Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mat Rappaport talks Terrain Biennial Evanston

Today on The Lisa D Show we’re talking to Mat Rappaport about an exciting art event coming to Evanston for 6 weeks, Terrain Biennial. Eight front yards, all in walkable distance from another, will feature art installations ranging from sculptural installations to time-based performances to public interventions. Mat and fellow artist Anne Stevens brought this project to Evanston after seeing it’s success in Oak Park. See works Oct. 1 - Nov. 15.

Bio: Mat Rappaport is an internationally exhibited new media and installation artist, curator, and educator. He is currently an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, a board member of the New Media Caucus, and a founding member of v1b3.

Terrain Biennial

Event Main Website:
Terrain Evanston Information:
Instagram: #terrainbiennialevanston
Map Link: Google map of sites

The Terrain Biennial is an international exhibition of site specific art made for front yards, balconies, and porches. Centered in the historic village of Oak Park, IL, the 2017 Biennial with kick off on Sunday October 1st with a block party in Oak Park, IL and run until November 15th. Neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland will host performances, film screenings and other events in conjunction with the festival. A map of all locations and the dates of the openings for each neighborhood will be posted to

Founded in October of 2011 by artist Sabina Ott and Author John Paulett, Terrain Exhibitions and the Terrain Biennial repurpose private spaces such as front yards, porches, or windows, turning them into public spaces in order to foster dialogue between neighbors and provide opportunities for artist and viewers alike to experience new perspectives. The projects at the 3rd Terrain Biennial will range from sculptural installations to time-based performances to public interventions.

For the 3rd Terrain Biennial, Evanston artists have organized eight host locations on a walkable route, along Wesley and Florence Avenue between Emerson and Dempster Street. Eight homes will host the work of nine artists on the front yard, porch, or facade. Participating artists include Ben Blount, Paul Catanese, Shawn Decker, Patrick Lichty, Kristin Mariani, Laurie O’Brien, Mat Rappaport, Anne Hayden Stevens and Kevin Valentine. Artworks range from pinhole cinema by Laurie O’Brien, to a sound installation by Shawn Decker, to a sculpture & performance by artist Kevin Valentine. Maps for the Terrain Biennial can be accessed online.

The opening of Terrain Biennial: Evanston will be held on October 7 from 4-7pm and will feature performances and walking tours of the artworks. For more information about the Evanston projects, visit For the full list of the 3rd Terrain Biennial sites, visit


 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Catherine Napper of Improv Bus

This episode of The Lisa D Show takes a deep dive into the childhood of Catherine Napper, growing up in Evanston, to look at how environment plays a role in fostering a creative life. Frank, honest, smart and funny, Catherine shares her journey through life all the way to the stage with her current role as an actor with Improv Bus. 

Upcoming Improv Bus performance dates; Theater WIP on September 27 and October 11.

Below is an edited version of Catherine's bio and Improv Bus background. 


I am an artist and teacher raised and nurtured in South Evanston and a proud class of ‘81 Wildikit. I  am very proud to be living here, in my hometown, once again after many years living in McHenry County, Milwaukee and New York.

Evanston is  the place where I developed my artistic spirit. It surrounded me, a most awkward child, with people and places that inspired and nurtured me. As an introspective and introverted child, I was often by myself or with my sisters. I found it difficult to find friends, or to find a place where I fit in, and I was left to my own devices. I used my imagination to create these places for myself. This translated easily into art of all sorts, writing, painting, and most often, acting and pretending. My sisters and I spent hours and hours creating and producing plays and puppet shows in our basement (amidst the drying laundry) often inviting all the neighbors, and occasionally neglecting to tell my mother.

I found solace, strength and the ability to use my voice through the fine and performing arts and opportunities were everywhere when I began to look for them!  My greatest role models were the artists I was fortunate enough to have as my teachers, Gloria Bond Clunie, being the most prominent. I learned through her, how to use theater as a form of self-expression (and life skill!) Through the performing arts, I felt I had found acceptance from my peers and more importantly, myself. And I had found my tribe.

After High School I studied photography and theater at Columbia College in Chicago I developed and ran a theater program and arts camp for kids through the Ridgeville Park District and taught improv at various locations throughout the Chicagoland Area.  As a young adult I studied at the Second City in Chicago and performed sketch comedy for several years with an improv group named, “The Illegitimate” players directed by the infamous Second City writer and performer, Don DePollo.

I received my Master’s Degree in Teaching from National Louis University and spent many years teaching, raising my kids, taking improv classes with Jimmy Carrane and seeking opportunities to teach and direct youth theater. I directed and co-directed productions of Peter Pan and Our Town through Shakespeare’s Child Theater Company in the Northern suburbs.

After moving back to Evanston two and half years ago with my husband, Tom, I heightened my participation in the improv community by making a stronger commitment to learning new skills, taking classes and performing when I could find the opportunity. I continue to do so!


ImprovBus is a flexible improv group made up of 8-12 individuals who trained together with local writer, author, performer and director, Jimmy Carrane, the creator of “The Art of Slow Comedy,” and “Improv Nerd.”  Our performance goal as a team is to bring authentic improv to different types of venues around the city, making it accessible to everyone.

Through our ongoing training, we developed a strong sense of ensemble, growing and learning together with the intent of bringing the “real” back to comedy. This is the philosophy and pedagogy of our mentor/teacher/coach, Jimmy Carrane, and one which really resonated with us as performers.  Our members, who are of myriad ages and backgrounds, bring a wealth of real life talent and experiences to our work. Most of us have enjoyed meaningful careers outside of theater adding  valuable real world experience and variety to our scene work and on-stage relationships.  Our hope is to always let our humanity drive our scene work. We are less game-focused and less silly than many groups out there and rely instead on developing meaningful relationships in our stage work. We vary the show forms we present based on the available performers, the venue, the time and the audience. The result is a group of highly versatile, very, very funny people working together to make comedy relatable and fun. We focus on staying grounded in our work because real life is funny enough!

The name ImprovBus came to me in a strange, albeit well-timed dream, earlier this year.  I dreamed that our entire troupe, along with pets, costumes and musical instruments was tooling around Chicago neighborhoods in a decked out Winnebago-like Bus. Occasionally the side door would pop open and we’d roll out performing hilarious improv right on the spot. When pressed for a name for our troupe in early June, the name just popped out, and it stuck!

ImprovBus! has been very fortunate so far with finding performance opportunities around town (and in fact, they tend to find us!)  We have spent the summer performing very regularly as part of Caffeinated Improv hosted by Osmium Coffee House and Star Lounge. Additional Upcoming dates include a performance with Jamwich (opening for Part Dog) at the Crowd Theater in Chicago on September 9 and 3 performances at Theater WIP on September 13, September 27 and October 11.

We continue to play and learn together, experimenting with new ideas and forms each week and look forward to expanding our performances to include festivals, galleries, industrial work and wherever else the “bus” takes us!

P.S. Having an actual bus is just a long-term goal!


"The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Clare Tallon Ruen founder of LakeDance

On this episode of The Lisa D Show podcast we talk with Clare Tallon Ruen, a dancer and Great Lakes enthusiast. Clare uses dance, performance art and peer-based learning to create a sense of awareness, respect and enthusiasm for the Great Lakes in Evanston. Working with District 65, area experts/scientists and youth, ClareTallon Ruen, founder of LakeDance, is cultivating a community of lake enthusiasts in Evanston.

Upcoming Events
Sept. 16  the public is invited to LakeFest at Greenwood Beach to celebrate and appreciate the lake, 9a.m. - 1 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, event details;
*Take action with an Adopt-a-Beach clean up with the Alliance for the Great Lakes at at 9:00am at Greenwood Beach
*At 10:00am enjoy a short program: Learn about pressing Great Lakes issues and listen to some performances
*Participate in a Freshwater Stories workshop at 11:30am hosted by University of Illinois Chicago.

Bio: Clare, founder of LakeDance, is a dancer and Great Lakes enthusiast. Finding ways for movement to express processes and phenomena in our world is her passion. Partnering with engineers, researchers, artists and classroom teachers, Tallon Ruen seeks to create relevant and engaging educational experiences for all involved. Recently she launched Watershed Collective, an adult learning community, to gather knowledge and encourage passion for our watershed.
Evanston’s location on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes in the Great Lakes Watershed, means that we are some of the major beneficiaries and caretakers of the largest system of freshwater on the surface of Earth.

Learn more about LakeDance at


 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dorit Jordan Dotan's Curatorial Debut at Evanston Art Center

Today we talk to visual artist Dorit Jordan Dotan about her curatorial debut at the Evanston Art Center with the show, Far from the Front Lines / Artistic Dialogue Beyond Borders. The show opens Friday, September 8, 6-8 p.m. and features twenty-two North American contemporary artists selected who responded to the call to create art about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dorit Jordan Dotan, multi-media artist, was born in Israel in 1961. Jordan Dotan combines photography with innovative digital art and mixed media. Through her art, she expresses her views about political, social and cultural topics.  

Hot Weapon / New Media / 2017 / נשק חם
— with Dorit Jordan Dotan Photography.

Visit to see her works.   

Jordan Dotan lives and works in Evanston, IL. She is a Fellow with the Jewish Art Salon - New York, and participates with the Artist’s Lab at Spertus, Chicago.  Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and internationally, in Chicago, New York, Berlin, Toronto and Israel.

Curatorial debut: Far from the Front Lines / Artistic Dialogue Beyond Borders

September 7 - October 1, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8, 6-8 p.m.
Evanston Art Center

This exhibition brings together a community of artists who strongly feel that art is personal, that the personal is political, and the political is very personal. The twenty-two North American contemporary artists selected for this exhibition were among those who responded to the call to create art about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As in many mediums, perspective derives from distance; being far away opens up a natural space for new viewpoints. Artists who are Far From the Front Lines have created an opportunity for artful dialog beyond borders. It allows both the audience and the artists themselves to actively promote meaningful change in our minds, where all borders ultimately reside.   

This exhibition is about coexistence, hope, and showing fine art. Social change has often been brought about by artists who dare to say what few want to hear. The vision from this exhibit is a starting point from which to inspire new ways of thinking. The context of an exhibition expands the space of the artist to encompass not only the individual onlooker, but a community as a whole: diverse, tolerant, contentious, questing after justice at home, and personally - sometimes viscerally - invested in events far away. Artists far from mapped borders may be among the first to finally, tentatively, step over into new territory.

The exhibition includes paintings, photography, calligraphy, installation, video, mixed media and new media. Featured artists include Adriana Poterash, Beth Krensky, Dorit Jordan Dotan, Ellen Holtzblatt, Gabriella Boros, Jake Mezrahi, James Holloway, Judith Joseph, Kanaan Kanaan, Katarzyna Kozera and Yona Verwer, Lenore Mizrachi-Cohen, Leona Strassberg, Liam Ze'ev O’Connor, LNM, Margaret Olin, Munir Alawi, Nancy Current, Naomi Safran-Hon, Shay Arick, Susan C. Dessel and Susan Dickman.

"The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Friday, September 1, 2017

Alice George on Making a Creative Life

Alice George is a poet, visual artist, teacher, entrepreneur and more. Today we talk about her upcoming art show at the Evanston Art Center, her new interest in animation and the Monday is for Making workshops she is hosting in her West Evanston artist studio. 

9/8: Exhibit Opening, 6-8 p.m.: Amy Chan, Alice George and Amy O. Woodbury at the Evanston Art Center. Alice George shows 16 small prints, featuring last words spoken by celebrities, authors, heroes. Visit

9/28 Artist talk and public screening of Alice George animations. 7-8:30 p.m. at the Evanston Art Center. Ranging from poetic to bleak to surreal, short-shorts mix hand-drawn animation with photography. George’s husband Shawn Decker is creating scores for some of the pieces. There’ll be some Sketchbook beer on hand too. Click here for vimeo channel 

9/11: Monday is for Making Workshop Sessions 9/11, 9/18 and 9/25, 7-9 p.m.: These small sessions are held in Alice George’s 1125 Florence Ave. Evanston studio and gather a small cadre of interdiscipinary folks interested in discussion, hands-on exercises and critique. George’s expertise lies in creative writing, visual art, text/image explorations and entrepreneurship. The September sessions will ask “What can we learn from transformation?” by looking at Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Chinese artist and activist Ai Wei Wei, and Picasso’s sculptures. Click here for Info and online registration here.

 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]