Theaster Gates On Going Back To Pottery And Also Working On Obama Center
“Theaster Gates likes to get his hands dirty. His two new London exhibitions are dedicated to clay, and in one there’s a film of him singing with great gusto as he throws a pot,” writes the Guardian on the occasion of two British exhibitions. “The artist decided at the last minute to stay… in Chicago while the shows were mounted, directing things on Zoom… ‘I’m really mindful of my health and of the truth of these contagious times,’ he tells me. ‘I just wanted to give myself time to be in the best shape so my body would be as resistant as possible. Even if the world is opening up, I’m happy to move slower.’ Gates is speaking from his library–’the brain!’–which, as well as books, contains shelves of records and magazines, turntables and vintage speakers a hi-fi buff would kill for, through which he is currently listening to Etta James, early Miles Davis, and the house music that rocked, or rather jacked, his city when Gates was a teenager. (‘House music is on my mind all the time,’ he admits.)”
Group Dedicated To Keeping Artists In Wicker Park Gets City Grant
“An initiative to develop community space for artists and businesses in Wicker Park has received a $15,000 grant from the city,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Equity Arts has worked toward creating an art and community center in the neighborhood, which organizers said will house artist studios, community organizations and event space for public gatherings. The project aims to ‘create what we’re calling an Equity Art Center, where it’s multiple tenants of art spaces that will be affordable in perpetuity,’ said Alma Wieser, Equity Arts president and director of Heaven Gallery at 1550 North Milwaukee.” Equity Arts is “rewriting the narrative of this neighborhood, of really saying how the arts have been instrumental in building it up, and how we’re going to need it to build it back up.”
Richard Feigen Collection Brings $16 Million At Auction
“More than forty works from the collection of the esteemed Old Masters dealer Richard L. Feigen sold at Sotheby’s on Monday for $16.1 million,” reports ARTnews. “Spanning the fourteenth to twentieth centuries, the works managed to surpass their collective low estimate of $10.9 million.” More here.
Western Exhibitions Opens Shows By Jessica Campbell And Dan Attoe
“Freed from the constraints of the picture plane, large, brazenly-coloured anthropomorphic figures constructed from collaged carpet scraps of prior projects strut across the walls of the gallery in Jessica Campbell’s second solo show at Western Exhibitions, ‘Gigantomachinations,'” the gallery says in a release. This show is her first in Chicago since her acclaimed 2019 “Chicago Works” show at the MCA Chicago. ” For his fourth show at Western Exhibitions, Dan Attoe presents new paintings on panel that reflect the changing conditions of his life during the ongoing pandemic. Known for his tight and highly detailed paintings, this body of work is looser, more impulsive, and improvisational as Attoe moves towards an unclear and incomplete method of story-sharing.” Both shows open Saturday, November 6 during regular gallery hours and will run through December 18. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
Artist Creates Mural On Englewood Planned Parenthood Health Center
Planned Parenthood of Illinois has a new exterior mural project at its Englewood Health Center at 6059 South Ashland, working with Englewood Arts Collective artist Jerrold “Just Flo” Anderson, on an original image titled “#GoodInEnglewood.” The mural covers the south side of the building. “PPIL has been an active part of the Englewood community since we first opened our doors here in 2003,” Englewood Health Center Manager Camilla Neely says in a release. “This mural is a great demonstration of the connection we have to the neighborhood and it’s been amazing to see Just Flo’s work come to life. Health center staff even had the opportunity to help him paint sections. We are so proud to have this visual and welcoming image for all our patients to see when they come to us for their reproductive health care needs.” The mural will be dedicated at 10am today.
DINING & DRINKING
Pilot Light Sets Annual Gala
Pilot Light, a not-for-profit established in 2010 by chefs Jason Hammel, Paul Kahan, Justin Large and Matthias Merges, will host its annual gala on Friday, November 5 with options to participate in-person (6pm-1opm) at The Arbory or through a livestream with a pre-show at 6:30pm. The Gala will be hosted by Belinda Chang and Amanda Puck. At The Arbory, Pilot Light’s founding chefs will be joined by Chefs Beverly Kim (Parachute,Wherewithall), Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo), Genie Kwon and Tim Flores (Kasama), Ryan Pfeiffer (Big Kids) and Noah Sandoval (Oriole). Guests who participate virtually will have the opportunity to pick up cocktail kits from Matthias Merges (Billy Sunday), charcuterie plates from chef James Martin (Bocadillo Market) and pastries from chefs Anna Posey (Elske) or Leigh Omilinsky (Swift & Sons). Tickets for the livestream program are available at no charge so participants across the nation can join. A professional auctioneer, David Goodman, will lead a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind items, including a Cubs First Pitch and a trip to Tuscany with chefs, and draw the winner for the premium raffle, which is an “ultimate bar cart” from High Road Spirits. All proceeds from the event will directly support Pilot Light’s work to engage students in its innovative food education programs across the country, which support pre-K-12th grade teachers in using food to teach academic lessons, like reading, math and science. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Kartemquin Films Hosts Third Annual Empowering Truth Benefit
Kartemquin Films’ third annual Empowering Truth Benefit will take place virtually on November 3 at 7pm, streaming live on YouTube. “In celebration of our fifty-fifth anniversary, we are excited to celebrate Kartemquin’s ‘Past, Present and Future’ with our host, board president and civic leader Sylvia Ewing and a combination of seasoned and emerging filmmakers from the Kartemquin community, including co-founder and artistic director Gordon Quinn, Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Steve James and Bing Liu, and with a keynote conversation featuring New York Times best-selling author of the 2021 National Book Award longlist contender ‘How the Word Is Passed,’ Clint Smith III.” Tickets to the benefit are here.
Audio Post-Production Company Another Country Names Tim Konn Managing Director
Another Country founder and Cutters Studios partner John Binder has announced the promotion of Another Country’s executive producer Tim Konn to the position of managing director. “Working with Tim is always an outstanding experience,” Binder says in a release. “He keeps the whole process real and fun, and that attitude absolutely shines through with our clients. He will be devoting more time to conferring creatively with our clients on their projects.” Konn joined Another Country as EP in Chicago in 2007, building on his previous experiences as sound designer-mixer at Swell and Audio Recording Unlimited.
Flipping The Royko Rolodex
Christopher Borrelli makes a pilgrimage to Mike Royko’s Rolodex at the Newberry. “Mike Royko’s Rolodex is standard issue gray and clunky and surprisingly clean. I half-expected the skunk of too-many cigarettes still clinging to it, even now, nearly 25 years after he died. It’s in special collections at the Newberry Library, gifted 16 years ago. [His wife also] gave them his hat stand (which was actually Carl Sandburg’s hat stand) and she gave them his hats… and his old Chicago Daily News street dispenser—it stands outside the doors of a reading room on the fourth floor… She gave them his ashtray and one bag of used cigarette butts. She gave, in all, twenty-six boxes of the Chicago columnist’s stuff. But this Rolodex. I can’t tell you why I visited it the other day. Some feel drawn to Jim Morrison’s grave. I come here...”
Bruce Iglauer Reflects On Fifty Years Of Alligator Records
“This year marks Alligator Records’ golden record as the homegrown Chicago blues label celebrates its incredible fifty-year anniversary, having put out its ‘genuine houserockin’ music’ since 1971,” the Sun-Times reflects. “‘It was so much more exciting than anything I had ever had thought of for a career,’ says founder Bruce Iglauer who still runs operations today at Alligator HQ in Rogers Park. When he was just twenty-two years old in 1970, Iglauer headed to Chicago on a sojourn to the music mecca like so many of the great blues artists ahead of him. Like them, he was captivated by the sound coming out of the West and South Side clubs and was determined to be part of it all.” Since then, “Alligator Records has put out 350 titles with a massive roster over the years that has included greats like Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Marcia Ball, Billy Branch and newcomers like twenty-two-year-old guitar prodigy Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. Alligator Records has become the defining exclusive blues label in the country.”
Mike Nussbaum Still Acting At Ninety-Seven
“I enjoy working with other people, particularly young — well, in my case, they’re all younger than I am”: The Washington Post Magazine catches up with Mike Nussbaum. “I was lucky enough to be associated with David Mamet. He was a gofer, a fourteen-year-old kid working backstage in a play that I was doing at Hull House, which was the beginning of the theater movement in Chicago. So I was in the original ‘American Buffalo’ and the original ‘A Life in the Theatre’ and the original ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’… I just don’t want to give it up. The fact that nobody would call me and hire me, that’s what’s going to do it. And who, in their right mind, would hire me for a play they’re going to do in six months or whatever, at 97? What guarantee can I give them that if I’m alive, I’ll still be able to memorize—or move?”
Chicago Theatre Is A Century Old
The Chicago Theatre will celebrate its hundredth anniversary on October 26. In honor of this milestone anniversary, [Mayor Lori] Lightfoot issued a proclamation recognizing today as Chicago Theatre Day, writing, “Theater is foundational to the life and culture of Chicago, as our productions draw crowds from all over the world and spark inspiration and engaging conversations. For the past 100 years, The Chicago Theatre has contributed to this reputation by illuminating State Street with fantastic shows and films.” Known as “The Wonder Theatre of the World” when it opened on October 26, 1921, as a lavish movie palace, Balaban & Katz’s Chicago Theatre is a city of Chicago landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1921 silent film, “The Sign on the Door,” starring Norma Talmadge, was the first event held at the iconic theatre. A fifty-piece orchestra accompanied the film, with Jesse Crawford on the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. A staff of 125 ushers welcomed guests into the more than 3,000-seat theater–with an entry price ranging from twenty-five to fifty cents, depending on what time of day they arrived.
“How Extra Time Gave Court Theatre a Deeper Dive Into ‘Othello'”
American Theatre reports the advantage of time afforded “Othello”: “When the pandemic struck down Court Theatre’s 2020-21 season, its production of ‘Othello,’ adapted by artistic director Charles Newell, would have seemed one of the less affected productions. It was intended to close out the company’s ’20-21 season—and, as things have shaken out, its October 15 opening date is only five months later than its originally scheduled May opening. But the last eighteen months turned out to be a perfect opportunity for the team behind the production to not merely reschedule the show but to slow down, expand its development process, and truly grapple with what it means to produce this particular Shakespeare play. Over the course of the last year-and-a-half, the team met on Fridays for two hours over Zoom for salons to discuss the text, characters, and design ideas without the pressure of normal production deadlines.” More here.
Paramount Theatre Opens Another Aurora Live Venue
Paramount Theatre is opening another live theater venue in Aurora’s downtown entertainment district, the newly remodeled Copley Theatre, where it will launch its Bold Series, a four-show subscription series ready to bring a new type of live entertainment to the second-largest city in Illinois. “After nearly two years since we were originally supposed to launch our Bold Series, the time has finally come to lift the curtain on an exhilarating and new storytelling experience,” Tim Rater, president and CEO of Paramount Theatre says in a release. “Housed in the beautifully renovated Copley Theatre, audiences will discover stories that challenge, enlighten, engage and entertain.” The Copley Theatre is located directly across the street from Paramount in the North Island Center. “With a two-year, $2-million, top-to-bottom renovation nearly complete, the Copley Theatre is now an intimate, state-of-the-art theater with 165 comfortable new seats and a sleek new lobby bar, ready to attract audiences to Aurora’s burgeoning central business district.” More, including attractions, here.
Slate Of Projects Coming To The Apollo Theater
Right Angle Entertainment is bringing Off-Broadway hit “Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody,” a holiday season sendup of romantic comedy and Christmas movie “Love Actually” to the Apollo. The musical is written by Bob and Tobly McSmith, who were behind the hits “The Office! A Musical Parody” and “Friends! The Musical Parody.” This is the first of several Right Angle productions at the Apollo Chicago through 2022. Additional titles will be announced in the coming months. Chicago debut performances, with a Chicago cast, begin Wednesday, November 17. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through Sunday, January 2, 2022. Tickets start at $29 and are available at Ticketmaster.
ARTS & CULTURE
Where Are The Pretty Leaves?
WTTW is on it: “Between a prolonged summer drought and continuing warm temperatures, the trees are a week or two behind schedule when it comes to displaying their autumn hues, said certified arborist Pat Etherington of Davey Tree.”
City Announces Relief Grants For Chicago Artists And Creative Workers
The Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program will provide 450–500 relief grants to low- and moderate-income artists and creative workers who are residents of Chicago and have lost income due to the pandemic, including freelance artists, arts administrators, teaching artists, artisans, curators, independent cultural producers and creative industry technicians such as stage managers, theater and music technicians, art handlers, preparators, cinematographers, and film lighting technicians and gaffers. Grants will range from $2,000-$5,000. “We anticipate many more requests for funding than there are funds to distribute. Grants will be distributed via a lottery system.” The application deadline is November 10 at 5pm; here’s the link for more.
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