Best of the South Side 2015 | Pullman | Roseland

Best of Pullman & Roseland 2015

Luke White

From their arrival in 1849 until George M. Pullman began to build his utopian Town of Pullman in 1880, the Dutch settled the Lake Calumet Region. To this day, these early settlers have left their impression on the area, and vice versa: an exhibit on Roseland is currently on display at the Eenigenburg Museum in the Netherlands commemorating those early settlement years.

Essays

Goldfish

Amelia Dmowska

My winter boots are soaked in gold; my toes tingle as I dip them into the puddle of light that pours from the lamp above. Miniature suns in golden boxes bob over the wooden boards of the “L” station—artificial suns whose heat sizzles in the cold. Mud and ice are caked into a trimming that borders the planks of the station, lining the edges of the benches and seeping into the crevices between the train tracks. It hasn’t snowed for a few days, but the gray afternoon clouds above are heavy, expectant reminders that the real sun hasn’t colored the light for a week or two.

Housing | Stage & Screen

Revisiting The Project(s)

A new documentary play adapts oral histories of the Chicago housing projects

Courtesy of American Theater Company

“Before we sat down to interview these residents, they didn’t know that their stories were valuable.”

Music

A Contemporary Harmony

The Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir performs its annual concert with flair

Although the members of the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir were all dressed in black, the atmosphere was anything but solemn.

Visual Arts

An Architect of Letters

Pilsen artist Mauricio Ramirez brings color to the everyday

Courtesy of Mauricio Ramirez

Walking into Mauricio Ramirez’s studio in Lacuna Artist Lofts, it’s evident that his art is a creature with its own agency—free to jump from wall to canvas, from bicycle to CTA car, from iPhone case to shoes. With graffiti crawling out from the hanging canvases onto the walls beneath it, Ramirez’s design space is constantly changing and mutating. And with new projects, collaborations, and exhibitions in the works, it’s unlikely anything will be static for long. Continue reading

Lit

A Voice for the Invisible

The Princess Who Went Quiet tackles explaining incarceration to children

Bianca Diaz

“Words spread through her lungs like vines, and blossomed from her mouth like flowers,” writes Bianca Diaz in her beautifully illustrated children’s book, The Princess Who Went Quiet. Words and stories—with their ability to transform, to illuminate, and to empower—are a central theme of this short tale about a princess who falls asleep while trapped within a dragon’s belly, but who later learns about the power of stories to strengthen family ties and escape invisibility. “This world needs you to tell your stories. They need to learn how to speak and find each other,” Diaz continues in her book. With her story, Diaz seeks to help children and parents understand how to speak openly about a very different type of enclosure—not within a dragon’s belly, but within prison walls. Through her comic-style-black and white illustrations- Diaz shows how prison is not a self-contained box which one can leave and enter as if it were just another walled room. Rather, it is like a void, where individuals become invisible behind walls—isolated from life, and sometimes families, on the outside—and often remain invisible once they leave. Continue reading

Visual Arts

Space and Place

“PLAT | FORMS” at the Incubator

Sara Pooley

The word “laboratory” conjures images of test tubes, chemicals, beakers, and white coats. Place Lab, however, is a very different type of laboratory—one that reimagines spaces.

Hyde Park | Visual Arts

Brave New World

Josef Strau’s islands sit adrift in the Renaissance Society

Tom Van Eynde

A boy and a slave rafting down the Mississippi river, a night unfurling like an inky mirror of the river below it, a cottony breeze carrying the sound of chirping cicadas. The Renaissance Society’s current exhibition, “The New World, Application for Turtle Island” by Josef Strau, conjures up such Mark Twain-like images for some, says the artist. Amid these islands, tall lamps stand like welcoming sentries. While the fences ringing these islands seem to create barriers between each platform, the pieces are connected by stream-of-consciousness text and patterns.

Pilsen | Visual Arts

Art Mundane

Sunday Project gallery opens in Pilsen with “Tentatively Titled”
COURTESY OF SUNDAY PROJECT

COURTESY OF SUNDAY PROJECT

A brand new art gallery might be expected to get off to a slow start—especially one with a debut exhibition called “Tentatively Titled”—but there’s nothing tentative or hesitant about Sunday Project, one of Pilsen’s newest galleries. Continue reading