In the past the giant music and arts festival has included names like George Clinton, Brandy, and Otis Clay, in addition to other big names in soul, gospel, blues, house, and African music.http://africanfestivalchicago.com/
A 16mm screening of Cinda Firestone's 1974 documentary on the four-day prison uprising of the early 70s. Lawyer Michael Deutsch, who was an attorney for the Attica prisoners during their criminal trials, and Benneth Lee, the former gang member turned president of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated, introduce the film.
Multidisciplinary work by artists in residence at the University of Chicago's Public Life/Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. Reception Wed 7/9, 6-8 PM.
Like most African stars, Salif Keita—arguably the greatest Malian singer of the past half century—has sought a global audience by experimenting with (and occasionally struggling with) hybrids that marry the traditions of his homeland with various flavors of Western pop. On his most recent album, Talé (Universal), Keita submits the music of his Mandinka roots to the ministrations of producer Philippe Cohen Solal, best known from Parisian electro-tango outfit Gotan Project, who enlists a slew of guest singers, including British MC Roots Manuva, American jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding, and a cappella icon Bobby McFerrin. Solal uses a variety of electronic rhythms and effects, among them stuttering dubstep (“C’est Bon, C’est Bon”), anthemic four-on-the-floor kick drum (“Natty”), and accelerating-and-decelerating ambient washes (“Après Demain”). It’s a testament to the power of Keita’s soaring, protean voice that it’s unhindered by such unrewarding genre exercises. The album does better with fusions that feel like they’re looking for connections, not chasing trends: “Samfi,” for instance, collides Gnawan grooves with a prominent sample of the organ part from the B-52s’ “Planet Claire,” and “Tassi” mixes Sade-style soul with percolating Afro-Cuban rhythms. The core band on Talé includes Mamane Diabaté on balafon and Aboussi Cissoko on n’goni, and Keita’s imperturbably soulful singing never conceals its West African heritage. His voice is the only essential part of his music, and for this rare local performance, free of the guest singers and the high-end Paris studio, it should be front and center. —Peter Margasak This set is part of the African Festival of the Arts; 6:45 PM, Dee Parmer Woodtor Main Stage. $20, $10 in advance, $30 for families, $30 weekend pass, $75 for silver VIP, $200 for silver VIP weekend pass, $100 for gold VIP, $300 for gold VIP weekend pass
A retrospective of work featured in the annual arts festival. Reception Fri 8/15, 6-8 PM.
This fall the Hyde Park Art Center celebrates its 75th birthday. That's an advanced age for an arts organization, but HPAC's administrators and curators hope it's still in the middle of its life. Its latest exhibit, "The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle," considers the idea of middleness in terms of age, geography—Chicago is, after all, in the middle of the country—and in other, more metaphorical ways. It's also a tribute to the way the arts are practiced here, particularly at places like HPAC, which is neither the largest and richest art center and gallery in the city nor the smallest and poorest but—you guessed it—in the middle. "The idea of partnership is key," says Megha Ralapati, who cocurated the exhibit with Christopher Ho and Allison Peters Quinn. "It's not specific to Chicago, but it's a mode of working and practicing, of sharing resources and tools that characterizes the way artists work in Chicago." Continue reading >>
Hands-on ceramics, drinks, music, and dancing. $15 suggested donation.
Art activities and performances.