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Events & Classes

Next class March 26
last Sundays of the Month, 3-5pm
at Color Club, 4146 N Elston Ave, Chicago

Sliding scale $15-$20 per class

RSVP to help us prepare ------->


Each two hour workshop focuses on vocal technique and physical presence. We begin by warming up to connect with our breath and bodies. Through gentle repetition of vowels, consonants, bubbling, and babbling, we expand our vocal range.  Listening to one another, playfully passing sound and movement, we find our unique songs and create compositions together.

There is a lot to discover and share!

No previous experience necessary, all ages and abilities encouraged.


Art image by Elaine Lemieux

Voice Moove

  • Voice Moove
    Multiple Dates
    Sun, Apr 30
    Color Club
    A workshop to focus on vocal and physical presence techniques. Co-facilitated by Elaine Lemieux and Sara Zalek
Mermaid barbies laid on a black floor with chalk outlines. The text reads Hot Mess!

NEXT EVENT May 27. 4:20pm & 8pm 

Hot Mess!
is a play space where we invite the chaos of the unfamiliar into our process, together. We focus on the moments of co-creation, discover new ways of working together, interacting with the audience, connecting both in person and online. Hot Mess! demonstrates the power of working together in the unknown, seeks possibilities for Queering space, and centers the joy and beauty in re-starting while making art. All ages are invited! 

$15 Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey Ave. #208 Chicago, IL 60647

In person or stream it online:

No advance ticket sales. Debit/Cash accepted at the door

Recent Past

HOT MESS Tie Dye & Watch Party

Saturday, March 4, 1-4pm

@Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey #208

Get your free ticket here

Join us, as We will be tie dying anything 100% cotton (any other mix simply doesn't work with this dye!) with the master of fabrics, Ms Mary Tabar. We will provide some of our HM t-shirts, and BYO anything else. Also! Clothing Swap, bring some oldies, get some freshies! Snap your Best Self at the Photo Booth station with our great friend Ricardo Adame, Veg Chili and fixins' galore... BYO anything to share you'd like, not required! We will chill and watch Hot hits from the last 7 Hot Mess! episodes and see what's in store for 2023


See you there weirdos <3 


Saturday, December 10, 7pm
Freedom From and Freedom To

Curated by Cristal Sabbagh

Elastic Arts Foundation
3429 W. Diversey #208

The show begins at 7:00pm with openers, Douglas R. Ewart, Ben LaMar Gay and Coco Elysses, doing a trio,  immediately following will be 6 sets at 15 min each (with a brief intermission after the 3rd set). Audience members will be picking each set by selecting names from a bag.

More information

Freedom From and Freedom To Poster, including a drawing of figures dancing and playing instruments. It includes a list of all the participants and details about the event.

Tina LeFauve and I activated Spencer Hutchinson's artworks as part of TRACTATUS 2: Paintings, Combines, and Sculptures at the Intersection of Sound 

at the Opening Reception and Art Walk:

Friday Sept 9 and Friday Sept 16

ARC Gallery

1463 W. Chicago Ave.


Saturday, August 27

7:00 - 11:00pm

Freedom From and Freedom To is an exploration and celebration of artistic circumstance. Movement and sound improvisors from all around Chicago gather in front of a live audience, where they are grouped by chance to perform in the moment. FFFT fuses diverse artistic backgrounds and practices to create unique and fleeting worlds. 

Tina LaFauve and Sara Zalek reaching up holding a 6 foot tree saw and playing electronics.
Sara Zalek pushing a chair across the room barebooted, with a determined look and open mouth

Performance on Saturday, July 16 at 4 PM 

Roman Susan
1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago IL

Watchtower is a collaborative performance ensemble comprised of Rosé Hernandez, Ginger Krebs, Bryan Saner, Aurora Tabar and I. United by our desire to realize a fully collaborative and democratic creative process, the group met regularly from 2011 through 2012. Our work culminated in the performance video, Watchtower 12-12-12, which was performed, filmed and presented within one week at New Capital Projects. After a ten year hiatus, the members of Watchtower reunite for a one-week residency at Roman Susan July 12-18.

A group of dancers making a diagonal with their arms, performing for a seated audience in Roman Susan gallery, Chicago.

Thursday July 7, 5 – 7 p.m

at Big Marsh Park

Norman W. Long and I led an internal body scan for the assembled group; a meditation in finding our presence in places that may not be familiar. Together, we breathed and walked new pathways at Big Marsh Park, with an intention toward immersion, participation, and collective celebration.

Illustration of a line of people walking in nature, with trees in the background and reeds in the foreground. A quote from Sara is written here, "I always love soundwalks. They're a very different way of experiencing an environment. All together - a silent group moving through space..."
Hot Mess!

Saturday, May 28

See the live streams on Twitch until June 11!

4:20pm show:

8pm show (even tho it says 420):


Featured artists:

Marcy Rae Henry (Chicago)
Shoshana Green (San Francisco)
Harlan Rosen (Chicago)
Meenakshi Marchione (Chicago)
SheenRu Yong (Hawaii)


Join us in person at Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey #208 or online to watch these artists generate a hybrid singular work woven together from their individual creations and practices. Each SET will be its own performance, two iterations with the same material with time for processing in between.. We invite both a live audience and present a live stream, come to either the early or the late show, or boldly both. We will seriously play, in a together way.

These inventive hybrids of tech / media / film / music / theater / noise / talk show / jazz / low brow / cabaret / glitch / queer family / dance score / improvs are riveting and in the moment! We set the stage for never-before-seen combinations of sounds, images, text, motion, and concepts simultaneously. Expect to flex your VR and interpersonal skills while also adapting to new tools, technology and experiences.

Watch footage from past events on our video playlist

$15 - Tickets Available at the Door

In person audience size will depend on Covid conditions, please check the current policy on Elastic Arts website

Hot Mess! is a quarterly series produced by Sara Zalek in partnership with Elastic Arts. If you are an artist interested in participating, complete this survey to get a sense of your ideas and the program. This is a paid opportunity. 

Shoshana Green typing on her phone and below it a disco ball refracting the image.
Blank Box: New Dimensions in Sense-uality

Composition for multimedia ensemble

Sunday, May 22nd 
Elastic Arts 

8:00pm doors / 8:30pm show, $15

watch the stream recording

Sara Zalek - movement
Hyun Kim - movement
Sam Lewis - lighting/tech
Tselanie Townsend - video projections
Paul Giallorenzo - piano/electronics/composition/direction
Macie Stewart - violin
Hunter Diamond - reeds/percussion

Text reads, Homeroom presents BLANK BOX image of squares on a diagonal. New Dimensions in Sense-uality

Soundwalk at Northwestern University for Earth Day 2022 with Veronica Salinas.

Reviewed in the Daily Northwestern

Veronica Salinas and Sara Zalek with their arms up to the sky, demonstracting a centering exercise in front of the pond at Northwestern. University
A group of people walking down a path with grass on one side and water on the other, a line of trees in the distance and white puffy clouds in the sky.

Freedom From and Freedom To is an exploration and celebration of artistic circumstance. Movement and sound improvisors from all around Chicago gather in front of a live audience, where they are grouped by chance. Each group performs an improvised set. We fuse diverse artistic backgrounds and practices to create unique and fleeting worlds Curated by Cristal Sabbagh. More information

Saturday, April 2, 2022
Streaming LIVE from Elastic Arts - 7:30pm CST

Saturday, April 9, 2022
Museum of Contemporary Art - 11am
Kovler Atrium

Sara Zalek and

****March 16, 2022 Elastic Arts 

with @tina_lestove @pleiadesseries

Fun promo pic of two humans creating a sonic reduction utilizing movement and various metal bits including two antique trash can lids, light triggered oscillators, and a whole bunch of effects pedals.

HOT MESS! Hybrids in live and streaming environments

Quarterly Series in partnership with Elastic Arts


Saturday, March 5, 2022 @Elastic Arts

Yumiko Yoshioka @yumiko-yoshioka
Charles Joseph Smith @charlessmith702210
Carole McCurdy @carolemccurdy
Kikù Hibino @kiku.hibino
[️     ] pronounced "Hypothetical Star": M_m<M & nulltopia @mmmtvdotnet

Save the dates for May 28, August 13, November 12, 2022

<<<<<<<<< See Trailers & Archive of 2021 Hot Mess! Events >>>>>>>>>>

HOT MESS! is an opportunity to explore promiscuously inventive

hybrids of performing in physical and virtual space.

We flex our VR and interpersonal skills while also adapting to new tools,

technology and experiences. 


This series focuses on the moments of co-creation and gives the artists a play-space to discover new ways of working together and interacting with each other and the audience. The "double header" gives the artists space to find the power of working together in the unknown, possibilities for Queering space, and the beauty in re-starting while making art!

We are always seeking new relationships to open our perspective and learn from others. If you are interested to be involved, contact me and/or check this survey to get a sense of what it's all about.

(Image Description: An abstract image of a face wearing glasses, a lamp post, telephone wires, a record, and a crosshatch of indigo, blue, magenta, orange. It reads: HOT MESS! 


January 11-22, 2022

Roman Susan Gallery

WATCHTOWER 12-12-21 (with Edited Captions) will be on view directly from the street in front of Roman Susan each evening after sunset, while the space is closed to the public. During this period, the artists will be in residence at the storefront in many capacities. 

Created together in democratic collaboration among artists Rosé Hernandez, Ginger Krebs, Bryan Saner, Aurora Tabar, and Sara Zalek, with videography by Rustel Weiss.

Screen Shot 2022-01-09 at 2.14.51 PM.png

"WATCHTOWER is a temporary collaborative performance ensemble. We move and use the body in alternative ways in order to challenge its domestication. We inhabit socially abnormal behaviors, for example the body as animal, aging, multi-gendered, deformed and full of contradictions. The decision to be in relation to otherness is central to the work we make. We create a way of being that allows us to be ourselves in good faith with each other and this practice is healing. Our work is responsive rather than scripted. We prioritize taking time and attending to place."


Sunday, July 18, 2021. Norman W. Long and I led a soundwalk at Marian R. Byrnes park, 2200 E. 103rd St., 4-6pm. We set up listening stations with contact mics and hydrophones for participants to tune into this unlikely prairie zone. A little bit about the radical work of Marian Byrnes and how she worked to save Van Vlissingen prairie.


I'm not gonna lie, its a long way to come! You can take the bus from downtown, the J14103rd/Stony Island and get off about 45 minutes later at 103rd Street & Luella. Check out the full summer calendar of events with the Midwest Society for Ecology here

We played at the Comfort Station in Logan Square on August 8 and hoping to do another one really soon. Stay tuned to either of our Instagrams for those details. 


Columbia College Chicago Digital Residency

From On the Ground, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s blog, I wrote "Transitions"

I want to be someone else, other than who I am. Constantly and always. Forever transforming. When I dance, I am no one. I am all energy and sensation. I am a body of cells responding to other bodies of cells, to space, to sound, to subtle forces of physics.


Read the post here

It is related to a poem I wrote under another name, published in the gorgeous new zine called The Understory (Winter 2021)

Image on page 24, poem on pages 59-61

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Archive of Performance Premiered April 15, 2021 

Dance and Music performance with Cristal Sabbagh, Erin Peisert, Scott Rubin, Keisha Janae, & Ramah Malebranche, and myself.


OOPS! POW! SURPRISE! takes a deep look at Cristal Sabbagh’s interdisciplinary practice that includes traditional portraiture, ceramics, and performance. While movement is the spine of her practice and the core that all her other work emanates from, intentional spontaneity, reverence, and bliss are threads woven throughout.

ONLINE Performances

Freedom From and Freedom To

Archive of Performance
April 2-3, 2021
Cristal Sabbagh production in partnership Elastic Arts

(All the sets are archived on the Elastic Arts YouTube channel)

Secret Rivers:
Hosted Yumiko Yoshioka April 9-11on zoom

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Quarantine Concerts: OUT OF SITE in collaboration with Experimental Sound Studio PRESENTS FLOW


When making a live work, as a performance, as an artist who poets and sounds and makes movements and moments as rituals, as possibilities for existence, in this work I used sound and video images from the island of Oahu, Hawaii, mixed with live moments from my home, asking for input from my audience, to questions about secrets and holding and requesting space. The performance is a live poem, a song; with the artist as mixer, as presenter, as witness, as dancer, conspirator and space creator. 

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Virtual Soundwalk curated by Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology.  Marian R. Byrnes Park, previously known as Park No. 562 or Van Vlissingen Prairie, is located in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood. At approximately 135 acres, it is one of the largest natural areas in Chicago. The site includes marsh, wet prairie, prairie, savanna, and woodland and is a great place to observe wildlife including frogs, snakes, birds, and deer.


By 1982, the steel industry in Chicago was only a skeleton of what it once was, and thousands of people lost their jobs. This industry crash affected workers in diverse sectors that either relied on the steel plants for business or served the employees of the steel plants and their families. Aside from mills and processing plants, stores, restaurants and country clubs all went out of business, leaving vacant lots, industrial grounds and many open spaces that remain today.


The video provides a brief history of the park and neighborhood from Norman W. Long’s personal perspective as a local resident of Jeffery Manor. Norman and Sara guide us visually and sonically in a relaxation and sensation, listening to the sounds provided by this diverse ecology.

November 7

Artist Focus: Random Acts

Conversation with Carron Little with Out of Site, Chicago

Archive of conversation:

October 4

@Elastic Arts, Chicago

A series of duos with me and these fellow brilliant artists, musicians, available on bandcamp.

Espinoza/Long Duo

Steelworkers Drone


Archived Performances:

Norman & Sara:
Norman & Xris:
Xris & Sara:
Norman, Xris, & Sara:

X. Espinoza
Chicago based artist, multi-instrumentalist and resident at The Hunter Radcliff House, Espinoza explores art and music as technology for self-transformation and liberation, consciously obliterating distinctions between mediums. Member of David Boykin's Sonic Healing ministries, The Participatory Music Coalition, Angel Bat Dawid's Brothahood, . He has performed with Sura Dupart's Side Pocket Experience, MicroCosmic Sound Orchestra and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project.

Norman W. Long
An artist/composer. His practice involves walking, listening, collecting, improvising, performing and recording to create objects, environments and situations in which he and the audience are engaged in dialogues about memory space, value, silence and the invisible. Norman has performed with Angel Bat Dawid's Brothahood, Standing On The Corner, Sara Zalek, Chicago Phonography, Todd Carter, Carol Genetti, Eli Namay, Peter Maunu, Jim Baker, Damon Locks, Dan Bitney, Isaiah Spencer, Lia Kohl, and Andrew Clinkman.


August 21
Cruising Poem for Walt Whitman

August 28
Funeral Disco

Two events co-sponsored by Touchless Entry & Red Rover Series

Site-specific outdoor events designed with safety concerns in mind. 

at the Formal Garden in Humboldt Park

near the intersection of Sacramento & Division

Writeup on sixty inches from center


August 21

Heavy Air Happy Hour
Experimental Sound Studio (ESS)


Heavy Air Happy Hour was a monthly series at Cafe Mustache

hosted by Andrew Scott Young centered around strictly acoustic

small-group free improvisation. Today it happens online.

Cristal Sabbagh
Sara Zalek
Tuli Bera
Luc Mosley
Quinlan Kirchner
Andrew Scott Young

Aug 22 & 23

Freedom From and Freedom To

Elastic Arts

Archive of Night One, Set One:

all curated and produced by the brilliant Cristal Sabbagh.

Lorene Bouboushian
Keisha Janae
Ed Clemons
Carole McCurdy
Erin Peisert
Cristal Sabbagh
Michael Strode
Sara Zalek

Angel Bat Dawid (clarinet, voice)
Johanna Brock (violin, voice)
Olivia Harris (cello)
Ramah Malebranche (guitar)
Janice Misurell-Mitchell (flute)
Luc Mosley (saxophone)
Ugochi Nwaogwugwu (voice)
Julian Otis (voice)
Scott Rubin (viola)
Eli Sabbagh (percussion)
Jeffrey Thomas (guitar)
Adam Zanolini (multiple instruments)

Event Homepage :

Screen Shot 2020-08-21 at 9.51.00 AM.png

July 24

Random Acts: Out of Site Chicago

in collaboration with ESS

Remote performance and discussion with Cristal Sabbagh and Scott Rubin





Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 10.51.28
The Quarantine Concerts

April 9

Homeroom presents Comfort Music

Duet with Cher Jey


April 24
Acorn Series, curated by Nomi Epstein


Saturdays 3:30-5:30pm
March 28, April 4, April 11

OPEN VOICE is a voice and body workshop focusing on vocal technique and improvisation, hosted by the performance group, the Trickster Quartet. If the sound of your voice is always something you've wished to explore, come and join! Discover the possibilities and uniqueness of your voice, individually and with a group. Learn to deepen your listening skills. Get in touch with your inner child and create through playful improvisation. No previous experience necessary. Everyone is worthy of expression!




12 December

Elastic Arts, 3429 W Diversey Ave #208


Freedom From And Freedom To is an an Improvisational cross-medium event curated by Cristal Sabbagh. Due to the overwhelming response from the first performance it will be a quarterly event, look out for us in April, August and beyond!! Over 20 musicians and dancers will converge, and audience members will pair them into small groups by chance. Buckle up for a wild ride!

"It's so deeply moving when improvisers open themselves to risk, fully revealing without hiding anything or pretending to be somebody" - Erin Peisert

Visit for more information.


15-17 November

The Final Doing Drugs & Dying in Space Ritual

There's No Edge to Imaginary Things

Otherworld Theatre Company

3914 N Clark St, Chicago

The Runways Lab is thrilled to announce the THIRD & FINAL DOING DRUGS AND DYING IN SPACE RITUAL. I will be performing in one play out of thirteen, "There's No Edge to Imaginary Things by Olivia Cronk & Philip Sorenson, directed by the illustrious Logan Berry. It is GORGEOUS.

13 short plays about DOING DRUGS and DYING IN SPACE by: Corie Anderson, Lizzie Bourne, Shani Bensman-Correa & Maximillian Correa, Olivia Cronk & Philip Sorenson, Logan Hart, Colton McCarty, Jessie Mccarty, Daniel Mozurkewich, Nic Park & Alissa Guerra, Barbara Reedy, Gannon Reedy, Casey Toney, Samantha Westlake

Directed by:
Aaron Arbiter, Logan Berry, Dakota Brown, JD Caudill, Niky Crawford, Seraphina Violet Cueller, Danielle Elizabeth, Daniel Mozurkewich, Jillian E. Mueller, Alec Martin Plant, Steak Richardson, Gwen Wiegold


5 November 8pm-8am

We Series: Sleep

@Elastic Arts


This chapter is a ritual for rest, sleepers, and insomniacs. Also lullabies, existential exhaustion, cuddling, dreams, sleeplessness, nightmares, snoring. Guests are invited to sleep over, but it is not a requirement.*

We Series is a festival presenting live art that blurs the boundary between performance and reality. Every Tuesday in November, the We Series offers rituals, participatory performance, and immersion in artist-led experiences.

6 October Sunday | 9PM

Akiyama/Boyd, Krausbauer/Suzuki, Inglizian/Faber, Brock/Alvarez/Zalek/Young

@Elastic Arts

Maverick improvising guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama joins conceptual sound artist Mykel Boyd and many others for an exciting lineup of innovative new music. 

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12 September Thursday, 9pm

Freedom From and Freedom To

@Elastic Arts

Freedom From And Freedom To is an an Improvisational cross-medium event curated by Cristal Sabbagh.

Participants (Dancers): Cristal Sabbagh Jasmine Mendoza Andrea Wukitsch Wannapa P/ Eubanks Sara Zalek Peter Redgrave Zach Nicol Erin Peisert Ed Clemons Keisha Bennette


Participants (Musicians): Eli Sabbagh (percussion) Ramah Malebranche (guitar)

Angel Bat Dawid (clarinet, voice) Adam Zanolini (Bass) N.w. Long (electronics/sound effects) Janice Misurell-Mitchell (flute) Ugochi Nwaogwugwu (voice) Dan Schwarzlose (trumpet, theremin) Lia Khol (cello)


20 July Saturday

MSAE Summer Soundwalks: Listening for Resilience

@Big Marsh Park, 11155 S. Stony Island Ave, Chicago

Norman W. Long and Sara Zalek lead an exploration of resiliency through Big Marsh Park. Includes exercises which ready the body for listening acutely and sharing our encounters. Presented by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Night Out In the Parks brings arts and culture to over 500 parks across the city, free and open for public participation.


30 June Sunday

@Experimental Sound Studio

5925 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago



A silent walk focusing on listening to the diverse soundscape of the west Edgewater neighborhood. Led by artist trio N.w. Long, Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson and Sara Zalek.


1 June Saturday
Long Poem
As a part of “What’s behind this door?” exhibition
@Oliva Gallery, 3816 W Armitage Ave, Chicago


We add                      water to wine
                    art to life                        wine to ideas
      water to art                                                     art to words

We will ask each other and you about the ways our art-making
reflects, influences or resists the world we live in and vice versa.


31 May Friday
Hautnah "Close to the Skin"
Student Performance

Six day Intensive Butoh Workshop culminating in a student performance.


Truly a family experience, we will provide light snacks and beverages, feel free to BYOB.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 10.31.29

10 May Friday

Gold Test: Intestine

The Inside is Not Different than the Outside
The International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, IL

Spend the evening awake in your senses with three visceral Butoh performances by Jon Poindexter, Sara Zalek, and Holly Chernobyl.


This is from a series of improvisations on reflection, repair, and cyborgs. 

In this work, I explore relationships between metal and body, iteration and instance, presence and absence.  I aim to create mythologies which question the nature of how stories are created and reiterated, and examine our human condition to search for the magic elixir.

05102019_Museum of Surgical Science_066.

26 January Saturday

Gold Test: Ears
Light Box Performance

Detroit, MI

Performing as a visiting artist in residence @LightBox, from a series of experiments on reflection, repair, and cyborgs. In this work, we explore relationships between metal and body, iteration and instance, presence and absence. There will be both sound and movement created in the moment which aim to question the meaning of our lives together in the moment of creation. This performance suggests a story rather than narrates one - we invite viewers to find their own relevance and meaning in the work. We aim to create mythologies which question the nature of how stories are created and reiterated, and examine our human condition to search for the magic elixir.


11 January Friday

Transparent Bodies

Sivan Cohen Elias, Mabel Kwan

Transparent Bodies is an exploration of hybrid theater that unifies the physical and sonic dimensions of performance using movement, sound, objects, and sensory technological interventions. The project is a collaboration between composer/multimedia artist Sivan Cohen Elias, butoh dancer/choreographer/artist Sara Zalek and pianist/performer Mabel Kwan. At its heart: the theme of secrets. Hidden secrets, revealed secrets, reflections, distorted truths, illusion, hyperrealism and the in-between.

We invite you to come investigate with us, this world of secrets, created during our unique residency period of December 24-Jan 12. Our incubation period is brief, so through our performance, your interaction, and the in-between, we create stories that begin with diamonds in haystacks, and end as forgotten dust bunnies under the bed.