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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, December 6

Gapers Block

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Media Fri Apr 10 2015

Help Wanted: Arts & Culture Writers

A/C is looking for new contributors who are passionate about the arts and about Chicago. We'd like to have some new writers who are interested in covering all forms of the arts--theater, dance, comedy, fashion, circuses and other forms of performance plus visual arts, photography, architecture and design. We like to highlight the quirky nature of the arts in Chicago too, so feel free to suggest something new. If you're interested, we would love to hear from you.

As a contributor to Gapers Block, you would be expected to write at least one post a week for the A/C page, plus items for the Slowdown event calendar. We are looking for writers who can cover the arts in general or who are especially interested in one of the forms above. (If you'd like to write about music, that comes under the Transmission or Music page.)

NOTE: Gapers Block is a volunteer entity; while the position is unpaid, writers benefit from building clips; receiving free admission to plays, performances and other cultural events; media access to press conferences and other events; and occasionally other perks.

If you are interested in writing about arts and culture for Gapers Block, please send two to three writing samples, a little note about yourself and why you would like to write for GB to with the subject line, "Contributing to the A/C page."

Nancy Bishop

Art Sun Jun 02 2013

Intel's Global Tour Comes to Grant Park


Experience interactive art from Intel at Grant Park Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9 at "Experience Intel. Look Inside." This global tour aims to introduce customers to the Intel's broad array of innovative devices. The Grant Park installation will combine art, film, fashion, music, and interactive performances that are all powered by Ultrabook. The weekend will include an interactive installation from Universal Everything, a gaming experience from Hide & Seek and a visual history of computing by The Office for Creative Research. Bring your old laptops to be recycled and receive a discount coupon redeemable for a new Ultrabook. In addition, several Ultrabooks will be given away to guests every day of the installation. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy

Caitlin Bergh

Art Wed May 15 2013

War Baby/Love Child: Free Artist Talk Tonight with Mequitta Ahuja


Tonight from 6-8pm, join the DePaul Art Museum (935 W Fullerton) for a free artist talk with Mequitta Ahuja, whose mixed-media drawings are part of the current exhibition at DPAM, "War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art." Exploring constructed Asian American identities in the US, "War Baby/Love Child" is a multi-faceted project that includes a book, traveling art exhibition, website and blog. The project examines if, and how, mixed heritage is expressed in the artwork of Asian Americans. Multi-media works, including video and installation, bring to light the overlap of race, war and imperialism, gender and sexuality, and citizenship and nationality.

View a trailer for the project here:

"War Baby/Love Child" is at DPAM (939 W Fullerton) from April 25-June 30. Photos courtesy of

Caitlin Bergh

Radio Mon Apr 01 2013

WVON Turns 50: An Interview with Melody Spann-Cooper


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.

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams

Preview Fri Aug 03 2012

The CFA Mixes it Up

The Chicago Film Archives is dedicated to preserving and cataloging films that reflect Chicago and Midwest history and culture. In this spirit, the organization is hosting its first annual fundraiser, the CFA Media Mixer, featuring three newly commissioned video pieces created by three video/film artists and three audio artists. The night will be hosted by WBEZ's Alison Cuddy on Friday, Aug. 17.

The video pieces were constructed in parts over the last two months. In June, the video/film artists worked with footage from the CFA's collections. Each visual piece was then handed off to an audio partner who spent the month of July composing an accompanying sound track. The final products will be premiered the night of the fundraiser.

Continue reading this entry »

Janna Dons

Media Tue Mar 06 2012

Ladies Do It All Festival

LDIA-LOGO.jpgIt's strictly all about the ladies at the Ladies Do It All Festival; sponsored by YOUmedia and the Digital Youth Network, this action-packed, three-day arts and media festival will feature workshops and seminars, a film screening, and other programs that center on views of women in media and society at-large.

Some of the festival's highlights include a panel on women in media featuring Digital Youth Network founder Dr. Nichole Pinkard and music journalist, Arasia Magnetic; a hip-hop dance workshop with Chicago's Boogie McClarin, and a seminar with filmmaker Sanicole, who will discuss the business of filmmaking and how to break into the industry.

The Ladies Do It All Festival runs Wednesday and Thursday, Mar. 7-8, and Saturday, Mar. 10, at the Harold Washington Library's YOUmedia Center, 400 S. State St. Admission to the festival is free; for a complete workshop schedule, visit the festival's website.

LaShawn Williams

Video Wed Nov 16 2011

Kyles' HR X-Files

You know Kyra Kyles from her column in the Red Eye. What you may not have known is that she's also an aspiring filmmaker. Kyles and her sister, Kozi, recently released the trailer for their first project, "Human Resources," a web series starring puppets that she describes as "'Sesame Street' meets the 'X Files'" that debuts today.

You can read a full interview with the Kyles sisters in Tuesday's Truth B Told newsletter.

Andrew Huff

Art Thu Sep 01 2011

What's Happening with Jettison Quarterly

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.

Britt Julious

Media Tue Oct 05 2010

Bringing Sexy Black

The commercials for Go Daddy ( certainly have their fair share of "eye candy" for the guys, but what about women? For Chicago comic/improv actor and writer Jamie Black, it's high time the online giant added some sexy men to its roster of commercials.

Black, a graduate of Second City's Writing Program, is a contestant in Go Daddy's Commercial Contest, where the winners walk away with fabulous cash prizes up to $250,000.

Click here for Black's Go Daddy contest entry. Online voting is still open; click on "rate this video" at the bottom to vote for the hometown guy.

LaShawn Williams

Media Thu Apr 29 2010

Peter Dziak: "Someone You Should Know"

Who is Peter Dziak? According to CBS 2's Harry Porterfield, he is definitely "someone you should know."

Peter, who hails from suburban Villa Park and is a member of Chicago's Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, recently came in second place in Scotland's World Irish Dancing Championships.

For this 12-year-old, Irish dancing was not exactly at the front of his mind; he learned about the art through his older siblings, and simply thought it would be cool to "just try out."

To read more about Peter, go to CBS 2's website.

LaShawn Williams

Film Tue Apr 13 2010

Immigrant Nation, at the Chicago Latino Film Festival

The upcoming Chicago Latino Film Festival is going to be filled with great works from around the world, but one of the most anticipated Chicago debuts will be very local. Esaú Meléndez, a local filmmaker, is making waves with his documentary Immigrant Nation: A Battle for the Dream. He is excited to make the films local debut after recently winning the Cine Latino Award at the 2010 DC International Film Fest.

Continue reading this entry »

MartinJon / Comments (3)

Film Thu Mar 25 2010

The Street Stops Here


The streets of Jersey City are littered with drugs, violence, and influences that could easily take a promising young man and swallow up his potential. That street ends at the steps of St. Anthony High School, where Bob Hurley has coached the Friars basketball team to 24 state titles in 35 years, and has sent all but two of the hundreds of players that cross his court on to college. The Street Stops Here, which held its Chicago premiere at the Chicago History Museum on March 24, is an uplifting documentary about a team that is fighting not only to win, but to succeed in the greater game of life. Lucky for them, they have a legendary coach who refuses to accept anything less.

Continue reading this entry »

Britany Robinson

Media Fri Feb 26 2010

"Awthentik" Poetry

To be called "phenomenal" by noted poet and author Sonia Sanchez is a great thing--especially if you're a young up-and-coming poet on the scene. An article in today's Chicago Sun-Times features Chicago's own Johnetta Anderson, aka "Awthentik," a spoken word artist who really blew Sanchez away Wednesday evening at the DuSable Museum's "Sankofa Sista's" poetry event.

LaShawn Williams

Television Mon Feb 22 2010

Stephen Colbert's Better Know a District- Illinois's 5th

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District - Illinois's 5th
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

Chicagoans are full of pride in their city as a whole, but we all tend to identify ourselves with cross streets and "El" stops. From the Wicker Park Hipsters to the Wrigleyville Frat Boys, we all have a love/hate relationship with our respective hoods. Stephen Colbert picked up on this neighborhoodiness, in a brief segment celebrating those sectioned off to the north side of Chicago- "Better Know a District- Illinois's fifth." In this video, Colbert discusses the Cubs of Wrigleyville, the "Bears" of Boystown, and the foul-mouthed Vienna Beef establishment, The Weiner Circle. I think we're getting made fun of for the most part, but when Colbert is doing the name-calling, you take it with pride!

Britany Robinson

Media Wed Jan 13 2010

Chicago Community Trust Wins Second Knight Foundation Grant

The Chicago Community Trust has received a second journalism-oriented grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The $202,000 grant is from the foundation's Knight Community Information Challenge and will provide funding for a second year of the Community News Matters program, of which Gapers Block is an awardee. Other regional recipients of the Challenge include community foundations in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The official summary of the Trust's project reads as follows:

To stimulate new ways to provide the Chicago region with critical local news and information, The Chicago Community Trust has launched Community News Matters, a grant program to support the city's media innovators. The Knight Foundation support will help fund projects designed to increase the flow of high-quality information to the public and to develop new distribution and business models. In addition, the Trust will conduct a study examining the region's information infrastructure -- its strengths and weaknesses -- and convene a conference on the topic.

David Schalliol

Television Fri Dec 18 2009

CounterPoint: Music and Life for Teens

Chicago native Morris Brent has always had music on his mind; with over 15 years as a music professional, he has written songs, managed artists, and has even fronted his own band. He has now added to his passion for "music and life" by creating CounterPoint, a positive outlet for teens who are interested in pursuing a career in music. When it comes to providing positive opportunities for teens, Brent gets "the point."

Tell us about CounterPoint.
The CounterPoint Music and Life Workshop is an eight week program that is also an after-school arts program for kids who are interested in pursuing music. It is designed to bring out the positive aspects of music as it relates to life.


What are the criteria to join?
Only one: They must be passionate about music. Once they're in the program, they are required to improve in at least one of three key areas--attendance, grades, or behavior.

Why did you decide to create the program?
There are kids who want to be hip-hop artists, DJs, poets, singers, etc. I noticed that there really isn't a specific platform for this in high schools today; to be involved with music, you have to basically be either in the choir or in the band.

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams / Comments (3)

Media Tue Nov 24 2009

Steve Harvey's Holiday Tour

steveharvey.jpgComedian Steve Harvey is good at making people laugh, but he's also good at something else: giving back.

On Monday, the radio host, actor and best-selling author came to Chicago to spread some holiday cheer. "Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart," said Harvey. For the Thanksgiving holiday, Harvey and his wife, Marjorie, handed out turkeys and turkey sausage to families on Chicago's West Side and in south suburban Markham.

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams / Comments (12)

Literary Tue Nov 10 2009

Chicago's New Literary Community

Wednesday, November 11 at 4:30 in the Sullivan Galleries (7th floor, 33 S. State St.), F Newsmagazine and the Art Institutes's MFA Writing Department are hosting a roundtable discussion about Chicago's burgeoning new literary community. Featuring novelist Kyle Beachy, playwright Chris Bower, blogger Jac Jemc, Assistant Director of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance Mairead Case, Quickies! founder Lindsay Hunter and Featherproof Books founder Zach Dodson. Moderated by MFAW Department head Sara Levine.

Whitney Stoepel

Media Thu Nov 05 2009

Gapers Block Among Recipients of Chicago News Matters Grants

Gapers Block is one of 12 recipients of Community News Matters grants from the Chicago Community Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Community Information Challenge. The Chicago News Matters grant initiative awarded $500,000 in grants to non-profit and for-profit organizations to spur innovation and growth of new sources of quality local news in Chicago. Gapers Block is receiving $35,000 to expand our original local reporting, with a priority on stories about underserved communities and issues that affect them.

We're extremely honored to have been chosen to receive this award, which will allow us to begin paying staff members to write feature articles and pay the editorial staff a bit more than we do right now. While we're still far from paying everyone for everything they contribute to the site -- with around 100 contributors producing thousands of posts a year, we'd need a lot more than $35,000 to do that -- it's a great first step toward that eventual goal.

We'll be sharing details of our plans for the grant with our staff and the public soon. In the meantime, we'd like to thank the Chicago Community Trust, the MacArthur Foundation and the Knight Foundation -- and congratulate the other award recipients. This is a very positive day for the future of Chicago journalism.

Read the full news release after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Art Wed Oct 21 2009

I <3 the Internet

Forgive me if this is old news, but I've just discovered the goldmine of videos on CAN TV's website. This is especially exiting because I don't have cable, so I don't get CAN TV on my television, which seems ironic somehow, but whatever. Money doesn't grow on trees.

Anyway, check out the great videos they've got on there. The local events videos are super interesting, and they have a pretty awesome collection of art-related stuff. Like this video documentation of a recent Artists at Work forum about how to make money outside of the white cube.

Kelly Reaves

Media Fri Sep 11 2009

Chi-Town Daily News Dies, New Venture Rises from the Ashes

ctdn_mast.jpgChi-Town Daily News, one of the first and more prominent efforts to create a citizen journalism-driven online newspaper, has laid off its entire staff, effective yesterday.

One of the laid off writers, Peter Sachs, who also writes for A.V. Club Chicago, told that publication that "Geoff told us Wednesday that we were out of money, and that was it," and that the staff would not be compensated for their time in the most recent pay period. That's an unfortunate outcome, but if the organization is out of money, the Daily News had no choice.

While the Chi-Town Daily News is essentially down, it's not out quite yet, and what began there is actually evolving into something new. Here is part of a statement from Editor-in-Chief Geoff Dougherty today:

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (18)

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

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

By Nancy Bishop

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

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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