Cornerstone | Chicago Reader

Cornerstone immerses audiences in a weekend seminar that will change their lives—maybe 

But is it self-help, a cult, or a multi-level marketing scheme?

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Have you wanted to make a change in your life? Is there someone you'd like to love if they were a tick or a ton different from what they are? Are there goals you haven't yet abandoned to a rational consideration of reality? Do you have heirlooms you haven't dared to jettison from the sinking ship of your existence? Enter Cornerstone, where everyone is CACAPA (Currently Already Considering All Possibilities Anyway). If you don't already see this motto punctuated with the corresponding hand gestures, you're behind the curve. But you can start bouldering your way up this class-six, grade-VI wall by taking advantage of a Weekend Seminar, free to those who rope in ten more suckers.

Cornerstone is everyone you hate at the office congregating before yet one more PowerPoint to participate in evangelist-style proselytizing, political propaganda-level cheering, and Alcoholics Anonymous-type confessions to convert/recruit you to something that might be a self-help group, a cult, or a multilevel marketing scheme. In other words, it is an SNL skit that goes on and on and on. Conceived by Jake Fruend, written by Kevin Sparrow, and directed by Rose Freeman for Nothing Without a Company, the experience is partly immersive and traverses a few rooms in Artspace 8, a gallery inside a mall. However, no clear references are made to visual art or retail shopping complexes. Individual stories by participants occasionally stand out, but as Freeman points out in her program note, "You don't need to sit and listen to any of this."   v

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