Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, September 18

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Architecture Tue Sep 30 2008

Momentum Rolling Down Green Boulevards


Chicago architecture firm, UrbanLab, which first gained notoriety from the History Channel's "City of the Future" competition is featured in a short write-up on Architectural Record's web site. The appropriately named urban design firm's idea to turn Chicago's ubiquitous boulevards into a wastewater and stormwater remediation system is building support with the city's brass. UrbanLab has begun to draw more defined schemes for four neighborhoods, including Little Village. Among the pocket part and eco-boulevard designs, presentation media is being rolled out to help introduce this concept to the residents and, hopefully, be part of the South Side's rebirth with the Chicago 2016 Olympics. As UrbanLab principal Martin Felsen states, " The South Side does not have to become a replica of the North Side...It can transform to be a better urban model. We want to be part of that."

Carl Giometti

Art Mon Sep 29 2008

I Love Mona

Threadless has a great new print up, silkscreened at the lovely Screwball Press.


Andrew Huff

Art Fri Sep 26 2008

Auctioning off the Bunny's Collection

In further Playboy news, the venerable men's magazine is auctioning off 17 illustrations from the archives. Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas will auction off pieces from "Playboy: The Art of Beauty" on October 15th but bids are already being taken online. Some of the artists include Patrick Nagel, LeRoy Neiman, Erich Sokol, Harvey Kurtzman and pinup master Alberto Vargas.

Christian Scheuer

Theatre Fri Sep 26 2008

Impress These Apes @ the Lakeshore Theater

Season three has begun! Impress These Apes is an eight week talent competition cruelly masterminded by three hyperintelligent apes from the future (long story). It's no big deal, really -- it's just the future of humanity at stake. Each week eight contestants (drawn from Chicago's rich pool of improv, sketch, and stand-up talent) must rise to the occasion of a new talent challenge.

In seasons past, those talents have included short film projects, favorite movie scene re-enactments, biographical songs, music videos, and stand-up with puppets. (Yeah, puppets.) The show's winner waltzes off with $500, a grab bag of prizes, and the distinction of being called "least pitiful human."

Season one winner Jamie Buell has nothing but great things to say about his experience as a contestant. "Apes was great. It was one of the most rewarding things I've done creatively. Plus it was exciting to have to be so focused to get each challenge done, it didn't leave any room to doubt or second guess." Was it weird to be judged by three giant simians in a comedy context? Yes. "I was surprised by how hard I took it the first time I didn't get a good score from the Apes," Buell said. "Even though the judging aspect is totally ridiculous - three guys in ape masks - it still stung when they didn't like something I'd done."

Season two winner Kristen Studard agrees that Apes was a great experience. What was her favorite week? "Stand-up with a puppet. It was a lot of work making the puppet and I had no idea how my act would go over, but it was really fun to perform. Someone told me after the show that week, 'I've never seen someone sexually harass themselves.' I'll take that as a compliment."

Impress These Apes is a production of Chicago's own Blewt! Productions, who capped off a four year run of the comedy game show Don't Spit the Water with a trip to Los Angeles, where they pitched that show and other ideas to execs at Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and other networks.

Impress These Apes season three continues for the next seven Mondays at 8:30 at the Lakeshore Theater. Tickets are $15.

Cruel ape overlords Steve Gadlin, Paul Luikart, Tyler Lansdown:
Steve Gadlin, Paul Luikart, Tyler Lansdown

Season three contestants:
Impress These Apes Season Three Contestants

More photos and videos from last Monday's season opening show after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Elizabeth McQuern

Photography Fri Sep 26 2008

Friday Flickr Feature


Inspired by Carl's post on the similarities between nineteenth century Chicago and present-day Asian boomtowns, we chose this picture by spudart of a Chicago under construction. Though it looks as if it came from a bygone era, the photo was taken earlier this year when the CTA was repainting portions of the El tracks.

Join the A/C flickr pool!

Jamie Smith / Comments (1)

Theatre Thu Sep 25 2008

Brace, Yourself Chicagoans: Xanadu Is Coming

Continuing the grand tradition of turning a campy movie into an even campier musical, Xanadu is rollerskating its way towards the Windy City. The musical, which opened on Broadway in 2007 to surprisingly favorable reviews, and reached its peak popularity when Whoopi Goldberg was a cast member this summer, is closing at the Helen Hayes Theatre in NYC two weeks early. Producers cited general economic sluggishness as the reason for the early closing. It will open in Chicago in January for a six-month run at Drury Lane Water Tower. My recommendation? Hit the storied Coq D'Or bar at the nearby Drake Hotel pre-show for an interesting contrast between the stoic class of the Coq D'or and the glittery disco explosion that is Xanadu.

For those interested in checking it out for themselves, tickets for the Chicago engagement are $67.50 to $87.50 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or Broadway in Chicago's website

Julianna Mendelsohn

Architecture Thu Sep 25 2008

A New Generation of Boomers

The Chicago Architecture Foundation has opened an exhibit this week highlighting the similarities between late 1800's Chicago and present day boom-towns in Asia and the Middle East. When Chicago grew by over 1.5 million people in 50 years architecture followed with years of stunning innovation and excitement. Similarly, cities like Abu Dhabi and Shenzhen are exploding their urban boundaries and money for building and infrastructure has, literally, shot for the sky. The exhibit seeks to analyze the growth's aesthetic implications to discover if there is an underlying architectural or urban form that all boom towns share; or, does the emergence of the Chinese megalopolis and gold-plated oil cities of the Middle East represent a new type of urbanism? Featured works range from the ubiquitous Alder & Sullivan buildings to the cutting edge zero-energy towers sprouting up in design studios worldwide. Lynn Becker is the curator, so you know it will be a well-constructed and thought provoking exhibit.

The exhibit runs from September 23 to November 21.

Carl Giometti

Theatre Tue Sep 23 2008

"Big Stories, Up Close" Indeed

DORIANPLUNKETTPROD1.jpgIn Lifeline Theatre's production of The Picture of Dorian Gray -- a world premiere of the adaptation by Robert Kauzlaric from Oscar Wilde's novel -- the eponymous character (played by Nick Vidal, pictured here, left, with the elder Lord Henry [Sean Sinitski]) manages to stay forever young by sloughing off the painful consequences of his many and increasingly detestable sins onto a painting of himself. Everyone around him ages, and everyone he touches is drawn into "the depths of depravity," but he remains unchanged. It seems that in such a story, the audience must be fascinated with Dorian, but I found myself focusing on everyone but. I left the theater feeling that the play was an extraordinary success, but I never felt Dorian's charisma, which is really the linchpin of the story. In theory, nothing makes sense without understanding the world's unshakable adoration of Dorian Gray; but Lifeline certainly pulled through.

Continue reading this entry »

Rachel Zanders

Stand-up Mon Sep 22 2008

Blewtenanny @ Strawdog Theater

From Blewt!, the folks who brought you four years of the brilliant comedy game show Don't Spit the Water and Impress These Apes (season three starts tonight at the Lakeshore Theater, oh yes it does) comes Blewtenanny, the stand-up showcase that's evolving into a sort of "quirky playful post-modern" variety show, according to producer and host Bryan Bowden. Though it began as strictly a stand-up showcase, the format now includes two stand-ups, a musical comedy act, and a "crazy weird-ass wild card" act. Local faves Robert Buscemi and Chad Briggs are booked for the stand-up slots for the next show, on October 3.

Bryan Bowden:
Bryan Bowden Hosting Blewtenanny

"The new format is a chance to bring in a variety of audiences as well as performers," Bowden explained. "That last slot especially is for some of the amazing performers who are engaging and entertaining but hard to book in a normal comedy/music setting. I've seen some really cool acts that are really difficult to classify, and I'm hoping to give those performers a chance at Blewtenanny."

Blewtenanny has been going strong since March, and beginning October 3 will be settling into its new home at The Strawdog Theater (3829 N. Broadway), and its new schedule of the first Friday of every month at 11pm. Admission is $5 and anything you buy at the bar benefits Strawdog itself, which is a non-profit artistic enterprise.

Blewtenanny is a great night of raucous fun for audiences partly because it's one of the comedians' favorite shows to perform at. The earliest shows were at midnight at the BYOB Playground Theater, and caught the leftover audience members from the previous show, the now-retired Don't Spit the Water. That meant a warmed-up, tipsy crowd sometimes ready to get loud and interact with the performers. Bowden, a CPS 8th grade teacher by day, applied a gently authoritative hand, keeping the rowdy crowds engaged but under control.

Alyson Lyon and Sarah King:
Sarah King and Allison

Sarah King, fresh off her well-received one woman show "Good Crazy/Bad Crazy," has performed at Bowden's show twice and said "I think Bryan's room is very welcoming because he's such a nice guy and he makes the comics and audience feel comfortable. He runs it in a casual but professional way that encourages performers to take more chances with their material, so you never know what you're going to see, which I love."

Neil Arsenty, a seasoned improv and sketch vet who recently began exploring stand-up, said "Bryan's show is a great experience. I'm totally grateful to him for giving me a shot as the very first comic in the very first Blewtenanny. I had never done stand-up before but I felt very comfortable. We had drunk people right in the front row who talked to me during my set, and they were the nicest drunk people you could ask for."

Andrew DeWitt, another sketch and comedy video vet who began doing stand-up earlier this year after joining the circle of friends in Bowden's stand-up writing workshop, went from open mics to headlining slots in a scant few months, and openly credits Bowden and other friends for his rapid ascent. DeWitt, who is moving to Los Angeles this week to delve into comedy there, said "I love performing at Blewtenanny. It's always a great time and has a relaxed, laid-back vibe. We get to hang out with all of our comedy friends and stick around afterwards for a while and booze it up with the audience and our pals. Things can get out of hand but only in a good way."

Lincoln Lodge cast member and Fourth Fridays producer Cameron Esposito agrees. "Blewtenanny is one of only a few shows in the city where I feel I can test out really strange and outlandish material," she said. "The crowd may be rowdy and they may be drunk, but it's that rare brand of smart drunk that digs my weirdest comedic thoughts."

More pictures and a video highlight reel of a recent Blewtenanny after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Elizabeth McQuern

Theatre Mon Sep 22 2008

People's Temple at American Theatre Company

People's Temple, currently running at American Theatre Company and written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski, provides a more detailed look at an American tragedy which has oft been condensed to a mere soundbite. The deaths of hundreds of People's Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana has been reduced to a catchphrase in our culture: "drinking the kool aid". Fondakowski's docudrama, cleanly and minimally staged at ATC, explores the heartwrenching details of this event which have been sadly overlooked.

Continue reading this entry »

Julianna Mendelsohn

Feature Mon Sep 22 2008

An Interview with Misty Tosh

Misty Tosh, a 34 year-old filmmaker (and self-described hustler, schemer and dreamer) has made a life for herself on the road - maybe you'll find her in a vintage trailer that she remodeled herself, or in the sailboat she bought for a song, or helping babies with cleft palates in Indonesia, or chowing down on tamales in Rogers Park. Wherever she goes, she brings the same creativity to her lifestyle that she brings to her artmaking.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Photography Fri Sep 19 2008

Friday Flickr Feature


This gorgeous photo of the staircase at the Museum of Contemporary Art was taken by manuela.martin.

Join the A/C flickr pool!

Jamie Smith

Review Wed Sep 17 2008

Cusp Conference 2008: The Design of Everything

In the auditorium of the MCA, I'm literally on the edge of my seat. I want desperately to leave -- and it's because the presentation is so good. Environmental advocate and attorney Robert F Kennedy Jr. is giving the most dynamic talk I've ever seen. He has actually lost his voice and is croaking out every syllable, but the whole place is hanging on his every word about the pillaging of America's forests and rivers. And he's so convincing that I can't believe we're all sitting in this auditorium instead of leaping to our feet and throwing our bodies in front of the nearest strip-mining operation or mercury-spewing factory.

This feeling of inspiration and, well, wanting to sprint out of the auditorium and make some change happen, permeated the entirety of the Cusp conference, held over two days last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Ostensibly about "the design of everything," it was really a super collider for innovative, creative thought, bringing genius-y over-achievers from all sectors to deliver their wisdom to the assembled masses.

Bryan Anderson, an Iraq war veteran who lost three limbs (yes, three limbs) spoke about his new state-of-the-art microprocessor-controlled appendages and about how, thanks to a relentless determination to pursue his dreams, he's now a movie stunt man. Paul Jenkins spoke about growing up poor in England, landing in Times Square in his early 20s, and falling in with the guys who started the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - and that's just the prelude to his career as the writer of the Spiderman comic books. Journalist Quinn Norton presented how she hacked her own body, getting an implant of a tiny magnet in her middle finger that allowed her to sense electromagnetic fields. Paul Polak advocated designing for the "other 90%" of the world's population, creating cheap but innovative devices for the third world, like water pumps that can significantly increase the output of crops for a small farmer. Plus a whole lineup of other rockstar mover/shakers. And then there was the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speech that brought the whole place to its feet.

The conference was sponsored by design firm SamataMason, and in talking to some of the designers from the firm, I got the sense that it became a passion project for all involved. No wonder. The whole place thrummed with an enthusiasm that even the most jaded design hipster couldn't deny. Tickets are pricey. This year's conference was about $1,700 a ticket. But if you can get your employer to foot the bill, or if you've got extra rainy-day cash that you want to spend on pure inspiration, sign up for next year's event.

Lindsay Muscato

Architecture Wed Sep 17 2008

Neighborhood Tales

Over at Hyde Park Progress, David Hoyt has posted an interesting critique of the Tribune series Neighborhoods for Sale. The Tribune calls the feature an "unprecedented investigation" into the financially-driven friendships between aldermen and real estate developers over the last decade. And Hoyt doesn't disagree that there's been some improper wheeling and dealing between these two groups; rather, he notes that the Tribune misses half of the story by failing to discuss the dynamics of development on the south side of the city. It's a brief but worthwhile read for anyone who's wondered why so many buildings (like the beautiful St. Stephen's church in Hyde Park) remain abandoned.

Jamie Smith

News Wed Sep 17 2008

A/C Rundown

• PerformInk offers a comprehensive fall theatre preview [PDF] thanks to the Chicago Theater Database.

Is Chicago's theatre scene not political enough?

Church Basement Ladies features Lutherans, "M*A*S*H" star William Christopher in Skokie.

Angry White Guy reviews Fake Lake.

Mark Staff Brandl interviews Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick about his New Orleans diary.

FNews reviews the CTA art car exhibit, "Art on Track."

Roger Ebert was hit with a binder by another critic at the Toronto Film Festival last week. Read Ebert's thoughts on the matter here.

David Schalliol

Architecture Mon Sep 15 2008

South Side Soirees

For anyone who is looking to get their fill of South Side architecture, the Meis van der Rohe Society is organizing a tour of area architecture highlights this Saturday. The free tours at each building listed below are intended to introduce the new residents of the neighborhood to some of the area's past, present and future.

The building/district tour:
1800 S Prairie Ave - Glessner House/Clarke House
1936 S Michigan Ave - 2nd Presbyterian Church
2120 S Michigan Ave - Chess Records
2401 S Wabash Ave - Quinn Chapel
Motor Row Historic District
New Bronzeville/McCormick Portal
King Drive Walk of Fame
3232 S Kind Dr - Griffin Funeral Home
3213-19 S Calumet - Roloson Houses
Prairie Giles Calumet Historic District
3300 S Indiana Ave - Pilgrim Baptist Church
33rd & State St - IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center

For a Google map of (most of) the destinations click here.

Carl Giometti

Art Mon Sep 15 2008

Showing Chicago Artists Some Love

The 77th edition of New American Paintings, a juried exhibition-in-print, is all about the Midwest, and features twenty-one Chicago and Illinois based artist including installation artist Michael Genorese, currently MCA Chicago's Winter Artist in Residence and most recently of the Pedway Project. Other artists of note include Steve Amos, Molly Briggs, Sari Maxfield and Jeff Mueller.

Christian Scheuer

News Sun Sep 14 2008

You've Got Class

Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Sep 12 2008

Friday Flickr Feature

This week's Friday Flickr Photo Feature comes to us from Phule, who spotted the Red Ball Project's, er, big red ball on the LaSalle Street Bridge.


Join the A/C flickr pool!

Andrew Huff

Stand-up Fri Sep 12 2008

Chicago Underground Comedy @ the Beat Kitchen

(*This post's author co-produces Chicago Underground Comedy.)

Every Tuesday at 9:30pm, the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont) takes a break from the rock and punk bands that grace the stage every other night of the week to host Chicago Underground Comedy, an independent artist-produced stand-up showcase featuring Chicago's best and brightest alternative stand-up comedy talent. It's a lot of smart funny for only $5.

The show began several years ago with 16 core cast members, but few of those original comedians remain. The group is constantly refreshed with up-and-coming new talent, as every few months, another comedian leaves the training ground of Chicago for New York or L.A.

Among the show's current cast members, favorite guests, and returning ex-pats are an impressive tally of credits: new writers for Saturday Night Live, new cast members on MADtv, and performances on Comedy Death Ray, Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Live at Gotham, the Craig Ferguson Show, Last Call With Carson Daly, and more.

Highlight video from May and more photos from last Tuesday's Chicago Underground Comedy show after the jump!

Continue reading this entry »

Elizabeth McQuern

Architecture Wed Sep 10 2008

Holey Chicago! New Spire Renderings

As the most ambitious building project in half a century continues to plod forward, Kelleher Development has released new renderings of the 150 story Chicago Spire on their sales site. Currently, the caissons have been drilled and utility work progresses slowly while a general contractor is selected for the building's superstructure.

Be sure to explore the Spire's site, not only does it contain some unbelievable panoramic photos of downtown but it also has a showy sales video narrated by Bill Kurtis (whose career has undergone somewhat of a renaissance of late). You'll also notice, as was pointed out by some commentators on Blair Kamin's Tribune blog, that the Trump Tower was left out of the renderings. Dueling developers anyone?

Carl Giometti

Blog Tue Sep 09 2008

Welcome Elizabeth McQuern

As sad as we are to see The Bastion go, it brought a wonderful opportunity to Gapers Block's doorstep: Bastion co-editor Elizabeth McQuern has joined the staff of A/C, covering -- what else? -- Chicago's comedy scene. Her first post is below.

"Trying to cover all of Chicago comedy for the Bastion became too big a job before long, and now I just want to write here and there about stand-up shows from my insider's perspective -- and by 'here and there' I mean 'less frequently,' not 'all over the internet,'" she says. We're glad to give her a place to do it.

Andrew Huff

Stand-up Tue Sep 09 2008

"Entertaining Julia" @ Town Hall Pub

Sunday nights at 8pm, Town Hall Pub (3340 N. Halsted) opens its doors for "Entertaining Julia," a free comedy variety show currently produced by local comedians Beth Stelling, and sisters Danielle and Tiffany Puterbaugh. (Yes, Julia is the lass behind the bar.)

Chicago's small but thriving stand-up scene, long overshadowed by Chicago's legendary improv influence, is vital partly because of its "put on your own show" mindset, and this show has all the charming DIY hallmarks: a flexible start time, cheap beer specials, a nice mix of stand-up and music, and hosts in silly wigs and costumes who hug you the minute you come in the door.

Beth Stelling:
Beth Stelling at Entertaining Julia, Town Hall Pub Chicago, Sept. 7, 2008

More photos and video after the jump!

Continue reading this entry »

Elizabeth McQuern

Feature Tue Sep 09 2008

Recycling the American Dream

Scrappers is a feature-length documentary that tells the stories of three Chicago men who comb the city streets in search of people's discarded-yet-valuable resources, such as iron and aluminum. Still in production, the film is the focus of a benefit being held Friday, Sept. 12 from 6-10pm at The AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton. In addition to scenes from the film, there will be video installations, words from the filmmakers and subjects, and musical performances by Scrappers composer Frank Rosaly, the Jonathan Crawford/Frank Rosaly/Michael Zerang percussion trio and the Friction Brothers.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol

Film Mon Sep 08 2008

A Life in Three Chapters

When he died of cancer in 1991, the 57-year-old Scots-born filmmaker Bill Douglas left behind a body of work that included four feature-length titles and a handful of short films. Among these films are what some critics regard as the highest achievements of British cinema from the 1970s -- specifically the series of three films that are now available to American audiences with Facets Multimedia's release of the double-DVD Bill Douglas Trilogy set.

Throughout his career, Douglas had juggled a number of jobs as an actor and screenwriter, all the while continually scrambling to find funding for his projects. It was with financial backing from the British Film Institute that he was able to produce his first three features My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1974), and My Way Home (1978). As a trilogy, these films constitute an autobiographical account of Douglas's own life from the ages of 8 to 18 -- from his gritty, poverty-stricken childhood in the Scottish mining village of Newcraighall, to his escape from the slums to the deserts of Egypt via service in the Royal Air Force. As a coming-of-age saga, traumas are many and triumphs few in Douglas's story; but the narrative unfurls in a loosely episodic and bleakly poetic style.

The Bill Douglas Trilogy is currently available for sale in the U.S., and will be available for rental from Facets Multimedia in late September.

Graham Sanford

Art Mon Sep 08 2008

West Loop Gallery Tours

Adding to their weekly Saturday tours of the River North gallery district, the Art Dealers Association of Chicago (CADA) is now adding a new tour of the West Loop gallery district to their docket. CADA's new tours of the West Loop gallery district are scheduled for every 6 to 8 weeks, with the next tour slotted for Saturday, September 27 from 1:30 to 3:00pm.

Thomas McCormick, who is the director of the McCormick Galleries, will lead the River North tour through the Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Walsh Gallery, Carrie Secrist Gallery and to the McCormick Gallery. Both the River North and West Loop gallery CADA tours are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For more information visit CADA's website or call 312-649-0065.

Laura Mayer

Gallery Mon Sep 08 2008

DvA Gallery: End of an Era

DvA Gallery is closing its Lincoln Park location after five years, and merging with Rotofugi Toy Store & Gallery. David van Alphen will be taking the position of Gallery Curator at Rotofugi in order to devote more time to caring for his son Jack, diagnosed with Down Syndrome. David's other venture, Slingshot! Press, a source for limited edition affordable prints, will continue to bring top notch underground artists to your collection. DvA Gallery's Going Away Party will be held Saturday, September 13th from 6-9pm, and the last official day will be Sunday, September 28th. Be sure to stop by and say hello and goodbye to one of the more interesting underground artist galleries in Chicago.

DvA Gallery is located at 2568 N. Lincoln Ave.
Rotofugi Toy Store & Gallery is located at 1953-55 W. Chicago Ave.

Christian Scheuer

Stand-up Sun Sep 07 2008

The Last Bastion

Sad news for the comedy and improv community: The Bastion is closing down due to the overwhelming schedules of its primary writers, Elizabeth McQuern and Kristy Mangel. McQuern shares more of the backstory as to why it's shutting down rather than switching to a new editor here.

Here at A/C, we'll do what we can to cover the scene, but it will pale, at least in the short term, in comparison to what the Bastion has done. It will certainly be missed.

Andrew Huff

Theatre Fri Sep 05 2008

A Wig Maker for Shakespeare

Melissa Veal, known as "Maloo" to her friends, makes wigs. Lots of them. Like, she has a room full of 360 wigs. And she's very much in demand backstage at Chicago Shakespeare's latest production, Amadeus. Time Out Chicago profiles her cool job, and teaches us terms like "wig lace" and why yak hair is awesome.

Lindsay Muscato

Photography Fri Sep 05 2008

Friday Flickr Feature

Haymarket Riot Memorial with Flowers

Every week we're going to highlight a photo from the Gapers Block A/C flickr pool. In recognition of Labor Day, this week we're featuring this photo of the Haymarket Riot Memorial uploaded to the flickr pool by swanksalot.

Jamie Smith

Publication Thu Sep 04 2008

Proximity Magazine #2 Arrives

The second issue of Proximity--a vibrant, densely filled, Chicago-based art magazine--arrives on September 5. The publication explores, illustrates, and celebrates connections within creative communities. In celebration of the new issue, the Proximity crew is throwing a release party at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport. The all-ages event includes performances by Bobby Conn, Bird Names, Magical Beautiful, and Stagecoach. Doors are at 10 p.m., and there's a $10 suggested donation.

Friday, Sept. 5 / Co-Prosperity Sphere / 3219 S. Morgan

Laura Pearson

Theatre Wed Sep 03 2008

Temporary Artist Commune in Wicker Park

Creativity will thrive 24 hours a day in Wicker Park next week.

From September 7 through 13, theatre artists and alumni from the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Theater Institute (NTI) will collaborate with established members of Chicago's theater community for Element: A New Plays Festival, a script development intensive that was conceived and produced by recent NTI graduates Taylor Bibat and Alexis Randolph.

And creative energy and activity for 24 hours a day is the goal, as the artists will spend the week in a communal living and working environment at the newly-opened St. Paul's Cultural Center in Wicker Park. The space includes a kitchen, rehearsal rooms (or "think tanks"), and performance space. The rare communal aspect of the festival is meant to encourage and establish a heightened level of intensity, intimacy, and focus.

Element kicks off with a workshop and orientation, followed by six days of rehearsals and nightly public readings. Doors open to the public each night at 7 p.m. Highlights of each evening will include a pre-reading activity where the audience and other festival participants may plant sunflower seeds they received as publicity material; a post-reading talkback; and an eat, drink, meet, and greet.

The festival hopes to encourage and support continued relations that will result in future full-scale productions by theater companies across the country.

Schedule is here.

Alison Hamm

Art Wed Sep 03 2008

Neo Christmas Tree, Neo Christmas Tree

Spread your own version of holiday cheer this year, and create a Christmas tree that says more than "I bought these cheap-ass decorations at Target". The Neo-Futurists, the Chicago theater company best known for Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind needs your help to decorate its lobby for its holiday show, A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol. They're looking for three visual artists to create unique trees that speak to a theme of Dickens' famous tale. The show's creator, ensemble member Kristie Koehler Vuocolo, says the show is "equal parts deconstruction of the Dickens story, new and political takes on the original, and gripping personal tales that relate to its themes."

So pitch in. Propose your vision of a tree for the lobby.

Learn more on the Neo-Futurists' blog.

Lindsay Muscato

Photography Wed Sep 03 2008

The Lens of Young Chicago

Kids see the world differently -- and while growing up is sort of inevitable, putting on the goggles of youth once in a while can only be a good thing. This week at 826 Chicago (a nonprofit writing and tutoring center in Wicker Park) students unveil the photos that they feel document "their world". Ten middle and high-schoolers spent eight weeks working with National Geographic photographer Mike Hettwer, who sent them out into the city and taught them how to work a digital camera, how to compose a photograph, how to use contrast and layering... and, apparently, how to convince a dentist to let you photograph him. After creating 12,128 photographs (826 Chicago counted!), they selected their favorites and are ready to show them off to the public at a gallery exhibition on Thursday:

Thursday, September 4th
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Elegant Mr. Gallery
1355 N. Milwaukee Avenue, #3
(Second showing Sunday, September 14th, 2:00-5:00 p.m.)

A book featuring the photos called The My World Project will be available for sale, too, so you can take a little fresh perspective home with you.

Lindsay Muscato

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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Editor: Nancy Bishop,
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