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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A psychedelic migraine on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 08.15.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Bill Connors
SHOW: Glyders, Flamingo Rodeo, Ruins, and Dehd Hed DJz at the Empty Bottle on Mon 8/27

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Too bad there’s no band called ‘Lockheed Constellation’ on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 08.08.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Daniel MacAdam
SHOW: The National at Lollapalooza on Fri 8/2

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative puts a steamroller at the center of an entirely different form of Roller Derby

Posted By on 08.06.18 at 06:00 AM

Volunteers reveal Liz Born's print post steamrolling. - MONICA KASS ROGERS
  • Monica Kass Rogers
  • Volunteers reveal Liz Born's print post steamrolling.

There was not a skate in sight at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative’s Roller Derby a week ago last Saturday in Lincoln Square, or fishnets or black eyes, only ink-stained aprons.

Roller Derby was the studio’s second steamroller printing event, a follow-up to Drum Roll Please in 2016. According to founder Deborah Maris Lader, a steamroller printing event is exactly what it sounds like: "We are basically turning a steamroller paving truck into a printing press."

The steamroller was the center of the event: it took up most of the driveway behind the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative and added an element of spectacle not normally present in the quiet, individual art of creating woodblock prints.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Unsafe sex on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 08.01.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Josh Davis
SHOW: Unsane, Child Bite, Rash, and Bruges at the Empty Bottle on Sat 7/14

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Everyone's a sucker at a new kind of traveling circus—the Instagram trap

Posted By on 07.30.18 at 06:00 AM

Orange Is the New Black star Dascha Polanco at Refinery 29's 29Rooms - JEFF SHEAR/GETTY IMAGES
  • Jeff Shear/Getty Images
  • Orange Is the New Black star Dascha Polanco at Refinery 29's 29Rooms

Look closely and you could see exhaustion etched on the smiling faces of those frolicking inside a bubblelike room advertised as the World's Largest Indoor Confetti Dome.

It was a sweltering July afternoon, and there was no hint of air-conditioning in this warehouse along a quiet stretch of Elston that was temporarily housing the pop-up exhibition Happy Place. That didn't stop a college-age couple from taking turns tossing bucketfuls of colorful shreds of paper in the air. A nearby attendant hit a button and hot oxygen blew out of holes in the floor, swirling the confetti all around them.

The visual effect was striking: it was as if they were figures encased in a real-life human snow globe. That's probably why the pair were so eager to snap photos of each other. The tall, thin blond boy didn't even hesitate to put his iPhone back into his pocket during confetti gathering, using it instead as a makeshift scoop so he could keep recording every conceivable moment. And then suddenly the air stopped flowing, the confetti fell to the floor, and the pair walked wordlessly to the next room.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hannah Litvan couldn't find a job in a gallery. So she opened her own.

Posted By on 07.25.18 at 03:43 PM

The Ice House Gallery - ANNA WHITE
  • Anna White
  • The Ice House Gallery

When 25-year-old Hannah Litvan graduated from Albion College in Michigan with a degree in art and moved back to her Chicago hometown with dreams of working in a gallery, she had a hard time finding an entry point into the local art scene. Instead of giving up, Litvan made room for herself by creating Ice House Gallery, a multifaceted art space intended to support both emerging and established local artists.

The gallery, located a block away from the South Boulevard Purple Line stop in Evanston, is housed in an unassuming brick building that in the 1950s served as an ice storage facility. The inside of the space is similarly unpretentious, furnished with movable partitions made of latticed metal, the walls painted industrial blues and whites. The simplicity highlights the gallery’s otherwise maximalist aesthetic: colorful canvasses and photographs cover every surface. Litvan speaks in sentence fragments and tangents, punctuated with excited hand movements—it’s clear she’s passionate about what she does. She points out the gallery's most recent addition, wooden racks used to exhibit prints, and explains that the gallery itself constantly evolving to serve the needs of the artists being featured.

Nine months after its initial opening, Ice House has already surpassed Litvan’s ambitious initial vision of a gallery space that offers workshops and studio space, and now hosts poetry slams, book signings, concerts, storytelling events, and movie premieres. Litvan is trying to figure out what this growth means for the gallery. "Right now I think we're figuring out, it’s starting to click with what’s working," says Litvan, "now I don’t want to change, I just want to be more of what we are."

What really struck me about Ice House Gallery is this clear sense of identity—though the space itself is in flux, Litvan’s commitment to supporting local, emerging artists remains the gallery’s cornerstone. Inspired by her own difficulties as a young artist trying to break into an already established scene, Litvan above all wants Ice House Gallery to be a space where all artists can exhibit and sell work. She offers help coordinating framing and pricing work, especially for those who have never showed their work in a formal setting before.

The gallery’s upcoming show, "Redefining Tradition," opens August 4 and focuses on nature, nudes, and landscape imagery. This will be Ice House Gallery’s largest show yet, featuring 32 artists, all from the Evanston area. The show’s title is also applicable to Ice House Gallery itself. There isn’t another space in Evanston like Ice House Gallery, and as it continues to grow and support emerging artists, it's redefining the local arts community—altering the exclusivity of the art world from the inside out.

"Redefining Traditions: Natures, Nudes and Landscape." Opening 8/4, 5-9 PM, Ice House Gallery, 609 South Blvd., Evanston, 847-232-7092,, free.

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Staring into the void on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 07.25.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Carrie Vinarsky
SHOW: Matchess and Ulla Straus at the International Museum of Surgical Science on Fri 7/27

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Sarra Jahedi wants to welcome you into her family

Posted By on 07.20.18 at 06:00 AM

  • courtesy Sarra Jahedi

Sarra Jahedi is an artist of many mediums: a poet, sculptor, filmmaker, comedian, musician, and most recently, a painter.

Jahedi's paintings combine abstraction and portraiture, drawing on the work of Rothko and Pollock to bring the physical immediacy of conceptual modern art into the context of figurative representations. "Meticulousness is a falsity in art," says Jahedi, who opts instead for almost stream-of-consciousness style painting. "The people [in my paintings] reveal themselves mostly to me," Jahedi says.

Averse to the inaccessibility of gallery shows, Jahedi favors displaying her work in more mundane settings that allow her art to interact with the real world. Her newest show, "Welcome to the Family," which takes place tomorrow, July 21, in Villa Park, fits with this recent move towards accessibility: it's in a house, rather than a gallery.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hitting the road on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 07.18.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: John Garrison
SHOWS: Kali Masi's summer tour, which kicks off at Cobra Lounge on Thu 8/23 with Turnspit, City Mouth, and Super Neutral

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Not everybody in Chicago is down with OKCupid's new DTF ad campaign

Posted By on 07.10.18 at 06:19 PM

One of OKCupid's "DTF" ads in Chicago the company says have been banned by several local agencies. - OKCUPID
  • OKCupid
  • One of OKCupid's "DTF" ads in Chicago the company says have been banned by several local agencies.

Some local city agencies apparently aren't DTF.

Or at the very least, they're not cool with OKCupid using the casual sex acronym in a series of cheeky new ads (it stands for "down to fuck"). The popular dating site claims that its "DTFix Dating" campaign, introduced earlier this year in New York City, has been banned by the CTA, Chicago Park District, and O’Hare International Airport.

One ad, for example, features a man and woman in a pottery studio tenderly smearing clay onto each other's faces alongside the phrase "DTFire Up The Kiln." Another reads "DTFootball Vs. Fútbol" with a picture of a football sitting on a pair of soccer balls arranged in a way that it resembles male genitalia.

"Having been received so positively in New York earlier this year, it felt a natural fit to bring our campaign to the Windy City," OKCupid spokeswoman Melissa Hobley said in a press release. "We were surprised and disappointed that Chicago did not approve the DTF ads. DTF is a phrase that needs to be redefined. It's a shame that the city isn't helping us redefine this phrase."

  • OKCupid

A spokesperson for the CTA said the transportation agency rejected the ads because they violate its advertising policy, which prohibits ads containing profanity. According to the CTA's website, it bans ads that promote "infidelity, escort services, and sexually-oriented products or businesses." O'Hare officials referred to guidelines that deny ad content that promotes sexual conduct or what could be interpreted as sexual innuendo. The Chicago Park District could not be reached for comment.

Hobley says the ads, which can still be seen on billboards in Wicker Park, River North, and West Town, were designed to "subvert" the meaning of DTF.

"This campaign unashamedly reconfirms what we believe: that dating deserves better," she says. "We're proud that OKCupid is one of the only dating apps that truly reflects back what is happening culturally, and we felt a responsibility—and opportunity—to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to expand the meaning of DTF in a way that reflects what they want from dating."

The campaign also seems like a sideswipe at OKCupid's swipe-heavy competitors—especially Tinder—the app that has a reputation for a userbase that often freely admits it's "DTF."

Founded in 2004, OKCupid was once considered the wild west of online dating. But it has lost market share in recent years to Tinder and Bumble, and its users have aged. According to a 2016 study, the median age of female OKCupid users was 32 years old, compared to 26 for Tinder users.

  • OKCupid

OKCupid, whose cofounder Sam Yagan is a Chicago-area native who bought a $3 million home in Hyde Park in 2017, recently repositioned itself as the slow option of modern online dating, or in the words of one of its slogans, "substance over selfies." In 2017, the app was reprogrammed to slow down the matching process by requiring users to answer 15 questions before they begin.

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