Two posts in one day? Ohmigod something must be going on! Why yes, it’s Presidents Day, a U.S. federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of February to recognize the country’s first President George Washington (I don’t know, you might have heard of him). Earlier I told you about the Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue. If you ever want to have a presidential road trip, make sure to check out “The City of Presidents” in Rapid City and Ohio’s One and Only Presidential Museum as well. And let’s not forget the Hall of Presidents at the Neo-Futurist Theater in Chicago. They’re best known for “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind” (an always-rotating performance of 30 plays in 60 minutes that range from serious to downright silly), which began in 1988 and is still going on 27 years later.
This is how it goes – late at night on a Saturday people line up at the corner of Foster and Ashland outside a funeral home. Above is a 150-seat theater with a large, hot room attached where eager audience members wait forever in uncomfortable chairs or on the floor, then roll two dice and pay whatever is rolled. The theater troupe gives each person a name tag with random words written on them, like “Pancake” or “Money”. If the show is sold out, they will buy pizza for everyone. Audience participation is key as people yell out which play number they want to see and might actually be asked to go on stage. It can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s hit or miss. I have great memories of going there when I was a teen, which was a long, long time ago and that reminds me…I also saw Co-Ed Prison Sluts at the Annoyance Theatre. Geez, I’m old!
But let’s get back to the Presidents. Entering the building visitors will pass a long, winding hallway of “funny” and “strange” presidential portraits, a permanent exhibit in the theater, as they make their way to the waiting room. The Neo-Futurists have a piece of art for each and every U.S. president so far, ranging from a tiny bust of George Washington placed next to a tiny set of false teeth to a paper collage of pitted cherries representing Zachary Taylor to an etch-a-sketch Obama. George W. Bush has an oil well spouting out the top of his head. John Quincy Adams looks a bit like Bob Hope in the portrayal by Chicago artist Steve Musgrave. And Dwight Eisenhower looks a bit deranged. Not your everyday presidential art exhibit, that’s for sure. But definitely memorable.