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Lucky Plush Announces THE MAP OF NOW An Interdisciplinary Digital Festival

Audiences chose avatars to "travel" through a retro virtual world to 4 Chicago venues to see works by celebrated artists and interact with others.

Lucky Plush Announces THE MAP OF NOW An Interdisciplinary Digital Festival

Leave it to Chicago's always-inventive Lucky Plush Productions to pair the aesthetics of retro video games with a turbo-charged line-up of Chicago dance, theater, music and comedy performers for the company's next major work, The Map of Now, a radically new, interactive digital festival premiering June 25 and 26, 2021.

So ambitious is The Map of Now that it has morphed into a multi-venue, interdisciplinary digital festival presented by Lucky Plush in partnership with four Chicago presenters: the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Links Hall, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago and Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre's LookOut Series.

The event will highlight the richness of Chicago's arts ecology with a robust roster of local dancers, musicians, theater artists, musicians and comedians including (at press time) BAPS, Donnetta Jackson + Bril Barrett, Chloe Johnston, Lucky Plush, Jeremy Owens, Darling Shear, Sam Trump, avery r. young and Sojourner Zenobia.

See the full list of performers at luckyplush.com/map-of-now.

Not familiar with interactive online worlds? No worries, because The Map of Now will be simple to navigate, and easy to enjoy. Here's how this wholly unique, fully customizable digital dance experience will work:

The Map of Now will be hosted festival-style on an interactive online platform called Gather.Town. Before each show, audience members will create their own online avatars, who then set out on a digital map of Chicago to choose their own adventures.

After an audience member navigates their avatar to their chosen venue, enters the digital space and finds a virtual seat, they'll discover each venue virtually rendered in such a way that represents the actual physical space, but in more of a retro, game-like world.

Think Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda meets the city of Chicago and four of its most popular venues. Once "seated," a simple click on an icon will launch a video of an original short performance, likely recorded in that same venue.

"In addition to dreaming up a new platform to showcase Chicago's diverse artists and venues, The Map of Now will explore community connectivity in an all-new way," said Lucky Plush Founder and Artistic Director Julia Rhoads.

"When an audience member's avatar draws close to someone else's on the map, a video chat function pops up that allows them to engage in conversation, and maybe even catch up with someone they haven't seen in a long time."

Virtual performances of The Map of Now are Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26. Ticket buyers can sign up for entry times every half hour between 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Once they start, they can spend up to two hours as they wish, navigating to as many venues and performances as they can fit into their self-curated, two-hour experience. Or, they can opt to take a pre-curated tour led by a virtual guide.

On Saturday night, June 26, starting at 8:30 p.m., Lucky Plush will celebrate the end of the run with an added live Zoom post-show dance party.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, May 18. Tickets are on a sliding scale, $5-$50, suggested price $25, with discounts for students, seniors and industry. Tickets for both days include entry to Saturday night's live DJ'd Zoom dance party. For tickets and information, go to luckyplush.com/map-of-now.


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