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Archive for March 2nd, 2011

Black Publisher promotes Electronic Bookstores as the wave of the future for independent authors

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

dmw_booksMerrillville, IN (BlackNews.com) — Darlene M. Washington wakes up one day and decides to create an electronic bookstore for her titles to be bought and read all over the world. Just like that, DMWBooks.com was born!

“There used to be a day where getting published meant numerous submissions to book publishers, with volumes of rejection letters. Now all you have to do is press a couple of computer buttons, and voila, you’re published! Indie publishers (Independent Publishers) are recognized by major book chains such as, Google eBooks, Amazon, Borders and many others. Google eBooks has emerged with over 3 million titles by various industry publishers. Indie publishers are a viable source for readers. The International Digital Publishing Forum, states 3rd qtr. 2010 represented $119.7 million in over all eBook sales.”

What does this mean for books in print? “So far it means, a sizeable competition. It’s easier for textbooks for schools and offices to stay in print, vs. novels, cook books, etc. Novels are a favorite pastime and can be used in any setting, unlike textbooks created for a learning environment. Electronic books can be 1 million strong in your personal cloud library, accessible anywhere there’s internet, and read on various media devices. Gone are the days where carrying your favorite Stephen King novel was back breaking work.”

What’s so great about this electronic bookstore? “DMWBooks.com is an extension of me. It features titles that I’ve written and a few by my pseudonym. More importantly, it’s interactive, entertaining and within a secure financial environment with purchases via PayPal. There’s The Rant Bar – an electronically distributed column, various unsolicited commentary, and categories like Getting Philosophical, Poetic Compilations, and Sex & Love. All titles are downloadable PDF files. Some books are also in Kindle format.

Why should people buy these titles? “Because much like Spike Lee, Robert Townsend, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, the Harlem Renaissance artist, and the many women writers who represent the ‘indies’ of the world, ‘discovery is key.’ My world of creativity is not status quo. I offer my brand as an African-American woman having grown up in the projects with a Bachelors of Arts degree from Columbia College Chicago, and a vast background in business administration, advertising and public relations. It’s a unique life experience which makes my writing fun, challenging, emotional, and at some point enlightening for audiences 18+. www.DMWBooks.com

Attorney General Madigan: Pocketbook issues continue to top consumer concerns in 2010

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Madigan Files Lawsuit Aimed at New Wave of Consumer Debt Settlement Scams            


Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released her list of top 10 consumer complaints, detailing concerns of the 170,000 consumers who contacted her office’s Consumer Protection Division in 2010. In anticipation of National Consumer Protection Week, Madigan said that the top complaints involved consumer debt as the job loss and home foreclosures continue to take a toll on Illinois consumers.

That consumer debt again topped the list of concerns in 2010 mirrors what Madigan’s office has seen in recent years as consumers struggle with pocketbook issues in a down economy. Complaints related to residential mortgages ranked highest among consumer debt concerns, showing that, much like 2009, people are still fighting to stay in their homes. Many consumers also contacted Madigan’s office over credit card debt and abusive collection practices.

“The economic crisis continues to affect consumers in Illinois,” Attorney General Madigan said. “People are struggling just to make ends meet. Consumers should know my office is here to help protect them against financial abuse and from con artists who are taking advantage of these tough times to make a quick buck.”

Included in the more than 7,000 consumer debt complaints filed with Madigan’s office is a new attempt to evade recent reforms aimed at protecting consumers. Last year, Madigan successfully led an effort to pass the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act, which bans upfront fees debt settlement companies charge and requires they can only collect fees if a consumer’s debt is actually settled.

Attorney General Madigan today filed a lawsuit against a national legal firm that has unlawfully charged upfront fees to consumers in Bureau, Champaign, Kendall, Will and Cook counties. Madigan’s suit, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court, alleges Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC unlawfully charged consumers upfront fees for debt settlement services with promises to make them debt free. But, in fact, they never lowered the consumers’ debt and actually left them worse off financially.

The lawsuit alleges Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, based in Chicago, illegally charged fees upfront under a guise that attorneys, who are exempted from an upfront fee ban, were providing the debt settlement service to consumers, enabling them to charge the initial fees. In fact, Madigan alleges, attorneys with Legal Helpers Debt Resolution only served as a front to the business, and debt settlement service was contracted out to non-lawyer, third-party companies.

Attorney General Madigan also today detailed the 27,630 formal complaints lodged with her office in 2010 by consumers affected by scams and fraud:

Consumer Debt Complaints Rank First in 2010

Complaints from consumers involving residential mortgages ranked highest among debt concerns, but also included problems with credit card debt and the availability of short-term, high-interest loans. The top consumer debt issues reported in 2010 include:

Mortgage Foreclosure

More than 3,800 homeowners filed residential mortgage complaints with Madigan’s office in 2010. This mirrors what the Attorney General’s Office saw in 2009 as the foreclosure crisis began to expand beyond those homeowners who were placed in risky loans they could in reality never afford. Last year’s complaints reflects a continued deepening of the foreclosure crisis as Illinois homeowners struggle under long-term unemployment and find they can no longer make their mortgage payments.

In 2010, Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau helped secure an estimated $25 million in mortgage-related savings, including loan modifications for borrowers. In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, Madigan established the Homeowner Helpline (1-866-544-7151) to provide direct assistance for borrowers at risk of foreclosure.Since the hotline launched in October 2008, more than 32,000 have called the Attorney General’s office for help.Madigan encourages consumers struggling to stay current with mortgage payments to contact the helpline to learn more about their rights and the options available to them to try to save their homes.

Collection Agencies

In 2010, more than 1,200 consumers reported complaints about collection agencies, including complaints that collection efforts were made without verifying a consumer actually owed the debt, through abusive tactics or by misleading demand documents made to look like official court documents.

Credit Card Companies

More than 700 consumers sought help for credit card company issues. Consumers reported problems with credit card balance transfers and introductory rate offers, or being charged a higher interest rate than originally quoted. Madigan said it is important for consumers to know they can dispute charges to their credit cards directly with the credit card company or call her Consumer Fraud Bureau for assistance.

Identity Theft Complaints Rank Second

Concerns surrounding identity theft remained high for consumers in 2010, with 3,861 complaints reported. A significant number of those complaints involved:

  1. Credit card complaints (1,082), including reports of fraudulent charges to existing accounts and thieves opening new credit card accounts in the names of ID theft victims;
  2. Utility company complaints (527), concerning fraudulent utility accounts, such as cell phones or gas and electric service, opened in a victim’s name; and
  3. Bank fraud complaints (355), including complaints of stolen checks and new bank accounts opened in a victim’s name and fraudulent withdrawals from a victim’s bank account.

Most of the consumers who filed these complaints to Madigan’s office in 2010 did so by contacting her Identity Theft Hotline (1-866-999-5630). The hotline has received more than 29,000 calls since it launched in February 2006. Trained advocates and attorneys answer calls to the hotline, working with consumers to help them by reporting the crime to local law enforcement and financial institutions, repairing their credit and protecting their identity.

The Top 10 consumer complaints for 2010:


1. Consumer Debt (mortgage lending, collections, credit cards) 7,035
2. Identity Theft (fraudulent credit cards and utility accounts, bank fraud) 3,681
3. Construction Home Improvement (remodeling, roofs/gutters) 2,175
4. Telecommunications (wireless service, local phone service, cable/satellite) 1,917
5.Motor Vehicles/Used Auto Sales (as-is sales, financing, warranties) 1,345
6. Promotions and Schemes (sweepstakes, pyramid, work-at-home schemes) 1,137  
7. Mail Order (Internet purchases, catalog ordering, television/radio) 1,043
8. Fraud Against Business (consulting, directories/publications)    982  
9. Motor Vehicle/Non-Warranty Repair (collision/body, engines)    688
10. Travel (promotions/sales, time shares, travel agents)     629 

TOTAL                                                                                                                                                              27, 630

For more information, visit Madigan’s website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers. Attorney General Madigan has also established a range of hotlines in her office for direct communication with consumers concerned about issues ranging from home foreclosure to identity theft:

Chicago Consumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-386-5438

SpringfieldConsumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-243-0618

CarbondaleConsumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-243-0607

Spanish Language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398

Identity Theft Hotline:1-866-999-5630

Homeowner Helpline: 1-866-544-7151

State’s Attorney Alvarez attends Bill Signing

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

alvarezbillbuttonCook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Governor Pat Quinn (both center) with representatives from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association at a recent bill signing ceremony where Gov. Quinn signed legislation that will help protect businesses against organized retail theft.


Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez joined Governor Pat Quinn as he signed new legislation that will help protect businesses against organized retail theft.

This new law will expand law enforcement’s ability to charge and prosecute offenders who illegally obtain large quantities of retail merchandise and subsequently sell it at a lower price.  This new law will also enable prosecutors to request restitution through asset forfeiture of individuals convicted of organized retail crime.  According to consumer reports, it is estimated that Illinois loses $77 million in tax revenues each year as a result of this crime.

“This new law will benefit the consumers of Cook County who take a direct hit to their pocketbooks as a result of these crimes,” said Alvarez.

Late last year Alvarez’s office announced the formation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Regional Organized Crime Task Force, which includes representatives from law enforcement and the retail industry from throughout the Cook County region.  The task force meets regularly to discuss investigations, issues and areas of concern.  They have also, with private sector funding from the retail partners, developed and launched a website that provides them with the ability to share important resources and create a database of crimes and patterns.

How out-of-pocket spending caps protect families in Illinois and other benefits of the Affordable Care Act

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
March Is Illinois Health Care Justice Month                                                                               
(From the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) 
CHICAGO, IL – March 23, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), landmark legislation in the fight to ensure quality affordable health care for all Americans. To celebrate this milestone, the Campaign for Better Health Care and the Health Care Justice Campaign announce that March is “Health Care Justice Month” in Illinois.
“We want to look back at the new benefits that are already helping Illinois’ working families and look ahead to the benefits that are yet to come,” said Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC). “It is amazing that so many Illinoisans are already experiencing a positive impact from this law, and inspiring to realize how many more will in the near future.”
To kick off Health Care Justice Month, CBHC will release a report by Families USA examining how the health care spending caps in the ACA will positively affect Illinois families. The health care cost cap provision does not kick in until 2014, but until it does, the resulting analysis for Illinois spotlights the tremendous need for spending caps to protect family budgets:
  • In 2011, 590,500 Illinoisans under the age of 65 are in families that will spend more than the out-of-pocket caps for services that will be covered in the Affordable Care Act’s essential benefits package.
  • The Affordable Care Act spending caps, when adjusted to 2011, would be $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families. Out-of-pocket health care spending by these Illinois families will exceed the caps by more than $1.0 billion in one year alone.
Health Care Justice Month will feature events across the state, including the Campaign for Better Health Care Faith Caucus’ annual “Sound the Alarm” Sabbath weekend. During Sound the Alarm, congregations of all faith traditions reflect upon the moral imperative of health care reform, and sound a traditional musical instrument 18 times to mark Illinois’ 1.8 million uninsured.

The Families USA report, “Worry Less, Spend Less: Out-of-Pocket Spending Caps Protect Families in Illinois,” found that more than nearly three-quarters (71.7%) of the Illinoisans who will spend more than the out-of-pocket caps—an estimated 423,700 people—are in working families. 

John Bouman, President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said, “As demonstrated by Families USA’s excellent report, the caps on families’ out of pocket health care spending that will go into place under the ACA in 2014 will be extremely important to the financial well-being of working families and small businesses.”
In particular, employees of Illinois’ small businesses, those with fewer than 100 employees, face the threat of high out-of pocket health care spending:
  • An estimated 239,500 Illinoisans in families where the head of the household is employed by a small business will spend more than the out-of-pocket caps.
  • More than two in five Illinoisans (40.6%) who will spend more than the out-of-pocket caps are in families where the head of the household works for a small business.
  • Of those Illinoisans in families of small business workers, more than four-fifths (82.0%) have a head of household who works for a business with fewer than 25 employees.
  • Families of Illinois’ small business employees will spend nearly $414.0 million more than the out-of-pocket caps in 2011 alone.
Janine Lewis, Executive Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, added, “We applaud these caps which will help women and children afford access to critical health services to keep themselves and their families healthy.”
“Two decades of rising health care costs have squeezed families into coverage with higher premiums, higher copayments, and higher deductibles, and sometimes these costs have forced families out of health coverage altogether,” Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today. “These families are terribly vulnerable to financial devastation caused by unexpected illness or injury, and they generally face only bad alternatives, including massive credit card debt, bankruptcy, even foreclosure.
“The report from Families USA clearly shows that 590,500 Illinoisans, and nearly 15 million people across the nation, will deal with this kind of health and financial crisis this year alone. The caps on out-of-pocket spending that will be put in place by the Affordable Care Act will have a profound, beneficial impact on the fortunes, finances, and futures of families in Illinois.”
Pollack noted that between 2000 and 2010, the average premium for job-based family coverage grew from $6,438 to $13,770, an increase of 114 percent. These increases have been a special burden for small businesses, which, because of lower buying power and proportionately greater administrative costs, pay, on average, 18 percent more than large businesses for a comparable health insurance plan. 
“These caps will be of special value to small businesses and the employees of small businesses,” Pollack said. 
The spending cap provision of the Affordable Care Act includes a sliding scale that will ensure those with lower and middle incomes will pay less out of pocket than those with higher incomes.  “Access to affordable health coverage is the key to economic security and opportunity for the working families and small businesses of Illinois,” said Jim Duffett. “This provision of the Affordable Care Act ensures that they will now be able to get a fair deal.”

Trinity Designs, Inc. makes successful debut as new Black Doll company of the Millennium

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

trinity_designs_dollsThe Essence…of Collection

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — Trinity Designs, Inc. has made its premier as the newest designer and manufacturer of African American dolls. Even more, they have successfully launched their first doll, The Essence of a Delta – the first audio equipped collectible, sorority fashion doll to hit the scene. Not only is she beautiful but yes, she sings!
The Chicago-based company has truly outdone itself with their first collection of beauties. Their signature collection includes, not only The Essence of a Delta, but also The Essence of a Zeta, The Essence of Lady Ivy and The Essence of Lady Sigma – all of which have custom audio, custom sculpted hands and are designed with every detail in mind.
To the surprise of many, this small company of African American women was able to pull off a magnificent accomplishment by entering into the manufacturing and doll industry. They are celebrating the launch of the only 100% African American, woman owned, collectible fashion doll company.
Because the signature line is only available for a limited time, interested ones are advised to be sure not to miss the opportunity at owning one of these beautiful dolls. However, there are new designs in the lineup that will feature a Holiday doll and a collection of dolls for children.
For more information or to place an order, visit: www.trinitydesignsinc.com
Find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/trinitydesignsinc
Follow them on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Deltasoror8

Blue Man Group introduces new material to its production at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL – Continuously renewing its productions to best resonate with audiences, Blue Man Group is adding new material to its long-running production at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre, 3133 North Halsted. Media will be invited to a special press breakfast to experience the new passages on Thursday, March 3 from 10:30 – 11:30. The new material officially debuts in Chicago March 3 at 8 p.m.

The new material places the Blue Men in a variety of new environments to discover, engage with and explore of-the-moment situations and cutting-edge technology. Much of the new content is from the company’s larger-scale productions, adapted for use in the intimate venues. Several of the signature scenes that have made Blue Man Group one of today’s best-loved theatrical productions will remain in the production, though in most cases have also been updated.

“As Blue Man Group has evolved, we have taken our productions to an enormous array of venues, from 200-seat theatres to arenas and even amphitheatres across the globe. As artists, we have grown and the world around us has transformed; our new material is curated to reflect this. We’ve taken our most dynamic audience interactions and specifically put them in the venues with the most direct interaction with the Blue Men” said Chris Wink, who co-founded Blue Man Group with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman. “We like to call it ‘alternative Broadway’ – a synthesis of our intimate Off-Broadway roots with the spectacle we created for our larger shows.”

New passages include Blue Men interacting with “GiPads;” a funny and perceptive look at contemporary communication vehicles; and a pulsating new finale featuring an original Blue Man Group music score. As always, the production fuses innovative theatrical spectacle with improvisation and vaudeville-inspired comedy, art, science and irresistible original music performed by the Blue Man Group band.

“Many of our audience’s favorite passages, including ‘Paint Drumming’ and ‘Gum Balls/Marshmallows’ will continue to be a part of the production,” added Stanton. “And, yes, the first few rows still will need to wear ponchos. But we have developed some brand new elements of the show that provide a larger-than-life, rousing, interactive experience that I hope will really speak to all cultures and give some of our most devoted fans a new reason to check us out again.”

“The heart of our show is, and always has been, the Blue Man, and his inquisitive, wide-eyed take on the world,” said Wink. “Our team of artists at Blue Man Productions has created fun, even astounding new visual aspects of the show, and our music team has given us a great new sound. We are really excited to incorporate these elements into those intimate productions where the audience has such a unique relationship with the Blue Man. “

About Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group is best known for its wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts that combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The blissful party atmosphere created at the live events has become the trademark of a Blue Man Group experience. Currently, Blue Man Group theatrical shows can be seen in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Tokyo, and on tour throughout the U.S. Blue Man Group can also be seen onboard the new Norwegian Epic by Norwegian Cruise Line – the Official Cruise Line of Blue Man Group.

Blue Man Group’s appeal is multi-generational, with several projects specifically designed for young people, including “Making Waves,” a popular touring exhibit for children, and the recently launched national “Invent an Instrument” competition. The company’s music, featuring custom made instruments and signature, percussive sound, can be heard on five albums, including the Grammy-nominated “Audio,” as well as various film and television projects. As the company grows, it remains true to its vision of providing exciting experiences in a variety of media, appealing to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. Learn more at www.blueman.com.


Ticket prices are $69 and $64 for main floor and $59 for left balcony and $49 for right balcony. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or via the Internet at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, visit www.blueman.com.

TimeLine Theatre Company announces 2011-2012 Season

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 One production of 15th Anniversary season to be presented
at Theater Wit to accommodate audience growth


Chicago, IL — TimeLine Theatre Company, named the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” for 2010 by Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal and “one of the Chicago theater’s most impressive growth stories” by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, announces its four-play 2011-12 season. Dedicated to presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues, TimeLine’s 15th Anniversary season includes one world premiere, two Chicago premieres, a revival of a Pulitzer Prize-nominated work presented with a twist, and the TimeLine debut of two of Chicago’s most prominent directors.

In response to unprecedented growth over the past two seasons, including a 75 percent increase in the number of subscribers and multiple sold-out productions, TimeLine is expanding to accommodate audience demand with longer runs made possible by the addition of using a second venue. The opening production of the 2011-12 season will be presented at Theater Wit, located at 1229 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago, with the remaining three productions taking place at TimeLine Theatre’s home just blocks away at 615 W. Wellington Avenue.

“TimeLine has crafted a vision for how we can continue to expand in smart ways, elevating our profile in Chicago and beyond and introducing our mission to a broader audience,” Artistic Director PJ Powers said. “This expansion beyond our home on Wellington Avenue is part of that vision, as we increase the number of performances and available tickets in the season to allow more audience members to experience TimeLine’s unique brand of theatre.”


A WALK IN THE WOODS by Lee Blessing
directed by Nick Bowling
Opening August 22, 2011
Presented at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

In this compelling drama, two superpower arms negotiators meet informally in the woods after long, frustrating hours at the bargaining table. The Russian is a seasoned veteran, urbane and witty but profoundly cynical about what the negotiation sessions can accomplish. The American is a newcomer to bi-lateral talks and fervently idealistic about what can be achieved through perseverance and honest bargaining. Their absorbing, revealing and humorous conversations become a brilliant meditation on both the eternal hope and relentless futility of high stakes politics. A Walk in the Woods was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best New Play, and Time magazine called it “a work of passion and power with the ring of political truth.”

In a twist on the traditional casting of two men for this play, approved by playwright Lee Blessing, A Walk in the Woods will feature TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks as the Russian negotiator and TimeLine Company Member David Parkes as the American. Brooks most recently appeared in The Seagull at The Goodman Theatre and has received Jeff Award nominations for her last four performances at TimeLine (All My Sons, When She Danced, Not Enough Air and Weekend). Parkes most recently appeared in TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of Frost/Nixon and Everyman Theatre’s Blackbird in Baltimore, and is currently appearing in Odradek at The House Theatre of Chicago.

Chicago Premiere
directed by BJ Jones
Opening September 10, 2011
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

Heralded in London and on Broadway, this new play by the Tony Award-winning writer of Broadway’s Billy Elliot is based on the triumphant true story of a group of miners from Northern England who become the unlikeliest art world sensations. In 1934, these miners hired a professor to teach an evening class on art appreciation. Unexpectedly, they were asked to grab a brush and paint. After many months of banter, experimentation and practice, the result was an astonishing body of work that took the art world by storm. An arresting and hilarious salute to the power of individual expression and the collective spirit, The Pitmen Painters is a humorous, deeply moving and timely look at art, class and politics. “Extraordinary for all sorts of reasons” wrote The Guardian after the play’s premiere in London, “it is a funny play that asks big questions about education, culture and the working class.”

The Pitmen Painters marks the TimeLine debut of director BJ Jones, Artistic Director of Northlight Theatre, who will direct The Outgoing Tide, featuring John Mahoney, at Northlight this spring.

ENRON by Lucy Prebble
Chicago Premiere
directed by Rachel Rockwell
Opening January 21, 2012
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

One of the most infamous scandals in financial history becomes a dynamic new theatrical event. Crafted as sprawling tragedy mixed with savage comedy, Enron follows a group of ambitious men and women through the breathtaking rush of greed and fraud that led to a legendary financial collapse. Along the way we confront a world where appearance has little relation to reality and gain disturbing insight into the reasons for present economic woes. A sold-out sensation in London, The Telegraph raved that Enron is full of “superb clarity as well as high drama it brings the mysterious world of high finance to vivid, comprehensible life.”

Enron marks the TimeLine debut of director Rachel Rockwell, who most recently received the Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Director (Musical) for her triumphant production of Ragtime at Drury Lane Oakbrook and was named Best Director of 2010 by Chicago Magazine.

MY KIND OF TOWN by John Conroy
World Premiere
directed by Nick Bowling
Opening May 5, 2012
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

For nearly 20 years, John Conroy has covered the Chicago police torture scandal as a journalist, becoming one of the leading voices drawing public attention to the allegations. His two decades probing the halls of power and reporting on ruined lives culminate in this groundbreaking new drama. Stories inspired by victims, police officers, prosecutors, and families whose lives have been poisoned by the scandal are interwoven into a play that avoids easy answers to the questions of how, why and what now? My Kind of Town is a thoughtful and passionate examination of corruption, responsibility, and the culture of law and order.

In a 2010 New York Times article about My Kind of Town, Conroy said that his story seeks to show that “these were real human beings who had to make choices that we as a society need to see. And that those choices had consequences that we as a society and a city need to deal with.” My Kind of Town was initially developed with assistance from Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Northwestern University. Most recently TimeLine workshopped the play in November 2010 before slating it for production during the 2011-12 season.

“Our aim is to ignite dialogue about our place and role in history and these four plays spark discussion of vital issues in today’s local and national conversation,” Powers said. “Next year we ask questions such as: Is negotiation and talking with our adversaries essential in an ever-shifting and volatile political landscape? How can art play a role in everyone’s lives, not just the wealthy and privileged? How might we be complicit in the most damaging cases of greed and corporate fraud in our country’s history? And can Chicago’s violent streets be kept safe while we ensure that alleged criminals’ rights are protected and respected? TimeLine is poised to continue to develop as a leader in Chicago’s arts community, and I can’t wait to bring these four extraordinary plays to our ever-growing audience.”

FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine’s 2011-12 season go on sale starting March 15, 2011. For more information, call (773) 281-TIME (8463) or visit timelinetheatre.com.

About TimeLine

Founded in April 1997, TimeLine Theatre Company’s mission is to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. During its first 14 seasons, TimeLine has presented 46 productions, including seven world premieres and 13 Chicago premieres. Recipient of the 2006 Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the 2009 Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 43 Jeff Awards, including eight for Outstanding Production.

TimeLine Theatre is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers and Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, David Parkes, PJ Powers and Benjamin Thiem. TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group and the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

Biographies (in alphabetical order)

Lee Blessing (Playwright, A Walk in the Woods) is an American playwright whose works have been produced around the world. He has written more than 30 plays and one-acts, including Eleemosynary, Cobb, Two Rooms, Going to St. Ives, The Winning Streak, The Scottish Play, Thief River and Black Sheep. New York’s Signature Theatre devoted its second season to Blessing’s work, including the world premiere of Patient A. A Walk in the Woods ran for four months on Broadway in 1988 and later was produced in London’s West End, Moscow, and for PBS’s American Playhouse. His plays have premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club, Guthrie Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theater and Actors Theater of Louisville, among others, and have been nominated for Tony and Olivier awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize. His plays have won the American Theater Critics Award, The Humanitas Award and the George and Elisabeth Marton Award, among others. Eleemosynary won the 1997 L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award. Blessing has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Guggenheim, Bush, McKnight and Jerome Foundations. Heinemann has published two collections of his plays, and his work has been performed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference during eight different summers. He heads the graduate playwriting program at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Nick Bowling (Director, A Walk in the Woods, My Kind of Town) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of an Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys at TimeLine) and four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (Fiorello!, This Happy Breed and The Crucible at TimeLine, Another Part of the Forest at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for The Farnsworth Invention, Hauptmann and The Lion in Winter at TimeLine and for Closer Than Ever at Porchlight Music Theatre. Recent credits at TimeLine include In Darfur, When She Danced, Not Enough Air and Fiorello!. Other Chicago credits include Writers’ Theatre’s Bach at Leipzig, Shattered Globe Theatre’s Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets, Rivendell Theatre’s Factory Girls and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s Angels in America, among others. He will next direct The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur at TimeLine.

Janet Ulrich Brooks (Cast, A Walk in the Woods) is a TimeLine Company Member, where she previously has been seen in All My Sons (Equity Jeff Award nomination — Actress in a Principal Role, Play), When She Danced (Equity Jeff Award nomination — Actress in a Supporting Role, Play), Not Enough Air (Equity Jeff Award nomination — Actress in a Principal Role, Play) and Weekend (Equity Jeff Award nomination — Actress in a Supporting Role, Play), among others. Other Chicago-area credits include The Seagull and A True History of The Johnstown Flood at the Goodman Theatre and Golda’s Balcony (Pegasus Players, Non-Equity Jeff Award — Solo Performance) as well as productions at Victory Gardens, Strawdog, Steppenwolf, Writers’, ShawChicago, Collaboraction, Live Bait and Northlight theatres. Film credits include Polish Bar, and Conviction opposite Hilary Swank.

John Conroy (Playwright, My Kind of Town) is credited with bringing the Chicago police torture scandal to light and keeping it there, publishing more than 100,000 words on the subject in articles in the Chicago Reader. Much of his work can be found at the Reader‘s John Conroy Archive at chicagoreader.com/policetorture. In his book, Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People (Knopf, 2000), Conroy used the Chicago incidents, along with stories from Northern Ireland and Israel, as case studies to illustrate the dynamics of torture. He is also the author of Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life (Beacon Press, 1987, 1995) and has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and many other publications. He has also reported on criminal justice issues for Chicago Public Radio and has won numerous awards for his journalism. He is now working as senior investigator at the Better Government Association. My Kind of Town is his first play.

Lee Hall (Playwright, The Pitmen Painters) is a British playwright and screenwriter, best known as the writer of the London and Broadway smash hit Billy Elliot, for which he also wrote the screenplay in 1999, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His acclaimed play Spoonface Steinberg, a monologue for a nine-year-old autistic girl dying of cancer, was first broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 1997. He was appointed Writer in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1999-2000 under the Pearson Playwrights Scheme Award. His play Cooking with Elvis premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000 and transferred to London’s West End. He has adapted Goldoni’s The Servant with Two Masters (1999) and translated two plays by Bertolt Brecht: Mr Puntilla and His Man Matti (1998) and Mother Courage (2000). His adaptation of the Dutch play The Good Hope by Herman Heijermans opened at the Royal National Theatre in 2001. He adapted his own play, I Luv You Jimmy Spud, as a feature film starring Billy Connolly in 2000. Lee co-wrote the screenplay for the film Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and adapted The Wind in the Willows for television in 2006. The Pitmen Painters premiered at the Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2007.

BJ Jones (Director, The Pitmen Painters) is in his 13th season as the Artistic Director of Northlight Theatre. A Jeff Award-nominated director, he has piloted productions at Steppenwolf Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre (New York), Intiman Theatre (Seattle), Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), The Asolo Theatre (Sarasota, Fla.) and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Previous directing credits include the world premieres of Craig Wright’s Lady, Larry Gelbart’s Better Late with John Mahoney, and Rounding Third with George Wendt, as well as Grey Gardens, Twelfth Night, A Number, Retreat from Moscow, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, A Skull in Connemara, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Glengarry Glenn Ross (Atlanta’s Suzie Award nomination) and Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, with Tracy Letts and Mike Nussbaum. A two-time Jeff Award-winning actor, he has appeared o virtually every stage in Chicago. At Steppenwolf, he appeared in The Royal Family and Playboy of the Western World, at Northlight in Blue/Orange as well as The Guys, a co-production between Northlight and the Goodman where he also did House and Garden, directed by Robert Falls. On film he has appeared in The Fugitive and Body Double, and on television Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Early Edition, Turks, Cupid and The Untouchables.

David Parkes (Cast, A Walk in the Woods) is a TimeLine Company Member, where he most recently appeared in the Chicago premiere of Frost/Nixon and the world premiere of Not Enough Air. He has appeared in featured roles in more than a dozen TimeLine productions, including as Martin Heidegger in the world premiere of Hannah and Martin (After Dark Award), John Proctor in The Crucible (Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination — Actor in a Principal Role, Play) and Warden Whalen in the Chicago premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Not About Nightingales (Non-Equity Jeff Award — Actor in a Supporting Role, Play). Other work in Chicago includes Odradek at The House Theatre of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of Tennessee Williams’ One Arm directed by Moises Kauffman, as well as productions with American Theatre Company, Eclipse Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Streetsigns, Footsteps, Greasy Joan and Piven Theatre Workshop. Regionally, he appeared as Ray in Everyman Theatre’s production of Blackbird in Baltimore, Maryland.

Lucy Prebble (Playwright, Enron) is a British playwright and screenwriter. She is the creator of the British television series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for her debut play The Sugar Syndrome in May 2004, followed by the TMA Award for Best New Play. Enron, her second play, won the TMA Award for Best New Play 2009 and was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Play.

Rachel Rockwell (Director, Enron) was most recently named the Best Director of 2010 by Chicago Magazine. Her directing/choreography credits at theatres such as Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Fox Valley Repertory, Apple Tree Theater and Nobel Fool Theatricals include Ragtime (Equity Jeff Awards — Musical and Director, Musical), Miss Saigon (Jeff nomination — Musical and Director, Musical); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Jeff nomination — Musical); Les Misérables (Associate Director, Jeff Award — Musical); Nunsense; A Christmas Carol; Disney’s High School Musical; Seussical the Musical; Disney’s Aladdin; The Emperor’s New Clothes; Leaving Iowa; John and Jen; It’s A Wonderful Life; Radio Play; and Married Alive. Rachel served as choreographer for Drury Lane’s production of The King and I (Jeff Award nomination); Marriott’s A Chorus Line, The Wizard of Oz and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes ; Steppenwolf’s Up, Lost Land and The Cherry Orchard; Chicago Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet and Measure for Measure. Regionally, her work has been seen at the Maryland Shakespeare Festival, the New Harmony Theatre, The Little Theatre On The Square, McLeod Summer Playhouse and ISU Summer Stage. Upcoming projects include: 42nd Street and Shout! at Marriott; The Adventures of Pinocchio at Chicago Shakespeare and Sweeney Todd and The Sound of Music at Drury Lane.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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