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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Bright Outburst: Pearlie Taylor’s “An Awakening!”

“There’s a whole downstairs part, too,” Dania said, leading the trio around the curved staircase. As they descended, Gwen caught sight of the inscribed poem from museum founder Dr. Margaret Burroughs:

     What shall I tell my children who are Black

     of what it means to be a captive in this dark skin?

They continued down into the sparse lower level of the DuSable Museum, where a series of prefab walls had been set up in the empty corridor, with paintings hung on each one.

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Upright And In Focus: Esperanza Spalding’s “Esperanza”

January was not a time to listen to holiday music. Eleanor knew this, and she impulsively glanced around the room to make sure no one could hear through her headphones.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

The song had been stuck in her head all day at work –– one of those rough repetitions where she knew she just had to listen to the real song once to push the melody out of her system. It was a specific rendition of the carol, the one performed by John Legend on his just-released holiday album, and featuring the guest vocals (and, one presumed, bassline) of Esperanza Spalding.

Make the yuletide gay…from now on, our troubles will be miles…away…

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Smile, Darn Ya, Smile: The 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Annie”

This had been Dania’s suggestion.

As far back as she could remember, Gwen had always been the person scheduling performances and telling the others what shows they would go see. But during this jaunt to Seattle, Dania had looked up the local arts scene, and specifically requested a trip to see Annie at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

It was obvious why. Dania had grown up with Annie, one of the few musical soundtracks she had listen to as a child, since it was family-friendly. As Gwen had railed against the absences of any legitimate stakes in the plot, and naturally had choice words to say about the most recent film adaptation, Dania had held fast to her adoration for the tale of the plucky orphan and her sugar daddy (“God, the word ‘Daddy’ just isn’t the same nowadays, is it?” Dania had cooed just moments before the musical began).

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