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Home Explore Newcity Chicago May 2020

Newcity Chicago May 2020

Published by Newcity, 2020-04-28 12:17:17

Description: While somethings change, others stay constant. This month's issue features Newcity's Breakout Artists, our annual admiration of the city's emerging visual talent. Editor Brian Hieggelke interviews Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader, founder of Chicago Independent Media Alliance and savior of community media. Elsewhere in this issue: a local distillery pivots to providing hand sanitizer, Aram Han Sifuentes reimagines the voting process, dancing in captivity, a Jill of all trades, and more.


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MAY 2020

LIVE-STREAMING EVENTS AND CLASSES, EXHIBITIONS AND TOURS, MUSICAL AND THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES, LECTURES, INTERVIEWS, AND MORE. Attend an online dance class, discover family- friendly gatherings, hear from distinguished practitioners, or take a leisurely stroll through the University’s public art. With this collection of virtual offerings created by and for UChicago students, faculty, staff, guest artists, University professional organizations, and community partners, you can discover—or rediscover!—the breadth and depth of the arts at the University of Chicago, on the South Side, and in the City of Chicago. ARTSBLOG.UCHICAGO.EDU/ VIRTUAL

Detail view of “X,” 2015. Artist: Eddie Santana White (aka “Edo”). This work was part of the artist’s 2020 exhibition Memories Museum at the Logan Center. Image courtesy of artist.

WEINBERGNEWTONGALLERY.COM Weinberg/Newton Gallery is a non-commercial gallery with a mission to collaborate with nonprofit organizations and artists. Connecting artists with social justice organizations, we work to drive change and cultivate a culture of consciousness.

MAY 2020 Arts & Culture THE ART MAY 2020 Newcity CONVERSATION Aram Han Sifuentes is radically reenvisioning voting..................... 31 9 DANCE Tracy Baim and her crusade to save Dancing community media in captivity......................................................35 11 DESIGN How Meet this year's Koval pivoted ................................................. 37 next generation of image makers DINING & DRINKING From the frontlines of the restaurant crisis....................................39 FILM How we're living Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” .............. 41 LIT An interview with Krista Franklin about her blend of art and poetry..................43 MUSIC Meanwhile, The Last Word Quintet fuses music and poetry.....................45 S TA G E A Jillian of all trades..................................................... 47 REVIEWS What the critics say .......................................................49 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Teen Dream says farewell................................................... 51 5

Newcity MAY 2020 We just don’t know. Over the last few weeks, those of us in South Loop buildings as well as other neighborhoods As I write, we do not know how many will die. have met each night at our windows at 8pm to We do not know when, if ever, a vaccine will sing familiar songs together and shine lights be available. We do not know when stay-at- outward in an act of community and catharsis home restrictions will end. We do not know in thanks for the frontline workers who are if the economy is in the early stages of a de- keeping us safe. The songs, whether opera pression or has the potential for a post- favorites sung from Italian balconies or the war-style bounce. We do not know when pop hits sung by our neighbors, are connective sports will resume, when movie theaters will tissue in these moments. open or when we can go to bars again. Does this matter? Here’s a couple of responses from Facebook: What we do know is that we’re grateful for “Hi everyone! Nurse here– I wanted to say everyday heroes: our healthcare workers risk- thank you to all the people flashing their lights ing their lives to save other lives; our police, in their windows around 8pm (nightly?). … fire, transportation and municipal workers I just so happen to be driving down Lake Shore keeping the essential components of our soci- Drive at around that time whenever I come ety intact; and workers up and down the pro- home from work… It puts a smile on my face verbial food chain who are keeping us fed. every time and I can feel your support from afar thank you!” And we know that culture matters, now more “To my neighbors at Michigan and 13th who than ever. played “Landslide” after “Imagine,” thank you for the unexpected gift. My twin died three We have a tendency to feel guilty about per- weeks ago today and that was one of her favor- sonal interests and pleasures when people are ite songs. We can’t have a proper burial until dying. It has always been fashionable in some who knows when. I would have taken a picture quarters to trivialize the arts. The federal gov- but was crying too hard. So thank you.” ernment, in responding to this crisis, has so Yes, culture matters. Now more than ever. far ponied up a relative pittance to save this And a personal thanks to David Alvarado who entire industry, less than four times what it concludes his long-running “Life is Beautiful” gave a single steakhouse chain. But while our comics story with us this month. We look for- physical health is paramount, our mental health ward to seeing it in book form at some point is moored in large part to our access to culture. and wish him well in the future. How much more tolerable is this epic quaran- tine because we can stream movies and thou- — Brian Hieggelke sand of episodic shows on demand from our couches? How much more manageable are our lives because of books? How much pleasure do we find in taking a break from cooking at home by ordering a meal from one of our city’s abundance of creative restaurants? How much does it help to see art on our walls or to take an online visit to a gallery, a museum or an artist’s studio? Over the past few weeks, the disturbingly empty streets of the Loop have been serenad- ed by the sound of soulful-voiced Andrew David belting out his poignant version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to an audience of steel and glass and pigeons. 6

2019 3Arts/Southwest Airlines Awardee Sam Trump. Photo Credit: Nijole Shuberg. IG | @nspicture.

Contributors RUBY T’s (Cover) work is an experiment CIERA MCKISSIK (Writer, “Breakout ON THE COVER in translating fantasy to reality, and she is Artists”) is an independent writer, curator, Cover Art Ruby T fueled by anger, desire and magic. She was cultural producer and the founder of AMFM, Ruby T, \"Idle Mind is a Playground for named a 2018 Breakout Artist by Newcity a creative arts brand based in Chicago that the Devil,\" 2019, ink on hand-marbled and has had solo and two-person shows supports emerging and established artists paper, 11h x 17w inches, courtesy of at Western Exhibitions, Randy Alexander, by offering them a platform to showcase the artist and Western Exhibitions Roots & Culture and The Back Room at their work and passions on a larger scale Kim’s Corner Food. through exhibitions, web content and Vol. 35, No. 1403 curated events. She is also the coordinator KERRY CARDOZA (Editor, “Breakout of public programs at the Hyde Park Art PUBLISHERS Artists”) is the Art Editor at Newcity. She Center, and program assistant at Ox-Bow Brian & Jan Hieggelke is interested in the ways politics informs School of Art.  Associate Publisher Mike Hartnett cultural production. EDITORIAL CHRISTINA NAFZIGER (Writer, “Breakout Editor Brian Hieggelke ANIKO BERMAN (Writer, “Breakout Artists”) is a writer, editor and journalist Managing Editor Jan Hieggelke Artists”) was most recently director at whose writing and research focuses on Art Editor Kerry Cardoza Monique Meloche Gallery and is currently contemporary art and visual culture. She Dance Editor Sharon Hoyer completing an MBA at UChicago Booth is interested in the intersection of art and Design Editor Vasia Rigou School of Business. She has contributed science fiction and the ways in which the Dining and Drinking Editor writing to Flash Art, Art Observed and New archive can be used to inform, shape and David Hammond Art Examiner, among other art publications. replace individual and collective memory. Film Editor Ray Pride Lit Editor Tara Betts RYAN FILCHAK (Writer, “Breakout Artists”) CHRIS REEVES (Writer, “Breakout Artists”) Music Editor Robert Rodi is a Chicago-based arts writer and critic. is an artist and PhD candidate in Art History Theater Editor Kevin Greene Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Filchak at the University of Illinois Chicago. He ART & DESIGN earned his MFA in Art History and Visual is co-founder of Flatland, a project space Senior Designers Fletcher Martin, Studies at the University of Kentucky. in McKinley Park and co-authored a Dan Streeting , Billy Werch A regular contributor to THE SEEN and book, \"The World's Worst: A Guide to the Designers Jim Maciukenas, Newcity Art, his work has also appeared Portsmouth Sinfonia,\" which will be released Stephanie Plenner in Vice, Burnaway, The Smudge and on Soberscove Press in May 2020.  MARKETING Amadeus Magazine. Marketing Manager Todd Hieggelke ANASTASIA KARPOVA TINARI (Writer, OPERATIONS STEPHANIE KOCH (Writer, “Breakout “Breakout Artists”) is a Chicago-based General Manager Jan Hieggelke Artists”) is an arts administrator and curator curator, writer and arts administrator. She Distribution Nick Bachmann, from Chicago who engages in institution- is currently director at Richard Gray Gallery Adam Desantis, Preston Klik, building as a creative practice. She is the and was previously director at Rhona Quinn Nicholson co-founder of Annas, an independent Hoffman Gallery. art space dedicated to the critical role of One copy of current issue free at select locations. exhibiting process, a curatorial fellow HOLLY LEE WARREN (Writer, “Breakout Additional copies, including back issues up to one with ACRE and a curatorial resident with Artists”) is a writer living in Chicago. Her year, may be ordered at Chicago Artists Coalition. chapbook “Glaciation” was published by Copyright 2020, New City Communications, Inc. Chicago’s Meekling Press and her work All Rights Reserved. NICOLE MAUSER’s (Writer, “Breakout has been featured in Chicago Artist Writers. Artists”) paintings and installations She holds an MFA from the School of the Newcity assumes no responsibility to return investigate tensions at play between Art Institute of Chicago and is the assistant unsolicited editorial or graphic material. All gestural color fields and surface/material director of events at the Reva and David rights in letters and unsolicited editorial or specificity within a language of abstraction. Logan Center for the Arts. graphic material will be treated as unconditionally She is a member of the artist-run gallery assigned for publication and copyright purposes collective Tiger Strikes Asteroid and and subject to comment editorially. Nothing may currently a lecturer in Visual Art at the be reprinted in whole or in part without written University of Chicago.  permission from the publisher. Newcity MAY 2020 Newcity is published by Newcity Communications, Inc. 47 West Polk, Suite 100-223, Chicago, IL 60605 Visit for advertising and editorial information. 8

the conversation racy Baim is an undeniable force. The longtime leader in Chicago's LGBTQ media through her Windy City Times, Tracy Baim Baim has also produced films (“Scrooge & Marley,” “Han- nah Free”), authored or co-authored at least a dozen books (in- and her Quest to cluding a history of Chicago's gay community, “Out and Proud Save in Chicago”) and founded the activist project incubator Pride Action Tank. In the fall of , she took on the formidable task Community Media of publishing the Chicago Reader, the city's once-hugely prof- itable alternative weekly that had been crushed by a succession by Brian Hieggelke of ownership changes that coincided with a dire era in that in- Photo by GlitterGuts dustry over the past two decades. She quickly reshaped the publication by blending its legacy of provocative storytelling with her own activist leanings. MAY 2020 Newcity It did not take long for Baim to realize that the publication could not thrive without shifting to a nonprofit business model, which is in process. At the same time, she leveraged her ca- reer in community journalism to approach community media across Chicago to uncover ways to share resources and proj- ects. Soon, Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) was born. The pandemic, which brought with it the existential threat to community publications everywhere, accelerated her plan to create a fundraising mechanism for a broad cross-section of community media. (Newcity is a participant in CIMA and its fundraising e orts.) We corresponded with Tracy about her endeavors.  Tell us about the e ort to help save community media in Chicago. This is something you've been working on for a while, but how did the pandemic a ect the timing? For many years, as publisher of Windy City Times, I tried to push quietly for more ways for community media to work to- gether with the support of foundations and allies. I suggested projects including joint ad sales, fundraisers, and so on. But for the most part my perch was small and collaborative work was not appreciated. Once I took the job as publisher of the Read- er in October of , I started meeting with foundations and anyone else I could to discuss working together to lift all boats. In , as the Chicago Defender closed its print edition, and Hoy was shut down by the Tribune, people started to see how dire the situation was for local Chicago media. Many people now know how bad it is for all media, and independent com- munity media are especially vulnerable. What's at risk for Chicago and community journalism?  We are losing longstanding legacy media, and newer media is not able to sustain their initial burst of support. That’s not true for all. There are great examples [that] are doing well. But many, many local community media outlets are close to shut- ting down, and this recent crisis might do many of them in. When we lose a local voice, we lose the authentic way they cover their own communities, whether that is basic communi- ty-level news, politics, culture, or other areas such as crime, education and the environment. Skeptics might say the old guard is simply giving way to new models of digital-only publishing. There will always be new models of communication. So, yes, old models often die and new models replace them. But even new models of media are not going to make it at the communi- ty level without new ways of thinking to help them all. So I am neutral to the way people get the information, but also aware that some people do not have the same digital access as others. So we need to make sure we don’t get rid of the ways that are the lifeline for certain people, and that includes print and radio. 9

ive us some context as to it into a nonpro t. How did Once we emerge from the rubble you reach that decision? how you arrived here.  Transforming the Reader into a nonprofit seems of this lockdown, what do you the right track for this company, because the own- I grew up in a newspaper family. My mom Joy ers who saved it were not going to support it for- see and hope for community media ever. And the advertising revenue comes up short Darrow and stepfather Steve Pratt lived their in keeping the Reader at the sta ing and quality in Chicago? level we want it to be. So we want to broaden the whole lives as journalists. My stepdad spent types of revenue coming in, and that will include We accelerated one project we wanted bringing in donors, benefits and foundations. twenty-nine years at the Tribune, while my mom to do with CIMA, a community-wide fundraiser. Where are you getting resources for worked community media, then the Tribune, CIMA? Is it foundation-funded?  We hope it will launch by the end of April, with then the Chicago Defender, and did much free- CIMA is a project of the Reader. I have seen so a joint website with more than thirty media com- many collaborations fail because they rely on a lancing. I started as a reporter-photographer- bunch of already busy and singularly focused ing together. Folks coming to the website can owners to put in time elsewhere. I wanted to typesetter at GayLife newspaper in May , make sure this had a chance to thrive under the decide to give a specific amount to media out- vision of the Reader. We were able to secure right after graduating with a journalism degree grant funding for one full-time sta person, lets, or to give one amount to all. I am working Yazmin Dominguez, for eighteen months, and from Drake University. By the next year, I was we hope to add at least one more sta member hard to then get foundation dollars to match to add capacity for the work ahead. With just managing editor. In September of , I co- the nine months we have put into CIMA, under what each raises. It still requires an individual the direction of myself and co-editor-in-chief founded Windy City Times at age twenty-two. Karen Hawkins, we have already seen great e ort to push the donations, so what media out- success and support. Foundations like collab- I left WCT after clashing with one of the cofound- orative work, and they see how this can help lets will get out of it will be based on the e ort the landscape of Chicago. We also want to help ers, and soon after another cofounder suc- uplift smaller media and build their toolkits and they put in, but it does allow for the potential to skill sets. But all of it takes sta time. So we cumbed to AIDS complications. I started Out- have to pace what we can realistically do. bring in new donors, and new donors to each of lines in May and then in I purchased us. This was going to be in , so pushing the WCT back from the remaining cofounder. After timetable up is ambitious, but will be a good pilot many of the supporters of Outlines and Windy to really keep it going much bigger for . City Times turned in their shares over the years, Karen and I have many dreams for community I own ninety percent of WCT still, but my long- media. We could do so much with more resourc- time sta there run it. My primary focus is the es. We want a huge independent community Reader and building up the community media center for Chicago, with a shared backend for ecosystem in Chicago. If just a couple of us re- the basics such as accounting, legal, HR, sales main, we will die, too. We need a thriving media and health insurance, but with independent environment to make sure as many of us survive newsrooms. Chicago has the potential to show as possible. the rest of the country how we can collaborate, but remain authentic and independent. After just a year at the helm Donate to one, some or all Chicago indepen- of the Chicago Reader you dent media entities at made the decision to transform THE ALLURE OF MATTER Newcity MAY 2020 WRIGHTWOOD THE ALLURE OF MATTER Material Art from China 659 Visit online for artist videos, at-home activities, object chats, and more. Installation view of The Allure of Matter at the Smart Museum of Art, showing work by gu wenda and Sun Yuan & Peng Yu. 10

year, Now in its sixteenth Newcity’s list of Breakout Artists is here again, proffering a brief respite from these days of uncertainty and stress. By no means an exhaustive list of Chicago’s rising art stars, this year’s image makers instead offer a snapshot of what makes our art com- munity great. From the quiet moments of motherhood that Gwendolyn Zabicki depicts in her paintings to the way Selva Aparicio’s sculptures and installations honor the connections between life and death, these artists are not only creating beautiful work, they are also reminding us to notice and appreciate each passing minute. MAY 2020 Newcity 11 In this moment, it is worth remembering how crucial artists are to a healthy society. Creative thinkers are the best at offering visions of a brighter future, of ways to work toward the kind of world we want to live in. A world like the work of Tamara Bec- erra Valdez, who spins detritus into gold, or Yvette Mayorga, who shrinks down border patrol agents and embeds them forever into confectionary bas-reliefs. So here’s to Chicago’s artists, who are an essential component of what keeps our city vibrant and visionary. — Kerry Cardoza Newcity’s Breakout Artists 2020 was written by Kerry Cardoza, Chris Reeves, Christina Nafziger, Aniko Berman, Nicole Mauser, Ryan Filchak, Stephanie Nicole Koch, Anastasia Karpova Tinari, Ciera McKissik, and Holly Warren.

In Tamara Becerra Valdez’s makeshift Tamara studio is a large box filled with cardboard tubes and rolled ephemera. The box itself is unremarkable, but the way Valdez has Becerra placed it in her studio—attached to the ceil- ing by a confounding rope-and-pulley sys- tem—is a fascinating decision. When I ask why the box is hung like this, she says, “I Valdez just needed to make some space in here.”  While not an artwork, Valdez’s ram- shackle maneuvering of an object around the limits of her studio space speaks to her artistic practice of repurposing found ma- terials. In her most recent exhibition at Chi- dez says. “My identity as a Mexican Amer- be the final resting place of cast-off mate- cago Artists Coalition, entitled “BUILD ican being into the Grateful Dead, or rials or the big ideas an artist must express. YOUR SELF” after a found motivational note, hip-hop music, or certain fashions and Perhaps most of all, what Valdez does is the BOLT Resident presents a body of things, and always going in and out of it and take the ephemeral out of time and puts it sculptural works of found and building ma- feeling very chameleon-like. In the end into space, resuscitating the ghosts of mo- terials onto hung pan- els. Bathroom tiles be- 1 come picture frames for party confetti or found notes; lottery scratch- offs adorn worn cabinet doors alongside a for- gotten EPA bumper sticker that sloganeers Newcity MAY 2020 for green initiatives past; domiciles are reconstructed as frag- ments, as home-build- ing materials coalesce together in a second life as art objects. Valdez’s translations make these materials that lack tan- 12 gible value into some- thing invaluable. Valdez’s works are not your typical twen- ty-first century brico- lage, that fashionable glut of found art-for- art’s sake junk that lines art fairs and collector vaults. To be sure, many of Valdez’s works are sculpted psychogeog- raphy, ordering the wear and tear of the world into something personally resonant. These works read as something familiar but new, a Kurt Schwitters for the late-capitalist age, clean debris that these works make me feel like I can feed ments out of found materials into something pushes the viewer to question what they into all the different parts of myself, and this that is uniquely hers. These works feel alive, see in this art: ecstasy or ruin? hippie flower girl part of me can enjoy these and in their exquisite recombinations of the Her pieces are extraordinary in their jux- pretty colors alongside the fade and wear cast-off there is a poetic resonance toward taposition of refuse and formal sculpture, of other colors.” the hopeful, a feeling that there might be and at least part of this comes from her feel- Although careful not to make work too some potential in this new pollution if we ings of personal contradictions. “I feel like driven by commitment to identity politics, can just imagine it otherwise. a really complicated human. I feel like I jug- the beauty of Valdez’s works is certainly in gle my identity as a Mexican American,” Val- their fragmenting consensus, whether that — Chris Reeves

MAY 2020 Newcity 13 2 1 Tamara Becerra Valdez / Photo: Sebastian Aguirre 2 “Rough and crumbled, something else besides decay might be happening,” ceramic tiles, soap dish, concrete cast soda bottles, empty plastic water bottles, vegetable bags, confetti, 26 x 2 5/8 x 24 inches, 2020 / Photo: Sebastian Aguirre

1 them really made me want to critique the injustices they have been through.” In recent paintings, May- orga infuses Rococo motifs onto ornate and lavishly em- bellished vessels inspired by eighteenth-century Ameri- can “century vases” that tra- ditionally depict historical scenes. Gold chains, emojis and brightly painted finger- nails adorn Mayorga’s urns, topped with her signature icing texture. Once again, she disrupts her own iconography with patrol guards figurines. Once realized, you can now see the vase for what it really is: an urn, a vessel holding loss. These vessels that at first glance seem frivolous and decorative now hold the weight of an urn’s grief, pos- sessing a powerful and subtle picture of violence. Mayorga’s urn paintings Newcity MAY 2020 were showcased at the end of 2019 in her first solo exhi- bition, “A Part of US,” at Geary Contemporary in New York City. Since graduating with an MFA in Fiber and Ma- terial Studies from the School of the Art Institute in 2016, she has shown her paintings 14 and installation work all over Chicago and beyond, in plac- es like the National Museum of Mexican Art, EXPO Chica- go, and the Vincent Price Art Dissatisfied by traditional methods minding us that patrolling is controlling— Museum in California. Through May 10, a of putting brush to canvas, Yvette Mayor- and if we are the onlooker, what role are lifesize double portrait of her and her ga creates paintings that push into a third we taking on through this act? grandfather titled “F is for Ice, 1875-2018 dimension by building thick, icing-like lay- Mayorga instinctively blends aspects of (After Portrait of Innocent X, c. 1650, Diego ers that are literally caked onto the sur- her background to create her politically Velázquez)” is in the exhibition “In Flux: face of the canvas. Impossibly ornate and charged work: a background in painting Chicago Artists and Immigration” at the almost sickeningly sweet, her work chan- and sculpture and her family histories and Chicago Cultural Center. She’s been nels the extravagant excess of the Roco- experiences. By applying pastel-colored awarded grants and residencies ranging co era to critique our state of American acrylic paint with frosting pipe bags, she from 3Arts, ACRE Projects and the Terra excess and consumption. references her personal history, as her Foundation and, most recently, her work However sweet, Mayorga uses unsus- mother was a baker and both her grand- has been acquired by the DePaul Art Mu- pecting pinks, candy-colored motifs and fathers worked at Chicago’s Tootsie Roll seum where it will be on view this fall. childhood references to make it easier to factory. Mayorga’s labor-in- digest the hard truths revealed within her tensive process echoes — Christina Nafziger frosting. In her series “High Maintenance,” family history: “I’ve had the she cleverly uses the playful constructions privilege of being born here, of the nineties childhood toy Polly Pocket but seeing life play out dif- Yvette to critique notions of space and control, ferently for my family mem- with the ever-present border patrol guards bers that are undocument- that appear in many of her works. Influ- ed and also just by being a Mayorga enced by the politics of the situation at the young person with my par- U.S.-Mexico border, Mayorga’s work in- ents traversing the world vites us to look into these built spaces, re- and experiencing that with

1 Yvette Mayorga MAY 2020 Newcity / Photo: Kevin Penczak 15

1 Caroline Kent breaches borders, formally, conceptual- ly, geographically. Interested in reevaluation of abstract painting, that sacred ivory tower of modernism, Kent’s practice is founded on no- tions of textual translation in- formed, in part, by time spent in Romania. She presents a visceral analysis of shape, line and color, foregrounded in a desire to tease open these el- ements’ relationships with each other and with the view- er. Chicago audiences were treated to her large-scale, en- veloping, unstretched screen- like paintings in the 2018 multi-venue exhibition “Out of Easy Reach” (curated by Alli- son Glenn; Kent’s works were on view at DePaul Art Muse- um), as well as in the first Viewing Room presentation at Monique Meloche Gallery’s expanded West Town space Newcity MAY 2020 that summer. A recent acqui- sition by the Art Institute of Chicago ensures that such works remain part of the city’s cultural fabric. Moving both into and be- yond the surface, Kent’s visual lexicon further poses a sense of dynamic experimentation 16 through the range of medium- and installation-related decisions she cho- ing messages, evoking different modes of Kent received the prestigious Artadia reographs to develop and showcase her letter writing, object-making, communica- award in 2019, and earlier this year, her “painterly” vision. Kent has been leaning tion. Abstraction in hushed, newly pro- work reached new audiences through a into the sphere of experiential environment, found tones. presentation at Material Art Fair in Mexico as seen in her contribution to Duro Olowu’s Kent’s interest in the symbiotic relation- City, with Minneapolis-based gallery co., a “Seeing Chicago” exhibition at the MCA (on ship between object and space serves as resonant positioning given her interest in view through May 10), which features a a worthy analogy for her own experience the work of Mexican architect Luis Bar- vinyl painting and sculptures jutting from as a working artist and teacher (at UIC) ragán, as well as her own heritage (Kent’s the wall. While abstract painting tradition- who has engaged with the particular en- mother is Mexican, her father African ally conjures notions of sweeping scale vironment of Chicago, yet whose creative American). A testament to the increasing and gesture, Kent wants to go deeper, to identity also extends beyond such specific- awareness of her practice, Kent secured locate a precious potential for intimacy and ity. A Midwesterner through-and-through, formal gallery representation with Kohn connection in this vast, often opaque, Kent grew up in Sterling, Illinois and cred- Gallery, Los Angeles; her first solo show space. An upcoming project, “Victoria Ve- its the region for her rigorous work eth- there is scheduled for September 2020. ronica” (derived from her mother’s two first ic—“if I could spend twelve hours a day in That month, Kent will also stage her first names), is a physical environment that my studio, I would.” Kent came to Chicago full-fledged solo show at the Chicago out- casts abstract painting as correspondence from Minneapolis in 2017, and since then post of Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and will re- between two sisters telepathically convey- has successfully leveraged the lessons turn to DPAM as part of an exhibition of of that “incubation period” works by Latinx artists. At such a critical to develop her practice and and productive moment in her career, Caroline network in a city rich in re- Kent’s vision for her future is fittingly large- sources for artists to thrive, scale and big picture, bereft of fixed mark- “where artists can afford ers: “Being an artist is a marathon… A long, Kent their freedom,” and which interesting unfolding of ideas and expres- offers a platform from which sions over a lifetime.” to be seen by the art world at large. — Aniko Berman

1 Caroline Kent 2 “Coronation for a lesser-known king,” acrylic on wall, / Photo: Charles Thomas acrylic on canvas, acrylic on wood, 2018. Image courtesy of co., Minneapolis. Artwork included in “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” MCA, 2020 3 Installation view, “Out of Easy Reach,” DePaul Art Museum, 2018. Image courtesy of DePaul Art Museum, Chicago 2 MAY 2020 Newcity 3 17

1 vers. Repetition of the red fig- ure across many works is a siren call of urgency and sym- bolizes love or rushing blood. Curves of the body and zoomed-in cropping create tension, where bodies act as framing devices and simulta- neously push against the pic- torial frame, making expan- sive landscapes out of flesh. Legs and feet are firmly plant- ed, both grounding and sus- pending the figure. Torsos stretch to impossible len-gths and create a full circle to en- velop and seemingly protect the self. It’s almost as if the fig- ures are engaged in their own transfiguration for the viewer to witness: a process and struggle both internal and manifesting itself external. The overall mood of her paint- ings on canvas and on paper is introspective and contem- plative as the faces are almost Newcity MAY 2020 always shielded from view. The ways in which Williams depicts volume and elegant shape lend themselves to flat color field painting where sug- gestion of shadow and form lead to flat planes of color. Yet the details of physical features 18 Brittney the weight of anoth- or specific places remain open-ended and er larger yet simi- hint at abstraction. larly shaped figure. The doubling of body After moving to Chicago in 2008, Wil- liams hit the ground running. She has been Leeanne types leads to famil- an artist-in-residence at The University of ial associations. Wil- Chicago Center for the Study of Race, Pol- liams’ titles allude to itics and Culture, participated in HATCH Williams the biblical Book of Projects at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Ruth and the moth- and attended residencies at Skowhegan er-daughter relation- and McColl. According to Williams, the Mc- ship. As her figures Coll Center for Art + Innovation in North carry one another, Carolina brought the elements at the edges suggestions of how and in the backgrounds of her paintings into the body holds the focus. The landscapes and settings that the Brittney Leeanne Williams’ paintings weight of psychological traumas begin to figures respond to reference the artist’s up- depict figures in transformation and bod- emerge. At times it is ambiguous if figures bringing in Victorville, California, near the ies subject to unseen pressures or forces. recline in repose or collapse in exhaustion Mojave desert. These settings, landscapes In Williams’ own words, the figures twist from anguish, which feels like a metaphor and architectural details increase specific- and knot themselves into emotional land- for the current political moment. ity while making the deeply personal into scapes. These figurative and pictorial in- Paintings in a recent group exhibition at universal meaning through Williams’ con- versions create a body-space continuum. Monique Meloche feature bodies that bend cise visual vocabulary. Their postures hold tensions that connect in improbable positions, where torsos ex- Williams had a solo show in Los Angeles the present moment to centuries past. As- tend, seamlessly, to become skies. Hierar- in 2019 at Zevitas Marcus. Coming up are sociations can be made to Egyptian friezes, chies are subverted where bodies and land- exhibitions at Alexander Berggruen in New mythical goddesses, classical sculpture, scapes are one and the same. In a series York, Para Site in Hong Kong, the Kathman- surrealist landscapes and Laura Aguilar’s of paintings, Williams depicts figures that du Triennale in Nepal and a solo exhibition photographic self-portraits, to name a few. are so solidly, deeply and intensely red that at the University Club in Chicago. Like Aguilar, Williams’ figures are both sub- they vibrate as they fold, twist and maintain ject and object. Figures lift, prop and carry (or rather endure) complex physical maneu- — Nicole Mauser

2 MAY 2020 Newcity 1 Brittney Leeann Williams 19 / Photo: Chris Edwards 3 2 “Naomi and Ruth: No Beginning and No End,” oil on canvas, 45 x 32 inches, 2019 3 “Dilapidated Rock in Victorville,” oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2019 4 “A Gateway Out,” oil and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2019 34

1 Mixed-media artist Cody Tumblin received an invitation in 2017 to exhibit his paintings at a space in Nashville called Mild Cli- mate. Feeling disheartened by his studio practice and the polit- ical climate, Tumblin decided not to hang work on the walls. but to instead host a community pot- luck in the gallery on opening night. Titled “Today’s Special,” the exhibition focused on food- based programming. Every other week Tumblin would install his microwave in the gallery and in- vite people to bring their leftovers, heat up food and share with oth- ers. The independent publisher Extended Play Press would print “Today’s Special Volume One,” a cookbook curated by Tumblin that scrapbooks the recipe swaps and culinary contributions made during these events. For a culinary enthusiast who received his BFA in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chi- Newcity MAY 2020 cago, exercises like these reflect the hospitality and humility that Tumblin infuses into his visual practice. “The act of making paint- ings, for me, is very personal and very intimate—reflection, search- ing, excavating, finding hope. Be- cause of this, painting doesn’t al- ways feel outwardly generous,” 20 he says. “I am constantly looking for ways to build a kind of giving into my work.” Tumblin’s paintings intention- ally avoid direct aesthetic associ- ations, instead favoring recycling and reuse. He was originally a fashion design student at SAIC, and each piece has a base ma- terial make-up of fabric, dyes and thread. at Devening Projects. Cody Works evolve from these foundational ele- The press release de- ments through collage, where Tumblin scribed the way Tum- brings bits and pieces from his studio to- blin makes a painting gether to reflect an accumulation of time; as “similar to making Tumblin layered raindrops and moons shift on the a soup.” Photographs canvas, but never settle. This process of of the sun printed on repetition and reworking combines with the cotton were stitched aforementioned goal of making paintings into the middle of with a built-in social engine; stitching some of the paintings scraps of fabric into the canvas, painting to serve as a concep- into the dyes, snipping threads. All these tual and literal starting point. The repetition, Tumblin is scheduled to present a new small acts add up to convey the larger or as Cody puts it, “the regurgitation” of body of work in October at H.G. Inn in Chi- themes of loss, growth and joy Tumblin form seen in both singular works and in the cago. One can imagine that familiar shapes wishes to express. multiple pieces throughout this solo presen- and colors, possibly even certain pieces of The themes that speak so loudly to the tation emphasizes the importance of mem- hand-dyed fabric, will harken back to that possibilities of being an artist for Tumblin ory, which serves an alchemical purpose in which preceded it. saw their latest maturation in his 2019 the studio: to reference the past and inform exhibition “Stray Light Shadow Between” the future. — Ryan Filchak

2 MAY 2020 Newcity 1 Cody Tumblin 21 / Photo: Hyun Jung Jun 2 “Blue Eyed Stranger,” oil and acrylic on muslin, zipper, dyed cotton, thread, 11 x 14 inches, 2019 3 “Warm in the Veins,\" dyed cotton, photograph on cotton, acrylic and thread, 32 x 40 inches, 2018 4 “Ok Now We’re Dreaming,” dyed cotton, bleach, photograph of the sun on cotton, acrylic, dye, thread, 50 x 64 inches, 2017-2018 34

“With my work, I’m interested in past, present and future triumph is por- fleck of pink strategically placed in a let- showcasing metaphorical narratives of my trayed through a modern young woman, a ter-sized collage, to the vast fifty-foot field experiences, thoughts, desires, regrets and person who is rarely, if ever, depicted in of blue in Heo’s mural for the Chicago Art fantasies as a human being,” David Heo that position. Department’s facade. says. The desire to share one’s life through In his solo exhibition “Honey & Smoke” While his heritage influenced his ap- storytelling is universal, but the tools to cre- at Vertical Gallery in March 2019, one proach, Heo is also influenced by other cul- ate those stories are specific to the individ- could fully experience the vibrancy and tures, both past and present. Storytelling ual and their socio-historical background. color to which Heo carefully attends. Ob- is ubiquitous and his priority in his artistic While growing up in Acworth, Georgia, Heo’s parents would tell tradi- tional Korean folklore, and he also became ab- sorbed in Greek and Egyptian mythology. Ancient civilizations depicted stories upon everyday items, notably ceramics. For Heo, the soft green celadon Ko- rean vases around his home, bearing symbols such as cranes, tigers, lotuses and chrysanthe- mums, left an impres- sion. In recent works, Heo collages the sur- Newcity MAY 2020 face of the vase, com- monly used in ancient pottery, to illustrate a range of folklore from grand, mythic metanar- ratives to quiet frames of daily life. Heo renders the traditional into the contemporary as he practice is to relate to a range of audienc- 22 processes his personal experiences in the mo- es. “My heritage, culture and upbringing ment and, as a twenty- will always be integral to my practice, but seven-year-old living in I’m going to make sure my work will always an urban city, that bypass the expectation of difference,” he means youth and night- says. “Relatability is the word I want my life. Heo shares: “Every- David works to have first.” thing about my upbring- In addition to his exhibition at Vertical ing comes into play Gallery, recent exhibitions across Chicago within my works, wheth- Heo include solo shows at Boundary, YCA Gal- er direct imagery, colors lery and baby blue gallery and group or animals. I have this shows at Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago Art vast lexicon of symbolo- Department, Heaven Gallery, LVL3 and gy and culture. I plan on Western Exhibitions. Summer for Heo will utilizing all of that. But likely be busy, with shows planned at I’m going to always re-translate all of this to servers have remarked that his color choic- Gasamrojieul in Euljiro, South Korea in May, describe how I interpret everything about es, particularly the hot blue and pink, are OFFLINE in Chicago and Superchief Gal- the world today.” inspired by Los Angeles or nightlife. Heo lery in Los Angeles. By using the symbology classic to his- clarifies that his colors also originate from Heo also balances his fine arts practice torical paintings and illustrations of my- dancheong, Korean decorative coloring with public projects, such as collaborations thology and folklore—the horse, the snake, dating back thousands of years. Skilled ar- with brands, institutions, schools and pub- the dog—Heo typologizes the people he tisans build from a color base of blue, white, lications. Recent projects include Low Rez meets and interactions during nights out. red, black and yellow to form systems of Brewery, the Ace Hotel, Newcity and the This period of one’s life can be the most patterns on architecture. The palette and Poetry Foundation. Upcoming collabora- formative, emotionally heightened, and, for the attention to color, its ability to carry tions will be made with Miliken at NeoCon many, the most volatile. A snarling dog can meaning and also guide a viewer through and Yeti’s outpost in Wicker Park. be any aggressive and predatory man in a a story, comes through in moments small bar; a three-headed horse, representing and large in Heo’s work; in the smallest — Stephanie Nicole Koch

1 MAY 2020 Newcity 1 “Prowl #2,” (from the “Honey 23 & Smoke” series), construction paper, crayon and painted paper cutouts collage on paper, 2019 2 “Autonomous,” oil stick, crayon, graphite, flashe and latex paint on canvas, 2020 2

Gwendolyn Zabicki’s masterly oil paintings bring attention to moments rare- ly seen on museum walls: a bathroom door pushed slightly ajar, yellow-vested construction workers lay- ing out canvas, a window reflected in the mirror. Using soft, muted brush- strokes, the painter distills quotidian moments into in- trospective, conceptual meditations. She likes to include a window or door- way, not only because it’s a trope—a painting as the window to the world—but because it leads viewers to another mental space. Her most recent oeuvre is her most introspective yet. The artist became a mother in 2019 and her re- lationship to time changed. Instead of leisurely days in her Mana studio, she has Newcity MAY 2020 focused time with paid daycare. At home, her daughter keeps Zabicki busy, but there is an abun- dance of a new kind of time, moments of quiet entrapment while holding or feeding her child. Her mind wanders to that nice 24 stranger who held the door, an aging woman quietly smoking, daydreams of past travels, or a pesky cartoon theme song stuck in her head. The diptych “The Best Place to Cry is in the Shower” features two doors that are ajar. One Gwendolyn door is front-lit and the other backlit, with a sliver of light appearing from the Zabicki other side. It is these mo- ments, ones everyone has experienced, but that typically get glossed over for something more excit- ing, that are Zabicki’s main interest. These new paintings were dis- Illinois at Chicago, where she studied with torial project, “Fête Galante,” planned for played this winter at Heaven Gallery, and Chicago’s doyenne of close observation, September 2020 at Heaven Gallery. The lat- are on scheduled to be on view at Victori- Julia Fish. As a break from the isolation of ter came out of conversations in her “lady an House Gallery in Bourbonnais, Illinois the painters’ studio, Zabicki actively engag- painters” group. Four times a year the artist through May 1. es in conversation with other painters and flies to New York to join these conversations Zabicki was born in Chicago, and, while her community. A generous and engaged and parties organized by Jenn Dierdorf and she has travelled the world, she never found colleague, she curates group shows of Kelsey Shwetz, and she aims to start a Chi- reason to live anywhere else. She attended painters she admires. Her curatorial proj- cago chapter. the School of the Art Institute for her BFA, ects include Browne Goodwin’s collection followed by a Master’s at the University of at Illinois State Museum and her next cura- — Anastasia Karpova Tinari

1 MAY 2020 Newcity 25 2 1 “Self Portrait with Theodora,” oil on canvas, 28 x 21 inches, 2019 / Photo: Tom Van Eynde 2 “Two Mirrors,” oil on canvas, 48 x 32 inches, 2017 / Photo: Clarissa Bonet

1 easy to see why Aparicio feels at home in morgues and within the medical sphere at her current res- idency at Chicago’s Inter- national Museum of Surgi- cal Science. During her MFA pro- gram at Yale University, she spent two years re- searching at the Medical School’s anatomy lab and built an intimate relation- ship with death, which for most would be heavy, but Aparicio breathes new life into the subject matter and treats it as a ritual. She collected human bones from construction sites in Barcelona and dis- carded lettuce leaves from the now-closed Stanley’s Fresh Fruits and Vegeta- bles, and turned them into stained glass for a piece called “Remains,” inspired Newcity MAY 2020 by the rose window from the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi. She drove to Kansas City from Chicago to collect the wings of sev- enteen-year-old cicadas. She waited for them to die to use them in \"Velo de Luto\" (Mourning Veil), 26 where the leaves are placed together to form flowering formations. Her recent work, “Entre Nosotros,” is an entire wall made of concrete tiles that documents the wrinkles of cadavers, or “donors,” as The journey of life and death are the first teacher of this journey, the second she calls them. Another piece, “Integumen- threads beneath artist Selva Aparicio’s was her grandfather. “Since a very young tum,” made in collaboration with perform- work. Decaying leaves, insects and even age I was exposed to death. My grandfather ers Matty Davis and Eryka Dellenbach, is a bodies find their way into her work, yet in was the only obstetrician-gynecologist sculptural body made of a skin-like layer of a beautifully poignant way that honors in his town and the surrounding area in a oyster shells. All of her work and the mate- death rather than running away from it. time when there were higher mortality rates rials she uses is ethically sourced by her For Aparicio, who grew up in a boat- surrounding childbirth,” Aparicio says. “His own hand. “Within each of my works a frag- shaped house in the middle of the Serra de house was the hospital. I lived there for ment of myself is revealed. This process is Collserola Natural Park in Spain, nature was a year, sleeping in hospital beds, and play- very intimate and labor intensive and often ing with his old wood- isolates me from other parts of the world,” en instruments and Aparicio says. operating rooms.” This, Her work is a tribute to the intimate and the tragic drown- qualities of the natural world and what lies Selva ing of a close child- beneath. Aparicio hopes that her work can hood friend, taught help normalize death, collect history and her about decompo- collaboratively unpack the concept of grief, Aparicio sition, mourning and believing art to be a vessel for coping with the “understanding of tragedy and loss. absence and the intri- cacies of death.” It’s — Ciera McKissik

2 1 Selva Aparicio / 3 Photo: Meredith Donnelly Photography MAY 2020 Newcity 2 “Remains,\" lettuce, 27 wood and paper, 84 inches diameter, 2015 3 Detail of “Entre Nosotros” (Among Us), concrete tiles cast from human cadavers, dimensions variable, 2020 / Photo: Robert Chase Heishman 4 “Integumentum,” oyster shells, wax thread, human dead donor, dimensions variable, 2016-2020 4

1 Newcity MAY 2020 After spending their childhood learn- writing and sculpture, they ing to fish in the streams of the South and grew their repertoire, as hearing family stories of working on cotton well as their confidence to AJ plantations, AJ McClenon moved from dance in public, as a grad- Washington, D.C. to Chicago in 2012. Since uate student at the School then, they have developed a formidable of the Art Institute of Chi- body of multidisciplinary work that incorpo- cago. It was also in Chica- 28 rates movement, sound and text to explore go, with the Lake on the McClenonexperiences including race and resilience. horizon, where McClenon While deeply personal, McClenon’s began using water as a work speaks volumes to the social history central device in their work. of Chicago and the United States. Among In the multimedia performance “VEGA,” As key as continuing the development their most substantial pieces, “Black water submerges much of a world where of “VEGA” is to McClenon’s current prac- Water: Polarity, Sharks, Adolescence and revolutionary and fascist sectors search for tice, collaboration and teaching are also Being the Darkest Girl in the Pool” traces salvation via an airship meant to orbit a integral to their work.  They contributed the significance of water in black culture. black hole, and black scientists struggle to sound to Jefferson Pinder's pieces “This It touches on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, find a way for people to breathe in their is Not a Drill” and “FLOAT.” They current- segregation in swimming pools and the newfound state of submersion. “VEGA'' ly teach Contemporary Practices at the water contamination found in many neigh- highlights McClenon’s interest in science, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, borhoods across the country, including and speaks to a desire for a world where and they’ve worked as a teaching artist their grandmother’s own, through embod- humans establish symbiotic relationships, across the city including the Chicago ied movement, projection and sound re- like so many species living underwater. Park District. cording. McClenon’s performance “Led While pieces like “Black Water” and “I think there’s something powerful about Zeppelin Can't Steal My Daddy's Black” “VEGA” have been showcased as perfor- activating collective creativity and I would deals with the death of their father and the mances at Links Hall and the MCA, small- love to continue collaborating in a capac- appropriation of black culture through er versions have been shown on their own. ity that allows for intergenerational con- song, dance, reading and a compelling live Work done in relation to “Black Water” has nections across the city,” McClenon says. internet search detailing the trajectory of been showcased around Chicago, at ven- “And for connections with people who don’t the folk song “Gallows Pole,” performed by ues like Roman Susan and Comfort Station, necessarily identify as artists and who Lead Belly and others, then popularized by as well as at the L.A. Film Forum. A textile don’t necessarily feel like art is missing Led Zeppelin. version of the black hole featured in VEGA from their lives, because I truly feel like ev- McClenon honed their skills in moving was part of an exhibition at Modified/Arts eryone accesses their own artistic hand or fluidly between mediums without muddy- in Phoenix, and McClenon intends to con- applications in some shape or form.” ing the narrative in Chicago. While they tinue exhibiting the black hole as a prop in arrived with a background in painting, others’ works. — Holly Warren

2 MAY 2020 Newcity 29 1 Still shot from Black Water 3 performance at Filmfront / Photo: Ally Almore 2 “Black Hole” installation depicted at the Terrain Block Party in Oak Park 3 Still shot from video installation “RIP Ancestral Wormhole,” depicting artists' great- grandmother Alberta Ouzts Mathis projected onto a white t-shirt

Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding’s \"Last Flight Out\" The much-loved singer-songwriter’s anticipated album features highly sophisticated songwriting gilded with dazzling orchestral colors—plus, of course, that gorgeously evocative voice. Lockdown—self-isolating—sheltering in place—whatever you call it, it goes a whole lot easier with this outstanding album release by this stellar Chicago artist. Arts & CultureSteveDawson/Photo: MatthewGilson

Art gets used over and over again, when people are like, ‘Oh if you’re upset, just go protest,’ or, ‘We could change everything by voting,’” Sifuentes says. “That language may seem very casual but at the core of it, it further makes those who can’t, who don’t feel safe going to protests because maybe of their immigration status or people who can’t legally vote, it makes us even more invisible.” Voto Ilegal station in Acapulco by Cecilia Aguilar Castillo and Erick Fernández Saldaña. The 2016 presidential election was a particular- ly difficult one for Sifuentes to sit out. She knew there was a lot at stake for immigrants. “I was really frustrated and really thinking through that,” she says. “So in 2016, I started looking into who can’t legally vote.” Sifuentes was shocked at the numbers she found: more than ninety-one million people without the right to vote, or one in every three people. In response, she created “The Official Unofficial Voting Station,” a site-specific series of participatory installations for anyone to vote in, but with a particular focus on reaching the disenfranchised. Working with the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Sifuentes collaborated with artists, educators, activists and immigration lawyers to set up imaginative voting stations around the United States and Mexico. The collaborators were given one prompt: if you could create your own voting station, particularly for people who can’t legally vote, what would you do? Vote of Confidence The results varied wildly. In Acapulco, organizers Cecilia Aguilar Castillo and Erick Aram Han Sifuentes Radically Reenvisions the Voting Process Fernández Saldaña had effigies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; participants voted By Kerry Cardoza by stabbing them with a wooden cross. At Handwerker Gallery in Ithaca, New York, An estimated thirty-two million adults She has a personal stake in the issue. people could “whack the vote” by hitting MAY 2020 Newcity cannot vote in presidential elections because Sifuentes emigrated to the United States in piñatas of the candidates. For Hull-House, of citizenship status, felony disenfranchise- 1992 from South Korea, and until recently she Sifuentes created a glittery, nightlife-inspired ment or because they reside in a U.S. territory. was among the disenfranchised. station, with pink-and-purple ballots, sound- Millions more are cut out of the process scapes by DJ Sadie Woods and a disco ball. because they lack proper identification, are “I’ve noticed that the last few big projects I’ve under the age of eighteen or have been been working on, over the last ten years really, For the 2020 election, Sifuentes wanted to purged from the voter registration rolls. Artist have focused on confronting white, Western take the voting stations in a new direction, Aram Han Sifuentes makes work for these liberalism—in terms of talking about citizenship inspired in part by her ongoing project, “The people, people rendered invisible in our and what that means, or talking about protest Protest Banner Lending Library.” After Trump’s democracy. and voting, in terms of, again this rhetoric that election, the artist began sewing political banners as a way to voice resistance. Her private banner-making turned into public workshops, and soon she had so many banners that she created a library of them, for people to check out, use at a protest and then return. The making of banners was especially resonant for non-citizens, who might not feel safe going to a protest but would like to take part in some way. 31

ART TOP 5 2016 \"Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t\", station and photo by Brandon Bullard. 1 Noah Singer: After all, they “What was so exciting about that project for me bands given after you’ve cast your ballot. In a sing. Patron Gallery. Experience was that work being activated—made and last-minute request, Joseph Josué Mora, one a virtual walkthrough of a stunning, activated by people I completely never knew of Undocumented Projects’ organizers, spare exhibition of ceramic vessels before,” Sifuentes says. “I wanted to open it brought over the wristbands and handed them on the Patron website, complete with up to make it where anyone can request a out to participants. a voiceover from the artist detailing voting station, and just see where that goes.” the work. Ongoing “I literally cut class, I didn’t go to class and I The new project, “Voting Kits for the Disenfran- printed so many at SAIC,” he says. “Then I 2 El Greco: Ambition and chised,” will be a pedagogical toolkit that will went to the MCA to be part of that.” Defiance. Art Institute of allow anyone to stage their own voting station. Chicago. Visit the museum website It consists of items created by Sifuentes and Undocumented Projects have created a for a virtual tour of this career- other artists, including voting stickers made by version of the wristbands for this year’s voting spanning exhibition, as well as an Cute Rage Press, a vinyl record of protest toolkits. For Mora, working on projects that interactive web feature that tracks recordings by Sadie Woods and screen-print- bring awareness to political issues is more the origin and the recent ed posters by William Estrada. Each kit will important than ever. “A lot of people are doing conservation of \"The Assumption also include infographics created by Sifuentes self-advocating projects, public art, bringing of the Virgin.\"Through June 21 on who can't vote in the United States, info on awareness to issues. And I think it’s because how to use the kits, and two ballot boxes: one our times are asking for it, because we are 3 Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago. for candidates and one for issues. Sifuentes being targeted,” he says. “How can we use art Museum of Contemporary raised money to create the items in the kits— as a tool to create resources and conversa- Art Chicago. The Nigerian-born, the goal is to make fifty—via 3Arts. Anyone tions so that we can change and start British-based designer defines who requests a toolkit can receive one, conversations around why undocumented cosmopolitanism in a brief video on incorporating whichever elements they want. issues are important?” the MCA website, where you can Newcity MAY 2020 also listen to audio that plays Chicago is rife with artists and collectives Bringing awareness to the realities of voting is throughout the galleries. Through working on immigration issues; the voting kits one of the goals for Sifuentes as well. “I recent- May 10 are a wonderful amalgamation of them. The ly got my citizenship, so now I’m able to vote,” work of Undocumented Projects is perhaps she says. “But during election season and 4 COVIDtv. @covidtv. Each the most kindred to Sifuentes. Made up of a beyond, we hear rhetoric that’s like, ‘We just Sunday, artist and entrepreneur small collective of artists and community all need to go vote.’ Which is obviously very Julia Arredondo hosts COVIDtv members, Undocumented Projects formed in very important. But we sort of forget the part programming on Instagram Live, response to the Trump administration’s abrupt of the conversation that’s like—wait, nine- featuring the wares and practices of decision to end the Deferred Action for ty-two million people can’t legally vote. If you local artists and makers. Ongoing, Childhood Arrival (DACA) in 2017. Since then, really look at it, it is very racially charged. So Sundays starting at 10am CT they’ve created zines with resources for just let’s be aware of that part, that this vast undocumented students, put together a population can’t legally vote. Go vote if you 5 Late Capital TV. Flatland. Run survival kit-artist book to help get these can, and then let’s take some action to expand by gallery co-owner Curtis Miller, students through college, as well as staging voting rights for people who can’t legally vote.” an ongoing Twitch stream hosts interventions such as sending typewritten, cloudcasts, experimental films and anonymous postcards to legislators. Sifuentes The voting stations also function as a artist readings for the foreseeable and Undocumented Projects first worked challenge to radically re-envision what voting future. Ongoing together at an iteration of the voting station at could be, if it were more accessible or more the MCA on election night in 2016. joyous. “How can we reimagine it so it really is 32 for everybody?” Sifuentes learned about their wristbands, printed with: “If We Could Vote, We Would!” Find out about 2020 Official Unofficial Voting which are made to look like the traditional Station events

EXHIBITIONS THE ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO GRAHAM FOUNDATION 201 East Ontario Street 4 W. Burton Place 312 787 3997 312 787 4071 [email protected] / [email protected] / Tues–Fri 11-6, Sat 11-3 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Through July 25 Poured Architecture: Sergio Prego Viewing available online @artsclubchicago or Through August 8 Jennie C. Jones: Constant Structure on Miguel Fisac THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART GRAY At Northwestern University Richard Gray Gallery, Hancock: 875 N. Michigan Avenue, 38th Floor 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL Mon–Fri 10-5:30, Sat by appointment (subject to change due to COVID-19) 847 491 4000 [email protected] / Gray Warehouse: 2044 W. Carroll Avenue Join us as we #MuseumFromHome on social at @nublockmuseum Tues–Sat 11-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) and 312 642 8877 CARL HAMMER GALLERY [email protected] / Opening April 22 Jim Dine: The Botanical Drawings 740 N. Wells Street Gray Online Viewing Room: 312 266 8512 [email protected] / KAVI GUPTA GALLERY Tues–Sat 11-5:30 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Through May 30 Crawling from the Wreckage: Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd., 835 W. Washington Boulevard Tues–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) C.J. Pyle - New Drawings Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., 219 N. Elizabeth Street DEPAUL ART MUSEUM Thurs–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) At DePaul University 312 432 0708 935 W. Fullerton Avenue [email protected] / 773 325 7506 Visit online at [email protected] / Through May 30 Tony Tasset: The Weight (Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St.) Mon–Tues closed, Wed–Thurs 11-7, Fri–Sun 11-5 Through June 13 Roger Brown: Hyperframe (Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd.) (subject to change due to COVID-19) Vist us online on Facebook, Twitter, LOGAN CENTER EXHIBITIONS and Instagram at @DePaulArtMuseum March 19–August 16 The World to Come: Art in the Age At the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 of the Anthropocene 773 702 2787 [email protected] / Tues–Sat 9-9, Sun 11-9, Mon closed (subject to change due to COVID-19) Please contact gallery for more information.

MONIQUE MELOCHE GALLERY THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY 451 N. Paulina Street At the University of Chicago 312 243 2129 5811 S. Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall, 4th Floor [email protected] / 773 702 8670 Visit online at [email protected] / and Tues–Wed, Fri 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Sat–Sun 12-5 Spring Nate Young: The Transcendence of Time (subject to change due to COVID-19) Summer Chase Hall and February James April 18–June 28 Miho Dohi MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY RHONA HOFFMAN GALLERY PHOTOGRAPHY 1711 W. Chicago Avenue At Columbia College Chicago 312 455 1990 600 S. Michigan Avenue [email protected] / 312 663 5554 Tues–Fri 10-5:30, Sat 11-5:30 (subject to change due to COVID-19) [email protected] / Please contact gallery for more information. Mon–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) SMART MUSEUM OF ART Upcoming Exhibition Temporal: Puerto Rican Resistance Visit for more information At the University of Chicago 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue THE NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM 773 702 0200 FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY [email protected] / Tues–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sun 10-5 At the University of Chicago (subject to change due to COVID-19) 5701 South Woodlawn Avenue February 7–May 3 The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China 773 795 2329 [email protected] / (co-presented with Wrightwood 659): Gallery closed until further notice. March 12–August 21 Apsáalooke Women and Warriors WRIGHTWOOD 659 POETRY FOUNDATION 659 W. Wrightwood Avenue 773 437 6601 61 W. Superior Street [email protected] / 312 787 7070 Through May 2: Thurs–Fri 12-8, Sat 10-7 - Reserved ticket required [email protected] / (subject to change due to COVID-19) Check for updates on our February 7–May 2 The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China current exhibition and hours (co-presented with Smart Museum of Art): ZHOU B ART CENTER 1029 W. 35th Street 773 523 0200 [email protected] / Mon–Sat 10-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Through May Membranes of Perception

Dance Energy Redirected DANCE TOP 5 The Freedom of Dancing in Quarantine 1 Video Archives/Access Project. The Dance Center By Sharon Hoyer of Columbia College. The Dance Center shares full-length videos Energy can be neither created nor private rooms, has transformed the way we of past performances. Ongoing MAY 2020 Newcity destroyed, it just changes form. When the experience people dancing. spread of Covid-19 was officially deemed a 2 Live from the Hive. The pandemic and the performance world ground An art form that is widely considered Fly Honey Show. Livestream to a whiplash-inducing halt, all that creative fire intimidating, hard to understand, niche, is compilations from ten years of had to go somewhere. And so, with dancers being shared and cultivated in a way that is past performances Friday nights and choreographers and musicians and profoundly personal and, literally, meeting on their website. Ongoing comedians and puppeteers and every stripe of people where they’re at. Amidst anxiety of the live performer confined to their homes, the uncertain future, we have an opportunity to 3 At Home With the energy funneled almost immediately online. move together in the strange, suspended now. Auditorium. The Cultural criticism followed close in its wake, Auditorium Theatre. Live home ruminating over the explosion of live-streamed With studios closed, scores of dancers and performances via Facebook Live classes and prerecorded performances online, choreographers are offering classes via each Sunday at 6pm. Ongoing and offering up compassionate profiles of Instagram Live or Zoom or other conferenc- artists coping with isolation, financial states ing software, for free or pay-what-you-can 4 Cabinet of Curiosity. that went from teetering to toppling, cooped donation. It would be near impossible to list Frank Maugeri's puppetry up and facing an uncertain future. all the classes out there (and there’s sure to theater project starts a be dozens more by the time this goes to \"Hopedemic\" with a YouTube There’s no telling at this point when we will print); @dancingalonetogether on Instagram channel teeming with delights. convene in the theaters again. But the posts a daily lineup of the high-profile Ongoing redirection of creative energy from the big, dancers offering class, and at Newcity we've shared room to a bunch of networked small, done our best to keep up with the efforts of 5 The Bricklayers of Oz. Chicago Dance Crash. Full-length video of the company's hip-hop take on the story of Oz. Ongoing 35

Chicago-based artists in our “Out of an moving to music. I lived for the jazz class I To fellow shy, self-conscious, anxious Abundance of Concern” resource page. took at our community center each week and people—and in the current circumstances, watched whatever performances I could find. who doesn’t fall into that last category?—to With artists streaming from every time zone In suburban Detroit in the eighties and those silent multitudes who yearn to dance but and in every genre, dance classes are nineties, that was pretty much limited to PBS don’t want to be seen doing it, I say there’s no available around the clock. Instagram Live specials and Gene Kelly movies on VHS. That better time to dance than now. The aura of the keeps videos up for twenty-four hours and kid is still alive and well, eager to try new studio can be a thrill, but it can also be Instagram TV makes them somewhat more ways of experiencing my body in motion. damned intimidating. In our living rooms and lasting. With this wealth of knowledge Never has there been such an abundance of kitchens we’re constrained by couches and pouring online, I’ve taken a class nearly every affordable education in every way of moving counters and ceiling fans, but we’re liberated day since going into quarantine March 14. imaginable. And never have I felt so strangely from the tyranny of the mirror, from measuring Staring at my laptop screen or my phone close to many dancers I’ve never met. ourselves against fellow students, from propped against a stack of books, I’ve worrying about what we look like and the fear followed along as best I could to members of The most emotionally raw performance on of what others might think about it. We can let José Limón and Martha Graham’s companies. stage, with its costuming, lights and theatrical go, move, and explore, unfettered, new ways I learned a snippet of Alvin Ailey’s “Revela- trappings, is a different type of vulnerability to do it. And, if we’re able, throw a few bucks tions” from company member Hope Boykin than broadcasting from one’s home, with to artists sorely in need of income. that proved a balm for the soul, and a whatever lighting is available, with pets simplified version of Bob Fosse’s \"Manson walking through the frame and kids running Life is movement, and we need to keep Trio\" from “Pippin” that brought some up to hug legs or wave at the camera. I now moving. Like everyone, I eagerly await the much-needed sass to my day. I’ve salsa-ed know that my tai chi teacher’s cat walks moment we can gather again on a dance with Lucky Plush and I look forward to down to the basement at 8:30 every morning. floor, settle expectantly into theater seats, spiraling with Molly Shanahan. All this moving, I know New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck is and line up in the studio to leap and roll though confined to the five square feet I’ve using her kitchen counter as a barre. I know across Marley floors. But I want to remain cleared in my living room and done by myself, Dance Center Evanston instructor Kara curious about this moment and what it is staring at a screen, has unexpectedly opened Roseborough is, like me, using a chair and, capable of holding. To borrow a seasonal a new window into our collective generosity although I’m lousy at ballet, it’s a comfort, a metaphor: new seeds germinate in small and humanity. connecting thread. We’re used to seeing containers. And like a patio garden, con- professional dancers in the finely calibrated strained spaces can hold great abundance Let me pause to make something clear: I’m context of the theater; watching them work and beauty. The beauty of this moment not a professional dancer. Never have been. and share in their homes makes them more, seems to be gentleness and care. Dancing at But I’ve loved dance and done it in some well, human. It’s an act of openness and home, alone together, has given us a new capacity since I could walk. I was a shy, generosity that I find touching every time I log way to experience gentleness toward self-conscious kid... except, magically, when in to a quarantine class. ourselves and each other. COLL ABOR ATIVE | PREMARITAL ARTSBLOG. FAMILY | DIVORCE | MEDIATION UCHICAGO. EDU/ Strategic support, creative guidance, VIRTUAL effective leadership: these are the qualities we offer our clients as they work PHONE through their challenges. AND VIDEO Newcity MAY 2020 CONSULTATIONS AVA I L A B L E . CALL CHICAGO & EVANSTON TODAY. 847-733-0933 | [email protected] | BrigitteSchmidtBellPC 36

Design DESIGN TOP 5 Photo: KOVAL Distillery 1 CHF at Home: Spring Festival Online. The Chicago Humanities The Power of Festival goes digital and you can Community attend inspiring and empowering conversations, panels and consult The Inside Story of KOVAL Distillery's Pivot to Battle Coronavirus reading lists and round-ups. Ongoing By Vasia Rigou 2 Design Museum of Chicago: Virtual Conversation Series. Amid the outbreak, KOVAL, Chicago’s How did you decide to make this pivot— Virtual events, online exhibitions and MAY 2020 Newcity homegrown craft distillery known for unique from organic spirits to making sanitizer in conversations kick off with \"Raising organic spirits, moves to the forefront to the name of public service? Products,\" a behind-the-scenes look battle the spread of the virus the best way We had the equipment and the ability to make at the design process and its relation they know how—and it does not involve a the shift. That doesn't mean that it was easy, to fabrication, branding and stiff drink. Instead, the company is producing but we saw what was coming, not least artisanship. Ongoing gallons and gallons of alcohol-based hand because of our colleagues in Europe. We did sanitizer, a commodity the pandemic has not want to look back after all of this and think 3 Chicago Architecture Center: rendered precious. First order of business? that we should have done something but we CAC@Home. CAC@Home To supply the medical community, retirement did not, or that we did not do enough, or we connects you with designers, authors, homes, and those on the front lines who are could have done something sooner but we did historians and special guests who responding to the unprecedented threats. At it too late. So we acted as quickly as we could talk art, architecture and design. a time reminiscent of the World War II era, with all of our force to shift our company. This Ongoing when distilleries and industries were called to doesn't just mean shifting what we were rise to the occasion, the KOVAL team making: it also means we had to build a system 4 IIDA: Collective D(esign) immediately knew that solidarity was the way to receive requests, categorize them, raise Weekly Webinar Series. Since to go. “We completely shifted our business, funds so we could donate as much as possible, their first episode, “Responding to changing the way we do everything,” says complete all of the relevant compliance for this Change,” a discussion on how the the distillery’s co-founder and president, Dr. new business and teach all of our team design community adjusts to the new Sonat Birnecker Hart. members how to do something totally new in normal, the IIDA keeps design- focused dialogue alive and well. Ongoing 5 Digital Tour: Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings. Your chance to check out some of the most iconic sites throughout the city and surrounding suburbs through virtual tours, online resources and family activities, courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Ongoing 37

the space of about four days. Our team has engaging in major fundraising as well. We also had a near fleet of volunteers helping us with been superhuman, from production to logistics, including Medspeed, Choose Chicago, administration. Everyone has been working had to create an entire CRM [Customer around the clock to make this happen, because Relationship Management] system to deal with ERC Midwest, and Kone Elevator Company. what we are doing can help save lives, and requests, rework our website, and reorganize We are humbled by the outpouring of there is nothing more important. our production, as it wouldn't be something we lets-get-it-done support from the community. Together we are making it happen. What was the biggest challenge in this could bottle on our own bottling line. It has effort? There were many challenges. We first needed to been a complete shift in every way. You have turned this uncertain time into an wait for the federal government to change its regulations to allow distilleries with a license to By producing and distributing sanitizer you empowering and rewarding one. What produce for consumption to produce hand have brought together a network of area moments make it all worth it? sanitizer. Even in advance of it becoming legal, we had to think about what we needed to brewers and other companies. Can you Being able to make something that serves as a source and how we would go about things as soon as we were given the go-ahead, because talk about the power of community in weapon against this scourge is unbelievably we anticipated being allowed to move forward after speaking with the TTB [the Alcohol and Chicago? rewarding. Bringing a sense of relief and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] and our trade organization DISCUS [Distilled Spirits Council of We are seeing the power of community through protection to people during these difficult times the United States]. As soon as we were allowed so many acts of loving kindness. A number of is truly humbling. by the government, we shifted our business, changing the way we do everything. At first. we our friends in the brewing community jumped at thought we would donate a few batches to first the opportunity to help by offering their beer for What are you most excited about going responders, but when the word got out, we forward? received hundreds of requests from so many on us to distill and make into hand sanitizer. the frontlines. We enlisted help from the A time when people can congregate again. community through a GoFundMe campaign Metropolitan Brewing Company, Urban that has received contributions from not only There are so many amazing people we have fellow Chicagoans, but also fans of our brand Renewal, Temperance Beer, Great Central and those who support what we are doing from met during this sanitizer experience that we all over the world. So all of a sudden we were Brewing, Oak Park Brewing, Kinslahger, Midwest Coast, Goose Island, and [others] are would love to thank in person and hug! making it possible for us to produce more What’s your advice to people trying to stay donated sanitizer. We have also experienced sane during the Coronavirus crisis? the help of so many other organizations, including chemical companies reaching out to I feel that the more we spread kindness, the get us denaturing materials, as well as a local better off we will be, no matter how isolated. And as an aside, liquor stores have been video editing studio Utopic who made a deemed essential businesses—a fine cocktail is commercial to help us raise more to support a solution. those on the front lines. Companies and foundations, such as Edelson PC and Chicago Beyond, have also sponsored hand sanitizer for KOVAL Distillery’s GoFundMe campaign \"Help community organizations in need. We have also KOVAL Make Alcohol-Based Sanitizer“ DenisonNewCityApril2020.pdf 1 4/17/20 8:57 PM MICKEY Gallery, Chicago Newcity MAY 2020 38

D&rDininkiinngg Frontline Perspectives Chefs and Restaurateurs Confront COVID-19 By David Hammond Zoe Schor, Photo: Paul Strabbing In the days and weeks immediately Alisha Elenz took a big risk with me. I owe a lot to them. I MAY 2020 Newcity after the country started sheltering in place, don’t know anyone else who would have let we spoke with several Chicago chefs and imagine how they feel, because you love it a twenty-three-year old run the restaurant. restaurateurs about how they have changed so much. That’s why I’m willing to take a big risk for their perspectives and practices in the face We clean our phones, keys, computers, them. They believed in me. I’ve been with of COVID-19. computer cords everything as soon as we them for five years, so in a time of crisis, my   walk in the restaurant. Scott and Sari response is not to be too scared and stay What is so encouraging about these [Worsham, owners] have told us that if we home. I don’t judge people for doing that, responses is that they show not only an get to a point where we’re too scared, then and I understand why some people do, but I all-American optimism, an eagerness to we should stop. You’re maybe not as strong want to work more than ever to help these respond with imagination and innovation to as you think you are. You can think you’re guys stay in business. a national threat, but they also reveal a going to just get through it. If you’re sick or heartfelt concern for restaurant employees have a cough, though, it’s okay to stay I joke that I don’t want to have kids because as well as those of us who, over the years, home. Put your pride aside. I already have kids in the kitchen. I do feel have come to know and love their food. I feel I should take the risk because Scott like a mom sometimes, even though some of the people are older than me, I’m very Alisha Elenz, Bodega Biscay protective of my crew. I want to take care of \"Really thinking about what you do is when them. I want to get through this and have you get strong solutions.\" jobs for people when this is all over. It’s hard not to care for the people you work with, It’s scary walking into the restaurant because you ask them to put so much into it. every day and not seeing people. It’s eerie. We’re trying to do what we do, The first day [at Bodega Biscay], I was like a being chefs, to make enough money to giddy little kid. As a chef, I’m able to give keep the lights on. We could all shut people this good, fresh product that they down tomorrow, but more than ever, you may not be able to get at a grocery store. have to stay positive and save the And there’s no waiting. We want to keep negativity for the walk-in. doing it. It’s an opportunity to give the It’s a very interesting time for chefs. We’re community a new way to look at our food. I always strapped to our work. An eight-hour think it’d be cool, when this is over, for shift is not normal to us. For the restaurant people to come in, have a drink at the bar, people who are stuck at home, I can’t do their grocery shopping and go home. 39

We had to build a new business model in that relies heavily on tourism and people DINING & DRINKING forty-eight hours. We did it. That’s the job. above age fifty, you may have a problem TOP 5 Really thinking about what you do is when because I believe people of that age are not you get strong solutions. going to go out as much. Young people in 1 The Trotter Project/Kitchen their twenties, [and in their] thirties and forties, Sessions Video Series. Scott Weiner, Fifty/50 Restaurant Group they’re going to continue to live their lives. Watch and learn how to cook (or “What keeps me up at night is the unknown.” refine your stove-side technique) Zoe Schor, Split Rail with local chefs like Ina Pinkney With business partner Greg Mohr, Scott “When things get back to normal, we should (Ina’s Place) and Craig Harzewski Weiner manages the Fifty/50 Restaurant (Brindille), as well as out-of-towners Group, which includes Homestead on the be able to perform at a higher level.” like Thomas Keller (The French Roof, Roots Pizza and West Town Bakery, Laundry). Ongoing which is offering takeout meals at no There’s an obligation to be optimistic. There charge to those in the industry.  will be something after all this, and that’s 2 Tip Your Bartender. Every what we need to plan for. There are also day at 4pm, bartenders from I was thinking that this year was when the obligations to investors, to keep the across the country, including Alicia financial risks I took to start this company restaurant going. If the restaurant closes, Arredondo (Lost Lake), offer drink would finally be worth it. Now, you know there’s no guarantee it will reopen. I have an recipes and mixology tips—then you what, this isn’t going to be my year after all. obligation to my team members to pay as can tip via Venmo, to relive the old The big difference between now and a many of them as I can for as long as I can. I days. Ongoing month ago is that I’m checking in on only have an obligation to the payroll of the people four or five operations as opposed to we had to let go and have one paycheck to 3 James Beard Foundation nineteen. Usually around 10:30am or 11am, go. And the neighborhood is relying on us to Webinars. The James Beard I’m in meetings, working on new projects. be here. Also, there’s an obligation to the Foundation supports programs to But now I don’t know what to do. Yesterday economy: if I can keep eight people off help you use your time well during I shredded lettuce, I was breaking down unemployment, that’s huge. And that’s what the plague months in seminars that chickens. we have right now: eight full-time people will help you come back stronger running the restaurant. We need to keep peo- than ever. Ongoing We’re putting out over a thousand meals a ple employed and we need to pay our day to feed people. vendors, who may get stuck with several 4 WEVO Wine Seminars. weeks’ worth of stock that would normally Live online tastings begin Basically though, I’m running out of stuff have gone out, but now they have to put it in when you buy some wine, then pick to do. the freezer or give it away. No one bounces a date and time and get a link to a back from this. personalized wine tasting with experts like local Liz Barrett, who, Newcity MAY 2020 I’m not someone who’s going to sit around In times of crisis, you see the strength in word has it, is lots of fun. Ongoing in their pajamas. I’m using this time to work people, the overwhelming kindness from our on projects that might otherwise have taken guests, from the community, from our families 5 Virtual Boozy Brunch with three or four months to get off the ground. and friends, from the cooks who continue to Belinda. Belinda Chang and Technologically, we’re doing different things work even though there’s risk. Chicago mixologists and chefs like with payroll and managing labor that would Julia Momose (Kumiko and Kikko) have taken a long time to roll out if we didn’t The idea that we’re going to come out of and Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) have the time now to work on them. We this the same and do business the same created a series of virtual cocktailing can reduce the transition time to get those way as before is the biggest opportunity and cooking shows to keep you technologies in place, and if we don’t do lost. If you feel you’re going to reopen your well-fed. May 3 that now, there’s no excuse. business and do everything exactly the same way, shame on you. We have this My business partner and I are not taking incredible opportunity to explore the way whole checks; our employees are. That’s a our businesses can be different. good feeling, and if there’s a place that’s going to need money to reopen, that money The arts lead the way, and we’re seeing a is going to have to come out of my pocket. paradigm shift in how people enjoy art. My And I have a wife and kid to support, so I’m partner owns an event space called The living off savings, and that makes it harder Martin; last Monday there was a fund-rais- to open some of these businesses. That’s ing event scheduled for a woman who has my biggest concern. a new album to promote. She ended up doing the performance from her bedroom But in May, when the restaurants reopen, and online. You see more of that now, will we have our business back? Will it be a immersive theater experiences that are trickle? Will our neighborhood restaurants online. Brian Jupiter did something continue to do well? Will our downtown interesting with his virtual cooking class. restaurants? What keeps me up at night is You buy ingredients from him and then he the unknown. We’re all going to take a shows you how to put them together. I may major hit. There’s no doubt about that. If rip off that model. I think it’s pretty smart. you’re on Fulton Market or down in the Loop, it’s going to be a long, slow recovery. We have an opportunity to redefine our business and come out of it with a higher I’m optimistic that neighborhoods will recover. level of understanding of our practice, The neighborhood around Roots Pizza will whether it’s business or art. To work, now, recover, and a lot of the people who live there under these constraints, means that when will start going out again, and they’ll stay in things get back to normal, we should be the neighborhoods. If you’re in a restaurant able to perform at a higher level. 40

Film Brutal Symbols ered, was equally concerned with the survival of richly detailed cinema as the fraught voyage of his encircled, besieged characters. We’re Living Alfonso Cuarón’s Children Of Men Masquerading as a science fiction film, “Children of Men” is set seven years from now, By Ray Pride when, for reasons unknown, after a series of wars and disasters and plagues, women “Today on the way back from the asthma malefic downturn in how the United States worldwide are no longer able to conceive. MAY 2020 Newcity clinic with my daughter we passed a treats the stolen children we hold captive in In its quietly bravura opening scene, Theo (Clive flashing highway sign that said: SOCIAL camps and homes across the country. But bad Owen), an alcoholic onetime activist, witnesses DISTANCING WORKS! LET’S BEAT COVID-19! things happened in batches. Then other bad a crowd in a café weeping over television news and it felt like a scene from ‘Children of Men,’” things happened on the way to today: the arrival coverage of the death of an eighteen-year- tough-minded, big-hearted advice columnist of the virus, restrictions, shutdown, lockdown. old—“the world’s youngest person.” A few Heather Havrilesky tweeted in late March. seconds later on Fleet Street—a London with (Her columns are “Ask Polly” and “Ask Molly.”) We live here now. grit but without glamour, dirtied as if by another “’Children of Men’ gives you such a visceral century’s version of the Blitz—a terrorist bomb taste of ambient desperation and resignation Cuarón’s Christmas 2006 feature is mon- detonates. Julian (Julianne Moore), a former and this sad, frantic search for meaning. It’s strously alive to the condition of despair as lover, turns up, dragging Theo into a battle such a brutal movie,” she wrote. “It springs well as the necessary dogged march forward. for the future of the other failed, failing cities; to mind all the time for me, too.” Cuarón consulted a raft of futurists to game a he must protect a female “fugee,” a woman damnable future, his 2027, and the backdrop (Clare-Hope Ashitey) who is unaccountably For a possible revisit, I had saved the extend- seethes with detail. Like his other films, pregnant, on her way to sanctuary. Does ed transcript of an interview on behalf of the including “Roma” (2018), “Children of Men” the government want her dead? What of the long-gone movie website The Reeler, with is concentrated cinema, wrought, focused, masses of angry anarchists? co-writer-director Alfonso Cuarón, to reflect emblematic. They don’t make movies like upon the virtues of his dour, detailed master- this any more, not that any movies are being As intimate as Cuarón’s earlier, more con- piece at some point when the next, decidedly produced right now at all. Cuarón, I rediscov- ventional road movie “Y Tu Mamá También” (2001), “Children of Men” is filled with elegant 41

FILM metaphors for how countries and their at least conventional theater. But come on, RECOMMENDATION ideologies shape how immigrants and leave cinema alone! Let cinema breathe, in refugees are treated in Europe and the which narrative is an element of the cinematic “Go” to the Movies. United States. (It also boasts a witty, reflective experience, but it’s an element, as acting is subplot with Michael Caine as an old friend, an element, cinematography is an element. Universal Pictures claims the who, in his forties way back in the early 2000s, Music and decors, those are elements. But April release of a twenty-dollar had protested British involvement in the right now? Cinema becomes just about seeing forty-eight-hour rental of first Iraq War.) Cuarón is cerebral yet still illustrated stories as opposed to engaging “Trolls World Tour” was the emotional; “Children of Men” is keenly close audiences in an experience in which you highest-grossing digital release to silent cinema, with geometry and décor of don’t explain much. for a movie in history. (The uncommon precision, occasional explosions reported $50 million reported and an appreciation of the traveling shot “I’m not saying that narrative isn’t valuable, gross is unverified.) While that would please Max Ophüls. The feeling of course,” Cuarón said. “But it’s not only millions will surely be lost on is both hyper-realist and nightmarishly in cinema. In our culture, this culture, it’s the production cost of that impressionistic: a kind of lucid screaming. over-narratized. Everything is built on the cartoon versus its final net content of a narrative. Politicians tell you return, Universal also cut costs There is a welter of eminent influences, narratives all the time. Then we are missing of distributing digital copies and borrowings and outright lifts in Cuarón’s one of the biggest, probably something more sharing returns with theaters. arsenal. I had movies in mind: the urban powerful than narrative to humans, that is, But there are alternatives where verisimilitude of CIA-taught terrorism thriller symbols. The reading of symbols. Not only you can watch new releases on “The Battle of Algiers” (1966); master shots the understanding of narrative. People tell you video-on-demand and keep as reminiscent of Erice’s oneiric “Spirit of that narrative is something organically human. much as half of the cash in the Beehive,” (1973); a city as blasted as Yes. But even more? The reading of symbols. Chicago. Local venues, including Kubrick’s vision of Hue in “Full Metal Jacket” Even what you see in the early paintings in The Music Box, Siskel and Facets, (1987); the melancholic romantic perfection caves. Yeah, there’s a narrative there, but have joined revenue-sharing of Murnau’s “Sunrise” (1927). Was there more than that, there’s movement. And there models to divvy digital rentals a single movie that he, as a cineaste and are symbolic elements that they were relating. with distributors such as Kino cinephile, Cuarón would describe as perfectly It’s not like they did a comic strip of what Lorber, Oscilloscope Laboratories, achieved in every fathomable fashion? happened with hunters.” IFC Films, Music Box Films Newcity MAY 2020 and Grasshopper Film. Most He cut a big grin way back then. “Oh, I have a Cuarón doesn’t aim to simplify, however, engagements stream for limited bunch of them,” he said. “I am almost afraid to working instead to maintain his struggle periods, often matching weeklong say, then you have to keep on going! No, that’s to be as concrete as possible yet remain playdates that were booked the beauty of cinema, man. There are amazing enigmatic. Yes, like a silent movie. He invoked before theater closures. The masterpieces. I am almost afraid to unleash the his compatriot and friend Guillermo Del Toro’s latest releases (which will include demon. Your interview is going to be a laundry Spanish Civil War fairytale “Pan’s Labyrinth” reissues and greatest hits) are list of amazing films. Completely, fully fulfilled. (2006). “In Guillermo’s film, you follow story, available through the websites I’ll say just ‘Sunrise.’” Indeed, I said, there are you follow psychology, but what really matters of your favorite theaters. hints of city-versus-country in “Children of are the thematic metaphors he’s working with (Ray Pride) Men” that gain from comparison, and the film’s all the time. It’s something that cinema—partic- climax would be unthinkable without the ularly silent cinema—had so strongly before 42 German director’s example. He laughed. the big explosion—the big September 11 of “Man! You know ‘Sunrise’! That’s good.” sound—happened to cinema! They achieved an amazing mastery of communicating without How about “Battle of Algiers”? “Well, okay, language. Cinema caught up, but with the so you see where I rip everything off!” he said. arrival of sound, it became about people “That’s good! I love ‘Battle of Algiers!’ That talking and telling stories and singing. was a big point of departure. But it’s different; Pontecorvo was honoring the technology of “It’s so damn gratifying,” Cuarón continued. his times. It was not handheld, everything was “The principle of cinema is that you are looking kind of stiff. Funny enough, it was very stiff, at that screen. A lot of reviewers nowadays, because of 35mm cameras and pretty much they fall into that vice: they want stories. They on tripods. We were trying just to take the want explanations, they want exposition and same approach but as with the technologies they want political postures. Why does cinema of today. We shot in 35, but with the mobility have to be a medium for making political of a video camera.” statements as opposed to presenting facts, presenting elements and then you make your With the forceful production design that is own conclusions—even if they are elusive? rich but not slick like a page from a furnishings There’s nothing more beautiful than elusive- catalog, Cuarón’s decors tell the story, too, ness in cinema.” and better than additional reams of dialogue. “Children of Men” demonstrates that the The $76 million-budgeted “Children of Men” director wants to tell stories by the way people live and move in their spaces—the contents was released December 25, 2006 on of the frame are transparent, but they hold weight. “Narrative is the poison of cinema,” sixteen screens, widening to 1,524 theaters. he said earlier. “What I hate is when cinema is hostage of narrative,” Cuarón told me. Theatrically, it grossed $33.5 million in North “Then I say, ‘Come on — don’t be lazy, read a book.’ If you want to see performances, America and $34.5 million in the rest of the go to the theater; it’s fantastic! It’s an actor’s medium there and a dramatic medium— world, taking $69 million before descending to the accounting department. It looked like a distant, even unlikely dismal tomorrow. “Children of Men” is available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube and other providers.

What Kind Lit of Dark Photo: (Franklin) Reginald Eldridge, Jr. An Interview with Krista Franklin By Tara Betts As a visual artist, poet and teaching artist, I’m also thinking about the title as a nod to I was going to get back to her with some MAY 2020 Newcity Ohio native Krista Franklin has made her mark other projects that are important to me images, and before we finalized a decision, on the city of Chicago and beyond. If you’ve [that have] the word “midnight” in them, like I received news of her transition. I was watched carefully over the years, her images Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight,” and devastated and frozen in place for awhile in the have graced book covers, local gallery spaces, “Midnight Marauders” by A Tribe Called Quest. days and weeks following her death, and only and Fox Television’s “Empire.” A little over a Whether or not it’s possible to have too much talked about her with friends who knew and year ago, she released the art book “Under of the dark. though, one part of me says: loved her too. Out of the blue, months later, the Knife” with Candor Arts as an intense strive for moderation in all things. Another her publisher, Alice James Books, emailed to exploration of her experience with fibroids. part of me asks: but what kind of dark are we ask if I had any artwork they could consider Prior to “Under the Knife,” Franklin had released talking about? ‘Cause maybe, maybe not. for Monica’s book, which they planned to two chapbooks, so Newcity wanted to speak publish posthumously. When I opened the with her about her process, music, how she The book is dedicated to the late poet, email I immediately started crying because approached “Too Much Midnight,” writers like bookmaker and playwright Monica Hand, they had no idea she’d already contacted me Monica Hand as well as Afrofuturism. a poet whose creative life was far too about it before she passed away. That’s how brief. Can you share a little bit about it so happened that Monica Hand orchestrated Talk about the title of the book. that dedication? my artwork to adorn both of her books, even Can we really have too much midnight? after she left here. I dedicated “Too Much Too much of the dark? This is hard for me to talk about, to be honest, Midnight” to her to honor her legacy, and also because I’m still grappling with her death. to thank her for supporting my writing and my The title comes from a line in the poem Monica and I met and became friends art as ferociously as she did while at the same “Killing Floor,” and was collectively decided by nineteen years ago at the writer’s retreat, time creating her own art, pursuing a PhD, my editors, Maya Marshall, Kevin Coval and I. Cave Canem. We shared a love for poetry, growing relationships, nurturing loved ones, There was an original title I had that was too paper and Octavia Butler, among other things. and writing fantastic work of her own. similar to the titles of and in books of fellow She was, as you mentioned, an incredible contemporary poets, so we brainstormed bookmaker and poet, and a beloved and You preface the poems with introductory other suggestions. I can’t remember if it was devoted friend to so many. She was smart AF, writings from Jamila Woods, M. Eliza Maya or Kevin who threw out “Too Much funny, a connector and conduit. She was also Hamilton Abegunde and Greg Tate. Midnight,” but we all agreed after going one of the largest collectors of my art, and I haven’t seen a poetry collection do through a number of options that this was commissioned me to provide the artwork that that before, so I’m curious. How do the title of the project. appears on the covers of both of her books. you feel those writers’ voices represent your work? Whether or not we can really have too much Months before her death, Monica emailed me midnight depends on the context. The phrase about artwork ideas for her then-forthcoming “Too Much Midnight” is in part a collection of is a way to describe multiple things. In the second collection of poems, “DiVida.” I told her poems, but the editors of this project and I context of the poem, it’s excess, overindul- gence, excessiveness (“cracks/like a tooth after too much midnight”), and in this case one can definitely have too much midnight. I mean, I don’t think of a cracked tooth as something to look forward to or relish. But, the word “midnight” in this collection is also an allusion to “blackness”—”blackness” as a vast and dynamic set of experiences, a rich culture, a complex and expansive network of systems, ways of understanding and being. There’s never too much of that midnight for me. 43

always envisioned this book as a coffee- ever took was committing to a life in the table book; part poetry, part monograph— arts and literature as a black woman from a a collection that chronicles my double lives working-class family in a country that believes as a writer and artist. This book isn’t just my art is a luxury and not a necessity. There could first full-length collection of poems, it’s also my have been no greater risk than that to me. The topics and forms of my work will emerge first book that features a modest portfolio of the art I’ve created over the past fifteen years. naturally as long as I stay open to the spark, stay in the flow, stay curious, adaptable, and It is true that poetry collections rarely have open to learning and expanding my under- forewords, but they’re common in artist standing. At this point I just want to play and monographs, and serve to contextualize the have some fun in my work. I want to be driven artist’s work, or offer a lens through which by childlike wonder again. to consider the work. Almost everything I After reading your poem “History, as make is a hybrid in one form or another. But Written by the Victors,” I kept thinking I understand the reader’s impulse to think of this book as only a collection of poems, and about how easily Chicago could slip into not fully consider the book’s other elements— a dystopian state, precisely because of how segregated the city is. Your work is LIT TOP 5 the art, the essays, the interview—and the positioned in the Afrofuturist community, Due to the COVID-19 uncertainty, ways these elements engage each other. and you’ve referenced Octavia Butler. In please check with venues on status. I should also say that collaboration and artistic any case, I mention all that because I’m 1 “Conditional Citizens” wondering what you think the Afro-future by Laila Lalami. American exchange are pretty big parts of my story. Writers Museum. In this free My work is frequently in conversation with that might hold for black creatives? webinar, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lalami reads from her nonfiction of other artists and writers. This book is just You know the funny thing about the Afrofuture work that explores what is traditionally associated with another iteration of that ongoing exchange. is it’s happening right now. Writer and artist American citizenship. May 4 One of the themes that I appreciate that D. Scot Miller said in his “AfroSurreal Manifesto,” 2 “Call Me Zebra” by recurs in the book is how women mother, “There is no need for tomorrow’s-tongue Azareen van der Vliet and in some cases, do not. How did you speculation about the future. Concentration Oloomi. Pilsen Community find yourself wanting to unspool it? camps, bombed-out cities, famines, and Books. A live taping with Oloomi and book signing following the enforced sterilization have already happened… discussion. May 14 Motherhood is a huge theme in my work, an The future has been around so long it is now 3 Kali Fajardo-Anstine. epic obsession. I’m not sure if that obsession the past.” Octavia E. Butler’s futuristic novel National Museum of Mexican began in elementary school when I was told “Parable of the Sower” was published in 1993, Art. A rescheduled reading with and look at us now, with a president who’s the author of “Sabrina & Corina.” a Biblical story over and over again about a pregnant virgin, or in high school when I read doing his best to Make America Great Again, May 19 Euripides’ “Medea,” or in college when I read just like she wrote it. Chicago is a dystopian Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” or when my mother state. Already. It slipped into that ages ago, 4 Open Door Series: and segregation is just one of the cogs in Suzanne Buffam and CM started talking about her relationship with Burroughs. Poetry Foundation. that machine. I don’t need to predict what Poets Buffam and Burroughs read motherhood and mothering. It could also be with their students. May 19 the Afrofuture might hold for black creatives, because I was born under the astrological 5 An Evening Inside sign of Cancer, supposedly the mother-nurtur- because they’re showing us right now. In the the Multiverse. Harold ers of the zodiac. Either way, the many faces first weeks of the COVID-19 self-quarantine Washington Library Center, Pritzker and forms of motherhood and mothering have and shelter-in-place, and black DJs, D-Nice Auditorium. Physicist Marcela being the highest profile to date, threw dance Carena and Michael Zapata, been a preoccupation of mine for a long, author of “The Lost Book of parties every night from their homes via social Adana Moreau,” discuss physics, long time. It remains a central theme in my astronomy, literature and parallel writing, and in one way or another in all of my media, and garnered ridiculous numbers of universes. May 28 books. It’s also a focal point of my last book, internet partygoers. There you go, Afrofuture: “Under the Knife,” an artist book published with black creatives using technology to simulate 44 Candor Arts in 2018. We’ll see if I’ve worked and stimulate closeness and excitement, globally. We never have to predict what black it all the way through in the future. artists are going to do because it’s always Your writing and visual art has always unfurling right in front of us. We just have to centered black women and pulls from pay attention. black history, music and even nature. Are there any topics or forms that you’d You’ve also talked about the centrality like to take more risks with in the future? of music in your work, could you recom- I find myself asking that question because mend three essential albums? we can draw from the same themes and structures for a lifetime, but how do we Only three? And the word essential gives me keep reaching for something new? anxiety, so I’ll say these are three albums I recommend in this moment: “Give a Monkey Newcity MAY 2020 I think my question now is “how do I keep a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the something new reaching for me?” I follow Universe” by Fishbone; “Midnight Marauders” my curiosities and the impulses that create by A Tribe Called Quest; and “The Royal Scam” sparks in me. My art is my methodology for by Steely Dan. working through my preoccupations and What is one word that you’d want passions. I keep saying, these poems, this people to visualize after reading art, these books, these performances are all byproducts of my intellectual preoccupations, “Too Much Midnight”? my passions, my obsessions. It’s all field notes Phoenix. and byproduct. Honestly, the biggest risk I

Music Bob Long, Doug Lofstrom, Al Day, Marc Kelly Smith, Brian Gephart / Photo: Tanya Tucha Speak, An experimental ensemble is, in the Each musician plays with tremendous Melody most reductive sense, one that is not restraint; they dazzle more by what they immediately classifiable. The Last Word leave out than what they put in. It’s an The Last Word Quintet Quintet earns the title by blending music exhilarating brand of self-assurance with a Fuses Music and Poetry and spoken-word performance. But that’s Zen quality. Day’s singing has the gravel of not the most notable thing about it: after all, hard-won experience, but also the accompa- By Robert Rodi similar attempts have been made over the nying interpretive refinement; it’s sandpaper years. What makes this group distinctive is of the very finest grain. As for Smith, his the level of virtuosity of its members, and the recitations have genuine moral and emotional MAY 2020 Newcity sheer, irresistible ardor they convey. weight. When he yearns, as he does in several of the pieces, it’s clear we’re not hearing the The Quintet comprises four music scene hunger of youth but the accumulated pining veterans—singer-songwriter Al Day, pia- of a lifetime. nist-composer Bob Long, saxophonist Brian Gephart and bassist-songwriter Doug Lofst- On May 15 the Quintet plays Studio5 in rom—and performance poet Marc Kelly Evanston, which is, not coincidentally, the Smith, a giant on Chicago’s spoken-word venue where a year ago they recorded their scene as well as creator of the poetry slam. debut album, “Live at Studio5.” Released in These artists weave their voices in a manner March of this year, it’s a remarkable document. that’s immediately arresting. They’re attempt- Nine of its ten tracks were written by the ing, as they put it, “to say things we all Quintet’s members (the exception is Duke believed could not be said any other way.” Ellington’s “Brown Skin Girl in a Calico Gown”), 45

MUSIC TOP 5 and on each one Smith, backed by the from the life and career of legendary jazz tremendously sensitive players, amplifies bassist Jaco Pastorius: “Jaco never took the Lockdown—self-isolating—sheltering in the songs with spoken-word pieces that scenic route / Just come on in with no way out place—whatever you call it, it goes a whole are largely, but not exclusively, his own. / Jaco spoke in tongues, Jaco spoke in sins / lot easier with these outstanding album Jaco dreamed his dreams, where no one else releases by stellar Chicago artists. The album opens with the Day-composed had been.” The theme gets a more wides- “Suicide Town,” a gospel-style shuffle. Its creen treatment when Smith comes in with 1 Steve Dawson & Funeral road-weary lyrics (“Been miles from home, but “Being a Poet” by the French writer Mr Zurg: Bonsai Wedding. “Last Flight I’m still around / Looking for love in a suicide “The poet is an alchemist who hangs verbs Out.” The much-loved singer- town”) are intercut with Smith’s reading of on the winds of revolution.” songwriter’s anticipated album Bertolt Brecht’s “Mounted on the Fairground’s features highly sophisticated Magic Horses,” a moving declaration of outsid- At the climax of each number, Day and Smith songwriting gilded with dazzling er status (“And I hear them say, exactly like my take the mic to reprise their parts, and while orchestral colors—plus, of course, mother… Oh, he’s so very different from us”). the overlapping of their voices might have that gorgeously evocative voice. come across as Available on May 8 muddy or cacophonic, they’re so in tune 2 Liz Mandeville. “Playing with each other— With Fire.” The irrepressible, and with the players wise-cracking blues woman has the as well—that the red-hot-mama thing solid, a wicked result is a dazzling hand on the guitar and a voice so aural layering. By this wry and knowing that each inflected point, it’s apparent vowel tells a story. Available Now we’re hearing an entirely new kind of 3 Sunshine Boys. “Work and poetic conversation, Love.” Jangly, ridiculously and it’s thrilling. irresistible pop-inflected earworms adorn the long-awaited sophomore Not every track in the release by the acclaimed indie-rock trio. You will get up and dance. set is reflective or Available Now ruminative. “Every- 4 The Claudettes. “High Times thing Up Is Down to in the Dark.” The latest, wittiest outing from the rollicking post- Me,” written by Day, lounge, acid-cabaret, piano-driven alt-boogie ensemble (and if you’ve is rollicking boo- got a better descriptor, let’s hear it). gie-woogie, with Available Now blazing lyrics and 5 Jared Rabin. “No Direction.” The alt-country singer- bravura solos by the songwriter blazes into his new album with ravishing harmonies, instrumentalists, and quicksilver lyrics and more than his fair share of killer hooks. it gives everyone a Available Now It’s a thrilling way to construct a piece of music chance to cut loose. But it’s no throwaway and you experience a giddy rush at the bridge, piece. It’s rollicking, yes, but Smith’s fiery 46 which begins on a triumphant riff high above declamation makes it also a cri de coeur: “We the melody line, then slowly climbs the ladder live in a time that just ain’t right / Everybody knows it but we just go on / Waiting for all down from there. the evidence to be gathered / And the gavel This is followed by a ballad, also by Day, swung / And the jury unhung / And something “Saving Grace,” which features powerfully new to be begun.” Similarly, “Tristan’s Blues,” plangent lyrics: “He was forgiven, but it didn’t by Long and Day, is a piano-driven swing tune, with both Smith and Day growling and barking matter / She was a beauty, but she had no in full-on Beat mode: “Don’t confuse down face / They were together, but they were with up / Up from down / It’s all the same, parted / By each other’s saving grace.” This is beautifully coupled with Smith’s reading of man / Lose your shoes!” e.e. cummings’ “Anyone lived in pretty how My favorite track is the closer, “The Hope of town”: “when by now and tree by leaf / she laughed his joy she cried his grief / bird by snow Hope,” composed by Long and with lyrics by Day and Sue Demel. It’s a radiant, sweetly and stir by still / anyone’s any was all to her”). swaying chamber piece that I’m counting “Something of Something” is a Lofstrom on the band reprising onstage. “In the end composition in waltz time, with lyrics by Smith there sits the poet,” Day sings, in possibly the (“There is something of something around us / album’s only truly elegiac moment, “weeping Within us between us around us”), gorgeously for the perfect rhyme / It’s the hope of hope that’s ringing out / The hope that’s yours sung by Day before Smith adds his poetic amplification of the idea: “There is something and mine.” Smith is more specific, and more Newcity MAY 2020 gorgeously mournful, about that evasive hope: in the wind, in the music, in the loneliness / “I wanted to read all the books of unerring truth That carries us back to the beginning / To the cloud’s face, to the yellow jacket’s churr / / I wanted to tie my shoelace fast / Spread jelly smoothly to the corners of the bread / Build To the parting and convergence / To the a tower, a tall tower / … I wanted so bad, dark red rapture within the bone’s marrow.” so bad / To be so many things / Without the More than one of the songs examines the whole thing / Falling down.” nature of poetry and of creative energy. As last words go, Last Word sticks the landing. “Jaco,” written by Day, takes its inspiration

STAGE TOP 5 Stage Jillian Leff 1 The Happiest Place On Earth. Photo: Zen Orchid Sideshow Theatre. Written and Photography performed by Philip Dawkins, this archival recording of the 2017 Jeff A Jill of going at once in different spheres. Jillian Leff MAY 2020 Newcity Award for Solo Performance takes All Trades is one of Chicago’s interdisciplinary wonders, audiences on an intimate journey cultivating a presence as an actor, playwright, to the “happiest place on earth” An Interview with fight choreographer and many other plates through the perspective of one the Indefatigable Jillian Leff that pique her interest. Jillian sat down unhappy family. Ongoing (virtually) and let me into her multiple domains. By Hayley Osborn 2 The Infinite Wrench Goes How did you get into the arts? Viral. The Neo-Futurists. I have always been interested in multiple What prompted you to branch out? An online adaptation of the things at the same time. As an adult iconoclastic company’s ongoing, woman with ADHD, I have ideas about new I was in drama club in high school. I feel like ever-changing attempt to perform projects while still in the beginning phases of that’s how most people started. I got into thirty plays in sixty minutes in the an existing one. Whether it’s a hobby, a career Ball State’s BFA Acting Program, but I was flesh for a live audience. Ongoing or a lifelong passion, I’m fascinated by the always interested in writing. I wanted to [act] plate-spinners who have multiple projects but because it was such an intense program 3 All-One! The Dr. Bronner’s some of the professors [said], “If you could Play. The Passage Theatre. be happy doing anything else go do it.” Beth Hyland’s latest play is an Nineteen-year-old Jillian was like, “Oh, that irreverent look at life’s deepest also means writing or doing anything else in darkness and brightest light through the arts.” Senior year, I said, “Fuck it, I want to the too-wild-to-be-believed life of do what I want to do.” I sat down one day after the world’s most famous maker of class, I wrote a ten-minute [play], and that’s soap, Emanuel Bronner. May 1-10 been my most successful piece of writing. 4 Masque of the Red Coronavirus. Black Button Eyes Productions. A free online- only script and video experience, adapted, in part, from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” featuring spoken word, song, original music, fire dancing, puppetry, burlesque dancing and opera. Ongoing 5 Medusa Undone. Otherworld Theatre Company. A recording of a 2019 production explores the social problem of “rape culture,” our tendency to blame victims, and the great injustice suffered by female victims of abuse of all kinds. Ongoing via the company’s Patreon Page 47

It’s time to register for Summer programs As a performer, what do I think it’s both because I am a with the Chicago Park District! you look for in a project? queer woman. I used to make that joke about lesbians before SUMMER SESSION Whenever I see a show that says, I was out. But in my writing I “We need a woman who can focus on queer stories and REGISTRATION fight,” I’m like, “Oh, hello.” But queer representation because that’s it. I don’t know if I look for I just don’t think there is enough. Online registration begins: it. I am really drawn to female- The next step in representation led stories, which is why I’m an is seeing and working on more Monday, May 11 at 9AM ensemble member with Babes shows that aren’t “gay plays,” With Blades. At Ball State, I had but humans living their lives who for parks WEST of California Ave. (2800 W.) a professor who told me, “Here’s happen to be gay. The story is a list of Chicago companies about more than the fact that Tuesday, May 12 at 9AM you can look at.” When she said they are queer. It’s not necess- “Babes With Blades,” all my arily about Chicago theater for parks EAST of California Ave. (2800 W.) classmates looked at me. So I opening up more to these roles. moved here thinking, “I want to It’s more of an overall cultural Newcity MAY 2020 For more information visit work for them.” It took three or shift in our country. Because four years but it finally happened. Chicago in general has a big queer community, that flows nat- How does your creative urally into the theater community. or call 312.742.7529 or 312.747.2001 (TTY) process go from there? As a playwright, how does a City of Chicago Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor STAY CONNECTED. It’s cliché to say that my process script come about for you? changes with every show, but Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners it truly does. I try to adapt to each Inspiration is weird for me, show and its style. I have a very because sometimes it’s just Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent & CEO specific line-learning process that a word or phrase that pops in I try to follow. It involves throwing my head. For my play “Missed 48 a tennis ball against the wall. Opportunities,” I was sitting A lot. Though my inner nerd is on my couch and I saw, in my very helpful in these situations, head, a woman walking into I try to go with the flow. I like to her apartment, slamming the do physical and vocal warm-ups, door and telling her roommate, but again, it depends on the “So apparently I’m gay now.” show. I did “She Kills Monsters” Like wouldn’t that be funny? a couple of years ago and most For a play that I’m working on, of that cast were comedians, called “The Mark,” I was riding improvisers and combat people. the bus one night and the poles’ Fight calls were a fucking shadow made this shape on production. We had steady bits my face. I thought, “Oh, that’s that we did every single day and dope. That looks like a tribal it was just so playful. tattoo.” And the rest of the bus ride home was me How is choreographing world-building in my head. a fight different from acting it out? When you start in any kind of arts field you’re told if Acting is so much easier. you’re going to be an actor I am totally still learning as a you need to put everything choreographer. I am still new into it, if you’re going to be to it. I’ve only choreographed a writer you need to put a couple shows for a few everything into it, and so different companies. I’m even on. What advice would you trying to become a TA for this give to other creatives that fight class I go to a lot because want to participate in I think the only way to be a multiple disciplines? better choreographer is to be a better teacher. I’m still learning I would say: if it interests you, vocabulary. I’m still learning the just do it. Because you may try it best ways to teach, but I’m and be like, “No.” I have a friend lucky that I have a lot of friends who said to me, “I’ve tried some in my community that I can things… I’m going to stick to pay attention to. And I’m like, acting.” And I said, “You do that, “Please teach me your ways!” I’m proud of you.” You might like the thing you try and both are Most of your projects okay. But I always say, I truly feature LGBTQ+ representa- think I’m a better actor because tion. Is that an intentional I write and I’m a better writer objective or is Chicago because I act. That’s my advice, theater just opening up just do it. You never know what more to those roles? you’ll learn.

Installation view, “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” 2020 eviews/Photo:KendallMcCaugherty

Review Art none of their inner fire as they mark traditional pieces with custom Nigerian off recognizable objects in a readable designs juxtaposed with a European A Review of El Greco space. That quality has appeared flair. The inspiration comes from his at the Art Institute of Chicago regularly throughout art history, before days in Lagos. His mother manifested and since, but it was especially import- elements of culture, socio-economics It’s been 114 years since El Greco’s ant in the late nineteenth century when and heritage that represent more than “Assumption of the Virgin” landed on it had disappeared from a rigorously a fashion sense, but an understanding Michigan Avenue, so it’s surprising mimetic academicism. of the world around her and how that that this is the first exhibition that the played into her identity. Art Institute of Chicago has devoted Yet unlike other exhibitions, this show to the artist. Along with “A Sunday chose not to emphasize El Greco’s The composition of each gallery takes on on La Grande Jatte” and “Nighthawks,” importance to canonical Modernists. a familial feel due to the close proximity it’s one of the highlights of the collec- Nor does it emphasize the counter of each piece and the intimacy of the tion and possibly the greatest Old reformation, Spanish mysticism or any walls that encapsulate the spectator. Master painting in Chicago, if not other grand historical context. It is The layout forces the viewer to con- the entire Midwest. instead centered on the most docu- stantly move, exercising every sensory mented aspect of the artist’s life: the ability. The overlapping of art and space This career-spanning exhibition, arr- endless litigation concerning payment. create this collaboration of concepts anged in partnership with the Louvre, In that time and place, the price of a between various artists and mediums is an amazing collaboration. It begins commission was settled after the work that aren’t expected. The viewer’s with the artist’s early Greek Orthodox was finished, and this artist hardly ever existence becomes one of time and icons, on loan from a museum in agreed with his client. So this show space formed by the objects around us. Athens. It ends with his last completed is appropriately called “El Greco: signature work, the ten-foot-high Ambition and Defiance.” (Chris Miller) Between the notion of seeing and “Adoration of the Shepherds,” on loan how it plays a large role in how we go from the Prado. In between are several “El Greco: Ambition and Defiance” is at about our lives and the relationships of his very best pieces from American the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South we conceive, “Seeing Chicago” ex- museums: the expressive portrait of Michigan, through June 21. Although plores a subconscious realm of our the museum is closed indefinitely, there everyday lives through how we manifest is an interactive feature of it at these emotions. A Multinational View Olowu’s curatorial approach makes Designer Duro Olowu Boldly Mixes us apply our perspective to multiple Art and Fashion at the MCA mediums, like outsider art, craft and fine art, all in a single space. He takes Based out of London and New York City, this integration of works one step further by bringing together local artists Nigerian-born British-based designer and foreign artists who share a major Duro Olowu brings his work, which combines art, fashion and culture, to the commonality: Chicago. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Although we are able to see the texture He is known internationally for womens- and question the gap between the social definitions of the fashion industry wear that is characterized by motifs, and the art world, Olowu invites us into distinctive fabrics and assemblage techniques. In “Seeing Chicago,” Olowu the mind of Chicago. His international creates a self-portrait of Chicago via the perspective takes on a metropolitan art and artists that the city has invested city and amplifies what Chicago has in. Throughout the show, the inspiration birthed, and what the definition of art has become in this windy city. El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). of the city makes clear the internal “The Adoration of the Shepherds,” 1612–14. dialogue of how the city has molded us. The last room is a black-staged Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Fixing Olowu’s curatorial eye on a foreign space with a multitude of matte-black the neurotic Fray Hortensio Félix city may seem peculiar, yet his crosscul- mannequins adorned in his designs. Paravicino from the Museum of Fine tural background and design practice The body language of each mannequin Arts, Boston; the magical “View of allow him a transcending perspective on creates a conversation between the Toledo” from the Met and the original a multicultural city like Chicago. “Seeing fabrics and the body, from small hand version of “St. Martin and the Beggar” Chicago” integrates a multinational view, gestures to various postures. The from the National Gallery. Even greater designs signify the epitome of the is a piece left unfinished at his death, similar to Olowu’s designs, that take “The Vision of St. John,” from the Met; show. While each figure is in a different the very same piece that young Pablo form in sculpture, imagery and film, Picasso saw in the studio of a fellow disassembling the creations that take position, they all face a wall adorned in painter, inspiring him, some believe, the stage on the runway. Each of these an assemblage of art. The mannequins to create “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” mediums represents the diverse nature slowly integrate themselves into our of the fabric and the movement that his world, influencing our perspective, the Newcity MAY 2020 El Greco was something of a hero to designs and curatorial vision manifest art and vice versa. The complexity of the early proponents of Modernism— the exhibition asks the viewer: how one of whom, Mary Cassatt, took it for the visual eye. upon herself to guide the “Assumption do we see? What do we want to see? of the Virgin” to an American museum and eventually Chicago. His forms lose “Seeing Chicago” takes into account And furthermore, how does that sight how we see, and allows us to under- influence us? (Caira Moreira-Brown) stand how seeing manifests in our lives. Olowu silhouettes are heavily influenced “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” by the process of observing his mother MCA Chicago, 220 East Chicago, getting ready. He often combined through May 10. 50

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