Arts & Culture

Community efforts bring about theme of ‘Englewood Rising’ in the South Side neighborhood

By: Hannah Wiley and Joey Mendolia
Medill Reports

Tina Hammond has brought a splash of color and a message of hope to her Englewood neighborhood.

Buying a vacant lot next to her home for $1 through a city program, Hammond and her husband transformed the once bleak empty space into a garden of positivity.

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In tough times, influential women unite to inspire one another

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

CHICAGO – “Every woman is a pioneer,” rang loudly through the Chicago Theatre on October 24, during a night of honest talk between eight women on a couch, designed to portray a conversation you’d have with your friends in your living room. Aimed at uniting public figures with fellow women, the traveling Together Live Tour brought together 3,000 people, almost exclusively women, mostly white and young. A few men accompanied their dates, appearing to be fathers, husbands and boyfriends.

The audience was first subjected to a live reading of love letters and text messages between a former professional athlete and a New York Times bestselling author. It was reminiscent of a scene from a bad Lifetime holiday movie, but audience members didn’t seem to care, soaking up the real-life love story.

Chicago marked the second-to-last stop of the national 10-city tour, in which influential women shared their personal stories of challenging times and struggles marked by growth. Speakers included authors, Olympians, actresses, social justice activists and entrepreneurs.

During a nearly four-hour conversation with each other and the audience, the panelists talked honestly and informally about various issues they’ve all faced at one point in their lives and careers, including racism, sexual harassment, failure and the decision to speak up.

Lincoln Park resident Alyssa Hannah, 16, attended the speech with her mom and said the idea of letting go of fear resonated with her.

“I stay in fear a lot,” said Hannah, a University of Chicago Lab School student. “The idea of just doing it is really important.”

The tour was co-founded by Jennifer Randolph Walsh, who runs the literary division of the talent agency WME.

“The Together Tour is the evolution of a collective dream — a fierce, intersectional, multi-generational gathering where you will hear from badass, earth-shaking, hilarious, authentic storytellers from across the globe,” Walsh said.
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Chicago artists let their freak flags fly at Halloween Arts in the Dark parade

By Naomi Waxman
Medill Reports

Chicago celebrated the wicked, the wild and the weird Saturday, as artists from across the  country strutted their stuff before crowds of excited fans lined up along Columbus Drive. Residents of all ages watched fire-spinning skeletons, a bulbous blue anglerfish and even a train of hearses, owned by local enthusiasts.

New local arts non-profit LUMA8, conceived Arts in the Dark to unite Chicago artists.

“It’s all about declaring Halloween as the artists’ holiday and creating a moment for all of Chicago’s cultural communities to come together and plant their flag on one night,” said Sharene Shariatzadeh, president and CEO of LUMA8.

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From YouTube consumer to vlogger, David Budimir taps back to his sixth-grade roots

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports


WASHINGTON, DC — A content marketer for a D.C.-based tech company by day, Columbia Heights resident David Budimir, 26, has been producing “vlogs,” or video blogs, since he was a 12-year-old at Williamsburg Middle School in Arlington, Va.

Budimir and his roommate, Alex Druy, at their apartment in D.C. Photo courtesy of David Budimir’s Instagram-@dbudi.

“The first video he made was a promotional video that played at the beginning of our daily student news program,” said Alex Druy, 25, a consultant for the federal government and Budimir’s sixth-grade locker partner. “It was a re-make of the American [version of the] television show, “The Office,” and featured students running around doing banal things at school.”

Budimir was on to something, with a passion for video that predated social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube. In addition to being the most popular digital site for sharing video content exclusively, YouTube is also the second-largest social networking site, behind Facebook. According to Pew, 63 percent of adult web users use YouTube.
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At 76, Chinese dance instructor lives her passion and passes it on

By Dena Khalafallah and Tiffany Chen
Medill Reports

At 11 years old, Jin Qui Yue discovered her passion for dance and has followed it throughout her life.

At 76 years old, she continues to teach dance to students of all ages in Chicago.

“I’m 76 years old already, and I still haven’t stepped down from the stage. I’m still teaching,” Jin said.

Jin’s dance classes can be found inside the Bei Dou Kung Fu studio on 31st Street in Chicago.

“We might not be able to communicate through language, but through dancing, we can bring each other closer,” Jin said in her native tongue.

Photo at top: Jin Qui Yue dancing inside Bei Dou Kung Fu studio. Oct. 6, 2017. (Dena Khalafallah/MEDILL)

After-school program teaches native children their heritage

By Jiayan Jenny Shi

Kelly Summers, 44, is a Chicago-born Native American who volunteers with Native Scholars, an after-school tutoring program at the American Indian Association of Illinois (AIAI). Every Tuesday afternoon, native children across Chicago meet at a church basement in Andersonville where they get homework assistance and cultural instruction.

Summers learned cultural traditions at a Menominee Indian reservation and from her late father. Now she tutors native children as a way to give back to the community and continue her father’s dream and mission.

Photo at top: Kelly Summers assists native children in their homework at the after-school program on May 16. (Jiayan Jenny Shi/MEDILL)

Mole brings Pilsen community together

By Alissa Anderegg

At the annual Mole de Mayo Festival, thousands of hungry Chicagoans come to explore the authentic Mexican flavors of the Pilsen neighborhood. This year’s festival marks the eighth anniversary of the event, where locals and visitors come to taste some of the best mole dishes in Chicago. Each year Mole de Mayo features a mole contest, where restaurants compete with their versions of the Mexican staple. The festival is organized by the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that has been serving the Pilsen neighborhood for more than three decades.

Mole tacos are served at the eighth annual Mole de Mayo Festival. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Local musician teaches toddlers about healthy eating

By Alissa Anderegg

As a professional singer and voiceover actress, Jamie Martin has performed at venues across the country. After giving birth to her first child, she transformed this love of singing into a children’s musical act to be able to spend more time with her young kids. Now known as Miss Jamie on the Farm, Martin performs throughout Chicago, using her songs to teach children the values of friendship, compassion and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her performances, she hopes to inspire not only her young fans, but their parents as well and encourage them to continue living their dreams.

Photo at top: Jamie Martin performs her musical act, Miss Jamie on the Farm, at the Roscoe Village Mariano’s.(Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

‘Live Music Now’ brings music education to Chicago Public Schools

By Alissa Anderegg

The International Music Foundation is a Chicago-based organization dedicated to providing high-quality musical performances and music education throughout the city. As part of its outreach, the foundation has provided free, music programs to Chicago Public School students for 35 years. Through in-school visits and field trip opportunities, including its performances at Preston Bradley Hall called Live Music Now, the foundation gives arts enrichment to local youth. The 45-minute presentations and demonstrations are free events, where students and visitors can come to enjoy live music that they may not be exposed to otherwise.

Photo at top: The Link Quartet of Roosevelt University’s Music Conservatory program perform for Chicago Public School students. (Alissa Anderegg/MEDILL)

Buckingham Fountain: Own a Piece of History

By Mike Davis

Buckingham Fountain is turned on for the season and Chicagoans are celebrating the monument’s 90th anniversary. But that’s not the only excitement surrounding the fountain.

Stuart Grannen, an antiques dealer and owner of Architectural Artifacts Inc. in Ravenswood, is selling the thousand-pound piece of Georgia Green Marble for $22,000.

Grannen said he acquired the historic piece years ago from a descendant of Edward H. Bennett, the architect of Buckingham Fountain. He originally wanted the piece for a museum he was building but the venture fell through.

Now, he’d like to see the piece of history find a good home, preferably in Chicago.

Photo at top: The historic piece of Buckingham Fountain, newly for sale. (Mike Davis/MEDILL)