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Monday, December 17, 2018

Healthy Hood wants to make sure people on the south and west sides start living better and longer

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

COURTESY HEALTHY HOOD
  • courtesy Healthy Hood

In the city of Chicago, there is a 20-year life expectancy gap between communities of color and predominantly white communities. If you live in a neighborhood like Pilsen, statistically speaking, you’re likely to not live as long as someone who lives in Oak Park. Pilsen native Tanya Lozano has set out to combat this gap through her nonprofit, Youth Service Corps, and her fitness and dance studio, Healthy Hood.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The new Suspiria manages to be about women's power without being feminist

Posted By on 10.30.18 at 06:00 AM

SUSPIRIA
  • Suspiria

From the beginning, the Suspiria remake is intent on giving us its own vision of Dario Argento's beloved 1977 horror classic. Both films revolve around a young woman named Susie—played by Jessica Harper in the original and Dakota Johnson in the remake—who has come to Germany to study at a dance academy, but most of the similarities end there. Where Argento tended to avoid the politics of the time and focused on creating a lavish feast for the senses, Luca Guadagnino immerses us in a gritty Berlin of darker muted color tones. The city is grappling with the revolutionary spirit of its young people; hijackings and bombings are semi-regular occurrences. Both films show Susie coming to the realization that the school is run by a coven of witches with supernatural abilities. But it's the recent version that most fails to deliver the feminine, feminist vision it so clearly thinks it does. As The Love Witch director Anna Biller wrote in her essay about feminism in movies: "To be feminist, a movie has to have the express purpose of educating its audience about social inequality between men and women (and, I would argue, not take pleasure in the voyeuristic degradation or destruction of women)." Suspiria doesn't much bother with the first, and absolutely takes pleasure in the second.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sunday’s Kultura Festival filled Logan Square Emporium with the food and arts of the Philippines

There's a lot more to the culture than Spam, you know.

Posted By on 08.21.18 at 08:14 PM

Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs. - PAT NABONG
  • Pat Nabong
  • Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs.

This past weekend, Emporium Logan Square was turned into an ephemeral Filipino neighborhood that featured Filipino-American chefs, artists, dancers, activists, and performers.

Where other ethnicities have distinct neighborhood identified with them—Chinatown, Greektown, Pilsen and La Villita—"We don’t have our exact community space. . . . We don't have a Filipino town," says Natalia Roxas, a photographer behind the food and culture website Filipino Kitchen. Four years ago "in a drunken spur" Roxas came up with the thought of a Filipino-specific event. The Kultura Fest blossomed into something bigger as she talked to people in Chicago's Filipino-American community.


"It's that need of having a community space and coming together to really appreciate and highlight all these people that are hidden in different kitchens and difference scenes," Roxas says. "It feels like our community here is struggling with that."

But Sunday's festival drew people from all over the midwest as well as a chef from Portland, Oregon, and artists from the Bay Area. Filipino pride was palpable in the room as Filipino-American artist Ruby Ibarra rapped about the beauty of having brown skin.

The event's success has inspired Roxas to try to branch out to other cities next year. "We want to be able to serve and create this space for underresourced communities throughout the country. I think this is a really good platform to highlight different talents," she says. v

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Breaking and tagging at the Writer's Bench 2018 Battle for the Eagle in Logan Square

Posted By on 08.09.18 at 05:47 PM

Saib putting the final touches on his entry into the live graffiti competition
  • Saib putting the final touches on his entry into the live graffiti competition

On Sunday, the Writer's Bench 2018 Battle for the Eagle was held at the Illinois Centennial Memorial Column in Logan Square. The events included a live graffiti battle, a freestyle dance battle, a DJ scratch battle, a B-boy cypher, and a breaking battle.

The event went on for the entire night. The dancers performed tirelessly, and the crowd never lost its energy. The DJ kept playing even after the crowning of the last champions with a set of salsa music that kept folks going into the night.

"All there is to it is that I love this," said Saib. "I love to paint, it's honestly that simple."

"It's beautiful to have an event like this and to be able to do the art I've been doing since the 70s," added DefRock. "Back then we were sneaking into train tunnels to tag, now we're in the middle of Logan Square with it."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

FilmStruck spotlights the sophisticated cinema of George Cukor

Posted By on 07.18.18 at 06:00 AM

George Cukor's Les Girls
  • George Cukor's Les Girls
George Cukor often seems like the great Hollywood auteur hiding in plain sight, obscured on the one hand by international icons such as John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock and, on the other hand, by cult heroes such as Raoul Walsh and Allan Dwan. A filmmaker of greater refinement than many of his contemporaries, he made elegant, sophisticated films with an unmistakable visual style. This week the streaming channel FilmStruck moves Cukor front and center as its featured director, offering up a generous selection of his films; we've bypassed the three most iconic (The Women, The Philadelphia Story, and A Star Is Born) in favor of five others that demonstrate his artistry and range.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

James Cagney is more than just a tough-guy as FilmStruck's Star of the Week

Posted By on 07.03.18 at 06:00 AM

James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland in The Strawberry Blonde
  • James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland in The Strawberry Blonde
James Cagney was pegged as a wisecracking gangster early in his career, but his range as a performer extended far beyond those limiting roles. The streaming channel FilmStruck currently features Cagney as its star of the week, collecting some of his best gangster films (The Public Enemy, White Heat) but also some, noted below, that showcase his skill as a dancer and comic actor.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Joan Crawford shines in five Hollywood classics

Posted By on 06.26.18 at 06:00 AM

Sterling Hayden and Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar
  • Sterling Hayden and Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar
Joan Crawford's screen persona ran the gamut—from flapper-comedienne in the 1920s to Hollywood tough gal in the'30s and '40s to more vulnerable characters in the '50s to a camped-up version of herself in schlocky genre films of the '60s and '70s. Along the way, a number of films cemented her as an indelible presence. Mildred Pierce, which is showing this Saturday and Sunday at the Music Box, was one; here are five more.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Five classic films by Latin American women

Posted By on 04.17.18 at 11:42 AM

María Luisa Bemberg's Camila
  • María Luisa Bemberg's Camila
For certain film lovers, April is all about Lucrecia Martel. The Argentine director's first feature in almost a decade, Zama, continues at the Gene Siskel Film Center for another few days, and her acclaimed "Salta Trilogy" begins on Friday with The Headless Woman. We celebrate the return of one of contemporary cinema's great filmmakers by taking a look back at five other women directors who made a mark on Latin American cinema: Margot Benacerraf (Venezuela), Sara Gómez (Cuba), María Luisa Bemberg (Argentina), Suzana Amaral (Brazil), and Maria Novaro (Mexico).

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dance becomes collective action in Poor People's TV Room

Posted By on 04.12.18 at 06:00 AM

IAN DOUGLAS
  • Ian Douglas

With the ongoing kidnappings of hundreds of Nigerian girls by the jihadist militant group Boko Haram, media coverage of the country’s female population often focuses on victims rather than fighters. Choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili wants to change that narrative to highlight how women have banded together to take action throughout history. Poor People’s TV Room is a new multimedia piece from Okpokwasili and director-designer Peter Born that takes inspiration from two major events: the Boko Haram kidnappings and the Women’s War of 1929, a revolt against British colonial forces.

“The piece isn’t a documentary of these past movements, but it led me to think about the power of embodied actions and collectivity in performance,” says Okpokwasili. “Working with a cast of black and brown women, I wanted to see what happens in the room given certain prompts and thinking about the histories that are lost to us and how we recover them.”

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hedwig Dances brings Bauhaus utilitarianism to the stage

Posted By on 04.05.18 at 06:00 AM

NADIA OUSSENKO
  • Nadia Oussenko

The Bauhaus art school may have closed in 1933, but its influence on visual design has endured. Melding crafts and fine art with an emphasis on simplicity and utilitarianism, the Bauhaus movement helped define the modernist aesthetic. Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek pays tribute to these groundbreaking artists with her in-development dance project Futura; two of its numbers are presented in "Point | Line | Plane," a program that highlights the company’s focus on incorporating sleek visual elements into choreography.

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