Filament’s Holiday Special

Christmas-Card-Image-for-Email copy 2014

Come join Filament Theatre Ensemble for Filament Theatre’s 3rd Annual Holiday Special.

Help us celebrate our first full season in our new home with treats, drinks, live music, and Chicago’s newest and happiest holiday tradition, a screening of Charlie Brown’s Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, brought to life by some of our favorite actors and musicians.

You won’t want to miss this wonderful night of friends, music, and revelry! Doors open at 7pm, performances begin at 8pm. Bring the whole family!

Tickets will be available soon!!

Vocalist, Ingrid Lucia, Chicago, New Orleans, Swing, Jazz

Vocalist Ingrid Lucia

Vocalist, Ingrid Lucia, Chicago, New Orleans, Swing, JazzThe Filament Theatre Ensemble is presenting a one-night-only concert appearance by renowned New Orleans songbird Ingrid Lucia on Sunday, November 24 starting at 7pm at the Filament Theatre space. Admission is free of charge, with a $10 suggested donation welcome.

The performance story of Ingrid Lucia begins with her father David Pearlman, aka “Poppa Neutrino”. A compadre and contemporary of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, et. al, he was one of the greatest manifestations of Kerouac’s “On The Road” ideal; an artist, adventurer, tinkerer, and all-around personality of unmatched wanderlust. The subject of a book (The Happiest Man In The World, Random House, 2007) and a 2005 article in The New Yorker, Pearlman formed a family band in the early ’80s with his wife and five children called the Flying Neutrinos. During much of this time their home life was spent traveling on a series of rafts built out of recycled junk, and performing for whoever would have them, before eventually settling, semi-permanently, in New Orleans.

It was from this decidedly unusual environment that Ingrid Lucia’s musical career sprang forth. Though she started as a dancer, music quickly took over. She went to New York, bounced between record deals, came back to New Orleans, and re-immersed herself in the city’s musical traditions. She was caught up in the swing revival trend of the late ’90s after forming her own version of The Flying Neutrinos and, with them and on her own, has released nine albums, most recently Living The Life, released in October. She is also the leader of the New Orleans Nightingales, featuring twenty other New Orleans-based female vocalists. Her sound combines trad jazz, blues, vocal, and a variety of other Big Easy roots music influences, and her songs convey a breadth of perspective gained from a life spent “on the road”.

Ingrid Lucia will be performing current and past originals as well as standards with her longtime guitarist and songwriting partner John Fohl. Fohl is himself a veteran of ’90s swing revival, having played on the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ 1998 platinum album Zoot Suit Riot. He is one of the most in-demand musicians in New Orleans and has worked with Bo Diddley, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Pinetop Perkins, and many others.

Ingrid Lucia in concert is part of the Filament Theatre Ensemble’s ongoing special programming in its new home at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park. All proceeds from donations will go to Filament to help fund the build-out of their theatre.


Chicago Artists Month

Jeff-Semmerling-PortraitThe Filament Theatre Ensemble is proud to make its contribution to the 18th annual Chicago Artists Month this October with special events by master mask maker Jeff Semmerling and the mask making students of Inside Out Art Studio.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Inside Out Art Studio, and in anticipation of their move to the Portage Lofts Arts Building in November, Filament will host a dazzling display of hand-crafted masks by master artists Jeff Semmerling and Sonja Schaefer, and the best of ten years of Inside Out adult student work. On Friday, October 4 from 6-10pm, Saturday, October 5 from 12-9pm, and Sunday, October 6 from 12-5pm, these masks will be on display in the Filament Theatre space in the Portage Lofts Arts Building at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. In addition, Jeff will perform “The Magic of Masks”, a presentation of his masks and how masks are used around the world to entertain and compel audiences. These performances will be held on October 4 at 8pm, October 5 at 8pm, and October 6 at 3pm, and have a suggested donation of $15. The mask exhibit is free.

Semmerling & Schaefer Mask Studios was established in 1986. They are known the world over by opera and dance companies, theatres, and serious maskers for making “the finest, most comfortable hand-made masks anywhere.” Semmerling & Schaefer masks will be available for purchase at Filament on weekends throughout the month of October. Please see for sales times.

Inside Out Art Studio, established by Donna Lurie and Jeff Semmerling in 2003, offers world-class instruction in most physical art forms. Their instructors are practicing artists who bring their passion for the arts to their work as teachers. Classes, workshops, and even art parties are offered by Inside Out Art Studios year-round.

Those attending the mask exhibit on Saturday, October 5 can hear live bluegrass music starting at 5pm, performed by Sweet Fanny Adams. And those attending on Sunday, October 6 will be able to experience Celestial Bodies, a 30-minute interactive sci-fi exercise video featuring 30 Chicago artists, starting at 2pm. These performances are also a suggested donation of $15.

These artists and events are part of the Filament Theatre Ensemble’s ongoing special programming in and around its new home at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park. All proceeds from donations go to help fund the build-out of the Filament theatre space. The Filament Theatre Ensemble does theatre in a folk tradition, with an emphasis on community, imagination, and sustainability, and they are pleased to contribute to the 18th annual Chicago Artists Month with the richly imaginative work of Jeff Semmerling, Sonja Schaefer, and Inside Out Arts Studio.



NAME: Chicago Artists Month


Mask Display: Friday, October 4 from 6-10pm, Saturday, October 5 from 12-9pm, and Sunday, October 6 from 12-5pm

Magic of Masks: October 4 at 8pm, October 5 at 8pm, and October 6 at 3pm

Sweet Fanny Adams: October 5 at 5pm

Celestial Bodies: October 6 at 2pm

LOCATION: Filament Theatre/Portage Lofts Arts Building: 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, 60641.

PRICE: $15 suggested donation for all performances. Mask exhibit is free of charge. No reservations.

Susan Cowsill, Tom Jackson, Filament Theatre Ensemble

July Concerts at Filament

The Filament Theatre Ensemble is pleased to once again partner with their Portage Park neighbor and WLUW radio personality Tom Jackson for two free concerts in July: Susan Cowsill on Tuesday, July 9 at 8pm and New Orleans musicians Paul Sanchez, Davis Rogan, and Alex McMurray on Saturday, July 13 at 8pm. All donations collected will go directly to support Filament as they continue to build-out their theater venue in the historic Six Corners / Portage Park neighborhood.

Susan Cowsill first entered the pop culture spotlight at the age of eight, as the youngest member of the ’60s musical family The Cowsills. In adulthood, as a member of the beloved alt-pop supergroup The Continental Drifters, she reemerged as a vocalist and songwriter of remarkable depth and insight. She has also released two solo albums: Just Believe It in 2005 and Lighthouse in 2010. This summer Susan and her husband, drummer and co-writer Russ Broussard, are touring the country.

Three of New Orleans’ finest singer-songwriters and storytellers will be together on one Chicago stage on July 13, telling tales of the Big Easy one song at a time.

Paul Sanchez grew up across the street from the Mississippi River and has been singing his city’s stories for many years. He has released sixteen albums as a solo artist and won multiple Best Of The Beat and Big Easy Music awards. He has also created a musical adaptation of the best-selling book Nine Lives by Dan Baum, which is being developed for a theatrical production by the Public Theater in New York.

Davis Rogan is a radio DJ, music teacher, and band leader. He formed the ground-breaking ’90s brass hip-hop funk band All That and has released two albums of his own: The Once And Future DJ and The Real Davis. He is the inspiration for the character of DJ Davis on HBO’s Treme and has also served as a writer, composer, and consultant on that television series.

Alex McMurray has been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene since the ’80s and was the leader of the beloved ’90s jazz-rock band Royal Fingerbowl. His 2010 album How To Be A Human Cannonball won the Big Easy Awards’ “Best Album of the Year”. His latest album, I Will Never Be Alone In This Land, continues his musical celebration of the city he calls home.

These concerts are part of the Filament Theatre Ensemble’s ongoing special programming in its new home at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park. Admission is free of charge, donations welcome. All proceeds from donations will go to Filament to help fund the build-out of their theatre. Filament Theatre Ensemble does theatre in a folk tradition with strong musical and storytelling elements, and they are thrilled to present the songs and stories of Susan Cowsill, Paul Sanchez, Davis Rogan, and Alex McMurray.


NAME: SUSAN COWSILL with Russ Broussard; and NEW ORLEANS NIGHT featuring Paul Sanchez, Davis Rogan, and Alex McMurray.
DATE: Susan Cowsill: July 9 at 8pm.
               New Orleans Night: July 13 at 8pm. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time.

LOCATION: Filament Theatre, 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago.
PRICE: Free of charge. Donations welcome.
CONTACT:; (773) 270-1660

Filament to Speak at Green Drinks Chicago

Filament is excited to be part of this month’s Chicago Green Drinks as the featured Non-Profit. We are proud of our ongoing relationship with Foresight Design Initiative as their Artist is Residence.

What role do the arts play in dealing with environmental challenges and fostering social action? Please join us at Green Drinks next Tuesday, Sept 13, where the topic of discussion will be “Behind the Curtain – Making Art Sustainable,”  focusing on the efforts of Filament Theatre Ensemble as they pioneer zero waste theatre for their upcoming production, From the Circle: Remembering the Earth Through Folktales. The potential in Filament’s vision can only be realized if Chicago’s artistic community is committed to collaboration. Bring your colleagues to enrich the evening’s discussion and join the effort to reimagine the evolving relationship between art and the environment.

More Information | Register

About Foresight Green Drinks:

Foresight Green Drinks is Chicago’s oldest and best-known monthly sustainability gathering. Designed to catalyze the connections and awareness necessary to create a more sustainable city, each event features power networking and informal mingling with a diverse cross section of professionals, and an enriching panel discussion.

Location & Directions:

Jefferson Tap & Grill
325 N. Jefferson (view map)
(in the West Loop just three blocks east of the Loop at the corner of Jefferson and Fulton).
(312) 648-0100

  • BUS: Buses that have stops in the vicinity: #56, 8, 65, 20, 14, and 127
  • SUBWAY: Take the Green Line to the Clinton stop (Clinton & Lake), walk 1 block west to Jefferson, and then 1.5 blocks north
  • METRA: The Metra Ogilvie Transportation Center (aka Northwestern Station) is about 1 block east and 3 1/2 blocks south
  • BIKES: Are welcome!
  • AUTO: Street parking is available