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Home Explore Newcity Chicago December 2019

Newcity Chicago December 2019

Published by Newcity, 2019-11-19 00:22:35

Description: Newcity's Designed Objects issue features interviews with local designers on utilitarianism versus exploration, market research, retail placement, and more. Additional featured content includes a conversation with Tom Vacek on Barry Bursak and a guide to gift buying for the design obsessed, including an El-themed board game. Elsewhere in this issue: the story of "La Esperanza" at that National Museum of Art in Pilsen, where to bring your appetite during the Feast of Seven Fishes, a holiday residency at City Winery, and more!


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UNRAVELING MODERN LIVING TATIANA BILBAO ESTUDIO Featuring a collaboration with Sweet Water Foundation and projects by Archeworks, Colectivo 1050O, Cultural ReProducers, Fieldwork Collaborative Projects, Stefan Gruber, Nance Klehm of Social Ecologies, and The Weaving Mill, among others September 16, 2019–January 11, 2020 Mexico City-based architecture office Tatiana Bilbao Estudio Graham Foundation presents an immersive installation that transforms a former Madlener House, 4 W Burton Place domestic space to explore new forms of collectivity. Presented in Gallery and Bookshop Hours: partnership with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Image: Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, from Unraveling Modern Living, digital collage, 2019

DECEMBER 2019 --------------------------------------------------- CONTENTS DECEMBER 2019 Newcity PEOPLE POWER — The story of “La Esperanza” finally gets told at the National Museum of Mexican Art ------------------------------------------ 7 DESIGN ISSUE THE CITY STORY — Barry Bursak and the design store that changed Chicago + a conversation with Tom Vack --------------------------------14 DESIGNERS IN CONVERSATION -------------------------------------- 20 Alyx Harch Luftwerk — Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero Ayush Kasliwal and Mike Dreeben Seth Keller Dee Clements / Studio Herron GIFTS GIFTS GIFTS — For the design-obsessed -------------------- 30 ARTS & CULTURE ART - The Petty Biennial.2 is disrupting culture ----------------------------------- 36 DANCE - “Tidings of Tap!” has a new story to tell --------------------------------- 41 DESIGN - Gamesmanship in riding the El ---------------------------------------- 44 DINING & DRINKING - Dive into the Feast of Seven Fishes ----------------------- 46 FILM - Lost in Nicolas Winding Refn's “Too Old To Die Young” --------------------- 48 LIT - Jac Jemc has some happy stories, too --------------------------------------- 51 MUSIC - Los Lobos brings its Chicago love for Christmas ------------------------- 54 STAGE - The stylized theatricality of The Conspirators ---------------------------- 56 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL - Teen Dream fails an inspection ---------------------------- 58 3

Newcity DECEMBER 2019 \"Knives and Skin,\" our second film, is released in theaters and on video on demand by IFC Midnight on December 6; in Chicago, it opens at the Music Box on December 13. Our journey began in earnest about two years ago when we launched our first feature, \"Signature Move.\" Jennifer Reeder directed that film with us, and when it came time to bring her first \"auteur\" feature to life, we decided to work together again. By the following summer, we were in production. Although the film is set in the rural Midwest, it was filmed in Chicago or within thirty miles of the city limits. Our small-town high school is Taft High, a Chicago Public School on the Northwest Side, where, Jim Jacobs attended in the late fifties and found inspiration for writing his own mu- sic-infused story, \"Grease.\" Our film's family homes are in Jefferson Park, Melrose Park and Morgan Park. And everything else is in Lemont, includ- ing the high school football field featured in the film. As is the quarry, where we undertook nearly a week of overnight shoots in surroundings that are beautiful on film, but hot, buggy, and sometimes as scary as it is on screen, especially when coyotes started howling. The challenges of filming under less-than-ideal conditions can, in some cases, blow up a project when tensions boil over. In the case of \"Knives and Skin,\" those adverse conditions brought the cast and crew together. The film is the articulation of a singular vision, from the mind of Jennifer Reed- er, and everyone working on it was in love with the project. So much so that dozens and dozens of cast and crew flew to Berlin and Tribeca in New York for our two major premieres, on their own dimes. Of course none of this matters to you if the film is not worth seeing, but you're going to want to see this, and see it on the big screen if you can. Drenched with lush colors, shot in anamorphic widescreen format and fea- turing a soundtrack the likes of which you've never imagined, it epitomiz- es what a theatrical film should be, and can be. Also take note of the ex- traordinary actors, all cast in Chicago (including four Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members), and allow yourself some hometown pride. Can you tell we're proud too? 4

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CONTRIBUTORS Rick Valicenti (Guest Editor “Designed Objects” 2019) On the Cover ON THE COVER In 1988, Rick Valicenti founded Thirst, a collaborative practice “UnFolding Chair” by ChiLab, 2013 Cover Image Ben Stagl providing design and immersive environments for high-profile (collaborative efforts of Cover Design Anna Mort and Rick Valicenti clients in the architectural, civic and performing arts communities. Ben Stagl, Bo Rodda, Jason Gillette, Kuan-Wen Chiu and Max Davis) Vol. 34, No. 1398 His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art MoMA), resides in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago The 1941 Steel Folding Chair by PUBLISHERS and has published in the New York Times and Newcity. Krueger Metal Products was designed Brian & Jan Hieggelke with utility and economy in mind. Associate Publisher Mike Hartnett And while the White House honored Valicenti in 2011 with the Originally created with excess metal EDITORIAL Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt, National Design Award and the AIGA from steel companies, the lightweight Editor Brian Hieggelke (American Institute of Graphic Arts) has recognized Valicenti with design's ability to fold and nest made Managing Editor Jan Hieggelke the Medal which is the highest honor in the graphic design profess- it perfect for temporary or shifting Art Editor Kerry Cardoza ion, a dramatic announcement will be made public in early 2020. and congregational assemblies as Dance Editor Sharon Hoyer well as everyday use. Commonly Design Editor Vasia Rigou Anna Mort (Guest Designer “Designed Objects” 2019) sold for two dollars, this design has Dining and Drinking Editor Anna Mort is a graphic designer practicing at Thirst, working become one of the most under- David Hammond collaboratively with Rick Valicenti since 2014. Her work has featured ubiquitous chairs of the Film Editor Ray Pride been recognized by The STA 100 (Society of Typographic Arts), twentieth century. Lit Editor Tara Betts featured in Pattern magazine and exhibited at Typeforce. Music Editor Robert Rodi By producing the image of this Theater Editor Kevin Greene Vasia Rigou (Writer “The City Story”) chair in solid bronze and removing Editorial Intern Alexander Tannebaum Vasia Rigou is Newcity’s Design Editor. For our annual “Designed its ability to fold and nest, the ART & DESIGN Objects” issue, she dives into Chicago’s design past to explore designers deconstruct the brilliance Senior Designers Fletcher Martin, City, the now-defunct design store that was far ahead of its time. of its inception by trading the design's Dan Streeting , Billy Werch She hopes that this story will be as much of a history lesson to functional value for a material one. Designers Jim Maciukenas, you as it was to her. Denying functionality, the object Stephanie Plenner becomes the sculptural image of MARKETING Kerry Cardoza (Writer “People Power”) the chair, thereby establishing that Marketing Manager Todd Hieggelke Kerry Cardoza is Newcity's Art Editor. A Chicago-based journ- image into history by undoing its OPERATIONS alist, she writes mostly about the intersections of art, music, incredible popularity. General Manager Jan Hieggelke gender and politics. Find her on Twitter @booksnotboys. Distribution Nick Bachmann, Adam Desantis, Preston Klik, Newcity DECEMBER 2019 Quinn Nicholson One copy of current issue free at select locations. 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. 6

PEOPLE PILSEN was a hotbed of com- DECEMBER 2019 Newcity POWER munity activism in the late 1960s and early The National Museum 1970s. The Brown Be- of Mexican Art rets organized at the newly established cultural center Casa Tells the Story Aztlán. The Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and oth- ers fought the city on Plan 21, a massive redevelopment of “La Esperanza” project that would have wrecked the neighborhood as res- idents knew it. Local women founded a social service agen- By Kerry Cardoza cy that would become Mujeres Latinas en Acción. One of the largest battles was the campaign for a neighborhood Malú Ortega and Jimmy Longoria, high school. Pilsen had no high school, just Froebel, for ninth co-designers. Marcos Raya, Salvador Vega, grade, so students had to commute to Harrison High School, and Oscar Moya, assistant. artists. way out in South Lawndale. Harrison was overcrowded and “A la esperanza,” 1979, mural. fraught with gang tension. Not to mention that Pilsen’s Lat- inx majority student body was not adequately supported at Harrison; Spanish-speaking students were frequently placed in special education classes. Pilsen parents and stu- dents pushed the school board relentlessly for a new high school, which they eventually got. Benito Juarez High School opened its doors in 1978. Sarita Hernández, teacher and student program coordinator at the National Museum of Mexican Art, tells the story of this high school and “La Es- peranza,” the mural that serves as its cultural touchstone, in the exhibition “40 años a la esperanza.” Newcity sat down with Hernández to learn why it was important to set the re- cord straight on the mural’s creation. 7

“A la esperanza” mural details /Photos: Malú Ortega imagine there was a lot of tension, even though they had backgrounds in the arts and were teaching artists, there was a lot of tension there. But they definitely learned a lot from each other. One of the reasons why their mural design was chosen was because it was very new and con- temporary for the time. Very abstract and inter- pretative and also talking about the past, future and present of the student, focusing on the life of the student, and how this figure of Benito Juarez is a guide for the students to make deci- sions about their future. It’s really poetic in that sense. There’s so many different characters within it that reflect what was happening at the moment and then even today. It’s still relevant of what’s going on. Especially if you think about teachers right now advocating for changes, and as they’re going through the bargaining process, I think it honors the activism that happened. It’s not explicit, but I do think that it does honor the struggle that the parents had to go through in order to build the school. How did this exhibition, “A la esperanza,” come about? Newcity DECEMBER 2019 How did the Benito Juarez High The interesting thing about what was going on In my fellowship before, I directed this oral his- School come to be, and what is during this whole transition was that while this tory video on Casa Aztlán in the early 1970s. A the story behind the mural? school was getting built, a lot of students were lot of the teaching artists that I interviewed pushed out. And I say pushed out particularly would mention this mural project, part of that Between 1968 and 1974, there was a big push because it was the system that pushed them was people mentioning Malú Ortega, who was between organizers through the Pilsen Neigh- out. It wasn’t necessarily that they just dropped the co-designer. She just kept on constantly, bors Community Council and parents and stu- out. A lot of students would go to Casa Aztlán, constantly coming up! And everyone was like, I dents from Harrison High School-Froebel, who which was the social service agency of Pilsen, can’t find her, everyone’s lost contact with her, were advocating for essentially the building of and also an arts and cultural center. They would it’s been almost forty years. I was so determined a new high school. Because there was no high go and hang out there when the schools were to get in contact with her because I didn’t want school in the Pilsen neighborhood. Froebel was in transition, basically go there instead of school. to work on this oral history project and not in- one but it was an entry-level branch, what ninth clude her. And we did. We were able to get in grade would be, super small. So everyone had That’s really important to note because the mural contact with her and honestly because of her, I to go to Harrison High School, which was all the itself, “A la esperanza,” came out of Casa Aztlán. really feel like this exhibition was possible. way in Little Village. That’s where Maria Sauce- There were a bunch of teaching artists who were do is right now. A lot of parents and students asked to propose what they would put on the Part of my interest in working on this was to give were concerned because they would have to wall, on the first mural of Benito Juarez [High credit to all the artists who participated. Before cross gang territory and the school was way School], outside. They had to defend it and pres- September 16—a couple weeks ago—you would overcrowded. The conditions were terrible. ent it in front of a panel of parents and teachers. pass by there and you would just see one name There were a bunch of sit-ins, boycotts, protests All of the people who competed would be asked credited. It was restored in 2015 by the other advocating for it. They got approval, but of to help paint the mural. Almost everyone did, ex- co-designer, Jimmy Longoria, and while he to- course there was so much delay throughout the cept Aurelio Diaz. All the artists—like Oscar tally did so much work on the restoration and process with the Board of Education. Eventual- Moya, Marcos Raya, Salvador Vega—actually the planning and even the original proposal and ly it passed and they were able to get the land had more of a background in making murals and design process, so did all these other folks. It’s on Cermak and Ashland. In 1977 the doors painting. Jimmy Longoria and Malú Ortega, who important that they get credit as well. Before opened. Students started in seventy-eight, so co-submitted a proposal—this was their first September 16, when we installed a bronze com- the first graduating class was in seventy-nine. project. This was their first mural. So you can memorative plaque honoring the original 1979 credit panel, you would pass by there and only see one name and think only this one person did it. A lot of people here at the museum even didn’t know that Malú Ortega co-designed it. There was actually a place-making exhibition that was up that my mentor Cesareo Moreno curated and when he met Malú, he asked me to change something in the exhibition because it didn’t honor her work in it. That was an exciting moment, because it was like, yes, we’re correct- ing this history that was erased or forgotten. That’s really where it came about. 8

My relationship with Malú grew and then I got they’ve been around since the seventies. Their in the institutional archives of this museum, at this fellowship and they offered me an opportu- first color film project, along with Latino Youth least it’s here and in an institution. If researchers nity to curate in the galleries here. Since it was Alternative High School, was on this mural, need to use it, it’s there. coming up on the fortieth anniversary, and the which is so dope, because the first time they got Chicago Architecture Biennial was happening, color, three-quarter-inch U-matic, they decided Another major part was working with Nicole it seemed like a good moment to have this. Then they were going to color the mural. That’s so Marroquin around a lot of the projects that she Malú, of course, after our Casa Aztlán oral his- important because the color, it’s like, the lines and Paulina Camacho were doing at the Benito tory video, she stumbled upon this really big and the color is the mural. So it’s really amazing Juarez Community Academy, around learning shoebox full of ephemera and color slides that that they were able to capture that in color. the history of how this school came to be. She she took in 1979, documenting the process of Through that, I was able to get access to their has a lot of prints around the Harrison and the mural, because that was her practice. She outtakes of all the footage they took when they Froebel school uprisings. Then there are these was a photographer, a ceramicist and a print- were doing the video called “La Esperanza.” collages that were stitched together in a fabric maker. She had all of this photo documentation piece that the students made, these collages and all of this ephemera that she had archived The really cool thing about this mural is how from one of the classrooms that Paulina and Ni- on her time in Chicago in the seventies. Casa much it’s about arts education, and how all of cole did, around thinking through identity and Aztlán was such a big part of that, the mural and these artists are also teaching artists, because place-making and thinking about what it would her work at SAIC. I was able to work with actu- often just because you’re an artist doesn’t mean have been like to be a student at Froebel. A lot al color samples from her time in generative sys- you’re a good teacher, you know? It’s really great of the images contain soccer playing and faces, tems, which was a very big intervention of tech- how both of these things are going hand in hand: like eyes cut out and things like that, to address nology in the arts. I got really lucky, is what I like the public service, the social service arts edu- identity. Something that I think is really interest- to say. If it wasn’t for her, in terms of the objects cation and public art. ing is that a lot of the collages are soccer players and the ephemera of how you publicly display playing because they actually didn’t have a soc- this history and knowledge, I don’t think it would I also did a bunch of oral histories with all the cer team. A lot of the students were like, “Oh my have been as powerful. artists who were involved, I actually went to meet God, how did they not have this? It’s super im- with Jimmy Longoria. I had a studio visit with portant to our community.” It’s something that Talk a bit about what the him. Marcos Raya, Salvador Vega. Malú and I we take for granted, that wasn’t around or wasn’t curation process was like and had done a series of oral histories that were ac- part of the reality of that time in that context. some of the objects on display. tually recorded, because I felt like it was really They were asking such amazing questions com- important to record her oral histories because paring then and now. A big aspect, other than Malú Ortega’s archive, she’s simply not been in the archive. She’s been is Community TV Network. They’re this grass- literally erased. For me, it’s really important to There’s a comic book club at Benito Juarez right roots video arts education organization, and get that back in there, even if that recording lives now, and I thought it was important to include EMERSON & ELDER, P.C. DECEMBER 2019 Newcity ATTORNEYS FOR FILMMAKERS • Corporations • Contracts • Clearance • Production Counsel • Copyright Eric J. Emerson [email protected] 312-758-4301 Please call or email to learn more 9

current students in the exhibition, because To put this exhibition in context It’s within our everyday struggles. That’s some- they’re the ones who see the mural every day. for 2019, obviously this is the thing that I also appreciate of the narrative of It’s part of the fabric of their school. So they fortieth anniversary of the mural, the mural. It’s these everyday people, particu- learned about how Malú was no longer on the but why else do you think this larly everyday students. Even the illustration of wall, how artists credited the mural right now, story is important to tell? Benito Juarez in the mural, he’s not dressed in a and they wanted to talk more about that and re- fancy tuxedo, he’s just wearing a button-up. He’s write this history through a comic book. In the When I was initially thinking about how to con- like an everyday person, but with so much con- exhibition there’s a little snapshot of what the struct this exhibition, I realized that Day of the fidence and power and guidance and light for comic book is going to be like. We actually don’t Dead would also be up at the same time. these students. I love the emphasis on the every- have a programming budget for that gallery, so Around this time of year, we get so many stu- day in this mural. That’s empowering for a student it’s been a labor of love figuring out how to fund dents in the museum, like every day. For me, it or a teacher or a mom or a sister, whoever pass- this. It’s really important to my own methodolo- was important to curate a space that would be es by that mural, to see that this person in power gy to include and connect with the people who inviting to high school students and also to any is in the same position as them, and can feel em- this would directly a ect, which is Benito Juarez level of student. Especially with the video, I powered to advocate for themselves. I just really students. We have a GiveGab right now, we’re think, because it’s empowering to learn about feel like knowledge is power, especially when it trying to fundraise for the comic book and the students that fought for a school to be built. On comes to understanding how things like this hap- teaching artists behind the project. That’s going top of that, to learn that this mural that was cre- pen, particularly how Benito Juarez came about. to be coming out throughout the run of the show. ated and organized by art teachers at the The community fought for a school, period. With- school, in connection to a social service agen- out the community, it wouldn’t have happened. The comic book is such cy that a lot of people went through, that was Without the pressure of the community, and the a cool project. focused in the arts. Some students and their organizing and the arts, the arts was so integral elders might have gone through Casa Aztlán. to it. Casa Aztlán was such a big part of that too, The cool thing about it is that the students have For me, it was really important that students along with Pilsen Neighbors. So many cultural this and can add it to their resume. One of the see that it is possible to advocate for things that hubs around that time were in conversation with students, her portfolio just got accepted at they want, and that they have a right to. I real- each other, fighting for whatever issue it was. For SAIC, so she’ll most likely get accepted. It’s ly wanted them to know that this happened me, it’s this constant reminder that we have a his- good for them to have a publication. It’s em- and that it can happen again, to feel empow- tory that we’re building on, that we can advocate powering to be published in the comic book! ered to organize for themselves. for ourselves. Also, what I really appreciate and I always will, about zines and DIY publications or non-DIY It’s super timely, with the Chicago Teachers “ años a la esperanza,” publications, is that it will live beyond an exhi- Union going on strike. Seeing that change hap- National Museum of Mexican Art, bition. I am invested in rewriting this history, pens from the community. We can’t wait for pol- that everyone thought was a certain way. iticians, or people in power, to make the moves. West th Street, through March , . PERFORMANCES BEGIN NOVEMBER 19!Newcity DECEMBER 2019 GROUP PACKAGES AVAILABLE • SECONDCITY.COM • 312-337-3992 10


NEED I was recently asked if I have ever experienced being behind the wheel of a Tesla. Needless to say I replied, “No,” but now I really need (want) to check it out. I want to check out what is purported to be the new driving-ex- perience standard. The risk of really falling in love (lust) with the entirety of this designed experience makes me fearful of being so overcome with desire that I am propelled into retooling my parking spot with an elec- trical plug. Clearly I am in that liminal space between need and want / love and lust. I am also fully cognizant of how I fell headfirst onto the slippery slide of Apple everything. Besides the fact that the seductive styling of Tesla (and Apple) is waning for me from overexpo- sure (familiarity), their design process has rewarded. 12 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

LOVE Somedays it saddens me to think we are living (stuck) in a post-original time where every new designed thingy or experience feels like a souped up, retooled version of some other thingy that came before. Perhaps I am of that (vintage) age, but I do, regardless of my tamed cynicism, appreciate the remarkable essence of those times locked within designed artifact or experience. Whether it is a letterform, a chair, or an ephemeral laser-licked evening in Plano, every design (good or awful) embodies their moment. Like the other human- ities, design serves as a locket, sealing within it all of the frequencies running through the time and place in which the thing was brought to life. Clearly designed objects and experiences are the lens on our own now. Rick Valicenti’s words set in Jackson Showalter-Cavanaugh’s typeface, Okay (see page 33). 13


The City Story: How Barry Bursak Created Chicago’s Late Great Avant-Garde Design Store by Vasia Rigou Barry Bursak and Rick Valicenti talking about He moved to Chicago with a concept that had nothing Chicago’s design scene is a history lesson. There are to do with coffee in mind: a design store with an so many concepts and people and spaces floating in unusual name. “I remember seeing the ads for their conversation that even if you wrote every single Granfalloon,” recalls Valicenti. “I want to talk a little one down, you’d still need to revisit the list to keep up. bit about both the store Granfalloon and the name You simply had to be there. To highlight Bursak’s his- Granfalloon, and from my point of view, like how the toric (and long defunct) City, the founder and design hell did you get Jeff Barnes—a fabulous graphic director of Thirst pays him a visit and the two get deep designer then working for The Container Corporation in conversation—a walk down memory lane featuring of America—to do the work for Granfalloon? A gran- influential names, creative ideas and an interna- falloon is a Kurt Vonnegut coinage from his 1963 novel tional fan base. Wisconsin-born Barry “Cat’s Cradle” that, according to Wikipedia, refers to Bursak had a background in religion and philosophy, “a group of people who affect a shared identity or but kicked off his entrepreneurial adventure with a purpose, but whose mutual association is meaning- coffee business on Milwaukee’s eclectic, vibrant less.” The store would feature a collection of furni- Brady Street. “I was looking for a good cup of coffee ture, homeware and lighting, and would be called and I couldn’t find one,” he says, “so I started a coffee “hi-tech.” “Fun stuff,” as Bursak puts it. As for Jeff company.” Settled by Italians, the neighborhood Barnes? “I think he was just trying to get a cool job,” exudes a certain sense of elegance to this day. Other he says, laughing. Digging through boxes than the hipster crowd of recent decades replacing and folders filled with photographs, printouts and the hippies of the 1970s, not much has changed in newspaper articles, Bursak’s face lights up. “You’re what was becoming Milwaukee’s ever-hip area: a on a roll, Barry,” says Valicenti. “I can see your smile design vibe was prominent all around, and Bursak’s getting wider and wider.” Bursak goes on to reveal coffee shop was no different. “It was a boutique kind that it was Granfalloon’s evolution that led to a new of store—one of those hip stores on the street but it larger space at 213 Institute Place, and to the birth of was built like an old-fashioned general store,” he says. City, remembered to this day as Chicago’s premier “There were barrels of coffee beans and barrels of design destination. It would carry everything bulk candy, and people were coming in. Nobody was designer—from Italian furniture to Japanese fashion, doing things like that back then.” Valicenti immedi- to jewelry and home goods, to artifacts of all shapes ately makes the connection: “Back then, ‘curating’ and sizes. “I think there were even shoes, at some was not in the vocabulary,” he says. “Nobody used the point,” notes Valicenti. “I didn’t differentiate word curator but in the selection process of coffee, between this design or that design,” Bursak says. “If you obviously knew sources and you bought the stuff things were designed well, that was enough for me.” and thought you could sell it. You must have learned With an eye for great design and for iden- something about your ability to present an innoc- tifying those who were the real deal (the Originators; uous object, like a coffee bean, a certain way—I mean the provocateurs of this new frequency that was in the presentation is part of the retail experience.” the air, as Valicenti puts it), Bursak turned City into a “That certainly was one of my first expe- design destination. “I remember people who would riences,” Bursak says, agreeing, “learning to be nice come to Chicago looking for my store,” he says. “Think to people who came into my store, and explain to about how remarkable that is in a pre-Instagram, them what this is for and how it works or where it pre-Facebook. Pre-internet time, that you would comes from. Now that I think of everything, that’s the build a reputation outside the neighborhood limits, beginning of it all.” In three years time outside the city limits, to attract people from various his company grew to become a wholesale business cities and present and sell work from all over the selling products on a national level. But Bursak knew world,” Valicenti says. He should know. After all, he, he was ready for a new challenge and sold the store. too, was right then and there to witness City’s 15

influence. Bursak would travel during The digging continues. More folders open, those years, to Japan, to Italy, to Paris. “This, more more design memorabilia surface and the conversa- than anything, broadened my horizons about design,” tion shifts. Bursak and Valicenti catch up and remi- he says. So did connecting on a personal level to the nisce about their time with now prominent names of people who shaped the design of that moment in time. the design scene—”He was such a nice kid,” or ”that Bursak remembers meeting Ettore Sottsas, the jerk.” They tease each other: “Hahaha, look at that Italian architect, designer and founding member of hairstyle, oh my God!” But when Valicenti Memphis, the Postmodern design collective that pro- asks about the City catalogues, things get serious. duced unconventional furniture. This was invaluable. “I know where to start,” Bursak exclaims. He’s holding As Memphis moved from Italy to the an envelope from Kimberly-Clark—it’s a nine-by- United States, bringing bold color-clashing palettes, twelve-inch brown kraft envelope. He pulls out a slip unconventionally shaped furniture and unexpected of paper: “Please find the enclosed copy of our ad decor elements that would challenge the meaning of insert featuring the City brochure. It will be appear- the simplest object (a table, a chair, a cabinet) and ing in the July/August print magazine, the August actions (sit, lay), the City store showcased them, their Graphic Design USA magazine, the November display making a statement in itself. “Did you ever Communication Arts magazine and the November Art buy or collect the work of Memphis for yourself?” Direction magazine. We are pleased with the finished Valicenti asks. “I got that chair, Michele de Lucchi’s piece and appreciate your assistance through the ‘First Chair,’ because when I closed my store, it was still course of this creation. Please let me know if you’d kicking around. Nobody wanted it! You can’t sit in like more copies.” The note is from Ann Fisher at it—did you know that?” Bursak says, joking. He later Kimberly-Clark and she is showing an article printed donated it to the Milwaukee Art Museum. “I didn’t on the Kimdura paper featuring the City catalogue. want this thing in my house anymore. I was tired of it “Kimberly-Clark is the company that developed the falling over and breaking so I went up there myself, material known as Kimdura,” says Bursak, explaining I signed all the papers and stuff and gave it to them.” that when they first came out with this they didn’t Barry Bursak City, 213 W Institute Place City catalog, 1985 Ingo Maurer, YaYaHo lighting City ad, 1987 361 W Chestnut at Orleans 16 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

realize how significant this material was going to be these products and how they could relate to one for designers. They go through more another.” It was inspiration from around catalogues. “I remember this first one,” says Valicenti. the world, a team of exquisite practitioners—from “Yes, I remember receiving this white catalog on this graphic designers Jeff Barnes and Robert Petrick, sensual beautiful translucent plastic-like paper with poster designer Chris Garland and photographer Tom Tom’s [Vack] exquisite photography and Robert Vack, to June Blaker (who became Bursak’s partner [Petrick] in his wisdom as a designer got out of the in work and in life), and of course, Bursak’s personal way and he just let these pictures float and bounce on design passion that catapulted City to the top. The the pages. I mean, look at how he’s treating the mar- store may now be defunct—after the 1987 stock mar- gins up and down.” Each catalogue has a story behind ket crash nothing was the same—but its unique vibe it. One is French, one is Dutch, one’s Italian, there’s and signature black aesthetic have made a difference one with red type, one that’s black and shiny—the City in Chicago’s design scene. Valicenti knows it. “I want store’s life legacy. “I’m holding a catalogue from this to be on the record that I’m thanking you person- 1986,” says Valicenti. “I’m turning the black cover. It’s ally for shaping a healthy community around design all very static-y but this one is when you really maxi- in the city of Chicago,” he says to Bursak. “These mize the translucency of this thin paper and you can things don’t happen by accident. We are all practicing actually see through it. Here Robert Petrick as a in a continuum—there were people before us and graphic designer is completely stepping out of his there are people after us. And there’s the magic own way letting these photographs to just bleed moment: I’m going to respect the past, I’m going to be through, very enigmatic. You can see one through to here in the present but I’m making way for the future.” the next one. It’s so brilliant.” “It’s amazing, just Bursak looks back, at peace. amazing,” Bursak agrees. “This is like a spiritual “Everybody got behind what I was trying to do,” moment where you capture the essence of the design he says softly. in the message or the messenger that is graphic “I was a very lucky boy design,” says Valicenti. “You capture the essence of —I still am.” 17

Let’s talk about the historic Chicago’s cool center for designed objects was a single shop: City. Photographer Tom Vack was there. City store: How would you NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019 describe it? In what ways was it influential to the larger Chicago design community? City was the store of design, and more particularly European design, as it emerged as a voice in the eighties—a period of a new cultural language in music, fashion and design. Barry Bursak brought this to the design aspect of the store and June Blaker comple- mented it with her fashion sensibilities, particularly Japanese fashion. It was June who brought up the idea of printing on Tyvek as she had seen a cat- alog of Comme des Garçons printed on it—a catalog that we agreed should be a design object as well. The first catalog concentrated on the photography, so when there was to be a second one, City’s graphic designer at the time, Robert Petrick, wanted to play with the translucency of the material. He decided that most of the images should be on white. How did your experience there help shape your future work? As City was the Midwest representa- tive of Memphis, during a show organized by Barry, I had the occasion to meet Michele de Lucchi. I offered my photographic services to him and in a few months he contacted me about a catalog for a collection of kitchens he had designed. I had not done any pictures of kitchens but the Italian way was to take someone of one discipline to see what they would do. This is the city of Leonardo da Vinci, 18

City catalog photography by Tom Vack and Corinne Pfister design by Robert Petrick 1985 the master of cross-disci- plines. I met by chance Philippe Starck in New York that spring and when I mentioned the City catalog, he commented, “My dear, it is a reference book for design,” and immediate- ly had work for me. That be- gan a chain of commissions from designers: Ingo Maurer (who had two pictures in the catalog but did not like them), Ron Arad, Marc Newson, Alessandro Mendini and of course, Starck. The City catalogs gave me the freedom to do interpretive pictures for the culture of designed objects, not as traditional product shots but interpretive por- traits of design. Where do you look for inspiration when creating extraordinary images of ordinary objects? The climate in Milano was experimental as well for searching for new forms for daily objects. I wanted to create serial images for catalogs that complement- ed the object much as an instrumental accompanist does for a vocalist. I tend to rely on improvisation in a musical sense to find my way to accompany the character of the soloist, or in this case, the object. I want to reveal first of all the form and material through light that creates the mood as well. Light is the least-expensive medium for creating a stage and climate for a visual story. My basic approach was to create an object in a picture rather than a picture of an object. All this was possible thanks to the City catalog and for that I thank Barry and June. ↑ Photos by Tom Vack 19

01 How do you find your ideal balance between designing a utilitarian object and formal exploration or discovery? 02 How do you concern yourself with commercial issues related to market research and retail placement? 03 What else can you tell us about your practice? PETRA BACHMAIER SEAN GALLERO Taking an idea into materiality is always an interest- feedback, “White Wanderer” has become a ing bridge to cross. Most of our ideas are intended multi-year commitment and we look forward to to sculpt an immersive spatial experience, cre- present its next iteration, in collaboration with ating a moment that wants to capture your curi- composer Katherine Young, Experimental Sound osity and lets you be with what you see, hear and Studio and NRDC in Millennium Park January 31 feel. Each project leads to a new discovery, each through February 2. This year we collaborated with manifestation is part of an ongoing dialogue with Iker Gil, founder and editor in chief of MAS Context our process and how it unfolds in different places, to create “Geometry of Light,” which first took place materials and context. The idea of utilitarian at the Mies van der Rohe-designed German Pavilion rarely crosses our minds, but maybe the work fills in Barcelona and recently at the Farnsworth House a need of taking time to experience a site, space, in Plano, Illinois, using laser levels to draw a connec- color and light. We don’t concern our- tion between two iconic buildings. We hope inter- selves with commercial issues related to market ventions like “Geometry of Light” not only offer a research, but several of the institutions we work contemporary lens to view the familiar but contrib- with are very aware of the demographic of their ute to expand audiences and raise appreciation audiences and supporters. When we collaborate for those sites. Creating interventions with an institution, for and not-for-profit, we with landmarks for almost a decade now, the next always hope to attract new audiences and raise phase of our career is to make work that can exist awareness for their mission. For example, in independent of a specific site. Besides architecture, 2017 we teamed up with Elizabeth Corr of Natural we are inspired by observing nature. We love color Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create “White and light and constantly explore ways to capture its Wanderer,” a sound and light installation. This ephemeral qualities. In recent years we have worked installation became a platform to connect with the with Volume Gallery and enjoy defining new ways for complex issue of sea-level rise and climate change, our ideas to become tangible yet remain experiential and was named by the New Yorker as one of the and immersive. sounds that defined 2017. Inspired by the positive 20 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

PHOTOGRAPHY: KATE JOYCE Geometry of Light, Farnsworth House, Plano IL, in collaboration with Iker Gil, 2019

01 How do you find your ideal balance between designing a utilitarian object and formal exploration or discovery? 02 How do you concern yourself with commercial issues related to market research and retail placement? 03 What else can you tell us about your practice? ALYX HARCH My approach to garment making is very similar to a paper-collaging process. I organize my materials by color, like a painting palette, and I use my sewing machine as a drawing tool. By choosing to work within the framework of the wearable, I’m able to treat commonplace and familiar fabric (such as the cotton T-shirt) similarly to how a fine painter treats canvas. It takes me multiple months to make a body of work, so my cycle of making naturally aligns with releasing products once a season. It’s impor- tant to me to offer garments that are affordable and can act as an entry point for my work for lower- paying customers. Those basic pieces also provide a platform and a frame of reference for my more intricate garments. As an abstract painter, it has been really interesting to witness the shift in dialogue surrounding my work ever since I started making wearables. Making fiber collages out of cotton T-shirts (one of the most accessible garments) has opened up communication about my work because more people can relate to it. Everyone has a T-shirt and knows how to talk about one. Not only do people view my work as an art object, but they see themselves in it. 22 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

01 How do you find your ideal balance between designing a utilitarian object and formal exploration or discovery? 02 How do you concern yourself with commercial issues related to market research and retail placement? 03 What else can you tell us about your practice? AYUSH KASLIWAL MIKE DREEBEN In practical terms, I find that the boundary between design process from the outset: choosing material, utility and form is not clearly defined—I can’t mean- production methods and even specific machines as a ingfully think about one as distinct from the other. For stepping-off point—tailoring a design to those capa- me, the decision-making involved in solving utilitar- bilities, instead of the other way around. ian problems is invariably formal. This is particularly Since this question is wide open, I’ll discuss the true with dining chairs—which occupy most of my transnational aspect of my design practice: collabo- design energy—because they present a host of rigid rating and producing with a partner in India. Working utilitarian parameters (probably less true with can- across international boundaries, and deriving dlesticks). So, to your question, broadly speaking, benefit from them, requires critical thinking about I feel that the balance for me occurs intrinsically. our relative strengths and weaknesses and specif- ically designing for them. International logistics I believe that consideration of retail and also informs the process in key aspects—these are trade placement is hugely important, and in particu- potentially huge costs, particularly for a company lar identifying a point of intersection between the of our size—and require careful consideration in terms development and ongoing costs for a piece of fur- of what can and cannot be shipped cost-effectively. niture and its perceived value in a specific market. Awareness of this relationship should inform the 24 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

PHOTOGRAPHY: BRIAN FRANCZYK Wave Candlestick, hand-turned sustainably harvested Mango wood, burned and oiled finish AVAILABLE THROUGH AKMDCOLLECTION.COM

01 How do you find your ideal balance between designing a utilitarian object and formal exploration or discovery? 02 How do you concern yourself with commercial issues related to market research and retail placement? 03 What else can you tell us about your practice? S E T H K E L L E RMost objects I design have an internal logic based on to be on board with them. I also work with Matthew a material consideration, a process consideration or Rachman Gallery here in Chicago. In this case, I cre- a self-imposed conceptual brief. I test and prototype ate objects based on my own explorations in studio a lot, and creative projects in my studio take years to and Matt selects pieces that are most appropriate gestate. I design for three contexts: production, the for his specific market. It’s a rewarding process. I’ve gallery and commissions for individual clients, and been lucky to work with the same clients over many each has different demands. When working with years, so we’ve been able to establish a creative trust. galleries or for clients, I have a lot more freedom to A client may ask me, “What is interesting to you right explore and walk the line between art, design and now?” and I’ll create a piece based on a concept, craft. Craft takes much longer to master than think- material or process research I’m doing in my studio. ing up an idea. Craft to me is physical knowledge, and I have a number of promising tests in about material curiosity, command and respect, and my studio right now. One that embodies the tensile less about final form. I started out as a carpenter and capabilities of wood veneer, a second that challenges cabinetmaker, so architecture and tectonics have assumptions of traditional woodworking practices in always factored into my work. Furniture does a lot of terms of material processing which yields interesting work in an interior, and is the primary material con- texture and massing, and yet another about the pas- nection one has with space. By the time I’m done with sage of time which I was able to show in the “Infinite a piece of furniture, the final form feels inevitable. Games” exhibition with artist John Preus last year. I’m fortunate to have great clients who Like many other artists and designers, I believe we allow me room to explore. I’ve designed coffee and have a responsibility to minimize the impact of our side tables for the Chicago furniture manufacturer work that ends up in the world. Who makes it, how is 57st. design, and I have a chair coming out with them it made, what happens to it at the end of its life cycle? in the near future. Designing in this context—produc- I have a great respect for labor and the environment. ing things at volume in a factory—is a totally differ- I try to work primarily with salvaged or renewable ent process from designing intuitively in my studio. materials. Wood and wood processes fascinate me Small details change because of manufacturing and are the core of my practice, not because wood parameters and the logistics of shipping is a huge is inherently beautiful but because it has technical concern. 57st. design has a progressive vision for properties and capabilities that are underexplored. local American manufacturing, and I’m very excited 26 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

(dee clements) 01 How do you find your ideal balance between designing a utilitarian object and formal exploration or discovery? 02 How do you concern yourself with commercial issues related to market research and retail placement? 03 What else can you tell us about your practice? That is something that I am always working to find between meeting the numbers we need each month some equilibrium with. Like in daily life itself, I am and aligning with retail placement is a constant work not certain balance is possible. I think this about in progress. I founded Studio Herron nine prioritizing and making space for what is important years ago—I could not find work as a textile designer to me or what I feel needs some attention and care that supported my values, so I decided to create it. D E Eboth in my life and in my design practice. When I get Last year I decided to go back to school for my masters degree in 3D Design which I am pursuing at Cranbrook an idea for a new object or product, I find that there Academy of Art. I wanted to pivot my work in a new is a part of my brain that has an ideal of what that C L E M E N T Sobject or product is and then there is the part thatdirection, expand it in a new way and I felt like—being a woman in design, which is a very male-dominated needs to allow for play and experimentation so that industry—I owed it to myself to aim for being the best idea can grow and possibly change. I try to eliminate the word “should” from my vocabulary. As in it should I could be. I am now about six months away from look like this or it should feel like that. Play is where graduating and I have been running my studio in the most discovery happens for me and it is integral Chicago while I am in school in Michigan, travelling to my process and integral to making honest objects. back and forth about twice a month. It has been a It is essential to carve out time for it. very rigorous and humbling experience to go back I founded Studio Herron in 2011 and I have created a to school and become a beginner again in some ways really clear vision plan for my studio and company after having already established a full-time studio over the years. Everything about my business has practice and business. I have learned so much about been slow to grow because I am choosy about what myself and my work from school, most notably that I align myself and my work with. I have pretty strong being uncomfortable tends to be where the growth core values which have become the foundation of my happens. School also forced me to hire help and learn studio. If something comes in that is outside of my how to delegate work, which is not something that values or standards, it’s always worth reviewing, but comes naturally to me. I have a wonderful staff that it may not be worth moving forward with. In terms work at Studio Herron, most notably Aubrey Pittman- of market research, I see the value in that, and in Heglund who is a wonderful textile artist and my trend forecasting but I find that as a designer, that studio manager. Literally nothing right now would clouds my creativity and I prefer to work outside of run without her, I’m very grateful for the work she those analytics. I don’t follow trends, I like to work does and her ideas. Having people work for the stu- intuitively and find my own source of inspiration. dio who are skilled at things that I am not skilled at I have made things that were total failures and creates better work and such a dynamic environment. things that were super-successful and I have learned The range of skills and backgrounds come together from those experiences far more than I could with to create a diverse team, which is something I learned traditional market research. Experiences have been firsthand as a student at Cranbrook. I am so excited my great teacher. As for retail placement, because about what we will be up to in the next year which Studio Herron has a product line and also is a studio includes moving into a new Chicago studio space that makes collectible design pieces, the bulk of and participating in Chicago’s first design objects the studio is able to run and grow from our product and furniture show, Central Standard at Morgan line that we wholesale. In that, striking a balance Manufacturing in the West Loop next spring. 28 NEWCITY DECEMBER 2019

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The Ruffians & Porchlight Music Theatre present \"Burning Bluebeard\" A Chicago holiday tradition since its debut in 2011, each performance is a vaudevillian musical delight with a story that excavates the poetic and poignant remains of a piece of our city’s rich history. Opens December 15. Leah Urzendowski, Anthony Courser, Jay Torrence and Pam Chermansky in The Ruffians’ Culture rts &2014-15 production of BURNING BLUEBEARD. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Art ART TOP 5 Culture as 1 CAN YOU FEEL IT. Disruption Kavi Gupta. The MacArthur fellow (and SAIC alum) wows The Petty Biennial.2 Claps Back with colorful, maximalist at the Hegemonic Art World abstractions all of which weave in the artists' Native American By Kerry Cardoza and punk rock heritage. Through Dec14 \"Glitter Beach\" by Jacquelyn Guerrero (2015). Image courtesy Petty Biennial.2. 2 Bread, Butter, and Power. Newcity DECEMBER 2019 Fed up by the hegemonic, large-scale The three curators have put together an Smart Museum. Meleko art biennials that proliferate year after year, impressive exhibition across three locations: Mokgosi's richly detailed local curators Sadie Woods and La Kiesha Glass Curtain Gallery, Heaven Gallery and large-scale painting cycle Leek launched The Petty Biennial in 2017. NYCH Gallery. depicts gendered divisions of The two didn’t envision the project as an labor and a feminism specific to actual biennial; they saw it as a one-off “We wanted to be very intentional about southern Africa. Through Dec 15 artistic intervention, a space where they putting the exhibition in other communities,” could work with artists who are pushed to Sykes says. 3 The Petty Biennial.2. the margins of the mainstream art world. Glass Curtain Gallery. The first iteration of the project featured Sixteen artists join in this \"In this Biennial format, we are centering artists with perspectives stemming from exhibition to challenge these communities of artists through North and Central America and the hegemonic \"biennial culture\" by hyper-visible representation, presenting Caribbean. This version expands on that placing marginalized and queer work that comes from a lived experience theme by “centering multiple cultural communities at the center. and is reflective of our sociopolitical diasporas as a nexus of local exchange and Through Feb 14 climate,” Woods said in an interview about dialogue for marginalized and queer the project. communities.” The sixteen participating 4 In The Absence of Light: artists bring a range of voices and a Gesture, Humor and The Petty Biennial is back. The founders diversity of practice, from Jacquelyn Resistance in the Black passed the curatorial torch to Courtney Carmen Guerrero, who draws inspiration Aesthetic. Stony Island Arts Cintrón, Sabrina Greig and Adia Sykes for from her Cuban and Puerto Rican roots, to Bank. Works by heavyweights The Petty Biennial.2. For the new curators, Yasmin Spiro, a cross-disciplinary artist who Glenn Ligon and Lynette the pettiness is a way to take up space, “a often explores cultural identity through Yiadom-Boakye are among the performative gesture that seeks liberation Caribbean culture. offerings of this twenty-strong through exposing, and finding humor in exhibition. Through Dec 29 oppressive social systems.” The curators were intentional about challenging the notion of what diaspora 5 Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: “We’ve talked about it as a clapback,” means. “Participating artists understand Unraveling Modern Living. Cintrón says. “Culture as disruption. How diaspora as a network and community of Graham Foundation. A Mexico can we disrupt dominant narratives?” people across races, geographies and City-based architecture firm turns the historic Madlener 36 House into a utopian commons, activated by community events scheduled throughout the show's run. Through Jan 11

ethnicities who are [affected] and connected “They’re in many ways divorced from Chicago, explosion of biennials and all of the hype through the legacies of colonialism, imperial- which was their home and community as well,” around that contributing to backwards ism and neoliberalism,” they write. Sykes says. “We thought that added another values?” she asks. “Who are the artists that Zakkiyyah Najeebah displays prints and we’re valuing and the artworks and the collage mining her family history—both her layer.” adopted family and her biological one. communities that are being centered in Carlos Barberena born in Nicaragua, contributes tender linocuts that refers to the The biennial will feature programming at the these conversations?” migration of people from Central and South America to the north. satellite sites throughout the duration of the By challenging the dominant biennial culture, “One of his pieces is called ‘The Beast.’ It’s exhibition. The December 6 opening at in direct reference to this route of people, Heaven Gallery includes performances. Also at the curators hope their project can pave the originating in Central America, and actually Heaven, on December 14 and 15, the curators way for a more inclusive art community. riding on the top of cargo trains to the “It’s taking a moment to envision and put into United States and attempting to cross the have organized “A Petty Weekend,” which border,” Sykes says. “There’s a very direct practice a radical future that we want to reference to something like immigration, includes a brunch and a healing workshop. whether it be forged because of the Later in December, Najeebah and participating see,” Sykes says. “This exhibition in circumstances in one’s country of origin, or particular is, of course, founded by La kind of voluntarily moving from one place to artist Alexandria Eregbu will lead a family another. We felt that was really an important Kiesha and Sadie, and we have the perspective to have, of course a timely legacy journaling workshop at 6018North. discussion in today’s day and age with beautiful opportunity of creating a micro- immigration, particularly of brown folks from Central and South America. That felt vital to Sykes sees the discourse of The Petty Biennial cosm of an art world or art experience that have in any discussion about diaspora.” we would like to see in the world and hope on par with those large-scale international While not every participating artist is current- that becomes a kind of normalized practice. ly based in Chicago, all have strong ties to biennials, which also look critically at the the city. Over the course of the show’s It would be great to live in a world where curation, some artists moved for other history of exhibition-making and funding opportunities, such as Amina Ross, who is having an exhibition of all folks who identify now at Yale. practices, as well as issues of diversity and with diaspora and who are usually relegated inclusion. Though The Petty Biennial is potentially doing much better than those peers. to the margins—where that’s not a The Whitney Biennial, which closed in October, revolutionary thing. It shouldn’t be that big of a topic. We’re taking our own stab at was plagued by protests and furor over the museum’s refusal to dismiss Warren Kanders, creating a really beautiful and radical the chief executive of a weapons manufactur- moment in time.” ing company, from its board. By uplifting marginalized voices since its inception, The The Petty Biennial.2,  Glass Curtain Gallery, Petty Biennial is already far ahead of many 1104 South Wabash, through February 14, hallowed institutions. 2020; at Heaven Gallery, 1550 North Milwaukee, through January 19, 2020; and Cintrón stresses the importance of seeing at Nych Gallery, 2025 South Laflin, through where the art world assigns value. “Is the February 7, 2020. Camille Norment November 15 — UNTITLED Logan Center Gallery • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts • 915 E 60th St Chicago IL 60637 Through December 15, 2019 Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power (detail), 2018, Oil paint on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Honor Fraser, Los Angeles. Photo © Monica RED FLAME January 5 DECEMBER 2019 Newcity 37

EXHIBITIONS THE ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO KAVI GUPTA GALLERY 201 East Ontario Street Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd., 835 W. Washington Boulevard 312 787 3997 Tues–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 [email protected] / Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., 219 N. Elizabeth Street Tues–Fri 11-6, Sat 11-3 Thurs–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 Through December 21 Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Ballad of Etc. 312 432 0708 Through March, 2020 Garden Project | Bernard Williams: [email protected] / Opening November 15 To Reclaim (Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd.) The Black Tractor Project Through December 14 Jeffrey Gibson: CAN YOU FEEL IT THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART ( Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St.) Through December 14 Kennedy Yanko: HANNAH At Northwestern University 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL (Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St.) 847 491 4000 [email protected] / LOGAN CENTER EXHIBITIONS Tues, Sat–Sun 10-5, Wed–Fri 10-8, Mon closed Closed December 9–January 20 At the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts September 21–December 8 Pop América, 1965-1975 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 January 21–April 5 Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish and Indian Highlights 773 702 2787 [email protected] / from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection Tues–Sat 9-9, Sun 11-9, Mon closed November 15, 2019–January 5, 2020 Camille Norment: CARL HAMMER GALLERY Untitled (red flame) 740 N. Wells Street 312 266 8512 MONIQUE MELOCHE GALLERY [email protected] / Tues–Sat 11-5:30 451 N. Paulina Street Through December 21 Kahn and Selesnick - Madame Lulu’s 312 243 2129 [email protected] / Book of Fates: Drawings and Photographs Tues–Sat 11-6 November 2–December 21 Brendan Fernandes: Restrain DEPAUL ART MUSEUM MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY At DePaul University PHOTOGRAPHY 935 W. Fullerton Avenue 773 325 7506 At Columbia College Chicago [email protected] / 600 S. Michigan Avenue Mon–Tues closed, Wed–Thurs 11-7, Fri–Sun 11-5 312 663 5554 DPAM will be closed December 22–January 1 [email protected] / September 12, 2019–February 23, 2020 Julia Fish: bound by spectrum Mon–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5 September 12, 2019–February 23, 2020 Remember Where You Are October 10–December 22 Third Realm September 12, 2019–February 23, 2020 Architectural Annotations

THE NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM RICHARD GRAY GALLERY FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY Richard Gray Gallery, Hancock: 875 N. Michigan Avenue, 38th Floor At the University of Chicago Mon–Fri 10-5:30, Sat by appointment 5701 South Woodlawn Avenue Gray Warehouse: 2044 W. Carroll Avenue 773 795 2329 Tues–Sat 11-5 [email protected] / 312 642 8877 Mon–Fri, First Saturdays 9-5 [email protected] / Through January 31 Martha Rosler: Passionate Signals Through January 10, 2020 Alex Katz: Flowers POETRY FOUNDATION (Richard Gray Gallery, Hancock) 61 W. Superior Street SMART MUSEUM OF ART 312 787 7070 [email protected] / At the University of Chicago Mon–Fri 11-4 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue Saturday, December 7 11-4 773 702 0200 September 5–December 20 The Life of Poetry in Morden Tower [email protected] / Tues–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sun 10-5 THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY Through December 15 Samson Young: Silver Moon or At the University of Chicago Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me? 5811 S. Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall, 4th Floor Through December 15 Meleko Mokgosi: Bread, Butter, and Power 773 702 8670 Through December 15 Down Time: On the Art of Retreat [email protected] / December 10–15 Camille Norment: Untitled (blue heat) ZHOU B ART CENTER RHONA HOFFMAN GALLERY 1029 W. 35th Street 773 523 0200 1711 W. Chicago Avenue [email protected] / 312 455 1990 Mon–Sat 10-5 [email protected] / October 18–December 5 Painting the Figure Now Tues–Fri 10-5:30, Sat 11-5:30 Through December 20 Jacob Hashimoto

MUSIC UChicago Arts connects and amplifies the ARCHITECTURE impact of the University’s nearly 100 arts THEATER organizations, initiatives, and academic DESIGN programs. Experience world-class visual, VISUAL ART performing, cinematic, and literary arts at DANCE Court Theatre, the Smart Museum of Art, the LITERATURE Logan Center for the Arts, the Film Studies FILM Center, the Department of Music, Arts + Public …AND MORE Life, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, UChicago Presents, DoVA, the Oriental Institute, the UChicago Library, the Neubauer Collegium, Theater & Performance Studies, the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, and many, many more. With a vast network of artists, faculty, students, and community partners presenting exciting, thought-provoking work, you’ll want to make UChicago your next cultural destination. Above: Handel’s Messiah at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, an annual holiday tradition. • 773.702.ARTS • FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM @uchicagoarts

Dance DANCE TOP 5 Tidings of Tap! Mark Yonally, Kirsten Uttich, and Jennifer Yonally. Photo: David-Harmantas 1 Exit Disclaimer: Science & Fresh Story,\"Glitter Beach\" by Jacquelyn Guerrero (2015). Image courtesy Petty Biennial.2. Fiction Ahead. Steppenwolf Old Favorites 1700. A lot has changed since The Seldoms first performed Chicago Tap Theatre Celebrates the Season with Tidings of Tap! their insightful piece about climate change. The reboot By Sharon Hoyer reflects recent developments. Dec 12-15 For over a decade, Chicago Tap Theatre the time there wasn’t much holiday dance DECEMBER 2019 Newcity has provided family-friendly holiday fare entertainment in Chicago. There were no 2 The Nutcracker. with \"Tidings of Tap!,\" an evening-length percussive dance holiday offerings and all Auditorium Theatre. celebration of the season. The show the holiday dance offerings were around Christopher Wheeldon's features percussive dance backed by a Christmas. The mission of the show was to rendition of the holiday classic, five-piece jazz band, providing an aural highlight the winter season in general, and spectacularly reimagined in alternative to Tchaikovsky and a visual Hanukkah and New Year. It used to be more Chicago during the 1893 reprieve from glitter and miles of tulle. CTT a revue, with pieces that didn’t really World's Fair. Nov 30 - Dec 29 enlisted the help of Jump Rhythm Jazz connect to one another. About four years Project founder Billy Siegenfeld this year to ago, we began crafting narrative so the 3 Tidings of Tap! North add narrative structure to the formerly audience could follow a central character Shore Center for the revue-style show. I spoke with CTT artistic and leave with an emotional lift. We created Performing Arts. A family-friendly director Mark Yonally about the evolution of a central character played by rhythmic holiday show features a live the show and what to expect this season. dancer Dasha Merkulov. The first year she band, the same favorite tap did it she was twelve years old, and even numbers, and a stronger \"Tidings\" has become something of then she was a prodigious rhythmic connective story line thanks to a holiday tradition. Could you provide gymnast. This year she made the USA new direction by Jump Rhythm a little background? Women's Rhythmic Gymnastics National Jazz Project founder Billy Sure. We started it twelve years ago and at Team. It adds that little bit of extra magic to Siegenfeld. Dec 15 4 Next 50.1. Hamlin Park Field House. Mordine & Co Dance Theatre's fiftieth- anniversary season continues with a performance featuring repertory pieces by founder Shirley Mordine and Ayako Kato. Dec 12 & 13 5 STARTING BEFORE YOU'RE READY... Steppenwolf 1700. Dance artist Po'Chop and DJ-sound artist Hijo Pródigo join forces under the moniker VIRTUE to explore spirituality, rave, personal mythology. Dec 20 & 21 41

Newcity DECEMBER 2019 the show; not only do audiences get to see great dancing, they see a top athlete perform. This year we added another big element: I felt the show could use an extra eye to bring the human element more to the forefront, so we hired a director to come in and bring a theatrical vision to the show that would tie everything together. And that’s Billy Siegenfeld. That’s right. We worked with him on “Time Steps,” which he directed for us in 2016. It was a real watershed show for us. It made the top-ten list in the Sun-Times and also was in Dance Magazine in their reader poll as one of the best new productions in 2016. We were alongside all these big names—Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey. Also Billy’s been a personal mentor to me for eighteen years. How have you seen the show change with Billy’s direction? I talked to him about what I wanted the show to say, and we went through it and talked about what wasn’t clear to an audience, and [we worked] to strip away some of the rhythmic complexity in early parts of the show, in favor of emotional clarity. And then adding that complexity later in the show when the audience, feeling they have a handle on the story, can sit back and enjoy the dancing. It’s a young girl’s journey. Through the show we see her get a greater sense of who she is and finding her voice and confidence. As the show begins, it’s winter and she stumbles upon a Hanukkah celebration with three beautiful pieces with a klezmer flavor. We have intermission, then come back and have a Christmas section that encompasses things like commercialization of the holiday and getting back to warmth and family and togetherness. The show culminates in a three-piece New Year's Eve trio, choreographed by our own Kirsten Uttich. You have youth performing as well? We do. We love the opportunity for kids to see other kids performing on stage. The kids who participate in our intensive on November 16 and 17 learn a two-and-a-half-minute dance and get to perform it on the North Shore Performing Arts Center stage. Anything else you'd like to mention? Even though it’s a production we do every year, we look at it for what’s working and what could be tweaked. There are new dances this year, so even if people have seen the show before, they will see new things. We have a new music director, Corbin Andrick. He’s a clarinetist and saxophonist and is creating some new arrangements for us. For audience members who have seen the show before, their personal favorites tend to be our favorites and we bring them back year after year. We have a gorgeous piece to the Vince Guaraldi \"Peanuts\" skating song we’re bringing back, choreographed by Caleb Teicher. Five years ago Caleb was a nineteen-year-old choreographer and we were his first choreographic commission. This last year, he was featured as a solo dancer in Regina Spektor’s show on Broadway. It’s been really cool to see his career take off. It’s great when you see people you know who are talented and great people, succeed. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, (847)673-6300. Sunday, December 15 at 3pm. $25-$41. Tickets at 42

Logan Center Family Saturday: Kidpreneur Market Sat, Dec 7 2-4pm FREE This holiday, support young, ambitious artists and business owners as we provide a platform for kidpreneurs and family-run businesses. Shop at our kidpreneur vendor market, ask questions at our kidpreneur panel, or develop your next big idea at our creativity station. Logan Center Appropriate for families with 773.702.ARTS for the Arts children ages 2-12. Registration is 915 E 60th St encouraged. Free parking in lot at LoganCenterCommunityArts 60th and Drexel.

Design All Aboard! merch—mugs, pins and magnets, pet apparel, home goods and, of course, tees—it Take a Ride on an El-Inspired Board Game comes as no surprise that they’ve created a board game. The theme? Chicago’s iconic El By Vasia Rigou system. The second board game released by the Transit Tees’ team, \"EL: The Chicago Newcity DECEMBER 2019 If you’re a regular on the El, you know the car if it’s in season. The El is such a big part Transit Adventure,\" follows \"Loop: The potential hiccups: rush hour traffic, station of what makes Chicago, Chicago, so why not Elevated Card Game,\" and the players' renovations, delays, express trains, Cubs have fun with it? mission is to navigate train car pieces around games. On the bright side, you get to ride Chicago to arrive at all destination points in around the Loop in an elevated line (or El, That’s what the Transit Tees’ team thought. their hand. To keep the intrigue levels high, hence the name), to embark on an urban The boutique and design studio with stores in there’s a deck of cards, which means one adventure of art and architecture, to explore Wicker Park and Andersonville has estab- thing: you never know which event card will different neighborhoods from the north to the lished itself as the one-stop-shop for locally be drawn to expedite or delay your trip—just south and from the Loop to the west, and made Chicago-inspired gifts and memorabilia. like in a real-life scenario. even get a chance to hop on the holiday train From transit-themed original artwork and Conceptualized and designed by in-house artists, who also manufacture many of the 44

DESIGN TOP 5 1 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Chicago Cultural Center. Explore trends in architecture, design, urbanism, policymaking, research and the arts during the third edition of CAB. Through Jan 5 game pieces in their Wicker Park design like travel conditions, station renovations and 2 Landfall Press: Five studio—imagine 3D printers and laser cutters transit tokens in order to give players more Decades of Printmaking. at work—\"EL: The Chicago Transit Adventure\" ways to interact with the game and each Milwaukee Art Museum. also features vintage CTA token-inspired other. The Milwaukee Art Museum game chips, a proper tribute to the city’s celebrates the fiftieth anniversary transit system that began operation in 1892. What is the biggest challenge you faced of one of America’s most The board game hit the shelves in time for the during the design process? renowned printers-publishers. holiday season and is geared toward Working out kinks in the rules to make sure it audiences aged 13+. Transit Tees’ senior art played smoothly and provided a nice balance Through Feb 9 director and lead designer, Tom LaPlante, of strategy and chaos was tricky. If the explains to Newcity design editor Vasia Rigou, gameplay is too predictable, it becomes 3 Setting the Stage: how it came to life. But the bottom line is this: boring, and if there is too much chaos, it's no Objects of Chicago Whether you’re a diehard Chicago fan, a fun when your plans are dashed at every turn. Theatre. Design Museum of tourist looking for a local treasure to bring Since this is mostly a game about finding an Chicago. The Design Museum back home or an avid gift-giver, it promises optimal route from station to station, players of Chicago showcases fifty-six you’ll never look at the El the same way again. need to be able to plan several turns design objects from local theater ahead—but of course unexpected things are companies, including costumes, What was the inspiration? always happening on the trains. We wanted lights, props and sets. Bonus: Transit Tees is inspired by all things related to to capture that experience. a mini-exhibition highlighting public transit and Chicago, so making a the Chicago Children’s Theatre. game about riding the El around the city is a What makes \"EL\" unique? natural fit. Last year, we produced our card Aside from showcasing Chicago's elevated Through Jan 5 game, \"Loop.\" This year we decided to trains, we make use of buses as well. There produce an even more complex game and are parts of town that are easiest to reach on 4 Renegade Craft Fair. make use of the whole CTA system, instead the bus! Additionally, we researched the area Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 of just the Loop. We were inspired by the around every station to find attractions that West 35th Street. The biggest range of train lines and destinations on each commuters seek out as destinations. Some of craft fair showcase in the world, line. Our goal was to make a game that these are pretty obvious, for example, Wrigley Renegade returns home for captured the excitement of riding the El as an Field at Addison or The Art Institute at Adams a weekend bringing a wide urban commuter. Chicago has a terrific transit and Wabash. Others are a little more obscure, assortment of artists, designers, system, and a lot of interesting places to visit. like the Bahá'í House of Worship at Linden, or makers and entrepreneurs to the Frank Lloyd Wright houses near Harlem make your Christmas shopping Can you walk us through how you design and Lake. We highlight a range of destina- a breeze. Dec 7-8, 11am-5pm a game—how do you start, what is your tions that make Chicago unique; places that process? are worth a visit whether you're a tourist or 5 1893 World’s Fair Walking DECEMBER 2019 Newcity For a game like this, the natural starting place have lived in the city all your life. Tour with Bars. Begins is the transit map. When we began play-test- at Congress Plaza Hotel. Get ing, we would play using an actual map of What is one thing you want the world to an insight into the last remaining the system as the board. We redesigned that know? architecture buildings from system map to better fit on a game board Public transportation is a great asset to any the time of the 1893 World’s and make moving pieces around clear and city! It allows anyone to connect to communi- Fair and learn about their easy. As for the rules of the game, we began ties that they might not otherwise have histories while having a drink by using the station cards from the Loop as a access to, or never even thought of visiting at a century-old bar. Fridays: starting point, and dealt them out and before. We want to show everyone that riding traveled around the map visiting stations. We the train is lots of fun, even if it takes you 1:30pm; Saturdays: 4pm soon began adding in complicating factors, somewhere you didn't expect it to. 45

&DiDnirningking large garden, and my grandmother was a hell of a cook. She made from scratch everything for Feast of the Seven Fishes.” Mantuano remembers that when the family would have the feast on Christmas Eve, they would have a variety of fishes and seafood, including “calamari braised with tomatoes, bell pepper, fennel and baccala. Always baccala. Baccala is essential to the Feast of Seven Fishes.” Baccala has traditionally been salted and dried cod, although now the term sometimes applies to a wider range of fish. Dried cod was common on voyages of both trade and discovery from the fifteenth century onward. When fish is salted and dried, it retains nutrients and lasts a long time without refrigeration. You can buy baccala at Italian specialty stores, especially around the Christmas holidays. We’ve prepared the Feast of the Seven Fishes at our Italian-American home, and baccala was featured prominently, not because we knew a lot about the feast, but because we had a sense that salted cod was supposed to be a part of it. Baccala’s required presence on the menu, says Mantuano, “is the craziest thing, because that fish never swam in the Mediterranean, but it’s a huge part of world cuisine, you see it in Greece and France.” We see this North Atlantic fish in Italian cooking as well. Feast of the Seven Fishes at Spiaggia. Photo: Mallory Korol Looking over the Catholic calendar of feast days for December, there are feasts almost A Deep Tradition every day of the month, with dates set aside to honor St. Francis Xavier (December 3), Our Tony Mantuano Talks Feast of the Seven Fishes Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) and St. Thomas Becket (December 29), as well as twenty others. What you won’t find on the Catholic calendar for December is any Feast of the Seven Fishes, although Italian Catholics in the United States are the most likely to celebrate this feast. Newcity DECEMBER 2019 By David Hammond youth. “My grandparents owned the The Roman Catholic ‘feast” is not necessarily Mantuano Food Shop in Kenosha. They an extravaganza of food. Although food and “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” Spiaggia came to the United States in the 1920s, and drink may play a part of that celebration, it’s chef Tony Mantuano says, “is much more by the early 1930s, a very big Italian-Ameri- not usually the focus. A feast is a joyous an Italian-American thing than a Europe- can community had grown up in Kenosha occasion (from Latin, feste, or joy) when a saint an-Italian thing.” because of the industry, the jobs. There was or some other sacred being is honored and a Simmons mattress factory, then American celebrated. Like other Italian-American food traditions, Motors. If there were jobs, people would the Feast of the Seven Fishes began in the come. The Mantuano Food Shop was part of “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” says Mantuano, “is home rather than the church, and James that community. My grandparents had a very a tradition that doesn’t have a lot of rules.” If Beard Award-winning and Michelin-star-earn- the Feast of the Seven Fishes is celebrated ing Mantuano remembers the feasts of his anywhere in Italy, it’s in the south during “La Viglia,” the vigil kept the night before the birthdate of Christ. The tradition of eating 46

DINING & DRINKING TOP 5 Tony Mantuano/photo: Matt Haas 1 Drag Queen Story Time and Brunch: Holiday seven fishes or seafood dishes on Christmas Christmas Eve, when his restaurants are Edition. Marisol, MCA. Drag closed. Although the restaurants will be dark divas Lucy Stoole and Kat Sass Eve is as Italian as Italian beef or deep-dish read selections from their pizza. The celebration is mostly an American on December 24, Mantuano will attend favorite holiday books for kids thing, like Cinco de Mayo, traditionally bigger another feast with his family. “We have our of all ages. Literature! Showbiz! in the United States than in Mexico. The first Feast of the Seven Fishes at my brother’s Dec 1 recorded mention of Feast of the Seven Fishes house. My brother is not a chef; he’s in the was in the New York Times and the Philadel- wine business, and we do it at his house. I 2 Celebrate Repeal Day. phia Inquirer in the early 1980s. That doesn’t basically stand over his shoulder and make Blackstone Hotel. Koval mean that the tradition didn’t begin until then; sure he doesn’t overcook the pasta,” adding, holds a tasting in the it’s just the first year the feast attracted enough “I don’t actually contribute.” It must be difficult Blackstone lobby to celebrate for him to keep his hands in his pocket while the day when we could all finally of a following that the newspapers noticed. have a “taste” of the legal stuff amateurs buzz about in the kitchen. after a long, misguided drought. Dec 5 Eating fish, of course, is associated more with If you, too, prefer not to cook a Feast of the 3 Spirit of St. Nicholas Ball. a Roman Catholic fast than a feast—think Seven Fishes, there are places you can go in Hilton Chicago. Are you fancy? Then you’ll want to put meatless Fridays— so having a lot of fish on on your black tie and come to Christmas Eve is a way to have a good meal Chicago which will make it for you. this “gourmet dinner” with drinks, sponsored by Catholic while technically making a kind of sacrifice. In Osteria via Stato (620 North State) has their Charities. Dec 6 the Roman Catholic tradition, one usually 4 Ugly Sweater Brunch. abstains from meat before a major holiday, and feast on Christmas Eve with calamari, shrimp Shaw’s Crab House. Ugly so eating fish is a kind of abstinence. Because and, of course, baccala. sweaters remain a “thing,” and if you have one, you can wear it this is America, where we like big things, the Café Spiaggia (980 North Michigan). On to brunch at Shaw’s Crab House and get a $25 gift bigger the better, it’s the American Way, the December 19, the casual Café Spiaggia will certificate. Dec 15 festival now includes nine, eleven or more 5 All Things Silver and fishes, and the preparations can, depending offer six courses of seafood because that Sparkly. Travelle at the number, seven, is flexible. Playing with the Langham. Modeled after upon the chef, be extravagant. Warhol’s Silver Factory, Travelle classics, Mantuano’s team will be offering will be decked out in silver for a five-course, prix fixe dinner DECEMBER 2019 Newcity A few rationales are offered for the number things like octopus nudjua as well as more to welcome in the New year. Dec 31 seven, although some have speculated that it familiar fish like Rushing Waters trout. refers to the seven days of the week, or the Italian Village (71 West Monroe). It seems Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Virtues, but none of those seem very compelling. “Some right that one of Chicago’s oldest and most magical-feeling Italian restaurants would say the reference to seven could come from the Seven Hills of Rome,” Mantuano observes, offer a Feast of the Seven Fishes, and their lineup includes Manhattan clam chowder “but fish do not live in those hills.” and Lake Superior Whitefish. Mantuano Mantuano is serving a Feast of the Seven notes that the Feast of the Seven Fishes Fishes, but it will take place the week before doesn’t have a lot of rules. 47

Film Newcity DECEMBER 2019 How Soon I’m curious to see gameplay of this dark soundtrack, but the score is not the same as Is Now? epic, but I doubt I’ll have the time or space. the breath and breadth of Refn’s cocky canvas, But I’ve absorbed a different extended work, scored by Cliff Martinez (“The Limey,” “Traffic,” Immersion, Longitude a film-series-bloodied high-art epic since it “Drive,” “Only God Forgives,” “Neon Demon”). and Nicolas Winding Refn’s dropped, near soundlessly, into the culture in Forget the elevated pulp archetypes clanging: Too Old To Die Young June, Refn’s series “Too Old To Die Young.” I let sound and music and sound design wash over me while working, occasionally consulting By Ray Pride I watched the episodes through in a gulp the images, which were shot by the great or two. Elongated moments tip into elevated Darius Khondji (“City of Lost Children,” “Seven,” Danish director Nicolas Refn’s face, delirium: there’s immaculate visual hush while “Stealing Beauty,” “Amour,” “The Immigrant,” or modeling of it, recurs in promotional moral pandemonium seeps or erupts all “Okja”), with additional cinematography by material and extracts and from scenes on around the dulled features of the not-quite- Diego Garcia and Chung-hoon Chung (“It,” the promotional trail for the recent release a-hero, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy “The Handmaiden”). (The colorist, Ian Vertovec, of “Death Stranding,” Hideo Kojima’s years- Martin Jones, played by Miles Teller as a is also key to the hot-cold neon-shadow in-the-making post-apocalyptic postman slab of taciturnity. A single event propels alternation.) I put the series on shuffle, paying video game, as does Guillermo Del Toro, Jones into a sordid L.A. nightworld populated little mind to the thin, often brutal narrative another director friend of the game author. by stoic women, cartel foot soldiers, vigilantes thread. And even as wallpaper, Refn’s work 48 and yakuza assassins. As a straightforward is shamelessly grandiloquent. narrative, “Too Old” is nearly self-satire. But it’s also something else. Reviews were The last time I talked to Refn, we bandied the largely harsh. idea of “the tableau” in filmmaking, parked somewhere between perfumed art-house and Since summer, when writing at home, instead moneyed art gallery, and he anticipated this of in a café or office, I’ve frequently put on the later reaction to the series he had not yet ten-part, thirteen-hour series, created and written or shot. “Tableaux, that’s very precise written by Refn and Ed Brubaker. I have the structurally,” he said of “Neon Demon” (2016).

FILM TOP 5 Nicolas Winding Refn 1 Uncut Gems. The scintillating Safdies crank it higher with Adam “I basically designed the movie as so little dialogue that his assistants Sandler’s externalized frenzy of one DECEMBER 2019 Newcity something my kids would watch on the wondered what the actors were sup- Manhattan’s mental mayhem: among internet. Because they have no more posed to do. ‘On va dilater,’ he would other virtues, it may well be an length than ten minutes on YouTube. tell them— ‘We’re going to stretch unsentimental riff on the existence The idea was that you could cut the out’—like a jazz musician discussing of disgraced NYC filmmaker James movie up in ten-minute pieces, see it how to improvise on the basis of a Toback. December 25 individually, or you could put it all sketch. According to Bernard Stora, together and see it again.” his assistant on ‘Le Cercle rouge,’ the 2 Little Women. Music Box. point of ‘stretching’ a short passage of Greta Gerwig’s deconstruction- So, let’s say “Too Old To Die Young” dialogue, or a scene, was to heighten reconstruction of the novel and the life is not a movie or a traditional series or its power, and slow down time. Melville’s of Louisa May Alcott features “Lady like any other streaming series I’m aware acts of ‘dilation’ sometimes seem Bird” muse Saoirse Ronan, Florence of, nor is it an installation, and it’s not a superfluous, even perverse, only to Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Emma DVD or a Blu-ray. (Most episodes are acquire meaning later on, like the Watson and Meryl Streep, a score by near feature length; one abrupt instance languorous shot in ‘Le Cercle rouge’ of Alexandre Desplat and camerawork ends after half an hour.) In essence, a barmaid handing a red rose to Corey, by the estimable Yorick Le Saux. it’s just one of the many data files on the robber played by Delon, just before Amazon Prime, data assets assembled he falls into a trap laid by the police.” Opens December 25 from multiple AWS servers (Amazon Web Services) as it streams. Talking to James Mottram for the South 3 Law Of Desire. Siskel. China Morning Post, Refn expressed a 35mm print of Almodóvar’s sixth I’ve employed it as a brooding mood: sentiment close to how I’ve employed feature, paired with a second-run the sensation that much film noir brings; “Too Old”: “I don’t actively seek out engagement of his magisterial 2019 it’s fatal but the watcher, or in this case, anything any more, but if [I encounter masterpiece, “Pain and Glory.” largely listener, it’s not the one who dies. a show], it’s usually in the middle of Does any of this elevate Refn from trash something. And if it catches me, then December 28 & January 2 to flash, what justifies his sinister glam, I’m far more interested in enjoying it. in a searing color palette that only So I thought it was a more relevant way 4 American Dharma. Siskel. someone who claims to be colorblind to present the future. Streaming is like “The Brink” is one of 2019’s most could commit? an evolution, combined with cinema. offhandedly fastidious documentaries, For me, it’s bright and beautiful.” following political wrecking ball Steve It is a revenger’s mood. There is no Bannon through his vexatious paces; benighted modesty in the yearlong rage Refn’s screen is a scream of conscious- this is Errol Morris’ long-delayed of productivity that begat this damage, ness, of an awareness of figures in sit-down with the éminence grise. this hypnagogic hauteur. “Too Old To Die malefaction: light of hues of bountiful Young” is a doom-swoon palette-cleans- bruise. A vision of the human form Opens December 13 er in a year that continues catastrophe gliding into the putrefaction of pulp for movies at the theatrical cash spigot. fiction. And staring into, onto faces. 5 Star Wars: The Rise of In “Immortality,” Milan Kundera writes Skywalker. Retcon mayhem “It’s at least four times crazier than ‘Only of “impersonality”: “The serial number ensues in fan-service frenzy as great God Forgives,’ and it has more pauses of a human specimen is the face, that swathes of “The Last Jedi” are effaced than ‘Meet Joe Black’ and I am not accidental and unrepeatable combina- from holy canon. December 20 complaining,” writer-director BenDavid tion of features. It reflects neither the Grabinski tweeted admiringly when it character nor the soul, nor what we arrived. “I’m dead from a long first week call the self. The face is only the serial but Refn is like an IV of wtf.” Glowing number of a specimen.” from that flatscreen over there, Refn’s serene provocation is as much effloresce Refn is myopic to actual human as effulgence: he describes the work as suffering, his body of work demonstrates “his absurdist poetry,” as concerned with that; yet he acutely captures the mask “internal odysseys” as with narrative. of the face, the sense of the skin crawl, the palm sweat, the suffocation of Adam Schatz published an invaluable sensual dread and endless anticipation essay in the London Review of Books of awfulness. It’s been this writer’s good in June on the work of French master buddy these six months now. Jean-Pierre Melville that suggests a musical analogy. “There was sometimes “Too Old To Die Young” is on Amazon. 49

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