Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

no room for pride


Art from Immig-Art,  anonymously contributed immigration experiences as a group art project.  Immig-Art was founded by my friend, Kabuika Kamunga, a Congolese filmmaker and journalist based in Chicago.


Alvin Ailey American Dance: back in chicago


the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is back in Chicago (at the gorgeous Auditorium Theatre). Those loyal darkjive readers among you, I warned you weeks ago that it was time to save up….

highlights of this year’s program include:

Night Creature – One of Ailey’s most classically choreographed ballets juxtaposed within Ellington’s jazz idiom – the dance capitvates with Ailey’s sexy nocturnal rituals that propel the movement into a fast paced climatic catharsis. (I really enjoyed this, and look forward to seeing it one mo’ gin)

Revelations – This enduring classic is a tribute to African American heritage and to Ailey’s genius. Using African-American religous music – spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues – this suite fervently explores the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. (the classic Pièce de résistance of not only the Company, but of Judith Jamison, as well.  Must See.)

Suite Otis – Otis Redding’s sassy, sizzling music sets the stage for George Faison’s playful battle of the sexes. The yearning sensuality of such timeless songs as “Satisfaction,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and other favorites bursts through this sexy, charming and witty suite. George W. Faison danced with the AAADT from 1967 through 1970. He was the first African American choreographer to win a Tony Award for his choreography in The Wiz (1975). In the early 1970’s, he created two modern American dance classics, Suite Otis and Slaves for the George Faison Universal Dance Experience. (I’m excited to see this one.  “The Wiz”??  Are you kidding me?)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

50th Anniversary Celebration

Dates: April 1 – 5, 2009
Times: Wed – Fri at 7:30 p.m, Sat at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m, Sun at 3 p.m.
Price: $82, $69, $59, $45, $30
Thurs 4/2 7:30pm                                   ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS (includes REVELATIONS)
Fri 4/3 7:30pm                                         FESTA BAROCCA** / TREADING, REVELATIONS
Sat 4/4 matinee 2:00pm                       BLUES SUITE* / SUITE OTIS / REVELATIONS
Sat 4/4 evening  8:00pm                       FESTA BAROCCA** / TREADING, REVELATIONS
Sun 4/5 matinee 3:00pm                       NIGHT CREATURE, UNFOLD / SUITE OTIS / REVELATIONS

*  New Production
**  Chicago Premiere

Portraits of Black Chicago: Cool Off

black_youngstersBlack youngsters cool off with fire hydrant water on Chicago’s South Side in the Woodlawn community… June 1973

“…The kids don’t go to the city beaches and use the fire hydrants to cool off instead. It’s a tradition in the community, comprised of very low income people. The area has high crime and fire records. From 1960 to 1970 the percentage of Chicago blacks with income of $7,000 or more jumped from 26% to 58%.”*  caption by John H. White.

* according to Paul Louis Street’s Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis, the median income for Blacks in Chicago in 2000 was “more than $6,000 less than the Economic Policy Institute’s “basic family budget”…for even a small family of one parent and two children ($35,307).  On the flip of this, the median white income in the city was $11,000 more than the that basic family budget.

from the National Archives website:

From June through October 1973 and briefly during the spring of 1974, John H. White, a 28-year-old photographer with the Chicago Daily News, worked for the federal government photographing Chicago, especially the city’s African American community. As White reflected recently, he saw his assignment as “an opportunity to capture a slice of life, to capture history.”

Today, John White is a staff photographer with the Chicago Sun-Times. He has won hundreds of awards, and his work has been exhibited and published widely. In 1982 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

I am a big fan of John H. White’s photography.  He has that magic ability to tell a whole story with one frame.  click here for his website

taken from the National Archives and Records Administration Website

Matériel Magazine and Pr Launch Party in Bridgeport


from the local folks who bring us the mags Lumpen and Proximity…….

Matériel Magazine and Pr Launch Party and fundraiser for Version Festival

Please come and help us raise funds to pay for Version>09 Immodest Proposals. We will be giving to everyone who attends a complementary copy of our new publishing projects, Matériel and the new Pr poster/newsletter.

We will be hosting an evening of performances and displaying pages from Matériel on the gallery walls. Musical performances by Casual Encounter , Caw! Caw! (not cawcaw) and a few secret super special guest stars.
Pr is Proximity’s in-between issues newsletter and art poster featuring articles interviews reviews a calendar and art work.

Matériel is an oversized broadside newsprint publication that’s a collection of the best/brightest designers/illustrators/photographers work we can find – creating a showcase for their submitted work.”

Friday, March 21, 2009, 8pm
Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219 S Morgan St

$10 Suggested Donation.

for more on Proximity, click here

for more on Version Fest, click here


Exita el Exceso… an art exhibition in Bridgeport

evita-postcard-frontOpening Reception: Saturday, March 7 | 7pm-12am
2nd Friday Viewing: Friday, March 13 | 6pm-10pm

The Chicago Art Department is proud to present “Evita el Exceso”, new works by Tripa Co.

In the second coming of Tripa Colectivo, Mike Wilgus joins the experimental artist group in their continued exploration of culture and gender issues embedded in the mundane. This collective, co-founded by Jova Durán and Abraham Velázquez Tello in 2007, seeks to create support and representation for Latino and Chicago artists alike. Tripa’s mission has been greatly aided by the Chicago Art Department, for which Velázquez is now a resident artist.

“Evita el Exceso”warns of the dangers of obsessive consumption. Information and object overload is deforming personal identity and violating the space of interaction between human beings. Relationships are mediated by materialism rather than being born out of real connections. The public space is controlled by rhetoric not reality. We are the overload. We are what we consume. We are the excess. Beware.

Jova “el grafista” Durán (b. 1984, Chicago) engages in painting on everyday life surfaces, many of which are assembled from salvaged materials. His work manifests itself as a reaction to alienation from the creative act in a culture that outsources the majority of its material production.

Abraham Velázquez Tello (b. 1985, Mexico City) experiments with a variety of media that allows him to investigate gender issues within the Latino community. His curiosity for seldom explored places continues with a new series of photographs from Mexico City in which he documents a new interpretation of old ruins.

Mike Wilgus (b. 1984 St. Louis) uses media that ranges from more traditional watercolors to contemporary sharpies and spray paint. He creates work that revolves around his obsession with culture, religion, consumerism, and the intersection of these phenomena.

The Chicago Art Department
1837 South Halsted
Chicago, IL 60608


Freedom of Speech and Movement Acts


Presented in conjunction with Saudade… Freedom of Speech and Movement: a dance workshop at Hull-House Museum:

Freedom of Speech and Movement Acts Movement Workshop with Taisha Pagget of the David Roussève/REALITY dance company

Thursday, March 12, 12-1:30 p.m.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted Ave.

This workshop is free and open to the public- dancers and non-dancers alike.

The dance studio is a social space, where the problems of movement and choreography bring up problems of authority, hierarchy, participation and decision-making. This movement workshop will take up these questions, offering tools and exercises that develop creative freedom in our bodies, as both dancers and citizens acting within larger collective structures.

Jane Adams Hull-House Museum Art & Democracy Series
For more information or to RSVP: 312.413.5353 (Jane Adams Hull-House Museum)

Bittersweet REALITY at Columbia College


from the Columbia College website:

March 12, 13 & 14 at 8:00 p.m., The Dance Center of Columbia College presents “shattering dance/theater”(The New York Times). Named after a Portugese expression, Saudade is an ode to the idea of “bittersweet,” the single moment when the greatest joy and agony are experienced together. Set to Portugese Fado music and grounded in folklore, historical fact and personal experience, Saudade is a mosaic of character monologues, mixing world dance with stories of disenfranchised southern African Americans in a deeply personal statement about modern times. With equal parts wild humor and grit, Saudade is performed by Roussève and a distinguished cast of six dancers [known as REALITY], including practitioners of South Asian, Indonesian, West African and postmodern dance forms.



While “Saudade” means “bittersweet longing for what has gone”, “Chega de Saudade” (alternately), is roughly translated to mean “No More Blues”.  “Chega de Saudade” is also a Brasilian popular song performed by João Gilberto (below).

Vai minha tristeza
E diz a ela
Que sem ela não pode ser
Diz-lhe numa prece
Que ela regresse
Porque eu não posso mais sofrer


“Go on, my sadness
And tell her
That without her it cannot be
Tell her in a prayer
To come back to me
Because I cannot suffer anymore”

Blue Sky Black Monk

black-monksA convergence of African-American and Japanese cultures and sounds is happening tonight on the South Side of Chicago….

from the Experimental Station’s website:

Please join the Experimental Station, Columbia College, and Theaster Gates in presenting “Blue Sky Black Monk,” Japan’s Sennichimae Blue Sky Dance Club and Chicago’s Black Monks of Mississippi.

During the last three months, Sennichimae and the Black Monks have used the Internet as a means of exchanging musical and body movements inspired by their cultural and artistic roots. The Sennichimae Blue Sky Dance Club, an all-female butoh-influenced Japanese company, is devoted to uncovering original physical expression with a pop sensibility. The Black Monks of Mississippi is a music and performance ensemble interesed in the relationship between black music, eastern philosophy and ritual aesthetics. In Chicago, the two will meet for the first time at the Experimental Station for “Blue Sky Black Monk,” a raw and extraordinary multicultural collaboration of body and sound. The event begins at 6:30pm and is FREE and open to the public.

The Experimental Station is located at:

6100 S. Blackstone Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637

Just one Look: the photography of Donnie Seals, Jr.


Eric (1996)

by Donnie Seals, Jr., a local photographer and friend, who has now made his way to Nevada.  For more of his work, click here.

New (Hip-Hop) America at the MCA


Coming this Saturday, a conversation about how hip-hop is influencing media and culture on every level, and whether that’s always a good thing…

New America: Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Jeff Chang in conversation

Saturday, February 28, 2009, 2 pm

MCA Theater
$10, $8 members, $6 students
$6 with performance ticket for the break/s – the break/s ticket-holders must reserve tickets in advance for the talk.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, leading poet and performer, and renowned writer Jeff Chang, come together for a public conversation about their own creative trajectories and the power of hip-hop to reshape the American and global cultural landscape at this historic moment in US politics. Drawing from their own experiences working for change through youth and community organizing, media justice, culture, the arts, and hip-hop activism, they discuss how a new understanding of American culture is both possible and necessary. Stephanie Shonekan, Black World Studies Director at Columbia College, facilitates this dialogue.

The MCA is presenting Bamuthi’s multimedia performance the break/s: a mixtape for the stage from March 26-28, 2009. This highly personal multimedia excursion across planet hip-hop draws inspiration from Bamuthi’s artistic coming-of-age at the time of hip-hop globalization, and from Chang’s seminal book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2643

Box Office Telephone: 312.397.4010