Arts & Culture

The Cretaceous Shuffle

After 17 years front-and-center, the Field Museum’s toothy crown jewel Sue is moving upstairs to make way for an even larger predator.

By Adam Cohen
Medill Reports

Almost 67 million years after her death, the world’s most famous dinosaur named Sue is moving once again. In February, the Field Museum’s iconic Tyrannosaurus rex will be taken down from her prominent perch in Stanley Field Hall and moved to a new exhibit on the institution’s second floor. In Sue’s place will go an arguably even more awe-inspiring specimen – a cast of Patagotitan mayorum.

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Last dance in the Big Easy

The new ‘funkumentary,’ Do U Want It?, is director Josh Freund’s cinematic love letter to the band Papa Grows Funk and the New Orleans music scene.

By Morgan Levey
Medill Reports

For 90 minutes on a winter evening a vortex opened in Chicago’s Davis Theater and the crowd was transported down south, to the land of crawfish boils and funk music. Do U Want It?, a feature-length documentary about the former New Orleans-based band Papa Grows Funk, made its Chicago debut as part of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival. Billed as a “funkumentary,” the film examines the joy of making music in New Orleans, but the hardship of making it big anywhere else.

Medill Reports sat down with Josh Freund, one of the film’s co-directors and a Medill alum (BSJ 2012), after the movie’s screening.

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Flesh-tone tights empower ballet dancers of color

By Eunice Wang
Medill Reports

A simple leotard and pink tights are the typical uniform for many ballet dancers when they train. It’s a tradition that dates back hundreds of years to the origin of ballet in Europe. As with many other traditions, however, the times, they are a changin’.

Dancers of color have started to raise a question about the tradition of pink tights, preferring tights that represent who they are. That’s why dancers at the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center have turned to flesh-tone tights.

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Back of the Yards Public Library: When a library can’t serve its community

By Kate Cimini
Medill Reports

While the re-introduction of a public library to the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago has been a boon to the community, its location has placed severe limitations on its ability to serve community members, and even, some allege, have detracted from other public services.

The sign for the Back of the Yards Public Library (photo at top of story) is nearly half a block from the entrance to the library, making it difficult to find. Although the community is relieved to once again have a local library after a multi-year gap, its location is proving problematic in a variety of ways.
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The case for Keurigs

By Emily Clemons
Medill Reports

I am a proud drinker of sh—y coffee. I am a longtime user of the ubiquitous and much-reviled Keurig coffee maker. Above only instant brews, K-Cup coffee occupies the lowest rung on the java ladder, eternally damned there by knowledgeable and high-brow coffee-drinkers who value their French presses and pour-over Cemex hardware. On top of my affinity for K-Cups, I also pollute my coffee with huge scoops of sugar and long pours of artificially flavored creamer.

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Hiplet: The Baby of Modern and Classical Ballet

By Eunice Wang
Medill Reports

Hiplet, the fusion of hip-hop and ballet, started back in 1990 as Homer Hans Bryant’s rap ballet. As a dance teacher, Homer has always been fascinated by classical ballet and what dancers can do en pointe. Homer wanted to give back to his community by teaching kids of color the discipline of ballet while incorporating urban rhythms and modern dance.

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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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