All posts by antoinetteisama

OPINION: Tradition and the arts at odds in first-generation families

By Antoinette Isama

For us first-generation Americans, the unremitting pressure that accompanies our career choices comes as no surprise. It’s an integral part of the “American Dream,” the future that immigrants imagined for not only themselves, but also for their children born and raised in the United States. It’s been going on for generations, parents worried that their children won’t grab the golden ring of financial prosperity that, in part, prompted them to leave whatever old country failed to provide hope for a better future.

This dream is still prevalent today.

But, it’s 2015, more than a century after the Statue of Liberty raised her torch in New York harbor. Why are we still in this awkward and uncomfortable tug-of-war between pursuing what makes us happy and Mom and Dad’s concerns with our success; especially if our passion involves the arts?

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Review: Chicago Slam Works presents ‘Redlined’

By Antoinette Isama

Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble brings the nooks and crannies of Chicago to light through literary theater. “Redlined: A Chicago Lyric” uses poetry and movement to paint brutally honest portraits of why many have a love/hate relationship with the city. Directed by J.W. Basilio, the cast of J. Evelyn, Rashaad Hall, Shelley Elaine Geiszler, Frankiem Mitchell, Dru Smith and Teagan Walsh-Davis put faces to the names of what makes up the city through the CTA Red Line and the characters that ride it.

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Review: Spike Lee’s ‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus’

By Antoinette Isama

Spike Lee takes a stab at horror film with his first Kickstarter funded film, “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” which opened this week. A remake of Bill Gunn’s 1973 independent film “Ganja and Hess,” Lee offers an uncanny analysis of religion, art and sexuality through a story of vampirism and uncontrollable addiction — literally and figuratively.

Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams), an anthropologist studying the ancient Ashanti Empire, encounters an ancient dagger that alters his life, which is centered on his quaint, inherited 40-acre estate in Martha’s Vineyard. The film’s pace picks up when his mentally unstable research assistant, Dr. Lafayette Hightower (Elvis Nolasco), attempts suicide, then struggles to murder Hess with the dagger. After stabbing Green, Hightower, shocked by his own actions, kills himself. Green then comes back to life with an addiction to blood.

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Love, peace and soul — on gig posters

By Antoinette Isama

Chicago’s nightlife scene peddles its wares through posters that are pasted on poles, thumbtacked on cork boards and attached to messages on the Internet. It’s a must that these posters pop; they are vital to drawing a crowd for live performers and shindigs alike.

A monthly dance party at Wicker Park’s Double Door has been practicing that art of attraction through its posters since its first night on the turntables.

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CSO at the Movies presents ‘The Godfather’

By Antoinette Isama

On Tuesday and Wednesday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra goes to the movies, presenting, The Godfather, with members of the CSO playing Nino Rota’s original score.

For the 7 p.m. performance in Symphony Center, Francis Ford Coppola’s mega-hit will be shown on a giant HD screen hanging above the stage, while conductor Justin Freer leads the orchestra in Rota’s score. The performances are among the few taking place worldwide since the world premiere of this combination screening and live performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall in December 2014. Continue reading