Calendar for May 5th, 2015


Safety Beyond Police: Creative Brainstorming Session
In 1951 the Civil Rights Congress submitted a report to the United Nations contending that police actions in black communities constituted genocide. More than sixty years later, advocacy organizations like Project NIA and We Charge Genocide (whose name was inspired by that report) are still skeptical about the police and outspoken about police abuses. But what is the alternative? That is, what would “safety beyond police” look like? The groups hope to lay out their alternatives to policing and promote a “broader idea of safety” through a city-wide campaign over the month of July.  People interested in imagining how that campaign could proceed can join members of these groups Saturday for a brainstorming session. Access Living, 115 W. Chicago Ave. Saturday, May 9, 1:30pm-4:30pm. Free. (Adam Thorp)

#TrainTakeover is back. On May 15, dozens of local performers, artists, and activists will gather at Roosevelt station to board Red Line trains going to and from the loop and fill them with songs, chants, and, hopefully, dialogue. Billing itself as a creative counterpart to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the takeover aims to engage CTA riders, and confront racial inequality and police violence against black and brown people. This is the fourth such takeover to be organized in Chicago. The first occurred in December in response to the grand jury decisions not to indict the police involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This one comes on the heels of the protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray via injuries he sustained while in police custody. All Chicagoans are invited to join—be sure to wear red. Roosevelt Station, 24 E. Roosevelt Rd. Friday, May 15, 5pm. (Andrew Yang)

Leopold and Loeb Walking Tour
Seeking to commit the perfect crime, Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two UofC students, kidnapped and murdered fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks in 1924. Their trial and eventual conviction became a media spectacle, with celebrated lawyer Clarence Darrow, an opponent of capital punishment, taking up Leopold and Loeb’s defense to help them avoid the death penalty. This two-hour walking tour of Kenwood, sponsored by the Chicago History Museum, will stop at the crime scene and other local sites related to the murder. The tour will be led by Paul Durica, organizer of Pocket Guide to Hell tours, which focus on true crime, labor history, and social justice in Chicago. 49th St. and Ellis Ave. Saturday, May 9, 5pm-7pm. $25. (312)642-4600. (Peter Gao)

#Coding and Cocktails
Who says coding can’t be classy? STEM Girl Social Network, a group aiming to increase the number of women entering STEM fields, brings you #Coding and Cocktails, a “ladies night in” where you can learn HTML and CSS basics and have a drink, too. These classes are appropriate for beginners and will feature a presentation, handouts, and time to practice. Come bearing snacks and a desire to meet other women, and you’ll be well on your way to joining this “Beautifully Brilliant” community. All proceeds go to other programs for women in STEM. Chicago Innovation Exchange, 1452 E. 53rd St., 2nd floor. Friday, May 8, 7pm-10pm. $15. Buy tickets on (Mari Cohen)


D-Erania at Mo Better Jazz
This upcoming show at Mo Better Jazz, South Shore’s (self-appointed) “premier” jazz club, will feature the music of pianist-saxophonist-songwriter D-Erania (the stage name of Chicago-born Donella Stampley). Stampley describes her music as fusing the influence of funk legends like George Clinton and Stevie Wonder with the gospel tradition she encountered through her mother, a gospel musician, at an early age. D-Erania has released a number of jazz albums, including the recent “Native Beauty,” which incorporates elements of Brazilian jazz; she has also served as the weekly-featured artist and maestro at Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. Mo Better Jazz, 2423 E. 75th Street. Friday, May 15, 7-11:30pm. 21+ (773)642-6254. (Jake Bittle)

Lovers in May at Arie Crown Theater
It is spring, the sun is (finally) shining, and love is in the air. Right on cue, Keith Sweat, Mint Condition, and Donnell Jones are descending from their respective thrones of R&B to croon foundational slow jams and catalyze the bloom of relationships, new and old alike. From Sweat’s classic “Nobody” to Mint Condition’s “U Send Me Swingin’,” the slick, effortless harmonies and sensual bass form a timeless soundtrack to the season. Jones’ take on Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet” is a sweet, tear-jerking proclamation of love that’s solidified couples since 1996, and hasn’t lost its charm over the past nineteen years. These sleek and dance-inducing refrains will all be in one place on May 15 and are the perfect introduction to spring. Arie Crown Theatre, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr. Friday, May 15, 8pm. $80. (312)791-6190. (Kanisha Williams)

New Millennium Orchestra
If listening to live performances of Schubert, electric violin concertos, and Olga Bell’s original alternative songs all without leaving your seat appeals to you, then this versatile, genre-bending showcase is for you. New Millennium Orchestra, which has steadily been gaining acclaim in Chicago for its talent, has a versatile repertoire that includes live remixes, improvisation, world music, and multimedia performances. Olga Bell, who will be sharing the spotlight with the orchestra in this performance, has a sound that has been described by Pitchfork as “some gnarly middle ground between Russian folk song, chamber music, and avant-garde rock music.” After the show, Bell will DJ from the stage and the concert hall will be turned into a dance floor. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. Friday, May 8, 8pm, doors 7pm. $22 in advance; $25 and up at door. (312)526-3851. (Lucia Ahrensdorf)

For Fucks Sake, Elle’s 40!
Hosting “For Fucks Sake, Elle’s 40!”, Reggies will bring together the Dirty Femmes and Soddy Daisy. The performance, sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka and Lagunitas, casts the two bands as Violent Femmes and Pixies, respectively. The Dirty Femmes, a Violent Femmes cover band, started up in 2012 and features Jen Korte on guitar and vocals, Andy Bercaw on bass, and Neil Mitchell on Drums. While the origins of Soddy Daisy are unclear, the power behind their music, which falls under the self-described genres of “space, whisky, Mexican jumping beans, swayze, 4am, partytimes, boppin,” is undeniable and perfectly matched to the surreal, smooth jams of Pixies. Also performing at the event will be Kool Thing (aka Rabbid Rabbit) as Sonic Youth, and Satan’s Boner playing hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Join them for an evening of “slap n tickle,” whatever that means. Reggies Chicago, 2105 S. State St. Sunday, May 10, 8pm, doors 7pm. $10. 18+. (312)949-0120. (Clyde Schwab)

Mother’s Day at the Promontory
If you love your mother and your mother loves jazz—or if you’re a mother who loves jazz—think beyond the singing greeting card and treat her (or yourself) to a night of Zemrah’s Songs of Love this Mother’s Day. Zemrah, a local contemporary jazz artist, will be performing songs dedicated to the meaning of love and appreciation for all women, mothers, and non-mothers alike. Known for her smooth and sultry sound, Zemrah has been perfecting her music style since childhood and is guaranteed to be a hit. Need a dinner plan as well?  Mother’s Day dinner will be available in the Promontory restaurant by reservation both before and after the show from 5pm-11pm. The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Sunday, May 10, 7pm, doors 6:30pm. GA $15, tables $25. (312)801-2100. (Dagny Vaughn)

Stage and Screen

HerStory to Tell: Femmes de la Force
Ayodele, a Yoruba word that translates to “joy in the home,” is a diverse sister-circle of performing artists who use the African drum and dance as a healing element. What started with seven women in 2007 has now expanded to over twenty self-identified Queens who are dedicated to educating and motivating young women and children through a feminine perspective. For the past five years, Ayodele Drum and Dance’s annual spring concert has sold out. Don’t miss this season’s “HerStory to Tell: Femmes de la Force,” co-sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, this Friday and Saturday night at Logan Center’s Performance Hall. Be sure to get there early to shop at the Village Marketplace. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th St. Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9, 7:30pm. $20 in advance; $25 door; $15 for seniors, students, and children under 12. Group discounts available. (773)702-2787. (Alex Harrell)

The 50-Year Argument at Logan
Ah, the New York Review of Books. Has there ever been another publication as garishly designed, as comfortably kinda-liberal, as this intellectual bastion? Nay, says acclaimed director Martin Scorsese in his new film The 50 Year Argument, a ninety-minute tribute to America’s most dependable publication, and Bob Silvers, who has been editor-in-chief since the NYRB’s inception. Sadly, the film features no Scorsese-esque action shots of Silvers hurrying in and out of the 92nd Street Y, but it’s far from a snoozefest, at least as far as movies about newspapers about books go. You can watch a showing of the film this Saturday afternoon. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, May 9, 3pm. Free. (773) 702-2787. (Jake Bittle)

Bert Williams, Rediscovered
The earliest known feature film with an all-black cast was made, abandoned, and then rediscovered recently by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Set in the Bronx, the film follows a cast of black performers and Caribbean comedian Bert Williams as they work to increase their visibility during a time of segregation. Featuring famous performers and commentary on the times, the film reveals an interesting perspective on that period’s climate through the lens of the advent of film. The screening at the Logan Center on Friday will include musical accompaniment by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of the Mississippi. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Friday, May 15, 7pm. Free. (773)702-2787. (Lucia Ahrensdorf)

Pocket Guide to Hell
British labor leader John Burns once called the city of Chicago “a pocket edition of hell.” This Thursday, the Smart Museum of Art and Pocket Guide to Hell—an organization that runs tours and reenactments of the glorious and gritty micro-histories of labor, social justice, and true crime in Chicago—will co-present a cocktail hour and film screening.  The event will serve as a guided tour deep into the hellish world of middle-class life in the sixties, when the Chicago sociologist Erving Goffman was busy examining what lurked beneath the surface of everyday life in his 1959 sociological classic The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Come for the cocktails and the special screening of the 2014 documentary Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s; stay for the interactive exploration of the sociological hellscape of mid-century polite society. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Thursday, May 7, 6pm. Free. (773)702-0200. (Lewis Page)

Redmoon Theater’s The Devil’s Cabaret
In Dante’s Inferno, the third circle of hell is characterized by its never-ending rain. Cold and unrelenting, it extinguishes hope and happiness. After a brief experience with this circle earlier this year on the Chicago River, Redmoon Theater is determined to take back control of hell and orchestrate the fantastical fiery spectacle it has been working to create. This spring, Redmoon presents The Devil’s Cabaret, a spectacle recognizing “the Devil’s ‘greatest accomplishments’—The Seven Deadly Sins,” housed in the Redmoon warehouse. In the middle of the room, a rotating thirty-foot-tall crane equipped with stages for performances will serve as the centerpiece. Always ambitious, Redmoon promises aerialists, puppets, and craft beer, and a “special appearance by God.” Whether you want to take advantage of the Lagunitas beer bar, or seek an experience with the Great One, the event is sure to be memorable. Redmoon Theater, 2120 S. Jefferson St. Fridays, April 10-May 16, 9pm-12am. $25. Tickets available online. 21+. (312)850-8440. (Lucia Ahrensdorf)

Susan Giles: Scenic Overlook
In Susan Giles’ new exhibition, “Scenic Overlook,” one can view some of the world’s tallest buildings from above. Giles’ installation consists of large wooden sculptures modeled after the four highest observation towers in the world, the Tokyo Skytree, Canton Tower, CN Tower, and Ostankino Tower, all held up horizontally by steel structures. Giles takes advantage of the two-floor gallery space to allow observers to view these famous architectural wonders from above. Giles, a professor of art at DePaul University, got her MFA from Northwestern in 2009 and is known for her large-scale installations in venues across Chicago, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Elmhurst Art Museum. Visit the Hyde Park Art Center to witness Giles’s exploration of the power of perspective, tourism, and architecture. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell Avenue. Sunday, April 19 through Sunday, July 26. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. (Clyde Schwab)

Loo Presents: We
Martha Clippinger’s art is loud, colorful, and, often literally, off the wall. Her work hangs in the space between painting and sculpture, exploring the effects of color, as well as shape, in three dimensions. Fittingly, the piece that is being used as a promotional image for her new exhibit, “Loo Presents: We” at Slow gallery, is bright orange and yellow, countered by a serene blue wave pattern, the corners of the paper curling away from the wall and projecting into the space beyond it. “Loo Presents: We” is a group exhibition featuring Clippinger’s work alongside pieces from video and performance artist, painter, and musician Guy Richards Smit and Chicago-based fibers artist Allison Wade. In the words of the gallery, “It’s not a competition, but they’re all number one.” Slow, 2153 W 21st St. Saturday, April 25 through Saturday, May 16. Saturday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)645-8803. (Robert Sorrell)

Project 1915
In 2012, artist Jackie Kazarian executed an intensely painful, personal exhibition in a hospital. Entitled “Breast Wallpaper,” her work drew on her own experiences with breast cancer, publicizing a personal trauma and offering an empathetic hand to others dealing with the disease. This year she is working to address another kind of trauma: the 1915 Armenian Genocide in which one-and-a-half million Armenians were massacred. One hundred years after the genocide, Kazarian, who has Armenian heritage, has created a massive mural to commemorate the event and to explore the intersections of memory and trauma, again in a deeply personal way. The comparisons to Picasso’s “Guernica” are apt, but the artist is taking on this difficult subject in her own style. The piece will premiere in Chicago at MANA before touring nationally and internationally. Mana Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop St. Through Friday, May 29. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (312)850-8301  (Robert Sorrell)

Old Wicked Songs
First produced in 1996 by Jon Marans, Old Wicked Songs is the story of an aging Viennese music professor and his prodigal but burnt-out piano student. In a story that takes teacher and student to emotional extremes while discussing the ramifications of the Holocaust in Austria, Old Wicked Songs shines as a valuable lesson that reflects the importance of healing, music, and remembering one’s past. The play closely follows the “Dichterliebe” (A Poet’s Love), a collection of songs by Robert Schumann. The play is presented by Provision Theater, a Chicago company that broke into the scene in 2004 with an acclaimed production of Cotton Patch Gospel. Provision has since followed with productions including Smoke on the Mountain, the Boys Next Door, and Gospel. Provision Theater Company, 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd. April 29-June 7. Fridays, 8pm; Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $10-$32. (312)455-0066. (Clyde Schwab)

Visual Arts

Though most visibly a muse for artistic creation in the last few years with feature films and literature, outer space has mystified and inspired humanity for centuries. In the new exhibit at the Hyde Park Art Center, artists attempt to visually represent the deeper resonances of the cosmos through its intersection with different fields such as philosophy, anthropology, and physics. The exhibition examines the significance of space travel to modern culture as well as the role Chicago-based artists have had in interpreting this significance. This event promises to be full of thought-provoking discussion and haunting images of another world. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through August 23. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm;Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. (Lucia Ahrensdorf)

Much of Noelle Garcia’s work is mired in questions of family, identity, and the Native American experience. Working with paint as well as fiber media including bead work, soft sculpture, and basketry, Chicago-based Garcia received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting & Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her show, LÁLDISH, is set to open at Ordinary Projects, where Garcia is currently a resident artist. Ordinary Projects, 2233 S. Throop St. Saturday, May 9, 6pm-9pm. Free. (Clyde Schwab)
The main idea of this month-long showing in a new Hyde Park gallery is this: art does not exist in a vacuum, and neither does anything else. The work of Alberto Aguilar, presented at the 4th Ward Project Space with support from the UofC’s Arts + Public Life Initiative, explores the way different boundaries—art and artist, home and world, owner and object—work, both in themselves and in relationship to one another. This particular show, titled “,” decontextualizes functional household objects and presents them as “monuments” for the viewer to interpret. 4th Ward Project Space, 5338 S. Kimbark Ave. Enter on 54th St. Opening reception Sunday, May 3, 4pm-7pm. Through May 31, 1pm-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. (773)203-2991. (Jake Bittle)

Gabriel Sierra
Swing by the Renaissance Society right after breakfast to see Gabriel Sierra’s “Monday Impressions” at ten in the morning. Visit right before your midday nap around two to experience “In the Meantime, (This Place Will Be Empty after 5:00 pm),” or maybe take in “Few Will Leave Their Place to Come Here for Some Minutes” around four, right before the gallery closes. The title of the exhibit changes each hour, but the work of the architecturally-trained Colombian artist will be consistently compelling. An interactive exploration of the ways in which the human body relates to and experiences temporal and spatial environments, Sierra’s installation consists of a series of constructions made with natural materials that have been isolated, processed, and domesticated. The exhibit emphasizes the presence and experience of the visitor, begging to be walked over, stood in, and experienced firsthand, whatever the time of day. The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. May 3-June 28, Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Free. (773)702-8670. (Lewis Page)

Mirrored Infinity
Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim,” visual artist John Whitlock inquires into existentialism, spirituality, and reproduction through black and white collages that are scanned and crafted into mixed media compositions. These are accompanied by a video feed of evolving geometric patterns on an infinite loop. The work uses simple shapes to create elaborate and semi-religious iconography, gold—with its connotations of preciousness and implication of age—and geometric distortions. Whitlock works primarily in collage and assemblage and is influenced by the surplus of stimuli in our culture and society, particularly in popular graphic images. Join Whitlock at the Chicago Urban Art Society’s debut in its new McKinley Park space in a show “about finding yourself in the search for another.” Chicago Urban Art Society, 3636 S. Iron St. Friday, May 1, 6:30pm-11:30pm through Saturday, June 27. Free. (773)951-8101. (Clyde Schwab)

ARC 40th Anniversary Exhibit
A 40th Anniversary show in honor of ARC, one of the oldest female-run art galleries and exhibition spaces in the country, will begin this Friday at the Beverly Arts Center. The show features over 120 current and former artists from the co-operative gallery in Chicago. Founded in 1973, ARC provides exhibition opportunities for emerging artists based on “excellence of artwork” and without discrimination regarding gender, race, class, and other factors. While ARC is an internationally recognized exhibition space, it also serves as an educational foundation, providing opportunities for emerging artists. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Friday, May 31, 7pm-9pm through Friday, May 1. (773)445-3838. (Clyde Schwab)

Imaginary Landscapes
Returning to a space of your past is the best way to wipe away the rose-colored nostalgia tint from your glasses. Through Imaginary Landscapes, Mana Contemporary presents an exploration of the relationship between space, time, and memory. Four Midwest-based artists delve into the uncertain space at the nexus of the three, and the result is a collection of sculptures and images gathered by Chicago-based curator Allison Glenn. Lisa Alvarado’s work features elements of shamanism as she critiques cultural appropriation and assimilation; Assaf Evron toes the line between photography and sculpture; deconstructing the mundane, Robert Burnier explores failed utopia; and, last but not least, Caroline Kent harnesses narrative and storytelling to ruminate on what it means to be an outsider in another country. Delve into the uncertainty that spans space and time. Mana Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop St., 4th floor. April 4-May 31. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Opening reception April 4, 6pm-9pm. (312)850-0555. Free. (Kristin Lin)

Nature’s Matrix
Like many of their fellow artists, Charles Heppner and Diane Jaderberg have turned to nature for inspiration. Instead of capturing the astonishing might of an ocean, or the tranquility of a peaceful sylvan landscape, they channel elements from nature and turn them into visual motifs, repeating and abstracting them to create pieces which are not just strange but nearly unrecognizable. Also important for their work and their new installation is the interaction between technology and nature, which is mirrored in Heppner’s use of digital media and computer software to create prints. Their joint exhibition, “Nature’s Matrix,” is taking place at the Hyde Park Art Center, where the two have been studying and creating since the mid-2000s. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. April 5-July 5. Opening reception Sunday, April 19, 3pm-5pm. (773)324-5520. (Robert Sorrell)

Joe Hill 100 Years Part 4
Since his 1915 execution before a firing squad in Utah, Swedish-American labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill has become emblematic of the struggle of itinerant workers in the United States. To mark the hundred-year anniversary of Joe Hill’s death, the URI-EICHEN Gallery in Pilsen will be showcasing the politically charged works of a dynamic duo of social activist artists: the late Colombian cartoonist Jorge Franklin Cardenas and the New York-based painter James Wechsler. Cardenas’ work, which includes caricatures of Che Guevara, John Lewis, and Francisco Franco, will be displayed for the first time in over forty years, after being released to the public by his Hyde Park-based daughter-in-law. Weschler will showcase his “Freedom of Information” series of paintings, inspired by the FBI’s Cold War era files on artists and writers. URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted Ave. Opening reception April 10, 6pm-10pm. By appointment through May 1. Free. (312)852 7717. (Lauren Gurley)

Gallery Guichard’s next exhibit, LURE, is encapsulated by its acrostic tag line: Love, Urban, Rawness, and Energy. Featuring six Midwest-based African-American artists, LURE draws upon a wealth of experience and artistic talent. James “Drew” Richardson renders the disparate experiences of young individuals; Derrock Burnett uses figure and portrait to evoke the visual sound of hip-hop; Roger Carter bridges the gap between graffiti and abstract expression; Walter Bailey is a pioneer of aCRYLONIC aRT, a technique of graphic design on acrylic polymer panels; Rodney Wade draws upon his experiences growing up on the South Side; and Just Flo is, among numerous roles, a tattoo artist and a mural painter. Explore the ways in which these artists probe broad questions of experience and identity. Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th St. Opening reception April 24, 6pm-10pm. Free. RSVP required at (773)791-7003 or (708)772-9315. (Darren Wan)

The word “snuff” conjures up different things for different people, whether it be a video of murder, the 1976 splatter film, or for those of us still into the nineteenth century, fine-ground tobacco. But next weekend, Slow is taking on the heavy topic in an art show featuring Tony Balko, Todd Chilton, Jeffery Grauel, and Diego Leclery.  Slow, an independent exhibition venue, features contemporary art that is “introspective and vulnerable (read slightly nerdy),” demands exploration, and is brutally frank and witty. From Balko’s flashing-color nostalgia to Chilton’s vibrant pattern painting, from Grauel’s seemingly barren work to the over-my-head work of Leclery, if you want a take on snuff, some excellent art, or a chance at free booze, visit Slow next weekend. Slow, 2153 W. 21st St. Opening reception Friday, April 25, 6pm-9pm. Through May 16, Saturdays 12-5pm. Free. (773)645-8803. (Clyde Schwab)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.