Bleader | Chicago Reader

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lauren Deutsch steps down after 21 years as executive director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago

Posted By on 02.27.18 at 07:00 AM

Lauren Deutsch - MYRA MELFORD
  • Myra Melford
  • Lauren Deutsch

Yesterday the Jazz Institute of Chicago announced that Heather Ireland Robinson, director of the Beverly Arts Center from 2014 till 2017, will take the helm of the venerable jazz-advocacy organization on Thursday, March 1. She replaces outgoing JIC executive director Lauren Deutsch, who's held the position since 1996.

Founded in 1969, the JIC is perhaps best known as the group that programs the annual Chicago Jazz Festival (I've been a volunteer on the programming committee since 2011). But that curatorial function is just a sliver of its mission, which is to promote jazz and help sustain its strength and breadth via educational endeavors and other public programs.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

The 2018 Chicago Humanities Festival will focus on graphics and visual art

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 05:29 PM

Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier will be one of the speakers at the Humanities Fest kickoff event on March 22. - COURTESY JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION
  • courtesy John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier will be one of the speakers at the Humanities Fest kickoff event on March 22.

The Chicago Humanities Festival announced today its first-ever yearlong theme, Graphic! Programming during the 2018 spring and fall festivals will focus on the ways the visual age has changed how people experience and engage with the world.

Joe Engleman, the festival’s public relations and marketing coordinator, says Graphic! events will explore the "multitude of opportunities," advantages, and perils that come with an increasingly visual world, including the intersection of visual arts and social change.

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Anna Karenina, the love bug

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 04:38 PM

  • courtesy Lifeline Theatre

There's a notion in Jewish mysticism that the Torah appears in different forms in different eras, depending on how much the people of that era can absorb—a collection of fables, say, at one time, the pure presence of God at another. Something similar seems to apply to Leo Tolstoy's 1878 novel Anna Karenina. Interpreters have treated it as everything from a bodice ripper to a deep philosophical treatise.

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The Moth GrandSlam storytelling show and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 03:07 PM

A performer at The Moth's 2017 event in Chicago. The special GrandSlam storytelling competition takes place 2/28. - KEVIN PENCZAK
  • Kevin Penczak
  • A performer at The Moth's 2017 event in Chicago. The special GrandSlam storytelling competition takes place 2/28.

Hear from some pretty accomplished women (including one from the 1800s) at this week's events. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Mick Jenkins commands his own future on the brand-new EP Or More; the Frustration

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 02:47 PM

Mick Jenkins at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2016 - ASHLEE REZIN / CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times
  • Mick Jenkins at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2016

In a December episode of new WGN podcast The Cornerstore (hosted by journalist Tara Mahadevan and Young Chicago Authors artistic director Kevin Coval), Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins talks a little about his frustrations with Cinematic Music Group. He began working with the Brooklyn-based hip-hop indie in 2014, and it released his breakthrough mixtape, The Water[s], his 2015 follow-up, Wave[s], and his debut studio album, 2016's The Healing Component—though by 2016 his relationship with the label had soured. Jenkins tells Mahadevan and Coval that he considers THC only technically a Cinematic release: "For the last two or three years, I've been operating completely out of my own pocket. I was in the hole . . . cleared that, and have not used a dime of label money since. I'm in the midst of getting out of my deal."

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While Twitter followed the campaign of @MayorEmanuel in 2011, Steve Bogira took a serious look at segregation

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 09:00 AM

The Frances Cabrini row houses on the near north side - DAVID SCHALLIOL
  • David Schalliol
  • The Frances Cabrini row houses on the near north side

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

I was going to write about the @MayorEmanuel Twitter feed, which ended its glorious run almost exactly seven years ago this past weekend with the fictional Rahm getting sucked into a time vortex.
And Twitter fell into deep mourning.

But although @MayorEmanuel was the work of Dan Sinker, a Reader alum, no one knew it at the time, and the Reader itself didn't have much to say about that great work of Twitter fiction until about a week afterward, after Sinker was unmasked, and then about six months later when it was released as a book.

Then I realized that one of the biggest lessons of the past seven years is that Twitter is mostly a distraction from the bigger issues at hand. (This lesson comes courtesy of our current president.) So while @MayorEmanuel was delighting Chicagoans with his adventures around the city with his faithful companions Quaxelrod the duck, Hambone the dog, and Carl the Intern, Rahm Emanuel was conducting a real-life mayoral campaign that ignored one of the biggest issue facing our city: segregation.

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Five must-see African films

Posted By on 02.26.18 at 06:00 AM

Magaye Niang and Mareme Niang in Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki
  • Magaye Niang and Mareme Niang in Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki

In this
Black Panther moment, which has tapped into and expanded the recent interest in Afro-Futurism, and inspired by the screening of Haile Gerima's 1993 film Sankofa on Monday by Doc Films and by last week's passing of acclaimed Burkinabe director Idrissa Ouédraogo, we are focusing this week on five key African films from Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Chicago R&B artist Jordanna combines the vulnerability of performance art with the defiance of punk

Posted By on 02.23.18 at 03:38 PM

  • Geoff Stellfox
  • Jordanna

Jordanna first made her mark in Chicago's DIY scene as vocalist and guitarist for riot-grrrl group Glamour Hotline, which released an EP called Home in 2016 and supported it on a summer tour. The band broke up shortly after returning, though, and because Jordanna felt so drained by the constant fuck-you angst of performing punk, she decided that her next project would expose a softer side. In October 2017 she released the first single from her debut EP, Sweet Tooth, which came out last week. Its poppy R&B combines the sweetness of taffy with the puckering sourness of a Sour Punch straw.

"There's a lot of emotion behind anger, but punk focuses on the anger part," says Jordanna. "I started writing these songs for all the other emotions I needed to address—like vulnerability, heartbreak, tragedy. That's kind of how Jordanna came to life."

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Bernie Sanders: The ‘political revolution’ is well under way in Chicago

Posted By on 02.23.18 at 01:12 PM

Bernie Sanders embraces Chuy García at a rally in Little Village on Thursday. - ASHLEE RESIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Resin/Sun-Times
  • Bernie Sanders embraces Chuy García at a rally in Little Village on Thursday.

Bernie Sanders believes the "political revolution" he called for as a presidential candidate in 2016 is well under way in Chicago. The proof? It was in the room with him at a rally in Little Village Thursday.

"The establishment of Chicago knows you’re here, and they are getting nervous," the U.S. senator told a raucous crowd of several hundred people packed into the Apollo 2000 theater.

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Duk Ju L. Kim’s paintings speak for themselves

Posted By on 02.23.18 at 12:18 PM

Interdepartmental - DUK JU L. KIM
  • Duk Ju L. Kim
  • Interdepartmental

Duk Ju L. Kim’s paintings burst and seethe with life. She's called her current show at the Chicago Cultural Center “De-skinned,” and indeed there's a raw, exposed feel to many of her pieces. Though nominally abstract, they are full of limbs, eyes, blood, and other uncharacterizable but obviously organic elements, all in furious motion. It may not be clear where these loose masses of flesh are headed, but they seem desperate to get there.

Some of Kim’s human or animal subjects look like they’re in a state of transformation. They have wheels and gridlike structures growing into and out of their flesh. Are they becoming machines? Has living in Chicago made them into what they have become? Over e-mail and text messages, Kim generously answered some of my questions while stressing that what artists do is make things rather than talk about them or explain them away.

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