September 2021: Transformations (Fall Arts Preview)

September 2021: Transformations (Fall Arts Preview)

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The Conversation

Dawn Turner discusses “Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood”

"It’s often through stories about others—gods and monsters, parents and siblings, friends and lovers—that we better understand ourselves. In award-winning journalist and novelist Dawn Turner’s memoir, 'Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Unique American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood,' Turner locates herself by way of a triumvirate sisterhood and the historic and culturally rich neighborhood where they came of age. 'Three Girls from Bronzeville' is a gorgeously moving memoir, at once universal and spectacularly singular—about racism and inequity, friends and family, heartache and second chances." (Amy Danzer)


Resisting Marginalization

Jeffrey Gibson reconsiders the cultural representation of indigenous people

"'Sweet Bitter Love' at the Newberry Library is an exhibition of new mixed media work by Jeffrey Gibson, whose core theme is how Native Americans have been brought into and represented within cultural institutions. Gibson, a multidisciplinary artist and craftsperson, created new works in response to famous ethnographic portraits of Native Americans painted by Elbridge Ayer Burbank that, at the turn into the twentieth century, were influential in characterizing Native American peoples to the broader American public." (Nancy Chen)


Transformations/Fall Arts Preview 2021

The Question of Audience

Myriam Ben Salah Brings Global Focus to the Renaissance Society
"Also under consideration were the widespread demands for institutions to have greater transparency and equity, questions that Ben Salah has long been interested in. Born in Algeria and of Tunisian descent, Ben Salah’s curatorial work has often sought to challenge the narrowness in Western art regarding the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia regions, which frequently concern “serious” issues and narratives of struggle." (Kerry Cardoza)

Cultivating Community

Red Clay Plants a Seed in Woodlawn

"The original seed for Red Clay Dance Company was planted in the mind of Vershawn Sanders-Ward in Senegal, during a three-month training at École des Sables, Germaine Acogny’s celebrated school for traditional and contemporary African dance located in the small fishing village of Toubab Dialao. 'She still has her school going, which is amazing to me because resources are so limited,' Sanders-Ward says between hugs and photos at the grand opening of Red Clay’s studio in Woodlawn. 'Just seeing that impact, both culturally and economically. Everyone knows Dakar... No one knows Dialao. But artists come to her school from literally everywhere in the world, from Australia to Japan.'" (Sharon Hoyer)

Decision Making 101

University of Chicago's Booth School Opens Mindworks As A Downtown Place to Learn about How and Why

"The whatever-kind-of place-it-is space is devoted to introducing the public to the insights and methods of Behavioral Science, the field that combines academic economics with psychology and other social sciences to dig deep into how and why we humans make our decisions. Behavioral science also plumbs for insights into cognition more generally, into what makes people happy, and—this is the Booth School after all—why people make the financial choices they do and how to encourage them to make better ones." (Ted C. Fishman)

After Blackbird

Restaurateur Donnie Madia says “We Are In a Different World”
"During the past two years, there were moments when each of us felt gobsmacked by the realization that the pandemic was going to change our lives. For some, it might have been the moment we learned of a friend or family member taken ill, or when our employer said we wouldn’t be needed in the office until further notice. For me, it was when I heard that Blackbird was closing. Blackbird was at the forefront of the Chicago restaurants that started people talking about our city as a culinary destination." (David Hammond)

The Show Must Go On

Rebecca Fons Brings A Lifelong Love of Cinema to the Gene Siskel Film Center

"I've always been somebody who likes the holistic world of film exhibition. The programming is what brought me to the role and my first love of the movies. But I really, really love all the detail around that moment when an audience is in a theater with the film. It is everything, from what kind of popcorn oil do you use? So many places, people say, 'I love going to wherever, but the popcorn sucks!' That becomes part of the anthropological experience of going to the movies." (Ray Pride)

A Boone for Poetry

In Conversation with the Foundation's new president
"Even the statement of, 'to elevate the best.' Who defines the best? What does that mean? How do we get out of the position of trying to frame the foundation or the magazine as the kingmaker? We know, because of the legacy of the magazine, there’s a lot of prestige, whether real, perceived, or legit, of getting your work published in the magazine. Okay, but who decides that?" (Brian Hieggelke)


Maestro Metamorphosis

How Lyric Opera Transitioned to Enrique Mazzola, its First New Music Director in Twenty Years
 "'The first time I heard Enrique conduct was at Glyndebourne in 2013,' Freud recalls, 'and it was a performance of "Don Pasquale." I remember that performance very vividly and how much of an impact it made on me. Most of the performances at Glyndebourne are by the London Philharmonic, a really superb symphony orchestra, but I can imagine that for symphony orchestras to play Donizetti is not necessarily something that would light their fire. But I have to say, the way that they played the score with scrupulous attention to detail and a buoyant lightness and a real rigor and focus, made me realize that it actually was Enrique who had inspired that enthusiasm for a piece that I can imagine most symphony orchestras would not approach playing with enormous enthusiasm."" (Dennis Polkow)

Collision Course

Steppenwolf Emerges from the Pandemic with New Leadership and a New Theater
"'During Martha's time,' Flanagan says, 'she was envisioning a campus that would be a public square, where audiences can come and be in discourse around shows. When Anna came in, the ensemble met with leadership and the board, and evolved that a little bit further, this idea of collision. A space where artists, audiences, teams and staff could all be creating and convening together.'" (Brian Hieggelke)

Plus eight sets of can't-miss fall events
+ Print exclusive:
A "mood board" of home office furniture and accessories from local designers and boutiques. 


Arts & Culture

Art: Monaco provides space for connections and community in St. Louis

Dance: Films.Dance comes to a very big screen

Design: A conversation with curator Iker Gil about Exhibit Columbus

Dining & Drinking: Jenner Tomaska and Katrina Bravo launch Esmé, a creative collaboration between chefs and artists

Film: Triumph of the bean counters

Lit: Sandra Cisneros discusses "Martita, I Remember You"

Music: Ear Taxi Festival’s ambitious return

Stage: City Lit's "Thirteen Days" gender-swaps the Cuban Missile Crisis



A selection of recent critical considerations


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