On Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre, The Second City, will appear at Rockford High School’s Fine Arts Center at 8:00 p.m. for the 14th annual Rockford Education Foundation (REF) benefit. This special performance will feature some of the best sketches, songs and improvisations from The Second City’s 50-year history. The Second City is truly a Chicago landmark and national treasure. On Dec. 16, 2009, The Second City celebrates 50 years of cutting-edge satiric revues as well as the launching pad for generations of comedy superstars. The Second City continues to develop the leading voices in comedy while touring the globe. Founded in Chicago in 1959, The Second City has become the premier training ground for the comedy world’s best and brightest. Their alumni list reads like a who’s who of American comedy, as it includes Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, Martin Short, John Candy, Bonnie Hunt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Horatio Sanz, Ryan Stiles, Jack McBrayer, Tim Meadows, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and countless others. Not only will an evening with The Second City provide audiences with the chance to see comedy stars in the making, but they will also have the opportunity to see absolutely hilarious satire and cutting-edge improvisation. No topic or subject matter is off limits for The Second City. If your parents asked you not to speak about it at the dinner table, chances are it will be made fun of in an evening with The Second City. Tickets for The Second City, which go on sale October 15, are $35 and can be purchased by calling the REF office at (616) 863-6317. The REF provides resources for increased educational opportunities for people of all ages in the Rockford community. Last year, the REF awarded over $95,000 in grants.
by ANA OLVERA Rockford Squire intern “Yes, if they can’t get it any other way.” —Doris Garrison, Lansing “No, because there is already Medicaid and Medicare programs in place for those without insurance. I don’t want big government to be the boss of my healthcare.” —Cynthia Pritchard, Davison Note: These two women were in town to enjoy Rockford prior to their attendance to a convention in Grand Rapids. It was their first visit to Rockford. “I love the town, it is so friendly and unique,” Pritchard said. Garrison said they found lots of gifts to purchase and had lunch at Grill One Eleven. “We have an obligation to help those in need. But the program they’re offering isn’t what we’re going to get for that amount of money. It’s also going to create shortage of doctors because their pay will be reduced. And the less doctors there are the longer we’ll have to wait to be treated.” —Ralph Dewey, Grand Rapids “The concept doesn’t fit the middle-class lifestyle. The rich are coming up with this, and they don’t know how we live. I don’t want just one company. I want the rest to be there too. I want to be able to choose who provides my healthcare.” —Mike Kaleniecki, Dearborn “If the government is running it, a bureaucrat might tell me if I should have a certain procedure done or not. I want a doctor to tell me that. Also, why should they run this program but not Medicare or Medicaid?” —Norm Konczal, Dearborn “Not the way they’re planning now. Not enough people know about it. Nobody has said what will transpire. The uncertainty is too great.” —Esther Wood, Cascade
Previously used material finds new purpose at a series of programs at Frozen Creek Floral Freeze Dried Flowers, 5959 Cannonsburg Road. Madame O, aka Amelia K. Sefton describes herself as a “proud practitioner of resourcery, the ancient and venerable art of making something out of nothing, or, turning negatives into positives.” The California native will be at the shop Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through October, offering workshops for all ages in creating fun and funky items out of previously-used material. “I like to say my activities are funny and funky and never grimy or junky,” O said. The story spinner and puppeteer has had a passion for recyclelry since the 1970s, during the “first flush of eco-consciousness. She said in California, teachers and manufacturers work together to provide clean, low-cost materials for classroom projects, a system she would like to see established here. Among her favorite materials is printer’s foil. In the print industry, she said foil sheets are used to create the metallic effect on cards and labels, but 99 percent of the material ends up in landfill. Madam O uses items such as this, garlands, broken jewelry, clean wrappers, and other items to create masks, wands, costumes and much more at her workshops. “We are careful to avoid items such as candy wrappers with candy still stuck on them,” she said. “Items like that either attract vermin and excite children or excite children and attract vermin.” She said one of the most exciting—chest-swelling and tail-wagging—phrases in any language is “Look at this, I did it myself.” Madam O said the programs are free of charge and all materials will be provided, although volunteer items are accepted. The workshops are appropriate for all ages, from preschool to geriatric, but it is not a baby-sitting service, so don’t leave the baby and the diaper bag. “There will be scissors,” she said.
The fun started with family, and now our heritage is behind us. The last weekend of Harvest Fest is the Children’s Weekend with events for kids highlighting activities. There will be plenty for teens and adults to do as well, with entertainment around town, the used book sale at Krause Library from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., hayrides and specials offered by local merchants. Events designed for children begin at 9:30 a.m. with registration for the Chamber Kids Pedal Tractor Pull. Registration and the event is at the City Hall parking lot. The pull begins at 10 a.m. This annual event, formerly organized by the Rockford Jaycees, but now a Rockford Chamber of Commerce event, puts kids behind the driver’s wheel and is always fun to watch. Another popular favorite is trick or treating around town, which begins at 2 p.m. at the Rotary Pavilion on the corners of Squire and Courtland Street. Following the candy run, a costume contest will be held in the pavilion. Prizes will be awarded. Returning to Garden Club Park both days from 2 to 6 p.m. is Animals on the Go, where a variety of live farm animals always delight people of all ages. New this year, but back for the third weekend is Good Old Fashioned Games by the Rockford Youth Initiative Service Club of Rockford High School. Play like it is the past with low-tech favorites. Participation is free, but donations are welcome and will go to a worthy cause. The club hopes to fund a Habitat for Humanity house as their service project this year. For everyone, there are the popular hayrides offered annually for free. Pick up is at Reading Books. Flu shots will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday in D&W. The Rockford Fire Department and DARE will be at the pavilion from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday and many other fun demonstrations and entertainment will take place both days. See the schedule and plan your weekend.