Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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


Friday, May 24

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Venue Mon Nov 03 2014

Hungry Brain Closing in December

The owners of the Hungry Brain, a Roscoe Village dive bar with a reputation for high-minded cultural programming, announced that they will be shutting down Dec. 15. Co-owner Janis White told Chicagoist that the bar has suffered from increased competition in Logan Square. A statement from White and co-owner Luz Cordova is below.

The Hungry Brain opened at 2319 W. Belmont Ave. in 1997, but always looked much older, inside and out. Entering the enameled steel facade revealed a collection of mismatched furniture, odd artwork, and Christmas lights give the room a very lived in feel. The thrift store aesthetic and friendly vibe earned it top reviews on Yelp and placement on Thrillist's 15 most hipster Chicago bars. But from the beginning, the Hungry Brain was home to readings, concerts and other performances not often found in such settings.

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Andrew Huff

Culture Mon Mar 31 2014

Beverly Arts Center Brings In New Executive Director

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Chicago's vibrant and diverse arts scene is undeniable; from theater to visual art to dance and beyond, the city boasts something for everyone, from all artistic walks of life.

Looking South of Roosevelt Road, a whole other cultural collective is firmly intact with venues including the South Side Community Art Center (SSAC), DuSable Museum of African-American History, Gallery Guichard, the Harold Washington Cultural Center and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, all off whom, in their respective right, serve as an integral part of the city's arts community.

For Heather Ireland Robinson, the new executive director of the Beverly Arts Center located in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood, Chicago's arts and culture environment is simply part of her roots. "It's in my blood, said Robinson. "I love the arts in Chicago."

Robinson came on board the Beverly Arts Center in February; recently, I sat down with her to talk about her new position, support for the arts on the city's South Side, and her vision for the future of the BAC.

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LaShawn Williams

Preview Sat Mar 15 2014

UChicago Presents: Art and Anatomy

Photo by UChicago Arts

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.

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S. Nicole Lane

Art Mon Apr 29 2013

14 15 111 Kicks Off The Other Room Series

14 15 111: this is more than a series of numbers, it is a series of titles that will be presented at the first event in The Other Room Series at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. This is a multimedia collaboration by composer/songwriter Daniel Knox and photographer John Atwood. 14 15 111 is a suite of music combining live instruments (synth, voice, percussion, two tubas, electric bass, violin, cello and a choir), pre-recorded material, and field recordings (featuring excerpts from Knox's work with The Pushkin Theater in Moscow in 2012), all set to video of footage shot by Atwood.

The work 14 15 111 seems to be created within a closed feedback loop between Knox and Atwood, both referencing their observations and experiences. The start of this loop can come about almost anywhere. To try and honestly define the moment when it began would probably be futile, because, as all creative processes, these compositions seem strictly driven by the passions of the creators. Out of focus video creates beautiful two dimensional meandering compositions, sometimes shot through windows, which becomes the primary grounding source for space within the footage. The scenes are almost abstract, and show us a world we have seen before, it is all so familiar. It is difficult to fully suspend the video into abstraction because throughout the video we are reminded that we are the creators of our reality, we tell ourselves stories, fill in gaps, and finish narratives. 14 15 111 successfully, although subtly, reminds us how much we take for granted.

Two performances of 14 15 111 are currently scheduled, one on May 2 at 7pm and the other on May 3 at 7pm. Tickets are available now for $15


Event Thu Jun 28 2012

High Design: Anna Hovet & the ROOF Runway Series

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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.

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Britt Julious

Street Art Fri May 18 2012

Galerie F: Walk-Ins Welcome

The cool cats over at FugScreen screenprinting studios have a conundrum (albeit a pretty good one to have): too much art, not enough space. So they're opening a gallery in Logan Square this July to exhibit the best work that's run through their hands by their cohorts. With a focus on poster and street art, Galerie F has a unique ethic: fully functional six days of the week, all day long, with no appointments required. In other words, an "open door gallery". This is important to them because they want to be accessible -- they want people to be able to wander in and browse at their own pace. And as cool as Chicago's plethora of artist-run, DIY spaces are, you just can't do that at most of them.

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Kelly Reaves

Art Wed Apr 04 2012

$10 Million Gift for the MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) today announced a gift of $10 million from Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson. Long-time supporters of both the arts and the MCA, Edlis also serves as an officer of the MCA Board and an MCA Trustee. Edlis led the museum's Collection Committee from 2004 to 2008. Neeson serves on the Exhibition Committee.

In 2000, Edlis and Neeson gave a major gift to establish the Edlis/Neeson Art Acquisition Fund that has enabled the MCA to acquire significant works for the collection, including Maurizio Cattelan's Felix (2001), Thomas Schutte's Ganz Grosse Geister (Big SpiritsXL) (2004), Jenny Holzer's For Chicago (2007), and Olafur Eliasson's Your eye activity field (2009).

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Britt Julious

Street Art Fri Mar 02 2012

The Franklin: Not Your Typical Yard Art


The Franklin, currently on view at NEIU's Fine Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Edra Soto.

Local artist Edra Soto and her husband Dan Sullivan recently completed a project titled "the Franklin" -- an outdoor exhibition space currently installed at NEIU Gallery for a show titled Living By Example (a damn good show, mind you.) When the show finishes we it will be deconstructed and moved to Soto and Sullivan's backyard in East Garfield park, where it will be permanently installed. NEIU helped pay for materials, but in order to complete the project they need to purchase additional materials for the roof, deck and footings.

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Kelly Reaves

Comedy Wed Feb 22 2012

UP Comedy Club Off To A Strong Start

The tone in Chicago comedy these days feels like one of change and transition. New theaters like The Laugh Factory and Up are opening, and an interest in high-brow comedy and stand-up seems to be on the rise. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical when I learned that Second City, legendary for improv and sketch comedy, was opening a club that would feature stand-up, sketch and improv, among other mediums. I was unsure of whether or not UP could cross all of those boundaries in one theater, but I wanted to keep an open mind. While I was hesitant going in, I left the theater feeling optimistic and excited for things to come.

Second City's Improv All Stars was the first show to bring me around.

(L-to-R Kellen Alexander, Cody Dove, Chelsea Devantez, Hans Holsen)

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Nellie Huggins

Culture Wed Aug 24 2011

Five Questions With Joel Craig of The Danny's Tavern Reading Series


The demurely high-polish gem of Chicago poetry and literary culture destinations, The Danny's Tavern Reading Series has hit its ten-year mark of stand-out readings. Front man and tireless lynchpin organizer since its inception, DJ and poet Joel Craig sat down recently to answer a few quick questions about his favorite readings, what happens next with the series, and some of his picks for the best in Chicago's poetry and literary art.

Ten years. What has been your favorite reading of all time and why?

We've had so many exceptional readings, some expected, others surprising in their effect, so naming a favorite is hard. If pressed, I'd have to go with James Tate and Dara Wier. James is one of my heroes. Had I not run into his poetry at an early age, I may not have come to love the art form as I do. He opened a huge window for me. He's such an established name, a Pulitzer and National Book Award winner--he didn't have to come to Chicago on his own dime to read at a tavern, but he and Dara really wanted to. James is not a young man, and he had such a hard time seeing in our darkened space, but he pushed through with much levity. They were both on fire.

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Michael Workman

Benefit Mon Aug 15 2011

Kegs Stands for Comfort Station

kegger.jpgThere's a lot going on this weekend but if you haven't cemented your Saturday plans yet, consider going to Comfort Station's kegger. Perhaps the best (and most obvious) abandoned-building-turned-art space ever, Comfort Station took over the little building in the heart/crotch of Logan Square that was vacant for so long, it became invisible to most of us.

Their party this Saturday will feature music, food by Homage Street food truck, face-painting, croquet, ping-pong, quirky film and slide show screenings, and, of course, good-ole' outdoor boozing. A suggested $10 donation gets you a cup for a night of Revolution beer. All proceeds from your donation benefit Comfort Station -- they're raising funds for storm windows to extend their active year into the cooler months and track lighting to keep spotlights on the artwork.

The party is this Saturday, August 20 from 6pm to midnight-ish at Comfort Station: The Keel/Coulson Sideyard @ 3016 W. Logan Blvd. For details, click here.

Kelly Reaves

Art Wed Jul 13 2011

Addis Experience -- the Cultural Exchange


Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, affected the artistry of both Adrienne Pierluissi and Ken Vandermark. Vandermark, a photographer, captured life in that city, which in turn Pierluissi would paint. Through their work they created a dialogue between the two mediums and their practice.

Terrie Hessels of The Ex will be present during the opening reception the proceeds of art work sold will go toward helping support Terrie's ongoing music programs in Ethiopia-- for the last few years he's been bringing musicians to schools for workshops and a repairman from Amsterdam to help fix damaged saxophones and clarinets. He will also be performing with Ken Vandermark.

This event will be hosted by Lumpen Times at Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport.

Opens Saturday, July 16, 2011 (5pm-2am)
Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219 South Morgan St.

Michelle D. Villarreal

Comedy Wed May 04 2011

Plenty to See at Gorilla Tango Theater

If you're looking for some good, independently produced theater, Gorilla Tango Theater is a great place to start. Known as the "producers theater", GTT has a constantly-rotating list of shows to choose from every month.

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Nellie Huggins

Art Tue Mar 22 2011

BYOB this Saturday!

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BYOB Chicago (organized by Nicholas O'Brien and Brian Khek) has invited more than 30 Chicago-based and international artists to create a collaborative happening of moving light, sound and performance. The dynamic structure will no-doubt be enhanced by a series of ad hoc installations, performances and special projects, creating an immerse environment of DIY spontaneity and experimentation.

The Chicago iteration of this international project will occur on Saturday, March 26 at the Archer Ballroom from 7 to 10pm.

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Michelle D. Villarreal / Comments (1)

Art Mon Mar 14 2011

Conrad Freiburg: It Is What It Isn't at HPAC

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Culture Tue Mar 01 2011

Poetry Center of Chicago Grand Re-Opening

Founded in 1976, the Poetry Center of Chicago is an independent not-for-profit literary arts organization that continues to build access to poetry through readings, workshops, residencies, and arts education for Chicago's diverse population. The Poetry Center fortifies its history of provocative and enriching guest performers (Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs gave the center's first reading in the basement of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago) with a keynote performance from Iranian poet/playwright Ezzat Goushegir on Saturday, March 5 at 3 pm. She will be reading from her one-woman play, The Bride of Acacias, about the life of poet Forough Farrokzad.

The performance is one of many events taking place over the next couple of days, and weeks, as the Poetry Center officially moves into the Chicago Cultural Center. Now located in the pedway of the Cultural Center, the new offices include a public art gallery, Welcome Center, workshop space, and the center's administrative headquarters. Other re-opening celebrations include a public reception and commemorative readings beginning Friday, March 4 through Saturday, March 5, noon - 5 pm.

The Poetry Center of Chicago is located within the Chicago Cultural Center pedway, 78 East Washington.

Britt Julious

Feature Thu Feb 17 2011

Hanging on by a Sequin

This story was submitted by Rachel Rabbit White. All photos by Edmund X. White.


The stretch of 26th Street that makes the heart of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood is vibrant on a Friday night. The smell of taco stands is warm and inviting in the cold, as people bustle amongst the colorful stores -- joyerias and a chain of boutiques named, curiously, Brazilian Seduction Jeans. In the midst of this is a bar with no sign. But locals know this is La Cueva, a Spanish speaking-only bar where women with false eyelashes and hair like exotic birds writhe and lip-sync to Mexican pop music.

La Cueva is an LGBTQ historic site -- it is known as the oldest Latino drag bar in the country. This is a bit of a misnomer, as the performers are women -- male to female trans women. La Cueva has been around for 30 years, providing a place for trans Latinas to work and gay Latinos to belong. But the bar has recently been the center of controversy: in September, Little Village residents began protesting for La Cueva to close. Opponents say the bar has become a site for drug dealing and "transgender prostitution."

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A/C / Comments (19)

News Tue Feb 01 2011

Midwest Blizzard vs. Chicago Art

The blizzard that is moving in on us at the moment is causing several cancellations and closures in the art world today and tomorrow. Here's what we have so far:

  • The Art Institute closed at 2pm today and will be closed tomorrow, so the Peter Fischli artist talk scheduled for tomorrow at 6pm has been canceled.
  • The MCA closed at 2pm today and will be closed tomorrow.
  • Steppenwolf has canceled their shows tonight and their matinees tomorrow.
  • Goodman Theatre's Wednesday, February 2 Performance of the Trinity River Plays has been cancelled.
  • Tonight's Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance with conductor/pianist Mitsuko Uchida has been rescheduled for Monday, February 7, at 7:30pm. Wednesday's performance by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra will go on. More info at CSO's website.
  • UIC's Gallery 400 is closed today as of 2pm, and so the Eileen Myles lecture scheduled for 5pm today was postponed. If you plan on viewing Kerstin Honeit: Ambiguity is My Weapon or Bless This Mess in the next two days, call them ahead at 312-996-6114 to find out their open hours.
  • Curating the Turn salon at threewalls has been rescheduled for Feb. 8 at 7pm.
  • Drawing Club tonight at Peanut Gallery has been canceled. Peanut Gallery artists and friends will be participating in a giant midnight snowball fight tonight at Palmer Square, instead.

Please comment on this post with information about other cancellations. The Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011 may have won the battle this week, but art will win the war. Maybe. Or maybe everyone will continue to move to L.A.

Just kidding. Chicago pride 4eva.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Theater Mon Jan 10 2011

DIY Theater Comes to Logan Square's Beloved DIY Music Venue

TMO.jpgBaltimore-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.

Kelly Reaves

Art Thu Dec 09 2010

Select Media Festival Begins Tonight


SMF7, 2008. Photo by Eric Bartholomew.

Inspired by artists and designers who use available analog and digital tools to communicate complex data from the everyday to the very obscure, the Public Media Institute presents Select Media Festival 9: Infoporn II this weekend as an homage to their love for data visualization. A selection of works from around the world takes form in installations, a publication library, interactive projects, and infographics. The exhibition itself will be viewable at Co-Prosperity Sphere for two days only: Friday, Dec. 10 from 7pm to 1am and Saturday Dec. 11 from 2 to 9pm.

Tonight they open SMF9: Infoporn II with the release of their own contribution to the information overload, Proximity Magazine: Issue 008. Themed "Education as Art," their newest issue is a 230-page opus and represents their latest and greatest effort in publishing. Stop by the release party at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar to get a copy at a discount ($10), enjoy some beverages and meet the creators/contributors to the issue.

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Kelly Reaves

Feature Mon Oct 25 2010

What We Do Is (Unintentionally) Secret


Beidler Elementary students performing at the "Forms of Spectacle and Solutions to Vacancy" Unveiling Ceremony. All photos by the author unless otherwise noted.

Everyone knows the story of gentrification. Artists and other progressive people move to low-income neighborhoods looking for a good deal on a big space in the city. This attracts investors and developers, and the next thing you know, the original occupants of the neighborhood — including small businesses, families and even the artists themselves — are priced out of their homes to make room for culturally bankrupt replacements. The charm of the neighborhood is beaten out of it.

Because of the housing market crash, along with foreclosures, the gentrification process has pretty much come to a halt in many parts of the city. A classic case of this in Chicago, for better of worse, is Garfield Park. Real estate in the neighborhood was highly sought after during the real estate boom because of its proximity to downtown and to the CTA and Metra trains, as well as the beloved Garfield Park Conservatory and the sprawling park itself, but has since been given up on by many developers. Now it is home to clusters of vacant lots and buildings, but what a lot of people don't realize is that a surprising number of the buildings that are occupied are occupied by artists. Not just any artists, either. Artists who aren't afraid to take risks, who dance to the beat of their own drums, who make some of the most engaging work and eclectic work around.

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (4)

Art Wed Oct 13 2010

Bridgeport Art Walk This Weekend


Version Fest @ Co-Prosperity Sphere in 2007, photo courtesy of Co-Pro

Bridgeport is home to a surprisingly bustling artistic community, from Co-Prosperity Sphere, run by the Public Media Institute to the Zhou B. Art Center. In an effort to raise awareness of that fact, the cultural spaces down there have teamed together for a "Bridgeport Art Walk" this weekend. At least seven (but probably more) exhibition/production spaces will open up to the public for us to meander around and gawk at their wares. The CAR website says that the walk will kick off each day (Friday, Oct. 15, Saturday and Sunday) at the Bridgeport Art Center at 1200 W 35th Street with the artists of Eastbank studios and then scatter throughout the neighborhood.

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

News Thu Apr 29 2010

The MCA's New Tastemaker


Michael Darling*

The director of the Museum of Contemporary Art announced this morning that the MCA has a new chief curator-- Michael Darling. Darling is currently the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and before that he was associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. (MOCA).

"Michael is an exceptionally well-respected, intelligent, and open-minded individual who is a very prescient choice for chief curator," said Mary Ittelson, Chair of the MCA Board of Trustees in the press release they sent out today. "He is a versatile curator who understands the importance of presenting the art experience in an approachable manner for the audience."

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Kelly Reaves

Feature Mon Apr 26 2010

Outsider Art on Milwaukee Avenue

intuit copy.jpgJust south of the intersection of Ogden and Chicago is a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue where, if the wind blows just right, you can smell the chocolate being made at the Blommer Chocolate Company a mile or so to the east. Located across the street from CVS, behind a green door at 756 N. Milwaukee is a gallery that you'd walk right past unless you were looking for it -- Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. This morning Dan Galemb, a local artist and sculptor, is leading a workshop entitled Build Your Own Treasure, part of a series of lectures and workshops based on the current exhibit: The Treasure of Ulysses Davis, which includes over 100 pieces of wood sculpture made by a self-taught barber and sculptor who lived in Savannah, Georgia. "I like to stand around and pontificate, but I wouldn't call myself an art history teacher," Galemb said when asked if he was an art historian.

It is this disarmingly un-stuffy approach to art that makes Intuit so accessible. Exhibitions in recent years have included Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots, The Mark Michaelson Collection, which covered the walls of the entire space in mug shots dating from the 1870s to the 1960s; Freaks & Flash, an exhibition of archival tattoo art; and on permanent display are the mantle, objects and Vivian Girls portraits from Henry Darger's room at 851 W. Webster, where he lived as a recluse and created copious amounts of art detailing the fantasy world in his head.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (1)

Art Tue Apr 20 2010

Don't Miss Version Fest

version10.jpgThe 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.

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Kelly Reaves

Art Wed Mar 10 2010

Humboldt Cultural Center in a Bind


photos by Jhonathan F. Gómez

Quennect 4 just started out as a space, nothing more. Just a place on North Avenue in Humboldt Park for people to use for concerts and parties. And that's what it was. But over time, somewhat serendipitously, it became something more-- not only a venue for art and music but for communication, harmony, and activism.

One of the many revelatory occasions that contributed to this transformation happened recently, during a benefit at Quennect 4 for the well-known taggers Evol and Afro, who died in a car accident on the highway last April. The circumstances surrounding their death were infuriating--a (probably) drunk cop was involved--so the attendance was immense. The large space was full and they had to stop letting people in at 10:30.

"It should go down in history," said one of the guys who runs Quennect 4, who asked to remain anonymous when I interviewed the crew of volunteers there in February. "Every tagging crew in the city was here. On the streets they're at war with each other but in here they all got along. You could feel the energy in the room. It was very tense. We were all nervous, but nothing happened."

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Art Wed Feb 10 2010

Painter's Paintings for Painting's Sake

Do you like paintings? Well then pay attention: this Saturday the 13th, four Chicago galleries will open exhibits of exceptional paintings by 13 artists, (who are all, as far as I know, currently working in Chicago.) This is in conjunction with the College Art Association's annual conference convening in our wonderful city this week.

The festivities will kick off at the ungodly hour of 9:30am with a panel discussion on the state of painting at the Hyatt Regency. A glorious team of local painters/academics will address questions such as: What's to be done about painting? How is painting valued? How does painting assert its authority? What is painting's speed? Can painting enact radical social and cultural critique? What is painting's place within the mainstream? And how does painting implicate itself in capital?

After that, each of the artists on the panel will exhibit their work at four Chicago galleries that afternoon, starting at JULIUS CÆSAR at 4pm, continuing to Shane Campbell Gallery at 6pm, and ending at the 119 N Peoria Building in the West Loop at Rowley Kennerk Gallery and Western Exhibitions, from 7 to 10pm.

I am particularly exited about the Painter's Paintings show at Western Exhibitions, which will feature new work by the talented Carl Baratta and Nicholas Frank, among others. Visit the individual galleries' websites for specific information about each of the exhibitions. Don't miss these!


Carl Baratta's "These Hands Around Your Neck, Like Flames To A House", courtesy of Western Exhibitions

Kelly Reaves

Feature Mon Jan 18 2010

A Fever Dream Come True: Chicago's Dream Theatre Company Finds Its Audience

dreamtheatre.jpgMost theater companies define themselves by what they want. Jeremy Menekseoglu, artistic director of Chicago's Dream Theatre Company, knows exactly what he doesn't.

No fourth wall. No superfluous roles. No poor roles for women. No living rooms. No boundaries of realism. By articulating these rules, Dream Theatre is more efficiently able to arrive at what it is they do desire, a destruction of the barrier between actor and audience.

It began in Russia. As students at the Moscow Art Theatre in the late 90's, Menekseoglu and three friends started the company to explore this tricky relationship.

"We wanted a theatre in which the audience became a part of the story," Menekseoglu says. "A real part."

Originally dubbed the Theatre for Humanity, the company was interested in personal psychology over politics. In the midst of his struggle to find a common ground, a place where everyone could relate, Menekeseoglu had a dream. It turned out to be his revelation. "No matter who we were or how different we were, we all could relate to one another in our subconscious."

So...Dream Theatre. It begins.

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Randall Colburn

Art Fri Dec 11 2009

Pop Ups

banner_popup_1.jpgHey, check it out, it's winter in Chicago during a shaky economic time. How many of you can recall a time when there have been so many vacant storefronts in your neighborhood? Have been downtown recently and seen the spaces waiting for some enterprising boutique, or another Starbuck's to move in? I can recall when all of Fullerton from Halsted to Pulaski was boarded up, but that was a long time ago, long enough in fact that we don't just board everything up anymore. Pop up galleries are the new busy bee board up, the idea is too keep the building viable, while owners can find suitable tenets.

Artists around the country are benefiting from these vacant store fronts by being able to show work in high traffic areas. The Chicago Loop Alliance, who a few years ago brought us Looptopia is now offering Pop Up Galleries one which features the work of Sara Schnadt (who we interviewed last year). "Inspired by the idea that we simultaneously live in a real and virtual world, and that the virtual is infinitely expansive, Network uses large quantities of electric yellow twine and mirror to suggest a virtual network landscape cutting through an otherwise ordinary space." Sara's Pop Up Gallery is called Network and can be seen throughout December at 220 South Wabash.


Art Thu Dec 10 2009

Garage Spaces is Dead

Funeral is the third and final installation at the temporary alternative art space, Garage Spaces. Perhaps you remember the last one, Stolen, which received a lot of press. Funeral opens tomorrow, Friday, December 11 at 5pm and closes the same night at 10pm.

For Funeral, artists and curators Mike Bancroft and Evan Plummer will complete the series with a performance that poses a dialogue on the culture and commerce of death in contemporary America. Garage Spaces will be recreated as a funeral home/parlor to mourn the death of Garage Spaces. Viewers can participate in the performance, if they want, by communally mourning their losses in life.

Garage Spaces is located at 1337 North Maplewood Ave. Admission is free. Call 773-216-5580 for more information.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Art Mon Nov 16 2009

Opportunity for the Arts

The directors of Home Gallery, in Hyde Park, have an exciting and interesting pilot event coming up called the Op Shop. The name refers to Opportunity Shop, and the idea here is to open a temporary space where artists can bring their work, as well as services and ideas, in order to barter, sell and openly exchange. I don't want to give the impression that this is a just retail space, although that is one aspect of what will happen within this space. Artists are being encouraged to be a part of this event organically, utilizing the space to create a dynamic and evolving installation. All mediums are welcome, so artists may host a workshop, lessons, or performances as well as sell paintings or sculptures.

Another aspect of this pilot project, which, if all goes well there will be more of, is to work in conjunction with property owners, bringing attention to their vacant spaces while helping to keep the Op Shop's costs down. This will also attract new consumers to an area and will aid in revitalizing neighborhood shops that may have seen a drop in sales over the past few months. This Op Shop will be located in a vacant space currently owned by Mac Properties in Hyde Park at 1613 E. 55th St.

If you are interested in participating in The Op Shop, you should contact the Laura Shaeffer immediately. They are also looking for people to donate time to help run the space during its open hours.

The planned timed and days for this event are as follows

Dates: 11/27 Fri - 12/31 Thu
Visitor hours: 11am-7pm, Thu-Sun,
Evenings, coinciding with events.

Opening reception: 11/27 Fri, from 6-10 p.m.
Silent Auction: 12/5 Sat from 6-10 p.m
Closing party: 12/31 Thu from 6-10 p.m.

MartinJon / Comments (2)

Theatre Thu Oct 15 2009

Little Bar of Awesome is more like it...

lsohAudrey.jpgThis should be fun- the folks down at The Hideout are putting on their own, probably even more twisted, version of Little Shop Of Horrors, produced, directed by, and starring Hideout staff, friends, and family. I am particuarly exited to see local poet and incredible soul/funk/Americana singer Marvin Tate play Audrey II "The Plant."

There will be six showings, one every evening Oct. 22-25th, and 3pm showings on the 24th and 25th. Tickets are $15. The Hideout: 1354 W. Wabansia. 773-227-4433. 21+

Kelly Reaves

Comics Wed May 27 2009

Intergalactic Sex Rodeo

No, that's not the name of R. Kelly's latest album, but rather the latest stage show by Big Dog Eat Child. Big Dog Eat Child (of Boozeleggers Ball and Jones' Good Ass BBQ and Foot Massage fame) brings their show to the Lakeshore Theatre stage this Friday, May 29th at Midnight. More than just your run-of-the-mill comedy show, Intergalactic Sex Rodeo features live music from buzz band The Wires, burlesque dancers from the acclaimed Varietease Cabaret, comedy super-group Big Dog Eat Child, and comedians Marty DeRosa and Bill Cruz.

For ticket info:
Call Lakeshore Theater Box Office at: (773) 472-3492
Or visit:

For more information on Big Dog Eat Child visit their website.

Dyan Flores

Improv Wed Apr 01 2009

Airport Comedy

Imagine this:
You get a call from your Uncle Larry. He's in town for a conference out at O'Hare. He calls and asks what he can do for kicks without straying too far from his hotel. You doubt he wants to see Britney Spears at AllState Arena, and Jesus Christ Superstar at the Rosemont Theatre isn't really his bag either. Uncle Larry is a pretty funny guy, so you think he might like to check out a comedy show, but there aren't any good ones out by O'Hare...or are there?

In a partnership with the Hotel InterContinental Chicago O'Hare, local improv comedy theatres The Annoyance and Comedy Sportz are providing weekly shows out for audiences by O'Hare.

The Annoyance performs "Un-Tied" Fridays at 8:00 pm while ComedySportz performs their main stage show Saturdays at 8:00 pm.

The Hotel InterContinental Chicago is located at 5300 N. River Road in Rosemont.

Dyan Flores / Comments (1)

Venue Thu Mar 19 2009

Alderman Wants to Make Art Institute Pay

Last week, the Art Institute announced that it would be significantly increasing its admission fees. This week, Alderman Burke (14th) is announcing that he'll cut off free city services to the museum if they continue ahead with their plan.

Jamie Smith

Improv Wed Mar 18 2009

And the winner is...

In an effort to compare apples and oranges, NBC 5 had a showdown between Zanies and iO Theater where Chicagoans could vote on the "Best Laughs" in the city. Zanies was triumphant, winning by a staggering 51% to iO's meager 49%. What's funnier than either comedy club, however, is the comments on the debate page. My personal favorites are "you suck, improv is not comedy and you need to realize that," and the claims that the competition is rigged. People apparently get pretty worked up when there's a human trophy at stake.

Dyan Flores

Art Wed Mar 18 2009

Remembering Chicago's Hobohemian Era

From April 4-15, 2009, Mess Hall will host "Brains, Brilliancy, Bohemia: Art & Politics in Jazz-Age Chicago," an exhibition featuring counterculture documents and art from the Chicago hobohemian era, as well as audio from a rare interview with Studs Terkel.

The exhibit will make use of documents drawn from the Newberry Library and other sources, particularly those related to the Dill Pickle Club and its affiliated artists and activists.

For more information, check out the exhibition's website as well as Mess Hall's April calendar.

David Schalliol

Venue Thu Mar 12 2009

Art Institute Increases Fees

art institute.jpg
As you may have heard, on May 23 the admission fees to the Art Institute will increase significantly. Adult entrance will cost $18, up from $12, and student and senior fees will increase to $12 from $7.

The price changes will come into effect exactly one week after the Modern Wing is scheduled to open, but the museum claims that the two things have nothing to do with each other. Museum spokeswoman Erin Hogan says that the increase is designed to help the museum keep up with rising costs in the face of decreasing attendance. She also points out that the Art Institute hasn't raised their fees in five years, which is technically true, but leaves out that in June 2006 the museum made their suggested donation a mandatory admission fee. Prior to that they had allowed entry to those who didn't, or couldn't, pay.

The Chicago Reader offers some excellent background on the decision and the new president who might have further changes in store for the museum. The Time Out Chicago blog defends the decision, but acknowledges that the increase will price some visitors out. The Chicago Art Blog thinks that all museums should be funded by the federal government and free to all. What do you think?

Jamie Smith / Comments (6)

Music Tue Mar 03 2009

Unwigged & Unplugged

This Saturday March 7 at 10am, tickets will go on sale for "Unwigged & Unplugged: An Evening with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer", who are playing the Chicago Theatre on May 30 at 8pm.

Through music-themed mockumentaries such as This is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, the trio has straddled the line between comedy and musicianship, and with this upcoming appearance they'll be focusing on the music. The trio is billed as, "coming out from behind the hair, the facial hair, and the absence of hair, to perform as themselves songs from both films, and more, in a rare acoustic setting."

For more information you can visit the Chicago Theatre website here.

Dyan Flores

Venue Fri Jan 16 2009

Friday Flickr Feature


icecreamcastles shows us that the Hideout is ready for the inauguration.

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Jamie Smith

Stand-up Fri Sep 12 2008

Chicago Underground Comedy @ the Beat Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

Elizabeth McQuern

Venue Thu May 15 2008

New Lincoln Park Theater for Porchlight

Lincoln Park looks to be getting a new theater and cultural center at 1425 W. Fullerton. A group of investors has purchased the recently landmarked Fullerton State Bank building and plan to retrofit it for two performance spaces. Porchlight Music Theatre will be the principal occupant, though “complimentary” theater groups and acoustical musical acts will be invited to share the venue at some point in the future.

The Sun-Times and Trib coverage depict the new non-profit venture as a perfect storm of low real-estate prices, a homeless company, and a group of individuals eager to help them find a permanent space. They hope to open the 299-seat theater in the fall of 2009, just in time to begin Porchlight’s fifteenth season.

Jamie Smith

Venue Fri Mar 21 2008

HotHouse Reborn in the Viaduct Theater

Like a phoenix emerging from the ashes, The Hothouse has risen again. The venue announced today that it's returning in April with a month of shows at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western. Exciting news for fans of world and avant garde music, but the fact that it's only a month worth of programming probably means the venue is not out of the woods yet.

Read the full news release after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

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

By Nancy Bishop

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

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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