Monday, December 15, 2014

Chicago bands teaming up to present third annual Woman Power Holiday Show


By ERIC SCHELKOPF


For the third year in a row,  Chicago-based group Diana & the Dishes will present the Woman Power Holiday Show, a night of female-fronted bands raising money for a nonprofit that supports women in Chicago.

This year's show will benefit Global Girls, a dance, theatre and performance education organization for girls in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood.
 


The show will be presented Dec. 22 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The music starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15, available by going to http://www.lh-st.com/Shows/12-22-2014+Woman+Power+Holiday+Show.

I had the chance to talk to show organizer and Diana & the Dishes frontwoman Diana Lawrence about the upcoming show.

 

Q - Great talking to you again. This is the third year of the Woman Power Holiday Show. What made you want to start the event in the first place? Has it lived up to your expectations?

I started the WPHS for many reasons...to feature fantastic local female talent, to raise awareness about the problems facing women in our city, to connect music-makers and music fans to the organizations that are fighting those problems. Each year, we've learned more about how to run the event successfully. 


Last year, despite a snow storm, we raised a good chunk of change for Deborah's Place, a local women's shelter, and the vibe in the room was incredibly warm and giving and fun.  I've really come to look forward to putting on this show each year!

Q - What should people expect from this year's show? How did you go about choosing the bands for this year's show?

I'm really excited about the bands on this year's show. Since the organization we are benefiting is a theatre education organization, I decided to invite two bands onto the bill that are fronted by women who are active in Chicago's professional theatre community (as am I).


Fantastic singing, fantastic songwriting/arrangements/musicianship, fantastic stage presence.  These ladies know how to put on a show.

Q - This year's show benefits Global Girls. How did you hear about the group and how do you determine each year what group to help?

I found Global Girls just through word of mouth and Internet research. They have been wonderful, and are really partnering with us to make this show a success. Each year, I've tried to find a organization with a slightly different and but equally compelling mission... thus far, I've aimed for Chicago-based organizations (as opposed to national charities), and that's worked well. I like keeping it local.

Q - How are things going with your own group, Diana & the Dishes? What can we expect from the group in the coming year?

Things are going well with the Dishes! We were featured in an indie film this past fall (Teleporter Productions' "The View From Tall") which won't be coming out for some time, but which we're very excited about. In 2015, I'm hoping to keep building our local and regional presence, and ideally release a new record by the end of 2015. 



We have tons of new material we're working on, some of which we hope to reveal at this Schubas show. I so love the guys in my band... they're fantastic, thoughtful musicians (and hilariously fun people) and the more we work on material, the more I love 'em.

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and where do you see yourself fitting into the scene?

Chicago's music scene is always bursting at the seams with more bands and shows than you could ever go see in a lifetime, and I love that. But I think it can be a tough nut to crack. 


I'm honestly not always sure where I and Diana & the Dishes fit into it. We pull from rock, pop, soul and blues, but also from folk, jazz, and cabaret, which I've found is kind of a rare breed of band in Chicago. 

But (for better or worse) we've never really concerned ourselves with being "hip," and we certainly love what we're doing and where we're going in the Chicago music scene and beyond. Also, I've unfortunately found that being a female-fronted band can make things more of an uphill slog. 

But my goal is that the Woman Power Holiday Show will keep doing it's part to show that women in this city can(/should/will continue to) rock, and should continue to demand everyone's attention, at the holidays and at every other time of the year.