Calendar for February 18, 2015

Bulletin

Nonprofit Radio Station Interest Meeting
What kind of work goes into creating a radio station—not just a show, but an entire station—from scratch? Bridgeport’s Public Media Institute, the same institute that puts out periodicals like Proximity Magazine, runs the Co-Prosperity School, and coordinates the annual Version Festival, was given a license by the Federal Communications Commision to build a brand new low-power FM radio station, broadcast out of the studio that Co-Prosperity Sphere will become, from the ground up. This weekend, the Institute will host a public interest meeting for the up-and-coming nonprofit station, which will serve all of Chicago and is the Institute’s self-proclaimed “most ambitious media project to date.” As the station will be the result of collective effort on the part of Chicagoans and “musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists, and instigators” worldwide, PMI wants anyone who is interested in this concept to come to this “call for sounds” to learn more about the project and help shape its future.Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Sunday, February 22, 2pm. Free. No prior radio experience necessary. (773)837-0145. publicmediainstitute.com (Maha Ahmed)

Code and Cupcakes Workshop
Like mother, like daughter, the saying goes. But in the world of computer science, Mom isn’t always knowledgeable enough to teach her daughter the ropes. Enter Code and Cupcakes. This program, which comes to the South Side next week, instructs moms and their daughters in coding and designing websites together. It is the brainchild of Jen Myers, a computer scientist, tech educator, and single mother who wanted to expand the project of introducing young girls to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education to include their mothers. During the four-to-five-hour workshops, mothers and daughters learn basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which they use to design a website, and break for cupcakes. Pairs create webpages about topics such as a favorite TV show or animal, and use what they learn to express their passions. Myers’s plans for the future of Code and Cupcakes focus on sustainability and accessibility: there is a scholarship fund to subsidize the workshop fee and resources from workshops are going up on the organization’s website. The organization will follow next week’s Pilsen workshop with a Hyde Park edition in April. Code and Cupcakes at BLUE1647, 1647 S. Blue Island Ave. Saturday, February 21, 1pm-5pm. $35 per pair. (312)624-9655.  codeandcupcakes.net (Emily Lipstein)

Chicago Style: Philanthropist & Entrepreneur Willie Wilson, Chicago Mayoral Candidate
The Institute of Politics will be hosting Willie Wilson—a self-described “philanthropist and successful entrepreneur” and a candidate in the upcoming mayoral election—for an informal conversation with students and the public about his platform for the upcoming election as well as his career in business and politics. Wilson’s campaign emphasizes his up-by-the-bootstraps story and his move to Chicago in 1965 with “only twenty cents in his pocket.” Wilson started by owning five McDonald’s franchises, and went on to found Omar Medical Supplies Inc. He also founded Willie Wilson Productions, a television production company that created the WGN gospel program “Singsation,” which he hosts himself. Despite his seventh-grade education, Wilson’s platform emphasizes his business acumen and issues neglected by Mayor Emanuel’s leadership: school closings, job creation, and public safety. At the event, Wilson will give an overview of himself and field students’ questions. The conversation will be accompanied by a meal from a Chicago restaurant. University of Chicago Institute of Politics, 5707 S. Woodlawn Ave. Wednesday, February 18, 7pm-8pm. Free. (773)834-4671. politics.uchicago.edu.  (Andrew Koski)

Whose Public Space Is It Anyway? Examining Chicago’s Bid for the Obama Presidential Library
The Obama Library has been a source of controversy for the city since its announcement. The city’s remaining bids are proposals made by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago. Incorporated in the UofC bid is the use of Chicago public parkland, a proposal met by plenty of resistance. What is the relationship between the UofC and South Side communities? What roles do democracy and issues of access to public space play? And who stands to benefit from this proposal? The Illinois Humanities Council will ask and answer such questions with a panel featuring President and CEO of Friends of the Parks Cassandra J. Francis and Donna Sack, the executive director of Association of Midwest Museums. The panel will be moderated by Chicago Tribune columnist Melissa Harris. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. Wednesday, February 18, 1pm-2pm. Free. prairie.org (Clyde Schwab)

Stage and Screen

They Don’t Give a Damn: The Story of the Failed Chicago Projects
The Chicago Housing Projects were infamously unsuccessful and had a profound impact on the people who lived there. Mismanaged and run-down, the projects were far below federal standards, forcing the Chicago Housing Authority to launch the Plan for Transformation, a moonshot program meant to revitalize 25,000 housing units. They Don’t Give a Damn: The Story of the Failed Chicago Projects tells the stories of the 16,000 families removed from their homes by the CHA and how the demolition and redevelopment of the projects shaped the worldview and identities of those most affected. Based on the book Where Will They Go?: Transforming Public Housing by Dr. Dorothy Appiah, the film was adapted by director Kenny Young. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Young, Appiah, two producers, cinematographer Jeffrey T. Brown, and Audrey Petty, editor of High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, February 20, 7pm. Free. (773)702-2787. filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu (Will Craft)

Chicago Filmmakers’ Dyke Delicious Series Presents: New Work From Tello Films
A group of local filmmakers are pushing against the erasure of queer women in film, centering their work on characterizing real queer lives and mitigating the sense of isolation in media. On Saturday, Doc Films will be presenting a duo of artists whose contributions to this work are particularly notable. Julie Keck and Jessica King from Chicago’s Tello Films present “brave and challenging content with a lesbian twist” by distributing webisodes such as Nikki & Nora, Rent Controlled, and Kiss Her. Doc Films is hosting this subversive crew for a discussion of their work and screening of some of their skilled collection in collaboration with Chicago Filmmakers. Doc Films, 1212 E. 59th St. Saturday, February 21, 4pm. chicagofilmmakers.org (Zach Taylor)

The Property
“Okay, so there’s this new opera called The Property.” “Cool.” “And it’s got a sort of klezmer, traditional Jewish musical influence.” “Okay, a little off-beat but I can dig it.” “Yeah, and it kinda makes sense, because it’s about this Jewish family who goes to Poland to reclaim some land they lost during WWII.” “Okay, got the title.” “Except it’s adapted from a graphic novel?” “Wait, what?” “Yeah, weird.” “But how are they gonna make something so visual work as opera, which is basically defined by its relationship to music?” “No clue. But the premise seems cool, and the composer’s an award-winning wunderkind with the Lyric Opera, so why not try it out?” “I dunno, man…” “Come on, it’s like $20 next Wednesday, and it’s right on 60th. Let’s do it.” “Eh, why not? Sounds kind of experimental but playful, too.” “Great! I’ll get the gang together.” Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. February 25 through 27. Wednesday, 7:30pm; Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 1pm. $20-$25. (773)702-2787. lyricopera.org  (Austin Brown)

Bad Grammar Theater
Those interested in the written word will find their fix at Bad Grammar Theater, where every third Friday of the month both established and up-and-coming Chicago-based authors read their original prose aloud. The reading series provides a forum for local authors to share their work with an audience and transform the written word into a dramatic performance in a relaxed and respectful setting. Powell’s Bookstore University Village, 1218 S. Halsted St. Friday, February 20, and every third Friday of the month, 6pm-9pm. Free. (312)243-9070. badgrammartheater.com (Sophia Sheng)

Book Release Party: It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time
Angela Jackson conjures images of the Deep South while weaving tales of individualism in her new book, It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time: Poems. This Saturday, listen to the tales directly from the poet as she reads selections from the book. Jackson’s blank verse stanzas—short, succinct, and filling—draw on her experience navigating society in Greenville, Mississippi before moving to the South Side of Chicago with her family. Her poems offer intersectional commentary on race, coming of age, and actualization. Accompanying Jackson are performances from Awthentik—a fresh, cutting rapper whose mixtape Popular Misconception combines pop culture references and unique samples to offer a biting critique of culture as we know it—and avery r. young, a native Chicago writer with a soulful voice, who combines comedy, gospel, and jazz influences to create striking songs that tackle serious topics. Logan Center Penthouse, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, February 21, 7pm. Free. (773)702-2787. arts.uchicago.edu (Kanisha Williams)

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed
The societal collapse of the late twelfth century BC is a sort of locked room murder mystery, allowing for a very large room. The occupants of the Eastern Mediterranean—Babylonians, Egyptians, Mycenaeans, and more—had spent three centuries building sophisticated and interwoven civilizations, but the opening of the eleventh century found these civilizations disappeared or dispersed. The metaphorical gun of civilizational destruction has been traditionally placed in the hands of the mysterious Sea People, who supposedly swarmed across the region, upending all that came before. At this free event at the Oriental Institute, Eric Cline, a classics professor at George Washington University, will argue that the blame has been unfairly pinned on the Sea People, rather than a more realistic collusion of environmental catastrophes and human conflicts. The Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St., Breasted Hall. Wednesday, February 25, 7pm-9pm. Free. (773)702-9520. collapse.eventbrite.com (Adam Thorp)

Missing Pages Lecture Series
Did our high school history textbooks cover everything we needed to know? The DuSable Museum doesn’t think so. Aiming to reveal the people, places, and events that haven’t gotten proper credit for shaping history, the lecture series “Missing Pages,” which started November 20 and runs through March, is designed to address larger themes of politics, culture, race, and personal identity. The largely unknown figures and topics will be presented and discussed by nationally known speakers, and while their subjects never received much recognition in common memory or the media, now they take center stage. All this series asks of its audience members is that they remain open to what they might not have known and be willing to pick up a pencil and fill in history’s forgotten pages. DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Through March. Various Thursdays, 6:30pm. $5. dusablemuseum.org (Emiliano Burr di Mauro)

Visual Arts

ArtShop
Every year, the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) dedicates Gallery 5 to ArtShop, and every year Gallery 5 is filled with the artistic creations of kids from all across the South Side. The ArtShop is an extension of Pathways, an arts education program based out of HPAC that serves CPS students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The program aims to enrich students with rigorous art training, and provide them with the opportunity to refine their talents and showcase their work to large audiences. ArtShop is one of the showcasing events for teens involved in the Pathways program. Every work is entirely self-directed: the artists execute their vision with no source material. The title of this year’s ArtShop is Collective Possibilities—each piece is inspired by a myth of each student’s choosing, including their own imagination. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago. March 1-April 19. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org. (Kanisha Williams)

The Density of the Actions
Density is the distribution of a mass per unit of volume or, for London-based, Argentine-born artist Varda Caivano, the substance of labor that can be packed into each square inch of canvas. Her first solo exhibition in the states, The Density of the Actions, will open at the Renaissance Society on February 22. Each piece in the series presents a rumination on the physicality that it took to make the painting—layers of paint are “rubbed, scratched, and reworked” so that each stroke is dense with time, invoking not just one moment, but many. The exhibition is sure to be dynamic, the paintings “vulnerable, unfolding, failing, becoming, and disappearing.” The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. February 22-April 19. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)702-8670. renaissancesociety.org (Kristin Lin)

Until it becomes us
Rituals—actions and beliefs prescribed by traditional, regulatory performance for the sake of individual progress—are both personal and communal. Jesse Butcher, an artist and current photography instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, intends to showcase his investigation of these private rituals, beliefs, mantras, and longings in his solo exhibition, “Until it becomes us.” This is Butcher’s first solo exhibition in Chicago since 2010, sure to be a culmination of his most recent exploratory work, which starts from the claim that we are all “cognizant islands longing for a personal Pangaea.” Ordinary Projects at Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S. Throop St., fifth floor. February 20-March 20. Opening reception Friday, February 20, 6pm-9pm. ordinaryprojects.org (Zach Taylor)

Objects and Voices: A Collection of Stories
Rummaging through a family attic, you might find collections of past significance that have accumulated with the long-settled dust. After seeing these disparate objects in the same space, patterns of meaning begin to emerge. “Objects and Voices” is exactly this type of eclectic collection, a celebration of the objects both forgotten and validated by time. Curated by a diverse array of individuals ranging from university professors and artists to graduate students and professional curators, this show is the second of the Smart Museum’s fortieth anniversary exhibitions. Curator Tours, led by some of the twenty-five collaborators featured in the exhibition, will give you a foray into micro-exhibitions like “Fragments of Medieval Past” or “Asian/American Modern Art.” It might be worthwhile to add this exhibition to your own collection of memories. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. February 12-June 21. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm. Opening reception Wednesday, February 11, 7:30pm-9pm. (773)702-0200. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu (Kristin Lin)

Wxnder Wxrds
Gallery 5 at the Hyde Park Art Center currently features recent work by Mexico City-based artist Nuria Montiel. Pieces included in the exhibition, titled “Wxnder Wxrds,” were produced during Montiel’s 2014 Jackman Goldwasser residency at HPAC, during which she brought her mobile printing press—La Imprenta Móvil—to various public sites around Chicago, including Sweet Water Foundation, Hull House, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Monteil engaged visitors at each site in conversations on art, politics, and civic life while making her prints, which transform bits of collected dialogue into abstract visual poems. Through public production and installation of the prints around the city, Montiel’s project explores the relationship between art and social participation. “Wxnder Wxrds” exhibits Montiel’s prints and installation documents, as well as reflections on the artist’s community-centered creative process. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through February 21. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org (Kirsten Gindler)

I Am American
This land is your land, this land is my land. From sculpture to paint, from first-generation immigrant to Native American, twenty-five artists explore the different  dimensions and definitions of American identity. “I Am American” is a traveling exhibition that, by virtue of its destinations across the U.S., challenges viewers to reflect on their own place in the nation and what it means to inhabit a space with people who may not share the same answer. In Chicago, the exhibition will be housed at the Zhou B. Art Center. Go with questions about the exhibition’s title. Chances are, you’ll emerge with more than twenty-five answers. Zhou B. Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Through February 14. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. (773)523-0200. zhoubartcenter.com (Kristin Lin)

Ground Floor
Marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hyde Park Art Center, “Ground Floor” features artworks from prominent Chicago MFA programs, creating a biennial showcase of emerging talents so new they haven’t even begun their careers yet. The twenty artists, selected from over one hundred nominations, represent a wide range of mediums, forms, and universities: Columbia College, Northwestern, SAIC, the UofC, and UIC. These artists have also had the chance to exhibit at September’s EXPO Chicago in HPAC’s booth. This unique program, showcased throughout the entirety of HPAC’s ground floor gallery space, offers the chosen artists a helpful push toward a career in the art world; “Ground Floor” alumni include two artists who have recently displayed artwork at the Whitney Biennial. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through March 22. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org (Sammie Spector)

Migrant Files
Life exists in transitory setting—we find ourselves in different places for different reasons, and sometimes not by choice. The Migrant Files presents three studies of the forced mobility imposed upon the modern lower class. Through video, Austen Brown transports viewers to the oil fields of North Dakota, where laborers work on short-term contracts and live in mobile homes, simultaneously transitory and stationary. Billy McGuinness takes us to the kitchen floors of Cook County Jail, where he painted three monochromatic canvases. And, finally, Jaxon Pallas shows us the aesthetics of abandonment in his print works on the great falls of the American economy. ACRE promises an expanded public program to supplement this exhibition. Catch the exhibition before it moves on; travel in discomfort through America. ACRE Projects, 1913 W. 17th St. February 8 through March 2. Sundays and Mondays, 12-4pm. acreresidency.org (Kristin Lin)

Mana Contemporary February Open House
For some, Sunday afternoons mean lox, bagels, and cream cheese. For others, football. For you, it could be the February Open House at Pilsen’s Mana Contemporary Chicago. Wander the enormous building, designed by Chicago architect George Nimmons. Explore more than fifty art studios (all open to you!). Admire the relatively large oil paintings of postmodern Icelandic artist Erró, who trained in all the standard European ways but has arrived at a style marked by his assemblages of public figures—artists, politicians and despots, etc.—and a heavy-handed use of American comic book imagery. There will also be performances and exhibitions from a variety of foundations, funds, and societies. The fourth floor of the building will be utilized by one of Chicago’s premier dance crews, THE ERA, for a footwork workshop. Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S. Throop St. Erró exhibiton until April 30, 2015. Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Free. (312)850-0555. manacontemporarychicago.com (James Kogan)

The Aesthetics of Struggle
Chicago artist Raymond Thomas brings forward a collection of his recent works in his exhibition “The Aesthetics of Struggle,” an exploration of the idea of art as its own form of activism. Exhibited at the United Foundation for Arts and Technology, these mixed-media presentations seek to understand the connections between identity, religion, race, politics, and culture in the twenty-first century. Drawing inspiration from the impact of AFRICOBRA and the Black Arts Movement of the sixties and seventies, Thomas analyzes collective social existences of our times. United Foundation for Arts and Technology, 1833 S. Halsted St. February 13-March 6. Free. ufat.org (Lauren Poulson)

Music

Swans and Xylouris White
Just as the ancient Zen koan asks, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” one might ask today, “What is the sound of being punched in the stomach repeatedly but in, like, a really cool way?” The unequivocal answer to that question would be Swans. Less of a musical group than a force of nature, this experimental project of Michael Gira first gained notoriety in New York’s No Wave scene of the early 1980s alongside peers, Sonic Youth. They’ll be making a stop at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall this Saturday, along with Cretan lute player George Xylouris and Australian multi-instrumentalist Jim White, who will play as the duo Xylouris White. This one-two punch of a lineup promises to be a sonic endurance test, challenging but rewarding to all those who are willing to tough it out. If you do manage to get a ticket, don’t forget earplugs. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Saturday, February 21, 9:30pm, doors at 8pm. $25 in advance; $30 at door. 17+. (312) 526-3851. thaliahallchicago.com (Juliet Eldred)

FuzZz at Reggie’s
Whether you’re riding high or feeling low in the wake of this past Valentine’s Day, there is no better comedown from the commercialized love-blitz than a dose of brainy funk. Chicago-based band FuzZz is helmed by Dave Freedman and Sliman Bensmaia, both longtime instrumentalists whose other…interests have brought them to the neurobiology and neurology departments at the University of Chicago. The five-piece funk band has kept it cool with a combination of revamped covers, bold originals, and instrumental improvisations since 2011, and will headline a night of jazz and funk at Reggie’s this Saturday. Brass band leader and tuba virtuoso Amir Gray will also take the stage. Reggie’s Chicago, 2105 S. State St. Saturday, February 21, 9pm. $5. 21+. (312)949-0120. reggieslive.com (Olivia Myszkowski)

Joshua Radin at Thalia Hall
Touring to promote his sixth studio album Onward and Sideways, Joshua Radin will bring his hushed melodies and airy arrangements to the Thalia Hall stage. Since his debut in 2004, Radin has sold millions of singles and thousands of albums, and has worked with musicians such as Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Jimmie Haskell (of Simon & Garfunkel). As a “purveyor of plaintively pretty folk-pop,” the Cleveland native built his fan base largely by having his music featured in numerous films and television shows, most notably Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy. If you’re not already a follower of Radin’s and are just in need of some soothing tunes, be sure to check out his latest single “Beautiful Day,” featuring Sheryl Crow. Joining him at Thalia Hall will be Andrew Belle and Cary Brothers, both accomplished musicians in their own right. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, February 20, 8pm. $26 in advance; $36 at the door. (312)526-3851. thaliahallchicago.com (Shelby Gonzales)

Wayne Wonder at the Shrine
Let this upcoming Sunday be a winter Wonderland. (Get it?) Take yourself (and someone special, if you so choose) to The Shrine to be transported from the bleak Chicago cold to the tropical streets of Jamaica by the music of Wayne Wonder, a Jamaican native whose signature voice winds and grinds over surging pop beats. He’s been bringing his followers the sweet and sexy sounds of R&B-infused reggae for twenty-six years, beginning with his first single “You Send the Rain Away.” This Sunday, he’ll be sure to dazzle with sparkling selections from his expansive discography, including Billboard hit “No Letting Go,” and upbeat tunes from his most recent album (and his first in five years), My Way. Take a date this Sunday to “Drop it Down Low” amid the hypnotic beats of the tropics as Chicago experiences Wonder’s wonders for the first time. The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash Ave. Sunday, February 15, 10pm. $25. (312)753-5681. thesrhinechicago.com (Kanisha Williams)

Mike Hicks at Reggies
Mike Hicks, whose music consists of a fusion between blues, soul, and funk, all anchored by a strong moral message, will play this Thursday at Reggies. Hicks’s songs, often upbeat with fantastic support from an eighteen-piece brass group, are strongly reminiscent of his hometown of Nashville. He’s currently touring with blues legend Keb’ Mo, but the talented young artist presents a compelling blend of influences of his own, clearest on his most recent album, This is Life. Join Hicks along with guitarist Casey Wasner and Chicago native and bassist PJ & Soul. Reggies, 2105 S. State St. Thursday, February 19, 9pm. $10-12. 21+. (312)949-0120. reggieslive.com (Clyde Schwab)

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