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Best of Chicago 2014 » Arts & Culture

Best Itinerant Programming 

Chicago Film Archives

Some programming organizations make you eager to know what they'll show next; the nonprofit Chicago Film Archives makes you just as eager to know where they'll show next. In the last several months CFA has presented films (often on celluloid) all over town, from Comfort Station in Logan Square to Black Cinema House in South Shore to Constellation in Roscoe Village to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Streeterville. That the organization strives to cover so much ground is in keeping with its mission of promoting the history of the whole Chicago area, which makes it a valuable educational resource as well as a cinematic one. This has been a big year for CFA: not only did it celebrate its tenth anniversary in May, it also brought Chicago-centric programs to the University of Glasgow and the EYE Film Institute in the Netherlands.

Critics' Picks

Best 15-Minute Horror Show

Jeremy Menekseoglu's immersive theater experience gave audience members the lead role—and a lasting case of the heebie-jeebies. And the winner is …

Best Three-Hit Run by a Theater Raising $31 Million

While hustling to build its Jeanne Gang-designed dream house, the North Shore theater born in a bookshop put on a brilliant season. And the winner is …

Best Use of Daft Punk

1650 N. Halsted St. 312-335-1650
Both tunes were everywhere, but "Get Lucky" is no "Happy." And the winner is …

Best Full Frontal for a Cause

The Indiana erotic dancers lost their Supreme Court case; this New York-based troupe scored a win with their uncensored version. And the winner is …

Best Theater Lobby That Makes You Wish Intermission Would Never End

1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-609-2336
The Wicker Park venue offers something practically unheard of in the off-Loop theater scene: a comfy place to rest your weary ass. And the winner is …

Best Dada Primer Without the Urinals

Annie Arnoult Beserra's work resurrects a Weimar-era performer who embodied Dada's anarchic gravitas. And the winner is …

Best Behind-the-Scenes Dance Series

Like the best sushi, the choreography is prepared directly in front of you. And the winner is …

Best Drunk

The host of Blackout Diaries is a specialist in comedy bookended by booze. And the winner is …

Best Revival of a Stand-Up Standby

The demise of the Lincoln Restaurant didn't put a stop to these troupers. And the winner is …

Best Culture Podcast

Who minds homework like watching True Detective? And the winner is …

Best Queer-Friendly Multimedia Variety Show

Host Chris Sowa once introduced himself wearing a tuxedo and ball gag. And the winner is …

Best Chicago-Based Webseries Costarring Chicago

The stars of The TomKat Project get serious (well, just a tad). And the winner is …

Best Sculpture With Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

Pots and pans bedeck this artwork on a Brighton Park boulevard. And the winner is …

Best Dead Artist Marketing Campaign

The North Shore nanny with an obsessive and secret talent has become a phenomenon. And the winner is …

Best Act of Resurfacing

40 Arts Circle Dr. 847-491-4000
After water damage closed Northwestern's art museum for the fall, it reopened intent on making some waves. And the winner is …

Best Renovation of a Mag Mile Icon

400 N. Michigan Ave.
North Michigan Avenue's first statement piece has been restored to glistening glory. And the winner is …

Best Way to Grab a Slice of Immortality

Pull off a 40-minute interview session and you too could have a slot in the Library of Congress. And the winner is …

Best Artistic Repurposing of Reader Covers

Not even dogs are safe from satanic transformation at the hands of this Sharpie-wielding metal fan. And the winner is …

Best Festival for Nerds, Geeks, and People Who Harbor Serious Crushes on Authors and Public Intellectuals

For 25 years, Chicagoans have been packing into auditoriums for lectures on everything from Shakespeare's sonnets to the culture of the Neanderthals. And the winner is …

Best New Book by a Former Chicago Golden Gloves Champ

When he describes an ass whoopin', you know he knows what he's talking about. And the winner is …

Best Popular Historian

Sometimes he dresses up as Ben Reitman, onetime medical doctor and self-styled "King of the Hobos." And the winner is …

Best South-Side Filmmaking Collective

Plenty of resources here if you're willing to get your hands dirty And the winner is …

Best Multiplex for Coffee

150 W. Roosevelt Rd. 800-326-3264 ext. 1657
The perfect complement to a doughnut, a bagel, or a loud, shitty movie And the winner is …

Best Itinerant Programming

329 W. 18th St. 312-243-1808
These guys are all over the place—on purpose. And the winner is …

Best Free Programming

5811 S. Ellis Ave., room 306 773-702-8596
Especially if you love cinema verite and Chinese opera And the winner is …

Best New Local Production (Dramatic)

And you thought the creepiest thing about the U. of C. was Milton Friedman. And the winner is …

Best Place to Pretend You're Robert De Niro

331 W. Superior St. 312-951-2849
Pretending he's Louis Prima, that is And the winner is …
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)