Archive for the ‘From the Official Program Guide’ Category

Emotional Games: February 14, 7 p.m. (from the Official Program Guide)

February 10, 2009

7 p.m., No Coast, 1500 W. 17th Street

Please note this exciting update: The Unlympics Organizing Committee is honored to announce that in addition to our already stella cast of presenters, joining tonight’s games will be Stephen F. Eisenman, Julien Ball, Mustafa Afrika, and Laurie Jo Reynolds. At 7:15 p.m., barring a prison problem, we will speak live to Stanley Howard, Jon Burge-tortured former death-row inmate commuted by George Ryan. Plus: Other special guests may appear throughout the evening!



Please note that all Awards Ceremonies are BYOB.


Solitary Isolation Game (Individual)

Picture living in a cage the size of your bathroom, with tiers of single cages above, below, and to either side. You remain in this cage nearly 24 hours a day, day in and day out, year in and year out. The use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons began in 1829, based on the Quaker philosophy that introspection would lead to reform. It soon became clear that people in isolation often suffer mental breakdown, so isolation was largely abandoned—except as a means of administrative control. More recently, isolation is combined with behavioral modification programs, including physical beatings, use of devices of torture, and psychological abuse. Sound like fun to you?


Duration Jump-Roping or Hula-Hooping (Individual or double-dutch)

1. The mode of contest shall be determined by the judge’s ability to locate either hula hoops or jump ropes in advance of the competition.

2. Duration shall be defined as “length of time contestant is able to maintain continuous jumping motion while mono-directionally crossing the rope barrier created by the object called the jump-rope,”or  “length of time contestant is able to maintain continuous hula motion in the hips while supporting the hoop via centrifugal force,” depending on the object provided by the judges for play.

3. Contestant may choose a preferred direction of rope or hoop motion (forward or backward; left or right), depending on said contestant’s coordination limitations and desire to look awesome and/or “hot dog.” Said jumping rope or hoop must make one full 360-degree vertical rotation around the human form and never become entangled by, twined with, knotted around, or in any way harassed by the human form, foot, shoe or shoe lace, nor falter in its continuous encircling of the body.

4. Contestants inclined to whip other contestants with rope or conk them on the heads with the hoop will be immediately disqualified from the Duration Jump-Roping or Hula-Hooping Competition and asked to leave quietly and respectfully with inside voices. No hissy fits.

5. Contestants will be timed as a group. Last one jumping rope or hula hooping wins. 


Synchronized Competition (Team)

What is a multinational sporting event without some kind of synchronized competition, primarily performed by adorable, winsome, and lithe young women in unending fantastical rows, endlessly repeating after each other the exact movements of the first, for our personal sporting edification and clear aesthetic appreciation? Probably kind of a bad one, so be sure to pay close attention to the rules of this event when the judges describe them.


Stop, Drop & Roll (Individual)

This competition will only occur in case of a fitting disaster, natural or otherwise.


Karaoke (Individual, duet)

1. Persons who entertain are allowed to compete as long as it is part-time income and that person does not belong to any professional organization connected with the entertainment industry that would cause the Unlympics Organizing Committee to pay such contestant a fee or any other benefit for taking part in any Unlympics event.

2. Any person may enter the contest that belongs to an Organized Labor Union connected with the entertainment industry, as long as that person is not disqualified by rule number 1.

3. Persons may compete alone or as a member of a duet. No persons may enter a duet that are, in effect, one single person wearing at one point a mustache and appearing at another point bare-lipped. Nor will duet status be granted one single person suffering from multiple personalities. These persons must enter the competition as individuals.

4. Contestants MAY NOT utilize live props. This will include back-up singers, dancers, or animals. Non-human props such as costumes and other accessories are permitted. Musical instruments may be used as props, but are not allowed to be performed upon as an accompaniment to the contestants’ performance. Such musical instruments must be hand carried. Larger instruments that utilize the aid of others to bring them on stage, or are difficult to handle will NOT be permitted. An example of this type of instrument is a piano, harp, etc. Any prop used by a contestant must be carried on stage or into the stage area by the contestant, and must be completed in one trip onto or into the stage area. The non-use of live props will include the passing of flowers or other items to anyone, touching hands of an audience member or any other similar act.

5. Contestants may sing the same song as other contestants.

6. Contestants, their family or associates are not allowed to have contact with a contest judge before or during any contest connected with the Unlympics. Contact includes verbal conversations, handshakes, and making out. It is suggested that judges don themselves with badges to prevent contestants from approaching judges, and that, if approached by a contestant, they run away, very fast. This rule applies only before and during the time contestants are performing. It is not reasonable to expect contestants, their family or associates from having contact with a judge directly after all contestants have performed. 


Judge Competition (Individual)

Following the completion of the events in the Winter 2009 Unlympics, all parties will offer criticism, praise, and feedback to those who have remained in power throught the duration of the games. A most exemplary judge will be awarded the gold medal a slightly less good judge will be awarded the silver, and so on for one more medal. In combination with The Spectator Sport, this game is intended ensure an even balance of power between athletes, judges, and spectators, all of whom weigh equally in the success of the Unlympic Movement. 

The Unlympic Organizing Committee asks you with this game to pause for a moment and consider what it might be like if the Chicago 2016 bid weighed all comers—low-income residents, government officials, migratory birds, developers, local cultural producers, athletes, and victims of police torture—as equals. Would we still proceed with the bid?



Tamms Year Ten and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty are the official sponsors of the Emotional Games. Tamms Year Ten was founded on the tenth anniversary of the transfer of prisoners to Tamms “supermax” prison in Southern Illinois. Designed to keep men in constant solitary confinement, Tamms was intended for short-term incarceration, but over one-third of the original prisoners have been held with no human contact or communal activity since 1998. Tamms Year Ten is a coalition of prisoners, ex-prisoners, families, artists and concerned citizens who protest these misguided and inhumane policies and call for an end to psychological torture. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty works hand in hand with those who have experienced the horrors of death row in person—death row prisoners and family members—and works to ensure that their voices are at the forefront of our movement.

The Emotional Games will be held at Pilsen’s No Coast, a collective space dedicated to keeping the products and processes of creative practice accessible to whomever is interested in them in the spirit of fostering collaborative community.

Between 1972 to 1991, over 100 African American men were tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and detectives under his command. Called acts of torture by independent investigations and numerous courts, the detectives under Burge’s command electrically shocked men’s genitals, ears and lips with a cattle prod or an electric shock box, suffocated individuals with plastic bags, performed mock executions, and committed beatings with telephone books and rubber hoses to extract confessions. Not a single officer has ever been prosecuted for these acts, which violate criminal laws, the victims’ Constitutional rights, and international treaties banning the use of torture. At least 24 people continue to languish behind bars based on these unreliable confessions. On May 19, 2006, the United Nations Committee Against Torture concluded that the United States Government and the City of Chicago were in violation of the Convention Against Torture.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared that concern for human rights abuses in Russia disallowed the US from participating in the Moscow Games, and enacted a boycott against them. The Unlympics Organizing Committee requests a boycott of the Chicago 2016 Games on these same grounds.


Competitors and spectators will also be offered the opportunity to send “Torture Breaks My Heart” Valentines to prisoners and legislators.


Intellectual Games: February, 7, 7 p.m. (from the Official Program Guide)

February 4, 2009

7 p.m. Quimby’s, 1854 W. North Avenue
$5 per competitor


Please note that all awards ceremonies are BYOB.

  1. In competition, after the pronouncer gives the speller a word, the speller will be encouraged to pronounce the word before spelling it and after spelling it. The judges may not disqualify a speller for failing to pronounce the word either before or after spelling it. But the judges will know that the speller is done if he or she pronounces the word after spelling it and the pronouncer will be assured that the speller has heard the word correctly if he or she pronounces it before beginning to spell it.
  2. The speller may ask the pronouncer to say the word again, define it, and/or use it in a sentence. The pronouncer shall grant all such requests until the judges agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the contestant. Judges may disqualify any speller who ignores a request to start spelling.
  3. Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning, but in retracing there can be NO change of letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence is changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated. In other words, a speller can’t correct him or her self, even while it is still his or her turn.
  4. The contest shall be conducted in rounds. Each speller remaining in the spelling bee at the start of a round shall spell one word in the round, except when there are two spellers remaining. (At that point, refer to Rule 6.)
  5. If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will indicate which word is to be spelled. If the listed word is not properly identified, either by defining it or using it in a sentence, any correct spelling of any homonym of the word will be accepted.
  6. When the number of spellers is reduced to two, the elimination procedure changes. At that point, when one speller misspells a word, the other speller shall be given an opportunity to spell that same word. If the second speller spells that word correctly, plus the next word on the pronouncer’s list, then the second speller shall be declared the champion. If one of the last two spellers and the other, after correcting the error, misspells the new word submitted to him/her, then the misspelled new word shall be given to the first speller. If the first speller then succeeds in correcting the error and correctly spells the next word on the list, then he or she becomes the champion. If both spellers misspell the same word, both shall continue in the contest and the one who first misspelled the word shall be given a new word to spell.
  7. Judges are in complete control of the competition. Players don’t always agree with the decisions or like them, but accept them as part of good sportsmanship.
  8. Spectators must remain silent between the announcement of the word and the judge’s decree. No cheering for words that are properly spelled is to be tolerated, but cheering for each individual speller’s style is ecouraged.
  9. This is the most important rule of all. Please have fun and relax, whether you’re a participant or a spectator.



Quimby’s, specialists in the importation, distribution, and sale of unusual publications, aberrant periodicals, comic booklets, and a comprehensive miscellany of the latest independent ‘zines’ that all the kids have been talking about, is the official intellectual sponsor of the Unlympic Games. Founded in 1991, the bookstore is a WickerPark/Bucktown tradition and a national testament to the vitality of democracy.

The Chicago 2016 bid is supported by PR firm Hill & Knowlton, whose previous campaigns are noted for their massive expense and seemingly organic success. Previous clients include a plethora of countries with horrific human rights abuse violations, including post-Tianenman Square China and post-East Timor Indonesia—countries from which H&K profited by $14mn in just one year. Additionally, H&K is the firm behind the first Gulf War, having created books, videos, astroturf organizations, and false press conferences to call for the protection of Kuwait.

Most famously, the firm hired and coached a 15-year-old girl on statements that she saw “Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” Within three months, this false testimony was the basis for hundreds of news stories and directly preceded the Gulf War.

The tradition of human and civil rights abuses associated with the Olympic Games is long, including the detainment of reporters covering last year’s Beijing Games and abuse of protestors during the 1968 Mexico City Games, to name just a few. Yet already the Chicago 2016 Committee’s disinterest in the process of democracy is evident.

Local experts, for example, were not consulted during the creation of the Environmental Impact Assessment on at least one of the Olympic construction sites. Olympic construction is not only likely to impact the patterns of migratory birds in Lincoln Park, but also displace thousands of human residents in Hyde Park and Brownsville, whose concerns about the bid have been largely ignored by the Chicago 2016 committee. Additionally, the bid will not be made public until February 13th, the day after it is due the International Olympic Committee, which deliberately disallows public comment on the details of the committee’s plans for the city.

The Unlympics Organizing Committee has submitted a request for Chicago 2016 to hold off on submitting the bid until Chicagoans have the chance to review and approve it in an open and democratic process.

Indoor/Outdoor Games: January 31, 1 and 7 p.m. (from the Official Program Guide)

January 26, 2009

[Please note that we have updated the below as of 1.27.09, 11:48 a.m.]



1 p.m., Garfield Avenue & MLK Drive







7 p.m., InCUBATE Storefront, 2129 N. Rockwell





Please note that all awards ceremonies are BYOB.


Run Around The Block And We’ll Time You (Individual)

1. Gather at meeting location and await official judge’s start announcement.

2. Run around the nearest city block as indicated by our judges.

3. Run very hard and attempt to run faster than all the other runners.

4. One person will “win”, but it may not be the fastest runner. Sometimes life is like that.


Class Conscious Kickball (Team)

The rules for kickball are closely related to those of baseball, except that kickball involves a big rubber ball about the size of a basketball.

Kickball is played on a field with 4 bases arranged on the corners of a diamond-shaped “infield”. However, since the game is played mostly by grade school kids in low-budget districts, the “bases” are often reduced to “this patch of rocks”, “this smashed tin can”, or “this cool shaped stick”. If you are a more privileged player, you may get “yellow spraypainted bases on blacktop,” or “orange rubber throw-down bases.” 

Player positions are also similar to those of baseball. There is an “infield” and an “outfield.” The infield contains the positions that involve the bases, while the outfield is mainly designated to catching or retrieving the ball when it is kicked out of the infield. Actual playing positions vary depending on the number of kids that play. If there are only a few children playing, the positions are usually spread out, but if there are a good number of players, kids will position themselves wherever there is space (and no cooties).

Game play goes as follows: the ball rolled towards home plate, and the player which is up (kicking), tries to kick the ball. If it’s caught in the air, the kicker is out. A player is also out if the ball is thrown at them, and hits them while they are not touching a base. If a thrown ball misses them, they may only run to the next base, which is known on the kickball field as the “one base on an overthrow” rule. Also similar to baseball, if the ball is thrown to the first base man, and it is caught by the first base man while he/she/it is touching first base, the player running to first base is out. This is known as a “forced out” in that the runner was forced to run to that base. A “forced out” can occur on any base that a runner is forced to run to.

Once a team gets 3 outs, the teams switch sides. A team gets one point for having a runner make it all the way around the bases and back to home base.

The game is over when the school bell rings, the ball pops, or someone kick the ball into the street or onto the roof. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins. However, if a team loses the ball by kicking it one the roof etc., that team automatically loses. Also, the kid that did it becomes instantly unpopular.

Class Conscious Kickball, a variation on traditional kickball created specifically for the 2009 Winter Unlympic Games, will begin with four teams, who will compete until one is victorious, a second is slightly less victorious, and a third is not very victorious at all, but at least played the game. Additionally, certain teams will be disadvantaged with players of a low socio-economic status, players who have few educational resources, and players who are astoundingly privileged in all areas but probably really annoying to be around.


The Spectator Sport (Individual)

Remember when your coach used to tell you, “this is not a spectator sport?” That’s because you were not playing this game. In this game, the best spectator wins the competition.


Fashion Competition (Individual)

1. Competitors shall not wear blindingly shiny materials.

2. Competitors shall not wear articles bearing offensive hues (dominant wavelengths*) at or near 160 according to the Official Unlympics Standard Hue Spectrum. 

3. Competitors shall not wear outfits fashioned from uncooked egg or salmonella-carrying meats.

4. Competitors shall (or just might) receive favorable notice for the following: bearing gifts of bric-a-brack, mystical dangly articles, feathers-a-plenty, fanny packs (and the dazzling props that they can house), cradling distractingly adorable animals, repurposed household items, chain-maille, wizard gear, blue bandannas pictorially suggesting a meaningful relationship between Michael Jackson and E.T.

*Dominant Wavelength (or sometimes equivalent wavelength) is a physical analog to the perceptual attribute hue. On a chromaticity diagram, a line is drawn from a white point through the coordinates of the color in question, until it intersects the spectral locus. The wavelength at which the line intersects the spectrum locus is identified as the color’s dominant wavelenth if the point is on the same side of the white point as the spectral locus, and as the color’s complementary wavelength if the point is on the opposite side.


Live Action Role Play Family Dinner (Individual, limit 8 players; 21+)

1. All competitors and spectators must bring a dish to pass. Your dish may or may not help contribute to your character’s development. If your character is self-absorbed, for example, you may wish to bring a tub of hummus from the grocery store and no accompanying pita. On the other hand, if your character is a chef, please bring a dish that highlights your abilities so that you can continue to brag about it throughout the meal. Individuals adopting the characters of alcoholics and drug abusers should plan on bringing sufficient substances to uphold the believability of their character. Spectators should plan on bringing any dish that appeals.

2. All competitors must adopt the character of a family member, fictional or actual, who is difficult, colorful, or otherwise engaging. This character will interact with the seven other players in an attempt to win during the duration of the Family Potluck Dinner.

3. Competitors in the Live Action Role Play Family Potluck Dinner will be judged, silently, by the audience. Points may or may not be awarded for belittling other character, martyrdom, flamboyance, or in concordance with a point-keeping system created by a LARP player. The judge’s personal baggage will surely also weigh in on judging, as it likely does in any and all regular sporting events.

4. As in all other sporting events, the skill of this game is in hindering the ability of your competitors to score points. Personal attacks on players will not be tolerated, but attacks on characters are expected. Please adhere to this rule carefully, as it will weigh strongly in judging.







The Indoor/Outdoor Games are sponsored by the Chicago Working Group on Extreme Inequality. “As fundraising and big-time urban planning is underway for the Chicago Olympics,” CWGEI organizer Kristen Cox says, “we see the private sector sideswiping their local philanthropy in order to support the Olympics at a critical time when non-profits need it most. People living in Washington Park, a lower income community of color on the mid-south side, will be subject to displacement due to the Olympic plans.” 

“The idea of a Chicago Olympics might be very popular over by Rush Street, but it’s hardly going over well in the south side’s Washington Park, where many of the actual events would be staged.,” writes the Reader’s Ben Joravsky. One of the city’s largest parks—and one of its busiest—it also houses the Washington Park Forum, an informal group of political debaters. No matter how temporary the Olympic facilities might be, this activity would be shut down for at least four years if the Chicago 2016 Committee has their way. “This all about moving people out, brother,” Louis Carter, a softball player., told Joravsky. “You know it and I know it—ain’t no sense beating around the bush.”

“Parks are one of our cities’ last remaining public goods that many Chicagoans enjoy as a commons, together,” Cox adds, “It would be a shame to eradicate this green space and displace a percentage of our city who would be left behind because of a quest for power and status.”


Also available at the Indoor/Outdoor Games is a walking guide to Exposition Park, the site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, called Touring Olympia. A long-term campaign in collaboration with the Temporary Travel Office, Touring Olympia attempts to understand the ideological geography of the Olympic Movement. The tour of Exposition Park is set in the fictional near future 2030., following the collapse of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2020, just as the city was set to house the Olympic Village for a third time, but was defeated by a global athlete walkout in the face of global economic and political depression. 

Opening Day Ceremonies: January 24, 6 p.m. (From the Official Program Guide)

January 23, 2009

InCUBATE Storefront, 2129 N. Rockwell


     The Anne Glickman Players
     Liaison to the Advisory Council on Parties & Vinyl Records in the 16th Ward
     Screening of the short film, For the Nations


     A Word From Our Sponsors
     Welcoming Remarks from Salem Collo-Julin, Chicago resident
     Matthew Joynt for InCUBATE
     Anne Elizabeth Moore for the Ulympics Organizing Committee

     On behalf of all judges, Roman Petruniak will repeat the following Judge’s Oath: In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Unlympic Games with occasional impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, unless we decide to change them at the last minute, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, or personal gain, or financial benefit, or fun: whichever strikes us at the time as the best plan.
     On behalf of all athletes, all attendees will repeat the following Athlete’s Oath: In the name of all the competitors, we promise that we shall take part in these Unlympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, or not, depending on our mood, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, except at the LARP Family Potluck Dinner, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.

THE GAME WHERE YOU WIN (See rules, below)




Please note that all Awards Ceremonies are BYOB.

The Game Where You Win (Individual, limit 30)
Please place your name on the sheet in the order in which you would like to place in this game. Please print neatly. If our judges are unable to read or properly pronounce your name, you will be disqualified. Please write your name only during the given name-writing time.




Opening Day Ceremonies are sponsored by InCUBATE, the Institute for Community Understanding Between Arts and the Everyday. InCUBATE is a research institute dedicated to challenging how current infrastructures affect artistic production.

The Olympics Movement claims to strongly support artistic production, even naming “culture” as the second of its three Olympic Pillars. Yet in the two upcoming festivals, cultural programming has been slashed from the Olympic budget, and cities have reappropriated funding intended for the arts—from hundreds of thousands to almost a billion dollars—toward sports.

Early on, the Game’s arts programming was simply made competitive. In 1912, the Olympic Arts Competition had artists compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals in various creative categories, but judges found it increasingly difficult to compare works from diverse international locales and the competition was discontinued in 1956. Exhibitions and festivals held in conjunction with the games were established, but without the thrill of competition, sports writers covering the games found little to hinge stories on. (“Ever Decreasing Circles?: The Profile of Culture at the Olympics,” Beatriz Garcia and Andy Miah, Cultural Olympics Web site).

Inspiring coverage continues to be a problem for Olympic cultural programming, as Garcia and Miah note, “which also leads to difficulties attracting funding—particularly sponsorship—and an awkward position within the Games’ management structure. . . . The difficulty in attracting cultural sponsorship is the result of strict Olympic regulations where only one product category can be associated to the Games (eg. McDonalds for food) and official sponsors are focused on the most media-friendly deals.”

So: arts and culture programming doesn’t make good TV, which means it’s difficult to get sponsors behind, and given short shrift by the Olympic Organizing Committee. Indeed, in Vancouver, arts programming takes up less than three pages in the city’s massive three-volume bid book and its original $12mn budget has been slashed to $750,000, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Budgetary issues are also behind the increasingly tense relationship between the London arts community and the 2012 Olympics committee. When a £900 million increase was deemed necessary in late 2006 to keep the Village afloat, that money came “directly from funds normally earmarked for the arts: lottery funded arts organisations would be left facing ‘significant cuts,’” the Guardian reported.

Peter Hewitt, a former staunch supporter of the bid and Chief Executive of Arts Council England, explains on his blog that this was only the most visible diversion. Fifteen projects written into the bid, and slated to be a part of the Movement, will only partially be covered by the £9bn 2012 budget. “The implication is that the cultural sector is expected to make up the very large difference with other public and private partners. Then there are the very many local projects and activities that are expected to take place in the years leading to 2012—no extra money is available, indeed the budgets that were to fund these projects have now been reduced. Added to which we know that arts sponsorship will be hit, inevitably diverting to some extent to sport.”

The Unlympics Opening Day Ceremony and InCUBATE ask, can Chicago’s cultural production community afford to host the Olympic Games in 2016?