Self-Centered Selves- “Green Tea”: a response from The Vertical Side Show

Ayako Kato & All-Stars present “Self-Centered Selves”

21 March 2019 Co-presented by Ayako Kato and Links Hall *

Featured Performances By: Ayako Kato, Darling Shear, Jasmine Mendoza, and Hannah Gail-Neufield

image: courtesy of the artist


It started with a cup of tea.

A simple thing intrinsically.

But when that order went awry,

We’re left with just one question – “Why?”

Was the mix-up just at least a

lackadaisical barista?

A simple case of bait and switch?

Green for Grey, an honest glitch?

Or was the problem really based

on assumptions laced with race?

Ayako and her All-Star dancers

Implored the audience for answers.

So through their own respective moods

and introspective solitudes,

one by one they took their turn,

with their own unique concern,

And begged we gently scrutinize

Through their softly focused eyes.

They each would then extemporize,

The messages internalized.

So with that, certain truths unfurled

About our complicated world,

Every micro aberration

Has a macro implication.

And yes, this world’s unfairly fraught

With 22’s in which we’re caught.

So like a symbiotic brother,

One can’t survive without the other.

Without life’s foibles summing up,

What’s left then, brewing in our cup?


The Vertical Side Show: From the creative mind of the 2013 International King of Burlesque, Ray Gunn, comes The Vertical Side Show – an immersive, theatrical mash-up of burlesque, drag, circus arts, live music, dance, and comedy. With inspiration taken from story-based spectacles like Circque Du Soleil and classic ballets, this site-specific show surrounds the audience and immerses them in an unpredictable line-up of performances.  Each Vertical Side Show presents a new story, ranging from the absurd to melodramatic, through a Dr. Seussian lead narrator and a band of talented misfits. The Vertical Side Show presents its work at Links Hall as part of the Pay-the-40th-Forward season. 

(*) PRJ is partnering with Links Hall to celebrate their 40th anniversary by providing a platform for artist-to-artist responses to the work that is presented as part of the Pay-the-40th-Forward season. Thank you, Links Hall, for all that you do for the dance and performance communities in Chicago. Congratulations on 40 years!