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Mother’s Peace Day Honors ‘Chalk-Talk’ Artist

The first Mother’s Day proclamation by poet Julia Ward Howe in 1870 called for “a general congress of women without limit of nationality” to “solemnly take counsel as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.”

To keep the spirit of Mother’s Peace Day alive, Lonie Walker of the Underground Wonder Bar is presenting “Anutha Kinda Mutha’s Day” on May 13 with a host of performers who are mothers, coming together to raise funds for a new documentary on Chicago artist and activist Peggy Lipschutz.

Now 88, Lipshutz has been painting and illustrating in Chicago for 60 years, consistently lending her talents to promote peace, justice, and labor causes. In addition to her paintings and the countless books and pamphlets she has illustrated, she’s known for her “chalk talks,” large-scale drawings created live to musical or narrative accompaniment, which Lipschutz has presented at concerts and rallies, union meetings, schools and community centers since 1948.

Among those appearing at the Wonder Bar event will be folksingers Rebecca Armstrong and Kristen Lems, each of whom performs with Lipschutz in schools and elsewhere, singing as the artist creates large colored chalk drawings to illustrate their songs. Subjects range from Lems’ song “Wrinkles” (recasting wrinkles as badges of honor), to tributes to historical figures like Jane Addams, to a full-fledged program for schoolchildren on the Holocaust performed with Armstrong.

“The children are wide-eyed watching this amazing women with so much energy, who creates these complex drawings right in front of them,” said filmmaker Jerri Zbiral, who is working on “The World of Peggy Lipshutz,” projected for release next year.

Lipschutz will be presenting one of her newest paintings, “Don’t Raise Kids, Raise Hell,” a tribute to legendary labor organizer Mother Jones.

Also appearing at the benefit are Lonie Walker and her Family Band, led by the singer-songwriter who has operated the Wonder Bar for 17 years and featuring her four children and several “nurturant children”; jazz singer Lorna Boston; storytellers Julie Schlesinger and Jill Telez; poet Connie Catellani; and Lipschutz’s daughter Joan, who does stand-up comedy.

“Anotha Kinda Motha’s Day” opens with a Mother’s Day potluck at 4 p.m., with performances from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Underground Wonder Bar, 10 E. Walton. Admission is $9 and benefits Collected Image’s production of “The World of Peggy Lipschutz.”

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Category: arts, peace, women

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