Pop punk travels the world

by Constantina Kokenes

Superheroes, pop art and plagiarism comprise the traveling 2014-2015 exhibition “Erró: American Comics” on display at Mana Contemporary Chicago on 2233 South Throop Street in Pilsen. The exhibition hails from Mana Contemporary’s New Jersey gallery in Jersey City, and the pieces were given to Mana Contemporary from Galerie Ernst Hilger, an art museum in Austria that features many of Erró’s works. Erró, an Icelandic artist, uses American comics, pop culture and pop art in his 11 works created between 1979 to 2009 to explore cultural and social contradictions. Continue reading

Feminists Ride the Next Wave

By Jessica Gable

A buzz of high-energy conversation enveloped participants in the Goodman Theatre’s Context event at Wicker Park’s Geek Bar Beta on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Specialty drinks of all colors and sizes were poured and French fries and the bar’s Awesome Sauce consumed with gusto. Faces of women, who mostly made up the crowd of several dozen, and men grew flushed with feeling as they geared up for an evening discussing the topic of the Goodman Theatre’s current show Rapture, Blister, Burn: feminism and its myriad incarnations.

“It was so deep and there were so many layers,” said Shannon Downey, self-proclaimed geek and one of the evening’s discussion leaders. “I walked out of there and I didn’t know what to do. I was like ‘I sort of want to cry. I sort of want to punch someone. I sort of want to skip down the street. I don’t know!’”

Downey and other panelists led discussions about specific topics assigned to individual tables. The topic at Downey’s table of five was Women in Technology, Gaming and Geekdom. Other topics were #feminism, The Male Gaze Through the LGBTQ Lens, and Women in Comedy. Each person sat at two different tables of their choice throughout the evening.

Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo introduces the audience to four women with very different views on feminism, views that shift as the play progresses. First, the audience meets Gwen and Catherine- best friends who lost touch after graduate school and reunite 20 years later. Gwen dropped out of school to make a family with the boyfriend Catherine left behind when she moved to London and became a feminist scholar. Then there’s Avery, Catherine’s twenty-something student who identifies with the more inclusive focus of Post-Third Wave feminism, and Alice, Catherine’s mother who grew up in an era when women were expected to be homemakers and dependent on men. As the women navigate the range of modern feminist ideology from Schlafly to Friedan, the audience can’t help but do the same.

“It is such a conversation provoker, such a thought provoker,” said 23-year-old Goodman Theatre intern Nikki Veit. “We interns at the Goodman sat down for an entire lunch period discussing, debating, articulating, analyzing this play. I haven’t seen a play recently that has had this much impact on my life.”

Veit, who identifies as gay, tried the Women in Comedy table and then transferred to the Male Gaze Through the LGBTQ Lens group. She argued vehemently that the play lacked relevance to modern feminists.

“Betty Friedan and Phyllis Schlafly…they’re so dated,” she said. “Right now, we’re talking about inclusivity. Like, different races, different sexualities, different gender spectrum. I think that’s the next step for feminism.”

Rebecca Kling, a transgender performance artist and educator, led the discussion at the Male Gaze table. She steered the conversation to topics not necessarily covered explicitly in the play. They included the power associated with men who ogle women and whether or not the gaze of gay men and women is or should be subject to the same scrutiny.

“With each subsequent wave of feminism there’s sort of been a fracturing,” Kling said, “but at the same time an expansion of who’s included.”

Feminism’s primary advocates are no longer predominantly middle class, educated young white women, said Kling. She encouraged the women at the table to welcome Post-Third Wave.

“We can’t be looking at just–in big air quotes–the idea of ‘womanhood’,” Kling said. “We have to be thinking about race and age and ethnicity and religion and economic status and all of those other things.”

The cast of Rapture, Blister, Burn discuss the modern views of feminism in a scene from the play. (Liz Lauren/Goodman Theatre)

Low gas prices offer spending, saving options for drivers in 2015

By Bethel Habte

With oil prices at historic lows, consumers could pad their pockets with money they’re saving at the pump. While many economists predicted stronger consumer spending in areas like retail with this gas windfall, drivers have other financial priorities in mind.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the average U.S. consumer will spend nearly $550 less on gas in 2015 than in 2014. Meanwhile, a U.S. Department of Commerce report released this month showed that personal income increased $41.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, in December and a total of 3.9 percent in 2014 compared with 2.0 percent in 2013.

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Injuries To Chicago Stars Dampen City’s Mood

By Bennet Hayes

Chicago’s winter got a little gloomier Wednesday.

Within the span of hours Tuesday night, news broke of injuries to both Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The ailments – a torn meniscus in the right knee for Rose and a left clavicle fracture for Kane – will sideline two of the city’s biggest sports stars for weeks and possibly months.

The Blackhawks and Bulls, each harboring legitimate championship aspirations, are now left to scramble. Kane underwent surgery Wednesday and will miss approximately 12 weeks, according to team doctors. Rose’s timetable for return is less certain, but it’s possible his 2014-15 season is over.

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