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. ✶
Beowulf & Grendel, a reading of a new adaptation of the classic story, will be presented by the Phantom Collective Sunday evening, Dec. 20, at Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant.
Chicago author June Sawyers has combined Beowulf, the Old English epic poem, with Grendel, one of Beowulf's antagonists (dramatized in John Gardner's 1971 novel, Grendel, in which that character tells his side of the story).
Si Osborne directs actors Stephen O'Connell and Andrew Rathgeber, with music by Sean Cleland and sound design by John Szymanski.
Palace of the Occult takes place at a 1933 Berlin society gathering and tells the story of the popular psychic, Erik Jan Hanussen, who later became Adolf Hitler's psychic adviser. The production is based on the life of an obscure character who may have played a significant role in World War II.
Neil Tobin, a Chicago performer, magician and psychic, wrote and performs Palace of the Occult, which takes place at the opening of the venue. He presides as Hanussen, the Jewish clairvoyant whose prophecies of victory gave Hitler confidence in his war strategy. Hanussen tells stories and performs magic and psychic demonstrations, some of which involve audience interaction. Jack Dryden, Carter Petray and David Weiner play other roles.
This holiday season marks the end of a 28-year-old Chicago tradition. The Joffrey Ballet presents Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker for the last time this year, with 24 performances from tonight to December 27.
Joffrey's version of The Nutcracker, which he choreographed in 1987, takes place in a 19th-century American home, replacing the former traditional European backdrop. The tale follows the main character, Clara, as she attends a Christmas Eve celebration, surrounded by toys from Joffrey's childhood. Following the celebration, Clara is transported to a world of battling toy soldiers and mice, an enchanted forest, the Sugar Plum Fairy and, of course, the Nutcracker.
Perhaps you've noticed the street banners parading in downtown, or are a returning shopper, but next month, the One of a Kind Show and Sale will return for its 15th annual holiday sale. The handmade shopping event will include more than 600 artists, craft makers and designers from all over the United States.
Wim Wenders: On the Road Again is the title of a retrospective of films by the great German director, now screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. Wenders is one of the New German Cinema directors, who, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Werner Herzog, rejuvenated the German film industry in the 1970s and '80s. The retrospective includes some of Wenders' early films, which have not been available and have now been digitally restored under Wenders' supervision.
An exhibit of more than 20 film posters--Wenders and the New German Cinema--is on display in the film center gallery. It's co-presented with Goethe-Institut Chicago.
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.
The Joffrey Ballet unveils the U.S. premiere of John Neumeier's Sylvia, a new twist on a ballet that originally premiered in 1876. The production opens tonight at the Auditorium Theatre.
The female-powered ballet was groundbreaking for its time, portraying strong female characters and sparking a new interest in ballet.
Sylvia tells the mythological story of a young woman attempting and finding difficulty in striking a balance between strength and vulnerability as she transitions into womanhood. She vacillates between acting tenderly and acting aggressively, and finds true love upon awakening her sensuality--not themes normally explored when the ballet first premiered.
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez will present its traditional Mexican dances and music in Chicago for two nights--Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27--at the Auditorium Theatre. The company formed in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez, a dancer and ballet choreographer, has appeared in Chicago many times over the years.
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico celebrates Mexican culture with vividly costumed dancers and musicians depicting the traditions of indigenous Meso-American culture.
The Joffrey Ballet opens its 60th season tonight with Millennials. The show features new pieces from a trio of the next generation of standout choreographers. Millennials showcases world premieres by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Myles Thatcher, as well as the Chicago premiere of Fool's Gold from Christopher Wheeldon.
Lopez Ochoa's 20-minute Mammatus -- the Latin word for cloud -- features 20 dancers as birds and insects, exploring movement and nature.
"I feel they are more animals than humans," Lopez Ochoa said of the dancers in her piece. "It's really about forces of nature."
Presented by Badass Broads and Fury Theatre, Nobody's Wench summons ye theater fans to its production of Six Tales of Pirate Women on the Rolling Seas with its premiere on September 19, International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day. Pirate women from history are presented with the hearty har-har of a pirate's truth and the walk-the-plank swagger of true pirateers who didn't pay attention to gender in those days.
Short Attention Span Theatre (SAST) features plays that have been submitted and then chosen for production with its edge and local Chicago talent seeping through the intriguing stories. In its fourth year, Tickets for SAST productions are $15 or pay-what-you-can at the door.
More than 30 visiting artists will show their work this weekend at the Around the Coyote arts festival at the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park.
Around the Coyote is a three-day festival celebrating the art and artists of Wicker Park. This Friday through Sunday, visitors can stop in at the Flat Iron Arts Building, tour artist studios, listen to live music and see theater performances. The festival kicks off with an opening night reception from 6 to 10pm Friday.
As much as I love theater, I haven't ever really immersed myself in it. Theater can bring every art form together with actors, improv, music and dance, costumes, sound and set design. There is so much to notice with every step of the performance, so much to appreciate in every production. So much I feel I am missing out on.
Even if you aren't an experienced theatergoer, this is the best time (for both of us) to get involved. Starting Thursday, September 10, the League of Chicago Theatres will re-launch Theatre Thursdays. One Thursday a month, a world-premiere production will be featured to highlight the incredibly bold, rare work that takes place year-round in the Chicago area.
Cirque du Soleil is coming to Chicago this August with their production KURIOS-Cabinet of Curiosities, a show which promises to touch on Cirque du Soleil's roots, to convey a message of optimism to all ages and to give us a good dose of steam punk mechanics. They'll be setting up the Big Top right in the United Center parking lot and keeping it there for six weeks. I had a chance to talk with Michel Laprise, director and writer of KURIOS, to ask him about his work with Cirque du Soleil, and his vision while creating the show.
The show has a steam punk façade, but underneath the rich imagery of brass geegaws and quaint contraptions is a message of optimism about the power of human creativity in our age, says Laprise. "I use the old principle of Shakespeare that if you want to talk about an era, don't do it right now. Your reference point should be with some distance and in another country. So we invented our own steam punk in a Victorian era; it's Paris 1900--the Universal Exhibition--when everyone got excited about the new discoveries! But we are in fact talking about our own era."
While the plot, setting, and characters are pure Chicago, this isn't the Chicago of sitcoms and rom-coms; it's the Chicago of immigrants and their children, their communities, and their ...superpowers. In The Real Life Adventures, a 13-year-old Mexican-American boy living in Pilsen and Little Village spends his days playing baseball, helping his abuela with her elote cart, and hiding the fact that he has telekinetic powers. When his mother, an undocumented factory worker, mysteriously disappears, Jimmy is determined to find her. With the help of two "pirates," he finds himself facing a pack of mutant Chihuahuas and a ruthless sweatshop owner in a high-stakes battle to reclaim the streets of his neighborhood.
The newest exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art entitled Deportable Aliens will feature work from the Chicago-based artist, Rodrigo Lara. Opening July 24, the show will include site-specific installations that survey politics, immigration and social justice. The work largely depicts the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s and the relocation of individuals in the U.S. who were of Mexican descent.
Deportable Aliens will open Friday, July 24, with a reception from 6-8pm and will be on view through February 28, 2016, in the Kraft Gallery.
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.
"Tap dancing with the finest live music you will find mixed in with the danger, excitement, and sexiness of the circus."
When I asked Mark Yonally, the artistic director of Chicago Tap Theatre, what Circo Tap would be about, in a few words, that was as concise as he could be. Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) stages this exclusive, one-night only performance at the Athenaeum Theatre at 8pm Saturday. Their combination of tap dancing, circus arts, live music and narration brings an inspiring spotlight to the theater community. It presents tap dancers, acrobats, whip artists, clowns, tightrope walkers, stilt walkers, musicians and, Yonally says, "everything you wouldn't expect to see."
Yonally's vision for this performance began through his exposure three years ago to Circurious, where he was invited to perform as a tap-dancer. Circurious is an American circus that highlights jugglers, singers, dancers and contortionists through their tour around the United States. Their website describes it as "a heart-stopping, mind-boggling display of artistry and athleticism." With such inspiration as a performer, Yonally proceeded to produce a combination of what he knows with what he became inspired by: tap dancing with circus.
Any day now, Mes Aynak, one of the world's most significant archeological sites, might be destroyed. Its historical and cultural riches, thought to be on par with the discoveries of Pompeii, will be forever lost. Its story--and the story of the men working tirelessly to save it--is the subject of Director Brent Huffman's Saving Mes Aynak.
Huffman, a faculty member in Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and a documentary filmmaker, is working with Chicago's Kartemquin Films to produce Saving Mes Aynak.
The site sits within the Taliban-controlled Logar Province of Afghanistan, atop an enormous, untapped copper reserve with an estimated worth of $10 billion dollars. It's that copper reserve, and not the Taliban, that poses the chief threat to its continued existence. In 2007, MCC, a state-owned Chinese mining company, struck a deal with the cash-strapped Afghan government to harvest the site's reserves for $3 billion, with little oversight and no environmental regulation. Since 2011, a small team of Afghan archeologists have been excavating the area, unearthing finds of immense cultural significance, but a complete excavation could take 30 to 40 years, and mining is slated to begin in less than a year.
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.
Animal, vegetable or mineral? You never know what might make it into a production of Barrel of Monkeys' That's Weird, Grandma. Anything is possible because the authors will be 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in the creative writing workshops led by actor-educators in Chicago Public Schools around the city. The stories produced at That's Weird, Grandma are written by kids for kids (and adapted to be performed by kids at heart) to allow everyone to enjoy clever sketches that truly entertain.
Starting at 6:15 tonight, That's Weird, Grandma begins its neighborhood tour through Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks. The Night out in the Parks series has provided more than 1,000 events and programs at over 250 community parks throughout the city each summer for the past two years. Now, Night Out in the Parks will host productions ranging from movies, traditional performances, community workshops, concerts and more. CPD partners with more than 80 arts and community organizations to succeed in this initiative supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. All productions are located in Chicago Parks and are free to the public.
The Zhou B Art Center and the Ed Paschke Art Center are coming together to create a traveling exhibition, for both you and the artists. "Journey to Art" will be a community-coordinated event where Chicagoans are invited to attend the collaboration between both venues from June 19-21.The friendship of the Zhou Brothers and Ed Paschke is being celebrated and honored during the ongoing exhibitions at both locations.
By creating a sort of trade, or swap if you will, the Zhou Brothers will present their work at Jefferson Park's Ed Paschke Art Center, and the late Paschke's work will be in Bridgeport at the Zhou B Art Center. In addition to gallery spaces, the Zhou Brothers will be featuring their sculptural work at Jefferson Park for a family day event.
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 has a reputation as a strong arts town, and it has been quietly establishing itself as a major destination for circus in recent years. Perhaps the healthiest sign of that is that it is hosting an international event called the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival for the second year. It will take place June 17-21 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, and various locations throughout the city. Seventy-six artists will take part in 30 performances in one week, showcasing quaint one-man shows such as Peter Davison's Tossed and Found as well as bold major scale productions like Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk.
The variety of circus disciplines on display will be impressive, with international players hand-picked to display an array of skills such as juggling, clowning (aka physical theater) and acrobatics, but all within the context of the contemporary circus artistry.
Hubbard Street Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo in rehearsal for his Season 37 Summer Series world premiere. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is at it again, with a new, and highly anticipated, Summer Series performance. The program is composed of works rendered entirely by the company's resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo, and promises to provide audience members with a whirlwind of emotions.
Cerrudo has been the company's resident choreographer since 2009, and is the first person to hold that title. He has since choreographed 13 pieces with Hubbard Street, two of which will be showcased in the Summer Series. The third and final piece of the program is a new work created by Cerrudo, making a total of 14 pieces he's choreographed with the company.
For vibrant offerings all month, the 5th annual Eye on India Festival will be held beginning May 28, and concluding on June 28, with a range of events for individuals and families alike to delight in. Curated by Eye on India and Teamwork Arts, events ranging in the cinematic variety, photography, music, fashion, dance, and more are all featured alongside both contemporary and traditional Indian artworks, all held throughout the city. The cost ranges from completely free events, to benefit tickets that go for $150 each, with the average ticket price of $30 per person.
The advent of the Eye on India Festival occurred when Chicago resident Anuradha Behari attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, and was so inspired by what she saw that she wished to engage the spirit of this festival in her hometown. She felt that there was an interest in contemporary Indian culture that was not being indulged, and she wished to ignite a cultural commentary in Chicago.
Acrobatica Infiniti Circus (aka AI Circus) will debut the first circus performance "for nerds, by nerds" in their own hometown, Chicago, next Friday, May 29. Acrobatica Infiniti is the brain child of Tana Karo, a professional circus performer who has traveled the world but makes her home in Chicago, one of the best circus cities to train in due to a thriving art scene and multiple circus schools. She has gathered more than 10 circus artists with nerd in their hearts to debut this full-length production. The show is expected to sell out quickly as it appeals to a broad audience, which is something that can't always be said about circus in general.
AI Circus is full of super heroes, fictional sci-fi characters and anyone else you might find dressed up at a cosplay event, but the difference is, these characters don't just arrive once a year to sign autographs at a convention. They are here to tell a story, perform amazing feats, and entertain their fans with a variety of amusing and thrilling acts that involve aerial stunts, contortion, juggling acrobatics and more.
I asked director Karo (everyone calls her Tank) to tell us where she got the idea for AI Circus and what she hoped to accomplish with it.
The exhibition includes an exploration of parental connection, her father's history, documents, and Native American lineage. "My father died at age 64. Convicted of murder at the age of 25 (while intoxicated) my father spent the majority of his life in prison", explains Garcia in her statement concerning the specific project. A string of emails exploring her fathers life and official records allow Garcia to create a connection between her and her estranged father.
Milwaukee-based artist, Sonja Thomsen, will be featuring her photographs, sculptures, and installations that focus on the quality of light at the DePaul Art Museum opening today. By utilizing the weightlessness in contrast with dimensionality, Thomsen visually examines the tension between color and light.
Thomsen stated in an interview with Columbia College Chicago Photography Department's Jennifer Keats, that she was a "...student of science. That language is something I'm drawn to in a poetic way, where knowledge is always in a state of becoming. I'm interested in the synergy that happens in the studio as catalyst for new understandings, never quite satisfied with conclusions that may eventually be disproved." She continues by explaining her influences, "How do we locate ourselves in the world? A multiplicity of ways, an always a shifting matrix, never a fixed point. I see each of my photographs and installations as a way to measure that locale, a way to assess the space between the mountain, the self and the light. My goal as an artist is to construct an authentic experience in which to recalibrate our perceptions..."
She's Beautiful When She's Angry is a new documentary that takes us back to the early days of the women's liberation movement in 1966-71. The film reminds us of how many gains we made back then, how much we've lost recently, and how much is still to be fought for in the future. If you're a woman of a certain age, the film may make you mad at what we put up with then and still endure. If you're a younger woman today, the film can be eye-opening and provocative. If you're a guy of any age, you should see this film!
She's Beautiful opens today at the Gene Siskel Film Center and runs through May 14. Some of the Chicago activists who appear in the film will lead discussions at various screenings.
An exhibit of the work of legendary rock photographer Paul Natkin opens Saturday at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park. Superstars, Natkin's first career retrospective, includes more than 20 images of musicians shot over the last 40 years of his career, such as Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Ice Cube and Guns and Roses. The exhibit includes images of on-stage performances and intimate, personal portraits.
Natkin, a native Chicagoan, is the son of photojournalist Robert Natkin, who inspired him to pursue photography. Paul Natkin began shooting live concerts in the 1970s. His photographs have appeared on countless magazine covers as well as album covers. Natkin's photos have also been shown in solo exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Elmhurst Historical Museum.
Paul Natkin: Superstars will be shown through June 14 at the Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave. Hours are 10am to 7pm daily and admission is free. For more information, see the website or call 312-533-4911.
amfm, a Chicago-based arts, music and fashion web portal, will present their first art exhibition, Can I See Your ID?, at Cultura gallery, 1900 S. Carpenter St., during the Pilsen Second Friday art walk May 8.
When someone asks to "see your ID," you're being asked to expose the basics -- a photograph that fashions last year's hair color, a height that doesn't matter, and a hazel eye color that changes with the seasons. Is this how you want to be perceived? Is your ID a reflection of who you are as an individual? By approaching someone entering a bar and saying, "Can I see your ID?" the bouncer is asking, "Who are you?" -- a question that is summed up by glancing at our choice of ID. amfm has asked several artists to feature a facet of themselves in the exhibition that they would like to explore, erase or simply present.
Local artists will be presenting and featuring their true and authentic identities in the amfm exhibition. Societal labels, struggles, talents, and all things encompassing the "self" will be featured by the selected four creatives, Sam Kirk, Barrett Keithley, Madhuri Shukla and Chantala Kommanivanh.
amfm was initially created as a college thesis in 2009 by founder Ciera McKissick but has since moved to an online publication. The collective serves as a hub for artists, makers, thinkers and doers who want to expand and share their stories.
The exhibition will be open May 8 from 6 to 10pm during the Chicago Arts District 2nd Friday Gallery Night in Pilsen.
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 $400,000 was produced for local Loop businesses in the first seven ACTIVATE events from 2013-2014 and more than 14,000 attended the event during the series. The series will be continued this year from May until October with new artists, music, and culture, which were carefully curated for the public.
If you're itching for a packed day of art, events, exhibitions and ceremonies, then the Hyde Park Art Center will tend to your creative needs this Sunday, April 19. Being the first space to exhibit the work of the Hairy Who artists in the early 1960s and currently housing a flourishing residency, several galleries and ongoing events, the HPAC is a hotbed for Hyde Park artists and locals.
Kruger Gallery Chicago is presenting ESCOMBROS (spanish for "rubble"), which features work from the Chicago-based and Mexican-born artist, Luis Sahagun. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 9pm tonight.
Sahagun's background is rooted in the working class — his grandfather worked in the Chicago Heights steel industry, his father in field work, and Sahagun himself has a strong background in construction. The solo exhibition features large-scale paintings on cardboard, as well as installation and video pieces, which emulate his background as a Mexican-American growing up Chicago Heights.
The series includes 20 textured pieces that thrive as self-portraits and self-reflection in terms of youth, labor and experience. Chains, metal, fabric, concrete, cardboard and wax make up the "anthropological site that represents a community" and expands on the concept of identity vs. material. Luis' intimate relationship to his work, not only through his physical touch, but through his autobiographical self, creates a penetrating visual narrative of a community.
Great Lakes Tattoo will be hosting the first ever Midwest solo exhibition of New York City tattooer and visual artist, Thom DeVita. The exhibition, American Folk Art$, will open Thursday, March 19, and will be on view until March 22. Additionally, the artist will exhibit at the Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention March 20-21.
Thom Devita is an 82-year-old prolific artist whose career spans 50 years. Bridging the gap between his personal style and "old school" biker tattoos, DeVita was, and remains, an important figure in the tattooing community. Working illegally in New York City during the mid '60s and '70s, DeVita began paving his own way into the art community and created a unique aesthetic.
DeVita has focused on his pen-and-ink drawings and 3D works since 2003. Reminiscent of his years as a tattoo artist, DeVita creates loose and textured pieces that are an "iconographic style of American tattooing." The Harlem-born artist will present his work at Great Lakes Tattoo, 1148 W. Grand Ave., March 19-22. The Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention will feature several of his pieces March 20-21 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Ave. in Rosemont.
Promise, opening next weekend for two nights only at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, is the brainstorm of acclaimed modern dance choreographer Winifred Haun. She created the current adaptation after reading and deconstructing John Steinbeck's opus East of Eden. She says she decided to revise the work after producing several sections of Promise in 2006-2009, in order to focus on developing two of the female characters from the book (Cathy and Liza) because she wanted to explore their motivations more deeply. Haun says, "Steinbeck did not, in my opinion, fully flesh out his female characters." Her goal, she explains, is to look at themes through motion and relationships and to give the women a more three-dimensional role.
Spring is just around the corner, and with that comes warmer weather, melting snow and the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Series, which opens tonight at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St.
The five-piece program includes a world premiere of I Am Mister B, a piece by former Hubbard Street dancer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. Ramírez Sansano created his piece to music he twice previously danced to, Tchaikovsky's third suite for orchestra, as an homage to choreographer George Balanchine. Balanchine used the music for his ballet Themes and Variations in 1947. He is also the "Mister B" referenced in the title of Ramírez Sansano's piece.
Ramírez Sansano danced Balanchine's variations at 19 and again later while dancing in the Netherlands.
"It makes it interesting and challenging," he said. "I had it in mind because the fact of dancing something, it makes you appreciate it more."
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.
Underground Unseen is the first exhibition of 2015 for FLATS Studio, a gallery space located in Uptown. FLATS strives to "develop, enhance, and engage" their neighborhood community by channeling the arts and representing Chicago creatives. The studios provide housing for residents who apply, as well as gallery spaces and exhibition venues.
On Feb. 20, FLATS will be hosting Underground Unseen from 6 to 10pm at 1050 W. Wilson Ave. The night consists of visual arts, performance, and sound, as well as the launch of the magazine publication, VAM, a new production which focuses and celebrates emerging artists in the Chicago area. The exhibition will feature photographer Todd Diederich, video artist Mikhail Khokhlov, textile artist Kristi O'Meara, street artist Ali6, and Allison Van Pelt. Additionally, Owen Bones will be DJing for the night and Antibody Corp will be performing at 8pm.
Koval Distillery and Lakeshore Beverages will be serving drinks for free throughout the night. Although there is no charge to enter the gallery, they do ask that attendees RSVP to email@example.com with the number of guests attending.
It's an orgy in which cast and audience explore gender roles, sexuality and kink told through classic scenes from Shakespeare's 37-play canon. It's the Bard's bawdiest bits in (re)discover theatre's updated show, Fifty Shades of Shakespeare, opening Feb. 7 at The Pony.
Fans of lady arm-wrestling can celebrate Valentine's Day and avert Friday the 13th disasters at CLLAW XXI: My Bloody Valentine on Friday, Feb. 13, at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie. The event will feature Chicago's most belligerent lady arm wrestlers in appropriately outlandish costumes plus live musical entertainment, a kissing booth, and the chance to win a five-minute date with one of the wrestlers.
Second City didn't spring full grown from that stage in Old Town in the 1960s. Sketch comedy and improvisational theater has a long and storied history in Chicago, starting with a group of University of Chicago students who began performing at a bar in Hyde Park in the early '50s.
The new documentary, Compass Cabaret 55, is the story of the pioneers who invented a new form of comedy performance that led to Second City and "Saturday Night Live" and nurtured the careers of stars like Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Jane Lynch, Elaine May and the late Mike Nichols, and John Belushi.
Writers Theatre continues its annual tour of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights for the ninth year with a special free performance at the Chicago History Museum on Monday, Jan. 19, which is celebrated as Martin Luther King Day. A community discussion will follow the performance and audience members will also receive free museum admission for the day.
Written by Yolanda Androzzo and directed by Jimmy McDermott, the one-woman show weaves together history, poetry and hip hop. Caren Blackmore plays Alaya, a Chicago student who goes through a personal transformation while studying the civil rights movement and interviewing local heroes of the movement. While she starts out being angry, she realizes that she can use her voice and her hip hop to bring about change.
Stephanie Diaz, "Mariposa Nocturna" at Free Street Theatre.
The puppets are coming to Chicago. They'll be here Jan. 14-25 at 12 different venues around the city during the first Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. The 12-day citywide festival will showcase puppet styles from around the world, such as marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, tiny toy puppets, and distinctive, innovative styles of contemporary puppetry.
The festival will feature the work of about 50 puppetry artists and a dozen puppet theaters from Chicago, New York, London, Grenoble, Montreal, the Netherlands and other US cities.
Engraving by Gustave Doré for 1876 edition of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
Water, water, everywhere / And all the boards did shrink /
Water, water, everywhere / Nor any drop to drink.
These famous lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," come near the beginning of this tale of a sailor returned from an eventful sea voyage.* The Phantom Collective will present a staged reading of the Coleridge poem at 7:30pm Sunday, Nov. 9 at the Haymarket Pub. The reading will be preceded by an original theater piece, "Ripple," about being lost at sea.
Never in our wildest dreams did we think that graffiti and street art would be making its way into art galleries -- from the streets to the white walls, running from the law to running into Shepard Fairy. Since the 1980s, graffiti has found a nice warm home inside of the ever-changing and always surprising, contemporary art world.
Mint & Serf, the art duo from NYC will showcase their large scale paintings at the Maxwell Colette Gallery in their Chicago debut of, "Support, Therapy and Instability." The relationship between contemporary art and graffiti is also one that in constant flux and one that makes a memorable conversation. Mint & Serf are two artists who are combining these two worlds in the form of a canvas and a spray can. Utilizing the raw forms that graffiti art thrive around, Mint & Serf have created canvases which reflect buildings in a city or an underpass that has been decorated and adorned with bold lettering and ripped flyers from a previous life.
The collaborative duo layers tags, neutral tones, metallic paint ink and paper for their active and lively pieces which both reflect fine arts and street art.
The opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 7 from 6pm-9pm at Maxwell Colette Gallery, 908 N. Ashland Ave. The exhibition will be up until Dec. 31. Hours for the gallery are Wednesday through Saturday, noon until 6pm. For more information contact 312-496-3153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For a one evening only engagement, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, led by the renowned Stephen Burns, will be presenting a special presentation, "Mirror of Enlightenment," at the Harris Theater. Focused on the themes of contemporary Indian music and how they have merged with the traditional, on Saturday, Nov. 1, outstanding performers such as percussionist Kalyan Pathak, sarod player Soumik Datta, and Chicago-based Indian dance ensemble Kalapriya Dance will join forces to deliver an evening full of Indian music rich with history and tradition, all while entwined with a contemporary flair.
A much-anticipated number by composer Param Vir will be premiered at the event, titled "Raga Fields," which is a concerto piece for the sarod and an ensemble. Blending traditional Indian music with Western contemporary sound, the piece is sure to be a cornerstone performance of the evening. The world premiere of "Mara" will also be performed by Kalapriya, a piece that depicts the life of Buddha through interpretive dance movements.
Formed in 1998, Fulcrum Point's mission is to spotlight contemporary composers and up-and-coming classical musicians who are influenced by elements of popular culture, and in turn, educate the public and invite them into a world enamored with music's rich history. The show will engage the audience as it is delivered a tour-de-force performance surrounding the music of India and how it has changed over time.
Mirror of Enlightenment takes place at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St., on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event begins at 7:30pm and tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for students, available for purchase at 312-334-7777 or online.
Nelson Gonzalez's front-yard Halloween display is so gruesome that parents on Bernard Street in Logan Square come over to complain every year. But every year, well over a thousand kids trick-or-treat down Bernard Street, many, if not most of them, just to see his horror show.
Gonzalez leads me to his shed at dusk to show me what's in store for his neighbors this year. Under the stark utility lights, an orange-suited convict with a lineman's build sits in an electric chair, a permanent howl stuck to his lumpy face. He's not a dummy. He's a robot that Gonzalez refers to as "electric chair guy," part three of his animated display that will also include a skeleton dropping from a gallows and another getting the French farewell--a life-size blade clacking down on his neck.
This Friday, on Halloween, from 4 to 10pm, Gonzalez will execute the three ghouls on a circuit run by a computer program, over and over, mercilessly. Electric Chair Guy is the one his neighbors have tried to censure. The scene starts with a warning siren, then the sound of an electric current. Pretty soon, the body is jolting back and forth in its straps and shrieking. When his soul departs, the contraption goes quiet, and a billow of smoke escapes from his eye sockets.
Giordano Dance Chicago returns to the stage October 24 as the company tackles old favorites and a new piece by award-winning choreographer, Ray Leeper.
"Ray's connection with GDC began many years ago when my father, company founder Gus Giordano, pulled the 12-year-old Ray up on stage during a workshop at a dance convention," said Giordano Dance Chicago artistic director Nan Giordano in a statement. "Since then, the relationship has grown."
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?
The Chicago Mammals is staging its third All Girl Project, opening Friday, Oct. 17 with All Girl Edgar Allan Poe, a festival of one-acts inspired by Poe's works interpreted in movement, music, poetry, dance and monologue.
The first two projects were All Girl Moby Dick in 2012 and All Girl Frankenstein last year. Artistic director Bob Fisher is planning All Girl Dracula for 2015.
All Girl Edgar Allan Poe will feature the following pieces:
• The Raven, adapted and directed by Anne Wilson
• The Tell-Tale Heart, adapted by M.E.H. Lewis and directed by Leigh Barrett
• The Black Cat, adapted by Erin Orr, Amy Harmon and Liz Chase and directed by Chris Conley
• The Pit and the Pendulum, adapted and directed by Charlotte Drover
• The Imp of the Perverse, adapted and directed by Sasha Warren
• The Masque of the Red Death, adapted and directed by Whitney LaMora and choreographed by Sasha Warren
The company notes that the project provides artistic opportunities for Chicago actresses to play, produce, devise and perform in roles that are rarely (if ever) performed by women "with an emphasis on turning traditional tales into raw, emotive, phantasmagoric concepts that can only be described as 'Mammalian'."
All Girl Edgar Allan Poe will be presented at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 8 at the Chicago Mammals' Zoo Studios: 4001 N Ravenswood, suite 205. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or at the door.
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.
Reeling, the Chicago LGBT International Film Festival is back this year, showcasing what the community considers to be the best films of the year. From a documentary that explores the International Gay Rodeo association, to a comedy about best friends who just might have found love...with each other, it's a festival that has a film for everyone. The festival runs Sept. 18-25 at participating Chicago theaters.
Here are a few favorites you should consider looking into for all the laughs, heartbreaks and screams you could ever need.
The Gogo Show is coming out from underground with the start of their new season in September, at the Greenhouse Theater Center. The Gogo Show is a late-night variety show with standup, improv, sketch, storytelling and solo pieces, all featuring and produced by women.
Opening night will feature standup by Ali Clayton and Reena Calm, musical comedy by The Shock-Ts and The Rhinestones, storytelling by Cynthia Shur Petts and solo performance by Wes Perry. Hosts will include Gogo Show producers Mary Rose O'Connor, Anna Lucero, Erin Lane, Andrea Wallace, and Rebecca Krasny-McCrackin.
Billed as a parental night out for beleaguered moms, The Pump and Dump: A Parentally Incorrect Comedy Show comes to Chicago's Mayne Stage next month. Musician/comedian Shayna Ferm and her coach "MC Doula" (Tracey Tee) have presented two years of sold-out monthly shows in Denver.
They're now taking the show on the road to Northern California and Cleveland as well as Chicago this fall. Their album, #BREEDER, featuring songs written and performed by Shayna Ferm, is now on iTunes; and in 2014 Ferm and Tee launched a second website, TheMomToMomProject.com.
The first "great war" commenced 100 years ago this summer when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The University of Chicago will observe the beginning of World War I with an exhibit of French graphic illustration of the period, opening October 14 at the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery on the UofC campus.
En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I draws from illustrated books, magazines and prints to show more than 100 artistic views of the war. Patriotism, nationalism, propaganda and the soldier's experience are explored through fashion, humor, music and children's literature. The art was part of the mobilization of the French national home front.
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."
The Chicago Park District's "Night Out in the Parks" initiative has created opportunities for Chicagoans to experience theatre in outdoor spaces, but also for young Chicagoans to showcase their talents. Checking Boxes, an original production by Shannon Matesky in collaboration with the About Faces Youth Theatre Ensemble, is no exception.
The original play takes a deeper look into the all-American dream through the eyes of LGBTQIA immigrant youth. From coming out to growing up in a society where everyone is striving for the perfect job and the ideal white-picket fence, the characters show how their journeys don't follow a stereotypical path. "Checking Boxes" is based on real-life experiences of the ensemble as well as members of the LGBTQIA community.
A new theatre company is coming to Bridgeport! The Bridge, founded by Chicago writer and performer Kestutis Nakas, will officially open its doors with a performance of The Golf Ball, an original adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull.
"The goal is to provide professional theatre at movie ticket prices," said Nakas.
The first production is set for June 13 at the Community Center of First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, the host of the company. According to Nakas, there is a need in the community for the arts, specifically theatre, and hopes the art form will find growth there.
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.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW series is not your typical performance experience. Upon entering the venue, guests are greeted with a DJ set. The performance itself is interactive, visionary, and one-of-a-kind, mixing media together to form a sensory whirlwind of an exquisite foray into the world of live performance. After the performance, guests are once again greeted with a DJ set, at a reception where they can mingle with the artists themselves.
Re-envisioning the concept of a live performance to make it more of a deliberately-crafted experience overall, one that is more intimate and personal, is what the MusicNOW series has made it a point to achieve. CSO Mead composers-in-residence Anna Clyne and Mason Bates have curated each performance with fervor and brilliance, featuring musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and guest musicians, as well. Monday, May 5 marks the final installment of the MusicNOW series for the 2013/2014 season, featuring a glorious lineup of three works paired nicely amongst the other, each contrasting yet fitting into a cohesive whole.
MusicNOW: Companions is set to showcase The Companion Guide to Rome, a musical tour through nine Roman churches, Fits + Starts, a more modern piece created by renowned composer Anna Clyne and acclaimed choreographer Kitty McNamee, and a chamber concerto, Livre des Sauvages. I was overjoyed to get the chance to speak with both Clyne and McNamee about their piece Fits + Starts exclusively, who allowed me to gain great insight into their creative processes and their hopes for viewers throughout the performance experience.
Every night of the academic year, Doc Films at the University of Chicago is showing a film. Moreover, one night of the week is dedicated to a specific cinematic theme. Last quarter it was the ever-so-wonderful Nicolas Cage. This quarter it's Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland, two experimental filmmakers who were married for 14 years.
The first showing was of Michael Snow's segment, featuring Wavelength and New York Eye and Ear Control. With barely any narrative or plot line, Wavelength begins in a bland room as two characters enter with muffled dialogue. The film rarely shows any characters from here on out and the audience is left wondering: When is something going to happen? Is there anything wrong? Why is there such a strong ringing noise? The constant questions linger dauntingly over the audience as the camera slowly zooms in to a particular subject in view.
The Hyde Park Art Center, located at 5020 S Cornell Ave, is a wonderful addition to the Hyde Park neighborhood. The center holds exhibitions as well as artist residencies and classes for adults and children. While walking from the Bridgeport Coffee shop to the opposite side of the center, one cannot help but notice the new and alluring photography exhibition that the art center has recently installed. Typically, their is a large exhibition space which holds artwork, however, this presentation is located in a pathway and smaller gallery space--a perfect chance for us to take in the work of Ross Sawyers, a professor at Columbia College whose project beautifully documents "the rise and fall of the United States housing market."
At first glimpse, these images are abstract, surreal even. In almost every photograph, their is a glowing light drawing the viewer in, however, the light is too bright to fully contemplate what is there. Upon reading further into the images, one can conclude that Sawyers' work is focusing on the abandonment, manipulation and destruction of the housing market in the U.S. Traveling from the beginning to the exhibition until the end, the viewer is able to see the deconstruction of something that so familiar to all of us. In the beginning of his series, he depicts a closed space--claustrophobic and quiet--and by the end the image are torn and and tattered, yet beautiful and exposed.
The exhibition, Model Pictures, will have its opening reception Sunday, April 13 from 3 to 5pm. A gallery talk is also occurring on Wednesday, April 30 at 6pm.
Hyde Park art center is free and located at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. For more information call 773-324-5520
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.
Theater is a choice platform that artists often use to open a dialogue about issues that people tend to otherwise brush under the rug. Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson is a play that aims to open audience's minds to the complex issues underlying urban gentrification. While the play takes place in Brooklyn, the issue of neighborhood gentrification is no stranger to Chicagoans.
In the production, Jackson, now a successful graduate of Harvard Law returns to the neighborhood in which he grew up. He brings along his white girlfriend and best friend (who has a set of troubles all his own) and soon, the three face exploding tensions in the surrounding neighborhood and amongst themselves.
Eric Lynch, who plays the smart, successful and charismatic Jackson in Buzzer gave Gapers Block a preview of how the issues of sex, race, love, fear and money are tackled in this dark comedy.
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.
A new exhibit--Artists Respond to Genocide--will open this week at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in the West Town neighborhood. The exhibit will open with a reception and viewing from 6 to 9pm Friday, October 4.
The exhibition features the work of 20 local, national and international artists, including Chicago artists Evhen Prokopov, Orest Baranyk, Jason LaMantia, Arthur Lerner, Bonnie Peterson, Mary Porterfield, Dominic Sansone, Eden Unluata and Erika Uzmann. Works will include paintings, photography, sculpture and assemblages.
Artists Respond to Genocide recognizes the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor Famine Genocide of 1932-33 in the Ukraine. The exhibit addresses genocides of the world--the deliberate massacre of millions of people because of their religion, beliefs or ethnicity.
An exhibition catalog is available for purchase for $15 and can be previewed on the institute's online store.
Artists Respond to Genocide will be on display from October 5 to December 1 at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W. Chicago Ave. Hours are 12-4pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free but a $5 donation is suggested. For more information, call 773 227-5522.
Poster image courtesy of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.
Beginning tomorrow night, Public House Theatre takes on that familiar target, "big bad Corporate America," in its new play, How to Lose Jobs and Alienate Friends. Written by the theater's writers' room and directed by Byron Hatfield, the play mixes seminars for the audience with workplace romance, YouTube diversions and cat memes to explore today's often-frustrating business world.
The play is the story of Chris, who thinks he is being hired for an accounting job and finds he is the new head of social media for Organitek. He soon discovers that no one really knows what his job is and then he can't determine what his new company does or what products it makes. (Yes, it's a global conglomerate straight out of the 70s, when a big oil company bought a mass merchandiser and a box company and no one thought anything of it; in fact, that's a true Chicago story. Mobil bought MARCOR, a merger of Montgomery Ward and Container Corporation of America. It didn't end well.)
Cast of How to Lose Jobs and Alienate Friends; Photo by Patrick Lothian.
How to Lose Jobs is the first play produced by the theater's new internal system, which includes a producers' group, directors' table, writers' room and a core group of actors to generate and produce new material. The play combines long-form narrative with sketch-comedy style.
How to Lose Jobs and Alienate Friends runs September 6 through October 13 at Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark St. Performances are Fridays-Sundays; times vary. Tickets are $15 and may be bought online or by calling 800-650-6448.
The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, known as Expo Chicago, will present its second annual exposition September 19-22 at Navy Pier's Festival Hall. The four-day event will feature art from 120 international galleries from 16 countries plus special exhibitions from museums, universities and organizations.
This year's exposition will be part of Expo Art Week, a citywide celebration of arts and culture, cosponsored by Choose Chicago (a Chicago-destination marketing agency) and the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Included in the week's activities will be museum and gallery exhibits, music, theater and dance performances, and special dining events.
September 19 at Expo Chicago is an opening night preview and benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Agora is a series of 106 striking, headless and armless iron figures; this large, sculptural installation, designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, resides at the south end of Grant Park at Roosevelt Road. Beginning this Thursday, another large sculpture series will be close by, in the Solti Garden, located just south of the Art Institute: Borders, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir.
Borders in New York installation; photo by James Ewing.
Borders, composed of 26 life-sized androgynous figures that have recently been shown in New York, Dallas and Seattle, will be positioned here in Chicago. The figures will be arranged in 13 pairs--one in aluminum, the other iron--that seem to be conversing with each other. The static figures, modeled after Thórarinsdóttir's oldest son, encourage visitors to engage with them by crossing the invisible "borders" they create.
"Starchitect" Jeanne Gang's Studio Gang Architects has been chosen to design a major new facility on the north end of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. The complex will be a residence hall and dining commons planned around the university's house system, which emphasizes building community.
The residence hall will house about 800 undergraduates in eight houses, with first year through fourth year students living together. Faculty members and advanced graduate students will live with the undergrads as resident staff. Each house will be structured around a three-story lounge for meetings, study and relaxation. The dining commons will also be organized by house so members of each community can eat with friends.
View of the commons; rendering by Studio Gang, courtesy University of Chicago.
The complex will be built at the corner of 55th Street and University Avenue, where Pierce Tower now stands. Studio Gang will collaborate with Mortenson Construction; the project is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 academic year. The team will pursue LEED Gold certification, which recognizes design efficiency and sustainability.
Every Saturday at midnight, for three years and six successful seasons, audiences have flooded the iO Theater for Chicago's own premier late night talk show, "The Late Live Show" hosted by Joe Kwaczala.
Since 2010, "The Late Live Show" has offered iO's weekly audiences live late night talk show just like the pros. This small, independently-produced show has attained national recognition and welcomed such distinguished guests as Paul Feig, Danny Pudi ("Community"), Lucas Neff ("Raising Hope"), and local all-stars such as superchef Rick Bayless, Olympic speedskater Shani Davis, and best-selling author Rebecca Skloot. This sketch comedy show has become a staple in the Chicago, and has gained recognition at festivals from coast to coast. Its credits also include a writing team that has produced writers now working for such shows as "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "The Onion News Network."
This Saturday, after three years of laughter, "The Late Live Show" will put on its last hurrah, with a "finale full of jokes, characters, interviews, sketches," and a few special surprises, as the crew looks back at the show's run. As part of their finale and 50th show, host Joe Kwaczala and his staff will welcome back returning favorites, Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen from the Filmspotting podcast.
Don't miss your chance to see the last run of this hilarious late night performance this Saturday, May 11 at 11:59PM. "The Late Live Show" is held in iO's Del Close Theater, 3541 N. Clark St. and is only $5 online or at the door (free for iO students).
The ballet, created in 1997, begins its last stint in regular repertory this evening -- one day after Shakespeare's 449th birthday (and his death day), and the day deemed "Talk Like Shakespeare Day." Set to Lubovitch's choreography and music composed by Academy Award winner Elliot Goldenthal, the ballet tells the tale of the Venetian Moor, Othello, his love, Desdemona, and the web of lies spun by Iago that brings the entire cast of characters to a tragic end, wrought with betrayal and envy.
You might know comedic actor Lucus Neff from his primetime role playing Jimmy Chance on FOX's "Raising Hope." Raised only a few miles from Improv Olympic himself, this Chicago-born star is back in town for a night of wacky skits and laughs this Saturday, March 30 as a guest in iO's sketch comedy show, The Late Live Show.
The Late Live Show will host Neff as well as the musical guest for the night, Brighton MA. Their indie stylings have been featured on shows such as "Gossip Girl," "Community," "Castle" and "One Tree Hill."
Along with Neff and Brighton MA, the Late Live Show's Players will also perform, so get ready for a night of weird jokes, sketches, and characters, all crafted by the iO staff writers, whose credits include The Onion News Network and Funny or Die.
See The Late Live Show Saturday, March 30 at 11:59 pm at iO Theater, 3541 N. Clark St. Tickets are $5; for more information, call 773-880-0199.
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.
There is a reason why Hubbard Street Dance Chicago continues to be revered as one of Chicago's most uniquely gifted and interesting contemporary dance companies. For one, they are never afraid to shy away from more experimental works, such as their yearly danc(e)volve: New Works Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, described here as featuring works that are "sharp, sleek, and physically-demanding." In their latest effort, the company has collaborated with the San Francisco-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet company for their spring series. The spring series premieres tonight at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millenium Park and runs through March 17.
While small independent film festivals gradually become fewer, the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), now in its twentieth year, remains a cultural outpost in part by refusing to define (even if it were possible) the nature of its programming. "The key is to keep being open to all possible ideas of what "underground" can mean and show the best examples of that work that we can," says Bryan Wendorf, CUFF's director. Could so simple a philosophy be what has allowed this member of an endangered species to survive into the age of YouTube?
CUFF, which opens Wednesday, March 6, is one of the only places where a certain type of film is screened for a public audience, according to Andrew Lampert, curator of collections at Anthology Film Archives. There are few venues left in which to show experimental and decidedly non-commercial work. Of course the Internet is where it can now be found. Filmmakers may gain an audience there "if they're lucky," says Lampert, but what they'll never have is the more vibrant forum of live screenings to engage with their viewers. And what other underground film festivals don't have (or didn't have when they were running) is a willingness to ignore politics in the construction of its identity. CUFF is not a place for queer film, black film or feminist film alone, but any one of them might be represented in the programming.
"Friends, Romans, Countrymen" -- words familiar to each of us, although we may not know why. Marc Antony's famous speech begins this way in William Shakespeare's classic tragedy Julius Caesar. After years of studying English and literature, some have learned to decode Shakespeare's eloquent but sometimes seemingly archaic style of writing. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is offering a contemporary retelling of the play, directed by Jonathan Munby, to satisfy both the classical scholar and that part in all of us that seeks something relatable in a drama.
The play tells the story of Julius Caesar, consul of ancient Rome, who denies the warnings of a soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March." Caesar's fellow senators are the ones who do him in, and his death sparks the beginning of a new Rome.
The show plays through March 24 at CST's Jentes Family Auditorium, 800 E. Grand Ave., on Navy Pier. Tickets ($48-$78 with discounts for groups, students, and young professionals) can be purchased by calling the theater's box office at 312-595-5600 or by visiting the theater's website.
"Son of Chamber Symphony" - Derrick Agnoletti; Photo by Christopher Duggan
The Joffrey Ballet always delivers. This is not just accounting for taste or the level of expertise and refinement in their dancing. All of those things may be true, but one fundamental difference with the company is that they are always a little surprising. They deliver on performing challenging, modern, creative, and entertaining works. When one thinks of the ballet, one often thinks of something stuffy or inaccessible, but the Joffrey has consistently produced shows that look and feel differently. This same aesthetic will be evident during the premiere of the company's "American Legends" series tonight at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (50 E. Congress Parkway).
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.
Flight runs throughout the 20th century, both figuratively and literally. For the latter, the 20th century was an immense moment of technological advancements leading to flight for first the few and subsequently, the many. But also, the 20th century was a time of immense social and cultural change. For the United States, it was a moment of progression for the many and the change that especially runs through the latter half of the century still affects the policies and interactions between people today.
It's not often moviegoers get a chance to see a film in 70mm format, and even less often they get a chance to see, in the span of two weeks, nine films in 70mm. Besides those projected on digital projection, almost all films are shot and shown in 35mm due to the cost and practicality of the equipment required on both ends, but 70mm offers a tremendous increase in visual information and presentation quality, and many that were created in the format are done a disservice when screened in 35mm.
The Music Box Theatre just announced the full line-up of their 70mm Festival. Pulling from the relatively short list of films available in the format, they've done a wonderful job picking out some of the most worthy- big screen classics, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (with a new print), Vertigo (not originally filmed in 70mm, but restored to it in the mid '90s) and West Side Story, the complex French visual comedy Playtime, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Lifeforce, Lord Jim and the two most recent fictions to use the format, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet and last year's The Master. No Lawrence of Arabia, but that's likely because of the just-completed 35mm run for its 50th anniversary.
Arranged across Feb. 15 to 28, there are at least two screenings of each film, which you can see for $9.25 each, or spend $70 on a limited-availabity festival pass good for unlimited admissions -- which, considering the length of the features (most clock in around two and half, Hamlet at four), might be a better deal than rent.
Edie Fake, Gateway (for Mark Aguhar) (Palace Door - calloutqueen), 2012
Dame Frances Yates, renowned scholar of English proto-science alchemy and mysticism, recounts the history of an architecture-based "art of memory" handed down from Simonides of Ceos to Greek and Roman orators, through Thomas Aquinas and Dominican monks, to Renaissance Italians Giulio Camillo and Giordano Bruno, to eventually influence the logical method of Descartes and the monadic metaphysics of Leibniz during the Enlightenment. Explicating Bruno, Yates says that, "(i)n 'your primordial nature,' the archetypal images exist in a confused chaos; the magic memory draws them out of chaos and restores their order, gives back to man his divine powers." The utilization of spatial structures as tools to link mortal minds back to eternal ideals, and thereby strive for self-perfection, seems a relevant technique to consider in contemplating the icons of local queer historicity lovingly executed in gouache and ballpoint pen on paper by Edie Fake.
Alma Weiser is a clever, thoughtful encyclopedia of knowledge. One can gleam even a fraction of her intellect and curiosity for history and design upon talking to her for a few minutes. As a fashion designer for Renovar, her past influences ranged from Louise Nevelson to Elsa Schiaparelli. Nevelson, an American sculptor of the early 20th century, created large, monochromatic, and complex sculptures. Schiaparelli, an Italian fashion designer and rival of Coco Chanel, was driven by the works and ideas of the Surrealists.
In Weiser's latest collection, "On The Origin of Species," her main point of focus is Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. Low concept, she is not. In fact, what ultimately makes Weiser such a fascinating and driven designer is her dedication to history, to conceptualism, to fashion for fashion's sake. "On The Origin of Species" premieres Saturday, November 3 at Heaven Gallery.
Principal castmembers of Kinky Boots. Photo by Brianna Kelly
Kinky Boots is a highly anticipated, relevant new musical about acceptance that teaches "you change the world when you change your mind," according to castmember Billy Porter. It boasts a seriously talented cast and crew, with a combined plethora of various awards.
The musical is adapted from a 2005 independent British movie, which is based on a true story. When producer Daryl Roth saw Kinky Boots at a film festival, she immediately realized the potential of its "musical DNA." So she asked fellow producer Hal Luftig to help her bring it from the silver screen to the Broadway stage.
The pair enlisted Tony Award-winning writer and actor Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles, Newsies, Torch Song Trilogy), to write the book adaptation. Beloved pop icon Cyndi Lauper was brought on as composer and lyricist to write the musical's original score, and Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, The Full Monty) serves as both the director and choreographer.
For both emerging and established performing artists, Chicago boasts unlimited opportunities for those looking to hone their skills; and at "The Shit Show," performers of all kinds can try out their, well, shit, in front of a live audience.
Produced and hosted by Ever Mainard and Rasa Geirstikas and held every last Friday of the month, "The Shit Show" is a comedy mix of improv, stand-up and other performance art, and includes (and encourages) audience participation, drinking games, prizes and more. The performers heading up this week's show include Chicago comedian and radio host Brian Babylon, Kristin Clifford, Kate Duffy, Ted Tremper and others.
Catch "The Shit Show" at 8:30pm (doors open at 8pm) this Friday, Sept. 28 at Shambles, 2050 W. Division St.; for more information, call 773-486-0200. Free.
The 48th Chicago International Film Festival kicks off on October 11 with a premiere of Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin, produced and directed by Chicagoans Tom Rosenberg (Million Dollar Baby) and Fisher Stevens (The Cove), respectively.
The aforementioned cast and crew will all be attending the opening, making for, in CIFF Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza's words, "Without a doubt the most exciting opening night for the Chicago International Film Festival in many years."
With all the theater offerings that Chicago has year-round, a fringe festival doesn't exactly seem necessary. And yet, the Chicago Fringe Festival, an 11-day festival that runs through September 9 in Pilsen, charges on for a third year. Yes, 24 acts hail from the Chicagoland area, which seems a few too many and a byproduct of selecting by lottery instead of jury, but the presence of 22 acts from elsewhere in the US, as well as The Interpreters from South Korea and Le Petite Famille from France and Canada, should provide plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse at what theater folk are doing away from the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. All told, a slate of more than 200 performances by about 180 performers, and the ability for patrons to show up just one day and get to see 5 or 6 groups, should serve to satiate even the heartiest of theater-going appetites.
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.
Two of the most universally joyous experiences in life are laughing and winning. ComedySportz has long been known for combining these elements of comedy and competition, but this summer they're taking it to the global level with the annual ComedySportz World Championship. This four-day event will feature as many as 21 teams from the U.S. and Europe who will fight for the last laugh in this winner-takes-all tournament of improv comedy.
For the uninitiated, ComedySportz is a brand of short-form improv comedy played as a sport. Two teams take turns creating scenes based on suggestions from the crowd and the audience votes on the winner. For the long-time fans of the red v. blue battles, this competition will feature the funniest faces from Chicago's stage throwing down against other cities from Manchester to Milwaulkee for the title.
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.
Gerhard Richter Painting, weeklong run at the Gene Siskel Film Center (ends Friday!)
In Gerhard Richter Painting, documentarian Corinna Belz trains her lens on one of today's most celebrated contemporary artists. Richter, who has long held a reputation for being withdrawn and reserved, allows the cameras full access as he labors in his studio on a new series of abstract works. A rare opportunity to see Richter in his natural habitat, the film captures his signature process, which involves using an oversized squeegee to apply thick coats of paint that he later wears away to achieve a unique texturized look. Richter's meathod is simultaneously spontaneous and calculated, and it's unclear (even to his assistants) why he favors one brushstroke over another. Despite Belz's attempts to prompt rumination on Richter's part, specifically about the meaning of his paintings, he is no less of an enigma at the film's conclusion. Interestingly, memory and the passage of time, themes commonly attributed to Richter's work, are equally central to both his abstract and photorealistic paintings.
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.
Let's face it: When you think of mirth, excitement, and song-and-dance numbers, you think of MBAs.
At least, that's the hope of the more than 80 Northwestern graduate students behind the comic variety show Special K! Produced and performed by matriculators at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, the revue hits the stage this week at the Norris University Center in Evanston. Nightly shows were from May 2-5, with two shows tonight. The assemblage of amusements -- including live-action and digital skits, song parodies, a short film, and a riff on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment -- represents the culmination of months of extracurricular work.
So what's funny about business school? Plenty, according to second-year marketing major Chris Reynolds, one of the creative directors. He says the show mines humor from human relationships and heightened emotions, not accounting textbooks. Audiences who don't know their fixed assets from a hole in the ground can still relate to the tension of working with peers in close quarters, or of striking out on an uncertain career path.
Laura Elayne Miller describes the process of her work as an "archaelogical dig." Before creating any new work in mediums ranging from sculpture to filmmaking to printmaking (and many others), Miller must collect, read, look, listen, and jump into the themes and ideas of her work. In her latest work - an "artistic cartography" of her three interpretations of sensory experience and space - entitled Sentient Space at THE MISSION, Miller based the creation on a prototype from two years ago.
"I just find it really interesting that you could take the structure of cartography or the idea of concrete data or elements from environment, space, and place to combine that with metaphor and experiential ideas."
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.
It is not that Marc Bamuthi Joseph sees the world differently, but that he sees the world - and some of the world's problems and challenges - more clearly than others. Much of his past work and his current performance project investigates and dissect issues of the environment for the underserved and communities of color. The rise of the green movement - despite the movement's power and importance - has also created a limited, often one-sided interpretation of and reaction to environmental issues.
"It became clear," Bamuthi began, "that there was a homogeneous population with a certain kind of literacy and a certain kind of vocabulary that bordered on jargon in terms of environmental consciousness and environmental actions."
Bamuthi's latest project at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA), red, black and GREEN: a blues, a multimedia performance work combining text, dance, and visuals and in collaboration with Chicago-artist Theaster Gates, addresses the discrepancies of the goals and actions of the environmental and green movements with the various communities often ignored.
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.
An untitled watercolor by tattooist and painter Mario Desa,
one of 30 original paintings that will be on display at Firecat Projects.
Firecat Projects (2124 N. Damen) showcases the work of local artist Mario Desa with the collection: You might live, but you won't love, featuring 30 original works. Desa marks 15 years as a tattooist with this collection. The opening runs from 7-10pm this Friday, March 30. This event is free, with beer by 3 Floyds, and wine by Red and White Wines Chicago. For more information go to Firecat Projects or Mario Desa.
The Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) returns to Chicago this April for its third year and will be bringing with it an entirely new line up of 31 films from 13 countries. The festival is the largest in the nation that celebrates architecture and design. The five-day event, held at the Music Box Theatre, will comprise feature-length films, documentaries and shorts, as well as panel discussions with filmmakers, architects, designers and industry leaders.
This year's repertoire profiles the drama, glory and creative spirit behind world-renowned constructions and architects.
ADFF will begin the festival with the award-winning Unfinished Spaces, which chronicles the overdue revitalization of Cuba's National Art Schools project. Designed by three radical young artists commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1961, at the onset of the Revolution, the schools gained momentum quickly, but construction was abruptly halted in the wake of the political climate and the architects were deemed irrelevant. After 40 years, the schools are in use, but remain unfinished. Now, Castro invites the architects to return and fulfill their long forgotten dream.
True stories are often the most compelling in film. People are drawn to the stunning realities revealed in a grass roots documentary, or the retelling of a series of fantastic and awe-inspiring events that lead to either personal accomplishment or demise. As moving as these films can be, is there an irreconcilable disconnect between the silver screen and the life it portrays? Can cinema ever really depict the "truth"?
This is the question the Night School offshoot of Facets Film School poses in its 10th series, "Reel People." Midnight screenings, lectures and discussions will take place every Saturday from February 25 to April 21 at Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
For those who love musical numbers in their intergalactic adventure, Chicago-based improv group Octavarius presents Stars! Wars! The Musical!
Join Luke, Leia and the gang of robots for this one-night-only showing at Mercury Theater on Friday, March 9 at 8pm. After its premier in November, the musical is back by popular demand, telling the story of Star Wars: a New Hope with original song and dance numbers, accompanied by a live band.
Following the musical, attendees will get a bonus improv set from Octavarius, joined by R2D2 who will be playing himself.
Tickets are regularly $10, but discounted admission of $7 will be offered to audience members who dress like their favorite Star Wars character or bring a light saber - like you wouldn't have done that anyway.
The top-ranked troupe will have just come off one of the longest running independent improv shows at ComedySportz where they perform on Sundays at 7pm, with a final show on February 26. To learn more about the group, view videos and listen to their weekly themed podcasts visit their homepage.
Still looking for something special to do for Valentine's Day? The Black Ensemble Theater presents For Lovers Only (And For People Who Love Themselves). This special, one night tribute to love will be a must see event hosted by Ms. Dawn. The most famous love songs of all time such as Al Green's "Love & Happiness", Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness", and Etta James' "At Last" will be performed by the Black Ensemble Theater Performers. As Jackie Taylor states, "There's nothing more fitting than to spend Valentine's Day celebrating some of the best love songs of all time."
The Black Ensemble Theater's second floor theater will be transformed into a "Love Club" complete with champagne, dessert, and a four-piece band. This event will take place on February 14 at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 2250 N. Clark St. Tickets will be $125 per couple and $65 for single tickets. Tickets may be purchased at Ticketmaster or by calling 773-769-4451. Reserve your tickets today!
Just released is both a short trailer and behind the scenes look at the upcoming animated short Cadaver. A "cinematic poem" inspired by Shakespeare and Shel Silverstein, the film features Christopher Lloyd, Kathy Bates and Chicago's Tavi Gevinson, who also covers "Heart of Gold" for the film's soundtrack.
Photography and body art will merge into an interesting twist of events for the Chicago Photography Center. They will be having a fundraiser entitled I (heart) Ink on Feb. 3 from 7pm to 10pm at the Chicago Photography Center, 3301 N. Lincoln Ave., and the cost starts at $75. This wonderfully interesting event will benefit the center and also will serve as the opening reception for the photographic exhibit The Art of Tattoo. To reserve your spot, visit the Chicago Photography website.
In addition, a workshop on tattoo photography will be held on Feb. 4 from 3pm to 6pm at the center. The general opening of the "Art of Tattoo" will also be on the 4th from 7pm to 9pm. To register for the tattoo photography workshop, click here.
Love art, food and wine? Looking for programming that features all three? Check out "The Dinner Party", presented by "Fear No Art Chicago", a WTTW show that goes behind the scenes to show art being made. And like "Fear No Art", this show is hosted by Elysabeth Alfano. "The Dinner Party" will feature three artists and a celebrity chef who will join in food, art, wine and conversation for one hour. The celebrities that will be featured on the premiere are artist Tony Fitzpatrick, musician Jon Langford, Jeff award winning director Rachel Rockwell, and Dinner Party Chef Homaro Cantu of Moto and iNG. Other guests that will be featured on future shows include soul singer J.C. Brooks, Second City and Uptown Member Billy Bungeroth, Luna Negra Coreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Dinner Party Chef and "Top Chef" runner-up Dale Levitski of Sprout, Poi Dog Pondering's Frank Orall, and Photographer SANDRO. With this list of guests, this show is a must see!
The MCA Chicago continues its year of in-depth, audience-focused changes with its latest MCA Stage production, The Matter of Origins. Choreographed by original Dance Exchange artistic director Liz Lerman, this multimedia-heavy and theatrical performance continues to push the boundaries of contemporary dance. The work is co-presented with the Chicago Humanities Festival, whose 2011 theme of Technology runs through the core of the dance work.
In a press release, Lerman said that The Matter of Origins examines, "how the human mind flips and stretches to comprehend things that are incredibly small, large, fast, or far beyond the categories of known experience." For the traditional dance fan, the performance offers a one-of-a-kind experience that draws on both history and the reactions of audience members.
Michael Gross and Jessica Wolfrum are busy. The life of a River North Chicago Dance Company member demands a lot, but the rewards are plentiful. And for a company as distinguished and praised as River North Dance, the rewards can be as abstract as personal connections to each choreographed dance piece to performance trips around the world.
Gross and Wolfrum are freshly back from a trip to Germany where the company performed their "On the Edge," and "Flavors of American Jazz" program. Each program showcases the diversity of the company's repertoire, with works that vary between the accessible and the abstract.
"I have found that the pieces we have in our repertoire provide a very diverse range of techniques and styles to consistently provide challenges for the dances," Gross began. "We like challenges. They are the things that help us to constantly push ourselves to improve and become the most versatile artists that we can possible be."
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!
Comedy Cares is a non-profit fundraising organization founded by Chicago comedian Ever Mainard that utilizes comedy as a source of revenue for programs and individuals in need of assistance. This months event will raise revenue for the Broadway Youth Center and the services that it provides.
The show will take place on September 23 at 8pm at the Lucky Shamrock (2723 North Halsted) and will be hosted by Mainard, who is best known for her podcast Dates with Ever and as a member of Chicago Underground Comedy.
The lineup features the best acts in Chicago and includes: Lisa Laureta (the people under the stairs), Kelsie Huff (the kates, Bruiser, Boulder International Fringe Festival) Bill Cruz (host of Gutter Mouth open mic) Ryan Walker, Gwen Laroka (winner of Last Loca Standing) Adam Burke (host of Coles Open Mic, Chicago Underground Comedy) Caitlin Bergh (Cameron Esposito's Side Mullet Nation), and Jeff Gandy.
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.
The charisma, technicality, and athleticism of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater sets the group apart from other contemporaries. Works such as the masterpiece "Revelations" invoke a fiery, visceral reaction in the audience. The group returns to Chicago beginning tonight for an eclectic engagement that includes six Chicago premieres at the Auditorium Theatre (50 East Congress).
Company member Glenn Allen Sims claimed that first watching the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater perform motivated him to push forward more aggressively in his dance practice.
"It really motivated me to just want to dance," Sims said. Originally from New Jersey, Sims first auditioned for the theater in 1993. In 1997, he graduated from Julliard and auditioned again. Since then, his immense talents have been broadcast in a number of different performances, some of which will be making their local debut.
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.
The process of storytelling constantly evolves and adapts to the demands, technology, and forms of communication that dominate contemporary society. In the rehearsals for Mordine & Company Dance Theater's debut spring performance, LifeSpeak, Founder, Artistic Director, and choreographer Shirley Mordine undertook a similar approach to the development of her work. On a cold, gray, and blistery Monday afternoon, five women and one man took light direction from Mordine and manipulated the choreography already set in place in order to better tell the story behind the performance.
"The dance is itself. It could be quite different from where you started," Mordine said. "Similar to listening to music, you don't expect the music to be illustrative of what was just written on the paper. It's just a point of departure."
Whether you're an opera aficionado or an opera virgin, consider exposing yourself to an avant-garde take on it this week with Mexico City's Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes' El Gallo: Opera for Actors-- part of the MCA's Global Stage Series. This piece of experimental theater, opening this Wednesday with a short run (through May 1), features a music director and five singers pushing themselves to their limits, "teetering between insanity and euphoria as they work through their deepest
inhibitions." Sung entirely in a made-up language, El Gallo features a score and libretto by British composer, Paul Barker, who conducts the music-- performed live by Chicago's MAVerick Ensemble.
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."
Nick Prueher and Joe Picket share thrift store gold at the Found Footage Festival.
The Found Footage Festival, a one-of-a-kind event showcasing videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout North America, is returning to Chicago tomorrow night at the Music Box, in conjunction with a special 25th anniversary screening of the documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which was videotaped in a concert arena parking lot before a Judas Priest show in Maryland in 1986.
In addition to hosting in-person FFF screenings, curators Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are also the brains and brawn behind the documentaries Dirty Country and Winnebago Man, and have written for The Onion and the Late Show with David Letterman.
If you were lucky enough to catch FFF last summer, you got to see a rare screening of the 1987 film Computer Beach Party at The Empty Bottle. Tomorrow's show at the Music Box promises to be every bit as fun. Among the new clips to be featured are:
-Self-hypnosis videos about how to be a better lover, businessman, and bowler
-A 1986 home movie taken during a debaucherous weekend in Florida
-A collection of ventriloquism how-to videos that will forever haunt you
-A brand-new compilation of exercise videos featuring Cher, Lyle Alzado and the American Gladiators
With a tour that's taking them to 75 cities in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., Prueher and Pickett are on the road quite a bit these days, but I managed to catch Prueher on the phone for a few minutes en route to Baltimore last week.
Jazz musician Miles Davis' work-- eclectic, enigmatic, and full-bodied-- is the inspiration and soundtrack to River North Chicago Dance Company's latest performance. Titled Simply Miles, Simply Us, the original work was choreographed by artistic director Frank Chaves with assistance from company members Christian Denice and Ricky Ruiz. Featuring some of Davis' most influential and groundbreaking pieces such as "Blue in Green," from the 1959 album Kind of Blue, and an excerpt from the 1970 double album, Bitches Brew, Simply Miles, Simply Us, promises a diverse array of Davis' work.
The world premiere performance marks not only a first for the dance company for the venue. This is the first time the Auditorium Theatre, in conjunction with the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan State University, has commissioned a new work. The performance is also presented as part of the the theatre's ongoing Miles Davis Festival, a city-wide celebration marking the 85th anniversary of Illinois native Davis' birth. In addition to the one-night-only debut performance, the company will also present additional work from Chaves as well as choreographers Sherry Zunker, Ashley Roland, and Robert Battle.
Tickets (starting at $30) for the April 16 engagement are on sale and available at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office at 50 East Congress Parkway, online, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787. The performance begins at 8pm.
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.
A Gaia poster bomb on 18th Street; photo courtesy of the artist
Internationally lauded street artist, Gaia, is officially here-- all over the place. A series of projects showcasing Gaia's work around town, collectively titled GAIA: Resplendent Semblance launched a few weeks ago with a bunch of work pasted up all over the city, a collection of work at Pawn Works (which opened last Friday) and a show of new, large scale paintings and collages at Maxwell Colette Gallery, which will open this Friday.
A few months ago, I had the experience of watching people get on stage and sing songs, read journal entries, poems, and one person read a selection from 125 handwritten pages of a story based on the film Jurassic Park. What these pieces shared in common was that they were all written when the readers were under 21 years old. This prompted me to think -- I've got boxes of old spiral-bound notebooks, composition books, and cloth-bound journals from my youth, all moldering in my basement; what would happen if I cracked them open?
Mortified is a reading series that plumbs the depths of our youth at our angstiest, our most unintentionally hilarious, and our most impressionable, before we learned the nuances of the adult world and how to navigate it. Based in L.A., Shay DeGrandis directs the Chicago chapter of Mortified, which started in 2006. When she's not directing Mortified, DeGrandis works at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she schedules classes, among other things. "LA and NY seem to have a more consistent stream of applicants than we do here," she says, "I imagine it's because of their high per capita actor ratio -- they have a lot of willing people who desire an audience. People in Chicago have amazing stories to tell but it's harder to get them to participate, to be vulnerable, to get on stage and bear their most private moments. But when they do, they touch the audience's heart as well as their funny bone... and sometimes other places, too."
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.
Filmmaker Amy Grappell has featured works in Sundance film fest, winning honorable mention. She has also shown work at SXSW, Rotterdam film fest, and among many others. Now, she will be presenting work at University of Chicago's contemporary art gallery The Renaissance Society.
The opening reception will take place this Sunday (March 13) from 4pm to 7pm, and will include a discussion with Grappell from 5pm to 6pm, in room 307 at Cobb Hall.
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.
Rehearsal floors scuffed by years of wear and tear stood out against the gray skyline of the Chicago loop. The rehearsals for the Joffrey Ballet's latest production, The Merry Widow, were in contrast to the gorgeous, sumptuous theatrical feast of the live production. Still, the vivacity of the live show -- consistently humorous and a visual treat for the senses -- was evident among the performances by the cast members and the enthusiasm of original choreographer Ronald Hynd.
Originally an adaptation of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, Hynd's choreography (coupled with lush costumes by Roberta Guidi di Bagno and orchestral accompaniment by the Chicago Sinfonietta) showcases a love story between the beautiful widow, Hanna Glawari and the Count Danilo, during the glitz and glamor of 20th century Paris.
"I started with a blank canvas," Hynd said. "I had to bring the thing down to its essence, to what the music was saying. Follow the music and the spirit of the music, and the show reveals many intriguing cross currents."
Pictured is an image from Dated: A Cautionary Tale for Facebook Users, a tragicomic monologue with multimedia projections, written by Ira Gamerman. Photo by Kirstie Shanley.
If you are one of the many people who have heard about Chicago's vibrant independent theater scene, but haven't made it out to see anything because your perception of theater has been tainted by cheesy musicals, you may want to free up a night this month or next to check out Collaboraction's Sketchbook REVERB.
"Sketchbook has proven to be this place where we've found a way to make theater super tasty and consumable to a young diverse audience," explains Anthony Moseley, director. "The audience is not just made up of people who go to a lot of theater."
It's all about the details. A great outfit is comprised not only of fashionable, quality clothing, but also the personal touches-- a perfectly folded cuff, a slew of gold buttons-- that distinguish one pretty young thing from the rest. On her popular street style blog, Chicago Looks, Brazilian-native Isa Giallorenzo hunts down the stylistically distinguishable Chicagoans roaming the galleries, music festivals, and vintage fashion sales that litter the neighborhoods. In one photograph, a young Black man's hair is wrapped and tied in a brown turban. He leans against a stone wall, hands stuffed within the pockets of loose army green pants as his chest, covered in a salmon pink t-shirt and thick suspenders, is thrust out proudly. In another snapshot, a twenty-something woman stays warm in a dramatically long blue coat seemingly cut to compliment the white-blonde bangs that nearly cover her eyes. Each photograph is a portrait of Chicago, a moment of time documenting one person in a city of millions.
Giallorenzo works not unlike a documentarian. She takes not only full-body shots but also close-ups of the little details that make an outfit pop. It is no surprise then to learn that the photographer comes from a journalism background. The role of a street style photographer entails investigating a look. The image is a form of storytelling as well as the answer to an abundance of questions: Why does this outfit work when others don't? Does the person make the style, or vice versa? Can anyone really pull off that look?
Jim Nutt made a rare appearance yesterday at the preview of his much anticipated show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Coming into Character, which officially opens today. Though the Chicago artist does not currently reside in our city, his involvement in the off-beat Hairy Who group and the Imagism movement that can be seen as a quintessential milestone in Chicago art history, makes him a local treasure.
Coming into Character is an extensive collection that exemplifies his work's ability to be simultaneously stunning and grotesque. His acrylics on plexiglass are startlingly colorful and the extensive details of the often vulgar subjects pull the viewer in with a bizarre intensity. Severed limbs, skewed facial features, and unforgiving interpretations of genitalia may confuse some and offend others, but Nutt's ability to capture the senses cannot be denied.
Many of Nutt's pieces in Coming into Character are accompanied by the drawings that he experimented with before jumping into the final project. The ghosts of erased lines provide a fascinating glimpse into the experimental nature of Nutt's process.
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.
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.
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.
Elaborately costumed performers re-enact the 1809 Napoleonic Battle of Aspen-Essling, one of Europe's bloodiest conflicts. Suddenly, cameras roll on to the stage, someone shouts out directions to the actors on stage, and the scene shifts from a supposed re-enactment to a scene from a live filming. In EMPIRE (Art & Politics), collaborators Superamas create a hybrid theater production that acts not only as a counter-history to European modernity, but also as a comedic meta-narrative.
How is reality constructed and manipulated through the stories we share? EMPIRE (Art & Politics) moves from a re-enactment to a behind the scenes glimpse of the film process to a premiere party for said film. Along the way, the story morphs from one idea to the next and it is ultimately up to the audience to determine the truth in the tale. Combining elements of theater, new media, visual art, and contemporary dance, Vienna and Paris-based collaborative Superamas explore themes of everyday life. In the case of their latest production, the way we create, interpret and ultimately understand stories is as relevant to Napoleonic-era Europeans as it is to modern day, hyper-connected global citizens. EMPIRE (Art & Politics) is running in conjunction with the exhibition Luc Tuymans, and as part of the MCA Global Stage series at the MCA Stage. The MCA Stage is located at 220 E Chicago Ave. Tickets are $28, $22 for MCA members and $10 for students. Purchase tickets through the MCA Box Office or by phone at 312-397-4010.
From the minds (and hips) that brought burlesque to Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' comes Hot & Heavy Burlesque's Tribute to 'This is Spinal Tap'. Playing at the Viaduct Theater (3111 N. Western Avenue) from Friday June 4th through Sunday June 6th, the classic mockumentary is re-imagined with a little glitter, a little latex, and a lot of shimmy.
A full cast of Chicago actors will perform the classic, quotable scenes with burlesque dancers giving their interpretations mixed in. The bevy of burlesque vixens promise to go to 11 with all your Spinal Tap favorites including Sex Farm, Stonehenge, Big Bottom, Heavy Duty, Bitch School, and more.
The illustrious Version festival starts this Thursday with Territories, a group exhibition at the Zhou B. Art Center. Also, starting that night at midnight Version fest presents six episodes of experimental television featuring works submitted to this year's festival. Watch every night of the festival at midnight to view a 30 minute episode on Chicago Cable Access Channel 19 (CANTV).
On Friday the opening party for Version Festival kicks off at 8pm at Co-Prosperity Sphere, promising more unabashed creativity and wild rock and roll than any one human being could hope to completely absorb in one night. The meat and potatoes of the show Friday will most likely be the live music by amazing local acts including Mahjongg, Brilliant Pebbles, and Mr666 (among others), but the show will be garnished by art and entertainment by Telefantasy Studios-- a group of artists specializing in Sci-Fi/fantasy film productions who claim that their aim is to "transport people to realms never before imagined and to tell heroic stories with dazzling special effects." For the Version fest opening party they will create a temporary soundstage for performance, and they want everyone to come in costume as a Sci-Fi/fantasy character to be filmed, photographed, interviewed, and auditioned.
On Friday, the Chicago Opera Theater opens its 2010 season with Moses in Egypt, an opera by Gioachino Rossini that hasn't been performed in Chicago since 1863. The piece was chosen by supporters of Chicago Opera Theater through a fundraising initiative called The People's Opera in which supporters voted with their dollars on which opera to choose.
The story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt is told through the eyes of a young couple, who, like all great tragic lovers, are threatened by the conflict that surrounds them. Andrea Concetti plays the role of Moses, and the star-crossed lovers Elcia and Osiride are played by Manuela Bisceglie and Taylor Stayton. Anka Lupes designed the costumes and the set, which is dominated by a large skylight that holds the Israelites captive. Andrew Eggert, who directs, describes the dramatic ending of the piece: "we have taken a symbolic approach to the parting of the Red Sea. Rather than a literal separation of the waters, the audience can expect a surprise of light and motion that represents the progression of the Israelites towards their aspirations for the future."
The twins: Ashleigh LaThrop and Paige Collins. Photo by Peter Coombs
Something awesome is happening at Steppenwolf this week. Garage Rep, a theatrical program combining three productions from three of Chicago's most innovative theater companies, is opening. The three plays--Adore, punkplay, and The Twins Would Like to Say--are being presented in repertory through April 25.
This morning I spoke with Devon de Mayo and Seth Bockley about their play, The Twins Would Like to Say--the culmination of a lot of work between a troupe of enthusiastic and ambitious local creatives (Chicago-based Dog and Pony Theatre Company--which de Mayo is co-founder of). The Twins Would Like to Say is an interactive performance based on the true story of a pair of identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, Caribbean immigrants trying to find their place in provincial Wales in the 1970s. At eight years old they made a pact to speak to no one but each other--a pact that lasted over 20 years. Because they were unable to express themselves verbally in their daily lives, they took to writing and their imaginary worlds blossomed into a collection of highly imaginative novels detailing provocative themes like teenage lust and rebellion.
The Zhou B. Art Center, a rather new art studio in Bridgeport, has high expectations and even deeper ambitions in stake for Chicago's contemporary artist community.
Gallery owners and brothers, Shan Zuo and Da Huang Zhou's latest exhibition celebrates young artists from all over the United States, featuring recent MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) candidates and recipients working in the medium of contemporary painting. The National Wet Paint Exhibition, a reference to the collective of fresh artists, starts January 15 at the 87,000 square-foot gallery--a gallery that houses several exhibition spaces, artist studios, a café and even an art store.
Think of Wet Paint as a representation of contemporary art graduate programs across the country, seeking to display resulting innovations in painting materials, techniques and methods. There's even a free multimedia iPhone app to keep patrons up to date on the artists and their exhibitions.
"Weatherbee's Revenge," a solo show by California-bred New York artist Mark Mulroney is opening at ebersmoore gallery next Friday. The work, though "dirty" in nature, has a clean, pop sensibility that makes it massively appealing. You must admit, Mulroney makes reliving the horrors of adolescence kind of fun.
The press release for the show opens with Mulroney explaining how a book about puberty scarred him as a child. He describes how his youthful imagination completely misconstrued the information given him: "My theory was as follows...If you are ever to shower with another boy this giant sperm would erupt from your stomach, fall to the floor of the shower and lay there wet and smiling all the while whistling a little tune."