Arts & Culture

Facing the supernatural – fact or fable?

By Ramsen Shamon

When Minnie Wilson, 64, was a child growing up in Bassfield, Miss., she grew accustomed to seeing things she considered supernatural.

The retired factory worker who now lives in LaGrange usually kept quiet about her otherworldly experiences, fearful that no one would believe her.

Continue reading

Anti-Valentine’s cookies push the heart-shaped envelope

By Karin Vandraiss

Whether you’re a lover scorned or just looking for a laugh, Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park has the antidote to excessive amounts of Hallmark-induced Love Potion No. 9.

Eight years ago owner Peter Rios and his decorators were tired of making the traditional Valentine’s Day cookies. “We were just sick of the whole idea, of the overexposure of Valentine’s Day,” Rios said, “so we decided to have some fun with it.”

Continue reading

18th Chicago Bike Winter Art Show Opens Friday

By Shanley Chien

Bike and art lovers rejoice! The 18th Annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show opens Friday with a public reception at Genesis Art Supply.

Members of the Rat Patrol Bike Club, a pro-bike and anti-consumerism organization, uses recycled parts and scrap metal to hand-weld unique bikes.  The club showcases some of their offbeat creations that are guaranteed to entertain, such as their “tall bikes,” choppers, and the “can crusher,” an inventive mechanical apparatus composed of interconnected bike pieces that crushes cans as you pedal. Continue reading

Beating the beetle: Giving ash trees a second life

By Jasmine Sanborn

“Treecycling” is giving a second life to tens of millions of ash trees attacked by one small but powerful beetle.

Instead of chipping fallen ash trees into mulch or chopping them into firewood, groups such as the Illinois Wood Utilization team are promoting a practical approach – “even when you can’t save your tree, you can save its wood.” Continue reading

Netflix outage causes panic on Twitter

When Netflix users experienced outages Tuesday evening they turned to Twitter to make their own live stream drama.

Continue reading

Despite $10 million investment in arts education, experts say much work remains

By Taylor Mullaney and Phoebe Tollefson

When Jim Duignan began the Stockyard Institute in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in 1995, he realized that the arts could enable kids to actually solve problems in their own communities.

“We could really be building work based on the young people’s questions,” Duignan said. “And whether it was spoken word, or whether it was building a radio station, or whether it was public art or whether it was doing walks….They came alive. They just came alive.” Continue reading

VIDEO: Homeless LGBTQ youth find unique home in Humboldt Park

By Rachel White

A free independent housing facility in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood offers a safe haven for the city’s homeless LGBTQ youth. One resident describes his life in foster care and on the streets before he found a home at a place called El Rescate.

Continue reading

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

Jazz dance company makes history at Auditorium Theatre

By Megan Kramer

Giordano Dance Chicago performed their first full-length evening at the Auditorium Theatre Saturday, including the premiere of “Shirt Off My Back” by Ray Mercer as part of the theater’s new “Made in Chicago” series.

The performance was a huge milestone for artistic director Nan Giordano, whose father Gus Giordano formed GDC in Evanston in 1963.

“It is a very honored, exciting opportunity for our company,” Giordano said. “We have been on the Auditorium stage numerous times, but we’ve never had our own evening.”

Continue reading

Dance company focuses on family in debut performance

By Megan Kramer

DanceWorks Chicago made its debut in the Harris Theater’s 2014-2015 Exelon Family Series on Saturday, with a program that included the premiere of a piece titled “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours.”

If you missed the performance, you can catch DanceWorks’ next performance on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, 1147 W. Jackson. The Family Series, which opened in November with the children’s music band Dan Zanes and Friends, will wrap up its season with the Peking Acrobats Feb. 6-7. Continue reading