As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block is on indefinite hiatus. The site will remain up in archive form while we evaluate our options, which may include a redesign or sale. ✶ Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. ✶
Their 27-year-running late night show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is seemingly as relevant and cutting edge as ever. Several of their Best of 2015 performances sold out and last week it was announced that the Neo-Futurists' Neo-Access Program and Neo-Futurist Kitchen Festival would receive grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The 100th anniversary of the execution and funeral of Joe Hill, the Swedish immigrant songwriter and labor activist, will be celebrated Sunday evening, Nov. 22, at the Hideout. The evening will include a reenactment of his funeral at Chicago's old West Side Auditorium and reinterpreted versions of the songs played at his funeral by a crew of Chicago musicians.
Performers will include Bucky Halker, Jon Langford, Sally Timms, LeRoy Bach, Khari Lemuel, Martin Billheimer, Janet Bean, Fluffy and Psalm One. Hill's music inspired musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and his songs, such as "Preacher and the Slave," "Rebel Girl" and "Casey Jones," were sung by workers all over the country.
Spooky and scary events allow us all a little fun in this so-far warm fall weather. With the witches in place in the hallway and the squirrels already eating the pumpkins on the porch, I hope I'm not the only one looking forward to some bloodcurdling scares this Halloween season. So here's a list of 14 thrilling theater productions and other artistic events (in no particular order) so that you can celebrate Hallow's Eve this year.
Chicago's only "Retrotainment" venue gives you reason to enjoy burlesque, comedy, circus, magic and the speakeasy lifestyle every night for the rest of October. No One Here But Witches features witch-themed cabaret Monday nights at 7:00pm. Each other 8pm nightly production brings another magical experience at the Uptown Underground featuring "gore-lesque", freak-show striptease, circus arts and more. 21+ Advance reservation recommended. Click here for more information.
This year will mark the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 17th Benefit Art Auction after a five-year break. Works by more than 100 artists, ranging from painting to sculpture, will be included in the auction that begins this Friday with over 500 guests in attendance.
The MCA has a successful past with previous art auctions for the museum. In 2010, the museum raised $2.8 million from bidders and was able to spread out the proceeds for several fiscal years. "All of the money goes right back into supporting the MCA's core mission," says Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, whose role includes fundraising for programs and education within the museum.
Gapers Block is proud to present 20x2 Chicago, a live event where 20 people are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in whichever way they choose. The results may take any form, from spoken word to music to film, and can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. This edition's question is "When did you know?" See the answers on Friday, Oct. 23 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
20x2 is a mainstay of afterhours programming at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, and Chicago is its first official offshoot. The last Chicago show was April 18, and featured the question "What's next?" Responses included an ode to turning 30, an app to predict the future, and a dance to a familiar Balkan break beat. Who knows what the speakers will come up with this time?
The 2015 Expo Chicago presented 140 galleries from all over the world last weekend at the Navy Pier festival hall. In a celebratory manner, THE SEEN, an independent editorial affiliate of Expo, released their first print issue over the weekend, and /Dialogues introduced panel discussions and conversations throughout the three bustling days. IN/SITU provided large-scale installations and site-specific works throughout the expansive hall inside and outside on Navy Pier.
The most memorable work in the IN/SITU program, possibly because of its location, was Daniel Buren'sFrom three windows, which illuminated the space and released color while suspended from the ceiling. The residual program pieces were lost among the volume of visitors and rousing bodies that centered around the smaller works in the booths--glancing at what was above, and being lured in towards the interest of sales.
Daniel Buren "from three windows," courtesy of EXPO Chicago
New Orleans has Mardi Gras. New York has New Year's Eve. Now Chicago has the Great Chicago Fire Festival, an event that is unique to us and highlights Chicago's talent at reinvention in the face of adversity. This coming Saturday, the Great Chicago Fire Festival will kick off its second annual event, this time on the terra firma of Northerly Island, a hidden gem nestled in the museum campus right on the lake. The bold concept of the festival is from Redmoon Theater's executive artistic director and co-founder Jim Lasko. He has a way of getting large groups of people to collaborate and produce amazing spectacles--and his dream is to give Chicago an annual one. Last September the festival packed both sides of the Chicago River, but it was beleaguered by false starts and misfires. This year will be different though, because it's a whole new event, from location to activities and even to accessibility for onlookers. I interviewed Jim Lasko to get some insight in to the plan, Redmoon's philosophy and what we should expect.
Tickets are free to the Sept. 26, 5-to-9pm event at Northerly Island, 1520 S. Linn White Dr., but it is recommended that you reserve tickets early.
Face painting, speeches, musical performances, crafts and other all-American activities are on the agenda for the Fourth of July celebration at the Chicago History Museum from 10am to noon Saturday.
Afternoon events at the History Museum will include a premiere of the film The Great Chicago Adventure in the renovated Robert R. McCormick Theater. Visitors can explore a wall-to-wall map of Chicago and other interactive art pieces in the grand opening of the Guild Gallery. President Gary T. Johnson said in a press release. "We couldn't pick a better day to showcase these fantastic new experiences that celebrate Chicago's place in American history."
Chicago's 46th annual Pride Fest came fast around the corner this year with a two-day festival celebrating love, capped by Sunday's parade. In addition to the glitz and glamour of the day, a party entitled Froot Salad will occur Sunday at the Annoyance Theatre and Bar.
An all-day celebration perfect for any lit lover, the Printers Ball 2015: Push & Pull will bring together printers, writers, publishers, artists, readers, and collectors for its daylong festival of literary culture and printmaking. The event will have 18 programs throughout the day, and "guests can anticipate a field day of hands-on experiences with printmaking, writing, and live lit." There will also be roundtable discussions with artists and peers as a part of the program lineup, and a book marketplace for all to delight in.
One of the programmed events will be the Steamroller Spectacular, in which guests will be able to observe live steamroller printing with blocks carved by artists. Another will be the Book Butcher. Participants can order different "cuts" of free magazines and books from the head "butcher," Brad Rohloff, in his deli-themed Book Butcher Shop. See the full schedule of what they have planned here.
The ball will begin at 2pm on Saturday, June 27, and will last until 10pm at the Hubbard Street Lofts, located at 1821 W. Hubbard. Tickets range from being free at the most basic level, to $5 for guaranteed admission to see the keynote speaker, and then VIP Admission for $25, in which participants are guaranteed to see the keynote speaker, receive a commemorative poster and tote bag, five free books at the "Butcher" and a complimentary drink ticket.
The Chicago chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, launched its new book about Chicago design and designers Thursday. But it wasn't your typical book signing party. The designers did it with style and surprises. The venue itself was a signal that things would get interesting, since it was held at Redmoon Theater, a well-known avatar of surprises and creativity.
This Is Chicago, a 224-page book, celebrates the centennial of the organization originally known by its initialism, the American Institute of Graphic Arts. This Is Chicago features "an eclectic mix of designers who have had significant impact on us--in hopes that their passion, perseverance, humility and bravery will enable you to see Chicago the way that we see it." Their intent, AIGA says in the book's foreword, is to celebrate what it is about Chicago that makes it different from any other community.
Urban sketchers? They're not graffiti artists or pavement chalkers. Urban Sketchers Chicago will hold their second annual Sketching Seminar dedicated to the art of on-location sketching July 11 and 12. Professional instructors will lead sketching sessions at various downtown locations with Chicago's famous architecture as background.
Ten workshops and four activities over the two days will address specific skills and techniques of sketching. The organization expects 100 to 120 sketchers to participate. The 2014 event attracted sketchers from the Midwest, Canada and Europe.
Chicago Dancemakers Forum and High Concept Labs are joining together to present a full day of events on Saturday, May 9, for panel discussions and rehearsals, which focus on contemporary dance and dramaturgical processes.
The free event invites creators, artists, dramaturges, performers, students and the greater Chicago community to engage in the conversations and dialogue concerning the practice and theory of movement and the body.
Last year, the Chicago Loop Alliance invited the public to interact and experience the alleyways of downtown Chicago. Bringing interactive artists such as Luftwerk, and hosting a party-like atmosphere, the Loop was transformed into a pop-up urban experience. Beginning May 15, the CLA will be hosting six nights of ACTIVATE one night each month until October.
Nearly $400,000 was produced for local Loop businesses in the first seven ACTIVATE events from 2013-2014 and more than 14,000 attended the event during the series. The series will be continued this year from May until October with new artists, music, and culture, which were carefully curated for the public.
Gapers Block is proud to present 20x2 Chicago, a live event where 20 people are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in whichever way they choose. The results may take any form, from spoken word to music to film, and can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. This edition's question is "What's Next?" See the answers on Saturday, April 18 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
20x2 is a mainstay of afterhours programming at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, and Chicago is its first official offshoot. The last Chicago show was Oct. 21, 2014, and featured the question "How do you do?" Responses ranged from an arm-wrenching party trick to a giant "cootie catcher" game to a set of rules against small talk. Who knows what the speakers will come up with this time?
The CUBE Ensemble, a Chicago based performance company, will be presenting Faces of Eurydice, a dance-opera-theater at the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park. The retelling of the myth of Orpheus is choreographed by Hope Goldman and the music and lyrics are directed by Hope Littwin.
The performances will take place at The Pentagon Theater in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1575 N Milwaukee Ave. The first performance is Thursday, March 12, continuing through Saturday, March 21. Performances are at 7:30pm each night.
Tickets can be found through Brown Paper Tickets;pre-sale tickets are $25 admission, $10 industry/student and regular tickets are $35 admission, $15 industry/student.
The performers include Beth Berta, Jeremy Cairns, Allison Cook, Kroydell Galima, Lia Kohl, Hope Littwin, Alexandra Olsavsky and Vienna Willems.
The new Evanston gallery, Sidetracked Studio, will host its first exhibition curated by Michele Mahon Jahelka Saturday from 6 to 9pm. The artist couple, Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne, work upstairs in the studio producing their own work, while the showroom on the first floor presents rotating exhibitions.
The all-female exhibition, What Did She Say? , will present works that span the spectrum from oil to wood and printmaking to drawing. Each artist brings forth a dialogue for perspective and communication through a variety of mediums. Jahelka urges viewers to "Stop and listen" when entering the exhibition space and derive meaningful contexts within the gallery and with the individual works.
I'll have to admit, I'm a little -- okay more than a little -- immersed in the online archive, Inside/Within. I won't go into specifics about how sleek their website is, or how they sometimes incorporate .gifs into interview segments, but I will go into how important I think studio visits are for eager fan-folk (like myself) and how, similarly, they are beneficial for the artists themselves. In a nutshell, Inside/Within is an online archive that visits, absorbs and features Chicago artists in their creative spaces. Exposing an artist's creative space allows for other artists, or interested peers, to gain insight into what goes on behind the scenes. The website has a pretty large collection of captivating interviews and close-ups of studio practice. For both reader and artist, the process enables creative growth and the ability to share ideas and artistic practice.
So, of course, excitement and dedication forced me outside into the fresh snow and black ice when I heard that VIA Publication and Inside/Within were hosting an event at Threewalls called "I Like Your Work."
The downtown Chicago alleyways were filled last summer. Music, creative participants, performers and drinks were offered by the Chicago Loop Alliance in an event called ACTIVATE. The Chicago Loop Alliance strives to promote urban experiences which involve performance, art, and culture. The event attracted on-lookers, buyers and artists from all over the loop and beyond. This summer, CLA is activating again.
Artists, curators, designers and all-around creatives are invited to submit (PDF) their ideas and work in a chance to work closely with ACTIVATE. Creative exhibitions filled up the alleys of the loop last year and transformed the urban landscape of Chicago into an interactive party. Last year, 143 artists participated and 14,000 people attended the event.
Submissions are due by 11:59pm March 27. For further info, call 312-782-9160 or email email@example.com.
Calling all plant lovers and plant parents! (Provisional) Park would like you to place your plants on temporary loan for a project in Bridgeport.
(Provisional) Park will be a temporary indoor park made up entirely of your wonderful green and tropical houseplants, located inside of Co-Prosperity Sphere at 3219-21 S. Morgan St. The project was created by artist Allyson Packer, who graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a BFA in 2009. The park will free and open to the public March 6-April 3 between 6am and 11pm.
If you would like to lend your plant to Packer for the duration of the park, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a pick-up or feel free to bring your plants to Co-Prosperity Sphere between 10am and 5pm on Sunday, March 1. Have no fear, your plants will be returned in April once the project is completed!
SOFA Chicago is doing it again. Thirty-four thousand individuals will attend the exposition at Navy Pier where 70-plus galleries will present creative works and emerging artists to Chicago art lovers. The 21st annual event will feature exhibits, a lecture series, in person creatives and the unveiling of many incredible first time, never before seen, art pieces -- a collectors must have! The Art and Design Fair is an internationally known event which interconnects the fine arts and the design world in a weekend full of creative bliss.
SOFA is Chicago's consociation of art collectors, creative individuals and designers. It continues to lure and pull individuals into the great event for a chance to witness or even purchase items that have never before been unveiled.
In addition to unseen work, the fair will also be hosting world renown galleries and artists that collectors and art lovers continue to come back for each year. Above is an image from Eric Zammitt, who is represented by the David Richard Gallery in Santa Fe. Along with artists like Zammitt and galleries like those in Santa Fe, Yvel, the William Zimmer Gallery, Pistachios, the Maurine Littleton Gallery, Kirra Galleries are just a small selection of those that will be in attendance at the fair. In total, 14 countries will be exhibiting this year at the exposition.
Gapers Block is proud to present 20x2 Chicago, a live event where 20 people are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in whichever way they choose. The results may take any form, from spoken word to music to film, and can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. This edition's question is "How do you do?" See the answers on Saturday, Oct. 25 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
20x2 is a mainstay of afterhours programming at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, and Chicago is the show's first official offshoot. At the last edition on April 19, the question was "Where are we?" Responses ranged from location quiz based on photos to a tearful tribute to a father who purposefully got lost to a recitation of Carl Sanburg's poem "Chicago." Who knows what the speakers will come up with this time?
Adam Szymczyk is curating documenta 14, which is one of the known as the world's most significant art exhibitions. Northwestern will be hosting Adam for his first US discussion about his vision and curation of documenta 14.
Documenta 14 is a contemporary art exhibition which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. During this talk, the Polish-born curator and the visiting professor, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, will be discussing the "best frequented contemporary art exhibition." 2012 documenta artistic director Edith Kreeger Wolf will also be joining the talk for her input and background with the show. documenta has shown works from major movements such as Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, the Blaue Reiter and Futurism.
The event is free and open to the public. The conversation will be held in the McCormick Auditorium at the Norris University Center., 1999 Campus Dr. in Evanston.
Redmoon's Fire Festival houses on the move; photo by Evan Barr.
Redmoon, Chicago's oldest spectacle performance company, in partnership with the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District presents The Great Chicago Fire Festival on Saturday, October 4. Meant to be a celebration of the city's renewal following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and to showcase the diversity of the neighborhoods that have flourished since, the free festival will feature a River Bazaar, performances by local performers and a grand finale with a fiery spectacle that only Redmoon could create.
The festival begins at 3pm with a River Bazaar between State Street and Michigan Avenue along the city's new river walk, with designated areas representing each of the official Fire Neighborhoods (Albany Park, Austin, Avondale, Bronzeville, Englewood, Humboldt Park, Little Village, North Lawndale, Old Town, Pilsen, Roseland, South Chicago, South Shore, Uptown and Woodlawn). In each area, foods, crafts and other goods representing the neighborhoods will be for sale. From 5:30 to 8pm two stages (at 435 N. Michigan and 330 N. Wabash) will feature local poets, spoken word artists, hip hop performers and an urban dance battle.
More than 150 juried artists will show their work next weekend during the 10th annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts. The festival showcases original paintings, prints, sculpture, photography, furniture, ceramics, jewelry and more. In addition to artists' booths, there will be live music on multiple stages, an interactive children's area, wine and food booths. The event is hosted and produced by the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
The festival will begin with a special anniversary kickoff party and preview celebration (open to the public) 6:30 to 10pm Friday. Festival hours are 10am to 6pm Saturday with live music, food and drink tents open until 10pm, and 10am to 5pm Sunday on Broadway between Belmont and Hawthorne.
Renegade Craft Fair, notable for its bounty of detailed jewelry, unique art prints, eccentric products and gorgeous decorating pieces, returns to Chicago Sept. 6 and 7 for its 12th annual summer market.
The Renegade Craft Fair began in Chicago in 2003 and has since traveled the nation as it has garnered the attention of craftmakers throughout the country and beyond. Focused on handmade goods, the fair will showcase endless one-of-a-kind pieces created by talented up-and-coming designers. Over 250,000 shoppers attend the fair circuit throughout the year, which travels from Chicago to Los Angeles and as far as London.
High Concept Laboratories is an organization which supports Chicago artists through production services, space for creatives and various forms of administrative assistance. HCL has a wonderful open space located inside of Mana Contemporary, an old warehouse in Pilsen which houses artist studios, and hosts events and shows. This past week on Thursday, HCL hosted an event entitled, "Radical Tenderness" which featured performance, sound, poetry and video as a collective event with a small and intimate audience. Artists Amir George, Sofia Moreno, La Spacer and Anna Vitale, were each featured in the event where they brought their voices, their bodies and their overall energy in depicting the theme for the night.
Presented by the Sideshow Theatre Company, this marks the 19th CLLAW match, pitting the city's best female arm wrestlers against each other for a good cause. The bout features women arm wrestlers dressed in over-the-top get ups and promises shady referees and animated managers and entourages.
"The energy going into this CLLAW is really electric," said Karie Miller of Sideshow Theatre Company and a CLLAW organizer. "This match is unique in that about half of the wrestlers are new and about half are veterans."
Last year, along with several of my fellow Chicago-based film critic associates — all member of the Chicago Film Critics Association — I embarked on an endeavor to do something that had never been done before. We created and put on the first-ever film festival programmed and run entirely by film critics. The programmers scoured festivals from Toronto, Sundance, SXSW and others to find what we considered the best of the best of the dozens of films we saw at each festival. We mixed up the program to include festival favorites, films still looking for distribution, and even a rarely seen but much loved classic, Sorcerer from director William Friedkin (who also attended). And for three glorious days last April, we actually managed to pull together a great line-up and got a few high-profile filmmakers to come out and do Q&As for our audiences.
The event was so successful that we decided to grow the experience for audiences this year and move the location from the Chicago suburbs to inside the city limits this year. The Second Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival will take place May 9-15 at the legendary Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
Gapers Block is proud to present 20x2 Chicago, a live event where 20 people are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in whichever way they choose. The results may take any form, from spoken word to music to film, and can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. This edition's question is "Where are we?" See the answers on Saturday, April 19 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
20x2 is a mainstay of afterhours programming at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, and Chicago is its first official offshoot. The first show was Oct. 19, 2013, and featured the question "How could you?" Responses ranged from an airing of high school grievances to a slide presentation about overcoming cancer to a live collaboration between a musician and artist.
The performance gallery, Defibrillator, will be presenting their annual April Fools Day fundraiser, the Lyp Sinc Show, on Tuesday, April 1. This unique art gallery focuses on performance art. The gallery hosts an International Performance Art Festival annually, entitled, RAPID PULSE, June 1-10. The festival presents a total of 28 international and local performance artists for a series of 10 days. The Lyp Sinc Show occurs as a fundraiser for the artists meals, materials and housing for RAPID PULSE. There will be a total of 13 artists/groups at the Lip Sinc Show, which kicks off at 7pm.
Silky Jumbo will be the host for the evening and Jordan Jaymes will be the DJ.
Defibrillator Art Gallery is located at 1136 N. Milwaukee Ave. The gallery requests a $10 donation at the door, refreshments are included. Call 773-609-1137 for more information.
Additional events include No Lights, No Lycra, a weekly dance party in the dark. The next one will occur Monday, March 31 at 8:15pm.
Are you intrigued by anatomy and art? Are you interested in (literally) looking inside of yourself? This spring, UChicago Arts will be hosting a multi-venue exhibition entitled Imaging/Imagining that incorporates both the artistic and the scientific history of the body.
This exhibition will be held in various locations across the campus, including the Special Collections Research Center (The Body as Text), the Smart Museum (The Body In Art) and the Crerar Library (The Body as Data). Each space will introduce the history of anatomy in a specialized and organized category. The Body as Text explores the history of medical illustration as well as when the partnership of art and science were separated due to the invention of the x-ray. The Body as Data focuses on modern anatomy and the introduction of computers. The exhibition at the Smart Museum, The Body as Art, focuses on the subjective imagination within the medical illustrations that were once incredibly important for anatomists.
The Chicago Arts District in East Pilsen opens its galleries, artists studios and neighborhood shops for local people every second Friday of the month.
Last night, Rooms, a performance space, had its final performance from an ongoing series entitled, RITUAL NO. 10:WAVES. The ritual included two male performers--one was seated and one was pouring water from one bucket to the other. The seated man beat a steady dream-beat while the standing performer transitioned from a platform to the wooden floor. As pictured above, the individual poured water from one bucket to another for three steady hours.
The weather, warming up slightly this week, urged a substantial amount of Chicago makers, gallery goers and visual arts lovers, to the Flat Iron Arts Building last night. I, finally wearing something that wasn't reminiscent of a Christmas Story, trekked out to Wicker Park for the open studios, refreshments and socializing. This was my first time "First Fridays" at Wicker Park; I usually frequent Pilsen for "Second Fridays," instead. However, I am a fan of the area and decided to wander down for a peek at how they run things down at the Flat Iron Building.
From 2 to 4pm, visitors may sit on a life-size polar bear's lap and be hugged, pose for pictures, take a very brief nap -- anything but be mauled and eaten, which is what would normally happen in such circumstances. This is the fourth year Leclery has held polar bear lap hours at the gallery. Admission is free, and (well-behaved) kids are welcome.
Chicago is a parade kind of town, and as we embark upon another holiday season, one of the biggest and highly anticipated parades, the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade, returns for its 80th year.
This all ages, family-friendly event is indeed a Chicago holiday tradition; each year, thousands of parade-goers line up along State Street to view the best in marching bands, choirs, floats, popular character balloons, celebrity guests and more, all celebrating the holidays.
Okay, okay. So it already started last night. But if you're only going to make it to one art event this weekend, check out Vision Quest 2013.
Held at Mana Contemporary in East Pilsen near the river, Vision Quest is a three-day post-internet [IRL] translation of the dinca.org blog experience, featuring a handful of screenings and live A/V performances that travel the niches of internet art, computer art, new and experimental media, video art, avant-garde film and video, documentary and ethnographic cinema.
Sestero met the enigmatic Wiseau in a San Francisco acting class. They became unlikely friends, then collaborators, culminating in the cinematic disaster that would eventually bring them both worldwide fame.
Hatch Projects was just nominated by Newcity as the "Best Opportunity for Emerging Artists" because of the impressive critical infrastructure the Chicago Artists Coalition has built around the studios it houses to support its resident artists' practices and careers. It promises regular contact with curators, critics, collectors and arts administrators... even a solo exhibition for each member. To see what has come of it, head over to the CAC in the West Loop tonight for Twelve Variations.
East Garfield Park curator Edra Soto (right) with Featured Artists Andrea Jablonski (left) and DJ Mr. Voice (center)
There are a bunchofshows opening in the West Loop tonight, but if only because of its sheer breadth (and that's not the only reason), if you can only go to one "art event" this weekend (because those are the parameters I've committed to for this weekly column), go to East Garfield Park.
This weekend, if you can only go to one art opening, go to David Sprecher's Anchors on Sunday -- his second solo exhibition at Peanut Gallery. He has built a false wall and is playing with perception subtly through various methods, and his playful approach to art making combined with his personal investigation into the human body and spirit makes for a compelling exhibition. BUT, because of my personal involvement with Peanut Gallery I may be biased, so I'm going to give you another option.
Rusty Shackleford Dream Feeder & Katie Torn Dream House
How about some colorful prints, paintings, arrangements & video work loosely based on nostalgia and technology at Roots & Culture?
Gapers Block is proud to present 20x2 Chicago, a live event where 20 people are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in whichever way they choose. The results can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. This edition's question is "How could you?" See the answers on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln Ave.
20x2 is a mainstay of afterhours programming at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, and Chicago is its first official offshoot. The Austin show came to Chicago in 2010 to ask "Who knew?", and the responses ranged from an exploration of architectural history to an explanation of how much you can lift with your beard to a song about punk kids who think they know everything.
Every weekend in Chicago, there is more art available to check out than any of us actually have time for. Most of it is listed at thevisualist.org and at Art Talk Chicago. For those of you who have a hard time deciding which to go to, I'll make a recommendation for you every week. This week's pick:
A second EXPO Chicago has now come and gone, passing through Navy Pier like an electrical storm, this time buzzing with a few new satellites -- countless gallery openings and open studios, but also medium-scale alternative fairs like the econo-centric EDITION at the Chicago Artists Coalition and the grassroots, street-oriented Fountain Art Fair at Mana Contemporary, all within five miles of Navy Pier. It's nice to see this happening... hopefully the city will be blowing up like Miami during Art Basel by next year. Or maybe we like to keep things a little more low-key in Chicago. In any case:
Whenever a fair or festival becomes successful, satellite events are soon to follow. And now that the much-hyped EXPO Chicago has gotten a little steam, that's exactly what's happening. This weekend the Chicago Artist Coalition (CAC) and local gallerist Andrew Rafacz have teamed up to create EDITION Chicago with the aim of exhibiting high quality, cutting-edge work that presents new ideas, while remaining financially attainable. Because let's face it, EXPO is bound to have a lot of exciting work on exhibit, but most of us won't be able to buy any of it.
"We are pleased to present such a diverse and respected list of galleries in our first year that proves great contemporary art can be found in all price ranges," said Executive Director of CAC Carolina O. Jayaram. "Not only is the new EDITION Chicago an incredible opportunity to start building an art collection or add to your existing collection, but the satellite fair builds on the exciting momentum surrounding art in Chicago right now that CAC is proud to be an integral part of."
Imagine if the designers on "Project Runway" had semesters instead of days to complete their collections and they were encouraged to think way outside the box -- like, down the street from the box -- and come up with intricate, complete looks with solid conceptual frameworks and visual interest up the wazoo. The resulting wearable, avante-garde sculptures delight, amuse, and somehow manage to still (usually) make the models look sexy and savvy. This can all be seen live, right in front of you, at The School of the Art Institute's annual fashion show, Fashion 2013 -- because "ready to wear" is great and all, but when you're paying $75 a ticket, you want a show. And art school kids (love 'em or hate 'em) are the right people to give you one, because they've been poked and prodded by some of the most talented faculty in the world to come up with strikingly fresh designs, incorporating and combining techniques from the fields of sculpture, performance, design, technology, architecture and installation.
"Our strong team of faculty and students inspires us to advance, take more risks and follow unusual directions in order to break through to new territory," said Associate Professor Anke Loh, Sage Chair in Fashion Design. "We are poised and ready to continue to experiment with our individual and collective inquiries into fashion, body, and garment."
Fashion 2013 will be presented three times this Friday, May 3: at 9am is an open dress rehearsal. Tickets are $40. Noon and 3pm shows are general admission seating. Tickets for those shows are $75. Tickets are available now at saicfashion.org and also at the door. Those of us interested in the future of fashion, the intersection of cutting-edge design and contemporary art or simply a breathtaking show make sure not to miss it each spring. It's worth playing hooky from work.
Last weekend, FlySpace Dance Series kicked off at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, marking the launch of a new and exciting resource-sharing consortium between four Chicago dance companies called FlySpace. In case you missed it, the series continues with another round of performances this weekend in the same place (Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 5pm). FlySpace is not a new dance company, but a new strategic partnership in Chicago between The Dance COLEctive, Hedwig Dances, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre and Zephyr Dance. The four artistic directors of these companies--Jan Bartoszek, Margi Cole, Michelle Kranicke and Joanna Rosenthal--are also the four artistic directors of FlySpace, sharing directorship equally. Cole, founder and artistic director of The Dance COLEctive, answered some questions about what audiences can expect from FlySpace at their show this weekend, as well as in the future.
Ian Abramson, Tim Barnes, Melody Kamali and Marlena Rodriguez are a comedic quartet not unlike "Captain Planet," as Barnes points out. The four can be seen doing stand-up frequently all over Chicago, as well as huddled in dark corners around the city editing films on their laptops. Recently, they had a joint realization. "We looked at the Chicago comedy scene and saw that there were a lot of people who enjoyed both film and stand-up, but there wasn't much that brought them together," said Abramson. In an attempt to foster collaboration and showcase a variety of Chicago talent, the four comedians decided to create and produce Double Feature, a new showcase combining film and stand-up, which will debut on April 24 at the Den Theatre. "We're calling it a 'Stand Up Comedy Film Festival,' Barnes said. Through film and performance, the producers hope to include all of the comedic genres and communities. "Double Feature" will "serve as a melting pot for Chicago comedians," Rodriguez says, "whether they [are] filmmakers, sketch writers, improvisers, or stand-ups." While stand-ups will have new, broader audience to cater to, Double Feature presents filmmakers with "rare opportunities to hear a live audience react to their work," says Barnes. I talked to the producers about what makes Double Feature different and why you can't afford to miss it.
A golden anniversary is a milestone--a reason to celebrate in grand fashion--and for WVON, Chicago's only black owned and operated radio station, the milestone was marked in a major way.
Held Saturday night at the Chicago Theatre and hosted by WVON personality Matt McGill ("The Matt McGill Morning Show") and actress Tracee Ellis Ross ("Girlfriends"), the event, dubbed "Impact 50," was feted by politicians, performers, and personalities from Chicago and beyond, all who came to pay tribute to the iconic radio station: Comedian and activist Dick Gregory, Rev. Al Sharpton, director George Lucas, Radio Hall of Fame inductee Herb Kent, filmmaker and Chicago native Robert Townsend, Chicago White Sox's Kenny Williams, TV and radio executive Cathy Hughes, and Governor Pat Quinn, were among them. For Quinn, the commemoration brought back childhood memories. "I can still remember the disc jockeys and Wesley South with his talk show, talking about the important issues in the 60s--civil rights," he said.
From April 8 and 9, Chicagoans will have the rare opportunity to see a screening of Doug Blush and Lisa Klein's critically acclaimed documentary Of Two Minds, which explores life with bipolar disorder, at Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center in Evanston. The intimate benefit screening on Monday the 8th includes a hors d'oeuvres reception and conversation with award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush and Carlton Davis, one of the three main subjects featured in the film. Viewers will also have a chance to contribute to the awareness and treatment of mental illness by attending, as proceeds will benefit Turning Point's mission of making comprehensive, high-quality mental health care accessible to all. Then the film will have a free public screening at the Skokie Public Library on Tuesday, April 9th at 6:30pm.
From the creative team that brought you The Invisible War, Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A., Superheroes and These Amazing Shadows,Of Two Minds , over the course of three years, intimately follows the lives of three individuals, as well as their family and friends, who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The film's three main subjects include Cheri Keating, a high-profile LA stylist, Carlton Davis, a Pasadena artist, and Liz Spikol, a Philadelphia-based writer and journalist. Inspired by co-director Lisa Klein's sister, who struggled with bipolar disorder until her death at age 42, Of Two Minds is an attempt to bring awareness to the more than five million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder, who often suffer from social stigma, medical insurance nightmares, and, frequently, a fear of losing jobs and relationships that forces them to stay in the bipolar "closet," according to the Director's Notes.
Fawzia Mirza's hilarious web series "Kam Kardashian," which follows the daily adventures of the long-lost gay Kardashian sister Kam, is having a huge season two launch party this Sunday in association with the monthly Chicago queer event "T Party" at Studio Paris in River North. If you want to party like a Kardashian with some of the funniest and most successful people in Chicago, Studio Paris on Sunday is definitely the place to be. I had a chance to talk to Mirza, the creator and star of "Kam Kardashian" and director Ryan Logan , about their incredible project as it launches into its second season, and why you can't afford to miss the upcoming sexy fun Kardashian party this weekend.
What are you most excited for about the Season 2 launch party? Logan: We're excited to launch our season at the T Party at Studio Paris because it's a place where everyone can have fun, celebrate in style and party like a Kardashian but in a queer-friendly environment. And I am always eager to bring different communities together: queer, comedy, theatre, film.
If you live in the city, which I am assuming you do because you are reading this, then you have heard of, seen, or been involved in some sort of violent act, and that is the topic of Collaboraction's Crime Scene, as the title may suggest. Anthony Moseley is the visionary for this piece that tries to "do something" rather than just entertain or tell a story, and what it does is start the conversation. What is violence? How can it be controlled? Who is contributing to it? And whether your conversation after the show will be about the show or about real violence, which is what the show is about, it doesn't really matter because it gets you talking, and it absolutely will.
This is not a performance I want to touch in terms of artistic quality, although it is, by no stretch of the imagination, quality. It is not about the story though, it is not really even about violence,. I say that because it is a confrontational performance that uses violence to speak against violence, this is about the viewer 100%. How do you feel? How do you react? When I was there I heard laughter when someone was killed on stage, if that person walks away to think about that reaction, I think they would find their relationship to violence a little more easy to locate, or examine. There are no answers to violence, and none are presented to us save the song "Let Hope Rise" which recreates the whole "We Are The World" type sob story, and very directly show how little can be done.
This weekend may be your last chance to see it so make some room in your calendar on
Thursday April 4th 8pm
Friday April 5th 8pm
Saturday April 6th 8pm
Sunday April 7th 7pm
This show is a must see and I would like to plug their IndyGoGo Crowd-Funding campaign - please Help this show continue being seen by seeing it and funding it's becoming a traveling show. Click here to help them out financially.
There is no denying the effect the late Don Cornelius and "Soul Train" had on pop culture; for over 30 years, every Saturday morning, people everywhere were glued to their televisions to see the latest fashion, dance moves, and performances by the hottest soul and R&B acts.
Dubbed "the hippest trip in America," "Soul Train" launched the careers of up-and-coming bands and singers and made already popular acts even more popular; however, its influence extends beyond the beats and "The Boogie." Through its humble Windy City beginnings and even after the show was moved to Los Angeles in the early 70s, Cornelius turned his dream into a powerhouse brand and created a legacy for many years to come.
When talking to Melody Spann-Cooper, it is clear that she has two loves: the City of Chicago and radio. With the latter a part of her DNA (her father is legendary Chicago music and media icon Pervis "The Blues Man" Spann), Spann-Cooper has become a legend in her own right as president and general manager of WVON-1690AM, Chicago's only black owned and operated radio station, and also as chair of its parent company, Midway Broadcasting Corporation.
Named one of the "most powerful women in Chicago journalism," Spann-Cooper remains steadfastly committed to the station's mission as "the voice of Black Chicago," serving as a main source of information, empowerment and activism for the city's black community. "My passion is to ignite our people to wake up and have a clear dialogue on who we are today," she said.
And it is this same passion that has paved the way for the history-making station's celebration of its 50th anniversary this weekend in Chicago. Here, Spann-Cooper talks about the state of the black talk radio format, the power of WVON and its listeners and the station's long-time community and cultural impact.
In the constant hustle and bustle of today's society,
artists Stacy Peterson, Pei San Ng, and Amie Sell have decided to tackle the intricate web of human connections in their Art on Armitage installation: Nebulous Connections.
From April 5-30, Art on Armitage, 4125 W. Armitage, will be featuring an eco-friendly window art exhibit in celebration of the modern era of unity, harmony, and prosperity.
Inspired by a trip to Creative Reuse Warehouse with the goal to use "up-cycled" materials, these artists created a nebulous cloud of recycled industrial hardware and metal wires. The piece plays on modern communication and acts as a visual representation of how people work together to create communities, social networks, and how molecular structures build. Using the individual recycled pieces, a wholeness or oneness is created.
An artist's reception from 6am-8pm on April 6th will welcome Artists Stacy Peterson, Pei San Ng, Amie Sell, and you! Meet these artists and better understand their installation.
A reception featuring the installation's artists will be held on Saturday, April 6, from 6pm-8pm; for more information, be sure to check out Art on Armitage.
Ever Mainard and Rasa Gierstikas are two Chicago comics and producers who are as similar as they are opposite. Both sassy, loud, and unapologetic, but in totally different ways, they are a unique and dynamic duo when they take the stage to co-host The Shit Show, a free comedy showcase on the last Friday of every month at The Shambles. While Mainard, a cast member at Chicago Underground Comedy, packs her schedule with stand-up, sketch and film, the more focused Gierstikas pours herself entirely into the project that she and Mainard are currently co-producing: The Shit Show. Mainard and Gierstikas have devoted many more hours of planning and decorating to the show than their audience, buzzed from The Shit Show's free Fireball Whiskey shots and delirious from laughing too hard, might ever know. But now they can! Here, the co-producers confess that their "shit show" is much more work than the title suggests, and that their relationship is a bizarre, but functional, business and drinking partnership.
The Shit Show started as an open mic that was a comedian-favorite on Monday nights, but, since August, you've transformed it into a showcase on the last Friday of every month. What was that transition like?
Mainard: We knew it would be a little different to run it as a showcase. There's a lot of organizing and a crazy number of press releases to send. We were a little nervous about turnout, but it's been fun watching the show grow more and more.
Gierstikas: I think since it was an open mic before, we know what we want from the showcase and it transitioned smoothly. I haven't experienced the worst of it yet (except for Ever Mainard).
How did you two decide to do a show together? What is it like being co-producers?
Mainard: I met Rasa when I used to go to The Shambles open mic. I thought she hated me and was the meanest person I had ever met. We started working together and the open mic grew from just 7 comics stepping up to the mic to the now 100 people in attendance for the show. [As co-producers], we try and fail at GoogleDocs and then we text a lot. We also meet at The Shambles to talk and plan and drink. We have fun, and then we stay out of each other's lives.
Gierstikas: [When I met Ever], I thought she was really fun and talented, so it seemed like the logical choice to have her help take over co-hosting The Shambles open mic every week. We're on the same page with what we want from this show and I think we trust each other's judgment.
Bar nights are meant to be fun, and this one doesn't disappoint. There are always drink deals and some kind of food provided. It seems one of the sponsors does a prize-draw every time, and a business card is all that's required to enter. Yet, with events like this, I always wonder if professionals are actually forming connections, or if this is just a chance to party on someone else's tab.
When I asked Brian Eaves, "photographer first," and "digital tech. second to pay the bills," he said that it is a very important event that offers a multitude of opportunities that may not immediately meet the eye. "It's great for networking," he said, "'cause every now and then you do find some good people here that you've never met before." Eaves told me how a whole community of photo-related professionals ranging from makeup artists to printers surface at the allure of a more informal setting.
This informal setting also offers the opportunity for up and coming artists to rub elbows with the more established folks in order to make the connections that may eventually lead to the coveted photography assistant job.
The bar night has a long history, beginning before ASMP and APA took the event on, maintained by devoted artists until the present day. "There was always like ten of us that would do this," said Eaves, "Everyone that pretty much worked off of Grand Avenue, between Foster and Damen and south to Lake St. -- we would page each other... everyone would come and just talk."
The event still sustains that important human element and cultivates the spirit of creation. The next bar night will be Wednesday, Mar. 13 at DeLux Bar and Grill, 669 N. Milwaukee Ave. It's free to go -- bring a business card to enter the drawing.
Keith Ecker and Samantha Irby are names that are revered in the Chicago storytelling scene. If you see these names on the bill of a show, you can rest assured that you're in for a good night. At least at the show. You still might get a parking ticket or have other, unrelated problems. They're good, but they're not magic!
Or are they? Ecker and Irby do seem to have a touch of the supernatural about them. In their storytelling, they spew truth wrapped in smart, sassy phrasing and delivered with pizazz. Yes, pizazz. They've got it. Ecker and Irby are forces of nature, producing so much material and participating in so many shows that you'd have a hard time stalking them if you tried. (I've tried). They also both look exceedingly hip every time you see them. How do they do this? If only someone could successfully stalk them to find out. But today I'm interviewing them less about their outfits and more about their newest creation, a night of live lit that is a unique addition to the booming Chicago storytelling scene: Guts & Glory.
If you haven't been to Guts & Glory, cancel your spa day and do this instead; it is acupuncture for the soul. On the third Wednesday of every month, an audience bigger than your extended family's Christmas gathering (and far less awkward) snuggles into the back of Powell's Bookstore to hear fearless tales of guts, and possibly glory. But, as Ecker points out, the glory mainly comes from just getting up there and talking. How did these two hip, smart storytellers create a hugely successful show and make it look effortless? And am I or am I not obsessed with them? Do I just get obsessed with everyone who can tell a good story in a cute outfit? Sorry, excuse me, I promise this is about Guts & Glory. Let the questions begin.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Starting Friday, March 1, the Neo-Futurists will be debuting their newest production, Analog.
Created by Kurt Chiang and directed by Tif Harrison, this experimental play leads the audience through a writer's process. Based on Chiang's personal experience: his self-proscribed task of transcribing the entire 1954 novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Chiang explains the intricate details of the self-prescribed task- how long it took, where he performed the task, what color ink was used, the notebook he wrote in -- but as he delves further into the description of the transcription, the more the pressing question of "Why does this thing exist?" comes forth.
This play strives to theatrically display the solitude and darkness a writer must inhabit before he is able to find his voice. Twisting through a writer's process, it maps where we go when we write and how a work is created from this.
As the play continues the rest of the ensemble contribute their own voices to Chiang's work -- supporting or rejecting the thoughts Chiang has laid out. Following the writer's process, after Chiang's voice has been established in the piece, the outside world is invited to interpret and make the newly created piece of art their own.
Playing at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
March 1 - April 6, 2013 Order Tickets: $20 ($10 for students/ seniors with ID)
Coming this September, come on out for EXPO Chicago's EXPO Art Week 2013 (Sept. 16-22) in conjunction with Choose Chicago and Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This four-day event will be held in Navy Pier's Festival Hall and will host over 120 leading international galleries providing visitors with a mix of contemporary/modern art and design. Meanwhile, art and cultural festivities will take place all over the city.
During the Expo, keep and eye out and partake in citywide exhibits, gallery openings, installations, public art projects, music, theater and dance performances, and special dining experiences for residents and visiting international cultural tourists.
This Valentine's Day marks the 15th anniversary for Gilda's Club in Chicago. For 15 years Gilda's Club Chicago has been standing by cancer patients and their families through thick and thin.
The Club was founded in memory of the famed "Saturday Night Live" and former Second City Cast member, Gilda Radner.
Radner was diagnosed with cancer in 1985. Once commenting on her diagnosis she said, "Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I'd rather not belong to." After her death in 1989, Gilda's Club was opened as a support community for families and patients affected by Cancer. Gilda's Club Chicago is a community with no membership dues. Through health seminars, classes in yoga, and special events, Gilda's club provides an escape from the stresses of diagnosis and treatment.
Second City has remained close to Gilda's Club since the first red door opened to the public, raising funds and performing at many of the Center's functions. See Second City perform tomorrow, and join Gilda's Club Chicago at 5pm in celebrating their 15-year milestone with an open house at 537 N. Wells St. and comedy performance.
Finally, if you're still in a last minute pinch to find your loved one a great Valentine's Day gift, check out Chocolate Inspirations, Inc. and their Chocolate for Charity program. This year, 10% of the proceeds will go directly towards Gilda's Club Chicago and help support another 15 years to come.
This Valentine's Day, Chicagoans going about their daily lives will be pleasantly surprised to find that Feb. 14 is much more than a cheesy holiday this year. It is a historic, global protest of violence against women. At noon, Chicagoans wearing red scarves and dancing in synchrony will overflow onto Daley Plaza for the once in a lifetime event, One Billion Rising.
A worldwide strike happening this Valentine's Day only, One Billion Rising is orchestrated by V-Day, a non-profit founded by Eve Ensler 15 years ago. V-Day is producing over 7,000 events this year that demand an end to violence against women, including hundreds of productions of The Vagina Monologues, screenings of documentaries, and workshops for men called V-Men. The name "One Billion Rising" comes from the UN estimate that one in three women will be beaten, raped or violated in her lifetime. This adds up, roughly, to one billion women. Today, those one billion victims will be represented by one billion dancers, joining hands in cities all over the world.
According to V-Day College and Community Campaigns Manager Laura Waleryszak, this event, which may look like a typical flash mob at first, will soon reveal itself to be "the largest synchronized global action in history for violence against women."
Starting at noon at Daley Plaza, Chicago will "rise," kicking off the day with "booty shaking, body loving fun" from Chicago artists Cheerobix, BeMoved, Psalm One, DJ All the Way Kay, the Fabulous Ladies of Fitness (FLOF), KOKUMO, and Book of Mormon cast member and Broadway star Patrice Compton. The work of these artists, in its own way, is already about rising. Take FLOF, for example, whose monthly dance parties are "focused on wellness and women's power," Waleryszak says. After the noon kick off, those who are rising will march, or take a free trolley, from Daley Plaza to The River East Arts Center, 435 E. Illinois St., for a free dance party from 1 to 6pm.
The romance of the Industrial Age will sweep through Chicago for one night only -- this Saturday, Feb. 2 -- when the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts its annual fundraising benefit, artEdge.
MCA's Warehouse location will be transformed into a work of functional and live art reminiscent of days past and of the building's own history as a bakery. The benefit will include a meal and a concert, but is much more than the sum of its parts. Guests will be treated to a complete experience from beginning to end, and with the proceeds going back to the museum, the event is not to be missed.
Attendees will enter through the back alleys of the warehouse, a throwback to Chicago as a city of bricks, and then make their way up a winding, wrought-iron staircase to the first course of their meal, hors d'oeuvres strung from chain-linked walls. Next, guests will find themselves in an industrial-chic wonderland of light and metal created by Heffernan Morgan Designs and Event Creative.
The event guarantees not only a treat for the tastebuds, but also a symphony for the other four senses. As the party-goers make their way through the Chain Link Room, Automation Room, Corrugated Room and Chain Room, they'll experience dinner served on moving conveyor belts, whirling ceiling fans, state-of-the-art manufacturing presentations, and special live performances curated by Peter Taub, the MCA's Director of Performance Programs.
The soiree will conclude with a dessert bar, a VIP Rubber Bar, and a concert by indie pop group Fitz and the Tantrums.
The event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 7pm to 11pm. Individual tickets are available for $1,000, which includes the cocktail reception, dinner, dessert reception and concert performance. Table packages begin at $15,000. Concert tickets are available for $150 and include the dessert reception, open bar and concert performance. To purchase tickets, table packages, make reservations, or to inquire about sponsorship, email email@example.com or call (312) 397-3868.
If a night of risqué comedy and provocative burlesque performances sounds fun, or even just plain interesting to you, then look no further than Kiss Kiss Cabaret's Second Anniversary Show on February 1.
This special anniversary show features Kiss Kiss Cabaret's full lineup of comedians, burlesque performers, musicians, jugglers, magicians and hosts. Guests are even invited to partake in post-show birthday cake. Maybe this is what they meant by having your cake and eating it too.
This second anniversary party also marks Kiss Kiss Cabaret's 100th performance since the company was founded. The Cabaret's burlesque troupe, "The Kiss Kiss Coquettes," includes performers who have traveled the world practicing their craft. Bella Ciao, Naughty Natanya, and the rest of the company are sure to entertain.
The 18-and-over show is happening February 1 at 11pm at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The show is expected to sell out, so it's a good idea to purchase in advance.
If you can't make it for the celebration, Kiss Kiss Cabaret puts on a weekly show every Friday at the Greenhouse Theater Center.
I woke up this morning and opened my computer for my regular routine, which involves checking Facebook, my email, and my always growing list of news sources and social media sites for anything strange or out of the ordinary.
Today, nearly every one of my Facebook friends has posted about the end of the world. Some are kidding, some are serious, and some, like me, joke around about it in that uneasy way that people do when they need to laugh at things that would be terrifying if they were real.
While tomorrow's Mayan-predicted end of the world is real or not is up for speculation, everyone in this world has more immediately pressing fears that are truly and paralyzingly absolute. Earlier this week, 40 individuals bared these fears to an audience of over 700 people in a production called Fear Experiment 3.
Cast of Dreams; from l to r: Terri J. Vaughn, Mel Jackson, Vickie Winans & Syesha Mercado.
It is often said that we should all follow our dreams; for film director Joel Kapity, dreaming inspires and gives hope. "Deep inside us all, there is a dream to be free, a dream to be loved, and a dream to become our potential," he said.
And it was this same spirit that filled the air at the sold-out red carpet screening of Kapity's film, Dreams, held recently at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee.
On November 30 through December 1 at the Playground Theater (3209 N. Halsted St.), local improv troupe K.C. Redheart will sacrifice their health and well-being to perform 30 straight hours of comedy as part of the third annual Playground Improv Marathon, a charity event benefiting the Illinois Coalition of Reach Out and Read.
The five members of K.C. Redheart will test the endurance of their wits, going without sleep while performing for the Marathon's entire 30 hours. Each hour will mark the start of a new show as K.C. Redheart welcomes guests from around the city to improvise with them, including performers from CIC, Upstairs Gallery, Second City, ComedySportz, the Annoyance Theatre, iO, and the marathon's home, The Playground Theater.
Whether it is through theater from ensembles like MPAACT, the Black Ensemble Theater and eta Creative Arts Foundation, classic and contemporary dance by companies like Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, or film showcases like the Black Harvest Film Festival, Chicago's black arts community is representative of the city's diversity and its cultural landscape.
To celebrate this community and "unity in the arts," the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago presents its "12th Annual Black Excellence Awards," which recognizes local artists from the world of filmmaking, theater, music, dance, television, visual art, and literature, who have significantly contributed to the city's artistic scene.
The awards ceremony, which will feature a "who's who" in the black arts industry, will be held Monday, October 29 from 7:30pm-9pm at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th St.; Muntu Dance Theatre's artistic director Amaniyea Payne will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. Tickets are $20-$37.50; for more information and a full list of award nominees, visit the website or call 773-754-3923.
A sense of smell is paramount to a true food-tasting experience. Earlier that day, what began as a tickle in the back of my throat developed into a full-blown cold, one that challenged my enjoyment of the Chicago Artists' Coalition annual Starving Artist benefit. For the event, local celebrity chefs team up with local artists to craft works and eats inspired by each others' vision. Despite my own physical ailments shaping my experiences of the food, as a benefit in support of the visual arts, 2012's Starving Artist event was a success.
What does it take to run a worthwhile and eclectic artist-focused event? Well for one, the ability for guests to view and interact with a variety of different artistic practices. Rather than load the space and the evening with in-cohesive artworks, the event's organizers gave guests room to breathe and interact with the art on their own.
International sex symbol, B-movie queen and '80s action hero Sybil Danning will be at the Music Box next weekend for two events.
On Friday, Oct. 12, she'll be around for autographs and Q&A following a screening of the original, uncut 1983 women-in-prison (a genre!) movie Chained Heat. There are catfights, shower scenes, and other things people like, all hosted by nudity buff Mr. Skin, for only $10 at 9:30pm.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, Sybil will do a Q&A following a screening of Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, which is part of the Music Box of Horrors, a 24-hour horror movie marathon featuring all kinds of great stuff: The Invisible Man, The Golem, Squirm (with director Jeff Lieberman in person!), Blood Diner and many more. Tickets are $35 before, $40 day of.
The big, glaring (in a good way) art event this weekend is obviously EXPO, which I highly recommend after seeing it last Wednesday (I will be posting about it shortly). Give yourself a good two hours there, at least. BUT after you check that out, check this stuff out:
Last Monday evening in an old gymnasium in the Edgewater neighborhood, a group of 30 or so Chicagoans opened multicolored umbrellas in-sync, waved cellphones above their heads like lighters at an outdoor concert, and mimed a quaint, picturesque baseball game. The activities - familiar, universal - were just quick glimpses of Bolero Chicago, the local edition of the acclaimed community-centric dance work. Created by New York-based Larry Keigwin of KEIGWIN + COMPANY (K+C), Bolero Chicago features anywhere from 30-80 local non-dancers incorporating a variety of different movements to represent Chicago's broad culture and style. The work will be featured along with performances from the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, and national dance companies as part of the 6th annual Chicago Dancing Festival. This year's festival runs from August 20 - 25.
The streets of Wicker Park are filled with upscale boutiques and gourmet taco shops, but the neighborhood was once reborn as an artist's enclave. Like many parts of Chicago, Wicker Park has undergone transformation, both good and unfortunate. The last legs of gentrification usually ensure that the artistic colonizers that first remade the neighborhood are pushed out. And yet, many artistic practices (even those still gaining footing in Chicago's fickle art community) remain. Defibrillator, a performance art gallery, has quickly established itself as an epicenter for emerging and established local, national, and international performance art in the city. For the 2012 Wicker Park Fest, the gallery curated (with a grant from the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce) Air Pocket Project, a series of five inflatable performance installations located at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street. The Wicker Park Fest runs from noon to 8pm today and Sunday, July 29.
The idea of an emerging Chicago fashion community has been one of the inhibiting, not strengthening forces for Chicago designers. "Emerging" suggests a path from A to B or steps a community, a city must take to make it established, respected, and part of the crowd. But the true Chicago creatives think differently, if not practically. Chicago can never be the new New York on a logistical (a lack of manufacturing resources) or cultural (a lack of outlets for exposure) level. But Chicago succeeds in its ability to nurture singular designers and talents. One such designer, Anna Hovet, will present a collection of her past work at the newly-launched ROOF Runway series. Hovet's show takes place tonight, with additional shows running once a month through October 11.
This past month CPS announced the creation of the first district-wide CPS Arts Education Plan. David Vitale, President of the Board of Education shared that CPS would launch a public planning process to gather public feedback towards setting standards and policies for improving and expanding arts programs across Chicago Public Schools. Over the next few weeks CPS is seeking your input to propell them down a more art-conscious path.
Community Engagement Sessions have now been set for all audience groups and the planning process will move quickly. Go to the CPS Arts Plan website to register for a public forum and learn how you can add your voice to this plan (see session dates/information here). Visit Ingenuity Incorporated to learn how you can become involved in improving the educational experiences of our public school children.
In addition to the upcoming CPS Arts Education Plan Community Engagement Sessions, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is conducting upcoming Town Hall sessions to review the draft of Chicago's Cultural Plan. Information and registration links may be found here.
Typically known for its burlesque and variety shows, Ties and Tassels is showing audiences what community is all about. In May, one of the performers known as Spiffy Kins (aka Mae the bellydancer) and her partner were victims of a fire that destroyed their home and many of their belongings. In response to the sudden and drastic loss, Ties and Tassels organized a fundraiser event featuring more than 20 performers.
The other performers are donating their time and talents to provide more than four hours of entertainment. The show will include performances by Ammunition, Queerella Fistalot, Rosemary Maybe, Cruel Valentine, Lizzy Von Schtupp, Bella Bathory, Bizarre Sally, Miss Vine, Lady Shana, Lolita Chiquitita, Viva La Muerte, Josephine Shaker, Lee Na-Moo, Dahlia Fatale, Scarlett Deville, Dollface, Sauda Namir, Titty Perkin, Feral, Flambé Bandersnatch, Millie Mae, Dahalia Fatale and Laila.
Chicago is a city historically-rich in the practice of performance art. But like many artistic practices that were once prominent in the city, it is only now that this history is being recognized on a grander scale. Featuring a mix of 29 local, national, and international performing artists, the first Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival aims to address both the city's emerging practitioners of performance art as well as the eclectic array of seasoned performers across the globe. The festival runs through June 10 at various venues across the city.
Ah Chicago! A town with many proud legacies; from championship sports teams, to shiny bean-shaped monuments and deep dish pizza, it's truly one of a kind. However, woven among the cultural tapestry that comprises Chicago, is the dark, blood-stained thread of corruption. It's a tradition well documented with every imprisoned official and unearthed scandal. TimeLine Theatre Company's new drama, My Kind of Town, reflects some of that seedy underbelly in its humanizing story of injustice, torture and innocence. The company is also offering several platforms for communal discussions with experts about today's culture of law and order as a whole.
Written by veteran investigative journalist John Conroy, My Kind of Town revolves around one imprisoned man's fight for justice. The play is inspired by real-life stories of victims, police officers, prosecutors and families who've been affected by allegations of torture and corruption.
Cher Horowitz walks down a hallway wearing a yellow plaid skirt and matching cropped jacket. The outfit -- part schoolgirl innocence, part precise tailoring and professional realness -- is a perfect summary of a film (and a decade) that can be best defined by its lack of classification. Clueless, a film more often recognized for its banter and "Before They Were Famous" celebrities, was radical because it refused to play by the rules. Director and writer Amy Heckerling's film based on Jane Austen's Emma was less a contemporary update and more of an independent, one-of-a-kind "world creation" of youth, debauchery, language and style.
In their first collection as THE MALL, Ready-to-Stare jewelry designer Alysse Dalessandro and vintage seller Matt Kasin (aka the Gaudy God) created and curated a an Etsy-based concept store of highly aesthetic and idea-driven handmade accessories and vintage clothing inspired by the film as well as other '90s teen cult classics such as Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion and Spice World. This is not nostalgia, for nostalgia elicits a desire to return to the emotions born in a past era. Rather, THE MALL understands and utilizes the films as important cultural references that are as valuable and inspirational now as they were more than a decade ago. The two will debut their collection this Friday at a launch event at ZaZaZoo Nail Salon.
On Monday, May 21, Northwestern University's Evanston campus will host a fleeting work of art, erected by students, staff, and faculty and removed by nature. The construction is a recreation of conceptual artist Allan Kaprow's seminal sculpture/performance work, "Fluids," and will entail stacking approximately 375 blocks of ice to build a monumental structure on the Plaza outside the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at 40 Arts Circle Drive.
Kaprow coined the term, "Happening" to describe an event or situation performed in the name of art. He first conceived of "Fluids" in 1967 and intended it to be staged again by others--creating a shared experience in art through separate happenings. This will mark the first time the project has been reenacted in the Midwest.
The cool cats over at FugScreen screenprinting studios have a conundrum (albeit a pretty good one to have): too much art, not enough space. So they're opening a gallery in Logan Square this July to exhibit the best work that's run through their hands by their cohorts. With a focus on poster and street art, Galerie F has a unique ethic: fully functional six days of the week, all day long, with no appointments required. In other words, an "open door gallery". This is important to them because they want to be accessible -- they want people to be able to wander in and browse at their own pace. And as cool as Chicago's plethora of artist-run, DIY spaces are, you just can't do that at most of them.
The posters make their debut at a reception Friday night, May 18, from 6pm to 10pm at The Coop coworking space, 230 W. Superior St., 2nd floor. Refreshments will be served, and sets of the posters will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting Open Books.
Chicago Live!, the live news/radio show produced by the Chicago Tribune in partnership with The Second City, kicks off its spring 2012 season tonight at the UP Comedy Club on North Avenue.
Hosted by veteran Chicago reporter, author and radio/TV personality Rick Kogan, Chicago Live! is a weekly stage and radio show that gathers top news makers and guests from the arts and entertainment and pop culture worlds. The hour-long show features Chicago-centric news interviews as well as comedy sketches from The Second City.
Tonight's episode features guests like Lookingglass Theatre Company artistic director Andrew White, Chicago River Canoe & Kayak founder and director Ryan Chew, Forest Preserve District of Coook County superintendent Arnold Randall with River Trail Nature Center animal handler Ryan DePauw, members of the 2012 Chicago Tribune All-State Academic Team, and musical guests, The Blisters.
Grasshopper Leg Vase and Ginkgo Vase by Paul Dachsel, for sale at Century Guild Decorative Arts (Booth 3080) this weekend at the International Antiques Fair.
The entry fee for this year's International Antiques Fair at the Merchandise Mart is $15, but considering the objects for perusal (and for sale if you've got several thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket) it's worth the entry fee. I've never in my life stood so close to an original Marc Chagall lithograph, not even at a museum. Dinan & Chighine (Booth 7084) has it priced at $3,800, but I think I'll just remember what it was like to stand inches away from it. Also for sale at the Dinan & Chighine booth are original Henri Matisse lithographs at $1,650 each, and a set of 4 Karl Brodtuman lithographs at $9,600 for the set.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's annual fashion show -- probably the tastiest treat for your eyes in Chicago all year -- is taking place this Thursday in Millennium Park. This year's show, featuring more than 300 garments from SAIC's Fashion Design BFA candidates showcased by more than 70 hot and sexy professional models, will be the largest ever in the show's 78-year history. It will conclude with the elaborate and diverse creations of more than 40 seniors, the largest graduating class in SAIC Fashion Design history.
I was able to go last year (and I'll be posting all about this year's show here next week) and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the end of the show. While some of the designs are just okay, and most of them are not "ready to wear," the vision and spark that these shows feature is astounding. This is SAIC, people. Nobody's cutting corners or playing it safe. Who says Chicago doesn't know fashion? It's right in front of us, slapping us in the face at this show. I highly recommend you pick up a ticket immediately.
Tickets aren't cheap, though. The 9am dress rehearsal will run you $40. The noon and 3pm shows are $75, and admissions to the super hot-shit evening gala, "THE WALK" (which includes cocktails and dinner) costs a steep $500. BUT, it is a benefit, with proceeds supporting scholarship funds for future visionaries. For tickets and more information, visit SAIC's site. For Mia DiMeo's coverage of last year's show, click here.
As you might imagine, there are difficulties that come along with hypnotizing groups of people at a time, and Jacob C. Hammes certainly faced these difficulties on Friday night as the small room he performed in at New Capital coursed with 50+ fidgety onlookers, awkwardly trying to cram themselves closer together so that they could take part in the action, or at least get a glimpse. About an hour into it, the room had emptied to about a dozen people - about five who seemed to be hypnotized and the rest along for the ride. The hypnotized slouched in their chairs, eyes closed, mumbling about balls of gas and floating inside of diamonds when engaged by Hammes.
This is not for the faint of heart, but few good things are: The Homocult Show (featuring a screening of Homocult & other Esoterica) takes place this weekend at S&S Project(NSFW) in Bridgeport, and a visit is highly recommended, especially if you're looking to step a little outside of the box.
Homocult & other Esoterica is a group of short experimental queer films focused on magick & the occult, curated by Daniel McKernan.
Many of the films capture the spirit of arch-gay cinematic spell-casters Kenneth Anger and Derek Jarman, especially those made by the program's more (in)famous participants, such as Throbbing Gristle alumni Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson. The younger contributors, such as Black Sun Productions, are clearly influenced by P-Orridge and Christopherson's bold career choices; their homages make the films crackle with cross-generational currents of erotic, creative energy.
The Burlington continues its current line-up of great events with Bloom-n-Boom, hosted by the Subject to Change collaborative which, "aims to create a space of "no shame," when it comes to the music we enjoy and the people we love and care about -- our family (both blood and chosen) and our community." The event celebrates the early arrival of spring and the ongoing blooming of the trans community with the Chicago Women's Health Center's Trans Greater Access Project (TGAP). The project promotes services such as trans-affirming healthcare by providing hormone therapy, trans-sensitive gynecological exams, and counseling.
The night kicks off at 9pm with DJ sets by Josie Blush, Miss Summer Clearance, and Panakin Skywalker. Although no guests will be turned away, patrons are encouraged to give a $5 suggested donation.
In addition to the music, Subject to Change will also be selling a companion zine featuring works from people who have used the TGAP program as well as others who have trans health and affirming-related work to share. Submissions for this zine continue through Sunday, April 1 and acceptable works include prose, essays, photography, drawings, comics, and poetry. Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bloom-n-Boom takes place at The Burlington, 3425 West Fullerton at 9pm.
I've had several run-ins with food-related arts events of late.
There was "The Dinner Party" on Jan. 30--a monthly, streamed-live meal/performance featuring artists Tony Fitzpatrick, Jon Langford, and Rachel Rockford, as well as chef Homaru Cantu of Moto (see www.FearNoArt.tv for more). Coming soon, "Food & Performance", a two day installation of interactive, edible performances, will be held at Defibrillator March 17 and 18.
And, I forgot to mention all of the odd salons/underground dinners/etc. that seem to be sprouting up around the city faster than I can say grace.
Where does our fascination with the intersection between art and food come from?
The Smart Museum's newest exhibit, Feast, sets out to chart our obsession with food, drink, meal-sharing, and art in a new, interactive series of installations and events in Hyde Park. It not only chronicles the history of the "artist-orchestrated meal", but also brings that history to a more contemporary table in which audience is asked to assess, participate, and celebrate in its meaning.
The CAC is hosting an open house today from 5 to 7pm to give prospective BOLT residents a chance to see the space and get a sense of what goes on there before applying. You will have the opportunity to explore the studio spaces, their 8,000 square foot exhibition space, and meet CAC staff and current residents (many of the residents are very cool people with interesting art practices: Sarah and Joseph Belknap, Marty Burns, Amber Hawk Swanson, etc., so go if only to see their studios and talk to them.) Tours will run every 15 minutes. Another open house will be offered on March 5 (5-7pm).
BOLT Residency is a highly competitive, juried, one-year artist studio residency program offering artists the opportunity to engage the Chicago arts community and its public in critical dialogue about contemporary art. Located at the CAC in the West Loop, BOLT provides workspace, creative community, exhibition opportunities and professional development for emerging contemporary artists.
The 2012 BOLT Residency Application Guidelines are available HERE for DOWNLOAD. Applications are due March 15, 2012. To Apply, click HERE. The CAC and the BOLT studios are located at 217 N. Carpenter St.
The University of Chicago's Law School is hosting a two--day conference, Manhood in American Law and Literature, which will serve as a platform for discussion surrounding the issues of sexuality and law within the context of literary works.
A highlight of the conference is sure to be the two dramatic scenes presented by the school's faculty members. Judge Richard Posner, Professor Jonathan Masur, and Professor Daniel Abebe will perform scenes from The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, by Herman Wouk, followed by performances from Professor Martha Nussbaum and Professor Douglas Baird in The Little Foxes, by Lillian Hellman.
The conference will also feature speakers from a variety of fields and universities. Discussions will be anchored in literature, including classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. There will even be a live reading by renowned author, Joyce Carol Oates.
The conference will take place on UofC's campus on Friday, February 17 through Saturday, February 18. A full schedule of events can be found here.
The conference is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required, but seating may be limited.
They say the opposite of Love is Hate. But this Valentines Day at the Logan Square Auditorium, the opposite of Love is Hilarity, Charity and possibly Intoxication.
Thanks to the love-filled partnership of the Chicago Reader, 2nd Story, WBEZ and Empty Bottle, Chicago will be graced with the Third Annual Anti-Valentines Day Party on Tuesday 14 February. Chicago comedians Seth and Kellen will be hosting this shindig and will also be the night's official demolisher of ex memorabilia; everything from T-shirts to love letters to saved nail clippings will destroyed. In between the destroying (and healing) 2nd Story will be regaling the audience with the best bad date stories.
Filmmaker/Director Spike Lee at Chicago State University.
Spike Lee's love for sports is as widely known as his love for filmmaking; last night, adorned in full New York Giants gear, in front of a packed Chicago audience full of Bears fans, he didn't hesitate to gloat a bit about his hometown team's recent Super Bowl win.
The playful taunting by Lee, the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, director and screenwriter behind critically-acclaimed films such as Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls and Do the Right Thing, led to a more serious tone for his keynote address at Chicago State University's "Revolutions, Reels & Rhythms" lecture series, part of the university's Black History Month programming.
It's time for the Ox-Bow Winter Benefit! Hooray!!! What's Ox-Bow, you ask? Only Michigan's most inspiring, wild, longtime retreat/residency for artists, where Jim Henson is said to have invented Kermit the frog. What's the Winter Benefit? Only Chicago's best winter art party. Why? Well, it's a great chance to buy some fiiine pieces of work by Chicago's finest pieces of work -- big names, people. We're talking Jim Lutes. Rachel Niffenegger. Carl Baratta. In short, if you collect art, this is the premier event for buying it -- not only because you can get great deals on it, but the money goes to a pretty damn cool cause (Ox-Bow). And if you, like me, can't afford to buy much art but you still appreciate a good Swamp Thing-themed dance party, well, this is for you, too. Not convinced yet? Here are some more reasons for you to go:
Panel members discuss Carl Davis; Chicago Public Library. Photo: Charles Jackson.
When it comes to classic soul music, Chicago has richly contributed to America's cultural landscape; with groups and singers such as Jerry "The Iceman" Butler, The Impressions, Gene Chandler, The Staple Singers, The Artistics and The Chi-Lites, the Chicago sound is a major contributor to popular music. According to legendary Chicago radio personality, V103's Herb Kent, the "Chicago sound" is undeniable. "Back in the day there was the Philly sound and the Motown sound--and we had the Chicago sound. It started a bit before Carl Davis, but he refined it," said Kent.
Bernie Mac's love for Chicago was both evident and undeniable--and at last night's red carpet screening of the documentary I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac, the love Chicago has for him was also evident. "It is a wonderful feeling to see everyone come out and support," said his widow, Rhonda McCullough. "It just shows me how much people really loved Bernie and I'm always touched by it--especially tonight."
Brand-spankin' new multimedia book project Lightness & Darkness will throw its release party and first performance on January 28 at Happy Dog Gallery (1542 N. Milwaukee), a Wicker Park apartment gallery and alternative art space.
Gapers Block is hosting our first annual Valentines Dance-a-Thon on Sunday, February 12 at Quenchers Saloon in Logan Square. We are looking for dancers and refs to take part in the event, and all are welcome to come and spectate.
It has been a long time since my first visit to Woman Made Gallery, this year, on their 20th anniversary I am so glad, and proud, Chicago has such a great space that has nurtured and helped grow the arts here.
Woman Made Gallery has recently announce its 20 Years Strong campaign, and with it comes a look back on the arts, the women and the years that have made Women Made Gallery a unique institution, not only in Chicago but throughout the United States.
For the best mix of hip hop and the arts, you won't want to miss WBEZ's annual Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip Hop Arts. Now in its fourth year, this free, all-ages event, the ultimate showcase of the city's hip-hop arts scene, features visual and performance art, poetry, dance, film and music.
The symbiotic relationship between fashion and music is undeniable -- and at Power 92's Surround Sound of Fashion, the two were definitely displayed in a big way.
This annual showcase for fashion designers and aspiring models, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Windows of Opportunity, an organization that provides scholarships for economically disadvantaged youth, was held last weekend at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Twenty male and female models competed in a runway show for a chance at a number of prizes, including an exclusive photo shoot.
Feel like you don't have enough conceptual film in your life? Do you, like I, desperately wish you could've hung out at The Factory? Or maybe you did. Or, maybe you're just looking for something to do tomorrow night and sitting in your regular bar doesn't sound appealing.
If this sounds like you, I've got a pretty badass-looking event for you: To coincide with the launch of the Art Institute's upcoming "Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964-1977" exhibition, the Evening Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago (a young professional affiliate group) will be hosting a viewing party on December 9 to watch Andy Warhol's conceptual film Empire, which will be projected in its entirety on to the exterior of the Aon building. The party will include a DJ, drinks and hors d'oeuvres, and a special sneak preview of the new "Light Years" exhibition, which opens this Saturday.
Over in Transmission, Jason Olexa has the details on a pretty wacky-sounding film screening with live DJ accompaniment:
"Hi-NRG-Disco-Booty-Jungle-Rave producer Chrissy Murderbot will be DJing a live soundtrack to a quartet of films running the gamut of a dog's quest through the afterlife in search of an orange, unintentional slapstick employee training videos, scientists, dancers, and rockets. Expect an evening where dream logic reigns supreme."
"I think this is such an important thing to be talking about because music is so prevalent in our society," says Colleen Norton, prevention & education manager at Between Friends. "I definitely do not believe that media is the culprit behind violence. I think it's the other way around. If violence wasn't so prevalent in our society, it wouldn't pop up in music as much as it does. This is why I think we need to talk about the violence that we hear in music so that we can think about what's going on in our world."
The event will include a panel discussion with Miles Raymer from The Reader, Cyndi from Girls Rock Chicago and musicians Tim'm West and C.C. Carter. They will be discussing the responsibility of musicians and the media to curb hateful lyrics and how we can address the issues as a society. Both musician panelists will be performing plus Steve Adler (DJ the Tornado), Prevention & Education Specialist at Rape Victim Advocates, will be spinning a dub step set by all female producers/MCs.
The event is 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Hideout. There is a $5 suggested donation. Find out more details about the event on Facebook or on the Hideout's webpage.
Starting Friday and running through this weekend, The MDW Fair presents a Fall Showcase of solo and duo exhibitions curated by small not-for-profits, artist-run spaces, independent galleries, collectives and curators from around the country. This, the second iteration of the MDW Fair runs in conjunction with The Hand in Glove Conference and will highlight innovative curatorial and administrative practices happening in independent arts initiatives. The Fall Showcase will focus on the practices of individual artists, offering the opportunity for each artist to mount an ambitious project. The Fall Showcase, like the previous MDW Fair, will also feature an independent arts publisher's forum. The fair opens this Friday from 8 to 11pm and then noon to 6pm over the weekend. More info here.
"The hot cow's back!" my friend whispered to me about 30 minutes into Octavarius: Trial of the O'Leary Cow.
It's odd for a man dressed in a cow suit to be called "hot," but the costume worked for improv performer Nick Mikula. A member of comedy troupe Octavarius, Mikula played the title role in the show, staged on October 9--the 140th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire.
September marks a special time for the visual arts in Chicago. It is the annual kick-off to what is known as the art season. Out of the many art happenings that took place this month, Art on Track might possibly be one of the most anticipated annual events. It is an intriguing combination of site-specific installations on one of the Orange Line CTA train cars circling the loop.
Get a head start on Chicago Artist Month this weekend with the kickoff event -- the Ravenswood Art Walk, which will feature the work of over 200 local artists, including over 40 open studios. This opening night event this Friday will also include live performances and some damn good food by some of Ravenswood's best restaurants.
The Friday night event will kickoff at 7pm in and around the Ravenswood Event Center (4011 N. Ravenswood), with ample spillage out into the street (Ravenswood Ave. itself will be shut down between Montrose and Sunnyside for a street fair)(Stop by the GB booth!). The fun won't stop Friday, though, so make sure to stop by on Saturday and/or Sunday for more festivities. Bring the kids. Details here. MORE details, including a schedule of performances, can be found here. Click here for a map. Best of all, admission is FREE!
It would be easy to blow off Miss Representation as just another panties-in-a-bunch feminist documentary; and I imagine a good majority of the penis-clad population might do just that and not read past the word feminist. But at the risk of sounding like a naggy bitch, please don't. Miss Representation is not just another "Annie get you guns" feminist mantra meant only to enrage the vags and turn us all into lesbians. Miss Representation is the story about our society; it is a story about the increasingly bruised and bloody relationships between the media and the women; and the lesson of this story is how shitty media hurts vags and penises alike. So if you have a vagina or just love vaginas in all their equal glory, this documentary is your story as well.
Through simple facts, complex personal stories and embarrassingly real media clips, Miss Representation shows how the media is permanently damaging the self esteem and future of hundreds girls in direct and indirect, obvious and subtle, disturbing and accepted ways. But beyond telling the story, the movie tell viewers to stop whining about the insanity of man-made media, stop accepting Barbie (or Bratz dolls for the newer generations) as inevitable and make a change, particularly through their own traitorous wallets.
In hopes of inspiring the women of Chicago to act, the YWCA put together a screening of the new documentary. The first screening sold out in weeks, so the YWCA put together another screening, which sold out as well. The packed house at last Thursday's showing included Joycelyn Winneke from the Tribune, Shia Kapos from Crain's as well as an entire Girl Scout troop. They were all there to see the show but also to make a change.
Alright, guys. This is it. This is a big weekend for gallery openings, with many (most?) of them kicking off their fall programming with the best of the best tonight. If you only make it out art-hopping once this year, go tonight.
...and there are surely many more I've missed. Check back on us in a few days -- A/C's newest contributor Natalie Edwards and I will have a recap of the opening chaos, including our two cents on the art we were able to catch glances of while smooshed amongst the drunken hordes.
Although Fashion's Night Out began in New York City, the event has quickly spread across the country as a way to celebrate the artistry of the designer and the return of fall. Chicago's Fashion's Night Out promises to be the most eclectic and broad celebration the city has seen (especially with celebrations at new British arrivals such as AllSaints and Topshop). Below are some recommended events taking place tomorrow in the city, beginning tomorrow at 6pm. More information about Fashion's Night Out and additional events taking place throughout the city is available here.
Fame, Fashion & Flavor: 900's Night Out
900 North Michigan Shops
This event -- hosted by Brad Gorecki of The Rachel Zoe Project -- includes a beauty bazaar with mini manicures, massages, eyelash extensions, brow waxing, and hair styling from Mario Tricoci Hair Salon & Day Spa and Bloomingdale's. Guests may also taste food from local restaurants such as prasino and Cibo Matto and craft beers from BridgePort Brewing Company and Trumer Pils. Additional activities include personal styling, a photo booth, and a flash fashion show with clothing from Mark Shale and Bloomingdale's, among others.
700 N. Michigan Ave.
Featuring DJ Avi Sic, this celebration at the newly opened British import includes complimentary cocktails from Tanteo, the chance to create digital flipbooks, and a 20 percent discount on items throughout the store.
935 N. Michigan Ave.
Guests can pick up the newest CHANEL Nail Colour Collection, Les Jeans de Chanel -- created exclusively for Fashion's Night Out by Peter Philips, Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup. These colors, inspired by traditional denim fabric, will be offered along with complimentary mini manicures.
This is not your mother's art exhibit, it is an event. An art attack. An art war.
In fact, this two-day event is called ART WAR, and it is the first in a series of new explorations of the forces behind art. ART WAR, inspired by Tolstoy's writings of civil disobedience & non-violence, will involve the 7,000 square foot loft in Little Village known as Treasure Town being filled with artworks by over 100 artists from all backgrounds. From interactive installations to an entire circus, a dance war with fake blood on a blank canvas to the most inspiring local musicians, ART WAR promises to "not say what we do not think or feel."
Admission is a suggested 5-10 dollar donation, and every dollar earned goes directly to the contributing artists & future like-minded shows. This event will take place September 16 & 17 at Treasure Town Loft. Details can be found on Facebook. PS: The Tamale Guy will be there. Bring your hungry pants.
Local online and print art publication Jettison Quarterly made a splash at NEXT as part of the larger Art Chicago weekend with their newly formatted print edition of the magazine. Their latest issue -- featuring artist Scott Reeder and former MCA curator Tricia Van Eck -- promises to deliver on locally focused news, art and culture. To celebrate their latest release, the publication will be joining Old Style and Longman & Eagle for a free block party on Kedzie and Schubert. The event will feature a pig roast and dance party with tunes spun by DJs from the ever-popular Windy City Soul Club. The What's Happening!! block party takes place this Sunday, September 4 from 4pm to 10pm.
Additional copies of Jettison Quarterly will be available Sept. 9 at the Kavi Gupta gallery as part of the opening night for the fall art season, the Renegade Craft Fair on Sept. 10-11, and at various cafes and venues in the city.
The wildly popular and successful MDW Fair of last spring is happening again this October 21-23 at the Geolofts. Formed as a collaborative project between the Public Media Institute, Roots & Culture and threewalls, the MDW Fair was conceived as a showcase for independent art initiatives, spaces, galleries and artist groups from the Chicago metropolitan area -- basically what NEXT was eight or nine years ago, but on a larger scale.
Sunlight filtered in through the windows of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Like past dance companies, the River North Chicago Dance Company used the cozy rehearsal space to finalize 9-Person Precision Ball Passing, a company premiere by Charlie Moulton. Nine dancers stood on a set of black stairs performing a largely upper-body based routine featuring repetitive hand gestures and minor juggling feats with colored balls. The entire routine looked not unlike the clapping games little children practice on school playgrounds.
On the surface, the movements appear simple, but a closer examination demonstrates how the movements grow increasingly more complicated rhythmically as the routine progresses. Stay calm and carry on was the motto of the routine as additional pressure to stay on the varying beat of the accompanying music demonstrated the various manifestations of contemporary dance.
A burlesque dancer at "Starving Artist". Photo by Andrew Huff.
The Chicago Artist's Coalition hosted a swanky event last Thursday called "Starving Artist" -- essentially a benefit for the CAC -- where eight Chicago's top chefs and artists were paired up to create a "unique sensory experience," inspired by each other's work. One sixtyblue pastry chef Hillary Blanchard-Rikower was paired with Lauren Brescia, avec's Koren Grieveson was paired with Tim Anderson, The Girl & The Goat's Stephanie Izard was paired with Richard Hull and Province's Randy Zwieban was paired with Judy Ledgerwood.
The results were delicious, both gastronomically and visually. Between finger foods and swigs of champagne, I spoke with each of the artists about their experiences working on this project. (Read interviews with the chefs over in Drive-Thru.)
Influential humorist and art commentator Hennessey Youngman will visit the Windy City on September 7 to join "The Dialogue," an annual live-chat panel on "museums, diversity, and inclusion" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater. This year's event with Youngman will focus on Millennials and their effect on museum issues, alongside "Chicago's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Michelle T. Boone, and our newest curator, Naomi Beckwith, formerly of The Studio Museum in Harlem." While some concerns with Youngman's gender politics have been voiced among those in the art crowd, his highly entertaining video segments are largely appreciated for gleefully punching holes in otherwise hyper-serious art world conventions. The MCA's press materials describe Youngman as "You Tube's most followed art theorist," and points out Art in America's description of his satirical Art Thoughtz program performances as "Ali G with an MFA."
The characterization seems apt. In response to this writer's recent romantic breakup and search for art to make/look at appropriate to the moment, Youngman had the following hilarious advice (intentional spelling errors and grammatical breakages left in): "Break up art? Break into her/his house and lay naked in their bed until they come home from work and recite TLC's "Waterfalls" while they call the police. Videotape the whole ordeal, show the video of you waiting in bed on one channel projected onto the wall, then the police beating and crying on another channel, but way smaller. This way, the audience connects more with your interpretation of your ex's arrival, and your humiliation is underplayed and dismissible, also take every Macbook photobooth photo you've ever taken with them and make a rapid slideshow of the images to enduce nausia."
The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Program and reception $35. Program only: nonmembers $10; MCA members $8; students $6. If you can't make it to the live event, check out the Live Tweet at @mcachicago, using the #thedialogue to participate in the conversation via tweet. Twitter comments can also be followed live during the event at the MCA's website.
Everybody has a 9/11 story. That morning as I rode the Red Line to work, I wrote in my journal about the countdown to my impending wedding scheduled for that Saturday. "Just four more days," I wrote in anticipation, "and I'll be married." When I got to work my colleagues were clustered around the television in the reception area, eyes glued to the now iconic image of the World Trade Center up in smoke. I knew that very instant that my wedding would, at best, have to be postponed. I called my mother in tears before the first tower fell, sobbing openly within the flimsy confines of my cubicle and not giving a damn who heard me. Work closed early, and I got a ride home in the backseat of a colleague's car. Traffic was heavy; everyone was leaving work. I cried the whole way home. I sat on my couch and didn't move for hours, eyes glued to the television, absorbing the horrors of what was happening.
Having grown up in Brooklyn, I felt an overwhelming urge to take every last penny that my fiancé and I had saved for our honeymoon and send it to the Red Cross, keeping just enough to get on the next Greyhound bus bound for New York to volunteer to do whatever I could. My fiancé convinced me not to send all of our money, and the talking heads on TV convinced me that unless I had a specific service that I could offer -- emergency psychiatry, for instance -- that I'd just be a burden arriving in New York at that particular moment. In the end I gave $300 to the Red Cross, and stayed in Chicago, and cried. I cried at home, I cried openly in the streets, I cried in the shower. On September 15, 2001, which should have been my wedding day, I woke to a gorgeous blue sky, and a perfect, sunny day. My fiancé went to work; and I hung out at the shop with him. Someone asked when we were getting married, "it was supposed to be today," I said.
(left) one sixtyblue Pastry Chef Hillary Blanchard-Rikower and
(right) Artist Lauren Brescia. Photo by Jon Shaft Photography.
This Thursday the Chicago Artists Coalition is putting on an event pairing local visual artists with local chefs in which they create original works (food & art) inspired by one another's aesthetic. The artwork created will be exhibited and auctioned at the event, while the chefs' creations are eaten. Sorry, chefs.
Tickets aren't cheap -- $100 for CAC members, $125 for the rest of us, $150 at the door -- but it should be a great opportunity for hobnobbing and stuffing your face with some of the best food Chicago has to offer. For more information, click here.
There's a lot going on this weekend but if you haven't cemented your Saturday plans yet, consider going to Comfort Station's kegger. Perhaps the best (and most obvious) abandoned-building-turned-art space ever, Comfort Station took over the little building in the heart/crotch of Logan Square that was vacant for so long, it became invisible to most of us.
Their party this Saturday will feature music, food by Homage Street food truck, face-painting, croquet, ping-pong, quirky film and slide show screenings, and, of course, good-ole' outdoor boozing. A suggested $10 donation gets you a cup for a night of Revolution beer. All proceeds from your donation benefit Comfort Station -- they're raising funds for storm windows to extend their active year into the cooler months and track lighting to keep spotlights on the artwork.
The party is this Saturday, August 20 from 6pm to midnight-ish at Comfort Station: The Keel/Coulson Sideyard @ 3016 W. Logan Blvd. For details, click here.
Although the more underground, independent, and emerging Chicago art scenes and artists might be overshadowed by larger fairs and urban coasts, alternative events still foster and support local practitioners. BUILT Festival, a two-day event founded by Chicago artists Tristan J.M. Hummel and co-produced by David Dvorak, allows contemporary artists and curators the space to transform unusual, transportable, and seemingly temporary environments - shipping containers - into alternative and guerrilla venues in an empty lot on Milwaukee avenue.
The theme for this initial festival is "urban culture" and audiences will get the chance to witness more than 100 projects, exhibitions, and performances inside and surrounding these containers from local spaces and institutions such as the Chicago Urban Art Society, Spudnik Press, and the Chicago Artists Coalition. In addition to the array of visual and performative art projects, visitors can listen to music by musicians and DJ's such as White Mystery, Raj Mahal, and Tim Zawada.
Tickets for BUILT Festival can be purchased online or at the door for $10. All-weekend BUILT VIP passes are also available online today and include $6 worth of drink tickets. BUILT Festival takes place in the empty lot at 1767 N. Milwaukee this Friday from 5:00pm-10:30pm and Saturday from 12:00pm-10:30pm.
For Chicago's African-American community, The Black Women's Expo is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Now in its 18th year, the expo, a premiere showcase in culture, professional empowerment, seminars, entertainment and celebrity guests, returns next weekend to the McCormick Place.
Some of this year's highlights include "The MAC Experience: From Struggle to Fame," a conversation about the late Bernie Mac and his impact on Chicago and the world of comedy; "From 'Bad Girl' to Great Woman: The Reel on Reality TV," with Chicago's Tiffany Davis, star of Oxygen's "Bad Girl's Club" and "A Conversation with Regina Taylor," a forum featuring the critically acclaimed actress who also serves as an Artistic Associate at the Goodman Theatre.
The Black Women's Expo will be held at the McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Saturday, Aug. 6, 10am-8pm and Sunday, Aug. 7, 11am-7pm. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children and seniors. For more information about other events during the expo weekend, visit the website or contact 312-454-6100.
Fans of unconventional theater take note: Chicago's got a new shadow puppet show.
Experimental multimedia puppetry group Manual Cinema presents ADA/AVA, its ﬁrst evening-length original shadow puppetry work, at the Charnel House (3421 W. Fullerton) this Thursday, July 28 through Sunday the 31st. Manual Cinema combines overhead projector shadow puppetry, actors in silhouette, and live music performance to create handmade, cinematic stories exploring new frontiers of immersive storytelling.
This Friday HungryMan Gallery presents the group show Keepin' it Real, featuring the work of Petra Cortright, Thomson Dryjanski, Derek Frech and Bob Myaing, Aaron Graham, and Mac Katter.
The relevancy of internet context within a physical exhibition is a new challenge for our generation of art makers and curators. Keepin' it Real examines the possibilities and difficulties presented by work that exists in dual realms, the physical and the digital, as well as the opportunities and limitations of a curatorial process entirely reliant on e-mail, chat and internet surfing.
Opening Reception 7 - 11pm, this Friday July 15
Closing Reception 4 - 7pm, Sunday August 21
Open Sundays 12 - 5pm
In case you haven't heard, the illustrious Garfield Park Conservatory was severely damaged by the hailstorm last Thursday, and The Hideout is hosting a special Soup and Bread benefit program tonight to help fund the cleanup and repairs. If you've been to the conservatory, you love it. If you've been to The Hideout, you probably love it, too. Why not stop by tonight (5:30 - 8pm) and stuff your face for a good cause? Details here.
Pride Week in Chicago is a great time for individuals to learn more about Chicago's gay community. But the buck shouldn't stop there. In these post "Pride" weeks, make a plan to stop by an LGBT awareness exhibit currently running at the Chicago History Museum called Out in Chicago .
This exhibit covers 150 years of Chicago's LGBT history while utilizing four artistic themes to present that history, individuals and their bodies, family and home, communities, and political action.
The exhibit opened in May and has been covered by the Sun Times and ABC news, among other media outlets. General admission is $14 but is free for members. The exhibit will run at the Chicago History Museum until March 26, 2012.
Tomorrow afternoon the Hyde Park Art Center hosts part four in their series of neighborhood-centric gallery tours -- Artist-Run Spaces in Garfield Park. Hop on your bike and explore the warehouse artist studios and artist run spaces on the west side. Starting at noon at my favorite coffee shop, The Star Lounge (2521 W. Chicago), the tour will visit some of the city's newest exhibition venues and see the work of emerging artists, followed by a barbecue (at my house!). Visit hydeparkart.org for details (the site says the tour is over at 3 but a little bird (and a bunch of fliers) told me it goes 'till 6pm).
Tonight at 7pm, Art In These Times, the community gallery at In These Times' office (2040 N. Milwaukee Ave.), presents a new exhibition of posters and photographs from ongoing labor demonstrations in Wisconsin that began on February 14, 2011. The exhibition is a collaboration with Nicolas Lampert and will feature prints and placards he has collected as an active participant in the labor and community rallies in Madison. The Hard Times Trio, a jazz group which performs classic labor songs, will perform. The artwork will be on display through the summer and fall.
The exhibition features screenprints and off-set posters from rallies in Madison and Milwaukee and features prints by Nicolas Lampert, Colin Matthes, Eric Drooker, Jesus Barraza, Josh MacPhee, Jesse Graves and others. The photography of Lauren Cumbia (who co-organizes the gallery space with Daniel Tucker), Brandon Pittser and the Public Collectors archive will also be exhibited.
Check out this recent report from Wisconsin by curator Nicolas Lampert and Dan S. Wang for more information about the movement to defend collective bargaining rights.
For the vintage-oriented fashion fan, Chicago has finally started to host a round of exclusive pop-up shops, group sales, and special events to cater to this ever-growing market. Cult-favorite independent boutique Sofia is one of the city's most reliable sources for that perfect combination of contemporary labels and high-crafted vintage statement pieces.
For their latest event, the store welcomes Luxury Garage Sale for a pop-up store inside of the boutique. Luxury Garage Sale features new or gently used contemporary and designer clothing, artwork, and other items for the home. Featuring designer clothing, jewelry, and handbags, the sale begins today and lasts through Sunday at 5pm. Sofia is located at 72 East Oak Street. The store is open 11am to 7pm, Thursday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.
Four youth winners of Graffiti Zone's Next Top Artist Contest will be honored tomorrow night at GZ's Spring Fundraiser. The event will take place at Chicago Urban Arts Society: 2229 S. Halsted from 6 to 9pm. Hosted by Chicago hip hop performer Philip Morris, described as "one of the ultimate word smiths of hip-hop (Skope Magazine)," the evening will feature catering by Green Cuisine, open bar, silent auction and performances by Opera-Matic with sound by Mark Messing. Ample free parking is available behind the building off of Cermak. Tickets are $35 at the door, or online at graffitizone.org. All proceeds to benefit Graffiti Zone, a five-year old non-profit arts organization serving kids from Humboldt Park. More info about the fundraiser can be found here.
Furniture geeks and functional art fans, take heed: the 7th Annual Guerrilla Truck Show is tonight, along with a bevy of exhibitions and parties in the area designed to be visited in tandem. These events take place tonight from 5:30 to 9:30 in the West Loop, with the official truck show at Morlen Sinoway Atelier: 1052 W. Fulton Market St. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. For a map of all the locations participating, click here. Also, (not noted on the map) EBERSMOORE (213 N. Morgan, #3C) is hosting a special exhibition of work by the talented group known as the Dock 6 Collective (works pictured above). For photos of past GTS's, check out this Flickr collection.
Thomas Roach, 86 plastic chairs uncomfortable to stack but ill, 2011.
Tonight begins a two-part reading series at Alderman Exhibitions featuring selections from William T. Vollman's short story collection, The Atlas. A companion to the gallery's current exhibition, Thomas Roach: New Drawings, tonight's reading will also include a discussion and reception. Vollman's stories, often quick and glinting descriptions of brief moments in passing, are a compliment to Roach's drawings which often evoke an ethereal and visceral quality. Although the event is free, guests are encouraged to RSVP at email@example.com. PDF's of the selected stories are available for each session and copies can be sent to you upon request in the RSVP.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 7pm
William T. Vollmann, The Atlas, PART 1
Selected stories for Part 1:
The Back of My Head
It's Too Difficult to Explain
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 7pm
William T. Vollmann, The Atlas, PART 2
Selected stories for Part 2:
Where Are You Today
Last Day at the Bakery
Alderman Exhibitions is located at 350 North Ogden, 4th floor.
A trailer for Sketchbook 9, to give you an idea of what Sketchbook is.
Collaboraction theater company's wildly popular annual Sketchbook festival begins tonight at the Chopin Theater. Sketchbook is a lively multi-media event, combining several art forms including theater, music, visual art, new technologies and bombastic partying, anchored by a show that features several short plays. Selected from hundreds of submissions, Sketchbook brings together the collective talents of more than two hundred pioneering directors, designers, actors, musicians and artists from Chicago and around the country for a jaw-dropping evening of creativity, experimentation, and celebration.
If you've got this evening free, consider heading downtown for the Art Futura Awards Party.
Art Futura is a small yearly exhibition (in its 9th year with attendance growing to 300 last year) connecting artists and art therapy patients -- blending the best of both worlds. It is a great cause that helps the community of emerging artists who submit work and the work of art therapists who help support over 100 patients as they try to rebuild their lives after spinal cord, brain, and stroke injuries.
LeToya Luckett may be from Houston; however, Chicago also holds a special place in her heart. "I love Chicago," said Luckett, "this is where my Luster's family is based."
Luckett, formerly of the hit R&B group Destiny's Child, made a special appearance this past weekend at WalMart, 2500 W. 95th St., in Southwest Evergreen Park, to promote Chicago-based Luster's hair care products. As the new celebrity spokesperson for Luster's Pink Brand Smooth Touch products, the Grammy-award winning singer and actress was on hand to sign autographs and greet fans and to also share tips on how to achieve a "superstar look" using Luster's products.
In an effort to bring more performance-oriented stuff to the already artistic neighborhood of Logan Square, a few of its residents have started a performance collective called Strong Works, and they'll be bringing a series of staged readings, improv shows, panel discussions, traditional "performance pieces" and live music to the neighborhood over the course of this summer.
"The Cannon," a monthly event starting tonight, will feature six Chicago actors
performing short stories chosen by Will Litton, fiction editor of the literary magazine Wag's Revue, and Sam Nyhart, company member of Strong Works. Readings will be "performative, polished and punchy," according to Amanda Rozmiarek, production manager of Strong Works.
Tonight's event will be held at Bonny's (2417 N. Milwaukee Ave.) from 9
to 10. Afterward, the Strong Works jazz band will play, followed by DJs, dancing and drinks. A $5 donation will be gently suggested at the door to keep their otherwise entirely unfunded season going.
It's never a good sign when you spend more time checking out the crowd rather than the art. The scene at this year's Artropolis opening was as festive as ever, and the joining of Art Chicago and NEXT on the same floor provided ample opportunity to move back and forth between more established galleries and emerging spaces. However, much of the appeal of Artropolis lies in the activities, discussions, and other assorted events that will continue to take place throughout the weekend. The opening was only a taste of the culture of this year's event and I highly encourage guests to spend time exploring all that the two events have to offer.
Caitlin Arnold: Hailey and Jade, 2008
Caitlin Arnold (represented at Johalla Projects): Arnold's images document adolescent girls at their most curious and questioning stage. Her subjects understand and are fearful of the world they are quickly being thrust into; this much is evident as each subject stares with longing at the camera.
If Chicago is a beer city, then our status is one that is in a state of flux. Although our selection is on par with other cities of similar size, our mass breweries are far outpaced by towns with more-established emerging and DIY breweries. However, the number of smaller breweries continues to grow with each year and home brewing has increasingly expanded as an option for the individual or groups more deeply invested in a hands-on and locally sourced means of food production.
For his latest community-oriented project, artist Christopher Tourre aims to bring the culture of the home brewery to the masses. Entitled PUBLIC BREWERY, Tourre organized a temporary and experimental brewery that includes a series of workshops and gatherings at the Spoke's Residency Project Space that will allow guests to brew their own beer or soda using either their own ingredients or locally produced food items such as cherries, honey, and crabapple blossom syrup.
Davy Rothbart had no problem opening up to a video camera about his complicated love life, in part because his friend David Meiklejohn was behind it.
"One surprising thing about documentary film is how quickly people forget about the camera," says Rothbart, the subject of the "romantic documentary" My Heart Is An Idiot and creator of Found magazine, which publishes bizarre and/or hilarious notes, photos, homework assignments, ticket stubs, drawings, and more that readers submit. "The first couple of days (or weeks, maybe)" in front of a camera "people are hyper-aware of [it]. And then the camera quickly becomes invisible, and the subject just feels like they're hanging out with you -- they forget about the camera even being there, and just act totally naturally."
This weekend is one of the biggest weekends for art in Chicago all year, with Version Fest and the new MDW Fair (both down in Bridgeport) going on. You would be doing yourself a serious disservice if you let this awful weather keep you inside.
Chicago's largest art fair, Art Chicago, has taken a hit in recent years due to mismanagement and other logistical issues. For the local art community, the fair - now a massive four-day event encompassing multiple floors of the Merchandise Mart - often isolates or ignores the eclectic, diverse, and ever-changing Chicago and Midwest-based art galleries, publications, and institutions.
Three of Chicago's most celebrated art entities-- threewalls, Roots and Culture, and Public Media Institute-- present the MDW Fair, a celebration and gathering of Chicagoland area independent art initiatives, spaces, galleries, publishers, and artist groups, and something of a response to the much larger fair which takes place the following weekend. Running April 23 and 24, the fair aims to "demonstrate the diversity, strength, and vision of the people/places making it happen in the art ecology of our region."
The award-winning and unbelievably-touching documentary, Bouncing Cats, is screening tomorrow at 5pm at the Wicker Park Art Center as part of the International Movies & Music Festival. The film follows Crazy Legs (of the Rock Steady Crew) as he unifies and empowers youth in Uganda, teaching them to breakdance through his "Breakdance Project Uganda".
The film, directed by Nabil Elderkin, narrated by Common and featuring interviews with Will.I.Am, Mos Def and K'Naan, has won four awards on the film festival circuit recently including the Audience Award for "Best Feature Documentary" at the Bahamas International Film Festival this past December.
Tomorrow's event will include interview opportunities and a live Q&A session with Crazy Legs after the film screening.
CIMM Festival Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at cimmfest.org. Donations for Breakdance Project Uganda are accepted at bouncingcats.com, where you can also find more information about the film and the Breakdance Project Uganda.
Last night, former Cabrini-Green residents gathered at the last remaining high-rise building, 1230 N. Burling, to celebrate the community's life while wishing it farewell. A few short speeches were made to the press, but the highlights were mixing with friends, performances by ThaBrigade Stamps Marching Band and the installation in the building itself.
The band performed several numbers for the crowd as the sun set.
If you've been craving some serious art talk but don't have the loot to go to art school, stop by threewalls tonight (or across the hallway at Western Exhibitions, rather) for their "Unschooling Arts Education" SALON-- part of their monthly, (free!) super-educational and interactive discussion series.
Starting at 7 tonight, the discussion will start off with questions along the lines of: Do I really need a MFA to be a successful artist? What does the fact that you can get a PhD in visual art say about the baseline criteria that art professionals need to meet before being allowed to do anything in the arts? Is formal education valued over experience, and if so, what does this mean for the democratization of voices in the art world?
Invited guests who will be driving the discussion include Zachary Cahill, Erica Meiners (Northeastern Illinois University), Bert Stabler, Jacqueline Terrassa (MCA) and Rebecca Zorach (University of Chicago). This event is free and open to the public. Details here.
If you haven't made plans for Friday yet, consider buying a ticket for Urban Gateways' 50th Anniversary Gala &/or Gala Undone After Party. Gala starts at 6pm, and tickets are a steep $350, but the after party (Gala Undone) is affordable for normal folks, with tickets going for $40 in advance or $50 at the door. The event will feature veteran Urban Gateways artist James "Casper" Jankowiak, who will create an interactive mural during the event, a performance by Urban Gateways touring artists and resident performing ensemble of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, BAM! and a late-night dance party to the music of DJ Mister Wolf (of Only Children). Also on hand will be plenty of munchies, an open bar and a silent auction.
Gala Undone will take place this Friday, April 1 from 9:30 to midnight at Venue One (1044 W. Randolph). More details here.
BYOB Chicago (organized by Nicholas O'Brien and Brian Khek) has invited more than 30 Chicago-based and international artists to create a collaborative happening of moving light, sound and performance. The dynamic structure will no-doubt be enhanced by a series of ad hoc installations, performances and special projects, creating an immerse environment of DIY spontaneity and experimentation.
The Chicago iteration of this international project will occur on Saturday, March 26 at the Archer Ballroom from 7 to 10pm.
Here is a comprehensive list of artsy options for the weekend. These are mostly all opening receptions, with a few performances, benefits and artist lectures thrown in. Most of the events today start around 5 or 6pm, but some of the Saturday and Sunday events start earlier. Click on the links for details. See you around!
This Saturday night Collaboraction will throw its most revolutionary fundraising party to date with their 9th annual CARNAVAL: Let Them Eat Cake! party at the Double Door. The venue will be transformed into a party battle zone with live musical performances, radical costumes, burlesque, immersive theatrical interludes, two floors of dancing and bottomless drinks.
"With revolution in the air, Collaboraction gathers its diverse and vibrant colony of artists to create an immersive artistic experience that vibrates with bacchanalian insurrection. Part party and part living art installation, our 9th annual CARNAVAL will be a debaucherous deconstruction of the history of revolution in France and throughout the globe," said Anthony Moseley, Artistic and Executive Director of Collaboraction, in the press release.
Criticallyacclaimed comedy troupe Octavarius is premiering a new show series titled "Octavarius: Battle for the Belt," tomorrow night (March 13) at 7pm at Stage 773. Additional performances will take place on March 20 & 27. Colt Cabana, former WWE and current Ring of Honor superstar, is a special guest of the series, making an in-person appearance on night two (the 20th) and video appearances on night one and three. "The Ego" Robert Anthony, CZW Heavyweight Champion, will make a surprise appearance on the final night of the series (the 27th). The stage will be transformed into a wrestling ring, complete with ropes, turnbuckles and a Jumbotron. Tickets are $15 per show, or $25 for a ringside pass to all three nights. Audience members are encouraged to make a sign cheering or jeering their favorite Octavarius superstars, and receive tickets at a discounted rate of $12. For more information, visit Octavarius.com.
This Saturday The Garden is hosting a one night event from 8pm to 1am that will feature too many talented Chicago artists and musicians to wrap your head around. Brett Manning (a girl), is the curator along with the help of others. This isn't an event to miss and then cry about later when you hear all your friends were there. It is a small world after all.
Visit the P&P blog for more information.
If you're looking for a little lively art talk today, look no further than UIC's Gallery 400. Today at 5pm they're hosting an artist's talk with Kalup Linzy-- a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes videos, performances, and music. I am not familiar with his work but it sounds like a lot of fun, and (potentially) part of the Post Black movement-- one of the most exiting contemporary art movements, albeit underrepresented. (Pulled from the press release:)
His satirical narratives--inspired by soap operas, telenovelas and Hollywood melodramas--deal with race, sexuality, gender, class, and the art world itself. Serving as writer, director, cinematographer, editor, and actor, he performs, often in drag, a series of memorable, defiant characters. Simultaneously salacious and poignant, Linzy's works fuse dramatic intensity with melodramatic irony and gut-busting comedy.
Gallery 400 is located at 400 S. Peoria St. in the West Loop. For more information about Linzy, visit his website.
This month, Columbia College Chicago presents Story Week Festival of Writers: Class Acts. Put on by the college's Fiction Writing Department in conjunction with the Chicago Public Library and Metro, this six-day festival, now in its 15th year, will contain a variety of performances, panel discussions and author readings, all designed to ignite conversations about classism and its role in creative arts and the world of publishing.
The festival will feature a diverse group of guest writers who will read and discuss their works in a number of different events at the college and throughout the city; among them are Chicago native Jennifer Egan, author of the New York Times bestseller A Visit from the Goon Squad, Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, and Columbia College Chicago professor and author Audrey Niffenegger. Other festival highlights include readings and workshops by acclaimed actress and playwright Regina Taylor, comedy by Stephanie Shaw and "Chicago Classics," hosted by Rick Kogan.
Story Week Festival of Writers: Class Acts runs Sunday, March 13 through Friday, March 18. The festival is free and open to the public; check the website for full schedule and event locations. For more information, contact 312-369-7611.
Local comedian Mo Welch debuts her "one woman show", Weird Girl, at the Lincoln Lodge tonight. For the show she combines her trademark characters from "The Mo Show" with her real life upbringing. Welch also adds her original short films, making the show both multi-media and interactive. Although "The Mo Show" is nascent, it has already received a good amount of press, with appearances by some of Chicago's top comedians. Welch's Weird Girl: One Human Show promises the same wacky abandon.
Weird Girl debuts at 9pm tonight at The Lincoln Lodge, and runs again tomorrow (March 4)-- same place, same time. Tickets are $10. More information can be found at mowelch.com. Buy tickets ahead of time at thelincolnlodge.com.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's re-vamped monthly party, First Fridays, continues to combine music, visual arts, and exclusive events. March's theme is Robots and includes selected tunes by DJ Josh Madden and an appearance by Billy Bot of Slideshow Theatre.
Compared to previous iterations of the event, March's celebration is fantastically heavy on the museum's bread and butter, the arts. Club Nutz return to the museum after a week-long summer residency as part of Here/Not There. In its latest presentation, visitors can view a robot stand-up comedian, a robotic magic show, an open mic, and DJ dance parties. Visitors also get a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of artist Kirsten Leenaars' soap opera based on MCA staff members. As well, Takeshi Moro, the latest artist in the UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work series open his solo exhibition of photographic works and designed objects.
First Fridays: Robots takes place Friday, March 4 from 6 pm to 10 pm. Tickets are $10 for MCA members, $13 in advance, or $18 at the door. All tickets include museum admission, live entertainment, and hors d'oeuvres. For more information, visit mcachicago.org.
Founded in 1976, the Poetry Center of Chicago is an independent not-for-profit literary arts organization that continues to build access to poetry through readings, workshops, residencies, and arts education for Chicago's diverse population. The Poetry Center fortifies its history of provocative and enriching guest performers (Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs gave the center's first reading in the basement of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago) with a keynote performance from Iranian poet/playwright Ezzat Goushegir on Saturday, March 5 at 3 pm. She will be reading from her one-woman play, The Bride of Acacias, about the life of poet Forough Farrokzad.
The performance is one of many events taking place over the next couple of days, and weeks, as the Poetry Center officially moves into the Chicago Cultural Center. Now located in the pedway of the Cultural Center, the new offices include a public art gallery, Welcome Center, workshop space, and the center's administrative headquarters. Other re-opening celebrations include a public reception and commemorative readings beginning Friday, March 4 through Saturday, March 5, noon - 5 pm.
March is Women's History Month; to celebrate, the Chicago Public Library presents "Women in Performing Arts: Women Take the Stage," a program dedicated to women's cultural achievements.
The celebration, in conjunction with the Library's "Celebrating Diversity" campaign, is a full program lineup filled with a variety of events honoring women's contributions to the arts.
One of the premiere events for Women's History Month is "Decades of Dresses: 1905-1991," a showcase of the evolution of women's fashion trends, with collectors Chloe Bert and Ruth Thomas modeling their collection of dresses from the 20th century. This event will be held Tuesday, March 29 at 6pm, at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
Other highlights include "Women 'Firsts' in the Performance Arts," a program highlighting women from different ethnic backgrounds who were trailblazers in the arts, and "Birth of a Label," a discussion centered on T'izm Sound Productions, Chicago's first and only urban music record label.
All events are free and open to the public; see full event calendar for library locations, dates and other scheduling details. For more information, visit a neighborhood library branch or contact 312-747-4300.
Independent curator and arts administrator Karly Wildenhaus' latest solo exhibition, Twice Removed: a Survey of Take Away Work, has already garnered extensive press coverage for its crafty exploration of an object's meaning and place in contemporary art long after its initial exhibition run. Featuring prints, buttons, posters, and other ephemera, Twice Removed is a unique and expertly constructed exhibition based solely on others' work.
Local artist book shop Golden Age will launch the publication component of the exhibition today, from 3 to 5 pm. Wildenhaus, who also wrote the publication, will be on hand to discuss both the exhibition and the publication.
For the past 100 years Ox-Bow (the SAIC-affiliated artist residency/commune/adult summer camp) has hosted a themed costumed dance party and benefit auction every Friday night while classes are in session. Every year the themes get more creative and the dance parties get more epic.
Friday, February 18 they are bringing the party into the city (lucky us!) and they invite you to come dressed as a famous artist or artwork. Eric May, head chef at Ox-Bow and director of Roots and Culture Contemporary Arts Center, will spin funk, soul, dub and reggae CORRECTION: yacht rock/early rave/Moombahton.
It's a snowy December night on the South Side and the ballroom has filled up quickly. There are guys in tailored suits, girls in red-heeled Louboutins. There are pop-gothy capes and futuristic glasses. The crowd is gathered around a catwalk -- and everyone is young, black and queer.
This is a ball. An underground LGBTQ contest where participants compete by "walking" -- showing off themed outfits and voguing -- a stylized house dance that continues to evolve. They are competing for trophies and the hope to become "legendary" -- famous not only in Chicago but the entire community, which now spans the globe. Balls found fame with Paris is Burning, a documentary about the New York scene, but Chicago's had its own ball circuit for as long as New York -- one that has its own trends, culture and history. And as the Internet popularizes the community, Chicago is seeing another wave in the resurgence of balls.
A delightful celebration of subversion is going up at Northwestern University's Block Museum, with a public opening reception tomorrow (Thursday) at 5pm. Two complementary exhibitions are opening: Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England, and The Satirical Edge in Contemporary Prints and Graphics.
The former includes 71 drawings, watercolors, prints, and books by Thomas Rowlandson, a popular English satirist who applied his masterful drawing skills and keen sense of humor to colorful, detailed, and sometimes bawdy depictions of everyday life in and around London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These works offer an entryway into the social and political life of Georgian England. Rowlandson specialized in capturing the follies and foibles on display in his native city during a time of remarkable population growth and social change, as members of differing classes clumsily mixed and mingled for the first time. Click here for a slideshow preview. (Flash)
Baltimore-based theater group, The Missoula Oblongata, is bringing their newest play, Clamlump, to Ball Hall on Monday, Feb. 14. The description of the play is pretty mindboggling except for the bit about it being set "deep in the hollows of a boarded up stadium," but if you check out TMO's website I think you will be convinced to go whether or not you understand what you're going for. The play will feature a live score performed by Travis Sehorn and an opening act by ventriloquist, April Camlin. BYOP(illow) to sit on. Click here to visit the Facebook event page, or here to visit The Missoula Oblongata's website. Ball Hall's address is secret because the city will try to get their hands into the venue's (empty) pockets if they are given the opportunity. If you wanna go, you've gotta find out where it is for yourself. You can thank the city for that. Admission will most likely require a small donation, but has not yet been specified.
Alysse Dalessandro, Matt Kasin, Kirsten Kilponen, Benjamin Bradshaw
What is the aesthetic underground if not constantly evolving? For members of the "vintage underground," this constant evolution concerns space and the possibilities one venue can provide in telling stories of design and style.
The participants in this Friday's DRUNK MALL (Bummer Town, The Gaudy God, Jenstyle, SisterMan, and The Sometimes Store) curate a crafty collection of vintage goods pulled from the stylistically-unique '80s and '90s. Their choices are attuned to the wants of post-modern vintage hunters whose tastes are more than just jeans and a white t-shirt.
DRUNK MALL is not the first event of its kind, and it is the roaming spirit of the event that best defines the idea of the current "vintage underground." The past year included a noticeable increase in these curated, collective, community sales at parties, trunk shows, fashion presentations, and gay night clubs. The attention to vintage wear fits along with the sporadic nature of these events.
"Shopping for vintage is like shopping handmade -- people like this idea of owning something unique and hand-selected rather than buying mass-produced goods," said Alysse Dalessandro, co-owner of The Sometimes Store. And like the items they sell, these sales are one-off events, not permanent fixtures. Blink and you'll miss it.
Inspired by artists and designers who use available analog and digital tools to communicate complex data from the everyday to the very obscure, the Public Media Institute presents Select Media Festival 9: Infoporn II this weekend as an homage to their love for data visualization. A selection of works from around the world takes form in installations, a publication library, interactive projects, and infographics. The exhibition itself will be viewable at Co-Prosperity Sphere for two days only: Friday, Dec. 10 from 7pm to 1am and Saturday Dec. 11 from 2 to 9pm.
Tonight they open SMF9: Infoporn II with the release of their own contribution to the information overload, Proximity Magazine: Issue 008. Themed "Education as Art," their newest issue is a 230-page opus and represents their latest and greatest effort in publishing. Stop by the release party at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar to get a copy at a discount ($10), enjoy some beverages and meet the creators/contributors to the issue.
The Black Ensemble Theater presents its sixth annual Black Playwrights Festival. The festival is produced by the theater's Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI), whose mission is to foster and unite Chicago's African-American playwright community; in addition, the BPI provides workshops, classes and other resources for black writers.
This year's festival opens on Monday, Dec. 6, with readings from works by Black Ensemble Theater Associate Artistic Director, Rueben Echoles, and playwrights Runako Jahi and Wendell Etherly. The evening will also feature a tribute to writer and Chicago native, Eric Monte, of Cooley High and "Good Times" fame.
Sometimes the fashion shows take place in abandoned warehouses on the West Side or in third floor fledgling art galleries in Wicker Park. Occasionally, someone will clear out the knick knacks and sketch pads they normally scatter across the battered love seats of their first apartments in the city. The point, it seems, for a new crop of young designers, is to prove that there is some form of community (albeit smaller and certainly less competitive) in Chicago in a similar vein to more established design cities like New York or Los Angeles. If there are designs to be shown, a venue can be found--or created--to showcase a young designers work.
Every fall, the events of Chicago Fashion Focus primarily take place in the Macy's on State Street or in elaborately constructed tents in Millennium Park. The number of shows, usually less than 10, are a far cry from the fashion week events in smaller cities such as Miami or Minneapolis, and in no way compare to the extravaganza known as New York Fashion Week. With the demise of GenArt, the opportunities for local emerging designers to showcase their work during Fashion Focus is even less than during the event's first fledgling years in the early aughts. The results of this post-Gen Art era in the Chicago fashion scene has been ignored, or largely disjointed. For young designers obtaining their degrees from local art colleges such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, and the Illinois Institute of Art, the disconnect between their academic pursuits and the communities or opportunities available has been a wake-up call and the inspiration to pursue more DIY-generated opportunities for exposure and experience.
In the spirit of this DIY-ethos, Carmen McGhee and Aris Sergakis, two fashion design students from the Illinois Institute of Art, came together to produce "UNEARTHED," an evening dedicated to the young emerging fashion designers of the city.
Kate Bush is not a recluse as much as she is an artist who understands the importance of patience (and perhaps perfectionism) when creating music. Her work ethic is counter to contemporary music trends where a new record must be released each year to sustain an increasingly finicky international audience. This great span of time between albums has subsequently helped sustain an entrenched cult fan base whose devotion is now heard through musicians such as British chanteuse Bat For Lashes, Icelandic gem Bjork, Tori Amos, as well as newer singers like Lia Ices or Glasser.
It is in the interest of Bush's local fanbase that writer Joe Erbentraut (along with promoter Joshua Wulbert) created "A Tribute to Kate Bush," an evening dedicated to Ms. Bush, as well as the numerous singers whose aesthetics are closely related to or influenced by her work.
The idea for the evening originated organically. One bout of procrastination a few months ago led Erbentraut to his vinyl collection which includes many albums by the singer. He then mentioned the idea to Wulbert, a DJ and promoter for the monthly "gothy, dark, and swirly" party Procession, held at Late Bar.
"In recent memory, I've heard of tribute nights to Bjork, Robyn, Annie Lennox and Fleetwood Mac, and thought Kate more than deserved the same here in Chicago," Erbentraut said. The event is not only unique to Chicago; it is also unique across many cities nationally, as Bush's fan base has, only recently, begun to celebrate her truly unique sound.
Though the festival isn't until January, tickets for the Tenth Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Fest go on sale tomorrow at noon. Claim your seat early and be rewarded with a discounted ticket price for your early bird ways. The festival, which runs from January 6 to January 16, will feature 129 groups, a Sketch Fest record. The shows will take place at Stage773, which is now under the management of Festival director Brian Posen, so he promises many encouraging new changes, including, but not limited to, cheaper beer prices.
The festival's performance dates and times are: Thursdays at 8 and 9:30pm, Fridays at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11pm, Saturdays at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11pm, and Sundays at 2:30, 4, 5:30, and 7pm. (Sunday, January 9 also features a 1pm performance.) Tickets are $14 each and go on sale Friday, Nov. 19 at noon; tickets purchased by December 31 will be discounted to $12.50. Tickets can be purchased at www.Stage773.com, by phone at 773-327-5252, and in person at the box office. All performances will take place at the recently acquired and soon-to-be renovated Stage773 building, located at 1225 W. Belmont.
Martine Syms and Marco Kane Braunchweiler of the West Loop art shop/community space Golden Age once again demonstrate a potent knack for exhibiting up-and-coming artists primed for success. The shop's latest project features Jon Rafman in his first solo exhibition, The Age Demanded. In the exhibition, Rafman mixes a variety of different media (video, photography, and painting) in celebration and critique of technology and the "consciousness" it reflects. The Age Demanded opens tonight and included an "existential tour" through Second Life, the still-popular virtual environment that eerily promotes and masks different facets of contemporary life.
The opening lasts from 6pm to 9pm, and the exhibition runs through December 10. Golden Age is locate at 119 N Peoria, #2D.
Alright, people. If this doesn't sound like fun to you, you're absolutely hopeless: this Saturday Oct. 30, artists Mike Bancroft and Evan Plummer of Garage Spaces team up with The Hyde Park Art Center to bring you S***, Shower, and Shave. Part of HPAC's fabulous-sounding "Mischief Weekend" festival, S***, Shower, and Shave will begin with a tutorial on how to create your own arsenal out of a modified shaving cream can, then visitors will be released into a 60-foot soft sculpture tunnel to engage in shaving cream combat. What's better than that?
S***, Shower, and Shave is only one of several events/exhibitions the HPAC has organized for "Mischief Night," which takes place at the museum this Saturday from 1 to 10pm, and is described by the HPAC as "celebrating the subversive, the weird, the illusive nature of art and artists." I highly recommend checking them all out here.
The work of glass Maestro Lino Tagliapietra in Holsten Galleries booth at SOFA CHICAGO last year, photo courtesy of SOFA
For those of you who are planning on going to the SOFA/Intuit Outsider Art fairs next weekend (November 5 - 7 at Navy Pier), we have good news: you can get half off your tickets if you use the code "ARTFAIR" when visiting the Tickets & Showtimes link at www.sofaexpo.com.
Better yet, you can register with Intuit here for a FREE ticket, plus they'll get a donation for every complementary ticket that is turned in.
Before the discount, general admission is $15 per ticket-- this admits visitors to both fairs and their related lecture series, special exhibits and events. Both fairs kick-off with a joint Opening Night Preview in Festival Hall on Thursday, Nov. 4. The public is invited to attend from 7 to 9pm for $50.
Everyone knows the story of gentrification. Artists and other progressive people move to low-income neighborhoods looking for a good deal on a big space in the city. This attracts investors and developers, and the next thing you know, the original occupants of the neighborhood — including small businesses, families and even the artists themselves — are priced out of their homes to make room for culturally bankrupt replacements. The charm of the neighborhood is beaten out of it.
Because of the housing market crash, along with foreclosures, the gentrification process has pretty much come to a halt in many parts of the city. A classic case of this in Chicago, for better of worse, is Garfield Park. Real estate in the neighborhood was highly sought after during the real estate boom because of its proximity to downtown and to the CTA and Metra trains, as well as the beloved Garfield Park Conservatory and the sprawling park itself, but has since been given up on by many developers. Now it is home to clusters of vacant lots and buildings, but what a lot of people don't realize is that a surprising number of the buildings that are occupied are occupied by artists. Not just any artists, either. Artists who aren't afraid to take risks, who dance to the beat of their own drums, who make some of the most engaging work and eclectic work around.
Alma Weiser, the self-described "mother" of Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park, is also a local fashion designer whose inspirations range from Japanese anti-fashion designers of the 80s to the aesthetics of futurism. Her latest collection, Irregular a fashion homage by Renovar, premieres this Saturday at Heaven Gallery (1550 N Milwaukee, 2nd floor). Below, Weiser discusses her background, inspiration, goals for the future, and why a cute vintage dress dress is beneficial for more people than one would assume.
What were your inspirations?
I'm really inspired by Japanese designers. They're incredible. The work that they do is art. When I decided what I was going to do my next collection on, I just thought, "Japanese!" In the early 1980s, Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Yamamoto, they basically took Paris by storm. It was this whole movement that was anti-fashion. It wasn't this beautiful, form-fitting clothing anymore, showing the natural silhouette of the woman. It was more about the clothes being a second skin. It was just incredible. They came at the perfect moment. That's how movements are made. Somebody's doing something, and then that movement comes, and they're doing it simultaneously. I always admire when that happens. It's also about re-thinking your clothes, being as creative as possible as you can with the clothes. The image of Comme de Garcons is wearable art for the most thought-provoking, interesting, clothing you can think of.
On an eclectic strip of North Broadway St. in East Lakeview sits a new(ish) store called Inkling, where Stephanie Keller sells her wares-- from hand-printed wrapping paper and greeting cards made by local artists to wacky porcelain knickknacks she's collected at antique stores and estate sales over the years. It's like Etsy, but you get to touch stuff.
The store oozes cozy creativity and smells really good, too. There are so many interesting objects packed into the space that a fair viewing will probably require a good half hour, at least. Take your time. I would recommend bringing a coffee to aid with digestion and a few bucks, because you're going to want to buy something. Luckily, though, a few bucks are all you'll need because the prices are surprisingly low, especially considering that many of the items are hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces. $5-$10 will get you a quirky, thoughtful little birthday/housewarming/baby shower gift for someone and $20 will get you an original screenprint.
On Friday, October 22 from 3 to 4pm, Jiang Jun, editor-in-chief of Urban China magazine, takes over the MCA Chicago facebook page and will be answering questions. In anticipation of this online open forum, audiences can also post questions to the MCA Chicago facebook page throughout the week. The three most "vocal fans" will be chosen to meet Jun, take a private tour of the the museum's latest exhibition, Urban China: Informal Cities, and get prime seating at the Informal Cities Colloquium, taking place this Sunday.
Urban China: Informal Cities explores the repercussions of urbanism in global cities. The exhibition arrives at a particularly rapt moment, when half of the world's population lives in these continuously evolving environments (either out of necessity or pleasure).
During Sunday's colloquium, audience members are invited to join a discussion about global informal urban development and led by four architecture practitioners or writers. More information about the colloquium is available in Slowdown.
Bridgeport is home to a surprisingly bustling artistic community, from Co-Prosperity Sphere, run by the Public Media Institute to the Zhou B. Art Center. In an effort to raise awareness of that fact, the cultural spaces down there have teamed together for a "Bridgeport Art Walk" this weekend. At least seven (but probably more) exhibition/production spaces will open up to the public for us to meander around and gawk at their wares. The CAR website says that the walk will kick off each day (Friday, Oct. 15, Saturday and Sunday) at the Bridgeport Art Center at 1200 W 35th Street with the artists of Eastbank studios and then scatter throughout the neighborhood.
Luna Negra Dance Theater opens its 2010-2011 Chicago Season on October 16. Fans won't want to miss this performance, the company's first production under the direction of new Artistic Director Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. Luna Negra will perform the world premiere of Sansano's "Toda una Vida," the North American Premiere of "Bate" by Frenando Melo, and a revival of "Deshár Alhát," by Luna Negra's founder Eduardo Vilaro. Follwoing the perfromance the company presents the Noche Luna Gala including festive cocktails, savory Latin cuisine, and dancing to the sounds of Latin band Son de la Habana.
The fall performance takes place Saturday, October 16, at 6:30 pm, at Harris Theater in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph St. Tickets are $25-$55, and may be purchased by calling 312-334-7777 or visiting www.harristheater.org. Reservations for the Nocha Luna Gala may be made by calling 312-337-6882.
Winifred Haun & Dancers' Flash Mob at the Milwaukee Ave Arts Festival
You've imagined the stumped looks on the faces of unassuming bystanders. You've be dying to find out what it would be like to bust out your dance moves on a seemingly random day, in a seemingly random public place. Guess what? Here's your chance to join a flash mob!
Winifred Haun & Dancers are hosting a flash mob in Oak Park on Saturday, October 9 as part of Oak Park's annual Artrageous!. One performance will take place on the steps of the Hemingway Museum (aka Arts Center), 339 N. Oak Park Ave., at 11 am, and the other on the plaza of the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St. at 12 pm. You'll be dancing to the tunes of Stevie Wonder and George Crumb. There will be professional dancers dancing with you, so you'll have somewhere to turn if you forget your moves.
It was all about the laughs for Columbia College Chicago last weekend as the school celebrated its annual "Alumni Weekend." The festivities, which consisted of various panels, workshops and other activities, were an opportunity to network and re-connect with alumni from a variety of fields.
For the "Laugh Track" part of the weekend, some of the school's most notable alumni from the entertainment industry convened for "The Business of Being Funny," a panel discussion where they shared memories of their time as students at Columbia and also discussed how they parlayed their comedic talent into a business.
Held at the college's Getz Theater, the panel, made up of funny folks from the world of stand-up and improvisational comedy, writing, acting and directing, included author Karyn Bosnak, writer/director Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine), comedienne Erica Watson, film editor Peter Teschner, writer/director Chris McKay (Robot Chicken) and actor/comedian Andy Richter ("Late Night With Conan O'Brien").
In celebration of ten years at their 1306 S. Michigan Ave. location, the Dance Center of Columbia College will present 13 hours of free dance performances, workshops, and classes on Saturday, Sept. 25. The event, 1306 - Ten Years Later, will fill the studios, theater, hallways, and even the stairwells of 1306 S. Michigan Ave. with activity from 10 am until 11 pm. Whether looking to learn how to dance, or to sit down and enjoy innovative contemporary pieces, audiences of all ages will find something to enjoy at 1306 - Ten Years Later.
Have you ever wondered how to experience Italy without even having to go to O'Hare or Midway? For the attendees of the fourth annual Italian Expo, no plane tickets or passports were needed; just a trip downtown was all that was necessary for a fabulous Italian getaway.
Held this weekend at Navy Pier and hosted by the Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest (IACC), the Expo focused on the country's Lombardy region, (Lombardia in Italian); over 100 vendors and organizations from both Italy and the United States provided Chicagoans with a true taste of the country widely known for its rich and diverse culture.
For Fulvio Calcinardi, IACC's Executive Director, Italian Expo allowed attendees a chance to truly experience Italy in Chicago and provided the opportunity to see "gorgeous fashion, cutting-edge product design and hand-crafted masterpieces, all of which and more can be enjoyed right here in Chicago during Italian Expo."
Former Gapers Block writer and photographer extraordinare, Brian Leli, has started a website called Noun/Verb where he posts his interviews with and profiles of interesting artists of all sorts, among other things. "Noun/Verb is devoted to artists and their actions," he explains. "Those driven to look further inside and out, to inspire and to be inspired--Noun/Verb explores boldly passionate individuals and the things that they do."
A substantial part of this project will be the "Live Talks" series, which is what it sounds like-- live interviews with artists in public places. The first of the series, an interview with Matt Shaw of The Spend, will take place tomorrow evening at The Hideout. Click here for details on that event. Whether or not you're not able to make it out to that, definitely keep an eye on Noun/Verb and keep your ears peeled for future Live Talks events.
This story was submitted by Gapers Block Book Club and Drive-Thru writer, Ruthie Kott. All photos in this article were taken by Louis Terry.
The Chicago Temple's Dixon Chapel was packed for the July 23 open mic the night before the seventh annual Chicago Disability Pride Parade, and the food at the back of the room was just crumbs by the time Eli Clare got up to the microphone. His was the last performance of the night, and people were excited to hear him speak. When he introduced one of his poems, "How to Talk to a New Lover About Cerebral Palsy," the audience laughed. "I know that I'm home when people laugh," said Clare, a writer and speaker who was born with CP. When he shares the poem with more able-bodied audiences, he said, they just look sad.
He started to read: "Tell her: Complete strangers / have patted my head, kissed / my cheek, called me courageous." And when he got to the part about the woman asking about the difference between CP and MS--"refrain from handing her an encyclopedia"--the audience in the room laughed again. Clare briefly interrupted the poem. "Yeah, I'm home," he said, smiling.
Clare, a disability-rights and LGBTQ activist, was the 2010 parade's grand marshal. Living in Vermont's Green Mountains, he says, "I've made home in the disability community for nearly 25 years, and to be honored by that community in this way is bigger than I can express in words." It's a burgeoning community, one that's only recently begun to discover its voice, and Chicago, with the first disability-studies PhD program in the world at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a center for disability-rights activism. People come from all over the region to participate in the parade, also the first of its kind in the world--in the past, there have been groups from Norway (they've since started a disability pride parade in Oslo), and this year there was a contingent from Korea.
Kauffman, "Untitled" (New Nest), photo courtesy of the artist
Denver folk artist Max Kauffman makes art about things that seem like they deserve to have art made about them. His new solo show, which opens tomorrow night at Pawn Works, is about the things we hold dear-- our beliefs, our idols, our relics and our nostalgic ephemera. He is interested in what these things actually represent and why we, as human beings, become so attached to them. How do inanimate objects garner so much strength and importance? He believes we are actually "pulling on the strength within ourselves, our thoughts and spirits, when we look to these things."
With this collection of his work, titled R'fuah, he poses the question: "Does this renewal, this evolution of this cycle of spirit and material make us more or less human? By putting our faith in objects, are we overpowering or overpowered?"
R'fuah will feature new mixed media paintings on paper and wood, ceramic works and a site-specific installation. The opening for this exhibit will be from tomorrow, Friday September 10 from 6 to 10pm at Pawn Works: 1050 N. Damen Ave. If you miss the opening, the show will be up through October 10 by appointment.
Redmoon is, of course, well known for its large-scale theatrical events -- even they prefer to refer to them as spectacles, because "play" just doesn't capture what they do. Their latest is the Joyous Outdoor Event, aka J.O.E. It's being staged in South Belmont Harbor Park, at Belmont and Lake Shore Drive, in collaboration with the Metro/smartbar and Chicago Park District. Among the many goings-on are concerts by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, My Gold Mask and others (curated by Metro); performances by Redmoon and other theatre troupes; a clown fashion show; games, races and tugs-of-war; soapbox speeches on Labor Day; and The Luminarium, the large explorable structure pictured above. Each evening culminates in a performance of Redmoon's Last of My Species II: The Perilous Songs of Bibi Merhdad, billed as a sequel to last year's spectacle.
J.O.E. runs Thursday, Sept. 2 from 6 to 10pm; Friday, Sept. 3 from 6 to 10pm; Saturday, Sept. 4 from 1 to 10pm; Sunday, Sept. 5 from 1 to 10pm; and Monday, Sept.6 from 1 to 6pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids.
Summertime in Chicago has become synonymous with outdoor festivals, and this year is certainly no different. The African Festival of the Arts, one of the city's largest festivals, has truly become one of the "must attend" events of the summer.
A staple event of the African International House, this four-day festival, taking place over the Labor Day holiday weekend, offers the best in African culture; in addition, the festival features a variety of vendors with unique African-themed sculptures, paintings, fashion and other forms of art. For festival producer Patrick Woodtor, this event is not only for the African community, but also for all of Chicago's diverse neighborhoods. "The festival offers something for everyone and all communities in Chicago," said Woodtor. "Our mission is to educate our audiences about Africa, the cradle of civilization, while celebrating her significance and impact on mankind."
Unemployed? Maybe you're sitting around in your pajamas at 2 in the afternoon watching Hulu in between bouts of job searching on Craigslist. Maybe you're training yourself to eat like an eighteen year old again because you can't afford grown-up food anymore. Maybe you're getting a little depressed because all you're finding is jobs you don't want. Or maybe you're finding jobs you'd love to have but you're bombing at the interviews.
You know what you need? You need some moral support. And maybe a beer, too.
Fellow A/C writer Whitney Stoepel has teamed up with the super-talented and hilarious local writer Natalie Edwards and created an unemployment club of sorts, called "The Bench", which meets at the Maproom every Friday at 1pm. Armed with pints of beer and/or fancy coffee, they go over resumes, share job-finding tips and techniques as well as interesting job opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, they pat each other on the back and give each other a reason to get out of their pajamas and go out into the world every Friday. Every meeting focuses on a theme, like how to interview well and how to stay relevant in your field while working freelance jobs to get by.
Mysticism and folklore are really hot right now. Don't believe me? There are two art shows opening in August that flirt with those themes. First, Hey, We're All Beginners Here! opens at Roots and Culture on Friday. The show, organized by The Network of Crowded Art is inspired by a multi-headed hydra in that it utilizes multiple voices and activities to "illuminate our historical moment and paths into the future." Through a series of workshops, field trips, performances and exhibitions, the events at Roots and Culture are designed to make you think about what we're doing here on earth (I think.) Hey, We're All Beginners Here is a trans-temporal, trans-spatial, trans-disciplinary exhibition (a big show!) of mutating, mutable work by a cast of talented marginal characters. Among those contributing are Robin Hustle, Sarah Kavage, Pennie Brinson, Salem Collo-Julin, Sarah Ross, Red76, Sarah Smizz, Courtney Moran, and Park McArthur. The exhibition includes drawings, an open stage and pulpit, a book making work shop, good food, video, wheat grass, and a bike ride to Schaumburg.
The Black Women's Expo is traditionally known for having something in store for everyone, and this year is no different.
Now in its 17th year, this two-day event, held on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8, will feature educational seminars, literary and music workshops and live entertainment for all attendees.
On Saturday during the expo, the big and small screens will be celebrated with the "Film, Screenwriters and Television Seminar." Geared towards aspiring filmmakers, a panel of industry figures, including actor Ernest Thomas ("What's Happening!!," "Everybody Hates Chris"), Chicago native and actress Cynda Williams (One False Move, Mo Better Blues, Introducing: Dorothy Dandridge) and producer and director Darryl Roberts, will speak to audience members about how to get started in and maintain a career in filmmaking.
Other events include a fashion show and a poetry showcase featuring spoken word artists.
The Black Women's Expo will be held at the McCormick Place's North Building, Hall C1, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Saturday, Aug. 7, 10am-8pm and Sunday, Aug. 8, 11am-7pm. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children and seniors. For more information about other events during the expo weekend, visit the website or contact 312-243-3554.
Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston in the 1925 silent film The Freshman.
At the six corners of Irving, Milwaukee, and Cicero, a couple doors north of a store that has the words "Thom McCann" embedded in gold script in the entryway, and across from what used to be a restaurant called Mr. Steer, is the Portage Theater. Built in 1920, and refurbished in recent years (it was used as a location for the 2008 film Public Enemies), it has been home to the Silent Film Society of Chicago's annual Silent Summer Film Festival for a number of years.
The West End Jazz Band made an appearance Friday night to mark the opening of this year's festival, warming up the audience as advertisements for area merchants, most of whom I'd never heard of before, were projected onto the screen: Tunar Design Group; Safety Signs & Lighting; and one that said, simply "Advertise On This Screen, $25".
Organist Dennis Scott, dressed in a tuxedo, introduced the film lineup to the audience: a 1919 short starring Harold Lloyd and Bibi Daniels entitled Bumping into Broadway; and the main event -- the 1925 film The Freshman.
Chicago area visual artists are encouraged to submit work to an art exhibition to kick off Chicago Artists Month that will sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Arts District and Gapers Block. A panel of three Gapers Block staffers will curate the show, and selected artists will participate in the exhibition on Friday, October 1 from 6-10pm at 2001 S. Halsted Street.
The Summer Stone Theory Institute presents an informal lecture by James Elkins in the Morton auditorium at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., on July 18 at 1pm. This year's event addresses one of the central puzzles of contemporary art practice: the choice between continuations of modernism with its aesthetic values and the many kinds of postmodernism, which include politics, gender and identity.
Local designer t-shirt phenomenon Threadless is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a two-month tour of the country -- and Canada! -- in a custom Airstream and van.
The tour kicks off with a party today at Threadless HQ, 4043 N. Ravenswood Ave., from 2 to 5pm. Check out the trailer, draw on the city mural, and enjoy Flirty Cupcakes, games and prizes -- including four VIP passes to Pitchfork Music Festival and cool 10th anniversary swag bags.
After the send-off, the trailer's headed to San Francisco, LA and down to San Diego for Comic-Con. On Sept. 11 it'll roll through Chicago for the fourth annual Threadless Family Reunion at the Bottom Lounge -- to which you're invited. From there, it's off to Canada and the East Coast through early October. There's an anniversary party and book release planned, again at Bottom Lounge, for Oct. 10 (get it? 10/10/10!) with details to come.