Fame, like chum, attracts the sharks.

Sean Benjamin (Playwright) began his Chicago career at iO (performing with house team Georgia Pacific) and joined The Neo-Futurists in 1996 writing and performing in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind for thirteen years. In 2002, he co-founded Drinking & Writing Theater. He has co-written (with Steve Mosqueda) and performed in the Drinking & Writing series (Drinking & Writing, The Nobel Experiment, To Cure A Hangover, The 12 Steps of Christmas, and The City That Drinks) as well as the plays BEER!, God vs. Hall & Oates, A Beer Carol, Barnstormers, and The Brewprints. Other writing and performance credits include Devolution, Missing Parts, The Santa Abductions, Poker Night at the White House, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents (cowriter), SEX! (creator/ cowriter), and The Earliest Known Photo of Men Drinking Beer. He produces the events The Drinking & Writing Festival, Tied House Film Festival, and Beerfly Alleyfight. His next play, opening in 2015, is Illusionois.

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