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Don Hedeker/Algebra Suicide

Back cover of Algebra Suicide's album "Real Numbers," recorded live at Links Hall.

Back cover of Algebra Suicide's album "Real Numbers," recorded live at Links Hall in 1988.

Algebra Suicide was a Chicago poetry-music duo consisting of poet and visual artist Lydia Tomkiw and myself, musician Don Hedeker. We began in 1983 and broke up a decade later in 1993. At our shows, Lydia would recite her poems and project slide images at us (we would dress all in white) and our screen background, while I would play guitar to an accompanied tape that included drums & synthesizers. We called it “avant-garage” and we played several shows at Links Hall in the mid to late 1980s. These performances were always very special to us because we felt it was an honor to play at Links Hall. To us, Links Hall matched very well with our intended spirit of combining poetry, music, visual arts, and fun! Plus, Michael Zerang was such a joy to work with. The atmosphere at Links Hall was always great, and the audiences really listened to what you were doing (even if the El trains that rumbled by sometimes competed for their attention). This was the true friendly confines of Chicago! At one of these shows, we had Ken Rasek record our two sets, and Franz Liebl, our friend from Munich, decided to release this live recording as a CD called “Real Numbers” on his Pursuit of Market Share label (I don’t know if that pursuit was ever fully realized!). We were very excited –- after several releases on vinyl, it was our very first CD release –- a new and exotic medium that was going to make vinyl as dead as 8-tracks! And released in Europe!! A few years later, in 1990 & 1991, we went over to Europe to play some shows, so this Links Hall show in many ways laid the foundation for our overseas adventures. The backside of this CD is above, and one can see the date of this show, April 9, 1988, and the song/poems that we played that night. As I recall, our very first piece that night was “Somewhat Bleecker Street,” but I messed it up and so we did it again at the end of the night as an encore. Luckily, the second time I got it right (or as right as I could get it!).

RIP Lydia Tomkiw (1959-2007).


Sarah Best



Jon Sherman/sprung movement theatre



Jon Sherman is co-founder and Artistic Director of sprung. He completed the two-year program at L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq and studied theatre and dance at Middlebury College and the British American Dramatic Academy. He has performed in New York, Switzerland, and Washington, DC, with theatres from Arena Stage to the Potomac Theatre Project, playing roles such as Roderick Usher in The Fall of the House of Usher, Jules in Jules and Jim, Antonio in Twelfth Night, and Charles Dickens, Carl Jung, and other sexual deviants in Vampire. In Chicago, Jon has performed with Lucky Plush Productions, Mordine and Company, Cie. Felix Ruckert, and Asimina Chremos, as well as directing, performing with, and teaching for 500 Clown. He was assistant director to Mary Zimmerman for Pericles at the Goodman, and was also a member of DOG, with whom he created and performed in WinSer2003:AD and Interference. He directed and performed in Abound, co-directed and performed in Capsize, seep, and And I, directed but probably not, and regularly gives movement workshops through sprung and other companies. Jon is currently in Northwestern’s Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama.

Rachel Damon/Synapse Arts Collective


Synapse Arts Collective

This page includes an artist statement and postcard from our first ever production, hush, at Links Hall.

We were still in college and couldn’t have managed such an ambitious project without the support of Links Hall and Columbia College.

Rereading the statement now, after 5 years of creating under the heading of Synapse, I remember the fervent drive with which we built our project, thinking the performances would be a culmination and an ending. But really, it began a collective of artists that sustain each other still.

Thank you, Links Hall.

Rachel Damon
Artistic Director
Synapse Arts Collective

Charlie Vernon’s Dances


While catching up with Links Hall cofounder Charlie Vernon for an interview with Laura Molzahn, the subject turned to some of the earlier dances he created at Links Hall. Too good to leave out, we’re turning it into a Page.

“Rat Parade,” set to Frank Sinatra songs, was my Chicago choreographic debut, at MoMing in 1977. Billy Petersen [now William Petersen, Steppenwolf ensemble member and star of the TV series CSI] and Donald Moffat (can’t recall the name of their theater company—Defiant something?) were in residence at MoMing and watched rehearsals from the balcony.

Early works that I developed at Links Hall include:

  • “Snowy Evening Variations”—performed at Columbia College with [Amy] Osgood and [Wendy] Taucher, 1979, and again at MoMing in 1980.
  • “Slumber Party” 1980—to my recollection, one of the first performances at Links. The seats were set up against the three doors, and the stage backdrop was the opposite wall with two windows, set with curtains and lamps, and featuring the “chance” el train noise.
  • A favorite Links Hall memory is when Rhoda Grauer (Dance Chair of the NEA) and Bonnie Brooks came to the studio in 1980 with David White of New York’s Dance Theater Workshop. They watched me perform the bench solo from “Slumber Party,” which launched our involvement with the National Performance Network and many other granting opportunities.
  • Shirley Mordine, I think, asked Bob, Carol and I to perform each other’s works at Columbia, which we also danced at Links—I am not sure which came first. I created “Dances of Necessity,” my first work using signatures.
  • Developing “That Fall” at Links is still one of the “miracle” moments. One day, I literally prayed for inspiration, and miraculously, “That Fall” was born. It debuted in 1981, I believe, at Columbia College and was performed alongside Mark Morris’ work in New York.
  • “Dances of Many Lands” debuted in 1981 and was created at Links Hall.

The works that I created at Links Hall were performed in Portland, New York City, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, Montréal, the American Dance Festival and at various Chicago venues.

Help us write our history.



Links Hall is fast approaching its 30th Anniversary and we want to invite you to participate in a project that will lead up to our 30th Anniversary celebration this October. We’d like you to think back, look through your files, and help others in our community remember Links Hall’s history.

LinksHall3030 is an online project designed to share the incredible wealth of experiences artists and audiences have had at 3435 North Sheffield. It will contribute directly to the anniversary events planned for October 2 & 3, 2009 — more on that to come — and introduce a more formal and comprehensive catalogue of Links Hall’s three decades to be released in 2010.

Links Hall would not have a history without you — your voice is crucial to our celebration. LinksHall3030 will regularly publish Pages contributed by yourself and others, archival photographs and other content that its followers — a community that’s been growing since 1978 — can enjoy both as an online experience and, through printing Pages at home, as a book they create themselves. We ask that you read on and consider contributing a Page to LinksHall3030.

Your Page should be one 8.5″ x 11″ or similarly-proportioned flat sheet designed entirely by you in whatever way you choose to represent your memory of, perception of, experience at or forward-looking wish for Links Hall. If you want, you can get support from Links Hall personnel for research, including retrieval of archival documents that we can copy and send to you via email or postal mail. Examples might be:

* A program, bill, photo or other document from a past event at Links Hall annotated with words and images that “translate” it for the reader
* An original artwork that stands alone or in tandem with a sound file hosted in an embedded player and available for download
* A story, anecdote, journal entry, piece of fiction or poem that describes an experience or perception of Links Hall
* A .gif or video file with or without a handmade “frame” image
* Anything else you can think of!

Original copies of all Pages, when possible, should be sent via postal mail to Links Hall to be scanned in high-resolution. However, you may also send your Page in high-resolution (min. 300dpi) to The important thing is that we want your Page in the book — don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas!

An image-based format will encourage followers of this site to print hard copies of your Pages as they appear here to build their own, unique copy of LinksHall3030 in book form. Our followers will organize and bind your Pages however they like, and will be able to share their versions right here on the site.

Additionally, each Page will receive its own dedicated link — to be emailed to you as soon as it’s added — at which followers can post threaded comments about their memories of your contributions. We will provide support for you to respond to these comments and join the conversation, answering questions and providing further insight about your Page — LinksHall3030 can be as comprehensive as you, its followers, and we make it!

We appreciate whatever memories you can contribute to LinksHall3030 as well as the part you’ve played in the history we celebrate. Please send your original hard copy Page to:

Links Hall
Attn: LinksHall3030Pages
3435 N. Sheffield, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60657

Questions? E-mail us at or call (773) 281-0824.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Laura & Zac

Laura Molzahn and Zachary Whittenburg
LinksHall3030Pages Editors