October 2017 Local Authors
WICKED, IMMORAL, UTTERLY BAD!
A gloriously graphic, risqué read for every Chicago theatre-goer In vintage sepia tones and hand-tinted color photographs, this entertaining history digs down to the roots of Chicago theatre, tracing its evolution from the antics of a fireball-eating ventriloquist on an early makeshift stage.
A cast of charismatic characters includes James McVicker, a touring vaudeville actor who settled in Chicago to build its first true playhouse. One of his hires was John Wilkes Booth, whose role as assassin of Abraham Lincoln lives in infamy. French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt made her Chicago debut in the same theatre before it was reduced to ashes in the great fire of 1871. Pictures, maps and playbills record its rise and its tragic demise.
A chapter of this curiosity-filled picture book is dedicated to Joseph Jefferson III, memorialized today by Chicago’s Jeff Awards. There are antique photos in his most celebrated role, Rip Van Winkle, which he played on stages around the world for 40 years, as well as in an 1896 silent movie.
As the century turns, photos capture the destruction-by-fire of the Iroquois theatre, killing 600. Other images bear witness, as low-brow vaudeville makes way for more serious dramatics at “Mr. Goodman’s Theatre.” Subsequent chapters dance readers though the jazz age, march into the New Deal and celebrate theatricals in times of war and peace, leading to the cementing of Chicago as a world leader in stage, music and comedy.
Picture by story-telling picture, Wicked, Immoral, Utterly Bad! lays bare both the seedy underworld and the artistic triumphs of one of the greatest theatre cities in the world.
Born and raised in the west suburban village of Wayne, Pete Blatchford is a veteran of Chicago theatre as both a playwright and respected actor.
DEPTH OF LIES
by E.C. Diskin of Oak Park
Still waters run deep, as Kat Burrows discovers when her comfortable suburban life is upended with the presumed suicide of her longtime friend. Shocked into action, Kat delves below the surface of her orderly world, uncovering shame, lies and betrayals that lead her to question the assumptions her own life is built on. In her third novel, E.C. Diskin again delivers mind-bending drama inside a page-turning thriller.
THE DEATH GAP
by David A. Ansell, M.D.of Oak Park
As senior vice president for Community Health at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Ansell has witnessed the widening income disparity between rich and poor in America and its impact on mortality rates. Here, Ansell analyzes factors that have given rise to the national health crisis and outlines a vision that can provide a foundation for a healthier nation — for all.
THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE
by Cindy Crosby of Glen Ellyn
A career steward of grasslands across the Midwest including the Morton Arboretum, Crosby shares her passion for prairie landscapes and the native plants to be discovered there. Writing for nature lovers and armchair travelers, she explains how to use the five senses to identify and appreciate plant species. Part field guide and part natural history, the book also tells stories of the human experience of the prairies.
ON A CLEAR NIGHT
by Marmie O. Mamminga of Batavia
In a second collection of Essays from the Heartland, Mamminga creates deeply personal and often humorous vignettes of people who live, work and love in the heart of the country. Though everyday moments — watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field, holding hands with an aging parent or listening for loons under a starry sky — the stories help us appreciate the simple beauty of home.Edit Module