Compiled by Katryce Lassle
New work by SAIC MFA candidates in Sculpture Kyle Nilan, Jeff Prokash, and Danny Floyd. “Frozen Borderline” examines and de-familiarizes architecture and the “built environment” in relation to our interactions with our world and with one another. Archer Ballroom, 3012 S. Archer Ave. Through April 8. Hours by appointment. ballroomprojects.tumblr.com
This exhibition features a collection of artists working across various media, guided only by the restriction of using a chosen monochromatic palette. 33 Contemporary Gallery, 1029 W. 35th St., 1st floor. Through April 12. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and by appointment. (708)837-4534. 33collective.com
I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived
It is not always the case that strokes of watercolors on paper will come at the cost of a prison sentence. It is rare that a painted representation of your life while incarcerated will lead to such fame. As a member of the Cuban Five, Antonio Guerrero depicts his life in prison as a supposed subversive citizen of the United States. The Cuban Five consists of five men who worked to contact the Cuban government about counterrevolutionary attacks on Cubans and supporters of the Cuban Revolution in the United States, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama, and elsewhere. Receiving sentences ranging from fifteen years to life without parole, the Cuban Five were first detained on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and espionage in the United States. After learning to paint in prison,, Antonio Guerrero decided to make art about his experiences with the Cuban Five in fifteen watercolors. Housed currently at the Beverly Arts Center, Guerrero’s work is a true testament to the power that even a seemingly abstract image can have in evoking a person’s life experiences. Titled “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived,” this collection of Antonio Guerrero’s work is a beautiful representation of how honor and pride for a cause can lead to unfortunate events that inevitably create opportunities to teach the world of struggle, passion, and injustice. Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Through April 13. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 1pm-4pm. (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org (Cristina Ochoa)
Not Now That I’m Able (Pt. Two)
Washed-out photo albums, voicemails, emails, letters and writings, newsreels, old family footage. These objects and images form vague maps of our pasts. Our experiences disappear into foggy memory, and what is left is a task for modern archeology. The artist Rami George continues their explorative project of amassing and presenting disparate, often surreal images and objects from the past to reconstruct their own family’s history, this time in the gallery space at the experimental community center Forever & Always. The installation forms a loose narrative from these pieces of history, to be reconstructed by viewers. What is revealed is a strange and emotional story of custody battles and new-age religious leaders. A Google Street View image of a house is half-pixelated and blurred; it is broad daylight and there are seemingly no people around, or inside, the building. These are the sorts of images—spattered with as many gaps and unanswered questions as particular details—that Rami George uses to communicate their history. The images function like memory: simultaneously clear and out-of-focus. The story they create is intensely personal. The complex and pained familial narrative of separation and drama presented here does not attempt to document and explain itself completely. What the artist does with “Not Now That I’m Able” is far more ambitious. It is an expressive achievement, one that conveys the difficult emotional world we inhabit when visiting our own pasts. Presented with a subject and story so beautifully captured in its full emotional density, one leaves the gallery in stunned, retrospective silence. Forever & Always, 1905 W. 21st Pl. Through April 13. Hours by appointment. foreverandalwaysprojects.com (Julian Nebreda)
The “Question Bridge: Black Males” project has been grappling with the mis- and underrepresentation of black men in America in different capacities since 1996, using an open question-and-answer video format to prompt black men from across the country to discuss the complexities of black male identity. DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Through May 18. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. $5; free for members. (773)947-0600. dusablemuseum.org
Operatic motifs are frequently found on Chinese ceramics, scroll paintings, books, fans, and textiles. “Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture” compiles a stunning array of such objects from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Through June 15. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm; Closed Mondays.(773)702-0200. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu (Lillian Selonick)
Inspired by the Opera
Running concurrently with “Performing Images,” the Smart also presents “Inspired by the Opera: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Video.” This show explores Chinese art as it exists today, showcasing modern works that both revel in and stray from older Chinese artistic traditions. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Through June 15. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm; Closed Mondays. (773)702-0200. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu
One of three parts of the University of Chicago’s “Imaging/Imagining” exhibition, the Smart Museum presents “Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Art.” Curated by UChicago physicians, the exhibition explores anatomical representations as art. Parts two and three are the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections show, “Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Text,” and Crerar Library’s show, “Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Data.”Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Through June 22. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm; Closed Mondays. (773)702-0200. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu
Artist Gary L. White uses sculpture to explore his own rich Native and African American roots, focusing on the shifting meanings and impositions of identity, as it exists in “a post-modern world.” Cobalt Studio, 1950 W. 21st St. Opening reception Friday, April 4, 5pm-10pm. April 4-April 27. cobaltartstudio.blogspot.com
Activities for a spare hour. Culture vultures. Feed your brain. Going in a group. Going solo. Mood. Chill
Curated by New York exhibition space Bodega, this show will feature work by artists Gene Beery, Nicholas Buffon, and Nora Slade. As always, Queer Thoughts leaves us with no choice but to see the show to find out what it all might mean.Queer Thoughts Gallery, 1640 W. 18th St. #3. April 6-May 4. Hours by appointment. qtgallery.net
Smile with Your Mind
For Autism Awareness Month, Project Onward presents “Smile with your Mind: Autobiographies of Autism.” Featuring works by Project Onward artists with autism, the exhibition aims to communicate to viewers the realities of living and working with autism. The event promises to “purposefully over-stimulate viewers,” presenting the art in tight spaces and close proximity, in an attempt to articulate through imposed experience the constant overstimulation and sensory overload experienced by many individuals on the autism spectrum. The works featured will allow insight not only into the shared themes and experiences of autism, but the artistic methods unique to autistic individuals. Project Onward, 1200 W. 35th Street, 4th floor. Opening reception Friday April 4, 6pm-9pm. April 4-May 24. Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm; third Friday of each month, 11am-9pm. (773) 940-2992. projectonward.org
Sunday Project presents a group show featuring artists Andrew Birk, Vabianna Santos, and Lauren Taylor. This show will bring up (potentially uncomfortable) questions about agency in the artist-audience relationship. Sunday Project, 1344 W 18th Pl. #1F. Opening reception Saturday, April 5, 5pm-8pm. April 5-April 27. sunday-project.com
Featuring new work by Michael Milano, Alyssa Moxley and Milad Mozari, “Rounds” consists of both sonic and visual patterns created both individually and as collaborations among the artists.ACRE Projects, 1913 W. 17th St. Opening reception Sunday, April 6, 4pm-8pm. April 6-April 21. Sunday-Monday, noon-4pm. acreresidency.org
SAIC Design Show
With a healthy dose of interactive works included, the SAIC Design Show showcases works by graduating BFA and MFA candidates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Visual Communication Design department.Chicago Art Department East, 1932 S. Halsted St. #100. Friday, April 11. 6pm-10pm. (312)725-4223. chicagoartdepartment.org
Fences and Migrants
Artist John Pitman Weber displays woodcut prints that reflect the exclusion and imprisonment of oppressed groups, especially migrant laborers, as epitomized by the form and force of barbed and razor wire fencing. URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted St. Opening reception Friday, April 11, 6pm-10pm. April 11-May 3. By appointment only. (312)852-7717. uri-eichen.com
Artist Ross Sawyers built and subsequently photographed scale replicas of model homes. The photographs presented in “Model Pictures,” his first major Chicago solo show, highlight current housing and economic crises by way of images of unfinished and hauntingly empty new houses. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Opening reception Sunday, April 13, 3pm-5pm. April 6-June 13. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org
Round Trip Ticket
Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery presents a two-part retrospective featuring the works of the late Irish-born artist Kieran McGonnell, The first half of the exhibition, starting on April 11, will feature McGonnell’s earlier works, watercolor and oil paintings that heavily evoke medieval Celtic art and Irish mythology. The second half of the exhibition, beginning May 9, focuses on his later and more well-known paintings: images of koi fish, bicycles, and butterflies; pop-art-inspired portraits; concentric circles that echo the Celtic themes of his earlier paintings. “Round Trip Ticket” will feature some works by Kieran McGonnell that have never before been displayed, including stage backdrops commissioned by modern dance companies. Admired for their impossibly vibrant colors and intricate details, McGonnell’s works exist as the bright and beautiful legacy of a brilliant man whose life was cut tragically short. This retrospective brings it all together in one space, a three-month-long testament to the talent he shared with loved ones and strangers alike. Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery, 1750 S. Union Ave. First installment opening reception Friday, April 11, 6pm-10pm; second installment opening reception Friday, May 9, 6pm-10pm. April 11-July 6. Saturday-Sunday noon-6pm, and by appointment. (312)927-7546. uglystepsisterartgallery.com
Formerly Theaster Gates’s lead fabricator and Creative Director of the Rebuild Foundation, artist John Preus is ambitiously taking over Hyde Park Art Center’s Gallery 1 to create “The Beast.” A colossal and surreal depiction of a steer carcass made almost entirely from found materials—many of which came from recently closed Chicago public schools—“The Beast” will house public performances, discussions, sermons, and other community activities throughout its time at the Art Center. Preus, who has been participating in the Art Center’s Jackman Goldwasser Residency for the past year, will certainly not be going out with a whimper. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Opening reception Sunday, April 13, 3pm-5pm. April 13-August 10. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org
2nd Fridays Gallery Night
On the second Friday of every month, Pilsen’s Chicago Arts District hosts 2nd Fridays Gallery Night to sate the artsy voyeur in you. Galleries and studio spaces alike are open to the public, allowing you to not only visit some of Pilsen’s running exhibitions, but also to catch a glimpse of works in progress and the artists behind them. Chicago Arts District, 1821 S. Halsted St. Friday, April 11 and Friday, May 9, 6pm-10pm. Second Friday of every month. (312)738-8000 ext 108. chicagoartsdistrict.org
Simone’s Art Show
Artists Jessica Gorse and Kriss Stress display works created in what Gorse calls “a Chicago-specific style referred to as Repetitivism.” Gorse’s collection includes drawings done in collaboration with Chicago band Daymaker. Stress will present portraits from his ongoing portrait-a-day project called “Blank Expressionism,” featuring portraits stripped of their faces against text-based backdrops, chosen by the subjects of the portraits themselves. Simone’s Bar, 960 W. 18th St. April 11-April 16. Sunday-Friday, 11:30am-2am; Saturday, 11:30am-3am. (312)666-8601. simonesbarchicago.com
Black Ink Book Exchange
Featuring various workshops, a reading lounge, and ongoing book bartering system, the “Black Ink Book Exchange” will exist as a place to find, give, and trade books by black authors and about black culture.Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. April 15-May 31. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, noon-3pm. (773) 702-9724. arts.uchicago.edu/
The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Tradition
This fine art exhibition features works that—subtly, rather than blatantly—allude to criminal acts that often are accepted and go unpunished around the world, including “honor killing, child marriage, acid attacks, bride burning and more.” Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. April 18-May 18. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 1pm-4pm. (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org
Featuring visual art as well as poetry, “Fixation” includes works by dozens of artists surrounding the theme of obsession. Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Opening reception Friday, April 21, 6pm-10pm. April 18-May 11. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. (773)523-0200. zhoubartcenter.com
Andy Kincaid and Jiyoung Yoon
ACRE Projects, 1913 W. 17th St. Opening reception Sunday, April 27, 4pm-8pm. April 27-May 12. Sunday-Monday, noon-4pm. acreresidency.org
Artemisia After 40: Current Work by Past Members
This exhibition will feature the works of artists who were members of the Artemisia Gallery, a Chicago women’s cooperative that existed from 1973 until 2003. This exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of Artemisia’s opening.<i>Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St. Opening reception Friday, May 2, 6pm-10pm. May 2-June 13. Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm; Sunday, 8am-noon. (773)247-3000
Organized by ACRE Projects, the Jeremiah Jones solo exhibition will take place at ROOMS Gallery. ROOMS Gallery, May 5-June 15. (312)733-1356. roomsgallery.com
This show will add a voice from the art world into the ongoing dialogue about education in America. Chicago Art Department East, 1932 S. Halsted St. #100. Friday, May 9, 6pm-10pm. (312)725-4223. chicagoartdepartment.org
Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints
The DuSable Museum explores the rich cultural history of Brazil with “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil.” Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, millions of Africans were brought to Brazil as slaves, and now Brazil is home to “one of the largest populations of African descendants in the world.” Over the centuries, the mixing and sharing of African, European, and native South American traditions has created a culturally rich and diverse nation, with the northeastern part of Brazil now considered the “historic and cultural heart” of the country. “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints” features art as various and multicultural as the nation and region from which it hails. Curated by Professors Emeriti Marion Jackson and Barbara Cervenka, from Wayne State University and Siena Heights University respectively, the exhibition features works gathered in the curators’ travels to Brazil, and their work with artists as well as scholars to compile a comprehensive and diverse collection representative of the rich cultural history of northeast Brazil. DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. May 9-August 17. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)947-0600. dusablemuseum.org
Mindy Rose Schwartz
Artist Mindy Rose Schwartz will be creating “a large sculpture” for the Queer Thoughts gallery space. Queer Thoughts Gallery, 1640 W. 18th St. #3. May 16-June 15. Hours by appointment. qtgallery.net
Josh Hoeks, Adam Wolpa, and Charlotte Woolf
ACRE Projects, 1913 W. 17th St. Opening reception Sunday, May 18, 4pm-8pm. May 18-June 9. Sunday-Monday, noon-4pm. acreresidency.org
Artists Jennifer Mannebach and Brian Dortmund present works that stem from the surprising geological revelations brought out by “tectonic moments.” Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. May 23-June 22. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 1pm-4pm. (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org
“Facetime” will feature works by the most recent group of teens participating in the Hyde Park Art Center’s youth-oriented “ArtShop” program. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Opening reception Thursday, May 29, 5:30pm-8pm. May 25-August 10. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org
ChiArts Senior Exhibition
Mana Contemporary provides an exhibition space for this year’s senior class of the Chicago High School for the Arts. Mana Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop St. Opening reception Friday, May 30, 6pm-9pm. May 30-June 15. (312)850-8301. artmanafest.com/Chicago
STAGE & SCREEN
Compiled by Hannah Nyhart
Bad Grammar Theater Local writers read aloud every third Friday amid Powell’s stacks in the South Loop.
“Bad Grammar Theater,” Friday, April 18, 8pm; Friday, May 16, 8pm.
Powell’s Books, 1208 S. Halsted Ave. Friday, February 21, 6pm. Free. (312)243-9070
Beverly Arts Center Part community center, part art gallery, part theater, BAC offers family-friendly programming far south in the “village in a city.”
“Lipstick Mom,” Comic Patti Vasquez. Friday, May 2, 8pm $25. “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” BAC Professional Theater Series. June 13-15, Friday-Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 3:30pm. $22.
Beverly Arts Center, 2704 W. 111th St. (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org
Court Theatre Before its summer hiatus, Court brings a powerful, understated season to a close with another Chicago premiere.
“M Butterfly,” May 8-June 8. Wednesday-Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 3pm, 8pm; Sunday, 2:30pm, 7:30pm. Prices vary, see site.
Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. (773) 753-4472. www.courttheatre.org.
Eta Creative Arts Foundation Dedicated to producing African American-fueled art, eta’s spring show is pitched to push audiences of any color toward hard questions on race.
“Saviour?,” Through May 11. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. $30, discounts available. “Two Twenty-Seven,” May 29-July 20. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. $30, discounts available.
Eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. Chicago Ave (773)752-3955. etacreativearts.org
Logan Center for the Arts The University of Chicago’s art center features a combination of student and professional programming across its nine-plus stories.
“A Night at the Peking Opera,” Ling Ke. Saturday, April 12, 7:30pm. “Buried in Bughouse Square: A Studs Terkel Circus,” May 1-11. Thursday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, May 11, 2pm. $6 advance, $8 door. “Sleuth,” May 22-24. Thursday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm. “Much Ado about Nothing,” Wednesday, May 28-Saturday, May 31, 7:30pm. Logan Center Courtyard. “Cabaret,” June 5-7. Thursday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm & 7:30pm.
Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. (773)702-2787. arts.uchicago.edu
Provision Theater Provision returns to its oft-travelled biblical themes this spring with an updated parable from founder Tim Gregory.
“Jacob,” May 7-June15. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. Prices vary, see site.
Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd. (312)455-0065. provisiontheater.org
Red Clay Dance The local company hosts a concert of groups from across Chicago.
“Dance4Peace 2014,” Saturday, April 5, 5:30pm. $10.
Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave. (773)624-8411. Redclaydance.com
Story Club South Side A blend of old hands and open-mic, Story Club offers tall tales every third Tuesday. Just down the street from Maria’s and Pleasant House, the event is billed as BYOB and BYOPie. Read our interview with host Andrew Marikis on page 22 of this issue.
“Foolery,” Tuesday, April 15, 8pm. Free. “Cross-Town Classic,” Tuesday, May 20, 8pm. Free.
Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 S. Morgan St. (773)837-0145. coprosperitysphere.org
Beverly Arts Center Part community center, part art gallery, part theater, BAC offers family-friendly programming far south in the “village in a city.”
“Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts,” Wednesday, April 2, 7:30pm. $7.50. “August Osage County,” Wednesday, April 9, 7:30pm. $7.50. “Gloria,” Wednesday, April 30, 7:30pm. $7.50. “Her,” Wednesday, May 14, 7:30pm. $7.50.
Beverly Arts Center, 2704 W. 111th St. (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org
Black Cinema House Rebuild Foundation’s intimate theater screens free films drawn from decades past. RSVP recommended.
“Black Orpheus,” Sunday, April 6, 4pm. “Stony Island,” Sunday, May 11, 4pm. “Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise,” Sunday, June 1, 4pm. “Purple Rain,” Sunday, June 15, 4pm.
Black Cinema House, 6901 S. Dorchester Ave. blackcinemahouse.org
Doc Films As the oldest continously running film society in the country, Doc Films offers nightly programming and occasional special events. Showtimes vary slightly week to week; see website for full listings.
“Road Trips & Walkabouts: Journeys in Film,” Mondays, 7pm. “Passion and Reason: Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland,” Tuesdays, 7pm. “American Exuberance: The Films of Robert Altman,” Wednesdays, 7 and 9:30pm. “Love Unto Death: Alain Resnais (1922-2014),” Thursdays, 7pm. “Avant-Terror: Contemporary Art-House Horror,” Thursdays, 9pm. “The Dream Factory: Pixar Studios,” Fridays, 7 and 9pm; Saturdays, 3:30pm; Sundays, 1pm. “The Wolf of 59th Street: Spring Bankers,” Saturdays, 7 and 9:45pm; Sundays, 3pm. “Touch of Genius: The Sound Films of Ernst Lubitsch,” Sundays, 7pm.
Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. (773)702-8575. docfilms.uchicago.edu
Logan Theater The University of Chicago’s art center hosts screenings from its Film Studies department and outside artistic collectives.
“American Arab,” Chicago Underground Film Festival hosts. Sunday, April 6, 8pm. “It’s a Living” Friday, May 9, 8pm. Free.“Tatsu Aoki: Visions x Sounds” Friday, May 23, 7pm.
Screening Room, Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. (773)702-2787. arts.uchicago.edu
DuSable Chicago’s Museum of African American History hosts screenings to supplement its exhibits, often with director Q&A or discussion.
“Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth” Thursday, April 10, 7pm. Free.
DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place. (773)947-0600 dusablemuseum.org
Billed as the “Chinese Romeo and Juliet”, “Butterfly Lovers” once again takes the screen by storm at The Film Studies Center in Logan as a part of “Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture.” Why once again, you may ask? Because this film was first privately screened for Charlie Chaplin in Corsier-sur-Vevey Switzerland in 1954. And if was good enough for him, who are we to decline such an event? In the film, Zhu Yangyi disguises herself to attend an all-male school, where she meets Liang Shanbo. The two spend the next three years as soul mates, but what will come of them when their paths diverge? There will be an introduction by Xinyu Dong, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Sunday, April 6, 2pm. Free. (773)702-2787. arts.uchicago.edu (Mark Hassenfratz)
The Art and Science of Urbanism
Urban development may appear to be all about the facts and figures (and the politics). But urbanism greatly depends on the influence and input of both the arts and sciences. The importance of art and science to the modern city and its development will be explored at a panel discussion, succinctly titled “The Art and Science of Urbanism.” Sponsored by the Arts|Science Initiative and the University of Chicago Urban Network, the event’s featured panelists include Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Chicago Julie Burros, architect Brett Cochrane, and Mark Bouman of the Field Museum. The event will be moderated by Emily Talen, curator of the Neighborhoods exhibit and a visiting professor on the University of Chicago’s Committee on Geographical Studies.Grey City Lab, 915 E. 60th St. Thursday, April 10, 5pm. Free. (773)702-5116. urban.uchicago.edu (Emily Lipstein)
Let’s Get Working
Studs Terkel, Chicago’s greatest listener, is getting a three-day festival at the UofC—just a few blocks away from its Law School where, he once said in an interview, he spent “the most bleak yet fascinating” years of his life. Terkel, who passed away in 2008 at age ninety-six, was born in New York but spent most of his life giving voice to the lives of ordinary Chicagoans. Instead of practicing law, he worked in radio, where he developed a candid style of interviewing that he would use in oral histories like “Division Street,” which chronicled 1960s Chicago, and “Working,” in which—as the book’s subtitle declares—“People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do.” A celebration of Terkel’s life and legacy, the festival will include film screenings, panel discussions, musical performances, and art installations. Confirmed guests include NPR host Ira Glass and journalist Alex Kotlowitz. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. May 9-11. (773)702-2787. studs.uchicago.edu (Harrison Smith)
On the heels of journalist and playwright Esther Armah’s exclamatory “Entitled!” comes a question. Her play “Saviour?”, which makes its Chicago debut at eta Creative Arts Foundation, revolves around a white liberal anti-racism activist who hires a black lawyer to represent him in a case of reverse discrimination. He claims that the nonprofit he worked for promoted a black woman to CEO instead of him due to her race. The dialogue—and, at times, discord—between these two characters explores questions of white privilege and liberal hypocrisy, and works to uproot the notion of a “post-racial” society. “Saviour?” provides a sharp, honest, and timely look at issues of race in America, and is sure to spark a discourse that will extend far beyond the theater’s four walls. Eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. Chicago Ave. Through May 11. Friday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. $30 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. (773)752-3955. etacreativearts.org (Emma Collins)
Chicago actor Michael Peña stars as César Chávez, the famous Mexican-American labor organizer, in a new film directed by Diego Luna. Also starring America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson, this film tells the story of Chávez’s attempts to organize and unionize thousands of bracero farm workers in California who suffered brutal working conditions and harsh immigration measures. This film is notable not only for its historically and politically important story, but also for its mainstream distribution. Having been heavily discussed and promoted among Latino communities online and throughout the country, “Cesar Chavez” is open and showing in theaters on the South Side. AMC Ford City 14, 7601 S. Cicero Ave. See website for show times. (888)262-4386. amcentertainment.com (Meaghan Murphy)
Sasha Go Hard
Sasha sells out show in Sweden. Now say that three times fast. Sasha sells out show in Sweden. Sasha sells out show in Sweden. Sasha sells out show in Sweden. That alone should be your reply to anyone who spouts a tired narrative of the music industry being dead. You don’t even have to leave Chicago to see evidence to the contrary. Just look at a YouTube video of Sasha Go Hard’s sold-out show at Slakthuset in Stockholm, and watch Swedes spill over the stage in a sea of bodies and flashing lights. The Internet and its unrestricted channels of distribution have cut annual global sales of recorded music in half since 1999, but those same channels have also washed away the divide between mainstream and underground music as well as the geographic barriers which once kept artists divorced from their international fandom. In this version of the music industry, Sasha Go Hard, a 21-year-old female drill rapper from the South Side of Chicago, has fans a world away—in Stockholm, Berlin, Bordeaux, and London—and is able to perform for them all in one week on a tour of Europe. Living in this version of the industry, the most regional, niche music, full of city-specific references and themes, is able to find a transatlantic audience. In fact, as a female driller, Sasha Go Hard really occupies a niche within the niche, as you can count on one hand the number of female drillers that have risen to prominence within the subgenre. Sasha’s most recent single, “Out the Bottle,” was produced by the ubiquitous Diplo, who’s worked with the biggest names in pop music, including Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. What eulogizers of the music industry fail to realize is that while sales of recorded music have been cut in half, the value of the live concert has soared. Now, with free music on the Internet whetting the appetites of fans across the globe, an unsigned, drill rapper like Sasha Go Hard is able to have Stockholm going crazy with sounds from Chicago. See Sasha Go Hard, and see what stirred Sweden. Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Thursday, April 3, 8pm. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. (312)949-0121. reggieslive.com (Tony Lashley)
Self-professed to have been “born too late,” pianist and songwriter Lance Lipinsky is perfectly suited to portray rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis in the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. Detailing the fabled Sun Records sessions with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, the musical has played at Chicago’s Apollo Theater since 2008. Lipinsky himself is a talented performer who channels (to minute detail) the flamboyant and excessive playing style of the fiery Jerry Lee Lewis. Born in Wimberley Texas in the mid 1980s, within shouting distance of the thriving live music destination of Austin, Lipinsky was raised on a steady diet of recordings from the dawn of rock n’ roll. He taught himself piano in his early teens and never looked back. Taking the cavalier undertones of his idols to heart, Lipinsky dropped out of high school at age seventeen to play piano in the Legends in Concert revue show in Las Vegas, and has been playing ever since, often as a Lewis impersonator. Now twenty-eight, Lipinksy and his band, “The Lovers,” work to draw from the music he has so long recreated as an impersonator to create original rockabilly recordings, often on traditional equipment and instruments. Billed as a “retro revival” Lance Lipinksy and the Lovers seek to bring their own brand of rockabilly to a new generation. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. April 11, 8pm. $20 members, $22 non-members. (773)445.3838. beverlyartcenter.org (Jack Nuelle)
This Memorial Day weekend, one of the most influential hip-hop groups of the 1990s, is reuniting at The Shrine. Its been twenty years since Brand Nubian first released their debut album, “One For All,” which many critics have praised as being one of the best hip-hop albums of the 1990s. Along with several like-minded hip-hop groups including the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Black Sheep and A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian became one of the original members of the New York-based Native Tongues collective. As members of the collective, they also helped pioneer the use of the jazz samples and Afrocentric, Nation of Islam-influenced lyricism which would soon come to define the sound of East Coast alternative hip-hop. The three MCs (Grand Puba, Sadat X [Formerly Derek X] and Lord Jamar) have been pursuing solo careers for the past decade or so. Now, however, they’re holding a reunion concert here in Chicago. This show will probably be a) awesome b) politically charged c) nostalgic and d) free. That’s right: according to The Shrine’s website, the show is free if you “RSVP before 11pm.” So hop on it and get that deal while you still can. The Shrine, 2109 S Wabash Ave. Friday, May 23, 9pm. (312) 753 5700. theshrinechicago.com (Jake Bittle)