Terrain Exhibitions Presents 2021 Terrain Biennial International Public Art Festival
Terrain Exhibitions has announced the 2021 Terrain Biennial international public art festival from October 2-November 15. Founded in 2011 by artist Sabina Ott, Terrain Exhibitions was created in the spirit of community building through public art at her home in Oak Park. Ott invited over a hundred artists to exhibit site-specific and site-responsive artworks in her front lawn. Two years later, Ott created the Terrain Biennial to stage monthlong installations, inviting her neighbors and collaborators within her network to host public art at their homes and in their neighborhoods. The Terrain Biennial has produced four editions in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, with each growing from one block in Oak Park to national and international collaborations.
“Since 2013, the Terrain Biennial has been a nexus between art practitioners and public audiences from seemingly disparate backgrounds through public art installations. This work has forged connections in substantial and empathetic ways across city borders around the world,” Terrain writes in a release. “This year, the Terrain Biennial aims to find spaces of joy and community essential for collective healing in these times of isolation, public reckonings, and mourning. Sharing much of the same sentiment as yearbook signatures and pen pal letters, this year’s biennial theme is K.I.T. (keep in touch). After more than a year of lockdown, participants are encouraged to consider how their projects serve communities, encourage lived experiences of art, and facilitate deepening friendships and new connections.” More here.
SAIC Announces Fall Virtual Visiting Artist Lectures
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) presents a new season of the Visiting Artists Program, a public forum featuring influential practitioners and thinkers. Formalized in 1951 with the establishment of an endowed fund by Flora Mayer Witkowsky, the Visiting Artists Program has featured over 1,000 international artists, designers and scholars representing more than seventy countries through a diverse mix of lectures, conversations and readings. All events are free, virtual, open to the public, and feature an audience Q&A. Registration is not required. This season: Katie Paterson, william cordova, Amitav Ghosh, Shirin Neshat, Hito Steyerl and Mark Bradford and Julie Mehretu in conversation. Details here.
Governor Dedicates Ray Castro Parking Lot Plaza At National Museum of Mexican Art
In honor of the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month, Governor JB Pritzker joined National Museum of Mexican Art leadership to dedicate the museum’s Ray Castro Parking Lot Plaza. The recently completed parking lot, named in the late community leader’s honor, along with other recent upgrades to the museum, were made possible by a $1.9 million capital grant from the State of Illinois.
“Thanks to the spaces we open today, visitors will not only have – for the first time – an accessible parking option while visiting the museum, but the surrounding plaza will function as a new community gathering place: hosting events that will bring Chicagoans and visiting art enthusiasts together,” Governor Pritzker says in a release. “These are the kind of simple but important investments that keep communities strong – and after years of delay under the prior administration, I’m proud to help the museum keep its mission moving for years to come.” The plaza was named after Ray Castro, the first Mexican American ward committeeman in Chicago. He was an iconic voice for his community’s culture and history from his early days organizing after-school programs for local children to his work advocating for Vietnam veterans, and later in city politics. More on the NMMA here.
What’s Worth Preserving?
With the future of James R. Thompson Center up in the air, Chicago’s preservation community has begun a new push for updated policies and protocols governing historic preservation, as well as posing a key question: how can we better recognize and save significant structures from the recent past? “A new generation of preservationists is challenging the traditional scope of the profession and redefining what is worth preserving. Beyond advocating for places of historical and architectural value, how should preservationists respond to the issues of our time, including climate change, racial justice, equity and access?”
A two-part Zoom program will explore these questions with moderated panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions on September 23. “During the first part of the evening, our expert panel will ask ‘What’s worth preserving?’ and assess the changes needed at the local level to ensure we protect newer landmarks. Later in the program, audience members will be asked to weigh in on this same question and vote on a list of priorities for preservation practice. This may include individual buildings, green spaces or less conventional socio-cultural and environmental considerations.” More here.
Reagan Statue For Springfield?
An Illinois House panel discussed putting up a statue in Springfield dedicated to the memory of northwestern Illinois native Ronald Reagan, reports Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times. “House members on the Statue and Monument Review Task Force debated the pros and cons of [his] legacy, and the propriety of memorializing him on the Capitol grounds, but didn’t come to a decision.”
Nineteen-Story West Loop Apartment Tower Awarded Key City Approval
Plans for a $100-million, nineteen-story apartment building were forwarded to City Council for a vote despite concerns from hospitality workers about affordable units, reports Block Club Chicago. “The city’s Committee on Zoning approved a DAC Developments and Melrose Ascension Capital’s plan to build the 213-foot building at 1227 West Washington. The proposal would bring 288 apartments, 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 10,000 square feet of tenant amenity space to the area. The project will include fifty-eight on-site affordable housing units.”
DINING & DRINKING
Behind Chicago’s Secret Baking Society, The Bakers Dozen
“The Bakers Dozen was founded in the 1930s. Its members — beloved bakery owners — meet in secret once per month to sample each other’s goods, catch up and help keep their businesses alive,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The secret society’s membership has changed over the years. Longtime members include Weber’s, Dinkel’s Bakery, Calumet Bakery, Reuter’s Bakery, Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston, O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village and others — some of which prefer to be anonymous.”
AMFM FEAST Festival Raises Awareness About Food Deserts This Weekend
AMFM hosts their popular food and arts festival, FEAST, at Homan Square Park in North Lawndale on September 11-12, where they give away free food in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks and Imperfect Produce. AMFM, which has held food events since 2018, held a food giveaway and virtual cooking program with local chefs and artists in 2020, and returns safely to the parks in person to host their fourth iteration of FEAST. The organization has partnered with sustainable, and affordable grocery company, Imperfect Produce, who has been a festival partner since 2019. They have donated over 5,000 pounds of food in the past three years to support this cause.
In addition to the food giveaway, they’ll feature an outdoor exhibition by local artist Kiara Jade and music performances from local artists. Through photography and collage, Kiara Jade’s work engages conversations around the history of redlining, segregation, and how it impacts food deserted communities dating back from 1910 to the present day. Her exhibition frames access to food in predominantly Black communities as a civil rights issue. Headlining the stage this year are popular Chicago jazz artist, Sam Trump, and West Side emcee, Boukhepra, with DJ Ca$h Era and AMFM DJ Bonita Appleblunt, alongside newcomers, Azieb and Orisun. Feast which is free, is September 11-12 from 1-4pm at Homan Square Park, 3559 West Arthington.
Metropolitan Brewing Sets Metroberfest 2021
Metropolitan Brewing brings the German celebration of Oktoberfest to their brewery and taproom. Metropolitan Brewing and Chicago Brewseum are teaming for Metroberfest 2021. A day of food, festivities, and above all, German-style lagers. Visitors will be able to wander throughout the brewery, tap room and patio as they drink their brews, which will be poured in both the taproom and the brewery, along with specialty beers, including Basic Burner Pumpkin Spice Lager and a firkin each of Stromhaus Helles dry-hopped with Chicago-grown Nugget hops, and Krankshaft Kölsch with strawberries and basil. Saturday October 2, 11am-10pm. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Gene Siskel Film Center Updates Precautions
Starting today, the Film Center requires valid photo I.D. and proof of full vaccination or a negative result on a PCR test for all screenings and events. More here.
Renaissance Place Cinema Reopens In Highland Park
The Renaissance Place Cinema reopens Friday, and like other Landmark Theatres, offers $7 Tuesdays. Attractions here.
Allium Press Of Chicago Shutting Down
In a Printers Row missive, Allium Press saves the bad news for last: “It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that I have come to the difficult decision that it is now time to close the doors on Allium Press. I have greatly enjoyed the last twelve-plus years as the editor and publisher of Allium, and treasure the relationships I developed with my authors, my publishing colleagues, the many folks I’ve met in the larger book world, all the wonderful writers I’ve had the opportunity to cross paths with over the years, and, of course, all the fabulous readers who embraced our books. Unfortunately, COVID times have made the already perilous world of small press publishing even more difficult to traverse. The time has come to move on to something else. Our books will continue on sale through December 2021. You can find buy links on our website.”
Musing On What’s Left Of Music Journalism
“Learning about what makes regional arts scenes unique at the ground level can enrich our understanding of our world,” writes Leor Galil in the Reader newsletter. “In my relatively brief career as a music journalist, I’ve witnessed a variety of terrible forces—hedge funds that purchase newspapers and slowly drain them of their resources, major outlets dumping staffers after Facebook lied about the number of users who preferred to get their news via video, Michael Ferro—that have maimed journalism at large, with a lot of pain coming down on arts reporting and criticism. What few full-time jobs exist in these worlds tend to focus on the most popular and best-known artists. It can be a boon when it comes to an artist like Kanye. I read a lot of great work that made me think more about ‘Donda’ and challenged my initial perceptions of the album. Which is inevitably what I want from any piece of music journalism: insightful, discursive writing that feels alive, that shows me something about the artist, a piece of music, and the world I might not have ever put together on my own. All great art—be it criticism or the work it’s based on—does that.” More here.
Vienna Boys Choir Holiday Season Appearance At Symphony Center Canceled
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announces the Symphony Center Presents holiday season performance featuring the Vienna Boys Choir scheduled for Tuesday, December 21 is canceled. The choir’s Chicago appearance as part of a 2021 North American tour has been canceled due to the current increase in COVID-19 infections, lack of vaccination options for children under twelve and continued uncertainty related to international travel conditions.“In view of the increasing corona numbers and the lack of vaccination options for children under the age of 12, we have canceled all tours abroad until 2022,” says president of the Vienna Boys Choir Gerald Wirth in a release. “The health of the children, our employees and our audience must come first. As long as there is no vaccination for children under the age of twelve, we cannot risk longer trips, let alone international tours.” More here.
Pastor T.L. Barrett Shares NPR Tiny Desk Concert
NPR Music has released a “Tiny Desk” performance from Pastor T.L. Barrett, in a rare filmed performance of the living gospel legend. Shot at the South Side Chicago church he’s been leading for decades, Barrett guides his Royal Voices of Life choir through a trio of his most beloved, recently rediscovered classics: 1973’s rousing “I Shall Wear A Crown,” his signature 1971 soul jam “Like A Ship,” and the spiritual that became the heavily sampled hip-hop staple, “Nobody Knows.” Between songs, Barrett speaks about his roots in Chicago’s public housing projects, as well as those of the choir members’ roots, and the history of slavery in America. NPR says: “This is not a concert; this is worship.” Listen here.
Chicago Cabaret Magazine Launches
Chicago Cabaret Professionals has launched Chicago Cabaret Magazine, an online magazine for cabaret lovers. The free blog-style publication features stories and photos from Chicago’s cabaret scene and beyond. “You will visit places from Chicago’s notable clubs of the past, hear about cabaret burlesque, and an opera created for healthcare workers, and more!” the publication reports. Chicago Cabaret Magazine is a resource for learning about cabaret’s history, and for sustaining a century-old art form for the future. This project is funded in part by a CityArts grant from Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Details here.
Introducing The Chicago Jazz Festival Archive
The Jazz Institute of Chicago has nurtured and promoted jazz in Chicago for over fifty years, and has partnered with the city of Chicago on developing and programming the Chicago Jazz Festival since 1979. “It’s in the spirit of the Chicago Jazz Festival that the JIC programmed ‘Chicago In Tune: Jazz,'” the group says in a release. “In celebration, we present the ‘Chicago Jazz Festival Archive,’ a repository of posters, photos, brochures, videos, and past line-ups that leads you on a journey through some of the best Jazz in Chicago and beyond.” Details here.
Douglas R. Ewart Solo Sound Retrospective Opens
Experimental Sound Studio presents “Douglas R. Ewart: A Retrospective,” featuring the artist’s visual work, alongside Ewart’s recent large-scale audiovisual work “Songs and Stories for a New Path and Paradigm,” created in collaboration with NOW Society of Vancouver and thirty-six artists from across the globe. The exhibition will be available for in-person viewing at ESS’s Audible Galleries, 5925 North Ravenswood, by appointment throughout its run. An opening night celebration will be held September 10 from 5-8pm at Experimental Sound Studio. A weekend of concerts featuring new and old collaborators of Ewart’s will take place throughout Chicago the weekend of October 15.
Lina Gonzalez-Granados Continues As Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announces that Lina Gonzalez-Granados will continue as the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice through June 2022. Gonzalez-Granados was initially selected in November 2019 by the jury of the CSOA’s International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship, presided over by CSO Zell Music Director and Jury Chair Riccardo Muti. She became the fourth Solti Conducting Apprentice in February 2020 with the activities of the apprenticeship paused during the pandemic. Gonzalez-Granados resumes the role at the start of the season with activities to include several weeks during the season studying with and assisting Riccardo Muti in Chicago during his residencies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The apprenticeship, which is an initiative of the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO, also creates opportunities for Gonzalez-Granados to participate in education and community programs of the Institute, including guest conducting engagements with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. More here.
Victory Gardens Theater Announces Season
The Victory Gardens Theater has announced their season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: “Queen of the Night,” by travis tate; world-premiere “In Every Generation,”” by Ali Viterbi, and the regional premiere of “cullud wattah” by Erika Dickerson-Despenza. In addition to its mainstage season, Victory Gardens presents its Ignition New Play Program, consisting of two events for the season: the Ignite Chicago reading series, offering free readings of new works between October 2021 and July 2022, and the 20/50 Festival in June 2022, featuring three new works by playwrights over 50, staged by VG Directors Inclusion Fellows. “We have lost so much in the past eighteen months, and I don’t take for granted that those of us still living are blessed to have survived,” Victory Gardens artistic director Ken-Matt Martin says in a release. “The pandemic has left many of us wondering, ‘How do we move forward?’ All of these plays feature families dealing with the fallout of situations beyond their control—much like the last eighteen months we all just endured. These families move forward with love, humor, joy, and a commitment to healing long-held hurts. I am hopeful this season inspires those who see it to do the same.” More here.
Congo Square Radio Drama, “The Clinic,” Is On The Air
Congo Square Theatre Company, one of the nation’s premier African American theaters, launches its season with “The Clinic,” introducing the serial radio drama genre to a new, streaming audience. Created, written, acted and produced by Congo Square ensemble members, “The Clinic” will air in four cliffhanging segments, available for streaming through October 10. As described by co-writers and Congo Square ensemble members Monifa Days and Javon Johnson, “The Clinic” is “a nod to the old school soap opera-style dramas that follows the journey of Dr. Latisha Bradley, who is changing the world with a life-altering discovery that was meant to help all but only helps some. Everyone wants in. Dr. Bradley not only has to deal with changing the future of medicine but betrayal and matters of the heart.” Directed by Congo Square’s Daniel Bryant, the cast includes fellow ensemble members Aimee K. Bryant, Aaron Todd Douglas, Tracey N. Bonner, Will Sims II, with guest artist Jonathan Perkins. A $10 donation is suggested; listen here.
Broken Nose Theatre Launches Tenth Season With Audio Adaptation Of BNT’s 2018 “Kingdom”
Broken Nose Theatre, one of Chicago’s premier Pay-What-You-Can theater companies, is launching its tenth season with an audio adaptation of its hit 2018 play, “Kingdom,” written by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris and directed by Manny Buckley, streaming on-demand from October 4-24, “Kingdom” features ensemble members RjW Mays and Watson Swift reprising the roles they performed in 2018, joined by ensemble members Ben F. Locke and William Anthony Sebastian Rose II and guest artist Darren Jones. The story: “After the state of Florida legalizes same-sex marriage, Arthur and Henry, partners of fifty years, come to terms with their differing opinions on the necessity of becoming husbands, even as their son Alexander finds himself wading through some rough new waters of his own. ‘Kingdom’ is the story of an entirely-LGBTQ African American family that lives in the near-literal shadow of Orlando’s magical kingdom, as they struggle to create a life together that captures a little bit of that same magic.” Critically acclaimed when staged by Broken Nose in 2018, “Kingdom” received the 2018 BTAA Lorraine Hansberry Award. More here.
The Saint Sebastian Players Resume In-Person Productions
The Saint Sebastian Players announce the company is resuming live, in-person production with an expanded fortieth Anniversary Season. The four-play lineup celebrates genres that have been popular with the group’s audiences throughout its history—a classic comedy, a mystery and a musical—and looks to the future with a world premiere comedy co-authored by a company member. Performances take place at SSP’s home in the lower level of St. Bonaventure, 1625 West Diversey. The season opens with “Born Yesterday” by Garson Kanin, originally scheduled to close SSP’s thirty-ninth season in spring 2020. More details here.
Black Button Eyes Productions’ “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” Opens In October
Black Button Eyes Productions welcomes back live audiences with the musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern, from October 8-November 6 at the MainStage of The Edge Theater. Written by Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon, this live stage version is directed by producing artistic director Ed Rutherford with music direction by Micky York and choreography by Derek Van Barham. The cast includes Kevin Webb as Dr. Horrible, Tommy Thurston as Captain Hammer, Stephanie Fongheiser as Penny and Joshua Servantez as Moist with North Homewood, Caitlin Jackson, Josh Kemper, Peter Ruger and Maiko Terazawa. Tickets are available here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Lincoln Park Zoo Picks Scientist Megan Ross As First Female President, CEO
Lincoln Park Zoo has named Megan Ross its next president and chief executive officer, reports the Sun-Times. “The appointment marks two firsts in the zoo’s 153-year history: first female to lead the zoo and first scientist in that role.” “When I think about being the first woman scientist leader at the zoo, what I think about is perhaps some young kids out there might realize if you love animals there’s lots of different career paths. Not all of them are being a veterinarian. You can do lots of different things such as what I did, which was study animal behavior,” Ross told the paper. “Ross, who runs day-to-day operations at the zoo, officially takes the reins January 1 from her longtime mentor, Kevin Bell, who’s 69 and plans to retire.”
Emerging Research On The Holocaust In The Former Soviet Union At Illinois Holocaust Museum
Illinois Holocaust Museum will open a new, multi-gallery augmentation of their core exhibition highlighting the breadth and scope of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union on September 30. Of the approximately six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the story of those Jews who experienced Nazi genocide in the Soviet Union are lesser-known or often not even told. But more than 2.5 million of the Holocaust’s victims were Soviet Jews. Of the living Holocaust Survivors in the Chicago area, eighty percent are from the Former Soviet Union (FSU), making it even more critical for the Museum to include their stories.
“In contemplating the enormity of the Holocaust and the millions murdered, the history of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union has been woefully neglected,” Kelley Szany, vice-president of education and exhibitions says in a release. “There is no family in the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Chicagoland that does not know firsthand about these traumas. We are honored to work to provide a more complete narrative of the Holocaust through this important project.” The Museum will also share the story of Soviet Jewry after the Holocaust, the “Refuseniks” who often faced harsh treatment for trying to emigrate, and the activism and international support that led to an easing of emigration restrictions beginning in 1988. The Museum will focus on Chicago’s instrumental role in the fight of the Refuseniks and their resettlement in the metropolitan area. This augmentation will include a future online exhibition and materials for students and educators. More here.
Rogers Park Witchcraft Merchant Expands
There’s a bigger, new location for Rogers Park’s Malliway Bros, reports Block Club Chicago. “Blake and Wycke Malliway reopened their witchcraft store, Malliway Bros, at 1407 West Morse [after growing] out of [their original] space.” “We could only have, comfortably, fifteen people in there,” Blake Malliway told Block Club. “’We were turning people away left and right, which you don’t want.’ … The store — nearly double the size of the original location — is decorated with whimsical antiquities, colorful charms and candles.”
Illinois Humanities Visions of Justice Series Premiering In Seven Communities Around The State
Illinois Humanities will present eight “Visions of Justice” video screenings and community conversations looking at the local impacts of mass incarceration. With perspectives from thirty-five Illinoisans working for justice in seven communities, each event will premiere a video highlighting a particular place in Illinois followed by a facilitated conversation with local residents. Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice Fellow, Meredith Nnoka, will moderate the series, designed to highlight the connections among communities both large and small throughout the state. The Visions of Justice video series, produced in partnership with VAM STUDIO, features interviews with artists, organizers, and individuals affected by the system “who question the criminal legal system, explore its impacts on their communities, and propose what would need to change to create a society that is just and restorative for all.”
“Visions of Justice asks people who have first-hand experience with the carceral system, ‘What does a truly just society look like? How does it feel? How do we get there?’ Their answers illuminate deep inequities, complexities, and connections. Pairing the videos with local conversations gives us a much needed chance to hear—and learn from—each other throughout the state,” Gabrielle Lyon, Illinois Humanities’ executive director says in a release. The interactive online events launch September 24 with a conversation focused on Decatur; other featured communities include Bloomington-Normal, Carbondale, Chicago, East St. Louis, Galesburg and Urbana-Champaign. The series culminates with a statewide “Visions of Justice: Illinois” screening and conversation on November 18. “Visions of Justice shows us that every day, in any corner of our state, Illinoisans from all walks of life are having difficult conversations about how mass incarceration harms their communities and what they can do to stop it,” says Meredith Nnoka in the release. “This series supports and celebrates those conversations wherever they happen.” Details here.
Mara Heneghan, Cook County Director of Policy, Named Obama Foundation Scholar
The Obama Foundation has announced Mara Heneghan, director of policy for the Cook County Office of the President, is among its fourth group of Obama Scholars, two sections of twelve emerging leaders from around the world who will study at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, respectively, for the 2021-2022 academic year. “I am honored to be a part of the Obama Foundation’s fourth cohort of Scholars and am grateful for the opportunity to build on my policy work at Cook County and the curriculum of my graduate program at the University of Chicago,” Heneghan says in a release. As director of policy, Heneghan manages Cook County’s strategic policy goals, such as Cook County’s pandemic response and recovery and the launch of the resident cash assistance program. In service of the Foundation’s efforts to support the next generation of global leaders, the Obama Foundation Scholars program partners with UChicago and Columbia to combine academic learnings with experiences led by the Obama Foundation. “The program’s aim is to empower emerging leaders with a proven commitment to service with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective and [make an impact] upon their return home.”
Choose Chicago Promotes City By Applying “AI” To Cloud Gate
“Choose Chicago knew the world deserved more Bean. A Bean whose visitors could interact with it digitally,” the tourism group writes in a release. “A Bean that could truly reflect all that the beautiful city of Chicago has to offer. And they knew we couldn’t do it alone.” Glenn Eden, board chair of Choose Chicago says in the release, “Getting visitors to Chicago is Choose Chicago’s core mission, and with today’s new hybrid, always-on world, we knew that we needed to build solutions to help visitors make the most of their Chicago journey. That is why we created The Bean, an AI powered chat bot. We knew that we needed to create an experience with universal appeal, so, we partnered with Northwestern University Medill School’s Knight Lab, a diverse, multidisciplinary and multi-generational community of designers, developers, students, and educators working on experiments designed to push journalism into new spaces. And, of course, given the millions of visitors that come to Millennium Park each year, we knew that our friend, The Bean, would be a great resource to know what is on the mind of visitors, so we asked The Bean to be our partner as well.”
Writes Choose Chicago, “This sentient Bean is now ready to tell you all about stunning Chicago. The Bean spent years analyzing the idle chitchat of nearby visitors. The Bean learned the importance of helping people locate pizza of all depths. The Bean learned there is other non-Bean art and culture to help humans to enjoy. And The Bean learned more than The Bean wanted about the baseball rivalry that splits the city into two areas: North of The Bean and South of The Bean. Ask The Bean anything—and The Bean will share everything it knows.” Play with The Bean here.
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