Arts & Culture

Bagpipers, politicians and Ghostbusters among St. Patrick’s Day highlights

By Christine Smith

For its 60th year downtown, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade stretched across six blocks of Columbus Drive during its celebration of the holiday on Saturday. The parade, which lasted nearly two hours, included everything from Irish dancers and leprechauns to green dogs and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Continue reading

Chicago Irish dancing world champ celebrates heritage, community

By Megan Kramer

Sofia Kennedy’s career in Irish dance started with a flier.

Now nearly 13 years old, Sofia is a member of the World Championship team at the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. Her parents brought home a flier with information about Trinity, which has locations throughout Chicago, when she was just a toddler, and it’s been an unexpected passion for her ever since.

“I was, like, 3 or 4 when I started, so I didn’t really know what I was going to do,” Sofia said. “But growing up I didn’t want to do anything else.”

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Museum of Science and Industry celebrates Pi Day

By Shanley Chien

Pie lovers and math enthusiasts unite! The Museum of Science and Industry is celebrating Pi Day this Saturday by giving away a free slice of pie or pizza to the first 314 attendees to arrive.

“The [museum’s] food court will typically have three or four selections of toppings and we’ll have dessert pies like coconut cream,” said Beth Boston, communications manager at the museum.

Guests will receive a voucher at the ticket stand and can redeem them at the museum’s Brain Food Court on the lower level.

The mathematical constant pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and that approximate value is 3.141592653. As an irrational fraction, decimal representation is never-ending.

That’s why Pi Day is celebrated every March 14, and this year is particularly special because it marks the next two digits in the constant’s succession: 3.14.15. (If you’re especially enamored, don’t forget to set your alarms for 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m. so the date and time represent pi’s first 10 digits.)

Boston said attendees can complement their math-themed day by visiting the museum’s new permanent exhibit: “Numbers in Nature.” The exhibit explores numerical patterns that are seen in the natural world, such as the golden ratio in spirals, Voronoi diagrams in cracks, and fractals in snowflakes.

The highlight of the exhibit is its centerpiece “Mirror Maze,” which features an 1,800-square-foot hallway of mirrors. The maze is designed with repeating equilateral triangles and mirrored walls to give it the appearance of infinite hallways.

Children explore the Mirror Maze in the Museum of Science and Industry’s new 1,800-square-foot permanent exhibit. (Museum of Science and Industry)

“By showcasing that fascinating numerical patterns that are all around us, we hope that both kids and adults alike will become inspired to discover more about how math, as a part of the STEM fields, is a strong and important presence in our daily lives,” said Kurt Haunfelner, MSI’s vice president of exhibits and collections in a press release. Stem fields cover science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While some mathematicians, like University of Chicago math professor J. Peter May, plan on staying at home and proving theorems for Pi Day, others will take advantage of the homophonic pun and indulge their sweet and savory tooth.

“My family usually celebrates Pi Day by baking pies: pumpkin pie, apple pie, chicken potpie, etc. We typically invite some friends over or do a potluck type of thing,” said Dustin Belt, math lecturer at Northwestern University. “It is fun for the kids because they get to eat pie, and we talk about why on earth mommy and daddy are letting them eat so much dessert.”

But as much fun as it is to consume pie, Belt said it’s also important to take the day to appreciate the importance of math.

“We talk about the number pi, and that the day is also a fun way to remember about how math in general affects our lives in little and big ways everyday,” he said.

The Museum of Science and Industry is located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. and is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo at top: Pi Day Pie (Tarehna Wicker/Flickr)

WSJ columnist’s new book explains fashion, celebrity relationship

By Mallory Hughes

“This is the end of fashion!”

Teri Agins, veteran fashion columnist for The Wall Street Journal and author of two books about the business of fashion, said this in 1999 after Giorgio Armani produced the first collection of men’s suits without lining to make them more comfortable.

In October, roughly 16 years later, Agins, The Wall Street Journal’s first fashion reporter, published her latest book, “Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers” (Penguin Random House, $28). In it she explains how celebrities have simultaneously revolutionized and marginalized the art of style.

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Shakespeare troupes struggle to bring the Bard into Chicago classrooms

By Jessica Gable

Ever since Arin Mulvaney first performed Shakespeare with a high school troupe for elementary and middle school students, her dream has been to bring her beloved Bard and his work to younger children.

Today, she is the Artistic Director of Shakespeare All-Stars, a group of professional actors who travel around Chicago schools to present Shakespearean plays or scenes to a captive audience of students. They give about 15-18 performances a year.

“A lot of kids don’t have any experience with Shakespeare before high school,” Mulvaney said. “So for some people, especially elementary schoolers, they’ve never heard of this guy Shakespeare.”

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Lindblom to dedicate innovative classroom to legendary journalist

By Taylor Mullaney

When Ethel Payne was a student at Lindblom High School in West Englewood nearly a century ago, she published exactly one article for her school’s newspaper. But, according to biographer James McGrath Morris, Payne was never allowed on the newspaper’s staff.

As a black student during a time when Chicago was deeply segregated, Payne was prohibited from regularly writing articles for the student newspaper. Years later, Payne would become a pioneering journalist of the civil rights era. She reported for the Chicago Defender and earned a title as the “First Lady of the Black Press.”

Thursday evening, her alma mater, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, will dedicate its new journalism classroom to Payne, who attended the school from 1926 to 1930. The dedication is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Lindblom’s Keeler Hall, located at 6130 S. Wolcott Ave., followed by James McGrath Morris’ reading from his new biography about Payne at 6 p.m. Continue reading

Lawsuit against Lucas Museum to proceed

by Constantina Kokenes

U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah Thursday morning denied a motion by the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to dismiss a lawsuit against a proposal to locate the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Chicago’s Museum Campus.

“We felt that in the state court system, it might be less likely that the case would be determined because of the legal aspects.”

– Cassandra Frances, Friends of the Parks

“While we are disappointed that the court did not resolve the case today, we look forward to the next phase of the public process to determine the best way to make the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art a great new addition to Chicago’s Museum Campus,” the city of Chicago’s Law Department said in a statement.

Friends of the Parks filed the lawsuit against the city in November 2014 in federal court in order to avoid state courts, which the group considers more susceptible to political pressure.
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500,000 revelers expected downtown for the 60th St. Patrick’s Day parade

By Christine Smith

Dust off your greenest attire, lads and lassies. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once again.

With the holiday under a week away, Chicago prepares to go Irish for the day when it hosts its 60th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday. Continue reading

Wikipedians are Editing the Gender Gap

By Lucy Vernasco

If you walked by room 613 at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library on Saturday, you heard the sounds of furious typing and laughter as a diverse group of students and Chicago residents discussed feminism and the internet. Continue reading

Giving up the ghost: critics step into spotlight to stay relevant

By Karin Vandraiss

In January, Jonathan Gold of the LA Times became the latest restaurant critic to make headlines by revealing his long-protected persona to the public.

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