Friday, August 13, 2010

Variety vs. Familiarity?

Programming may be the most important aspect of owning a theater. It is really hard to balance new acts as opposed to people we have presented in the past. On one hand, it is creatively interesting to bring in new performers and their energy. The fun of sharing a discovery is a great experience for an audience. On the other hand, it is really hard to get an audience to try someone new. People often request we bring back their favorite shows. Once we have invested in someone new and they connect with an audience, we want to help them build a following. Some acts that have done this include The Guitars of Spain, The Weird Sisters, and Katie Todd. We are bringing back a few performers who were at the Acorn Theater once and we think made a strong enough impression that we invited them back. Matt Alber and Keri Noble come to mind. I’m curious if you have an opinion about this. Do you prefer variety or familiar?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Recipes from Jazz Brunch

For those of you who missed it, Sunday was a brand new day at The Acorn! We threw our first brunch, a Jazz Brunch, and it was a hit on many, many levels. In between listening to Sam Stryke play our Baldwin Grand Piano, and eating amazing delicacies prepared by "Chef Kim," guests were treated to a food and cocktail demo!

Chef Kim showed our guests how to prepare the Fire Roasted Tomato Soup he'd made for brunch, and Jill demonstrated the perfect New Orleans' style Bloody Mary.

Check out the recipes below, and be sure to make reservations for our next brunch, October 17, featuring the beautiful music of Anne Harris!

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
Blacken two dozen Roma Tomato's using open coals or any direct fire.
Blacken and even number of Sweet onions (after removing the basic outer shell)
Let them cool and remove the outer blackend portion by rubbing them gently with a soft clean rag.

Place the Tomatoes and onions in a good liquifying blender and liquify the contents.
Add chicken stock. Salt to taste.

Serve hot or cold and garnish with fresh basil.

Recipe courtesy of Red Cabbage Cafe, Puerto Vallarta MX found at

Jill's New Orleans' Style Bloody Mary
(For one bloody mary)

In a pint glass, combine:
1 TBSP horseradish
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp Old Bay (Seafood Seasoning)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce (more or less, depending on desired level of hotness)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Add ice, fill with 1 shot of good quality vodka, and then top with tomato juice.

Garnish with any/all of the following:
Pickled string beans
Pickled okra
Pickled carrot
Celery stalk
Picholine olives
Cocktail onion
Pickled Asparagus

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A (Random) List of David's Favorites: Part 3

I recently listed some of my memorable events in Three Oaks. Here are a few more off the top of my head:

Our community gathered to celebrate the lives of Amelia and Jim Toler. If there is a way honor the spirit of someone we love and lose, these were heartfelt and appropriate send-offs to two people who brought a lot of passion and creativity to our little town.

The community gathered and offered emotional support and love to Tim and Alberto, the owners of Bailey’s restaurant when it sadly burned down. The same support was given to Kim and me who owned the building. It was one of the worst times in our lives and we received so much kindness from our neighbors. If you ever doubt the strength of a community, going through a tragedy like this restores your faith. I hope none of you ever experience the tragedy but that you get to feel the support of your neighbors.

Watching buildings in town get lovingly restored or rebuilt such as the Featherbone

Factory (not just the Acorn portion,) the building near the library and Mike and Sarah rehabbed, Springdale (which will be reincarnated as a new venture to open very soon,) Ipso Facto, B Books, Studio B, Gallery H, and Woodpecker Property next to Ipso Facto. I hope everyone benefits from their efforts.

Wonderful sculptures appearing (and disappearing) such as the winged woman by Dessa Kirk and the three sculptures that now stand in the area between Elm Street and the Acorn Theater.

The holiday season huge animals made out of lights that were displayed across Harbor Country years ago. Putting them up was a riot. I remember a 40 foot sculpture of a goose falling on Chuck when we were trying to raise it. No one was hurt (including the art) and the process was kind of difficult but fun and rewarding. Russ from Pine Garth, Chuck from Sweethaven, James, Kim and myself from the Warren Woods Inn, along with some others, proudly erected them the first year and people had the wonderful surprise of discovering large animals made of lights in all sorts of places around the area. Art Beat Chicago did a nice piece about them on public television.

Three Oaks had a nice article in the New York Times. So did the Acorn Theater. The Acorn was also shown on three different Home and Garden shows and well as on 160 North hosted by our friend Janet Davies, Rick Kogan also featured many people from Three Oaks and the area on his radio show and his Sidewalks page in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It’s nice when people outside of Three Oaks notice and acknowledge our little community.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A (Random) List of David's Favorites: Part 2

In my last blog post, I mentioned some highlights of my time in Three Oaks. Here are some more memorable events off the top of my head. Do you have any you would like to add to this list?

The Vickers Theatre decided to project “Cinema Paradiso” onto the side of the theater. People sat on lawn chairs, motorcycles, whatever and watched this film outdoors. The weather and sky in Three Oaks mimicked the weather and sky in the film. When the movie showed a scene where they were projecting a film on the side of a building in a small town in Italy, everyone watching at the Vickers suddenly understood why we were watching it outside projected onto the side of a building and broke into wild spontaneous applause.

The first Three Oaks “Inside Out” street fair was so much fun. Downtown shops moved their inventory outside to the street and we created a simple and fun carnival atmosphere up and down Elm Street.

B Books is often the site of creative gatherings. The one that I want to mention followed a program at the Acorn Theater where Rick Kogan and Charles Osgood interviewed people and showed photos from their first Sidewalks book. After the show, we went to B Books and hung out for awhile before moving the party to Nelson’s Saloon until they shut down. Everyone enjoyed the event so much they didn’t want it to stop so they kept it going until every place was shut down.

Music in the Park began with Shakespeare in the park performed to torchlight. It was charming and fun and anything but pretentious. I remember seeing a young couple, probably around 12 years old and on their first date enjoying the show, the boy beaming with pride that he could take this girl to something this cool and fun.

Finally, I used to love hanging out with Kim Pruitt at her Dawning Gallery. People would come and go, checking out her artwork and gift items as we chatted about everything imaginable. These were smaller moments than the other items but there is beauty in intimacy.

Our First Home Brew Competition

As posted on Jill's blog,

Yesterday was another monumental day in my life at the shop. I held my first ever Home Brew Competition, and it went quite well, all things considered. All things being I don’t brew, and thus didn’t think things out perfectly before setting deadlines and announcing the contest itself. However, a good number of brewers came through, and we had enough entries and judges for a particularly fun Sunday.

We opened this event to the public, which was not only fun, but highly entertaining for me. Meandering between the judges and the public was fascinating–it goes without saying the two entities did NOT agree on everything. Out of the 16 entries, I have to say I was really impressed with the quality. Sure, there were one or two that were not stand outs. But mostly, everything was not only drinkable, but rather impressive.

Trophies went to People’s Choice (a Pilsner) and the judges “Best in Show” (A Strong Scotch Ale) with a Mexican Lager and American IPA coming in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. But my favorite part of the tasting/judging? A clear “fight” between a husband and wife, both who brewed an American Pale Ale. The judges loved hers, the rest of the people enjoyed his more…for two hours, all we heard was, “anyone have any more of the wife??”

Again, I’m not a brewer…but if anything was going to inspire me to start, this was it. J and I have tossed around the idea over, and over, and over again. He has a head for math and science, and I…well, clearly, I’m at home in the kitchen. And yesterday has us contemplating what we could do differently, and the fun we’d likely have with new brews cooking in our basement.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

David's Favorites...

As I sit here trying to recover from a busy week of shows, I look forward to the magic acts coming this Thursday and the Guitars of Spain coming on Saturday. Both Chris Carter and
The Guitars of Spain have been performing at the Acorn Theater ever since we were a new performance space. Looking back, here are a few of the highlights of events in Three Oaks that pop into my mind off the top of my head. I think top ten lists are passé so I’m just making a random list of memorable moments.

  • Our first show in Three Oaks was in conjunction with and presented at the Vickers Theatre. It was a variety show with a number of great performers. The performer who really hit it big was David Sedaris who read from his new book, Naked. In the late show, he read one of the funniest and filthiest sections of the book. This show was probably about 14 years ago and people still talk about it.
  • Springdale had some great parties but the one that I want to mention was their first outdoor bash with a great band called “Jump” (formerly Jump Little Children.) It was a great party that brought everyone together for a really fun time.
  • Blue Gallery was once called Out of the Blue. Owner Sean teamed up with present owner Judy and her friend Valerie and put together a show and party that brought great energy to Three Oaks. I think of Abby Heche dancing in the gallery window. People filling the gallery and spilled out onto the street showing that there is a lot of life on the streets of downtown Three Oaks if you throw a good party.
  • Amelia of “Rubbish Designs” was the mastermind and creative spirit who created a fashion show when Elm Street was torn up for reconstruction. It was an inspired evening that showcased the talents of many members of our community including emcee Donna Blue. It was also a great party. I guess I like great parties.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It is Wednesday evening and I’m resting up in anticipation of a busy weekend. We have four consecutive nights of music, each one really different. We are proud of the diversity of performers we present and these weekend highlights that range. Tomorrow, William Fitzsimmons will make his Acorn Theater debut. William is a moody singer/songwriter with melancholy songs. His music is moody and intimate. On Friday, Emile Pandolfi will return with his dramatic piano playing. His arrangements are exciting and flamboyant. He varies his tempos, dynamics, and makes even the best-known songs his own. On Saturday, the popular Other 3 Tenors return to the Acorn. They have sold out their shows in the past and we hope this year will be no exception. They have beautiful voices and you can compare and contrast the styles of these opera singers of varied backgrounds. Like Emile, they are fun and playful as well as musical, combining showmanship with musicality. Finally, the weekend will end with a concert by the charming and intimate folk style of Richie Havens. Though Woodstock may have made him famous, time has not diminished his ability to excite an audience. His stories combined with his music make you feel like you are leaving the theater with a new friend that you met at a great party.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Rain Doesn't Stop Us!

A storm hit the Acorn Theater on Friday around 6:30 PM . . . a storm of
biblical proportions. We heard that it knocked out hundreds of thousands
of homes of power in Chicago. But as it made it way across the warm waters
of Lake Michigan, the storm gained strength.

In Three Oaks it met the Acorn Theater with particular force. The wind
and rain blew off part of our roof before we lost power. Water, water,
water. and only one mop.

With no electricity, flashlights and candles in hand, we took a cheerful
audience and enjoyed an unforgettable show. Congratulations to the
winner, Merrie Greenfield. My favorite story of hers came from the
suggestion “recalled meatballs” and her story involved an Eastern
European woman trying to get compensation for meat she used to make a huge
meatball sandwich for an American Idol finale party where everyone got
sick. Storied by candlelight turned out to be really fun and cool.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Big Vs. Little

I have mixed emotions about presenting well-known performers at the Acorn Theater. Meeting some of these people is a thrill because they are so great to be around. Shawn Mullins, Poi Dog Pondering, Peter Yarrow, and Richie Havens come to mind. If you stuck around after their shows, you got to experience firsthand how friendly they are. They also performed great shows and really excited the audience. I am looking forward to meeting Marshall Crenshaw and presenting him for the first time. Another wonderful thing about presenting the bigger names is the amount of press and buzz we receive. performers such as Lesley Gore, Nathan Gunn, Jim Brickman, Jefferson Starship, Leon Redbone, The Platters, The Pacifica Quartet, and The Cowboy Junkies garnered a lot of media attention. It is also great to have sell-out crowds and enthusiastic audiences. On the other hand, we present so many really talented performers who deserve as much attention. Remember, there are a lot of amazingly talented people who will give you a great night of entertainment. Come to the big shows, but also try some of the less famous performers. You may discover an unexpected treat. Plus, you will be the cool person who "saw them when." I would love to hear what artists gave you that surprise moment where you were moved and thrilled. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mark O'Connor, Corky Siegel, and the drama "Tops or Bottoms" were a few of mine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Extreme Beer Fest: THE LIST!

As a special treat for you, our loyal fans and readers, I'm giving you the first glimpse at the actual and true final list of beers for tomorrow's Extreme Beer Fest! Of course, one never knows what will ACTUALLY show up at the fest, but this will give you a great idea of tastes to come.

This is, by far, the biggest of these events I've ever done, and I'm so excited we have decided to move this May event to be part of the Acorn 7th anniversary celebration!

And with that, I (Jill) give you...THE LIST!

Affligem Blond Belgian Ale

Arbor Espresso Love-

Arbor Flamboyant Wild Red Ale

Arbor Strawberry Blonde

Arbor Red Snapper

Arbor Sacred Cow IPA

Atwater Cherry Stout

Atwater Dirty Blond

Atwater Double Down

Atwater Vanilla Porter

Bell's Consecrator Dopplebock

Bell's Batch 9000

Big Sky Moose Drool

Big Sky Scape Goat Pale Ale

Big Sky Trout Slayer

Big Sky Summer Honey

Breckenridge Agave Wheat

Breckenridge 471 IPA

Breckenridge Lucky U IPA

Clipper City Big DIPA

Clipper City Loose Cannon IPA

Clipper City Red Sky Saison

Clipper City Siren Noire Chocolate Stout

Dark Horse Belgium style Amber Ale

Dark Horse Crooked Tree I.P.A.

Dark Horse Raspberry

Dark Horse Reserve Spec. Black Bier

Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

Dragonmead Crown Jewels

Dragonmead Final Absolution

Dragonmead Under The Kilt (Wee Heavy)

Dragonmead Erik the Red

Founders Cerise

Founders Backwoods Bastard

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders Old Curmudgeon

Hacker-Pschorr Weisse

Harpoon Celtic Ale

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon UFO

Harpoon Leviathan Imperial Red

Harpoon Leviathan Saison

Harpoon Leviathan Baltic Porter

He’Brew Jewbelation 13

Hitachino White

Great Divide Collette

Great Divide Hoss Rye

Great Divide Samurai Rice

Great Divide Yeti Espresso Stout

Great Lakes Commodore Perry

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

Great Lakes Holy Moses

Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire

Lagunitas Dog Town

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot

Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown

Left Hand Sawtooth ESB

Left Hand 400lb Monkey

Left Hand Good Juju

Left Hand Black Jack Porter

Left Hand Imperial Stout

Livery Brewery Kentucky Kaffinator

Livery Brewery Rye Barrel Jak

Mt. Pleasant Train Wreck Ale

Moylan’s Dragon Stout

Moylan’s Hopsicle

Moylan’s Imperial Stout

Moylan’s IPA

Moylan’s Irish Red

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter

Moylan’s Moylander

Moylan’s Tipperary

New Holland Envious

New Holland El Mole Ocho

New Holland Dragon’s Milk

New Holland Black Tulip

New Holland Mad Hatter Imperial IPA

New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole

Rogue Brutal Bitter

Rogue Chipotle Ale

Rogue Captain Sigs

Rogue Mogul Madness


Schmohz-Sammie Rae Root Beer

Schmohz- Miracle off 28th St. Old Ale

Schmohz-Mad Tom's Porter

Short’s Huma Lupalicious

Short’s Magician

Short’s Soft Parade

Short’s Sustenance

Stone Pale Ale

Stone Ruination

Unibroue Apple Ephemere

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly

Unibroue Don de Dieu

Unibroue la Fin du Monde

Unibroue Maudite

Victory Golden Monkey

Victory Hop Devil

Victory Hop Wallop

Victory Prima Pils

Weihenstephan Kristal White

Monday, May 24, 2010

Acorn Theater Anniversary

The Acorn Theater is celebrating its seventh anniversary this coming weekend. Thinking back to our first year, a number of performers come to my mind. Colleen McHugh performing in the incomplete room for an audience of lodging owners in Harbor Country. Squirm including our new pipe organ in their music. Amy Seeley performing Moline Mad Man, a touching and funny one-woman show to our first packed house. Scott Woldman, Jim Jarvis, Justin Hayford, and Jenna Mammina performing their hearts out. We also did workshops of a new musical by Jack Helbig and Mark Hollmann. Hopefully, I will find my 2003 calendar that lists all the shows. Many people give their time and energy to help create the space. We are thankful to everyone who has performed on our stage, who has attended our shows., and who has helped us create the magic.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Extreme Beer Fest

This post was just posted on Jill's blog, eat it. drink it. But it's so Acorn-centric (because it's all about the beer fest) that she wanted to post it on the Acorn blog, too! Enjoy!

Setting up for the Extreme Beer Fest, for me, is similar to setting up for my wedding. Ok, not really, but I do have the same intensely disturbing dreams, fears, and obsessive attitude that I did regarding my wedding. Just ask the people who work with me. (You love me...)

A lot goes into creating this event, and basically, it's all done by two of us. Becky (calling her the "manager" of the theater is like calling Bill Gates well-off--a complete and total understatement) and myself. B is incredibly supportive and helpful with this event, from sourcing extra tables, to helping me staff, to working the actual event, to designing our awesome poster. I do all the ordering, the glasses, the stocking and pricing get the idea.

We've been getting delivery after delivery of cases and cases of beer for the event. Today, I went through, priced and stocked it all in the storage room. Yes, me. I guess I haven't lost all my upper body strength from last summer. It's awesome. And not awesome as in wicked cool. Awesome as in massive. We have about 90 beers in total for this event, at least 50 more than my October event. We've doubled the number of tickets, which are selling like mad. I've done actual press for this event (which, as a recovering and still functioning publicist is insanely uncomfortable, personally speaking) and the local beer blogs, Kalambrew, Michigan Microbrews and Beer Nuts, have been super cool!

'm more than excited for next Friday. It will be, to date, the largest event I have thrown that I'm personally responsible for. Which is a great feeling, and at the same time, insanely scary.

And really does make marrying J seem like a total piece of cake.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Little Insight into David and Kim...

Kim and I have gone to an arts festival called Burningman ten times so far. I find it creatively inspiring. People come together and form a city filled with art projects. The event lasts for a week and then everyone cleans up and leaves. One of the rules is “leave no trace” so everything goes away and it looks like a desert where nothing ever happened. This event is certainly not for everyone. It is dirty, gets very hot and very cold, and you need to meet all your needs including bringing your own food, water, lodging, and other needs. There is no commerce there. All you can buy is ice and coffee. There are port-a-potties there and an infrastructure. There are also rules, but they are different than our daily lives. I always try new ideas there. There is so much creativity that I come back with new ideas for the theater and for Three Oaks. It is strange being ‘off the grid” and inaccessible for a period of time but there is something freeing about that experience. If you are interested, you may want to attend a local “burner” event and get a little taste. We have had some events at the Acorn Theater produced by people who attend Burningman. In fact, one of the jugglers who will be here on Saturday is a veteran of Burningman. If you want to talk with me about it some time, catch me when I’m not busy.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Coming Weekend

This coming weekend is really busy at the Acorn and I hope it is indicative of our future in terms of varied programming. We begin the weekend on Thursday night, as I think everyone should. Michael Holmes is performing The Judy Show which is a nightclub act. Michael sings, tells jokes, and impersonates a number of celebrities in a fun and playful manner. Our space lends itself well to nightclub-style shows. We move to Friday night where we have two bands playing CD release concerts. These groups are perfect for the hipster who wants to try something new and be on the edge of the arts. Reptet is coming from the west coast and End Times Orchestra are from Grand Rapids. End Times back the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque who are always popular at the Acorn. A bunch of the burlesque performers including dancers and some variety performers will perform with the band at this combination concert/party. This is a good night for groups of friends to come, hang out, and let your hair down. Saturday night brings the Corky Siegel Chamber Blues band with special guest, bassist/vocalist Rollo Radford. This will be a night a high-energy music flowing between classical and blues with a string quartet, percussionist, Corky’s harp and keyboards, and Rollo on bass and vocals. If you want to expose your kids or grandkids to great music that is also fun, this is a wonderful opportunity. Check out the bios of the performers. The weekend ends on Sunday afternoon with Twinkles the Clown performing a show for all ages. She is fun and gentle and playful. Bring the kids and enjoy a performance designed to delight all ages.

I think there is something for everyone this weekend. Our schedule has been filling up with world-class performers. I hope people will not only enjoy the well-known performers, but also give the lesser-known people a chance. The tickets are priced reasonably and you can discover great talent in a relaxed atmosphere. Remember, some of the best performers are not necessarily the most famous. This weekend really kicks off the summer season so get a group of friends or family and turn them on to the beauty of live performance at the Acorn Theater.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Guest Notes from a Very Inspired Patron

Had a great time last night. Jim Post is fantastic. I was mesmerized listening to the stories. The musical portions were a big surprise for me. It was as if Mark wrote them himself.
I am waiting impatiently for Friday's visit of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Listening to their music before the program last night would turn anyone into their biggest fan. I still have “Hit 'Em Up Style" is stuck in my mind after listening to them last night. The Carolina Chocolate Drops music is intoxicating! People need to mark their calendars and get tickets! Now!!!

For someone who basically had never been to a live concert till you opened... the Acorn is Utopia. Making up for lost time.

--Jim Hartwick

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Art Attack!

This weekend is called Art Attack. It is where the arts scene in Harbor Country present various events. At the Acorn, we have a kick-off party with the most entertaining commercials of the year and food from a number of area restaurants. We also have an art opening in the gallery at our wine shop, two performances of a play about Mark Twain containing original music written and performed by Jim Post, and a closing night party on Sunday. Art Attack is near and dear to our hearts as it was the first theatrical event we produced in Three Oaks, well before the birth of the Acorn Theater. I’m going to guess the year as 1996 and Kim and I got together with Jonathan Pitts (who is now Executive Director of the Chicago Improv Festival) and we produced three shows of interesting performers. The names I remember from the show include Lunacy (a female poetry/drumming group,) Local Infinities, Adrian Danzig (of 500 Clown fame,) Greg Allen (of the Neofuturists), and an up-and-coming writer named David Sedaris. The shows were a lot of fun and the audiences were full so we produced shows every year at Art Attack weekend for a number of years in Three Oaks. We used the Vicker’s Theatre as a locaion. One year, we had the show in the Featherbone Factory, just a few yards down from the present location of the Acorn Theater. These Art Attack shows led to us bringing Shakespeare to the part in Three Oaks every summer. This series evolved into today’s Music in the Park series. So you see, a lot of things grew from a little event called Art Attack.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

an email from patron Jim Hartwick after the Cathy Richardson performance

What can I say other than I was totally exhausted watching Cathy. What a performance. I could not sit still. Thank goodness the woman next to me was bouncing up and down more than me. I was chatting with her before the show about Anne Harris (love her) and her comment was... "the woman is liquid music". I knew I had to share. I totally agree. What a perfectly succinct way to describe her talent. Can't wait till she comes back solo. I feel I was in the presence of greatness tonight. It was so good to see another full house.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cathy Richardson Rocks

This Saturday night Cathy Richardson is coming to the Acorn Theater with a new band. The last couple of times she was here, Cathy was lead singer with Jefferson Starship. This woman can sing and really commands the stage. She is also really fun. Cathy is pure excitement. Also, years ago, before Cathy performed in our space, she attended an Anne Harris concert as a patron. Since then, she has become one of our favorite performers. Cathy sings Janis Joplin songs with authority and style. I have two vivid memories from past Acorn Theater show. The first one is when Cathy couldn't find her capo (a clamp that goes on the neck of a guitar to change the key,) so she used a rubber band and a sharpie for the show. It was a real MacGyver experience. The second memory is the first time Cathy performed at the Acorn and she sang "Ball and Chain" by Janis. I think everyone got chills. The audience went crazy and she got an enormous ovation. Everyone in the theater knew they were experiencing a brilliant performance and I would bet that everyone remembers that moment. I just love her.


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Letter from a Patron

We are blessed with tremendous patrons and customers. Blessed. It is rare that a show passes when one of us doesn't receive a well-written, lovely note from one of these people, expressing their gratitude for what we do and how we do it.

We're happy to share these notes with you, our readers, from time to time (with permission from the writer, of course!)

From one of our most loyal patrons, Jim Hartwick (with regard to Bunny Fisher's show on 4/17)

I can't begin to tell you how much fun I had night. Bunny was fabulous. What rapport. I love that her choices of songs showcased her range. I had tears in my eyes. My dad would have loved her. I know where I got my appreciation for jazz. The guy next to me was so taken with her as well. I talked him into getting tickets for Cathy Richardson.
Loved the suit/shirt tonight. Suits are a weakness for me. Again... thanks for all you and Kim do. I can never thank you both enough for what you have brought to my life. You have brought my life to a higher level. My expectations for what I want out of my life have changed in the past 5 years thanks to you. I will be forever grateful.
See you next week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's the Extreme Beer Fest!

Finally, we have a plan for the Extreme Beer Fest! We're going speakeasy style this time...and the night is going to be amazing. WE are inside the theater, yes, but the fest will have you tasting beers in many different locations in the theater.

Regardless, I've been working my tail off on this fest, already...and it's only gonna get busier. Distributors are sending in possibility lists for the beers we'll include, and I'm in my "yes and no" mode as far as what I want you to taste. I can tell you there will be about 60-70 beers, and some good (and filling) food. Nothing too fancy, just right to get you full in between and back on the high gravity horse once you're ready.

If there are any beers you're hoping for, let me know! You can visit our fan page on facebook ( or tweet me (@acornwineshop) and let me know. I'm always on the look out trying to bring you guys some great and exciting new things.

So let the games begin! We'll see you on May 28 for the best Extreme Beer Fest we've had yet!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Morning with David

It is Sunday morning a little before 10 am. I just returned from downtown Three Oaks where I purchased 5 different newspapers, and from Froehlich's, where I bought at dozen homemade pastries. We have some guests who stayed here last night after a fun evening. Shawn Mullins performed an amazing concert here last night. The room was packed with loving and attentive audience members. I think there is something particularly magical when a performer comes to the Acorn for the first time. Shawn immediately put the audience at ease and made everyone feel like they could relax and enjoy the evening. He is a great communicator and storyteller. It is awe-inspiring how one man with a guitar can fill the room so completely with music. The opening act, Daphne Willis has a powerful voice, great pitch, and a broad dynamic range. The audience seemed to love her and treated her well. I think she made a lot of new fans with her set. Following the show, Shawn stuck around and signed autographs and took photos with his fans. At almost midnight, the staff and performers had a bite to eat and hung out for a little while. Everyone was so wired that I don't think any of us could have gone to sleep without a transition from the concert to bed. Right now, we are waiting for Bunny Fisher to arrive so we can work with her on putting the finishing touches on the show she is performing here next week. This cabaret show is deeply personal for her, making it the perfect theme for an intimate performance. She is performing songs by people who personally touched her life. Bunny and her family lived in Los Angeles and were part of a strong African American arts and music scene. Her father was the personal physician to Ray Charles and Bunny went to school with a number of famous performer and children of famous performers. Later this afternoon, Tempest will arrive to set up for their celtic rock concert this evening. Tempest has performed here annually for many years and put on a great show. I particularly enjoy their fiddler who spins like a dervish and is really fun to watch. Many of the audience members who come to see them loyally appear every year for their concert. I am impressed that this group of musicians, who have been performing for many years, still love touring and performing. Their passion shows in their performance and is contagious back stage, helping me love what do at the Acorn Theater even more.


Friday, April 9, 2010

The theater is BUZZING!

t is Friday afternoon, April 9, and things are really buzzing around the Acorn. I'm working on booking and writing information on future shows while recovering from our music video night last night. Jill is frantically moving merchandise for the big sale in the Wine Shop. Lots of merchandise is being marked down to make room for new seasonal beer and wine. She is making sure the place looks attractive though it is all rearranged. Becky is making the food and drink specials that cleverly fit with the movie Lost Boys that we are showing tonight. She is also keeping a close watch on ticket sales for the Shawn Mullins concert tomorrow. We are close to sold out and we are readying to remove the online sales for the concert to ensure we don't over-sell the show. We are also preparing for Tempest to arrive on Sunday. These guys are a really fun celtic rock band. They have been piling into a van and going on tour every year for more than a couple of decades and I am impressed that they still love what they do and it shows in their performance. I find it inspiring to be around people who love performing and put out such great energy to their audience. They are just fun to be around. I hope all the people who requested their return engagement will come to the performance for a great close to a full weekend.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why We Love Andreas Kapsalis!

Andreas Kapsalis first came to the Acorn Theater a number of years ago performing with Goran Ivanovich. The two of them performed a night of guitar duets. Goran also performed with his group and Andreas performed with his group. Both guitarists and their groups are really talented and performed great shows. Andreas has returned with his group to perform a concert including performing original music to a really cool short silent film. Andreas also opened for Poi Dog Pondering. Audiences often ignore opening acts but they loved Andreas and many of those attending requested his return. In addition to the concert with his trio, "Ange" is teaching a class. His skills are incredible and his percussive style is exciting. Andreas and Goran are working on presenting an international guitar festival this coming fall. If you love guitar playing, Andreas is a person you should see and know.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How do we do what we do when we...

People have been asking about Poi Dog Pondering at the Acorn Theater. I will share a few "behind the scenes" stories with this wonderful group of musicians.

First of all, I would like to say that each concert has been part show, part party. These musicians perform with such joy and energy that the entire audience gets caught up in the event. We learned to leave open areas without chairs for a place for audience bopping around and dancing because many people could not sit still. Frank, the band's front man, was really concerned about their fans and made sure that our ticket prices were affordable. The first time the band came to the Acorn, tickets sold out quickly and we started a waiting list. When we had over 100 tickets on the waiting list, we asked Poi Dog to add a second show and they agreed to do it. After one of their concerts, Rachel Collins of Collins Caviar prepared an amazing caviar reception for the band. You can see a little footage of the evening on youtube.

I think we were able to present Poi Dog because we provided the opportunity to perform in a comfortable space before going on tour. We benefitted from their desire to get in a performance before hitting the road. We would love to present them again when the opportunity arises. Susan Volez, the violinist, will be performing at the Acorn on Saturday, June 26, opening for Anne Harris and her band.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wedding Reception

The Acorn Theater staff is doing an amazing job decorating the theater for a wedding reception that will take place tomorrow in the theater space. There is a circus tent look with fabric suspended from the center of the room emanating to the edges and then down to the floor. Huge yellow and blue balloons of various sizes are suspended throughout. The groom told me that one of the guests invented fake vomit. I am proud that I will be able to say that the inventor of fake vomit was in our space. Anyway, this is going to be the coolest reception with a number of the guests performing variety acts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Wild Oaks Masked Ball

Spring was embodied at the Acorn Theater on Saturday night with the Wild Oaks Masked Ball. The community came to life after a harsh winter. The energy built as people danced and reveled throughout the event. Many people showed up in creative costumes and/or masks and enjoyed the very musical performance by some of the local youth who, along with Brett Padgett, comprise Minor Seconds. These kids were adorable, confident, and talented. Squirm played a set that covered a lot of musical ground. This trio of some of our favorite people pulled out the stops and filled the room with sound. There were some clever and playful artistic performances by various women that are better experienced than described. Mucca Pazza brought the audience to a frenzied level of energy with the dance floor filled with newly converted avid fans. I think it is safe to say that everyone there felt like this performance was a great gift elating their spirits and reminding everyone that life can be filled with fun.

Baby Alright had the unenviable job of following Mucca Pazza but they maintained the dancing energy with a wonderful set of R and B dance music. This quartet kept people dancing and sounded great. A dj filled transitions with music. Food was provided by Luisa's Cafe and the bars at the Acorn made sure all thirsts were quenched. The Friends of Three Oaks sponsored and ran this event as a fund-raiser for WRHC Radio Harbor Country. For a small contribution to the station, photographer Richard Hellyer took portraits of guests. Special thanks go out to Charlie Rizzo, Beth Denton, Kahlil, and the staff of the Acorn Theater for creating a night to be remembered. I think it is safe to say that everyone who attended feels they were part of something very special.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Goodbye to the Vickers

Though we've posted our thoughts on the Vickers' Going Away WE Love You Party last week, I wanted to share some more details.

It was heartwarming to experience the response to going away party for the Vickers. People lined around Jon and Jenn to offer best wishes and express their love for the movie theater. Blue Dahlia provided amazing live music. They were particularly appropriate for the event since they performed at many Three Oaks events including playing original music to silent films at many of the Sounds of Silents festivals. They were also right at home performing in the Vickers Theatre. The projected images from Jon's favorite films added to the ambience at the Acorn. Many people brought food to show their love, adding to the treats provided by local places including Belle Via, Big Daddy's Featherbone, Diane Botica, Stewart Beach, Sweet Haven Resort, and the Marina Grand Hotel. We all love the Vickers family and are grateful for all they have done to enhance our community. We offer good wishes and take pride in knowing them.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wine Fridays

Anyone who is a fan of The Wine Shop at The Acorn on facebook and twitter has surely heard tale of Wine Fridays. Well I'm here to give you the inside scoop on just what goes down with Becky and I on those incredibly exciting days.

But first, everyone always asks me HOW I pick everything in the shop. I pride myself on the selection of wines under $20 and love that my shop almost always has the most up-to-date beers I can. I created a mix-n-match table in the shop, so you can come in and get a 6-pk of all different beers, allowing you to try the newest and "hoppiest."

How do I FIND all these things? It's a chore, I won't lie. I spend hours a week reading, researching, and scouring websites like
Beer Advocate. But I owe a lot of my amazing inventory to one, special, incredibly wonderful day...Wine Fridays.

On Fridays, from around the hours of 12 and 4, our distributors and sales reps come into the shop for Becky and I to taste things. Sometimes wines, sometimes beers, sometimes both. It has become a ritual for Becky and I, and any other people who happen to be at the theater on Fridays (you know who you are) and, well, we love it. Don't get me wrong--not everything tastes good. My oh my the stories we could tell... But most often, we find one or two things we love, and order them. We sit with the sales rep, pour glass after glass, swirling, smelling, and of course, tasting.

So if you just happen to find yourself in our area on a Friday, and perhaps stop by the shop and just mention that you're a huge fan of our blog, and us...perhaps we'll let you sit in!


Saying Goodbye to the Vickers

Last night, The Acorn hosted a going away party for our dear friends, the Vickers Family. An inspiration to everyone in this town and beyond, the Vickers are leaving Harbor Country for Bloomington, IN, where John will be pursuing a new job.

Seeing the turnout really was awe-inspiring. Not only did the entire community turn out to wish this incredible family good luck, and thank them, but people from John's Notre Dame world, and anyone who has been touched by the family in some way.

Everyone was there, mingling, eating, drinking...and the awesome Richard Hellyer brought over a huge print of the family from his upcoming book "Three Oaks People" for the entire party to sign. It just goes to show how this community loves each other. In good times and bad, we all come together to celebrate one another, and that it the reason so many of us are here, and why we continue to stay. It's not just work here in town, it's life.

We will miss John, Jennifer, and the kids dearly, and look forward to their many return visits to the area to check up on us all.


A little backstage news from the Acorn

Hey there Acorn Fans!

Just wanted to say a quick, if oddly placed in the blog, hi and hello. Things are going super at the Acorn, and we're gearing up for our big spring and summer seasons!

Coming up in the next few weeks and months, we've got a fantastic benefit for Three Oaks, the Wild Masked Ball March 13. This night will bring out all of the best the scene has to offer, including the outrageous band Mucca Pazza, and hometown band Squirm Orchestra, among many others. This is not a night to be missed! Check out the website for more info.

Also, we've got the highly anticipated arrival of Andreas Kapsalis Trio on March 26. The band is so great, and always an Acorn favorite. On Saturday, Andreas will be teaching a masterclass, letting all th participants in on just how he plays like that!

What else...well, of course Shawn Mullins on April 10. That show is selling FAST, just through our website, twitter and facebook, so get to it soon!

If you're not following us on twitter and facebook, click the links here and get to it! We share lots of good stuff through those sites, including offers, giveaways, and advance notice for upcoming events.



Sean Masterson's Vintage Magic Uncorked

February 13, 2010

Sean Masterson performed his magic on a small platform placed right in front of the first row of seats so everyone in the audience could watch his every move. He used many regular objects like coins, an audience member's watch, and cards and made everyone feel like they were in a salon as opposed to a theater. The live french music helped create a special ambience. Sean's wife played accordion and harmonized with the other vocalist. Hearing songs in French, a language I don't speak, made me feel the emotions of the songs without thinking about the lyrics.


James Lee Stanley and Pamela Stanley

February 5 and 6, 2010

James Lee Stanley charmed the Acorn Theater audiences with his hilarious stories and moved them with his wonderful songs. He told some stories for the first time at his second night at the Acorn so the person who came to both performances would get to hear something different. Pamala was amazing with her Philly accent contrasting to her glamorous looks. She has a powerful voice and great pitch. I think she surprised the audiences when she started her set playing piano and singing some intimate and comedic songs before letting loose belting broadway show-stoppers and, of course, her disco hits. Her fan dancing really got people going.