Hothouse Rent Part: Chicago Walkabout Theater Company

Feb 16, 2015

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Back in the 1930's, if it was a Friday night you were sipping on a Side Car while putting on your red lipstick (your best beaded dress hanging on your closet door) chances were you were headed out to a rent party. When times were tough and people were falling behind on bills, they would stock their apartments full of whiskey and jazz, and, with hat in hand, ask guests for a little help with rent that month. Well, Walkabout Theater Company had just the same idea in mind.

A Chicago theater company, Walkabout Theater throws an opulent rent party each year to help with funding, going all out to throw their guests back into another era. This year's theme was a steamy hothouse, with fringed paper vines snaking up doorways, a sultry fog winding around your stockinged legs at the entrance, and giant crepe flowers turning the loft into an exotic cabaret. Everyone was decked out in beads and feathers, leaving vampy lip stains on their martini glasses as they weaved from room to room. There were tarot card readers, gourmet ice cream stations, hand-drawn portrait booths, and- my favorite part- live performances from the ensemble themselves.

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I say that's my favorite part because the way they performed was electric. Sticking to the theme, they sang pieces that made you feel like you were tucked away in a dark speakeasy, sipping on a cocktail of bootlegged gin. Their original works were dreamy and emotional, and their covers (Fever by Peggy Lee, anyone?) were bewitching. 

Seriously, Chicago kids, we're all going next year. Start hunting for your vintage. 

And if you want to see them perform (because I most certainly am- seriously, I think I've grown an obsession with the group) their next show will be in June 2015, entitled Storm. A fierce re-imagining of Shakespeare's The Tempest, it's a "seething and sensuous examination of isolation, control, and the clash between human willpower and the forces on nature."

If anyone wants to go, e-mail me! We'll make a date out of it :)

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23 comments :

  1. This looks like the coolest thing ever! And everyone looks fabulous. I want to go to this party. Buuut... Chicago might be a bit far. Oh, well.
    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

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  2. Looks like such a great party! I love the pictures :)

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  3. Gorgeous pictures! It looks like such a fun time, it really just seems like a rad event, and you captured it so well.

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  4. Sounds like a super fun night - and who doesn't LOVE a flapper costume or a speakeasy?

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
    http://shoe-fiend.blogspot.co.nz/

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  5. This looks like so much fun! I would love to attend something like that!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  6. Wow I want to go to Chicago just to go to this. Looks so awesome! Look at all those cuties all dressed up.

    xx
    scarlettandgiselle.blogspot.com

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  7. This looks like the coolest party! Such a good idea x

    www.totalmodisch.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. This is such a cool idea! I love this - it makes me wonder if places in Melbourne have Rent Parties! hmm! I should get my google on! Also, this has inspired me for my second hand shopping date I'm having with my friend on Thursday, I'm excited to find some great items!
    xx
    -Olivia.
    www.foxandmint.com

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  9. Oh my god, this looks like an AMAZING event!!! I love all of the beaded dresses and the decor looks incredible. So fun to see the 1930's brought back! xx

    lovejoanna.com

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  10. Wow- what an evening! It looks incredible- that time period always calls to me- even though I never wear dresses or lipstick, it would have been a pretty amazing scene to be a part of.

    www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

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  11. Being a home decor lover, I of course notice the rad persian rug under the drummer's kit, lol. This looks so fun! The 20s were definitely one of my favorite eras for fashion/culture, and I just don't get enough chances to dig out my dropped-waist frocks and feather boas in everyday life. I'd go see STORM with you for sure if I were in the Chi-town area. Love theater, and Shakespeare is one of my favorite dudes!

    http://whitedogvintage.wordpress.com

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  12. Sounds like such a fun night! And I love what all the women are wearing - beautiful!

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  13. This is the coolest!! I'm so jealous. I need a time machine ha!

    http://shopnowrunlater.com/

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  14. If you're seriously looking for a theater date, count me in! I love smaller theaters like this, and The Tempest is one of my favorites from Shakespeare. The rent party sounds like a blast, I love the idea behind it (and, of course, all the fabulous looks on the attendees).

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  15. Wow, this looks like so much fun!
    Love the decor :)
    xox

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  16. That's so awesome! So much pretty photos in this post!

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  17. This looks like the most fun evening ever!! And everyone's outfits look amazing. I'm inspired to throw a Rent Party of my own now - what an interesting idea!

    x Kathryn
    Through the Thicket

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  18. this sounds and looks amazing! and i'd be there if i lived anywhere nearer to chicago. i mean, the same continent would be more convenient, haha! :-) xx

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  19. Oh my god! This looks like such a fabulous event! I wanna go to Chicago just to see go to this event! Love all the outfits people wore!

    be the plebeian

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  20. Ok, how cool is this. Not just the idea and in bringing something from the past and making it relevant once again but the overall vibes coming from these photos! It's kind of like crowd-funding but with a different cause and one in which everyone benefits from too. Not just in good karma.

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  21. Ugh, this is so bomb. What a cool way to spend an evening!

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Talk, talk, talk!

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