Calendar for February 4, 2015


Poll Watching Training for the Chicago Municipal Elections
Dr. Lora Chamberlain will provide free poll watching training Wednesday, February 4 at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, helping those who wish to volunteer at the polls during municipal elections on February 24. Dr. Chamberlain, known in part for her anti-fracking advocacy, has helped watch Chicago’s polling places for the past twelve years and can answer questions ranging from how to get voters to the polls to how to report irregularities. Attendees are encouraged to read the election manual ahead of training and bring a pen and paper. The training is limited to 178 people. RSVPs are encouraged via Facebook. Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted St. Wednesday, February 4, 6:30pm-8:30pm. (Clyde Schwab)

Fruitvale Station Screening and Discussion
Examining racial politics and the “school to prison pipeline” for young black males, Gallery 400 will host a screening and discussion of Ryan Coolger’s Fruitvale Station. The film documents the shooting of Oscar Grant III (played by Michael B. Jordan), an unarmed black man, by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer in San Francisco. It received critical acclaim, winning the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The Chicago Teachers Union, Teachers for Social Justice, Black Lives Matter, and the Social Justice Initiative will join the discussion afterward, covering budget cuts, school closings and racial disparities in Chicago’s justice system. Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St. Thursday, February 12, 5:30pm-8pm. Free, RSVP recommended. (Clyde Schwab)

Rally for Reparations
According to the organizers of Rally for Reparations: A People’s Hearing, over 110 African Americans were shocked, raped, suffocated, and beaten under former Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives. For over a year, the Reparations Ordinance, designed to provide compensation and assistance to those still suffering from the trauma of this torture, has been stuck in the city’s Finance Committee, with no hearing scheduled despite the fact that even the United Nations Committee Against Torture has called on the U.S. to recompense victims and pass this ordinance. The Rally for Reparations is a response to the lack of progress on this issue. In addition to the rally, there will be a public hearing featuring survivors of Burge’s torture sharing their experiences and community leaders discussing what this ordinance hopes to accomplish. Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St. Saturday, February 14, 1pm-3pm. (Akanksha Shah)

Second Annual Celebration and Community Recognition Ceremony
To commemorate Black History Month, the Far South Community Action Council and Olive-Harvey College have teamed up to present a ceremony honoring the citizens, educators, and elected officials doing the most to impact their communities “through advancing education, community engagement, and student leadership” on the Far South Side. The Second Annual Celebration and Community Recognition Ceremony will feature food and live entertainment as well as a keynote speech by City Treasurer Kurt Summers. Olive-Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave. Saturday, February 7, noon-4pm. (Osita Nwanevu)

Stage and Screen

Chi-chi: Tales from the Bass Line
Chi-chi Nwanoku has conquered one of the largest and most daunting instruments in the world: the double bass. One of the most famous double bass players in the world today, she has performed and recorded with Europe’s most esteemed musical ensembles. Barrie Gavin’s engrossing documentary portrait, Tales from the Bass Line, recounts the challenges of how Nwanoku, a London-born youth of Nigerian and Irish descent, worked her way through Britain’s classical music sphere to achieve virtuosity. The film, presented by Black Cinema House, is sure to enthrall with not only the tale it tells but also captivating performances of Haydn, Elgar, and Dvorak, and others. Nwanoku herself will be present to answer questions after the film. Black Cinema House, 7200 S. Kimbark Ave. Monday, February 9, 7pm. Free. RSVP recommended. (Felicia Woron)

Short Films of Shirley Clarke
The Film Studies Center is screening a collection of films by Shirley Clarke, described by Manohla Dargis for the New York Times as a “dancer, bride, runaway wife, radical filmmaker and pioneer,” who was inspired by “the dance of life.” Drawing inspiration from architecture and fellow dancers like Anna Sokolow, Clarke expresses on film a range of emotions of unparalleled intensity and beauty through movement. Using locations from Paris to bull fights to the beach, and eclectic music, Clarke pushes the boundaries on dance as an art form in itself and couples dance and film to challenge and become acquainted with each other. The films of Clarke—as Dargis says, “one of the great undertold stories of American independent cinema”—that will be shown include: Dance In the Sun, Bridges-Go-Round, Skyscraper, and A Scary Time. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, February 6, 7pm. Free. (773)702-8596. (Cristina Ochoa)

Tongues Untied
Marlon Riggs’s semi-documentary film Tongues Untied portrays black gay culture at a time when black gay men were marginalized, oppressed, and vilified from all sides of society. The film has been praised as much for a genuine representation of its subjects as its unique structure, which mixes documentary footage, narration from Riggs’s own experiences, spoken word poetry, and music. While it was made over twenty years ago, Tongues Untied remains relevant today and continues to create opportunities for conversations around a culture that too often remains silenced. Black Cinema House, 7200 S. Kimbark Ave. Friday, February, 6, 7pm; doors at 6:30pm. RSVP requested. (Eleonora Edreva)

Notorious: Chicago Film Club Screening and Discussion
They say to separate the personal from the professional. But rules are broken in Notorious when three people involved in an espionage operation also get involved with each other. Alicia Huberman, played by Ingrid Bergman, is recruited by Cary Grant’s character, government agent T.R. Devlin, to go undercover in Brazil and seduce the leader of a displaced Nazi group. Set in Rio de Janeiro, Notorious is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best-known forays into the complex dynamics of love. The Chicago Film Club will be screening the film and facilitating a discussion as the last installment in its Hitchcock series. Come and expect adventure; danger is only a film reel away. Daystar Center, 1550 S. State St. February 10, 6:30pm. $5. Coffee and snacks provided by Overflow Coffee Bar. (312)674-0001. (Kristin Lin)

Portrait of Jason
As the camera closes in on Jason Holliday’s flirtatious grin, the hustler makes the audacious proposition that he “can make you feel that you’re the most desirable human being that ever walked this earth.” Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason (1967), to be screened as part of Doc Films’ Film as Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 series, is an intimate, cinéma vérité documentary of Jason Holliday, the charismatic gentleman persona of Aaron Payne, a gay African-American male prostitute in 1960s New York. Inside the living room of Jason’s Hotel Chelsea penthouse apartment, Clarke captures on the screen the man’s scintillating aura and his boyish charm, offensive at its peak. As Jason recalls stories of orgies, imprisonment and addiction, Clarke interrogates his street outsider pose, her disapproving voice heard off-camera. A deep exploration of race, class, and sexuality, Portrait of Jason exposes how a man’s self-created myth is his only real, uncompromising truth. Doc Films, 1212 E. 59th St. Sunday, February 8, 7pm.  $5. (773)702-8574. (Eleanore Catolico)

Waiting for Godot
This season, Court Theatre takes on absurdist play Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The story follows two moody vagrant men, who are (you guessed it) waiting for a mysterious Godot. The tragicomedy has been interpreted in countless ways since its 1953 premiere. Court’s interpretation comes from accomplished director Ron OJ Parson, and the cast includes regulars A.C. Smith, Allen Gilmore, and Alfred Wilson. After Parson’s work on Seven Guitars in 2013, audiences will be waiting to see his returning direction at Court, whether or not Godot shows up in the end. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. January 15 through February 15. $35–$65, discounts available for seniors and students. (773)753-4472. (Sammie Spector)

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. (Emiliano Burr di Mauro)

Visual Arts

Seeing Red
Charlie Hebdo may have stirred intense debate in France, but in the U.S., editorial cartooning has quieted in recent years, as mainstream newspapers increasingly replace politically provocative pictures with more generic, syndicated cartoons. Out of the heart of this discussion emerges “Seeing Red,” an exhibition and political poster workshop with Wisconsin-based labor cartoon duo Gary Huck and Mike Konopacki. Merging illustration with computer-generated images to cover labor movements, welfare reform, as well as a whole host of social injustices, Hugh and Konopacki promise a most colorful evening of cartoon collage. Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted St. Friday, February 13, 6pm-10pm. Free. (312)852-7717. (Josephine Geczy)

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. (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. (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. (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. (Kristin Lin)

People at Work
Michael Gaylord James has captured the workday tasks of people around the world in photographs taken over the course of fifty years. Beginning in Chicago, James carried his camera everywhere from Cuba to Ireland to the late USSR, snapping pictures of the glamorous and the not-so-glamorous on the daily grind. Though this might seem like a mundane topic, beware of underestimating the intrigue of this show, for these aren’t your typical nine-to-fives. In photos selected from a larger collection, you will see President Kennedy in a motorcade, the unseen kitchen hands of Chicago, Muddy Waters, and James Cotton playing music, dancers, mechanics, and many others on the job, all frozen in an almost eerie moment of monotonous movement. Take a break from your own job and visit “People at Work” to witness first-hand how beautiful everyday life can be. Uri-Eichen Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted St. Through February 6. Closing reception, 6pm-9pm. Additional hours by appointment. (312)852-7717. (Dagny Vaughn)

Mathias Poledna
The Renaissance Society is currently celebrating its hundredth anniversary. Their most recent showcase, the finale to this first century, not only celebrates the past decades of audiences and artists galore, but also considers, and dismantles, the very structure of the Renaissance Society’s gallery. Literally. Los Angeles-based, Viennese artist Mathias Poledna has removed the gallery’s steel truss-gridded ceiling, an emblem (and tool) of the space since 1967. He is the first artist to physically alter the gallery, asking viewers to consider both iconoclasm and the nature of material property. This altering of the gallery will be supported by a 35mm film installation. The Renaissance Society’s invitation to Poledna to demolish the iconic grates, as well as the co-production of his film, stems from its readiness to enter its second century as a leading modern art gallery. Poledna’s work—highly concentrated film stills and their contextual contemplations—creates a dialogue between the historical legacy of the Renaissance Society and the avant-garde artworks within it. The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. Through February 8. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Free. (773)702-8670. (Sammie Spector)

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. (Sammie Spector)

Boys Will Be Boys
There aren’t many things in this world sadder than the sight of a stripped Christmas tree shivering by the dumpster in January. While the smell of pine may linger on the pillows and curtains for a few days, most would say it’s time to move on from last month’s jolly excess and consumption. With an on-site installation featured at the Ordinary Projects, however, Kasia Ozga brings the Christmas tree back into the new year with commentary on the events of the year past. Her giant sculpture of fifteen Christmas trees will challenge the ordinary conception of those skimpy green branches to trigger reflection on ties between consumerism and racism in America, including recent events of police brutality. After an encounter with “Boys Will Be Boys,” you might never look at your Christmas tree’s “unchanging leaves” the same way again. Ordinary Projects, 2233 S. Throop St., fifth floor. Through February 6. Gallery hours TBA. (Amelia Dmowska)


Pre-Valentine’s Day/Aquarius Birthday Bash
It may no longer be the Age of Aquarius, but one week before this Valentine’s Day, the stars will align to bring you a very special evening of house music at the Promontory. This power-packed lineup, coordinated by “Promontory After Dark” DJ D’Rob, includes a laundry list of local “House Heavyweights,” with sets by DJs Bro Mac, B Creamer, and WHPK’s Most Valuable Player, the one and only Track Master Scott. If you want to dance away the winter blues until the wee hours of the morning with some of the South Side’s most talented DJs, there’s no better time to do so than this Saturday. The Promontory Chicago, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Saturday, February 7, 9pm. $5 in advance, $10 at door. 21+. (312)801-2100. (Juliet Eldred)

Pancakes & Booze Art Show
Batter, booze, and body paint—has there ever been a more titillating combination? For the organizers of the Pancakes & Booze Art Show the answer is, resoundingly, “no.” On February 7, this LA-based underground art movement will bring its intoxicating blend of live performance, art exhibition, beer, and all-you-can-eat pancakes to Reggies for a night of rowdy nonsense. The evening will feature performances by Illinois darlings Fletcher, Halfmoon Mad, and AudioBakery, along with DJ sets by marathon, Aztec Vector, and many others. The work of seventy-five local artists will be on display, and the event will include a “LIVE ART BATTLE!!!”, whatever that means. Hedonistic dreams are made of these, it seems—don’t miss out on this carb-fueled creative circus. Reggies Chicago, 2105 S. State St. Saturday, February 7, 8pm. $5. 21+. (312)949-0120. (Olivia Myszkowski)

Solace Souls Sundays Open Mic
This week’s Open Mic at the Spoken Word Lounge in Bridgeport is shaping up to be a celebration of epic proportions.  In honor of the event’s host Jeronimo Speaks, “Jeronimo’s Birthday Bash” promises an evening filled with music and entertainment, and, as always, the linguistic acrobatics of muse-infused spoken word poets. The Spoken Word Lounge is a venue for musicians, poets and artists of all kinds to connect with the lively, enthusiastic audience; food and drinks will accompany the festivities. Solace Souls Sundays Open Mic will continue every week until March 22. Spoken Word Lounge at Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St.  Sunday, February 8, 6pm. $10. (773)690-0099. (Sophia Sheng)

Asaf Avidan
Following a grueling tour schedule, Asaf Avidan rented a single room in Tel Aviv—not a recording studio—and made a record. The resulting project, Avidan in a Box, is Avidan (mostly) alone with his guitar and his voice. The vocals on display in this box-album are Avidan’s primary calling card, moving seamlessly from a scratchy pseudo-howl, to a purer, silvery tone. That signature sound is recognizable on DJ Wankelmut’s remix of Avidan’s “Reckoning Song,” a track that got significant airplay in 2012. As he promotes Avidan in a Box and his more recent 2015 album, Gold Shadow, Avidan will stop at Thalia Hall on Wednesday, February 11, where he’ll play with Chicago-based rising songwriter Quinn Tsan. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Wednesday, February 11, 9:30pm, doors 8:30pm. $25 in advance, $28 at door. (312)526-3851. (Elizabeth Bynum)

Tigran Hamasyan
The Tigran Trio will soon perform in Hyde Park as part of the UofC’s “Jazz at the Logan” series. The trio features pianist Tigran Hamasyan, drummer Arthur Hnatek, and bassist Sam Minaie. Hamasyan, born in Armenia and a piano player by training, was something of a child prodigy. His creative output has only increased over the years as he’s established himself on the international jazz stage. Hamasyan is influenced by a broad spectrum of artists and styles, including Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, folk music, and classic jazz. In recent decades, he has proved himself repeatedly in contest and festival performances to be a musician of the highest caliber, and his recent trio endeavor should only serve to underscore that reputation. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, February 13, 7:30pm. $35; $5 UofC students. (773)702-2787. (Elizabeth Bynum)

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