Throwback Tale of Gratitude


It’s 2010, I tell myself “You’re living the dream, how could you be so down?!”, and it’s true. In a beautiful small town of Italy, I wake up daily to stroll through cobbled streets, chat with locals, enjoy my fresh pastry with a marocchino, and then proceed to rehearse and make music with delightful colleagues. Weekly, we perform warmly received concerts somewhere within the breathtaking architecture of town. Seriously, the dream.

But I cannot shake this feeling of being so alone. It’s gotten so bad I can’t even enjoy this whimsical existence, let alone feel like a quality musician, which of course makes me feel all the more guilty. What is my problem?!


An altogether proactive person, I am determined to solve this issue: Sunrise jogs around the town’s borders, a perfectly picturesque omnimax experience of the horizon; practicing my repertoire harder, learning music faster and cleaner each day, conversing longer in Italian, tasting every new gelato flavor (avocado is amazing). Nothing works, but damnit, I’m going to enjoy this experience if it kills me.

Almost a month passes. I cannot believe how much I have accomplished: my Italian is finally different than my Spanish, my capacity to drink wine and eat gelato has grown admirably, I have watched every full length Michael Jackson music video projected nightly in town, and I have at least 5 performed works of repertoire freshly under my belt.

That’s how I feel.

My colleagues and I are concluding lunch with a daily trip to the gelateria, there’s happy chatter about this or that. I blurt out:

“Guys, I just realized it’s been three weeks since I got a hug.”

Um, yikes. Hello Awkward. As I blush from the suddenly unbearable heat, trying to reclaim my words out of the air, I can’t breathe.

Not a panic attack, my airflow was indeed constricted. But it’s because of the crushing bear hug that so rapidly enveloped me, snapping me out of this crazy funk and affirming all this work to make the dream. Someone heard me. Who knew. A hug.


Fast forward: 2017

Bow & Hammer is our dream now.

Consistently presenting shows that are that click for people in just the way they need. Collaborating with other artists and businesses as collective humans to provide more affirmations than exclusions between us.

But amongst the rush and hulaballoo of providing others with this human affirmation, we can often feel like I did in 2010, needing a hug ourselves. As a small organization, it’s almost embarrassing to admit how much each dollar counts. We put on a good face, truly love this dream, and work to the bone to make it happen, but we can’t do it alone.


Your financial support would be the biggest hug to us right now. Whether through Patreon, a one-time donation, buying a million tickets, telling all your friends to do the same, it all means we might actually make this dream last for a while. And hopefully all of us can benefit from that.

Living the arts career can feel like such a saga, every trek worthwhile for the dream. Thanks for your consideration to support us in this time critical to our growth and survival.

Much Love,


PS. Thank you to Elizabeth for that hug in 2010, and all the hugs since. I don’t know where I’d be without them.


Élevé: the Finale, Myths, and HAROLD GREEN

it's the finale...

We have quite a line up to end our first season of Élevé. This series has been an awesome platform for us to invite colleagues from several disciplines to collaborate with us for an evening of artistry, beautiful aesthetics, and one heck of a good time. 

For the finale, we'll be performing the MYTHES by K. Szymanowski. Arethusa, Narcissus, and the Nymphs and Pan are the mythical characters that inspired the 3 movements of the MYTHES. You'll for sure hear quite the soundscape that explores the stories, emotions, and trajectories of each mythical creature.

We're not stopping there. We are also adding another artist for this exploration of the MYTHES. Harold Green, the amazing spoken word artist, will be joining us and performing original work within our performance of the MYTHES. We're so excited to not only work with Mr. Green, but his incredible storytelling will completely take this experience beyond the original source by adding elements of modern word, experience, and culture. 

Harold Green III

Harold Green III

Tickets are available for Élevé via Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets include admission with either 2 or 3 drinks tickets for the amazing cocktails provided by Rhine Hall Distillery. 

wednesday, june 7th
doors open at 7:30p, music starts at 8pm
tickets $15-$20
@ Ovation Chicago: 2324 W Fulton

We're so looking forward to seeing you at the finale!



a special thank you to our sponsors!


rootbuilt performance | experience | process 


We've had an incredibly thoughtful and reflective week. We have launched a new campaign to help fund and expand our infrastructure, and in the process, we took a moment to think about our mission, our process, and how to share with you why we believe our projects, collaborations, and trajectories are so important. We thought of how we could describe our process for creating performances and experiences, and ultimately, we found that rootbuilt says it all. 

what is rootbuilt, you ask?

Rootbuilt describes the process of constructing a live artistic performance that is only possible when built upon the roots of respect, skill, and relevance.

what's the big deal about artistic performance?

Through the abstract nature of performance, art provides a larger and potentially removed perspective of everyday occurrences, creating space and a unique opportunity for us all to process everyday life differently.

why do I need the artistic performance to be rootbuilt?

We have found through our experience that this model consistently creates the highest quality with the greatest efficiency. What a combo!

how does this rootbuilt thing happen?

Imagine a triangle with these three points: Performer, the Art, Audience. Each of these points is critical to the rootbuilt experience, and each point is connected with the two-way channels that intertwine each component’s Relevance (opportunity), Skill (responsibility), and Respect (fulfillment). 

Each point is critical to the success of the other two. When one becomes disconnected, the whole process deteriorates. 

YOU have the power

Together, and only together, we actively connect all three points. As the Performer presenting the Art, we pledge to you to keep those communication channels open tirelessly and earnestly. If you’ll participate and take up your role as the Audience, we can connect all three points and sustain this rootbuilt experience indefinitely. We will have no limits on where we travel, who collaborates with us, and how we can document the successes of this truly interactive performance model. Be part of this movement! Make a pledge!

what's an example of rootbuilt?

At our home-base of Chicago, we have a couple running performance series that already use this rootbuilt foundation to collaborate with something very relevant in Chicago: food. Through “Industry Night” and “Élevé”, we collaborate with chefs, farmers, distillers, and brewers for interdisciplinary performances that satiate all 5 senses in one night. 


At the Banff Centre, in Banff, Canada, we recently presented another rootbuilt collaboration with their restaurant, and you can read about that here. 



We have so many other plans up our sleeves, and can share them if you believe that rootbuilt is the way to go, and will join our efforts by making a monthly pledge for this movement! The more you pledge, the more channels of communication we are able to open to you. Check out our goals to see more specifically how your support directly affects our success. 

Thanks SO much for taking a stand in this rootbuilt movement. It means the world to us. You are the world to us.

We're in it together.