Hot Stuff, Holidays and Hamburgers

Mon. December 11, 2006 12:00 AM
by Jason Paul

Once again, Hamburger Mary's nightlife lounge in Andersonville, Mary's Attic, graces the page as something to be scene. Twice this past week, Mary's Attic was host to performances perfectly-suited for the season of giving.

“I just love spreading Christmas cheer,” says Attic hostess, Cherri Pi. “Especially during this time of year, I like to see a big smile across everyone's face—after they meet me.”

Mary's owner Brandon Wright adds, “Mary's Attic is a great space for live performances, and we're fortunate to bring in some amazing talent in order to benefit some important local causes.”

Tuesday, December 5, the Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) previewed the world premiere of CHICAGO TAKES OFF, on the Mary's Attic stage. Wanting to sponsor a production akin to New York's Broadway Bares, TPAN's new fundraising benefit promises to “expose the finest assets of Chicago's professional dance and performing arts community,” according to the event's press release.

Directed by Dance for Life founders Keith Elliott and Todd Kiech, CHICAGO TAKES OFF will feature a Burlesque-style revue performed by approximately 25 volunteer dancers willing to take it all off. Funds raised will benefit HIV/AIDS services provided by TPAN.

“We really wanted to create the next big thing,” says TPAN Director of Marketing Danny Kopelson. “And what would bring the whole community together?—Nudity!”

The show takes place Saturday February 10, at the Park West in Chicago. Tickets are on sale at www.tpan.com.

Later that same week, Thursday, December 7, marked the first of three holiday-themed cabaret shows benefiting the Howard Brown Health Center hosted by Mary's Attic. Have Your Elf a Mary Little Christmas features solos and collaborations of classic holiday carols, soul, jazz, Christmas Wham, pop and Peanuts, by local vocalists John Jones, Audrey Midaugh, and Nicole Pearce.

Midaugh, who can be seen hosting the Attic's Mary-oke night on Wednesday evenings, says she enjoys taking part in these benefit performances. They remind her of her days singing in her church's choir. She's been performing since she was 5-years-old.

“My parents used to own a restaurant and I'd perform for the guests,” says Midaugh. “I used to run around the tables, singing and playing the spoons.”

An accomplished vocalist, Pearce says her passion for singing follows in her mother's footsteps. Of her role in Have Your Elf... Pearce says, “I love Holiday music. And it's the perfect group of people, the perfect space and the perfect way to introduce live music to Hamburger Mary's.”

The remaining two performances of Have Your Elf a Mary Little Christmas take place Thursday December 14 and 21, at Mary's Attic, 5400 North Clark St. Tickets are $10 and the price includes one beverage.