Bards In Your Yard was born during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As entertainment venues and cultural institutions shut down across Chicago, citizens were asked to remain indoors and far away from their friends, neighbors, and community.
Wise as the shutdowns were, we were immediately concerned for public health in another way. Was this the end of live, in person performance for the foreseeable future? What would people do with no opportunity to connect in this manner? How would artists (including ourselves) hold up with limited opportunities to express themselves?
How could we stay connected without doing so through a screen?
Was art simply being cancelled? For how long?
After spending a few days alternating between moping and brainstorming, we figured it out: If people can't go to a performance, we'll bring a performance to them.
The New Normal is a recently formed duo booking on demand live performances on location from the mandated safe distance. We'll serenade you from below your balcony, tell you funny stories through your courtyard window, or give you a unique performance from the sidewalk or alley outside of your home.
The show must go on.
Booking info here
The New Normal
JOANNA VASSILATOS, born and raised in Chicago, started playing music at the ripe old age of 8. A violinist at first, Joanna picked up the guitar 7 years later to learn Metallica's The Unforgiven and never looked back. At the age of 16 she started playing the drums and after moving to Los Angeles in 2000, Joanna played and toured in an all female rock band called Radio Vago. The band toured the US numerous times as well as Europe opening for such acts as The Mars Volta, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Breeders and more. Following the end of Radio Vago, Joanna founded and sang in the LA based Def Leppard tribute band, Rock Till You Drop. She has taught at School of Rock, worked with prolific songwriter Diane Warren, and was formerly employed by The GRAMMY Foundation.
SCOTT WHITEHAIR is an international storyteller, producer, and teacher. He has told stories anywhere somebody will listen, including The National Storytelling Festival (Exchange Place), Steppenwolf Theater, Second City, The Green Mill, as a multiple Moth Slam winner, and for NPR, The Risk Podcast, Sirius XM, and more. Scott is the producer of This Much Is True, the city's longest running monthly personal narrative series, creator of Story Lab Chicago, which has put 650+ new and first time tellers on stage since 2011, and founder of Do Not Submit, a citywide network of storytelling open mics. He has taught a week long course at All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland, and was the featured instructor at Hong Kong Story Worthy Week 2014, headlined by David Sedaris.