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

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

Son of a Golden Age

An interview with artist and game designer Eddo Stern


Whether he’s owning a crowd of wet, drunken rockers or depriving his players of sight, sound, and touch, game designer Eddo Stern brings games into untrodden settings, onto unfrequented media. Continue reading

A New Angle

"Deacon's Choice" reps the South Side

Actors Eugene Parker, Byron G. Willis, Elizabeth Gray, Bridgette Shorter, and Shannon Matesky. COURTESY HAWK FILMZ

Aired secrets, shredded cover-ups: the nagging urge to sort out a family’s twisted history and gloss its garbled narrative. The literature surrounding “Deacon’s Choice,” an independent film currently in production, suggests a deep preoccupation with voices and the stories they weave. Continue reading

An Admirable Assault on the Senses

Steve Sherrell's "Mixed Bag" at 33 Contemporary
"Pin the Tail" by Steve Sherrell

“Pin the Tail” by Steve Sherrell

Steve Sherrell’s “Mixed Bag” is less jumbled than the title lets on. The new exhibition, hosted by 33 Contemporary at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport, puts bold outlining and a canvas’s meticulous, geometric subdivision into correspondence with canvases removed from their stretchers, literally slit apart and stitched together again. Insistently, distinct shapes and broad fields of color contrast with canvases that are dismounted and distressed, minimal and morbid. But Sherrell’s digitally rendered “Mashups” anchor the exhibition by proposing a compromise—looking less consciously contrived, but remaining unscarred, intensely intricate, and exuberantly colorful. Continue reading

Glazing the Moment

Redmoon Winter Pageant


Dancing birds trickled out onto the chalk-sketched stage at an announcement from a moonlit man in a suspended cage. The largely uncostumed performers swirled and wove benignly around a glowing tree. They were happily at home, swelling and ebbing on mellow music until a congress of ravens descended in a storm—rippling the locals’ ranks and heightening the stakes. Their raven-lord lurched down from atop an unskinned hydraulic tower, flanked by wing-flapping henchmen. The resident birds, briefly cowed, now soared into a choreographed assault. Continue reading

Melancholy Holidays

A Truman Capote double feature at Provision Theater


The precocious seven-year-old Buddy eats dirt. Playground tormenter Odd Henderson straddles his squirming body and pins his flailing limbs. “You’re a sissy, and I’m just straightenin’ you out.” Buddy nevertheless continues to snake his spine and wriggle vigorously in futile defiance. He later inveighs against Odd’s evilness: “And I’m speaking of a twelve-year-old boy who hasn’t even had time to ripen!”  Continue reading

Lies, Damn Lies

In “Hoodwinked documentary, Janks Morton takes on popular, lucrative misrepepresentations of black struggle

It made your heart sink. From behind his washed and shaky camera, the man hitting the streets asked: “Are there more black men in jail, or in college?” That these black students answered “jail” nigh unanimously wasn’t nearly as distressing as the quickness, vigorousness, and even gleefulness in their replies. A girl cocked her head and pursed her lips, as if it were absurd to ask. Continue reading