Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: creativity, inspiration, music, special events, theater

Tonight was a wonderful night under the White Big Top.
Located down in the south parking lot of Soldier Field is a temporary white tent..
and it’s HUGE!!! Much larger than the tent they had a few years back when CAVALIA
first came to Chicago. I saw the show then and was instantly mesmerized. I sadly assumed it was a one-time show… so imaging my surprise & excitement when I saw they were returning to Chicago with a new show!!!

And it’s got to be that big to house a show this HUGE!!!
You should know by now that I’m a card-carrying Cirque du Soleil geek.
And while this is NOT a Cirque show, it is definitely very reminiscent of their splendor.
Think of it as Cirque du Soleil with a herd of horses running free!!!

Click here to see the official trailer for CAVALIA’s ODYSSEO.

It’s an amazingly beautiful and mesmerizing evening. The live band and singer were captivating while each of the acts were amazing. The colors, the costumes, the complete package. The horses are amazing in all their regal glory. Somehow they “perform” just as much as the human performers. They dance, prance and turn on cue. Somehow these “wild” horses storm the stage racing at full speed… and then a moment later are gentle, clam & graceful. It’s amazing to watch how well trained the horses are. And even more touching that you can actually see how much the trainers love their horses… and even better, that you can literally see how much the horses LOVE their trainers. Seriously. You can see the bond, the trust and the love of working together among the entire cast… human and equine!!!

Sure, there are acrobatic acts much like a more traditional Cirque du Soleil show…

But then there’s also horse galloping and trick riders flying all over the place.
Oh wait, and did I mention the water?!!!

For a bit more insight about the creator and the show from behind the scenes, click here for a very insightful CAVALIA video on YouTube.

And while the show is AMAZING!!!
They also host a wide collection of horse sculptures and paintings.
A veritable art gallery… like the CAVALIA theatrical spectacle weren’t enough!!!

And you know how I LOVE rusty metal….

In addition to the metal sculpture horses,they also had a wide collection of incredible horse paintings. I loved the gestural line quality of these beauties by Sebastien Larochelle…

And my favorite painting by Lea Riviere…

Overall, an amazing night of equine beauty.
It’s all of the spectacle drama and beauty of Cirque du Soleil AND horses!!!
If you EVER have a chance to see CAVALIA live under the Big Top… by all means do!!!






Categories: music

Started a revolution, ended up a King.
Happy Birthday to the one and only Elvis Presley!
Just imagine what he could have done if he was taken from us so soon.

… also my late Grandma Kitty’s birthday, but I digress.


Categories: music

Listening to iHeart Radio as they run down the “Top 100 Songs of The Eighties.”
Singing along in the car with every one… and let me just say, I sound fantastic!!!
So glad my personal favorite just came in at #20.
“Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

So what’s YOUR favorite song from The 80′s???

So then… another personal favorite at Number 11…
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by George Michael & Wham.

As I was driving down to Central Illinois for the holiday, we got down to the Top Ten. We passed through Phil Collins, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and Prince… and THEN…

The radio reception went out somewhere in the middle of Illinois!!!
What?!!!… AAARGHHHH!!!! I screamed out loud.
I can’t believe that I missed the last three or four songs!!! Say it isn’t so!!!

It was killing me!!! So we did a little online research.

Turns out the Number One Song from The Eighties was…
drum roll please…

“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.

Good song…. but I beg to differ…
So what’s YOUR favorite song from The Eighties???


Categories: music, theater

After an astounding 30 years on Broadway, “Les Miserables” closed the curtain & put away the red flag of rebellion today. Click on the link below to see some of the stars who have appeared in THE BEST MUSICAL EVER!!! Yes, I’ve seen it live on stage far too many times. And have several versions of the soundtrack… all of which I’ve memorized. For the record, I can sing all the parts, and I sound amazing in the car. Not to mention the movie… or the DVD’s of the Anniversary Concerts in London. Both of them. Yep. I’m a dork.

If you read further in the link, it mentions a National Touring Company in 2017.
I can’t wait to see it again.. and again.. and again!!! One Day More…

Click here for the video link... The Many Faces of “Les Miserables.”

Categories: music, theater

A wonderful night of musical theater at Marriott Lincolnshire…
and yes, I did sing-along the whole time.

Categories: music

Okay, so I’d say that I’m not a huge Adele fan.
Great voice. Incredible voice really…
but they all kinda sound a bit the same after awhile.

However… this video made me love Adele just a bit more.
Talk show host James Corden in the car with Adele driving & crooning.
Shows you the “real” Adele… and not just the wind-blown, sepia-toned, bun-wearing Adele we see in the videos! She’s cute, funny and again… INCREDIBLE VOICE!!!

Click here for the YouTube video – Adele Carpool Karaoke.

And here’s my favorite part…
When James Corden surprise Adele with his harmonizing abilities! So cute.

Categories: music, theater

Okay, so it’s been one of the longest running musicals here in Chicago ever. And after seven-and-a-half year at the Apollo Theater, “Million Dollar Listing” has announced that they will be closing in mid-January. Cue my panic to see the show... so last night we did. Finally.

It’s a fun show filled with wonderful music by four musical legends. Telling the story of one fateful night in December when four recording legends all converged at Sun Records… and musical magic occurred… with Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins as their careers were on the rise before they were superstars.

The show celebrates their music, their story and the times of a struggling Sun Records. Adapted from one magical evening, caught on film by Sun Records owner George Pierce… along with a “mystery girlfriend” of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Evans portrayed in the show as the sympathetic & smooth-voiced “Dyann.”

“Million Dollar Quarter” runs through January 17th, 2016 at the Apollo Theater in Chicago.
Don’t put it off any longer. I put it off for over seven years, and SO GLAD I got to see it before it leaves Chicago. Well worth the wait… Goodness gracious, Great balls of fire!!!

Categories: music, theater

Yes, I love “Les Miserables.”
There I said it. By now you’ve probably already figured it out.
And yes, Eponine is my favorite when she sings “On My Own.”

So to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the musical “Les Miserables”
I’ve decided to share a couple video clips of Frances Ruffelle as Eponine.
Back in 1985 when she originated the role of Eponine, two years later when she was
on “The Tonight Show” and now, thirty years later with her newly updated rendition.

It may have been thirty years… and Eponine is STILL “on her own.”
And we’re still loving it.

Click here for the original version of Eponine – the role she originated on the London stage. Unfortunately, the audio quality is pretty bad, so turn the volume all the way up.

Or click here for her first performance on American TV with Johnny Carson
on the “The Tonight Show.”

Click here for Frances Ruffelle’s new updated version 2015 of “On My Own.”.

Categories: cirque du soleil, creativity, inspiration, music, special events

Just the sight of the big yellow & blue tents make me giddy!
And knowing that we’re going in for another wonderful Cirque du Soleil experience is even better!!! Tonight was my adventure under the Big Top for the latest touring show by Cirque du Soleil… KURIOS : Cabinet des Curiosities.

By now you may have realized that I’m kind of a Cirque du Soleil groupie… or junkie… or stalker?! I love all things Cirque. Can’t get enough. I’ve seen all of the shows that traveled through Chicago. I’ve seen the shows in Las Vegas. I’ve traveled to other cities to see them. I’ve even worked for them for two shows (Varekai & Dralion). So imagine my excitement with a new traveling show here in Chicago… after a far-too-long absence of four years!!!

Inside the tent, the stage is a dark & moody place. Lots of contraptions, inventions and mish-mashes of things & textures. It doesn’t take long before you realize that this is most likely going to take on a “steampunk” vibe. And who doesn’t like steampunk?!!!

The show was wonderful. Lots of amazing feats… and some “usual” circus acts you’ve seen before yet with that whimsical Cirque twist!!

The music for this show is also a lot of fun. Very upbeat & bouncy. Especially the first number where you get to “meet” the cast of characters. I always love seeing how they incorporate all of the athletic performances with the live musicians & singers. Loved the juggler & drummer duo interaction!

Congratulations & Thank You Cirque du Soleil… you’ve done it again!!!
And I’ll be back again next Wednesday evening with my niece Taylor!

Grab yourself some tickets if you can.
They’re scheduled to be in town through September 20th.
And then the tents come down and the “magic” disappears from Chicago!

Categories: music

One of the perks of designing & working at the Firefly Music Festival is that you get to see some pretty great concerts. The top headliner this year was Paul McCartney. A wonderful concert for the birthday boy who just celebrated his 73rd birthday two days ago. Sir Paul puts on a beautiful show. About 2-1/2 hours straight with no breaks. Just a continuous flow of all the songs you love and know the words to. The Beatles. The Wings. This was my second time seeing Paul McCartney in concert. Both times were incredible!!! So wonderful to see a living legend put on such a fantastic show.