Last week, the Experimental Station in Woodlawn hosted the opening of the second annual “Bike Shop Art Show,” featuring work created by participants and volunteers of Blackstone Bicycle Works—which, like the Weekly, is housed within the Experimental Station—and organized by Experimental Station assistant director Matthew Searle. Blackstone’s youth arts program is coordinated by Experimental Station lead teaching artist Tita Thomas in partnership with the University of Chicago’s South Side in Focus program.
Two weekends ago, high school poets from across Chicago took to the stage for the finals of the Louder than a Bomb (LTAB) poetry slam, a competition that seeks to engage the city in the “pedagogy of listening,” as Young Chicago Authors marketing manager José Olivarez says. Olivarez has been involved in LTAB since 2005: while he began as a student participant in the festival, he’s now working to make the slam an annual reality.
An estimated 300,000 demonstrators—nearly fifty thousand more than organizers counted last year—took to the streets of downtown Chicago on Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of the national women’s march.
Last month, just outside of Little Village and Lawndale, the Cicero Stadium held a spectacular Lucha Libre Total celebration. The event featured the performance of iconic Mexican wrestlers El Hijo Del Santo, Discovery, Yakuza, and Dr. Cerebro, as well as former WWE wrestler Super Crazy. But in the main and final attraction of the night, attendees young and old only cared to catch a glimpse of legendary WWE champion Rey Mysterio. With its high-flying and dangerous stunts, Lucha Libre Total embraced the Mexican free-fighting tradition.
In its eleventh year, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival drew large crowds two weekends ago. The free two-day festival offered music lovers ten venues to hear some of the best local, national, and international music on the planet.
Weekly photographer Sebastián Hidalgo attended the last Increase the Peace campout—youth-led anti-violence demonstrations across the South Side—of the summer. On August 4, dozens gathered outside of St. Michael’s Church in Back of the Yards for games, music, and food to celebrate the community center’s reopening after over ten years.
This year’s sixth annual Slow & Low: Community Lowrider Festival drew thousands to Pilsen on Sunday, August 6. Lowriders—customized classic vehicles that drive low to the ground—originated in Los Angeles, but here in Chicago they come with a lifestyle devoted to family and community.
Tonika Johnson’s photos document everyday life as it is lived in Englewood among families and friends, young folks and old; they take place in front of stores and on sidewalks, in parks and on trains—all the places we find ourselves every day, but sometimes forget to think of as beautiful. “My passion for Englewood and community work, plus my belief in the power of contemporary art [as] a conduit for social awareness, motivated me to use my art to challenge public perception of Englewood,” she said of her photos last year in a Weekly article about the first annual Englewood Art Fair in Hamilton Park. Some of these photos have been shown in galleries or published in other outlets before; others appear here for the first time. Her next exhibition, Everyday Rituals, will open at Rootwork Gallery in February, and will feature photography as well as an experimental film short.
The West Calumet Housing Complex is home to nearly 1,200 people, located on a seventy nine-acre site in East Chicago, Indiana, which the Environmental Protection Agency has declared hazardous to human health. Up until 1985 a lead refinery, a copper smelter, and a secondary lead smelter were also in the area, and as early as 1987, federal and state agencies investigated the site as a potential cleanup priority. But due to limited resources and an abundance of red tape, the site has remained contaminated for decades.