Tag Archives: art

Musical celebrating Chicago’s black cultural history to debut at the Chicago Theater

By Marisa Endicott

For one night this Saturday, Bronzeville is taking over the Chicago Theater. “Bronzeville The Musical” tells the story of the Great Migration, the exodus of African-Americans from southern states to northern cities during the greater part of the 20th century.

The musical, an original production by the Chicago-based Mahdi Theatre Company, celebrates the arrival of African-American communities in Chicago as they faced continued discrimination in the North.

Ten years ago, Margaret Mahdi, the musical’s writer and director, discovered that Chicago had a renaissance that was second only to Harlem’s. Bronzeville, originally dubbed the Black Metropolis, was the thriving commercial and cultural center of black Chicago.
Continue reading

Englewood comeback proves ingenuity is homegrown

By Rebekah Frumkin

With Englewood set to welcome a Whole Foods on 63rd and Halsted and an adjacent Starbucks this year, the South Side neighborhood is battling stereotypes that it’s an unlikely choice for expansion.

“It was almost a national joke, Whole Foods coming into Englewood,” says Jim Harbin, program director at the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation. “That really stunned some people, initially.”

Continue reading

Comedy troupe “Stir Friday Night” delivers laughs, with a side of Asian-American humor

By Jenny G. Zhang

“Don’t fall asleep with the fan on!” a mother tells her son as she bids him good night, citing a Korean wives’ tale that sleeping with the fan on will result in death. Scoffing, the son ignores the warning and nods off. In the darkness, the fan swivels to a halt and a shadowy figure emerges, standing menacingly over the slumbering man.

Looks like “fan death” isn’t just a kooky urban legend, after all.

The sketch, which features Nic Park, Ray Hui and Loreen Targos, is characteristic of Chicago comedy troupe Stir Friday Night’s unique brand of humor: a blend of Asian-American and universal truths that speak to multiple audiences.

Continue reading

Chicago festival celebrates hip-hop arts’ positive impact

By Marisa Endicott

Some might claim that “hip-hop is dead,” but the 7th Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip Hop Arts this Saturday suggested otherwise.

“If you go to the spaces, if you go to the open mics, it is alive and well,” said Damon Williams, a performer and activist emceeing for the event. “Hip-hop is a culture that is inherent in people’s spirits.”

Nonprofit Young Chicago Authors and public radio stations WBEZ and Vocalo hosted the all-day showcase that took place at the Metro concert hall in Wrigleyville. The festivities culminated in a mixtape release concert featuring young up-and-coming spoken word poets, singers and rappers from Louder than a Bomb, a Chicago youth poetry festival.
Continue reading

An art piece is worth “34,000 Pillows”

By Vishakha Darbha

Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera watched over the makeshift sewing studio at Soul Asylum, an art exhibition focusing on immigrant stories of struggle.

Perera is one half of an artist duo, with Cara Megan Lewis. Together, they call themselves Diaz Lewis. At Soul Asylum, their interactive artwork is titled “34,000 Pillows,” inspired by the 2007 congressional mandate that states that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) must maintain a quota of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in 250 centers around the country. “34,000 Pillows” is an on-going project, made by old clothes often donated by former detainees. The studio at Soul Asylum also allows visitors to contribute to the pillow-making process.

The exhibition opened on January 22 and will continue until March 26. It is being held at Weinberg/Newton gallery, previously known as David Weinberg Photography, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch. Other artists in the exhibit include The Albany Park Theatre Project, Jenny Polak and Tania Bruguera.

Artist Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, in collaboration with Cara Megan Lewis, explains the inspiration behind his interactive artwork “34,000 Pillows” (Vishakha Darbha/MEDILL)
Photo on Top: Artist Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera stitches a pillow, part of his on-going project “34,000 Pillows.” (Vishakha Darbha/MEDILL)