The debut of Matt Mitchell's painted portraits of post-9-11 veterans.
Whenever the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is in Chicago, the first place he stops is the northeast corner of Michigan and Monroe. When he arrives there this week, it will be to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Millennium Park and his famed Crown Fountain—and to attend the openings of a pair of exhibits of his head sculptures in the park and at Richard Gray Gallery. Over the phone from Germany, where two solo shows of his work are being held this summer, Plensa describes the urge to visit Crown Fountain as a sort of impulsive pilgrimage of reassurance. "I feel every time I have to go check to see if it's still there," he says. "to make sure that it wasn't just a dream." Plensa's lingering insecurity a decade after the debut of a piece of public art that has since been cemented, along with Anish Kapoor's adjacent Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Continue reading >>">Continue reading >>
Work from the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers. Reception Fri 12/12, 6-10 PM.
A holiday-themed sketch show. $10
The National Hellenic Museum celebrates its one-year anniversary with the opening of an exhibit chronicling the history of Greeks in America.
Artifacts from between the Arctic and the tip of South America highlighting 13,000 years of survivor skills utilized by the early Pueblo communities of the American southwest, the Incas of South America, and other cultures throughout the hemisphere.
The six spritely, mercurial, wholly engaging performers behind Second City E.T.C.'s Apes of Wrath work overtime to make their show appear to be about something. But just what remains a mystery. And an unnecessary one at that. Press materials describe the two-hour sketch comedy review in vaguely dystopic terms. "In the world of high stakes, we become a more heightened version of ourselves," the PR asserts, "which can sometimes resemble more simian behavior than human." Despite the syntactical tangle, the point seems clear: this will be a series of skits about our baser selves, in which "the dark and light sides of our human devolution" will be showcased. Except for the most part, they're not. Unitard-clad performance artists improvise poetry about the World Cup and cigarettes for inmates at Louisiana State Prison. The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, on a collision course, seduce each other by singing about their impending billion-night stand. The attention-span-challenged BuzzFeed staff try to concoct daily lists with social significance, like "The 15 Vegetables That Don't Make Me Greenhouse Gassy." Continue reading >> $23
A lot has changed for iO in the past month, but an old standby, the Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience, remains as entertaining as ever. The weekly show, which was originated by David Koechner, Adam McKay, and, yes, Armando Diaz during the trio's heyday at iO, uses performer monologues as inspiration for a night of masterful long-form improv. $12
Like many of us, Ted Geisel felt unfulfilled by his day job. Does it matter that, as Dr. Seuss, Geisel produced some of the world's most beloved picture books and introduced generations of children to the pleasures of reading? For the sake of his young audience, Dr. Seuss had to keep his drawings simple and his color palette limited. But before he'd gone to work as a commercial illustrator, Geisel had trained as a fine artist. So late at night, he painted. He experimented with color and style and more adult themes. He hung his "midnight paintings" in his house in La Jolla, California, but didn't want them released into the world while he was still alive. Continue reading >>
A holiday group show featuring work from Ben Frost, Chema Skandal, JC Rivera, and many, many more. Reception Sat 11/15, 6-10 PM.
Guided tour of ARC, Intuit and Woman Made galleries. Leaves from Love’s Snack Shop, 770 N Halsted.
Poetry and performances with live band accompaniment by Verzatile. Includes networking. $10
Opening night at Black Ensemble's revival felt more akin to a baseball game, with female audience members regularly standing up and cheering during songs—a gesture that seemed to speak as much to the powerful music of Etta James as to the finesse with which BET executive director Jackie Taylor handles the Grammy Award winner's legacy. Taylor, who first wrote and produced the show in 2005, here again uses five "incarnations" of Etta played by five different performers to tell the singer's story, but she's updated the material to reflect James's 2012 death. Drag-queen narrator Ms. Real, reprised with enjoyable sass by Rueben D. Echoles, now takes the form of a kind of deadpanning angel, ushering the five griping Ettas into one last badass belter before the star's final ascent. —Chloe Riley $55-$65
Baby Wants Candy—a tight troupe now famous for its improvised musicals—began in 1997 as one of the dozens of ImprovOlympic teams formed every year. Somehow they've avoided the usual dissolution of such groups. More impressive, they've never experienced the artistic conservatism that paralyzes improvisers eager to "do it right"—and reap the reward, presumably, of a career in NYC or LA. Instead the troupe has become the very model of smart, physical, quick-thinking, and just plain silly long-form improvisers; they still play well together and manage to entertain. Inspired by the improbable suggestion "So this is it" at the show I saw, nine actors (backed by the five-member Yes Band) improvised a complicated, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek tale of three partnerships on the rocks--two marriages and a professional relationship--and the narrator who helps bring the couples back together. —Jack Helbig $15