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Monday, October 15, 2018

Chicago International Film Festival and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 10.15.18 at 06:00 AM

Rafiki, playing at CIFF Thu 10/11, 6 PM; Sat 10/13, 1:30 PM; and Thu 10/18, noon
  • Rafiki, playing at CIFF Thu 10/11, 6 PM; Sat 10/13, 1:30 PM; and Thu 10/18, noon

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Indigo Nation Denim Festival and more of the best things to do this weekend

Posted By on 10.12.18 at 06:00 AM

COURTESY INDIGO NATION
  • courtesy Indigo Nation

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here’s some of what we recommend:

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lyric Opera Orchestra on strike

Posted By on 10.09.18 at 12:31 PM

COURTESY CHICAGO FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS
  • courtesy Chicago Federation of Musicians

Update 4:15 PM: Thursday's performance of La Bohème and Saturday's opening of Idomeneo have both been cancelled.

———-

The Lyric Opera orchestra went on strike at 10 AM today, canceling rehearsals and putting Thursday's scheduled 2 PM performance of La Bohème and Saturday's 7 PM opening of Idomeneo in doubt. 

A statement from the orchestra says the strike is necessary "because a world-class opera company needs a world-class orchestra. That is now in danger."

The statement adds that Lyric management is demanding "radical cuts that would decimate the Orchestra."

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Caroline, or Change and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 10.08.18 at 06:00 AM

Caroline, or Change - MARISA KM
  • Marisa KM
  • Caroline, or Change

There are plenty of show, films, and concerts playing in Chicago this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Mendoza and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 10.05.18 at 06:00 AM

COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • courtesy the artist

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here’s some of what we recommend:

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Indivisible Chicago’s Blue Wave Rave uses improv to mobilize political action

Posted By on 10.05.18 at 06:00 AM

Volunteer sign-in table
  • Volunteer sign-in table
Wednesday night the Athenaeum Theatre hosted the Blue Wave Rave, a free improv show featuring cast members from iO, the Second City, and the Annoyance Theatre and put together by Indivisible Chicago, a coalition of 12 chapters around the city that was created after the 2016 election.

"I spent almost ten years as the CEO of the League of Chicago Theatres, so I know lots of theater folks," says Marj Halperin, the cofounder of the Blue Beginning chapter that meets at the Hideout. She was one of the main organizers of the Blue Wave Rave. "Also, I have this political life where I've managed campaigns and been a volunteer." Halperin got the idea to combine canvassing with improv after attending an event put on by Swing Left, another group that organizes progressives.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why the Wndr Museum isn't a ‘selfie factory’: a defense of the pop-art pop-up

Posted By on 10.02.18 at 06:00 AM

Photographer Elizabeth De La Piedra in one of the "infinity rooms" - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Photographer Elizabeth De La Piedra in one of the "infinity rooms"

This summer brought us a new, Instagram-friendly kind of gallery/"museum": the "pop-art pop-up," you could call it, a traveling cluster of interactive installations with lots of eye candy—and lots of selfie and Instagram possibilities—designed to be easily enjoyed by any kind of audience, art-world outsiders and children included. The first to blow in, Happy Place, arrived in May, "a new traveling circus—the Instagram trap," the Reader's Ryan Smith called it (a slideshow by Reader photo editor Jamie Ramsay is here). The "experience" 29Rooms, promoted by the media company Refinery 29, made its appearance in July. Now there's a third, more ambitious pop-up: the Wndr Museum.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Expo Chicago 2018: See it now

Posted By on 09.29.18 at 09:56 AM

Detail of Kerry James Marshall's Rythm Mastr Daily Strip (2017), at David Zwirner's Expo Chicago booth - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Detail of Kerry James Marshall's Rythm Mastr Daily Strip (2017), at David Zwirner's Expo Chicago booth

One thing about Expo Chicago, it’s ephemeral: see the 2018 edition this weekend or not at all. 

If you do trek out to the far end of the newly upscale and jarringly sanitized Navy Pier, you'll be rewarded with a chance to walk, walk, and walk some more while perusing the offerings of 135 mostly high-end international art galleries. They include some eye-grabbing installations, like this visually bouncy basketball court by William LaChance, a Saint Louis artist here under the auspices of a London gallery, Beers. 

Detail of an installation by William LaChance at Beers London - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Detail of an installation by William LaChance at Beers London
You're also not likely to miss Ann Agee's elaborate, blue-and-white-tiled  Lake Michigan Bathroom (at the booth of New York's P.P.O.W. gallery).  Described as "an ornate monument to bodily function, public health, factory production, and the economy of water," it's complete with toilet, urinal, and sink. The Brooklyn-based artist created it during a two-year residency at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. 

Detail of Ann Agee's Lake Michigan Bathroom (1992), at P.P.O.W. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Detail of Ann Agee's Lake Michigan Bathroom (1992), at P.P.O.W.

It's no coincidence that work by members of the Hairy Who—the subject of a big, happy, historical exhibit that opened this week at the Art Institute of Chicago—crops up at multiple booths. Corbett vs. Dempsey, for one, is showing a handsome example of Art Green's color-drenched surrealism—a 1971 painting titled Authoritative Source. And ProjectArt, which brings art classes for kids to public libraries, has a novel curatorial concept: an exhibit of childhood work by artists who are now well-known; it includes Gladys Nilsson's self-portrait at the age of 14, and an unbelievably mature piece by six-year-old Karl Wirsum.   

A Karl Wirsum self-portrait done at age six  (1945), at ProjectArt - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • A Karl Wirsum self-portrait done at age six (1945), at ProjectArt

Worth the trek all by itself:  amazing quilts by Bisa Butler, on display at the booth of New York's Clair Oliver Gallery. Butler's a Harlem-based artist so adept I wondered if her work was computer assisted. It's not.  She told me that she creates patterns from photographs, and a single quilt takes hundreds of hours' of work.  The result is like painting with fabric.

Bisa Butler, Southside Sunday Morning, at Claire Oliver Gallery - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Bisa Butler, Southside Sunday Morning, at Claire Oliver Gallery

The selfie opportunities are irresistible, even for those—like Chicago artist Abraxas Karriema Thomas—who don't usually indulge. I spotted her  joining the family in Deana Lawson's photograph Barbara and Mother at Rhona Hoffman's booth. 

Abraxas Karriema Thomas and Deana Lawson's Barbara and Mother, at Rhona Hoffman Gallery - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Abraxas Karriema Thomas and Deana Lawson's Barbara and Mother, at Rhona Hoffman Gallery

It'll all vanish after Sunday—till next year. In an announcement of partnerships on Thursday, Expo director Tony Karman said the fair will return to Navy Pier on September 19-22, 2019, when it'll coincide with the opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. 

Expo Chicago continues Saturday 9/29, 11 AM-7 PM, and Sunday, 9/30, 11 AM-6 PM, at Navy Pier. A one-day pass is $20, $15 students and seniors. On Saturday from 1 to 6 PM in the Aon Grand Ballroom, art historian and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist will conduct Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon.

Expo Chicago 2018, at Navy Pier - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • Expo Chicago 2018, at Navy Pier
 

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Lala Lala and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.28.18 at 06:36 PM

Lala Lala - ALEXA VISCIUS
  • Alexa Viscius
  • Lala Lala

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Chicago Votes launches Give a Shit Weekend to get young people in Chicago excited about election season

Posted By on 09.28.18 at 04:10 PM

The voter registration table at last night's event
  • The voter registration table at last night's event
Chicago Votes is a nonprofit organization that works toward mobilizing young people to vote. This weekend it's hosting a "Give a Shit Weekend" that includes art shows and installations of various kinds. Last night at Hubbard Inn voter registration and volunteer training was available before, during, and after a fashion show put together by local streetwear brand Runako.

"Our whole premise as an organization is to get more young people involved in politics, but the culture of politics traditionally is pretty boring, pretty old, and pretty white," says Stevie Valles, the executive director of Chicago Votes. "We couldn't take ourselves seriously trying to recruit people from the communities that we're trying to recruit people from." The Give a Shit Weekend is Chicago Votes' way of meeting young people in Chicago halfway.

At last night's event, the room was filled with young creatives, who were registering to vote at the door, and signing up to volunteer before moving onto the bar or the dance floor, where there was a DJ. I saw a couple of baby boomers walk in, their expressions resembling that of Dorothy's when she woke up in Oz. To my surprise, they actually stayed for the duration of the event, which was pretty cool.

The runway, which doubled as a dance floor after the show.
  • The runway, which doubled as a dance floor after the show.
Elijah Runako Boyd, the creator and founder of Runako, draws his inspiration from Chicago. "I'm based [on] the south side of Chicago, and I would say Runako is a direct representation of me and where I come from and my background." He thought getting involved in the Give a Shit Weekend would be an amazing opportunity to get young Chicagoans excited about voting. "Any chance that we get to make a difference [or] a step towards progression is always something that Runako wants to tackle and be a part of." The fashion show reflected Runako's megalocal, community-oriented philosophy with a laid-back energy and friendly models who interacted with the supportive, cheering crowd. They smiled, waved, and sometimes even danced down the runway in bright, shiny mini skirts, crop tops, animal prints, and bold black-and-white patterns.

Elijah Runako and three of his models after the show
  • Elijah Runako and three of his models after the show
This is the first year that Chicago Votes has hosted a Give a Shit Weekend. "This year we're kind of getting a feeler for what we want it to be in the future," says Valles. The event originally started out as an eight-day fashion week but was chiseled down to four days that focus on many different things. "We're doing a fashion show tonight, then an afterparty, then we're doing an art installation tomorrow followed by an afterparty. We're having a Give a Shit happy hour Saturday night in Avondale that's focused on mental health awareness, and then we're having a big party on Sunday night too, that we're not even hosting. We're just showing up to a club and doing voter registration at it. That's what happens when you start trying to blend the worlds. Things just start to happen organically."

Something else that's happening organically is that more well-known artists are being drawn to the initiative as well. "Mick Jenkins is upstairs, I think I saw Taylor Bennett walk in," says Valles. "These things are just kind of happening on their own, we didn't even invite them directly, and that's pretty cool because they have more power than a lot of politicians, and I don't think they really know it." Taylor Bennett later closed out the fashion show, to the surprise of the crowd.

The Give a Shit initiative doesn't stop after this weekend, though. At tonight's event, Chicago Votes is launching the Give a Shit Collective. "It's essentially our creative network," Valles explains. "We're bringing [creatives] into this network that is focused on advancing politics to a younger audience, to their individual audiences, audiences that typically wouldn't engage in politics and we're giving them free-reign to figure out what that would look like. . . . We have a dude that's putting together an album that's centered around politics, we have somebody who's putting together art exhibits." The creatives that make up the Give a Shit Collective range from visual artists and designers to musicians and poets and even the creator of a line of beauty products.

Volunteer sign-up table
  • Volunteer sign-up table
Voter registration is available and encouraged at every event. "Every night we're asking people to register to vote as they sign in and fill out one of our pledge-to-vote cards." By the time I left the event last night, 35 people had registered to vote, including me.

"This is the first night. Tonight seems to be going really well, and it makes sense to hit repeat on things that are going good," Valles says. "Next year, I think there's gonna be more people interested in being a part of it because they've seen it actually happen already."

Give a Shit Weekend Through 9/30: various times and places; see Twitter, @chicagovotes, free, $25 VIP.

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Agenda Teaser

Music
Jain, Drama Metro
October 21
Performing Arts
Patience and Sarah Theater Wit
October 12

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