A Short History of The Drinking & Writing Brewery
The Drinking & Writing Brewery was founded in 2002 after Neo-Futurists Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda had great success with their site-specific show Drinking & Writing. Since then there have been four volumes of Drinking & Writing performed in bars and theaters all over the U.S. and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Drinking & Writing Brewery Radio Show on WLUW 88.7FM, The Beerfly Alleyfight, and The Drinking & Writing Festival. Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda most recently wrote the successful Neo-Futurist show BEER set in the Metropolitan Brewing and also performed at The Breckenridge Brewery in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival.
Read our TimeOut review online.
Read the Chicago Reader review below.
DRINKING & WRITING VOLUME IV: THE 12 STEPS OF CHRISTMAS Steve Mosqueda and Sean Benjamin's celebration of literature and inebriation defies categorization. They don't really play characters. And it's not a staged reading, though they do deliver selections from the works of great alcoholic writers. It's kind of performance but without the arty baggage or the art crowd. It's almost a party but a very structured one, where the hosts dominate an evening that's relaxed, entertaining, and unpretentious. Mosqueda and Benjamin give out gifts, read aloud, and tell some funny/horrifying stories from their own pasts about drinking at the holidays. Terrific hosts, they keep things light and seem to genuinely enjoy themselves. And they don't flinch when audience members walk by to get a refill. --Jack Helbig
The Drinking & Writing Brewery presents Drinking & Writing Volume IV: The 12 Steps of Christmas. The true Christmas Spirit comes out when it's drunk. Phil and Steve explore the addictive, destructive holiday called Christmas.
Where did all of this start? With the play Drinking & Writing. A show written and performed by Steve Mosqueda, Sean Benjamin, and Diana Slickman. It explored the connection between creativity and alcohol. We sat at the bar and drank and talked about famous drinkers and writers, our drinking and writing, the effects of alcohol on the body and mind and family, and we drank...more. We performed it originally at T's Bar-Restaurant in Chicago and since then wrote another volume, Drinking & Writing Volume II: The Noble Experiment. Once again, Sean and Steve with the addition of Chloe Johnston, performed the show in bars everywhere. Volume II focused on Prohibition Era writers, and there were a lot of them (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Parker, Millay...). And then came Drinking & Writing Volume III: To Cure A Hangover. We offer to the world our in depth research we conducted (on ourselves) in our attempt to cure the hangover and we offer up some writing on hangovers by some of the greatest hungover writers including John Cheever and Charles Bukowski. Read our review and Critic's Choice from the Chicago Reader below.
We've performed our shows in bars throughout Chicago; at Dad's Garage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia; Beaver Creek, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and in Edinburgh, Scotland at the Fringe Festival.
And we'll keep doing the show as log as there are bars to sit at.
Drinking & Writing Volume III: To Cure A Hangover
Read the Chicago Reader review for Drinking & Writing Volume III: To Cure A Hangover.
DRINKING & WRITING VOLUME III: TO CURE A HANGOVER Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda explore possible morning-after cures in this goofy, unflinching lecture-cum-performance about the unpleasant consequences of the bibulous life. Self-loathing prose from John Cheever and Charles Bukowski--two monumental drinker-writers at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum--is intertwined with tales of the writer-performers' experiments in thwarting a hungover "poor sense of well-being" (quite unlike the "false sense of well-being" that gets an overimbiber in trouble). Cures involve cabbage, Pedialyte, sex, and various combinations of chorizo and eggs; audience-participation bits are rewarded with free drinks. Benjamin and Mosqueda neither glorify nor repudiate the hard-drinking life--after all, shit-faced happens. --Kerry Reid
Read some reviews for The Neo-Futurist show BEER, written by Sean and Steve (and check out the at D&W TV)
Chicago Sun-Times Highly Recommends BEER
For all you do, this show's for you
THEATER REVIEW | At working brewery, Neo-Futurists do a musical full of fizz
February 2, 2009
BY HEDY WEISS Theater Critic / firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps only in Chicago. And perhaps only from the yeasty imaginations of those wacky, wayward theatrical engineers, the Neo-Futurists. Really, who else could have devised "Beer," a full-fledged musical about the complex process involved in the creation of one of man's oldest beverages? And who else could have found the ideal spot in which to stage the show -- amid the giant brew tanks and kettles of the Metropolitan Brewery, an artisanal, all lager-making operation housed in a brick warehouse just a few blocks from the company's Neo-Futurarium home?
"Beer" is one of the freshest, funniest and altogether ingenious shows to emerge from the Neo-Futurists in a long time, and it not only should prove a big hit for the company at its present address, but might easily become a phenomenon on the touring circuit. Just pinpoint every U.S. college town with a sizeable microbrewery in the neighborhood (a place game enough to put up with a troupe of seven actor-musicians and, yes, puppeteers) and you can see the future.
Intriguingly, "Beer," which has been penned by Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda, directed by Dan Kerr-Hobert and brilliantly music-directed by Laura McKenzie, arrives just after "Wicked" flew off on its broomstick, and playfully picks up on an Ozlike story.
Boon (the goofily boyish Ryan Walters) is a 10-year-old who takes a drink from his stepdad's can of mass-produced beer and gets violently ill. In his stupor he makes the acquaintance of Puke (Eliza Burmeister, sensational, especially in her breakout grunge rock number) -- a stunted woman with skin like head-cheese. -- and together they take a journey to discover the true art and chemistry of beer-making. For if Boon is to return home, he must learn how to make the handcrafted form of the brew, defending the art against the fast-and-easy Bud Miller (funny, wiry Kurt Chiang), the rich and evil purveyor of the characterless commercial stuff.
The road to beermaking is richly musical, with an ace band (Mike Pryzgoda, Curtis Williams, sax player Brandon Campbell, and McKenzie and Chiang) doubling as performers and pumping out a delicious score that is a rich amalgam of Latin, jazz, swing, country western, hard rock and more. Meanwhile, puppetmakers Kerr-Hobert and Bernie McGovern have used recycled materials to create wonderfully whimsical creatures representing everything from milled grain to hard and soft water.
The final 15 minutes of the 90-minute production sag a bit (cut that metaphor stuff), and the show needs a bang-up final musical number in keeping with the rest of the evening. But otherwise, even for a non-drinker like me, this "Beer" could not be more satisfying.
NOTE: Located at Ravenswood and Winona, just off Foster, the brewery lacks signage. Dress warmly as it's quite cold inside. No beer can be served or brought with you, but Metropolitan's brews are on tap at the nearby Hopleaf Bar.
The Reader Recommends Beer
When: Through 3/7: Thu-Sat 8 PM,
Price: $10-$15, pay what you can on Thursdays and during previews
Like the beverage, this Neo-Futurist show ain't classy. But it just may be the feel-good experience of the year. Ten-year-old Boon and his puppet sidekick, Puke--the nickname comes from an unfortunate encounter with piss beer--embark on a Wizard of Oz-like quest to learn the art of craft brewing and vanquish Bud Miller, evil purveyor of Millweiser. Along the way they meet beer ingredients in puppet form. In one of many ingenious touches in a lovingly crafted show, plastic jugs slung together create Hard Water, a bodybuilder, and Soft Water, a little old man. A talented five-piece band plays original songs and various roles. The only thing missing from this show--written by Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda of Drinking and Writing fame, and directed by Dan Kerr-Hobert--is actual beer. Dress warm for the chilly setting, a working brewery. --Laura Molzahn