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spacer.gif   SIXTH DEGREE: CATHLEEN SCHANDELMEIER
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 - 12:41 PM
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Chicago Poetry Reviews: Click Headlines .
Moving Chicago
Featuring Poetry by Cathleen Schandelmeier
Peter Jones Gallery
Coming Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5
Reviewed by C. J. Laity
Photos by David Gecic


Cathleen Schandelmeier performs in Moving Chicago at Peter Jones Gallery


On Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, there will be an encore performance of "Moving Chicago," a collaboration of the poetry of Cathleen Schandelmeier and South African musician Francois leRoux (otherwise known as HA!Man). The event will take place at 6:30 PM each day at the Peter Jones Gallery at 1806 W. Cuyler, 2nd floor. Tickets are very reasonable at $12.

I was lucky enough to see this presentation the first time it came around, and it was dazzling. It reminded me of the good old days of Loofah Method. As Schandelmeir recited work from her new book Chicago Phoenix (Puddin'head Press), leRoux projected computerized images of the Windy City onto a screen as he played his cello. During the performance, they were also accompanied by experimental "spring board" musician Eric Leonardson, shadow puppet imagery, as well as very impressive trumpet, flute and trombone music by Peter Bartells. The result was a multi-media experience that honored the history of Chicago. There was not a dull moment. With a few more weeks to fine tune the technical aspects of combining all of this, I'm sure the encore performance will be even better.

Cathleen Schandelmeier performs in Moving Chicago at Peter Jones Gallery


Cathleen Schandelmeier's book Chicago Phoenix (which "Moving Chicago" is based on) is written in a new style that Schandelmeier is experimenting with. The Great Chicago Fire influences the book and rather than using her well known performance style, the poems contained within the book work together to create a wonderful ode to the city. The book begins . . .

Rise!
Human:
Each of us vulnerable
In our medicine bag
Of skin.


It continues with a consistent tone of voice that makes it feel like a well crafted, complete work of art. It is a wonderful tribute to Chicago, from all the beauty contained within the city to the nitty-gritty we often want to ignore:

He tossed his last shot on your personal furnace
Would he have doffed his shirt and saved you
If you'd been a man, priest, rabbi, friend, brother, boy?
Less than human, a 19th Century woman


(from "Blonde Chicago Inferno")


Cathleen Schandelmeier performs in Moving Chicago at Peter Jones Gallery


Schandelmeier touches upon the sobering, serious times, as well as whimsical moments of celebration:

We are doing the hula
Balancing the pineapple
Between husband and
My bosom/his belly in line
Hips swaying
We grind


(from "Chicago Hawaiian")


From the honest tale of a fatal accident during the poem "In The Train Yards of Chicago" to a salute to immigrants in "Confessions Of A Chicago Time Traveler", Cathleen Schandelmeier has created a small wonder, a volume of work that will be cherished in the Chicago Poetry Scene for a long, long time.

I highly recommend that you check out "Moving Chicago" during this limited engagement. Copies of Schandelmeier's new book will be available for purchase for $6 at the performance as well.

Cathleen Schandelmeier performs in Moving Chicago at Peter Jones Gallery


--CJ Laity

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Note: Here is a review of Cathleen Schandelmeier's performance piece, Moving Chicago.

 
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