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Pivot Multi-Arts Festival brimming with community-wide theater, music, arts

Neo-Futurists’ The Carter Family Family Show is inspired by thelives country music family.

Neo-Futurists’ The Carter Family Family Show is inspired by thelives of the country music family.

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Pivot Multi-Arts Festival, June 6-22, venues vary. Free to $15. (773) 609-0782; pivotarts.org

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Updated: June 21, 2013 4:49AM



Earlier last decade, Performing Arts Chicago filled the halls, lobbies, staircases, and theater spaces of the Athenaeum Theatre with an abundance of performers from the avant-garde fringe. It was a glorious event fondly remembered today by its fans.

Julieanne Ehre hopes to rekindle some of that spirit with the Pivot Multi-Arts Festival that is taking place June 6-22 in various locations in the Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods. Programming includes live music, theater, dance, puppetry, a community picnic and performances for children.

“In a way, we’re picking up where PAC left off,” Ehre says. “Our goal is to support unique multi-disciplinary performance.We want to be a connector in the community of people who are working toward a common goal of increased, innovative arts activity.

Pivot Arts is an organization that grew out of the Fable Festival put together last year by Ehre and Katy Collins, artistic director of Vintage Theater Collective. Staged at venues throughout Edgewater, it opened their eye to the possibilities of creating an organization that would look at a new model for presenting multi-disciplinary performance.

Pivot Fest gets creative when it comes to venues: “We want to use public spaces that weren’t being used for this sort of event,” says festival director Ehre. Thus Pivot events can be found on the front lawn and auditorium of Senn High School, in an ice cream parlor (Lickity Split), at Kitchen Sink Cafe and Essanay Studio at St. Augustine College, as well as typical spots like Uncommon Ground, Steep Theatre and National Pastime Theater.

Essanay Studio, founded in 1907, was best known as an early home of Charlie Chaplin films. Both Manual Cinema and Theater Oobleck present pieces inspired by early film (June 13-16).

Ehre developed a partnership with Jay Michael, the owner of a building at 1050 W. Wilson, a former vaudeville theater that was most recently a bank. Many events will be staged there. Ehre also is developing a partnership with Loyola University that she feels will be key to future developments.

“We’re sort of the Brooklyn of Chicago,” Ehre says, referring to her chosen North Side setting. “We’re really this diverse, eclectic community and that’s what makes us special. One day, to have a festival that runs all the way from the Aragon in Uptown to Mainstage in Rogers Park sounds really exciting to me.”

Here are just a few of the many events scheduled for the Pivot Multi-Arts Festival. For a full schedule, go to pivotarts.org/festival.

— Uptown Tour (10:30 a.m. June 8): The Chicago Architectural Foundation offers a 2-hour walking tour of a treasure trove of classic buildings — Riviera Theatre, Green Mill, Aragon Ballroom and Uptown Theatre. Meet at FLATStheatre, 1050 W. Wilson. $15; free for CAF members. For tickets/information, call (312) 922-8687

— Mucca Pazza (8 p.m. June 8): The 28-piece, punk marching band that thinks it’s a rock ‘n’ roll band and is known to incite mass dance outbreaks. $15. FLATStheatre, 1050 W. Wilson.

— The Carter Family Family Show (7 p.m. June 9) and “Taming of the Shrew” (8:30 p.m. June 9): The Neo-Futurists present three solo pieces inspired by the lives of country music legends The Carter Family. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s actors perform without a director and only one rehearsal for an irreverent take on the Bard. $5; $7 for both. FLATStheater, 1050 W. Wilson.

— A Simple Lesson in Baking with Marie Antoinette (10 p.m. June 15, 20): I don’t know about you, but this sounds hysterical. The infamous French queen (Elizabeth Lovelady) presents a riotous cooking lesson. $5 suggested donation. At 4136 N. Broadway.

— Three Graces (8 p.m. June 20-21; 7 p.m. June 22): Vintage Theater Collective’s “Iliad” for modern Greece about two blood brothers — Turk and Greek — who wrestle with their fates. Directed by Kate Hendrickson. $15. Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan.

Mary Houlihan is a Sun-Times free-lance writer.



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