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Home Explore Newcity Chicago January 2019

Newcity Chicago January 2019

Published by Newcity, 2019-01-07 13:09:20

Description: Newcity's first issue of 2019 features our annual look at the leaders in the worlds of theater, dance, comedy and opera in Chicago. On the cover is our Player of the Moment: Roell Schmidt and the staff of Links Hall. The organization is turning forty this year with Schmidt at the helm for the last ten. The issue also introduces the first ever Hall of Fame, celebrating Players who are so consistent and whose institutions so regularly present in past issues that inclusion is a foregone conclusion. Elsewhere: kombucha, scotch, puppets, dramaturgs, tribute bands, and more!


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HOMEGROWNCHICAGO BLUESTALENTThe Logan Center’s newest music series,Second Monday Blues features Chicago’sworld-class musicians and emergingblues stars. A live interview precedeseach concert, moderated by the series’three-time, Grammy-nominated curatorand host, Billy Branch. 2018–2019 PERFORMANCES CAFÉ LOGAN at the Logan Center for the Arts JIMMY JOHNSON JAMIAH ROGERS 915 E 60th St Mon, Nov 12, 2018 • 7pm Mon, Mar 11, 2019 • 7pm Chicago, IL 60637 logancenter.uchicago.eduPresented by the Logan Center and MARY LANE JIMMY BURNS 773.702.ARTSBilly Branch Music, with the support Mon, Jan 14, 2019 • 7pm Mon, April 8, 2019 • 7pmof The Reva & David Logan Foundation. LURRIE BELL FREE admission loganUChicago Mon, Feb 11, 2019 • 7pm Free parking is available at the Logan Center all weekend and Mon–Fri after 4pm.

CONTENTS JANUARY 2019The ConversationHow Eric Williams has built ARTS & CULTUREThe Silver Room intomuch more than a store Art8 Art and the art market 44Forty Days on theKombucha Train DanceHow Chicago is part of The inhumanity of The International Puppet Festivala worldwide craze 5012 DesignPlayer of the Moment Someoddpilot’s cult of creativityRoell Schmidt leads her 52Links Hall team intoits forty-first year. Dining & Drinking15 Drink more Scotch. Period. 54Players 50Here are fifty folks you Filmneed to pay attention to The romance of Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War”in the theater, dance, 56comedy and opera worlds.Plus, a Hall of Fame. Lit18 “Under the Knife” with Krista Franklin 59 Music Why tribute bands matter 61 Stage Dramaturgs and their dreams 63 Life is Beautiful Teen Dream, hazing nightmare 66 JANUARY 2019 Newcity 3

EDITOR’S ’Tis the season for self renewal. New diet, new gym, new avo- LETTER cation, perhaps even new career. We’ve always felt the same way about Newcity. If we don’t rein- vent ourselves on a regular basis, you’ll get bored, we’ll get bored and before long we’ll get thin, which in the publishing world is the last thing you want to be. Traditionally our greatest changes to Newcity have taken place in February, rather than January, mavericks that we are. No, actually it’s because February is our anniversary issue. Though we hope to have some new things to share next month, we’re actually joining the January bandwagon this year. Starting this month, we’re taking a fresh approach to our Leaders of Chicago Culture lists. Having produced so many of them—several date back more than twenty years—we decided we were due for a shakeup. And so we created a Hall of Fame for those individ- uals who are so consistent, whose institutions so regularly present and often dominant on our Players list of theater, dance, comedy and opera leaders, that their inclusion is a foregone conclusion. By doing so, we made room in the room, so to speak, for more emerging leaders and, not coincidentally, many of them are women, are people of color, are LGBTQ, are, in other words, those often less represented among the traditional large institution leadership. We will likely take a similar approach to many, if not all, of our other lists this year. It’s a testament to Chicago’s cultural vibrancy that fifty is increasingly too small a number to capture even the most powerful forces propelling these spaces. Hopefully you’ll like the changes. And maybe, as part of your New Year’s Resolution, you’ll decide to read more and subscribe to the print edition of Newcity ( That’s another one of our new initiatives, introduced in the last year. If we get enough of you, we won’t have to worry about getting thin. BRIAN HIEGGELKENewcity JANUARY 20194

U.S. EXCLUSIVETHE DAILY EXPRESS THE ARTS DESK THE INDEPENDENT “... a beautiful and intelligent remaking of the beloved classic.” — The New York TimesEnglish National BalletAkram Khan’s GiselleFebruary 28–March 2, 2019 Photo by Laurent Liotardo 312.334.7777 | | 205 East Randolph DriveThe Harris Family Foundation, Abby McCormick O’Neil Engagement Corporate Sponsor Live Music Sponsor Caryn and King Harris and D. Carroll Joynes Dance Residency Fund Engagement Lead Sponsor Engagement Presenting Sponsor Brenda Shapiro Sara Albrecht D. Elizabeth Price Additional SupportEngagement Sponsor Engagement Sponsor Community Engagement Sponsor

CONTRIBUTORS SCOOP JACKSON (Writer, “The ON THE COVER Conversation”) is a lifelong South Sider The Links Hall Team: Brett Swinney, KEVIN GREENE (Theater Editor) who has contributed to Newcity for Anna Trier, Roell Schmidt and Felicia Holman co-edited and wrote many of this year’s more than two decades. He’s been part Cover Photo: Joe Mazza | Brave Lux “Players” entries. In addition to covering of ESPN since March 2005, as a writer Cover Design: Dan Streeting theater for Newcity, Kevin is also a for its print and digital properties, as musician, playing in local bands Siblings well as a regular guest on the sports Vol. 33, No. 1387 and Beauty School. network’s TV and radio shows. PUBLISHERS SHARON HOYER (Dance Editor) DARRYL DEANGELO TERRELL Brian & Jan Hieggelke co-edited and wrote much of this year’s (Photographer, “The Conversation”) Associate Publisher Mike Hartnett “Players” and in addition, interviewed is a “BLK queer lens-based artist, Roell Schmidt of Links Hall featured digital curator and teaching artist.” EDITORIAL in this year’s “Player of the Moment.” He’s a recent MFA graduate from the Editor Brian Hieggelke Sharon is also the general manager School of the Art Institute of Chicago Managing Editor Jan Hieggelke of the Dill Pickle Food Co-Op. where he studied photography. Art Editor Elliot Reichert Dance Editor Sharon Hoyer JOE MAZZA (Photographer, Cover, FREDA LOVE SMITH (Writer, “Forty Design Editor Vasia Rigou “Players” and “Players of the Moment”) Days on the Kombucha Train”) is a writer, Dining and Drinking Editor has been photographing Newcity’s drummer and teacher. Her book, “Red David Hammond Leaders of Chicago Culture since his Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, Film Editor Ray Pride first Players, back in January of 2014 with Recipes,” was published in 2015. Lit Editor Toni Nealie at the Music Box Theatre, making this She drums for Sunshine Boys, Blake Music Editor Robert Rodi his thirtieth! Babies and Mysteries of Life, and Theater Editor Kevin Greene teaches writing classes at StoryStudio Contributing Writers Isa Giallorenzo, and Northwestern University. She lives Aaron Hunt, Alex Huntsberger, Hugh Iglarsh, in Evanston with her partner, son, Chris Miller, Dennis Polkow, Loy Webb, canary and 350 Northwestern undergrads. Michael WorkmanNewcity JANUARY 2019 Did you miss ART & DESIGN Newcity’s Senior Designers MJ Hieggelke, annual Best Fletcher Martin, Dan Streeting , Billy Werch of Chicago Designers Jim Maciukenas, Stephanie Plenner issue? MARKETING Since 1993, Newcity’s Marketing Manager Todd Hieggelke Best of Chicago has been the publishing event OPERATIONS of the year, with hundreds and hundreds General Manager Jan Hieggelke of entries o ering our writers’ insight in a way that expands Distribution Coordinator Matt Russell the imagination of what the city is and can be. Distribution Nick Bachmann, Adam Desantis, Preston Klik, Get your copy of this, or other back issues of Newcity, at Quinn Nicholson One copy of current issue free at select locations. 6 Additional copies, including back issues up to one year, may be ordered at Copyright 2019, New City Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Newcity assumes no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic material. All rights in letters and unsolicited editorial or graphic material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to comment editorially. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Newcity is published by Newcity Communications, Inc. 47 West Polk, Suite 100-223, Chicago, IL 60605 Visit for advertising and editorial information.


ric Williams is a Cubs fan. But on the owner and creative director of The Silver South Side of Chi, that’s not held against Room? him. Instead, he is held up not only for It’s great. I mean, honestly when you are working on something, like when you write aE what he’s done and what he plans to do, really great article, you don’t know how great it but for what he represents. is until you get validation from other people. It’s the same thing with me. I have a lot of ideasEric Williams is a business owner; a black male and I do them but it’s not until I see how itbusiness owner; a successful black male affects someone else that I’m like, “Oh, wow,business owner in a non-black neighborhood, Okay that was very important.” And I thinkwho has a predominately black support base going away, I really saw that for the first time. Iand sells predominately black-themed and mean, being in these rooms with these veryblack-owned products and merchandise, who important people, and the work I do as ahas been in business for over twenty years and retailer is as, if not more, important than an just finished the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard urban planner. Because what I was talkingUniversity.  about was a retail space that acts as a community center, as an art gallery, as a formWilliams’ The Silver Room has over those years of urban planning, meaning shaping communi-(three of those in Hyde Park after its 2016 ties. Like, literally people have told me thatrelocation from Wicker Park) become more they’ve moved to Hyde Park because Thethan just a business. More than just a boutique Silver Room is there and it played a big part inretail space on the South Side that has gained their decision.national attention for its annual summer blockparty as it has for being one of the best hubs in And that’s what I’m talking about, thatthe city for finding and showcasing the artistic energy! Because it doesn’t always returnside of black creativity. And that’s all been a itself in dollars or money spent. part of Williams’ plan. Again, part of his plan. Yeah, it is those kinds of things, that’s all a part of urban planning that now help shape commu-Define The Silver Room and what you see nity. Because now it’s people like us [i.e.,its purpose is beyond just retail? Autumn and Brian Merritt, owners of Sir &I think retail is very important. Being a black Madame, and Michael Scott Carter, co-ownerentrepreneur is important symbolically, visually of Fabiana’s Bakery and Bibliophile] who areand I [think] we take it for granted sometimes now in this community and can walk down thebecause we don’t think about our blackness in street and have conversations about things thatevery single second, like for me, if I see this are important specifically to that community.really nice piece in Paris, I’m [only] thinking this That’s number one. And it’s a very difficult thingpiece. But then I have to think, “Wow, what to do. And like anyone who is really good atdoes this represent?” The fact that I can travel what they do, they make it look kind of easy,around the world, be in these spaces, these when it’s not easy.spaces of fashion, of art, of music, witheverybody else and come back and share ithere makes it more meaningful.Again, the cultural side of [it] is obviously Transparency. It was a misunderstanding that JANUARY 2019 Newcityimportant; we dabble in politics, we dabble in began inside the pages of this very magazine.issues of education. I’m working on some An item written in the Newcity 2017 “Best ofhealth and wellness stuff, trying to get my Chicago” issue:friends that are having issues to link music andwellness. I mean, all of the things I can tackle Best New House Music Picnicwith one space, to me, is the most important Gathering—The Silver Room Block Partything. It’s not just selling stuff, it’s about how do Yet another massive, daylong gathering ofI help solve some sort of cultural issues in our black folk on the South Side where nothingcommunity? goes wrong: no violence, no crime, no shootings, no real arguments or fights, thatDo you carry that responsibility with you? goes unspoken, unnoticed and publiclyI mean, that’s why I went to Harvard actually unmentioned. Another beautiful summer[laughs]. And I think there it was more in my gathering centered on the magical power offace. I like the fact that I could use this place as house music that happens only in Chicago,a platform to do so many other things besides which the rest of the world knows nothingjust sell stuff. To just sell stuff honestly, would about because, well, there’s nothing sexybe easier and probably make more money. about black people in Chicago gettingJust to have a retail space and do nothing else together and not killing one another.but sell stuff would definitely be easier, but tobuild this space that becomes a “community” Simple. Sweet. Sarcastic. No one got it. Almostthat can leverage other things, is more immediately after the issue dropped and wasimportant to me. posted, the Facebook flood began. On Eric’s page, heat+drama collab. Even the “Mayor ofHow do you feel as an entrepreneur about, Hyde Park” Mario Smith of The Promontory gotand I’m going to use this word very dragged in. Whose post led to a chainspecifically, “the energy” around what you reaction: Mario contacting Williams followed byare doing and secondly “the myth” of the The Silver Room owner contacting Brianenergy as it attaches itself being the Hieggelke Newcity editor] followed by the 9

Newcity editor contacting the anonymous concrete don’t have. What also followed was So is The Silver Room enough? I’m thinking of creating a company called writer. Me. a greater understanding of purpose and an Proximity. And Proximity means being in the room with people who do certain things. agreement to build. As Williams said before we Having a space hopefully that is inspiring, that is beautiful, that is seen as something that can “Have you seen this?” Hieggelke asked. “No,” I parted: “Even before I knew it was you who be attained and achieved, is very, very responded. He led me to the rabbit hole of the wrote that, my point to [Brian] was, ‘Some- important. Every decision that we make from thing about the way this was written I don’t what you buy, how much it costs, what music hatred I created. Which then led to this text is playing on a certain day to who’s working message to “The Mayor”: “Mario, It’s Scoop. think represents [us] correctly. Here’s my there, all of those things play a part in trying to reasons why and let’s figure out a way to make shape a space. And you gotta make money at That was me who wrote it.” the end of the day! That’s why I’m always clear it better. [about The Silver Room], we’re not a non-profit. When I was at (Harvard) everybody was like, “Is The use—or “misuse”—of the word “picnic” in this a non-profit?” No! This is a for-profit association with a “block party;” the obvious “My thing is: Where can we as black people business! It’s not this model of like, Somebody meet? On one-hundred percent? ninety-five else felt sorry for us, gave us some money, now tongue-in-cheek nature of the write-up that we have to have a board to figure it out… No, percent? Shit, we can meet on fifty-two no, no. We are going to keep this thing going wasn’t so obvious; the triple-reverse racism by people who look like us supporting and within readers that automatically “knew” that a percent. Look, you have a great platform, you buying stuff. Now, I can take ten percent of white journalist not a black writer wrote it. All have a great voice, how can we—despite all what I made for the year and throw this event of this initial misunderstanding—help work that helps the community or I can have some lost in translation. events in the store for kids or I can give together to help that. As a business owner somebody a space in the store for free. I fucked up. But instead of running from the and you being the same, if we really care Do you feel because of the lack of business owners that look like us and situation I ran toward it. “Eric,” I said as I rolled about small business and businesses, we are business models like yours and the lack of up in The Silver Room, “We need to talk.” His going to try and make these businesses better. services afforded to our people on I want everybody to be better, I want The Silver an average that you have to do that? That response: “We sure do.” you have to think that way? Room to be better, I want The Promontory to I never feel that I have to. No, I don’t. That’s my honest answer. The last thing that this city—or any major city be better, and that’s the way it should be. But for that matter where black and brown people we unfortunately don’t live in a world like that.” Okay, then do you feel it’s a gift or a curse in what you are doing because of the are  at odds with local government, police, This interview took place three weeks after weight and responsibility black entrepre- neurs, who trying to do something, carry outside cultures and ultimately ourselves— around with them as opposed to say the needs is two brothas off the same page while 2018’s Block Party. Another 30,000-40,000 disconnect a larger, corporate company trying to move in the same direction. It’s that people crammed into downtown HP. Again, or business, that really doesn’t have to “black thing” that we don’t talk in the company no violence, no crime, no shooting, no real deal with or be directly connected to the of or to white people about; it is the last bit of arguments occurred. For the third year community they cater to in that way, (fourteenth overall, the original took place in may have? ammunition we need to give them; this be To me, honestly, it’s a gift. A part of it is my some “we” shit, not “them.” It’s a situation that Wicker Park from 2003-2014) “black” Chicago father. I grew up [in Robbins, Illinois] with my came out to celebrate what Eric’s boutique father and this place called Manny’s Blue happens way too often: a small misunder- Room. And he brought our town an ambu- standing leads to something way worse. And stands for and represents. lance. He helped to raise money because we didn’t have an ambulance. Somebody would not that Eric and I are Malcolm and Martin or fall out we’d have to call Crestwood, Midlothian or Blue Island, you know, people are dying. So even Kanye and Drake, but the bigger pic I was kind of raised that way. Whatever platform you have to do something good, youNewcity JANUARY 2019 remains: The last thing we need to do as two should utilize it. And so fast forward, I remember the first time I had an art show in black activists/creatives/fathers/businessmen— As Williams says, “The thing is, we have this The Silver Room, I didn’t think about it being an that are out in the streets of Chi everyday art gallery. I had blank walls. I’m like, “Man, we conversation but what comes after that?” have friends that are artists, I can put (their fighting to be the black male example that work) in a public place, they can sell it, we can split the money? Cool.” So just having a CNN’s “Chicagoland” attempted to act didn’t The “after that” is where Williams now exists. platform to be able to share with people is a exist in the city—is to allow this situation to privilege to me. It’s not a curse at all. Because For Williams, The Silver Room is just the begin- at this point of my career it’s more about turn into a dividing line. We already got a everybody else than it is about me. ning. The jump off. It is his temple but not his president to do that for us. Silver Room, 1506 East 53rd Street,  Egypt. Which makes him no different from Billy (773) 947-0024,, 5233 North Clark, (773)769-9299. What followed was an hour-long “talk.” One Dec or Bill Rancic. But people won’t see it—or that too many black men who walk this Chi him—like that. “Black man taking no losses,” is what Kendrick told us.10

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Newcity JANUARY 2019 FORTY DAYS ON THE Kombucha is a bubbly, fermented drink, usual- ly served chilled, and made from tea, sugar and KOMBUCHA a starter called by its acronym, Scoby: a sym- TRAIN biotic culture of bacteria and yeast. And lately, it is everywhere. More than fifty-one percent Taking a Ride with of twenty-five- to thirty-four-year-olds are reg- the Chicago Vanguard ular Kombucha drinkers, and the rest of us are of a Worldwide Craze catching up. PepsiCo and Coors acquired es- tablished Kombucha brands, betting that de- by Freda Love Smith mand will grow. “Did you know,” I say, There are three commercial Kombucha brew- “that Donald Trump drinks ers in the Chicago area: Kombucha Brava in twelve Diet Cokes a day?” Evanston, Arize Kombucha (also housed in The Plant) and Matt’s Kombuchade. I’m talking to I’m at The Plant, an agricultural experiment housed in a Matt about Kombucha—once the most fringe former meat-processing plant in the Back of the Yards of hippie drinks, now the Next Big Thing. neighborhood. The Plant comprises a dozen food compa- nies collaborating in a zero-waste economy. Brewers donate At the moment, though, we are discussing Diet barley byproducts as food for the fish hatchery, and fish Coke, which I quit because of Donald Trump. poop fertilizes aquaponic gardens. The place vibrates with optimism and ingenuity. It’s the ideal home for Kombuchade, I don’t judge anybody for anything Matt Lancor’s Kombucha enterprise. they drink, but the thought of Trump downing all that Diet Coke repulsed me, and my own habit vanished. I turned to Kombucha as a suitable fizzy substitute, and I’m experiment- ing with drinking it every day. Matt holds a degree in material en- gineering from the University of Il- linois, is ridiculously sharp, and takes my Diet Coke question—like all my questions—in stride. A seri- ous athlete and longtime rugby player, Matt discovered Kombucha at a Seattle tournament with the Chicago Lions in 2014. He felt dissatisfied with sports drinks and packets of sugar-and- caffeine-laden goo that he and his rugby teammates relied upon for re- fueling during the recovery time be- tween matches. He was looking for something better. He noticed Kombucha in a Seattle grocery store. It was the first time he’d seen it and he was intrigued. The drink con- tained probiotics, vitamins B and C, organic acids. “If this doesn’t taste like shit,” thought Matt, “this is exactly what I’m looking for.” He bought three bottles and swapped them for his usual recovery drinks at the tournament. Not only did it not taste like shit, “I felt amazing,” he says. “My energy levels felt stable, and I could break down and digest food for fuel more efficiently.” He was hooked and was soon mak- ing forty bottles a week at home for himself and his rugby teammates. In 2015 he formed Kom- buchade, marketing his light, crisp Kombucha as an alternative to sport and energy drinks. (He calls it “performance Kombucha.”) These days, he supplies a long list of Chicago cafés and grocery stores.12

Matt thinks of each human body as a Kom- Kombucha traveled to the United States in ence. It also supports the origin story of bucha. In his metaphor, the body is a brew- the s via health-conscious yogis in the Evanston’s Kombucha Brava, told to me by ing vessel into which we add liquids and Pacific Northwest. Or via AIDS patients in its proprietors, Regina Sant’Anna and solids for a process of fermentation and San Francisco, seeking a miracle. Or—my Douglas Skites in their gleaming new Evan- transformation. The final product is how favorite, and certainly apocryphal—via Ron- ston kitchen and storefront. Doug and Re- well we function: “How do you perform? ald Reagan. Diagnosed with cancer in , gina, partners in marriage as well as busi- How do you feel?” Reagan read about the benefits of Kombu- ness, are the newest Chicago-area brewers. cha in a Russian novel, ordered a Scoby Which brings us back to the Diet Coke from Japan, and began brewing at the Several years ago, Doug began to su er question. White House. from food sensitivities. Nothing doctors pre- scribed helped much, and he resigned him-“What would the Kombucha look like if you It’s hard to get the story straight. The wild- self to a severely limited diet, losing weight were feeding it twelve Diet Cokes a day?” est discrepancies surround Kombucha’s and feeling generally unwell. On a whim, he he says, with a shudder. “That’s basically health e ects, from rumors of reproductive grabbed a bottle of Kombucha at a local artificial sweetener and food coloring. I miracles and cancer cures to conservative bakery. To his astonishment, that one drink can’t imagine making a Kombucha using warnings about risks and alcohol levels. In gave him some immediate relief. The expe- those ingredients.” rience sent him digging into research on , Lindsay Lohan blamed the triggering fermented foods and their e ects on the He insists, though, that we don’t need a per- of her court-ordered alcohol bracelet on human microbiome. The microbiome is the fect diet to benefit from Kombucha, and he Kombucha consumption. That same year, a entire community of microorganisms—bac- random test found the alcohol levels in Matt Lancor It’s a Scobytells me about his personal experiments, some Kombucha exceeded the percentage teria, fungi, viruses—that inhabit our body, JANUARY 2019 Newcitylike the time he ate a bunch of pizza fol- listed on the label, and it was pulled from mostly our gut. The microbiome is a hotlowed by a bunch of Kombucha, finding he the shelves of Whole Foods for two years. topic in medical research and diet books.didn’t su er the usual consequences of a This publicity might have boosted aware- It’s also a complex topic, but the basic con-pizza binge. ness of Kombucha, so that when it was cept is that our gut houses good, health-pro- again available, it was poised for success. moting bacteria and bad, health-damagingI tell Matt about my own experiment. I’m When I talk to friends about Kombucha, the bacteria. There is growing consensus thatdrinking sixteen ounces of Kombucha question, “Can I get drunk o it?” comes up, the balance of bacteria has a profound ef-daily for forty days, looking for observable but the main question is: “What is it good fect on our gut health and is a factor in ae ects, wondering if I’ll end up with a story for? What does it do?” range of health concerns, including obesity,of my own. degenerative diseases and mental health. There have been no reputable human stud-There are Kombucha stories aplenty. Read- ies on Kombucha. An article on the Mayo Doug was convinced by his research thating about it online, I learn it comes from Clinic website states flatly that there isn’t fermented foods were vital to a healthy gut;China, invented thousands of years ago by enough evidence to support health claims feeding the good bacteria, weeding out thea Korean doctor. Or it comes from ancient for the fermented tea but concedes that it bad. An accomplished cook, he experi-Egypt, brewed while the Great Pyramid was “may o er benefits similar to probiotic sup- mented, making foods like sauerkraut andbuilt. Or it comes from Russia, where it once plements, including promoting a healthy im- kimchi. Doug was also an experiencedenabled an eighty-year-old woman to con- mune system and preventing constipation.” home beer brewer, so it was inevitable thatceive and deliver a healthy baby. This concession supports Matt’s experi- he’d acquire a Scoby. In collaboration with 13

Newcity JANUARY 2019 Regina, he began to brew Kombucha—first Nathan has been making Kombucha since my kitchen to ferment. The instructions say at home, and then in a shared commercial before it was ubiquitous, and I ask him why that I should see a cream-colored layer kitchen. Not only did Doug’s health improve, he thinks it’s exploded in popularity. Is it the form at the top of the jar. “This is your allowing him to loosen the restrictions on Lindsay Lohan effect? All the books about brand-new Scoby!” his diet, but the Kombucha was good! Doug gut health? Are others quitting Diet Coke? and Regina and their two daughters en- “We have these teachers all around us,” Ten days later, I’m delighted. I have indeed joyed a steady supply, and friends eagerly he says, “in the form of disease, food intol- managed to grow a brand-new Scoby, a accepted extra bottles. erances, food sensitivities.” Nathan believes translucent disc hovering on the surface of that Kombucha is the perfect accompani- my homebrew. I scoop out the Scoby, store They incorporated two years ago and haven’t ment not just to salad and avocado toast, it in a jar of its own (a “Scoby hotel”) and play stopped working hard since. “Like we’re in but to rich foods, greasy burgers, a way with my finished Kombucha. I bottle some our twenties!” says Regina (they have a kid for people to improve their health without plain, flavor some with pomegranate juice. in college). They secured a high-ceilinged sacrifice. “People don’t feel as good as The rest I pour into three glasses, to which I space—a former film studio—in south Evan- they want to,” he says, “and sometimes add fresh ginger and lemon juice. I offer one ston and dove deeply into the art and sci- one Kombucha can have a noticeable, pos- to my son, one to my husband. ence of Kombucha, discovering that fer- itive effect.” menting in oak barrels yields complex flavor “You first,” they say, nervously. and more beneficial bacteria. For flavoring, D uring my forty-day experiment, they turned to fresh juice from Chicago’s City I search for discernible effects. The Kombucha looks safe, with no evidence Press. They started selling Kombucha at the The first week is good; I’m hungrier. A of mold. The broken threads of Scoby that Evanston Farmer’s Market in May, opened subtle but welcome change. Days twelve to drift through are normal. It looks like iced tea. the storefront in July, and their Kombucha is fourteen I feel worse: nauseated and achy. Like iced tea someone sneezed into. I drink on tap at Found Kitchen and Social House, I consult with Matt at Kombuchade, and he mine and it’s fine. Not as effervescent and Sketchbook Brewing Co. and Backlot Coffee. suspects it’s mild detoxification, a battle in tart as I’d like, but with enough fizz to be sat- Regina and Doug envision a near-future my microbiome between good and bad isfying. After observing me for a few minutes, when Kombucha is widely available in bacteria. “The unhealthy bacteria are look- my husband and son drink too. We don’t die restaurants as an alternative to alcoholic ing out for number one,” he says. “They’re or get sick. drinks and soda. saying, Freda, wait, don’t kill us, eat a donut!’” On Matt’s website, he recommends I learn, just in time for the fortieth T he more information I amass, beginners start with four ounces daily, and day of my experiment, that Kom- the less I know. GT Dave, founder I’ve been drinking sixteen, possibly an ex- bucha cocktails are a thing. I shake gin- of GT’S Kombucha, believes that Kom- treme amount for my gut. But I forge ahead, ger Kombucha with vodka, lime juice, ginger bucha slowed the spread of his mother’s and by day seventeen the symptoms disap- juice and ice, top it with a little soda water, breast cancer and possibly saved her life. In pear and I feel great. I’m over the worst of and divide it into two glasses for myself and one study, Kombucha appeared to benefit my recovery, I’ve been off pain meds for a friend. the damaged livers of rats. weeks, I’m taking longer walks, eating bet- ter. It’s impossible to know what, if any, as- “I don’t know what to call this,” I say. My friend A damaged liver is, in part, what motivated pects of my feeling great are attributable to takes a deep drink. “Call it delicious!” she me to conduct my forty-day experiment. I Kombucha. By day thirty I have one other says. “Plus, it’s good for you. It’s Kombucha!” am recovering from back surgery, hoping a change in my health: the return of my men- daily dose of good bacteria might help repair strual cycle after a long hiatus I mistook for This is infinitely appealing logic. The “good” the damage inflicted by months of painkill- menopause. My doctor says there’s no way thing (Kombucha) cancels out the “bad” ers and steroids. It’s not damage I can see, it’s because of Kombucha. Irregular stops thing (vodka). Here, I think, might be the crux but I feel it in the form of a poor appetite, an and starts are typical for a fifty-year-old of the Kombucha craze. Rather than elimi- overall feeling of lethargy. I don’t need or ex- woman. But do I think about that eighty- nate things from our diet—gluten, dairy, pect a miracle. year-old Russian woman? Why yes, I do. sugar—we can add a thing that will make us healthier. A magic bullet. E verybody has a health story,” During the forty days I also brew my own says Nathan Wyse of Arize Kom- Kombucha with a starter kit: glass jar, tea At the end of these Kombucha days I’ve gath- bucha. “Except me.” I’m back at The bags, sugar, packet of “starter tea” and a ered more stories than data, more questions Plant. Established in 2011, and residing in the Scoby. The Scoby is a gelatinous disc with than answers. I believe it’s better for me than Plant since 2012, Arize is Chicago’s oldest loose, translucent tentacles, a slightly bat- Diet Coke, and I love the stuff, especially the Kombucha company. Staff are bottling or- tered, but kind of alive, jellyfish. locally made varieties. I’ll keep drinking it. I’d ange-basil Kombucha. It is intensely orangey, send a case to the White House if I thought and satisfyingly bubbly with a strong pop I dissolve sugar in hot water, add tea bags. Trump would make the switch. when you open the bottle. Nathan cites the When the tea cools, I add the Scoby and potent flavors of Arize as one of its outstand- starter tea. I use pH strips to test the mix- I do have an answer, though, to the question ing characteristics. Nathan stumbled into the ture; it must read 4.5 or below to preclude about getting drunk off Kombucha: The an- beverage business as a creative mixologist the growth of unwanted yeast. Blooming swer is no. You’d need to down eight bottles of fresh juices, operating his own pop-up mold is a possibility. That Mayo Clinic arti- to approach the buzz of one beer. I don’t rec- juice bar at late-night events. It wasn’t an ill- cle increases my paranoia: “Kombucha tea ommend trying that. But if you add vodka to ness that brought him to Kombucha: he was is often brewed in homes under nonsterile Kombucha, you can—definitely—get drunk… simply drawn to the world of healing diets, conditions, making contamination likely.” and maybe, even, a little healthier. including those centered around raw and fer- Yikes. I get a safe pH reading, cover the jar mented foods, and he was inspired to create with cheesecloth, secure it with a rubber To find out more about Kombucha Brava: drinks that are both healthy and celebratory. band, and stash it in the darkest corner of kombuchabrava.com14

P L AY E R JANUARY 2019 Newcity OF THE MOMENT ROELL SCHMIDT and LINKS HALL by Sharon Hoyer photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux he first thing Roell SchmidtT would like to make clear is that the story of Links Hall inthe near-decade she’s served asdirector—a title that she explainstechnically encompasses both theexecutive and the artistic, though thelatter feels weird when the artists areartistically directing themselves—isnot about one person. It’s the storyof artists, audiences, board membersand committed staff “who bringeach other cupcakes or find a songfor a dance break because we’reunder stress about something. Thisstaff is amazing.” 15

Newcity JANUARY 2019 n the sunny back office of Links Hall, only afford the purchase if Links came in on the deal. Today, the one-story brick venue I a half-eaten cake comprised of a on an otherwise featureless block of West- bunch of individual cupcakes fused ern Avenue is one of the city’s most vibrant together with icing and “Pay the 40th incubators of groundbreaking performance. Forward” written across the top, sits Says Schmidt, “This building, with all the on a desk next to me, provided, Schmidt tells musicians and the performing artists and me, by Brett Swinney, Links’ production di- the audience members mingling, the place rector. Schmidt sits opposite me in an office really has a glow.” chair, a kind presence and eloquent spokes- person for Links’ mission and history, if not Schmidt feels the location allows the organi- someone terribly comfortable at the center zation to better meet their mission on a num- of attention. But then, one can’t tell the story ber of levels. “What I love about Links is that of Links’ last few years without talking about the artist and audience take equal risk, so a complex web of relationships—first and everyone is on a level playing field. And I think foremost with Constellation, the jazz and ex- there’s not enough of that,” she says. “The perimental music presenter that shares with mission isn’t just about an artist working in Links Hall the vestibule, small bar, owner- a studio, but about public engagement. The ship of the building and now, thanks to all of move here has made that easier. I also think those things, audience members. “People the move ratcheted it up for artists. The old are mingling, there’s been a cross-pollina- Links was more of a failsafe space because tion of people looking for live art experience it was hard to find. Generally, you knew the and artists are collaborating like mad,” people in your audience. Here, the public en- Schmidt says. Ironically, or perhaps natural- gagement has more weight.” ly, the creative abundance in Links Hall at Constellation sprung from a time of famine. Audience engagement guided how Schmidt When Schmidt was hired in 2009, Links Hall and the Links staff approached their forti- was floundering to fill seats, strapped for eth-anniversary season. “The goal was to cash and in need of a new home. The orig- not just throw a party and say, ‘Yay, we’re inal location, while long on charm and his- forty.’ The goal was: what would be the best tory, wasn’t feasible any longer. Schmidt way to thank forty years of artists for mak- says, “The decades of all those people com- ing Links their home, and audiences taking ing together to make it their home imbued risks to see things they’re not sure what it’s the place with specialness, but getting ci- going to be… because sometimes the artists vilians to take a risk and come to the old don’t know what it’s going to be until it hap- Links Hall wasn’t easy and the space wasn’t pens? What is the thing that would pay the accessible. It didn’t help us meet our mis- fortieth forward? I do box-office reconcilia- sion. We also had a very hostile landlord tions every week and I see how much goes who kept raising the rent beyond what peo- to paying technicians and the rent here. The ple should pay.” That rent, by the time the best way we could thank artists would be organization moved out of the building in to suspend the rent and technician fees so Wrigleyville with the words “Links Hall” they could keep their ticket sales and have carved in the lintel above the entrance, was seed money for their next project.” equivalent per square foot to office space in a Loop highrise. The recession wasn’t Sponsoring productions in the fortieth sea- helping either. “It was 2009, everything son also helped Links connect with more was hemorrhaging, foundations were pull- marginalized artists, or those for whom ing out of the arts, Links was at the end of working with a new venue would present a many multiyear grants. It was a perfect level of risk. “We’ve been working since storm. We had swaths of empty weekends. 2009 to make sure Links better reflects the Artists weren’t here because they didn’t city of Chicago. We’ve always had artists of have money.” color at Links, but it was the exception, not the rule,” says Schmidt. “There weren’t a lot Then, at a meeting of the Department of Cul- of artists of color finding their way to Links. tural Affairs and Special Events advisory That didn’t feel right for a city that’s majori- counsel, Schmidt met Mike Reed, musician ty people of color. The other goal was how and founding director of the Pitchfork Music can we reach out as an invitation to artists Festival. Schmidt mentioned that Links was who have never made work at Links to try on the search for a new home, and Reed it out and not have a financial risk to testing said the only building in Chicago he’d ever our waters?” had his eye on was up for sale, but he could16

On the cover And the concept of “Pay the 40th Forward” JANUARY 2019 Newcity extends beyond Links Hall covering produc- The Links Hall team: Brett Swinney, tion costs and inviting new artists to partic-Anna Trier, Roell Schmidt and Felicia Holman ipate. Responsibility to the larger commu- nity is part of the deal. “Artists have no financial obligation to participate, but we asked all artists to make a community in- vestment—either house-manage for other artists or help sell raffle tickets or write for Performance Response Journal,” Schmidt says. “Everyone has jumped on doing this. We’re giving our artists free tickets to all the other shows. You can support the commu- nity with your presence.” Performing artists and small presenters com- ing together for mutual aid and collaboration, sharing resources, ideas, audiences and cre- ative energy has been a means of self-pres- ervation, yes, but it’s also made Chicago’s live performance scene all the more rich and var- ied. Funding may be scarce, but bound- ary-breaking creative work abounds thanks to Schmidt, the Links staff and dozens of small presenters like them in the city, many of whom are named in this year’s list and to- gether form a mycelium… a delicate, far-reaching web from which original, daring art springs. Schmidt sees this collaborative spirit as the only way for arts to thrive. “We cannot function if we are not mutually serv- ing each other,” she says. “For the fortieth we wanted to re-emphasize that the arts has to be a partnership. Not this model that you have a work and we’ll pay you an artist’s fee and there will naturally be an audience and you will come in and do it and leave—trans- actional. It’s not sustainable at all. I don’t know if it ever was, but even more so when there’s a lot less resources going to the arts.” But then, imaginative partnerships and al- ternative approaches to presenting are nothing new for a small, independent venue specializing in dance and performance art. “There’s nothing predictable about Links, ex- cept a grant won’t happen and we’ll have to figure out something else, or a grant will happen and we’ll have to figure out how to deliver on it,” Schmidt says when I asked what she saw in the future for Links Hall. “There’s never a given at Links. But I know if we ever get too far away from the artists we will get away from the mission and it will become about preserving the institution. How do we in this new version of arts sup- port, which is not really support for the arts any longer, how do you continue to do what you do? And Links has been doing that since 1978. Now is no different.” 17


WHEN we created the Players Hall of Fame this year, this list (always a bear to compile, deciding who to include and, moreover, who not to)opened up like the first deep breath of spring. And, as with spring, wefound fascination in the vibrant shoots of grassroots projects nourished,but often overshadowed by the mighty oaks. As we surveyed the land-scape of who is influencing theater in Chicago behind the scenes, a fewthemes emerged. One is decentralization; great theater doesn’t justthrive in the Loop, it runs through Chicago like a mycelium, and thosededicated to cultivating its growth in all corners of the city and fromartists of every background, appear throughout this list. Another iscollaboration; in an age when funding for the arts hasthinned to a pitiful trickle, cooperation is a matter of PLAYERS 50 2019survival. It’s also turned out to be a font of creativeabundance. Names and organizations appear on this was written by Kevin Greenelist more than once alongside peers who co-present, and Sharon Hoyerconsult, serve on each other’s boards, and have madewildly beautiful and daring work blossom through with additional contributions by Erin Shea Brady, Hugh Iglarsh, Ben Kaye and Kelsey McGrath.creative cross-pollination. And the third theme wesee is cultivation of the next generation, the nurturers of the futureof Chicago theater. Thanks to their vision, it’s a future that looks morelike our diverse city; a future more politically engaged, more richlynuanced and humane than ever before. So it is with great honor andoptimism we give you the 2019 Players. (Sharon Hoyer) All photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux JANUARY 2019 Newcity with photo assistance by Susan Ask 19

1 - ERICA DANIELS dents to the theater. Additionally, there is robust public program- ming around the company’s pro- ductions each season. The Res- ident Theater Program serves as an incubator for a few storefront companies, several of whom are also represented on this list. 2 HEIDI STILLMAN AND RACHEL L. FINK Artistic Director and Executive Director, Lookingglass Theatre CompanyNewcity JANUARY 2019 1 There may be no theater in town and LGBTQ,” and has served as The leadership of the inimitable better known for programming a shortlist of the city’s most Lookingglass Theatre Company CHAY YEW beyond the stage than Victory promising young directorial tal- keeps a comparatively low AND ERICA DANIELS Gardens. The Director’s Inclu- ent. The Next Generation Fellow- profile, perhaps because the art sion Initiative, begun in the ship,  launched in 2018, is a “pro- the company makes tends to Artistic Director 2015/16 season, aims to “encour- fessional development program speak for itself. Under the guid- and Managing Director, age and develop talented and for rising career persons of color ance of artistic director Heidi Victory Gardens Theater emerging Chicago stage direc- interested in theater leadership.” Stillman, who took the position tors who identify as people of Victory Gardens also partners in 2016, the company, well- color, disabled, women, trans- with Chicago Public Schools to known for high-flying escapist gender, gender non-conforming bring drama to schools and stu- fare, has taken on grounded material that reflects our in- creasingly sober reality: Alex- ander Zeldin’s exquisite “Be- yond Caring” and Dickens’ appropriately titled “Hard Times,” which was adapted and directed by Stillman. Even David Kersnar and Althos Low’s vision of Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was anchored by an inescap- able history of colonialism. Elsewhere, Kevin Douglas’ “Plantation!,” his follow-up to “Thaddeus and Slocum,” tickled ribs while tracing the roots and branches of America’s racist heritage. All that rigging doesn’t come cheap! Rachel Fink, the company’s executive director, brings a good deal of experi- ence in managing interests and investments from her time as managing director of Theatre Bay Area. The company will continue to balance buoyancy and weight with upcoming pro- ductions of “Act(s) of God,” penned by ensemble member Kareem Bandealy and directed by Stillman, and David Catlin’s highly anticipated contribution to The Year of “Frankenstein.”20

SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park, working with the Chicago Dancemakers Forum and presenting Elevate Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Department also showcased dance throughout the summer at Jay Pritzker Pavil- ion, including the Stomping Grounds Grand Finale. 5 MYRNA SALAZAR Co-Founder and Executive Director, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) 3 ed the International Connections 5 - MYRNA SALAZAR The Chicago Latino Theater Al- Fund to the Auditorium Theatre, liance (CLATA), founded in JULIA STASCH Blair Thomas & Company, and $200,000 in grants and tie-in 2016,quickly established itself Links Hall. With the announce- events across the city. DCASE has as one of the premiere new the- President, ment last year that the Founda- also “shifted its focus from being atrical organizations. Its signa-MacArthur Foundation tion will invest $24.3 million over a dance presenter to a supporter ture program, the Chicago Inter- five years to continue its support of Chicago’s dance community,” national Latino Theater Festival, for Chicago-area arts and culture hosting the Chicago Dance Month known colloquially as “Destinos,” organizations, local institutions kickoff, collaborating with See Chi- premiered in 2017 as a month- can count on the MacArthur cago Dance on the second annual long run of performances and Foundation even after Stasch productions at Chicago Shakes, moves on to her next venture. Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. In its sec- 4 - MARK KELLYIn what turned out to be a pro- 4 JANUARY 2019 Newcityfessional and highly consideratemic drop, MacArthur Foundation MARK KELLYpresident Julia Stasch awardedthe whole of the 2016 MacArthur Commissioner,Award for Creative and Effective Department ofInstitutions to Chicago arts orga- Cultural Affairsnizations. Less than two years and Special Eventslater, she announced that shewould be stepping down from Along with League of Chicagothe position she has held since Theatres’ executive director Deb2014. The Foundation’s “Chicago Clapp and outgoing mayor RahmCommitment” remains a core Emanuel, DCASE commissionervalue, with 2017 grants awarded Mark Kelly named 2019 the “Yearto Albany Park Theater Project, of Chicago Theatre,” a first-of-its-Black Ensemble Theater, the kind initiative designed to captureLeague of Chicago Theatres, the attention of locals and out-of-Emerald City Theatre, Goodman, towners alike with strategicallyNorthlight, Steppenwolf, Court placed advertising as well asand Writers Theatre as well asChicago Danztheatre Ensembleand Hubbard Street Dance. Morerecently, the Foundation award- 21

ond outing, the festival expand- 6 - MICHAEL AND MONA HEATH ed to seven weeks and included 20 - ILESA DUNCAN venues such as Aguijón Theater in Belmont Cragin, The Miracle Center in Logan Square-Hermo- sa, and UrbanTheater Company in Humboldt Park as well as Te- atro Vista and Water People Theater, in an effort to ensure that the international festival drives traffic to local Latinx in- stitutions. With her experience at the International Latino Cul- tural Center of Chicago, coupled with the support of the MacAr- thur Foundation, Joyce Founda- tion, The Field Foundation and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Salazar’s nascent but wildly successful festival has the space and funds to expand exponentially. 6 support demanding access and New Works Development Pro- As a working performance artist, privilege. In an age that can feel gram, “August Rush” will be a Meida McNeal has been award- MICHAEL defined by quid pro quo, the co-production with Arlington, Vir- ed just about every dance and Heaths simply give. ginia’s Signature Theatre and will multidisciplinary performance AND MONA HEATH feature actor-musicians a la grant mentioned within this list: 7 “Once” and “Million Dollar Quartet.” High Concept Labs Sponsored Michael and Mona Heath see And while it seems that theater Artist, Links Hall Artist in Resi- more theater than you—330 TIM RATER lovers need little incentive to head dence, Chicago Dancemakers shows in 2018 alone. It’s not a to Aurora, the chance to see a Forum Lab Artist, plus a Ful- competition, but it is, neverthe- President and Broadway-quality musical before bright and at least a dozen more. less, a fact. The couple is moti- Chief Executive Officer, anyone else is an opportunity that But it’s McNeal’s work as a per- vated by a deep admiration and no one will want to miss. formance scholar and adminis- love of storefront theater and a Paramount Theatre trator that lands McNeal on this radical sense of transparency. year’s behind-the-scenes list, Their website not only lists the Still in its relative infancy, as the- 8 which makes one wonder how theater companies they support ater companies go, Paramount she finds time to manage Arts & through grants and donations Theatre continues to capitalize on MEIDA TERESA McNEAL Culture for the entire Chicago from a donor-advised fund at the success of its Broadway Se- Park District and cultural centers The Chicago Community Trust, ries, which launched in 2011. A Artistic Director, while running Honey Pot Perfor- but also an explanation as to $2.5 million grant, awarded last Honey Pot Performance mance and producing scholar- why they support each company year by the Dunham Fund, is and Arts & Culture Manager, ship on postcolonial Caribbean and production. If their name being applied to the company’s Chicago Park District performance. The answer: Mc- sounds familiar, it’s because Act 2 Capital Campaign, the cap- Neal is a powerhouse creatively, you’ve seen it in the back of a stone project of which is the cre- 8 - MEIDA TERESA McNEAL intellectually and all-around, roll- program or heard it in a pre- ation of the Paramount School of up-your-sleeves energetically. show announcement or, in their Performing Arts, currently underNewcity JANUARY 2019 highest-profile project to date, construction. The School will “en- visited the Den Theatre’s Heath courage and train young actors, Main Stage. Yes, they are those dancers and musicians for a cul- Heaths. What is most refreshing ture-filled life, nurture the arts in about Michael and Mona is their Chicago’s western suburbs and low-profile approachability. add to the excitement, cultural While you can find them at most and economic activity in Aurora’s opening nights, where you won’t downtown business district.” One find them is banging down the new turn deserves another: this doors of the companies they season will see the Paramount’s first world premiere. The first major project from the company’s22

10 - COYA PAZ,MELISSA DuPREY23 - HALLIE GORDON10 - KATRINA DION 9 deepened the dance discourse 9 - ELLEN CHENOWETH this year with On The Ground, anELLEN CHENOWETH invitation to writers to follow the 23 season and post their reflections Series Director on the Dance Center blog. Theand Curator, Dance Center 2018-19 season has been a cura- torial collaboration between Che- of Columbia College noweth and her predecessor Bonnie Brooks. Next season Che- noweth takes the reins in full. Her intent: dig deeper locally, spread the net wider internationally.About a year ago, Ellen Che- 10 JANUARY 2019 Newcitynoweth took over what she de-scribes, with self-acknowledged COYA PAZ,bias, as the best place to seedance in the country. She may be MELISSA DuPREYbiased, but may also be right. Theblack-box theater on South Mich- AND KATRINA DIONigan Avenue has no parallel:you’re never more than ten rows Artistic Director,from the action, which takes the Director of Productionform of top-shelf performances of & Community Relationsall genres, provided by interna- and Director of Youth Programstionally renowned troupes, home-grown companies and everything & Development,in between. Tickets are never Free Street Theatermore than thirty bucks, there’s nobar and the lobby is little more It was in 1969, after the West Sidethan a hallway. Nothing to do here uprising and the Democratic Na-but focus on great dance and, tional Convention police riot, thatafter opening-night shows, talk- the city of Chicago gave a giantbacks with the artists. Chenoweth truck, converted into a mobile stage, to a young and idealistic performance group. Thus was

11 - NANCY GARCÍA LOZA AND ISAAC GOMEZ local arts coverage. This past year, in response to calls for bet- ter representation in theater awards and ceremonies, the or- ganization hosted the first ALTA Awards. Where local and nation- al award ceremonies struggle with inclusion, the ALTA Awards demonstrated the breadth and depth of “LatinXcellence” in Chi- cago. Helmed by playwrights Nancy García Loza and Isaac Gomez, the organization is mak- ing the ALTA Awards an annual tradition as well as to further “the Chicago Latinx Theater movement by promoting, edu- cating, representing and unify- ing Latinx identified artists and their allies.” 12 GUS MENARY, NORA LEAHY AND KAISER AHMED Artistic Director, Managing Director and Associate Artistic Director, Jackalope Theatre 12 - KAISER AHMED, NORA LEAHY AND GUS MENARY Jackalope Theatre has commit- ted to exploring and redefiningNewcity JANUARY 2019 born Free Street Theater, under one of the city’s longest-running 11 American identity, a timely and the direction of a Goodman companies, it continues to serve activistic call to action. Under ar- School of Drama alumnus with the twin goals of joy and justice. NANCY GARCÍA LOZA tistic director Gus Menary, these the revolutionary name of Patrick The multi-generational-racial-lin- AND ISAAC GOMEZ players dig deep and aim high, Henry. “It was a pretty radical im- gual troupe, which performs maximizing capabilities to make pulse back then,” says FST artis- mainly at city parks, is developing Creative Co-Directors, great social change, onstage and tic director Coya Paz, who chairs “50 in 50,” a self-described “the- Alliance of Latinx Theater in the community. On their stag- the theatre studies department atrical flash mob” that will put on es, both at the Frontier and the at DePaul University, and who fifty plays in each of Chicago’s Artists (ALTA) Broadway Armory, they under- shares FST leadership responsi- fifty wards. “Still/Here,” a mani- take a rich excavation of the bilities with Melissa DuPrey and festo of neighborhood survival, Founded in 2010, the Alliance of American mythos through the Katrina Dion. “We know that free will open this summer. The play’s Latinx Theater Artists has been amplification of diverse voices, out-of-doors theater won’t fix title applies as well to this pur- a resource for Latinx theater from their most recent “In the Chicago’s structural problems. pose-driven, community-based practitioners, a consistently Canyon,” a groundbreaking But it does create an opportunity company, which continues, year marginalized demographic in world premiere from Kilroys-cit- for people to come together and after year, to provide relevant, ed company member Calamity uplift each other.” As FST cele- pay-what-you-can theater to un- West, to the three world pre- brates its half-century, making it derserved audiences. mieres produced last year in their tenth season, including Ike Holter’s acclaimed thriller “The Light Fantastic.” Collaborations with The Chicago Inclusion Proj- ect and The Yard further extend their reach. Eleven years in, through new initiatives like The GroundWorks Series, their Circle Up! Reading Series, and an eight-week Playwrights Lab (taught by West), Jackalope walks the walk.24

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14 - GINGER FARLEY AND SHAWN LENT 13 not to mention their participa- 14 award, much less one specifically tion in “Destinos,” the Chicago earmarked for dance. Six Chicago RICARDO GUTIERREZ Latino Theater Alliance’s sec- GINGER FARLEY choreographers receive the cov- ond annual International Latino AND SHAWN LENT eted Chicago Dancemakers AND SYLVIA HEVIA Theater Festival, we shouldn’t Forum Lab Artist Grant each year overlook the fact that Teatro Executive Director and, along with it, performance Executive Artistic Director Vista has been dutifully telling and Program Director, opportunities, and peer and tech- and Managing & the stories of Latinx communi- Chicago Dancemakers Forum nical support throughout the pro- ties for more than twenty-five cess. CDF also awards smaller Development Director, years. And while Teatro Vista Fifteen thousand dollars to make Greenhouse program grants of Teatro Vista may be the most instantly new work, no strings attached. It’s $4,000 for emerging choreogra- recognizable name, the emer- a grant almost unheard of in the phers, along with mentorship Teatro Vista has been on an en- gence of CLATA in 2016 and arts, save the MacArthur “genius” from an established artist, which viable run, commencing with ALTA in 2010 suggest a ramped- makes the team of Farley and the world premiere of Ike up communal effort to spread Lent arguably the most powerful Holter’s “The Wolf at the End of the enthusiasm for these stories force for the creation of ground- the Block” and continued with as widely as possible. breaking dance in the city. the protracted and seemingly unstoppable success of Sandra 15 - KENDALL KARG Delgado’s ebullient “La Havana AND KURT CHIANG Madrid,” which had sold-outNewcity JANUARY 2019 productions at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, The Miracle Cen- ter and the Goodman, and which will take a well-deserved victory lap with Collaboraction this year. The journey continued with the Midwest premiere of “Fade” from rising star Tanya Sar- acho and culminated with the world premiere of “The Madres” by Stephanie Alison Walker, a narrative that will continue with “The Abuelas,” another world premiere from Walker, in Febru- ary. With all this recent success,26

THE HALL OF FAME These folks, or the roles they inhabit, are so well-established and foundational to the theater, dance, opera and comedy worlds of Chicago that they are always near the top of the list. 16 - ANTHONY MOSELEY Jackie Taylor Charna Halpern AND DR. MARCUS ROBINSON Founder, Producer, Co-Founder 15 When writing about Collaborac- Executive Director iO JANUARY 2019 Newcity tion it’s better to look forward Black Ensemble Theater KURT CHIANG rather than back. It’s only a Greg Cameron AND KENDALL KARG slightly more manageable task Lou Raizin President, CEO for the writer: the company pro- President Artistic Director duces such a wide and constant Ashley Wheater and Managing Director, proliferation of events and per- Suzanne Bizer Artistic Director formances that push conven- Vice President Joffrey Ballet The Neo-Futurists tional ideas of where art stops and social justice begins that to Eileen LaCario Deb ClappThe Neo-Futurists first performed list everything they’ve done in Vice President Executive Director the show that would become their the last few years would require utterly inimitable flagship just over more space than we have. The Broadway In Chicago League of thirty years ago. That legacy was company is constantly on the Chicago Theatres challenged in the twilight of 2016 move, often literally. The annual Lane Alexander in a well-documented intercom- Peacebook festival has toured Co-Founder, Director Anthony Freud pany dispute. The show emerged, the city for three consecutive General Director scathed and stronger for it, as summers and shows little sign Chicago Human Lyric Opera“The Infinite Wrench.” If the last of fatigue, physical, creative or Rhythm Project two years of American history otherwise. Ditto for the compa- Andrew Alexander have imparted one thing to us col- ny’s artistic director Anthony Criss Henderson Co-Owner, CEO lectively, it’s that the strength of Moseley and managing director Executive Director Second City any institution cannot be con- Dr. Marcus Robinson, a “trans- firmed until tested. And the Neos formational leader of non-profit Barbara Gaines Heather Hartley have proved resilient. Ten-thou- management, talent develop- Artistic Director Executive Director sand world premieres later, there ment, corporate culture and di- Chicago See Chicago Dance may be no better place in Chica- versity with inclusion,” hired in go to find the huddled masses the fall of 2017. In the interim, Shakespeare Theater David Schmitz yearning to feel seen. Collaboraction has been the re- Executive Director cipient of the twentieth-anniver- Charles Newell 16 sary Otto Award, recognizing Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro “the achievement of individuals Court Theatre Artistic Director ANTHONY MOSELEY and theater companies who con- AND DR. MARCUS ceive, produce and foster the de- Roche Schulfer Steppenwolf Theatre velopment of innovative and so- Executive Director ROBINSON cially challenging theater.” And if Robert Falls Elizabeth K. Auman you thought that might be a cue Artistic Director Managing Director Artistic Director and for the company to take a Goodman Theatre PJ Powers Managing Director, much-deserved rest, you’d be Artistic Director mistaken: in January the compa- Glenn Edgerton TimeLine Collaboraction ny continues its “Encounter” se- Artistic Director ries and in the spring they will Hubbard Street co-produce the remount of San- Dance Chicago dra Delgado’s mega-hit “La Ha- vana Madrid” with Teatro Vista. 27

17 - PAUL D’ADDARIO 42 - JOSEPH RAVENS 17 - MICHAEL PATRICK THORNTON 17 MICHAEL PATRICK THORNTON, EMJOY GAVINO, JOHN GAWLIK AND PAUL D’ADDARIO Artistic Director, Associate Artistic Director, Managing Director and Associate Artistic Director, The Gift Theatre Even within our progressive the- and promoting ensemble mem- 18 Our 2017 Players of the Moment, ater community, opting to prior- ber Chika Ike to director of 4802, Jamil Khoury and Malik Gillani itize underserved communities the company’s new-play initia- JAMIL KHOURY have not rested on their laurels can be a pathway to being un- tive. With the success of “A AND MALIK GILLANI in the last two years. Among their derrepresented in arts coverage Swell in the Ground,” “Hang accomplishments, the Silk Road and under-attended by those Man” and “Hamlet,” works that Founding Artistic Rising leaders are adept at se- who prefer the hubs of down- were written, directed and Director and Founding lecting works that import Asian town and downtown-adjacent adapted by artists of color, The and Middle Eastern perspectives institutions. The Gift has a Gift proves that they are on the Executive Director, into popular Western stories. knack for turning what might frontier of the city, not just geo- Silk Road Rising “Through The Elevated Line” by appear to be limitations into vir- graphically, but artistically and Novid Parsi, which had its world tues. Now in their eighteenth socially as well. 18 - JAMIL KHOURY premiere with the company, season, and with an established AND MALIK GILLANI echoes the romantic and familial ensemble of some of the best tensions of “A Streetcar Named actors in town as well as a Desire,” transporting Tennessee high-profile playwright in David Williams’ tale to Uptown in the Rabe, the company keeps their summer of 2016 leading up to the doors and hearts open to new Cubs’ historic World Series victo- talent, promoting casting direc- ry. The company collaborated tor Emjoy Gavino to associate with Remy Bumppo on an adap- artistic director, welcoming Jen- tation of “Great Expectations” set nifer Glasse into the ensemble in nineteenth-century Calcutta during the British Raj. “ChristmasNewcity JANUARY 2019 Mubarak” related the story of Mary and Jesus as told in the Quran. Elsewhere, the company bypasses a historical/literary focus to present stories that sear with urgency: Anu Bhatt’s “Hol- low/Wave” was a deeply person- al excavation of her experiences with sexual abuse. The New China Festival featured play- wrights from the Chinese-speak- ing world that provided humanis- tic insight. When they aren’t producing, Silk Road is delivering EPIC (Empathic Playwriting In-28

tensive Course), a twenty-sessionprogram, to 600 CPS students.The company partnered with theConsortium of Asian AmericanTheaters & Artists to present theirnational conference in Chicago,which brought 200 Asian Ameri-can artists together for profes-sional workshops and nationalnetwork building. With grantsfrom the American Theatre Wingand the Doris Duke Foundationfor Islamic Art under their belts,we have every reason to believethat it will be another busy coupleof years for this dynamic duo andtheir essential company. 19 TARA AISHA WILLIS Associate Curator of Performance, Museum of Contemporary Art ChicagoTara Aisha Willis had massive 19 - TARA AISHA WILLISshoes to fill when she movedback to Chicago from New York 20 updated her resume with a new with David Barr III) and directing JANUARY 2019 Newcityto take over curation of the MCA position and a new company: ar- “Rutherford’s Travels,” a worldStage. Peter Taub, in his two-de- ILESA DUNCAN tistic director of Lifeline Theatre, premiere based on Charles John-cade term as director of perfor- taking over for Dorothy Milne, son’s novel “Middle Passage,”mance programs, established Artistic Director, who held the position for nine- and helming the company’sthe 300-seat theater in the base- Lifeline Theatre and teen years. This past summer at Young Playwrights Festival,ment of the museum as a home Executive & Producing Lifeline she successfully revived which recently celebrated itsto cutting-edge shows that de- Director, Pegasus Theatre Robert Kauzlaric’s adaptation of thirty-second anniversary. Morefied boundaries and genres, from Neil Gaiman’s novel “Never- work doesn’t mean more time,butoh performances by the leg- Ilesa Duncan has held down the where,” which played at Lifeline though Duncan will stay on atendary team of Eiko & Koma to fort at Pegasus Theatre as the in 2010, and was welcomed back Pegasus while the company con-the seven-hour live reading/ company’s executive artistic di- enthusiastically by audiences. At tinues developing young theaterstaging of “The Great Gatsby” by rector since 2012. This year she Pegasus, Duncan has kept a makers. And Lifeline’s robustlyNew York theater troupe Elevator busy schedule of directing (“The creative MainStage and Kid-Repair Service. So what’s a Green Book,” “Shakin’ the Mess Series performances are idealyoung performance artist taking Outta Misery” and many more), outlets for her strengths as anthe reins of an established insti- as well as co-adapting (along artist and educator.tution for experimentation to do?Judging from this season, honorthe past while cultivating newwork. Willis brought together onstage for the first time threedance legends—Ralph Lemon,Bebe Miller and Ishmael Hous-ton-Jones—and curated a newcollaboration between poetClaudia Rankine and choreogra-pher Will Rawls, a show shehelped develop as one of the per-formers. With Willis at the helm,the MCA will continue to be atthe forefront of performanceswithout precedent. 29

22 In giving a voice to younger gen- erations, both of audiences and ROELL SCHMIDT of theater-makers, Hallie Gordon is a champion. As the artistic di- Director, rector of Steppenwolf for Young Links Hall Adults (SYA), Gordon curates a season that engages young au- The incubator of cutting-edge diences with stories relevant to dance and performance art cele- them, bringing work to the stage brates its fortieth anniversary this that is unexpected, and at times, year by “paying the 40th forward” controversial. Under Gordon’s to the artists who have made dar- leadership, SYA raises the stan- ing performances for open-mind- dard for theater aimed at youth, ed audiences. The generous vi- challenging audiences to partic- sion is the brainchild of Schmidt ipate in the conversation and the Links’ staff, who keep the through educational programs, spirit of the organization vibrant created and facilitated by Gor- by funneling all resources, all en- don, such as the Young Adult ergy, all attention, always to the art. Council, which gives high- school students the ability to see, 23 discuss and engage in high-quality professional the- HALLIE GORDON ater. Most recently with SYA, Gordon produced the acclaimed Artistic Director, “The Curious Incident of the Dog Steppenwolf in the Night-Time,” directed by Jonathan Berry, and directed for Young Adults “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers, which toured to juvenile justice facilities through a collaboration with Storycatchers Theatre. Gordon is also a freelance direc- tor and an ensemble member at Rivendell Ensemble Theater. She has als produced and di- rected productions for Steppen- wolf’s mainstage. 24 - CAYENNE HARRIS 21 - HARMONY FRANCENewcity JANUARY 2019 21 “Lizzie,” to their equally acclaimed recent production of “Caroline, or HARMONY FRANCE Change,” Firebrand has made Chicago home to feminist innova- Artistic Director, tion. Artistic director Harmony Firebrand Theatre France bridges the gap between the world that we live in and the Firebrand Theatre, the world’s first world that we would like to live in, Equity feminist musical theater upholding her commitment to em- company, is just over a year old. ploying and empowering women But from last winter’s inaugural by expanding opportunities on and offstage. (Firebrand’s third season will feature only womxn onstage.) France’s leadership and commitment shows promise in both filling and bringing greater awareness to a void in our industry.30

24CAYENNE HARRIS Vice President, Lyric UnlimitedLyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric 25 - ANGELIQUE POWER ative enterprise as it is, and ben- wise hear. “We look for artistsOpera of Chicago, is working to efit the entire arts ecosystem.” who are off the radar screen,”make this historic art form more equal city. “So much of the arts There’s no shortage of benefac- says Power. “For many, it’s theaccessible to those who might not today doesn’t organize itself as a tors for the city’s Goodmans and first grant they’ve ever gotten.”otherwise step foot in the Civic 501(3)(c) nonprofit,” says Power, Steppenwolfs. While the founda-Opera Building on Wacker Drive. who has been at the Field Foun- tion doesn’t ignore the main- 26Their programs, headed by vice dation for seven years and in her stream players, it prides itself onpresident Cayenne Harris, include role as president for the last two supporting less conspicuous but PATRICIA BARRETTOElementary and High School Res- years, following stints at the Joyce equally worthy recipients who tellidencies and the Chicago Voices Foundation and the MCA. “At vital stories we wouldn’t other- President andprogram, which collaborates with Field, we’re challenging ourselves Chief Executive Officer,neighborhood arts organizations. to fund differently, see art and cre-There are also operas written for Harris Theateryounger audiences, commissions 26 - PATRICIA BARRETTOand presentations of intimate op-eratic pieces like “Fellow Travelers”and the upcoming “An AmericanDream,” which are contemporaryworks that tackle themes of raceand sexuality rarely explored inthis medium. 25 ANGELIQUE POWER President, The Field Foundation of Illinois“We’re small but mighty,” says When Patricia Barretto took the JANUARY 2019 Newcity Field Foundation president An- helm of the Harris Theater in gelique Power. The foundation, 2018, it marked what may be the which is an independent entity, end of a period of leadership not a family foundation—was turnover at one of the city’s big- started in 1940 by Marshall Field gest presenters of music and III, a New Deal liberal who under- dance. Michael Tiknis stepped wrote community organizer Saul down after twelve years in the Alinsky and was an early backer post in February of 2017, followed of Martin Luther King, Jr. Field by a seven-month term by Paul saw his namesake foundation not Organisak. Barretto, at the time as a traditional charity but as a head of marketing and develop- social and cultural game-changer. ment (and bringing in recordThe tradition continues. Of the fundraising numbers), was pro- million dollars that the foundation moted to the post when Organi- gives to the arts each year, much sak announced his departure, goes to non-traditional groups and the organization has thrived and individuals who advance the in her short tenure. Barretto’s ex- cause of racial equity in an un- perience as executive director of Toronto’s Opera Atelier also translates nicely to her new post. 31

27 EMJOY GAVINO, ELANA ELYCE, STEPHANIE DIAZ, JEFF TRAINOR, CHARLIE HANO, ABHI SHRESTHA Chicago Inclusion Project The Chicago Inclusion Project has 29 - TYRONE PHILLIPS aims at returning citizens, refu- where and managing director grown to become the city’s pre- AND NEEL McNEIL gees, veterans and other popula- Neel McNeil can be found shak- miere organization to challenge tions “traditionally underrepre- ing things up at Steppenwolf. This preconceptions of the theatrical At every artistic organization sented in back-of-house jobs.” past year has been one of tremen- casting process. Alongside col- there are hardworking and in- Taylor is also making her contri- dous growth. With “No Child…” laborations with theater compa- credibly busy people whose bution to the evolution of arts crit- and “Moon Man Walk,” the com- nies on casting productions, ad- names rarely, if ever, get men- icism with the Emerging Theater pany set the bar for producing so- ditional programming efforts tioned. More than ten years into Critics Program (in which several cially conscious theater in the city. include The Key: Young Critics her role at Goodman, Willa Taylor Newcity Stage contributors par- They also feature acclaimed faces Mentorship Program, partnering embodies the concept of arts as ticipated), where she works and names that link to their work. with Rescripted to mentor the education. When asked for a se- alongside Director of New Play Who could blame new advisory next generation of theater critics, lect overview of her work, Taylor, Development Tanya Palmer, and board member Chuck Smith for and the Circle Up! reading series, a culinary school graduate, offers the Cindy Bandle Young Critics wanting in with leaders like Phil- readings for new diverse stories an educational cornucopia: nour- program (with teaching artist Deb lips and McNeil at the helm? Defi- in conjunction with Jackalope ish mentors and community ac- R. Lewis and journalist mentor nition means business and is here Theatre Company. The Project tivists who identify arts-based Susy Schultz), which is open to to stay. also posts a listing of shows play- solutions to community-identified young women (grades ten ing on Chicago’s stages that illus- problems; the Disney Musical in through twelve) interested in the- 30 trate what inclusive casting can Schools program develops sus- ater criticism and the world of look like in Chicago. tainable musical theater pro- professional writing. As with so JOEL EWING grams in under-resourced (Taylor many artists on this list, Taylor AND MECHELLE MOE 28 prefers the term “resilient”) local does more than we can possibly elementary schools; a new work- print but her impact and influence Co-Founders- WILLA TAYLOR force development program in is felt around the city and beyond. Co-Artistic Directors, production and technical theater Walter Director 29 The Yard of Education and Engagement, Goodman Theatre 28 - WILLA TAYLORNewcity JANUARY 2019 TYRONE PHILLIPS Imagine you run a theater com- AND NEEL McNEIL pany composed of talented, hard-working actors who are Artistic Director and hungry to do work that reflects Managing Director, their complex inner lives. Now Definition Theatre Company imagine that every four years or so that same group of actors Definition Theatre Company is leave the company and have to taking Chicago by storm. Artistic be replaced with a fresh crew. director Tyrone Phillips is every- Oh, and you’re an itinerant store- front without a home perfor-32

30 - JOEL EWING AND MECHELLE MOE 13 - RICARDO GUTIERREZ AND SYLVIA HEVIA mance space. And all that talent? parelli’s docudrama “columbinus” 31 The young company also fostersThey can’t even legally go out for at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater emerging talent through its Di- a drink after rehearsal. With more and took their production of JOSH SOBEL rectors Haven initiative, an annu- hoops to jump through than Dominique Morisseau’s “Blood al showcase of early-career local“American Ninja Warrior,” The at the Root” to Theater on the AND CAROL COHEN directors. And with upcoming Yard co-founders and co-artistic Lake, then back to Jackalope local premieres helmed by Li- directors Joel Ewing and Mech- Theatre, upgrading from The Artistic Director li-Anne Brown and Monty Cole, elle Moe could hardly have de- Frontier to The Armory. Advanc- and Executive Director, the company stays effortlessly vised a more complicated reality ing conversations about what ahead of the curve. for producing theater. But as any- constitutes youth work, Ewing Haven Theatre one who has caught a produc- and Moe are part of a dedicated 32 tion from The Yard since their cohort of educators in Chicago Who would have guessed that 2015 founding can attest, all that nurturing the next generation one of the biggest hits of the HUTCH PIMENTEL, scrapping pays generous divi- while empowering young people 2016/2017 season would have dends. The company staged Ste- to seize control of their destinies been a musical about death and AMANDA FINK AND phen Karam and the late PJ Pa- through making art. dying? Josh Sobel and Carol Cohen did. Written by Young ANDREW CUTLER 31 - JOSH SOBEL Jean Lee, directed by Sobel, led AND CAROL COHEN by rising star Isa Arciniegas and Artistic Director, backed by a multihyphenate Managing Director and band, “We’re Gonna Die” Associate Artistic Director, JANUARY 2019 Newcity charged through its initial run at the Bookspan Theatre at The First Floor Theater Den, the company’s home space since 2016, and was remounted First Floor Theater made a name in Steppenwolf’s Lookout Series. for itself among young store- Since then, Sobel has switched fronts with daring theatrical aes- gears to “Fear and Misery in the thetics and meme-friendly mar- Third Reich,” a timely primer on keting tactics (their social media the mechanisms of fascism and game is supremely on point). Add a reminder of Brecht’s talents a stellar lineup to that, year-after- and perceptions. That show was year, of some of the most prom- followed by the slightly more fan- ising and acclaimed young play- tastic but no less horrifying world wrights in the country including premiere of Isaac Gomez’s “The Jiehae Park, Leah Nanako Win- Displaced,” part of a mini-move- kler, Nathan Alan Davis, Lucas ment of horror narratives that Baisch and Tearrance Arvelle swept through the city in the Chisholm, whose play “Hooded, sweltering months of summer. or Being Black for Dummies” made a splash last fall. Coming up in 2019: the world premiere of Dan Giles’ politically charged ro- 33

34 BILLIE HOWARD, STEVEN WANG AND BARBARA EGEL Artistic Director, Executive Director and Development & Marketing Coordinator, High Concept Labs 32 - ANDREW CUTLER, free tickets to each of the com- ing productions of “Nina Simone: High Concept Labs turns ten this AMANDA FINK AND pany’s productions. Regardless Four Women” and the world pre- year and the organization that HUTCH PIMENTEL of your income and location, miere of “Landladies” by Sharyn started as a humble, warehouse Northlight endeavors to make Rothstein. Understanding that studio space has quietly blos- mantic travesty “Mike Pence Sex everyone’s experience worth- building a sustainable artistic fu- somed into a full-fledged arts or- Dream” followed by the Chicago while with quality productions of ture requires cooperation, the ganization that sponsors over a premiere of Halley Feiffer’s com- new and exciting works by some company recently made director dozen artists each year in four- plex familial drama “I’m Gonna of the country’s most accom- Mikael Burke their first ever ar- month and year-long residency Pray For You So Hard.” plished and exciting playwrights tistic fellow, a position that con- programs. Last year’s grantees featuring many of the city’s finest tributes to the casting and sea- produced puppetry, classical 33 artists. Case in point: the upcom- son selection process. theater transformed into multi- media extravaganzas, modern BJ JONES AND 33 - BJ JONES dance with motion capture, and TIMOTHY J. EVANS AND TIMOTHY J. EVANS sound compositions inspired by the experiences of sight-im- Artistic Director and Executive paired people—and these artists Director, Northlight Theatre were selected in partnership with 3Arts, an organization ded- icated to the advancement of fe- male artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities. High Concept Lab held more than fifty events last year in venues as large as Mana Contemporary in Pilsen and as small as Logan Square’s Comfort Station. With Howard as High Concept Lab’s first artistic director and Egel joining the team in their new of- fices in the Harris Theater, the or- Northlight Theatre ranks as oneNewcity JANUARY 2019 of the premiere destinations for theater in the Midwest, deftly transporting that defining Chica- go belief in new work to Skokie. And while the carless among us may be out of luck, the company thoughtfully navigates other ac- cessibility concerns through ed- ucation programs that serve thousands of students from the greater Chicago area as well as a new initiative known as Arts for Everyone that aims to provide34

contemporary, ripped-from-the- headlines workmanship of “Billy Elliot” to the singular, show-stop- ping performance by E. Faye But- ler in “Gypsy.” And while the re- mainder of the 2018/19 season may not have the hook of a pre- miere, what it does have is sure to pique audience interest: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” “A Chorus Line” and an enticing line of auxiliary program- ming in the guise of the “Porch- light Revisits” and “New Faces Sing Broadway” series. 36 LORI BERKO Deputy Director, University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative 34 - STEVEN WANG AND BILLIE HOWARD Seeking to redress the geograph- ical imbalance of arts spaces inganization is only picking up mo- since its inception 1995. And The show’s success, auspicious- the city and capitalize on the richmentum. It’s great news for non-premieres are selected for ly timed to “Hamilton”’s arrival in entertainment history of Wash-emerging Chicago artists making their potency. The runaway hit of Chicago, allowed the company ington Park, the University of Chi-work that doesn’t fit neatly into the 2016/17 season, Lin-Manuel to move to a new, permanent cago’s Arts + Public Life (APL)any one box. Miranda’s “In the Heights,” ran home at the Ruth Page Center initiative unveiled its capstone for seventy-eight performances for the Arts. Since the move, the project: the Green Line Perform- and was extended four times. hits have kept coming: from the ing Arts Center. Completing the Arts Block, a collection of cultural and commercial spaces running 35 35 - JEANNIE LUKOW AND MICHAEL WEBER MICHAEL WEBERAND JEANNIE LUKOW Artistic Director and Executive Director, Porchlight Music Theatre In the world of so-called “straight” JANUARY 2019 Newcity theater in Chicago, it’s possible to take for granted the word “pre- miere,” given the frequency it’s attached to words like “world,”“regional” or “local,” so much so that some are more likely to no- tice its absence than its pres- ence. The same cannot always be said for musical theater, where mega-hits of the past rear their heads almost every season. Porchlight Music Theatre, though, has averaged a premiere a year 35

organization doesn’t keep still in between. Most recently, Ehre collaborated with Peter Taub, for- mer programmer for the MCA Stage, curating a site-specific dance performance series, and teamed up with Defibrillator and SITE/less on the Video Corpo Dance on Film Festival. On top of that, Pivot partners with Loyola University on an incuba- tor program geared toward work that blurs boundaries between creative disciplines. 38 BERT HAAS Executive Vice President, Zanies Comedy Clubs 36 - LORI BERKO The longest-running standup 46 - JESSIE MARASA comedy club in Chicago, and the fourth longest-running in the along East Garfield Boulevard be- country, Zanies just celebrated its tween South Prairie Avenue and fortieth anniversary. Executive South Martin Luther King Drive, vice president Bert Haas has the Green Line Performing Arts been a part of the company for Center is tucked, cozy and com- nearly as long, beginning his ten- pact yet readily accessible, under- neath the Garfield Park Green 39 - BLAIR THOMAS AND Line stop. The 6,600-square-foot SANDY GERDING space includes the E&A Theatre,Newcity JANUARY 2019 a black-box venue with seating for 37 more than eighty; the Harris Stu- dio, a rehearsal and performance JULIEANNE EHRE space; and a lobby and outdoor courtyard for public programs Founder and Director, and exhibitions. With the Green Pivot Arts Line, APL will nurture existing community relationships while Julieanne Ehre has a lot to be expanding opportunities for as- proud of, as the multidisciplinary piring and established theater organization she founded six artists through education and years ago has established a training programs, tech and strong foothold in Chicago’s per- front-of-house career opportuni- formance scene. The recipe for ties and an expanded artist res- success: promoting innovative idency program. In its inaugural new work in cooperation with es- season, the theater will host The tablished venues and present- GreenLight series, a rotating sam- ers— from Chicago Filmmakers ple of storytelling, music perfor- to the Goodman Theater. Pivot’s mances, comedy, theater and annual weeklong summer festi- dance works. val is now a staple on the arts calendar, presenting live theater, dance, film and music at venues across the North Side. And the36

ure in 1980. And while Haas start-ed as a waiter, he didn’t slingdrinks for long. He quickly movedinto management, started book-ing talent in 1982 and has neverlooked back. To celebrate theiranniversary, the club, like a come-dic St. Nicholas, delivered fortycomics to its storied stage in asingle night. It’s a gimmick Zanieshas used before (thirty comics forits thirtieth anniversary, thirty-fivefor its thirty-fifth), but the comicswho got a chance to deliver theirtruncated routines didn’t seem tomind. After two hours the stagewas cleared, the tables bussedand the staff, Haas included,headed home. For this Chicagoinstitution, which books comedi-ans seven nights a week, therewould be more laughs every dayto come. 39 40 - MAX TRUAX, CASEY CHAPMAN AND DEIRDRE CONNELLY BLAIR THOMASAND SANDY GERDING Anyone who has seen Blair Dick” at the MCA—can attest to national Puppet Theater Festival, Thomas’ imagination manifested, the uncanny emotional power of a twelve-day event series that Artistic Director in the context of Redmoon The- an object animated by a master’s drew companies from around the and Managing Director, ater, of which he was a co-found- hand. Two years ago Thomas, globe. The festival continues to er, or his eponymous puppet the- with support from Gerding, made grow, and the 2019 lineup in- International Puppet ater company—for example his a move to establish Chicago as cludes productions by master Theater Festival fantastic, utterly transporting a mecca for the art of puppetry puppeteers from Japan, Israel, all-puppetry rendition of “Moby with the inaugural Chicago Inter- Chile, all parts of Europe and the United States, held at the Art In- 41 - LAURA STEPHENSON, MICHAEL PETERS, stitute, the Neo-Futurarium, FIN COE AND STEPHANIE SHUM Links Hall, the Studebaker The- ater, the Logan Center, the Chi- cago Shakespeare Theater and the Beverly Arts Center. 40 MAX TRUAX, DEIRDRE CONNELLY AND CASEY CHAPMAN Artistic Director, Managing Director and Marketing Director, Red Tape Theatre Joining the ranks of Free Street, JANUARY 2019 Newcity Theatre Y and the recently-shut- tered Oracle Theatre, Red Tape Theatre announced that begin- ning in 2018 they would join the Free Theatre Movement in an ef- fort to make their art accessible to all. And while plays by Howard Barker and Bertolt Brecht may have been tougher sells for ex- 37

and one of Chicago’s next im- 43 age-makers back in 2012. Such is the nature of performance art, KRIS VIRE which seldom fits tidily into a sin- gle disciplinary category and In a world where full-time arts often straddles three or four. critics and journalists are losing Truly, it’s best to let categories go jobs (and respect) left and right, entirely when you attend an one of the strongest advocates event at Defibrillator (better for the field and for Chicago is known as DFBRL8R). DFBRL8R Kris Vire. After more than ten has been a safe haven for years years working as Time Out Chi- for emerging, visiting and un- cago’s full-time theater critic, der-the-radar performance art- Vire was laid off, further cement- ists, as well as musicians, actors ing a less-than optimistic future and dancers looking to create for arts journalism. But Kris’ crit- work outside a proscenium-stage setting. Anyone who’s set foot in DFBRL8R can attest to the nur- turing, welcoming environment Ravens creates within four white walls, the necessary ingredient for cooking up risky performanc- es that defy expectations. 44 - REGINA VICTOR 43 - KRIS VIRENewcity JANUARY 2019 panding the company’s audience, tistic leadership for the first time they found unprecedented suc- since its founding. Alongside the cess in Young Jean Lee’s “The company’s first Uncharted Fes- Shipment,” a play about Afri- tival next summer, showcasing can-American tropes and stereo- new plays in development, the types in media and entertainment, first season with co-artistic di- directed by Wardell Julius Clark rectors Fin Coe and Stephanie with associate director Sydney Shum at the helm brings two Charles. The company has taken world premieres showcasing the this success quickly to heart. company’s long-exalted history Their next production, free to all, of tonally dissonant new plays: will be “In the Blood” written by Fin Coe’s “Fun Harmless Warma- Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori chine,” the all-too-relevant exam- Parks and directed by Chika Ike. ination of toxic masculinity, and an anarchic look at the Disney 41 theme park experience in Jillian Leff and Joe Lino’s “Small World,” FIN COE AND premiering in the spring. STEPHANIE SHUM, 42 LAURA STEPHENSON JOSEPH RAVENS AND MICHAEL PETERS Founder and Director, Defibrillator Co-Artistic Directors and Managing Director and Associate Artistic Director, The New Colony Bursting into 2018 with the world Ravens has appeared in these premiere of Loy Webb’s searing pages as part of an entirely dif- drama “The Light,” The New Col- ferent list: as a breakout artist ony entered its tenth season with an even bolder change: new ar-38

The League congratulates Chicago’s leading players! SHOWS & TICKETS: INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS: @ChicagoPlaysCMYK/.epsCMYK / .eps Facebook “f ” Logo Facebook “f ” LogoWORLD Photos: Jazzy PhotoPREMIEREYURI POSSOKHOV’S SPECTRUM DANCE THEATERANNA RAMBUNCTIOUS 3.0: THE IMMIGRANTSKARENINA January 31, February 1, and 2, 2019AN EPIC LOVE STORY FOR THE AGES 7:30 p.m.PURCHASE FEBRUARY 13–24 TICKETS TICKETS START AT $35 $30 REGULAR / $24 SENIORS / $10 STUDENTS SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE 25% dance.colum.eduTODAY! JOFFREY.ORGVictoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez | Photo by Cheryl Mann.Shot on location at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Chicago.

45 logical step for her work and po- tentially for artists of similar in- MICHELLE KRANICKE terests. Most recently, SITE/less co-hosted the Video Corpo Founder and Dance on Film Festival with kin- Artistic Director, dred spirits Defibrillator and Pivot Arts. SITE/less 45 - MICHELLE When Michelle Kranicke, the 46 KRANICKE founder and artistic director of Zephyr Dance, and her husband JESSIE MARASA David Sundry acquired an odd, triangular-shaped industrial Founder, building on Augusta Boulevard The JIM & The Watering Can wedged between the train tracks and the Kennedy, they had a Since she appeared on this list unique vision for a unique loca- two years ago for her “Set Free” tion: an art space like none other performance series and other in the city, one where genres of collaborative work under her ru- visual art and performance could bric of The Watering Can, Jessie co-exist and rub up against one Marasa, along with Chicago another in an authentic and un- Moving Company, launched a assuming way. Kranicke’s dance- new project at the Hamlin Field- making in recent years has house: the JIM—an acronym for veered further and further from Joy In Movement—a dancers’ the traditional proscenium stage, gym welcoming of all bodies and interested more in architectural ability levels and dedicated to ed- elements and audience proximi- ucation, meditation, improvisa- ty than stagecraft or narrative tion and civic engagement. The arc. SITE/less, where architec- three-week program included ture is of equal importance to the classes by Marasa and her regu- bodies performing, is the next ical output has only increased Rescripted has helped change the 47 - CATHERINE since then, with his arts coverage way theater criticism functions in MILLER appearing in the Chicago Sun- Chicago as well as alter notionsNewcity JANUARY 2019 Times, Chicago magazine and around access to criticism, critical the Chicago Reader. Most excit- values, and the meaning we give ing of all, he has recently to criticism in the theater commu- launched Storefront Rebellion, a nity. Founder and editor-in-chief biweekly newsletter providing Regina Victor has spearheaded a paid and unpaid subscribers with multidimensional, artist-led plat- reviews, news, and Kris’ al- form, giving power to creators to ways-insightful thoughts and determine what’s of value when feelings on the world of Chicago considering a theatrical work. Vic- theater. The future of artistic jour- tor, along with television and the- nalism is starting to look a little ater critic Oliver Sava, also leads brighter and a bit more hopeful. The Key: Young Critics Mentor- Kris Vire is that hope personified. ship Program, which offers young writers the opportunity to see local 44 productions and work with guest speakers and professionals REGINA VICTOR around critical engagement and craft. The initiative, now in its sec- Founder and ond year, is produced in partner- Editor-in-Chief, ship with the Chicago Inclusion Project. Rescripted is focused on Rescripted transparency of perspectives and biases as well as an openness in the consumption of criticism. Vic- tor has proven themself instru- mental in shifting the paradigm.40

48 - DIANE HAMM AND Many behind-the-scenes roles inOLIVIA LILLEY theater go unrecognized and un- der-appreciated, from production managers to intimacy directors. But in the world of casting direc- tors, Catherine Miller is working to shine a light on the intricacies of the world of casting. In addition to their work as casting director at First Floor Theater, Miller’s work has been seen at Jackalope Theatre, Red Tape Theatre and For Youth Inquiry (FYI). Each pro- duction cast under their direction presents a vision of what all of Chicago’s stages could, and should, look like: a celebration of all bodies and all identities, hon- oring the wealth and depth of sto- ries being shared across our city. 48 OLIVIA LILLEY AND DIANE HAMM Artistic Director and Managing Director, Prop Thtrlar collaborators, along with vis- cess, not product, and firmly 47 Young theater artists establishing JANUARY 2019 Newcityiting artists, including dancers grounded in play. Marasa and her companies has always been aKristina Isabelle, Benjamin Law, creative partner Sara Zalek also CATHERINE MILLER part of the natural order in theKristina Fluty, musicians Daniel took over management of Outer- Chicago theater community.Woods and Michael Zerang, and Space Studios in Wicker Park, Casting Director, What is less common is artisticpsychoanalyst Mary Dougherty; maintaining the studio as an af- First Floor Theater leadership being handed to a per-drop-in “Playlabs” with artists in fordable rental space for artists son under the age of forty. Andmultiple disciplines, song circles of all stripes. Marasa’s holistic yet that is just what Prop Thtr didand informal Friday night show- approach to creative work makes with Olivia Lilley, one of the city’sings by JIM faculty. It was a her a quietly powerful force on visionary young directors and aunique project focused on pro- and off the stage. poster child for millennial ingenu- ity. Lilley, who was founding artis- tic director of The Runaways Lab Theatre as well as Pop Magic Pro- ductions, and who has has direct- ed work in every corner of the city, frequently in unconventional spaces, does not lack leadership potential or creative energy. Join- ing established managing direc- tor Diane Hamm, Lilley’s first round as artistic director saw a full season of devised work, an oft-neglected format in Chicago’s more traditional kitchen-sink mi- lieu. Prop Thtr also serves as a space for nurturing emerging tal- ent. Lilley’s ascendance reflects a faith in the ongoing evolution of our theater community and of young theater practitioners to lead the way. 41

50 - SASHA SMITH AND THOMAS DIXON 49 - SULLIVAN DAVIS 49 50 SULLIVAN DAVIS SASHA SMITH AND THOMAS DIXON Program Director, The Hideout Artistic Curators, The Boxcar at Steep TheatreNewcity JANUARY 2019 Among the many reasons to pro- The Boxcar is proving to be the test the proposed Lincoln Yards next hub for new work. Cura- development project, one of the tors and Steep ensemble mem- strongest is the negative impact bers Sasha Smith and Thomas it could have on The Hideout, Dixon are working their tails off one of Chicago’s most treasured to feature new talent from inter- bars and performance spaces. disciplinary perspectives. The As program director, Sully Davis Boxcar boasts “innovative and has made the weekly lineup as diverse forms of performance,” eclectic and anarchic as Chicago enriching and offering plat- itself. Wander in on any given forms to art and presentations night and you could find yourself that deepen thought and con- at the mercy of performance art- siderations within our commu- ists like Sarah Squirm and Alex nity. Smith and Dixon honor Grelle or witnessing the comedic Steep’s mission by featuring vi- minds of the staff of Clickhole at sual artists, new musicals, “Clickhole Live!” Or, if you show stand up and poetry. This win- up on a Thursday night, you can ter, The Boxcar will feature hear the musical stylings of Hide- workshops and play readings. out mainstay Devil in a Woodpile. The space’s programming is Whatever your entertainment free, doesn’t require reserva- taste might be, chances are The tions and accepts open submis- Hideout is serving it. sions via their website.42

Dawoud Bey: “Night Coming Tenderly, Black” Culture“Untitled #1 (Picket Fence and Farmhouse)” 2017/Photo: Dawoud Beyrts &At the Art Institute of Chicago, beginning January 11

Art might as well drop the hopeful qualifier) barely looks, or functions, as art at all. Deller’s lecture is edifying but not inspiring, and art without beauty, even if that beauty manifests as abject ugliness, does no good for those whose suffering is objectified by it. But perhaps that is the point—the art isn’t for the warehouse worker, it is for the consumer, and the privileged one at that. Perhaps Deller is intentionally depriving the expectant art viewer of beauty and instead proffering a shaming indictment of her capitalist complicity? Truthfully, I don’t think an artist of such stature deserves such a generous reading. Not all art is good, and not all work is art.Jeff Koons, Still from \"The Price of Everything\", 2018 /HBO But what about those stubborn objects that are, despite all wishes to the contrary, works of art? The Price of Anything The massive masculine paintings, the chromed balloon dogs inflated to two stories tall—what Art Against Commodity to think about them in a repletely commodified world? A late 2018 documentary release, “The By Elliot J. Reichert Price of Everything” by Nathaniel Kahn, wrestles with this straw man of art versus money in aNewcity JANUARY 2019 The bleakest months of Chicago’s Last year’s package proliferation reminded me manner so retrograde it provides damning dreadful winter for me are always made colder of a small installation by the English artist insights despite itself, the way a child speaks by the abrupt reentry from the heights of the Jeremy Deller that I saw at the 2015 Venice the truth because it lacks socialization. This is holidays to the lows of labor. After all that Biennial. He was connecting the emergence of the kind of film you fear your parents might see money spent on gifts and booze, it's time to the urban workforce in Victorian England with and suddenly come to “understand” why actually earn it. Most of my shopping this past the recent rise of on-demand labor and you’ve thrown yourself in with our sorry lot. The season—these past few years, in fact—has zero-hours contracts, demonstrating just how dramatized struggle—cast between the shining taken place on that behemoth of a digital far, and really how little, we’ve come since we success of Jeff Koons and the late-career failure department store that needs not be named. I invented this whole industrial capitalist scheme of has-been painter Larry Poons—flattens the developed these primal urges some years ago a little less than two-hundred years ago. “Hello, art world into a bivalent antagonism between in the midst of a relationship that stoked many today you have day off” reads a hand-sewn those who make it big and those who die trying. bad habits, and this one I haven’t yet managed banner in the style of a historical trade union These two straight white men, who have had to kick. Addiction of any sort runs in my blood, flag, adopting the robotic and ungrammatical more than their fair chances, describe in and when it's simply shopping for household language used to inform a zero-hours remarkable similarity their insatiable passion for items or a promising new book, it’s easy to contractor by text message that their services the art they make, whether or not it has an excuse the proclivity as practical. were not needed that day—a gift of fleeting audience or a profit margin. The only difference: freedom at the high price of a day’s wages. one makes commissions for the Versailles I didn’t necessarily do much more shopping this More bluntly, Deller’s installation included a palace and the other paints his massive past season than I typically do at any other time mannequin arm wearing the Motorola WT4000, abstractions in his shed of a studio in upstate of the year, but I did see the increase every- a glove-like digital tracking device used by New York. The rest of the cast—Sotheby’s where—on my way to work, the smiling boxes major warehouse retailers to micro-monitor auctioneers, a smattering of blue-chip artists, piled high in lobbies and stashed behind worker productivity on the packing floor. If all and Chicago’s very own mega-collector Stefan bushes, grinning dumbly like the next object to this sounds less like art and more like an object Edlis (who is meant to play the obscenely be sympathetically animated by a Pixar promo lesson, you’ve got me there. wealthy and yet unoriginal lemming of a tie-in. Like the smartphone and Ariana Grande, buyer)—fill the requisite roles in the small anything that ubiquitous that wasn’t around a In fact, much of the contemporary art that constellation that is conjured up by the term “art decade ago deserves the utmost scrutiny. Too appears most capable of directly criticizing world.” But whose art world is this, anyway? bad I’m too complicit in this vice to do that so-called “late” capitalism (spoiler alert, heavy lifting. capitalism is not ending anytime soon, so we I saw the film at a free screening hosted by the Chicago Artists Coalition, which must have had the movie foisted on it by the director’s PR team—dozens of “community screenings” throughout the United States are listed on the film’s website. Afterward, a panel of two Chicago artists and one gallerist—Iris Bernblum, Derrick Woods-Morrow and Jefferson Godard—bravely fielded questions from the audience, as they, too, had seen the film for the first time. I was struck by how far away from44

Rebuilding the Present Presented in partnership with the David LynchJanuary 18 – April 13 Foundation, Rebuilding the Present brings together artists whose works engage a spectrum of meditativeOpening Reception practices. Works by Leslie Baum, Meredith Haggerty,Friday, January 18, 5 – 8 PM Cameron Harvey, Susan Hiller, David Lynch, Stan Shellabarger, and Rhonda Wheatley suggest thatWeinberg/Newton Gallery meditation can function as a tool of not only self-care IMAGE: CAMERON HARVEY, WHAT I SEE WITH MY EYES CLOSED, SEPT 5, 2017, COLORED PENCIL ON PAPER.300 W Superior Street, Suite 203 but of social justice writ large, offering practitionersChicago, IL 60654 a sense of agency to cope in the ever-growing chaos of our world. Panel: Peace through Meditation and Restorative Justice Thursday, February 7, 6 – 8PM Workshop: Reset – Tools & Practices for Calling Forth the Authentic You led by Rhonda Wheatley Saturday, February 9, 1 – 3PM Panel: Quiet Time – Changing Students’ Lives Thursday, March 7, 6 – 8PM Friendraiser: Change Begins Within – How Meditation Can Help End Gang Violence in Chicago * Ticketed event Thursday, April 4, 5 – 8PM312 529 5090weinbergnewtongallery.comHours Weinberg/Newton GalleryMon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM is free and open to the public. JANUARY 2019 Newcity 45

Newcity JANUARY 2019 ART TOP 5 that art world all of us in the theater were, and dream is fundamentally exploitative and how frustrating it must have been for each of us ultimately unsustainable. 1 Caravans of Gold, to watch something so foreign portrayed as the Fragments in Time. pinnacle of our collective labor and aspirations. What Kahn misses, and what Saltz does as Block Museum of Art. Two old, white, male painters duking it out at well, is the inherently problematic nature of the An ambitious exhibition the end of art history—is that all there is to the artwork that makes it both a harbinger of and of material culture from art world today? a tool in the slow death of capitalism. The Medieval Africa revives a absurd stratification that separates a Jeff forgotten history of the Thankfully, we have the world’s most popular art Koons from an Iris Bernblum or a Derrick continent's prosperity and critic to assure us that no, there is so much Woods-Morrow maps the broader conditions cultural wealth that had been more to it all! Of the film, in which he appears of inequality in our world—apologies to the elided by Eurocentricism. several times, Jerry Saltz writes “Welcome to laters for their use in my desperate analogy. the art world of 2018. A place of cravenness Art, which Saltz in his review rightly assesses 2 Dawoud Bey. and tropospheric wealth, yet a world that still as beyond recognizable meaning, lacks the Art Institute of Chicago. provides comfort, safe spaces for people to do kind of intrinsic value that even the flimsiest of The eminent Chicago-based their work, take chances, assert themselves, dollar-store trinkets can be understood to photographer turns from step outside themselves, act, and maybe do embody. In that sense, it has no value, at least portraiture to the architecture ‘something meaningful.’\" For Saltz, who does not in a capitalist sense. What value it does and landscapes of the criticize the film’s narrow scope, the greed and have would have to be intangible and subject Underground Railroad, a vapidity of the art world are excusable for what to the discrete appreciation of the possessor, major first showing of \"Night it also makes possible—safe spaces for whether she possesses it in her home or in a Coming Tenderly, Black,\" meaningful and risky work. Fine, but what Saltz fleeting gaze at the gallery or museum. a new body of work. fails to comprehend is his own complicity in maintaining the kind of art world that he rightly Art is a problematic commodity, one that 3 Stateless: Views considers toxic—the one that inflates prices cannot ever be fully assimilated into the of Global Migration. and egos, discriminates and tokenizes, and functionalist logic of capitalism. When it does, Museum of Contemporary largely excludes the risky work that exemplifies it ceases to be art at all. And in that sense, Jeff Photography. Eight artists the progressive edge of art that he purports to Koons stopped being a practicing artist humanize the global migration champion. Saltz waxes nostalgic for the days decades ago. In the film’s interview with Amy crisis at a museum with a long when little upstart galleries started by the likes Cappellazzo, Sotheby’s New York chairman track-record of examining of Larry Gagosian and Paula Cooper had and executive vice president, she remarks that politics and current events nothing but a few Rauschenbergs and de once an artist’s work had been installed in a through photography. Koonings on the wall and when untrained corporate lobby they will forever be known as writers could anoint themselves critics and call a “lobby artist.” With her off-handed remark, 4 Minami Kobayashi the trends as they went along. These were Cappellazzo inadvertently lifts the curtain on and Chanel Chiffon simpler times, he laments, and the art world the art market’s relationship with its delicate Thomas. Goldfinch Projects. today is not what it used to be. Saltz wants it commodities. They must be handled gingerly Humans, animals and both ways, and because he functions, perhaps so as not to expose their internal contradic- landscapes figure into the unwittingly, as a soft leftist foil within a field tions, at once a vessel for a transcendent colorful abstractions of these owned and operated by an archconservative experience and a very worldly thing. Chicago-based painters. elite, he labors under the illusion that such a thing is possible: a good art world and a Contradictions are at the heart of capitalist 5 Cody Tumblin and profitable art world. Sound familiar? logic, they power its very engine of limitless Kevin MacNamee growth. They are precisely why I can rail Tweed. Devening Projects. The founding myth of capitalism is that wealth against the system and order a Maurizio Two painters will show work begets wealth and that prosperity is a tide that Lazzarato book on the same laptop, the same in a space that always offers lifts all boats. For over two-hundred years, this one on which I watch Netflix and write 46 thoughtful pairings. now-completely globalized system has relied freelance art criticism. It’s where I check my on our collective cognitive dissonance to upcoming hours for my part-time job at a rationalize the fallacy that the accumulation of Bezos-owned business, a paycheck that I’ll wealth by the few promotes the good of the inevitably spend on another Bezos-owned many. This premise is so fundamentally absurd platform. Seeing art—in Chicago’s world-class that it takes magic to sell it, and that’s museums, in its still-struggling gallery scene, precisely what capitalism does. Things—pretty and in its strangely robust nonprofit and things, expensive things, useful things, apartment spaces—is what helps me escape meaningful things, magic little things—show us the overbearing conditions of capitalism even that capitalism works because things are a as I live and breathe them in every moment. product of capitalism and we want many more Mind you, I am only really talking about things than we already have. Likewise, when escapism, at least with art's present forms. I people have fewer things, they tend not to see do believe that it can be way out entirely, but it capitalism as working, at least not for them. will take a whole different kind of art, and a And so, it’s important to capitalism that whole different kind of art viewer, to make enough of us have enough things to crowd our something that will allow us to see beyond this vision and keep us from seeing what is little chapter of history that right now feels so blatantly obvious, that our collective fever ubiquitous, so permanent.

CHERYL POPE NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT. FEB 8–MAY 27, 2019The Joyner/Giuffrida Cheryl Pope, ON THE SHOULDERS OF, 2014Collection Courtesy of Monique Meloche GalleryPresented by The Helis Foundation ROCKFORDARTMUSEUM.ORG 711 N. MAIN ST, ROCKFORD, ILJanuary 29–May 19, 2019AAdllmariesswioenlciosmalew. ays free.smartmuseum.uchicago.eduSigns and Systems Logan Center Gallery • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts • 915 E 60th St Chicago IL 60637 Mariana Castillo Deball November 16 —Lawrence Kenny, Allan McCollum,Matt Mullican, Caroline Van Damme PETLACOATLCurated by Anne RorimerMatt Mullican, Untitled (Pantagraph), 2016, acrylic gouache and oil stick rubbing on canvas, in two parts; the artist and Peter Freeman, Inc. January 13 JANUARY 2019 NewcityJANUARY 11–FEBRUARY 16, 20191711 WEST CHICAGO AVENUECHICAGO ILLINOIS 60622WW W. R H OF F MAN G A L L E RY.C O M 47

EXHIBITIONSTHE ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM201 East Ontario Street 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL312 787 3997 847 967 [email protected] / [email protected] / www.ilholocaustmuseum.orgTues–Fri 11-6, Sat 11-3 Mon–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sun 10-5January 23–April 27 Thessia Machado: Toward the Unsound Through January 13 Stories of Survival: Object.Image.MemoryGarden Project: Jenny Kendler and Brian Kirkbride – Photos by Jim Lommasson The Playhead of Dawn Through January 31 The Last Goodbye – A Virtual Reality Experience Through October 27 Activists and Icons: The PhotographsTHE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART of Steve SchapiroAt Northwestern University Opening February 10 Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL847 491 4000 from 1808 to [email protected] / www.blockmuseum.northwestern.eduTues, Sat–Sun 10-5, Wed–Fri 10-8, Mon closed LOGAN CENTER EXHIBITIONSJanuary 26–July 21 Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, At the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637January 26–April 14 Isaac Julien: The Leopard (Western Union 773 702 2787 [email protected] / Small Boats) Tues–Sat 9-9, Sun 11-9, Mon closed Through January 13 Mariana Castillo Deball: PetlacoatlCARL HAMMER GALLERY MONIQUE MELOCHE GALLERY740 N. Wells Street312 266 8512 451 N. Paulina [email protected] / 312 243 2129Tues–Fri 11-6, Sat 11-5 [email protected] / www.moniquemeloche.comJanuary 4–March 2 Something Always Lies Beyond a Wall (EVB) Tues–Sat 11-6 Through January 12 Ebony G. Patterson: ...for those who A Group Show bear/bare witness...DEPAUL ART MUSEUM MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARYAt DePaul University PHOTOGRAPHY935 W. Fullerton Avenue773 325 7506 At Columbia College [email protected] / 600 S. Michigan AvenueMon–Tues closed, Wed–Thurs 11-7, Fri–Sun 11-5 312 663 5554December 20–January 15 DPAM Platform Projects: Industry of [email protected] / Mon–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5 the Ordinary “Tourist/Refugee” January 24–March 31 Stateless: Views of Global MigrationJanuary 17–March 31 Karolina Gnatowski: Some Kind of DutyJanuary 17–March 31 Betsy Odom: Butchcraft

THE NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM RICHARD GRAY GALLERYFOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY Richard Gray Gallery, Hancock: 875 N. Michigan Avenue, 38th FloorAt the University of Chicago Mon–Fri 10-5:30, Sat by appointment5701 South Woodlawn Avenue Gray Warehouse: 2044 W. Carroll Avenue773 795 2329 By appointment only – contact gallery for [email protected] / 312 642 8877Mon–Fri 10-5 [email protected] / www.richardgraygallery.comJanuary 17–April 5 Kleine Welt Please contact gallery for informationPOETRY FOUNDATION SCHINGOETHE CENTER61 W. Superior Street of Aurora University312 787 7070 1315 Prairie Street, Aurora, [email protected] / 630 844 7843Mon–Fri 11-4 [email protected] / through January 24 Krista Franklin: “…to take root Mon, Wed–Fri 10-4, Tues 10-7 January 31–April 26 BECOMING: Transformation in American among the stars.” Indian Art, The Schingoethe Contemporary CollectionTHE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY January 31–April 26 Stitches of the Soul/Las Puntadas del Almas:At the University of Chicago Story quilts from the National Museum of Mexican Art5811 S. Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall, 4th Floor773 702 8670 SMART MUSEUM OF [email protected] / www.renaissancesociety.orgTues–Wed, Fri 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Sat–Sun 12-5 At the University of ChicagoThrough January 27 Let me consider it from here 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue 773 702 0200RHONA HOFFMAN GALLERY [email protected] / Tues–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sun 10-51711 W. Chicago Avenue January 29–May 10 Smart to the Core: Embodying the Self312 455 1990 January 29–May 10 Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida [email protected] / www.rhoffmangallery.comTues–Fri 10-5:30, Sat 11-5:30 ZHOU B ART CENTERJanuary 11–February 16 Signs and Systems: Lawrence Kenny, 1029 W. 35th Street Allan McCollum, Matt Mullican, and Caroline Van Damme. 773 523 0200 Curated by Anne Rorimer [email protected] / Mon–Sat 10-5 January 14–February 12 Painting with Fire by FUSEDChicago

DanceNewcity JANUARY 2019 The Sacred Blair Thomas 2018/Photo: Saverio Trugliaand the Profane The Non-Human Speaks in the International Puppet Theater Festival By Sharon Hoyer They’re coming: backlit paper cutouts, had a formative effect on my career as a and kitchen-sink drama, playwright-theater dolls sculpted of foam and wire, shape-shift- young artist. I wanted to generate a similar dominated. And then in came this stuff that ing scenes of sand, wood-carved likenesses experience for artists in Chicago in the was from a different planet to us. The of old men and whimsical figures on strings, absence of that festival. Two public puppetry audiences saw the work, the critics saw the all descending on Chicago from around the festivals in 2000 and 2001, one of which I work, the landscape changed. I’m trying to globe to relate stories of pathos, bathos, initiated—Puppetropolis sponsored by the city advance the art form. We are in the fourth absurdist comedy, horrifying injustice and of Chicago—[offered] an example of how a decade of a renaissance of puppetry, transcendent beauty—our most human festival could be organized, in that it was nationally and internationally. That continues dramas given profound life by lights, a curtain collaborative. I had always harbored the idea to be dynamic and the form continues to and humble bits of cloth or string. The to restart a festival and, when I brought it to show its power in ways that are historically Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, my board, they asked how in the world can we unprecedented. People who haven’t seen running January 17-27 across the city, is the do that? At the time we were barely a contemporary puppet theater will be only one of its kind in the United States, and $100,000 organization. How could we shocked; they have no idea this is going on. Chicago—originally home to the Works organize a festival on that scale? Nationally, I Projects Administration’s series of puppetry was aware that our country didn’t have a What sparked this renaissance? and marionette plays and progenitor of the national puppet theater festival at all. What sparked the renaissance was the term “puppeteer”—is perhaps its natural original Renaissance and the suppression of home.It’s also the creative playground of Blair I used my relationships with institutions I’d irrational thought. Rational thinking came to Thomas, founder of the festival, one of the worked with that had presented puppetry in dominate; things that were considered masterminds behind the now-defunct some way—the Art Institute, the Field Museum, irrational lost all credibility and had to go Redmoon Theater and a consummate artist Links Hall, the MCA, and everyone took it on. somewhere. For a while, they went nowhere. who has been playfully poking holes in the It was set up to spread out the burden of what Then in the nineteenth century we had a lot boundaries of theater in Chicago for the last it takes to put on a festival so when we try to of ghost stories. In the twentieth century three decades. I spoke with Thomas about do it again and one presenter says they can’t fantasy literature emerged, then fantasy film the festival, the resilience of collaboration, do it, it doesn’t fold. emerged. The puppet theater turns out to and the need for the irrational in art. be the domain of the irrational. There’s a It raises the profile nationally, too. in the puppet in front of you, you know it’s a What was the impetus for the Festival? same way the Chicago International Theater puppet, it’s a fabricated thing. It looks like In many ways, the Chicago International Festival changed the dynamic. I witnessed it it’s alive. Your brain can’t process that Theater Festival that ran from 1986 to 1996 because I arrived in 1985 and Steppenwolf irrational experience.50

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