Playing at Power

Carlos Matallana gamifies Chicago in “The Anger Games”

So how does that feel, to be in a position of power like that?” The young woman in the frame tossed her head at the invisible interviewer. Artist Carlos Matallana and I were sifting through raw, man-on-the-street footage from the first beta run of his large-scale roleplaying simulation, “The Anger Games.” Continue reading

Games | Visual Arts

2-D Levels Up

"Bit Wars" at BLUE1647

Stephen Urchick

Video games get a rough shake. If they’re not openly denounced as child’s play, few people give the rhetoric of procedure—the idea that “playing” can impart something unique—a second glance. As a visual art installation focused on video game aesthetics, “Bit Wars: Art Tribute to 8bit and 16bit Videogaming” had its work cut out for it from the start. Continue reading

Features | Stage & Screen | Visual Arts

Slow Burn

A dampened story of grit and greatness, or how Redmoon forgot their biggest spectacle

Luke White

The engineer with the lost headlamp slipped as a shower of cinders, a flaming plank, caved out right before him. One leg dipped into the river. He laid there a moment, straddled half-off the pontoon.

“We’re having some electrical difficulties.”

Best of the South Side 2014 | Bridgeport



Bridgeport on a Sunday morning: a seating queue winds snugly around the corner of the organic eatery Nana, its outdoor café space buzzing both with young brunchers and the bees that dive-bomb them from the planters. There’s a sidewalk sale assembled on the stoops of Jackalope Coffee and Tea House, attracting a crush of folks who are perhaps too cool for you. Continue reading

Pilsen | Visual Arts

Of Need and Fulfillment

“Gratification” at Mana Contemporary


It’s something captured by a war reporter; it’s lifted from a horror film. Raw hamburger sloughs off the artist’s face and naked body, held in various poses. Photography flash-freezes four individual moments of sloppy decomposition. The resulting pictures are part of “Gratification,” a joint exhibition between six artists out of the School of the Art Institute (SAIC), hosted in unit 410 at Mana Contemporary, a satellite space of the Chicago Urban Art Society.

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Hyde Park | Visual Arts

An Animate Archive

Chase Joynt and Kristen Schilt populate the Gray Center with the past
Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

The boilerplate image for “#FOLLOWUS,” a collaborative multimedia installation on display at the University of Chicago’s Gray Center, is a still from the original short film “Urban Renewal.” Continue reading

Pilsen | Stage & Screen

Drifting on the Rio Grande

Dream Theatre's original murder–thriller, "RIO"
Nicole Roberts as Mary Graves in Jeremy Menekseoghu’s “RIO.” Courtesy of Dream Theatre.

Nicole Roberts as Mary Graves in Jeremy Menekseoghu’s “RIO.” Courtesy of Dream Theatre.

Excuse me, my name is Mary Graves, and I’m a victim of spousal abuse.” So begins Dream Theatre’s “RIO,” a play written by Dream’s own Jeremy Menekseoglu and set in the rundown, sun-swept, nineties-ish border town of Hope, Texas. Continue reading