Pictured: Ivas John.
The Polar Bear Party, which this year takes place Saturday, January 28 in the Pinch Penny complex— including the Copper Dragon Brewing Company, but especially Pinch Penny Pub’s beer garden— is always Carbondale’s largest winter festival. This year, Arkansas party band the Tragikly White will provide the soundtrack. (Be prepared to give the band all the love and energy for which Carbondale audiences are legendary— the Tragikly White’s guitarist, Alan Hash, died in November in a car accident, according to television station KATV.)...
Ivas John’s sixth annual Blue Christmas concert will take place Saturday, December 10 at Shryock Auditorium. The show will feature Martin “Big Larry” Allbritton, the Swamp Tigers, Ivas’s biggest recent influence the Gordons, Marie Meunier, Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring, Kristin Gregory, Shadi Frick, and the Free Range Chicks.
The Chicks, incidentally, released their first CD, Premier, last week. It features twelve songs. The a cappella group is also scheduled to warm up for the Jackson County Stage Company’s presentation of A Child’s Christmas in Wales at the Varsity Center next week.
“Each year the show gets a little bigger,” Ivas tells Nightlife. “New people come out and the audience keeps growing.”
Indeed, the concert was held at the Varsity Center for its first four years. Last year it made the leap to Shryock, and nearly filled the floor seats, becoming one of the biggest annual indoor events to feature local musicians.
The Blue Christmas concert itself is a great opportunity to hear local bands perform in the stately confines of Shryock Auditorium. It’s also wonderful for those who enjoy both the holidays and music, but not necessarily Christmas hymns— instead, expect to hear rocked up or soulful renditions of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and of course “Blue Christmas.” Ivas promised new holiday standards and blues songs this year, as well as an original Christmas composition that will make its public debut.
Many of the musicians will sit in and jam with each other in different combinations, to which Ivas always looks forward. “I love playing with other guitar players, and hearing them breathe new life into my songs,” Ivas says.
He’s especially excited to play with acoustic musicians, which he doesn’t often get to do at barroom shows that require amplification for the audience to hear him.
As with last year’s concert, wsiu will film the performances for rebroadcast on Christmas Eve, so those who open their presents that night can do so to a decent soundtrack courtesy of public broadcasting.
“It’s a nice mix of stuff,” Ivas says of the program, “from mellow, nostalgic, sentimental [songs] to high-energy, contemporary, rockin’ energy.”
Tickets to the concert are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets are on sale at the LIFE Community Center at (618) 549-4222. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Carbondale Park District’s Super Splash Park Outdoor Aquatic Center...
Being for the Benefit of...
Organizers have released details for the Thursday, December 8 benefit at Alto Vineyards for the Standing Rock protesters, who are trying to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant the Dakota Access Pipeline an easement, blocking its construction through a Native American water source. Protesters have vowed not to leave the federal lands where they are demonstrating, however— this victory is hardly final, as a Trump administration could easily reverse the Corps’ decision.
The event at Alto Vineyards will feature music, Native religious invocations, and guest speakers. Classical guitarist Eric Bandera will kick things off at 6:15 p.m., followed by a benediction for the food by Marsha Forrest and Georgia de la Garza. (More on the cuisine in a moment.) Speakers Dallas Cain, Lyn McCain Shashana Craft, and Sherry Taluc will address the crowd to discuss the legal, environmental, and religious reasons for opposition to the pipeline.
The arts follow, with performances by Meridian Ninety, poets Barney Bush and Corina Lang, Kindred Moon, and the Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble.
Organizers will serve Native cuisine, including three varieties of tamales, a ground-meat dish called poyha, wild rice, two kind of a hominy soup called pozole, stew, baked squash, pemmican, a blueberry pudding called wojapi, pones, and a raisin biscuit called bannock.
Admission is by a suggested donation of $10, while a silent auction will augment admission proceeds. The goal, according to organizer Georgia de la Garza, is to purchase a tipi, poles, liner, floor, wood-burning stove, and money cards for the Standing Rock protesters...
Auditions for the Jackson County Stage Company’s next play, SIU playwriting professor emeritus David Rush’s Miller and the Jabberwock, take place Tuesday and Wednesday, December 13 through December 14 at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Center. Elyse Pineau will direct the show, which runs in February.
The Jeff Award-nominated play was originally produced by Stage Left Theater in Chicago. It follows a hearing for Fred Miller, a university professor charged with antisemitism by a student who is a holocaust descendant.
The script calls for eight people capable of playing characters ages twenty through sixty. Four actors will play multiple roles. Dance and singing experience is a plus. The audition will consist of workshop-style theater exercises, improvisational play with the poem The Jabberwocky, and cold readings from the script.
For more information, visit the Stage Company’s website at <http://www.StageCompany.org>...
WSIU’s community film and discussion series, Indie Lens Popup, continues Saturday, December 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Carbondale Public Library with Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel’s romantic-comedy documentary Meet the Patels.
The film tells the true story of comedian Ravi Patel, who after breaking up with his girlfriend travels to India to find love and subjects himself to his ancestral matchmaking system.
SIU doctoral student Soumik Pal and fellow members of the SIU Indian Student Association will discuss South Asian culture and experiences after the screening.
The film premieres as an Independent Lens feature Monday, December 26 at 8 p.m. on WSIU-TV, so the Indie Lens Popup screening is an opportunity to see it early and discover some additional context for its subject matter...
A couple of options have opened up for musicians looking for opportunities to perform.
Bring an instrument, sign up, and play at an ongoing open mic night every Friday at 5 p.m. at Von Jakob Orchard. Those who can’t play instruments can sing along to karaoke tracks.
A music circle hosted by local musician Kathleen Shaffner takes place Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Carbondale Parks District’s offices at Hickory Lodge on Sycamore Street. Musicians may bring instruments, voices, songs, friends, music stands, and refreshments. The suggested donation is $5. For more information, call Shaffner at (618) 967-9586...
Santa Claus is Coming
Those who want to help Santa stock up on unique holiday gifts can make some purchases at the holiday boutique and craft fair Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11 at Von Jakob Orchard. Parents can shop for arts, crafts, clothing, and jewelry from more than fifteen local businesses while kids can enjoy crafts, and while listening to bluegrass band the Nine88s Saturday and classic rockers the Dave Caputo Band Sunday. Then, stick around on Sunday and catch up with the Griswolds with a screening of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation....