Arts Calendar, 10/15-10/21


An American Comedy in Black & White
As part of the 2009 Chicago Humanities Festival, the DuSable Museum of African American History examines the career of Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen, America’s first biracial comedy duo. Reid, whose career has traversed film, television, and the stage, has been a performing comedian for the past three decades. Dreesen, a Chicago native, met Reid in 1968 through a Jaycee chapter while working as an insurance salesman. Though they never achieved commercial success in their years together, their partnership has been rediscovered of late, and celebrated for its daring. Laughter is the theme of this year’s Humanities Festival, and Tim and Tom are worthy standard bearers. DuSable Museum of African American History. 740 E. 56th Pl. October 17. Saturday, 2pm. Free. (773)947-0600. (Elly Fishman)

Artist on Fire: The Films of Joyce Wieland
On Friday and Saturday, the University of Chicago Film Studies Center will host a retrospective of short films by Joyce Wieland. Renowned in her Canadian motherland but underconsidered in the U.S., Wieland’s work deals with issues of feminine identity and Canadian nationality. The program on Friday will include a number of shorts, most notably, “Water Sark” (1965), “Handtinting” (1968), and “Rat Life and Diet in North America” (1968). On Saturday, they will be screening “La Raison Avant La Passion,” a rarely-seen work of feature length. Film Studies Center, room 307, Cobb Hall, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. October 16-17. Friday and Saturday, 7pm. (773)702-8596. Free. (Ethan Bass)

Muntu Dance Theatre
The sounds of drums and stomping feet will bring the energy of Africa to the University of Chicago’s Mandel Hall as part of this weekend’s kickoff for the Chicago Humanities Festival. The Muntu Dance Theatre will perform their classic “Evening Time,” a dance about the work and brotherhood of West Indian slavery, and a new piece uniting West African and contemporary dance. The troupe performs both traditional African and African-American dances and creates its own pieces by combining regional movements with modern styles. Offstage, they offer classes to community members. Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St. October 17. Saturday, 6pm. $10, educators and students free. (Megan Frestedt)

eta Creative Arts, Chicago’s premiere Afrocentric theatre, presents a work by Daniel Beaty, creator of the one-man play “Emergence-SEE!”, which recently finished a sold-out extended run off-Broadway. The center of “Resurrection” is a 10-year-old boy who affects the lives of five men: the owner of a health food store in the projects, the bishop of a megachurch, a music executive, a graduating high school senior, and an ex-con. Director Cheryl Lynn Bruce won multiple awards for her direction of Congo Square Theatre’s 2001 production of “From the Mississippi Delta.” eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Through November 15. Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm and 7pm. (Sam Feldman)


FluiD, ONO and Black Monks of Mississippi
Self-proclaimed “sound sculptor” FluiD, tenured Chicago NOISE! artists ONO, and Black Monks of Mississipi gather at the South Side Community Art Center for a performance in conjunction with “The Demise of the South Side Community Art Center,” an exhibit that serves to simultaneously subvert and celebrate the SSCAC’s history as a South Side institution. FluiD, a multi-instrumentalist whose philosophy centers on the abstract structuring of sound, will join the monochromatically plaited and braided musician-artist travis before the ONO ship pursues their own chaos-driven narrative with travis at the helm. The Black Monks of Mississippi, headed by Chicago artist Theaster Gates, round out the evening with their performance and music-based pairing of Eastern mysticism and Southern Baptism. South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. October 16. Friday, 6pm. (773)373-1026. (Deborah Peña)

What do ‘Schnozzage’ and ‘Floof’ have in common? Not only are they sounds you should avoid in polite conversation, but they are also two contemporary piano works being performed when this year’s Chicago Humanities Festival shows its lighter side. Pianist and famed interpreter of modern composers Amy Briggs, new music ensemble Contempo and Chicago Civic Orchestra conductor Cliff Colnot put professional backbone behind a show that’s sure to make you ask why you never combined high art and high amusement before. Fulton Recital Hall, 1010 E. 59th St. October 17. Saturday, 4:30—5:30 pm. $10, free for students and educators. (Ellen Harris)

Dyed in the Wool with Mississippi Flanagan
Beverly’s World Music Company is a forum for Chicago artists with ties far beyond the Midwest and for musicians looking to integrate distant traditions into their playing. The latest event in its concert series is a performance by two local groups that mix both American and Celtic roots into their folk music. Featuring World Music Company Director and guitarist John Devens, flautist Julia Dusek-Devens, rhythm and blues guitarist Jim White, and multifaceted singer Meghan McKown, “Dyed in the Wool” is a microcosm of the venue’s status as the meeting point of many roads. Irish folk group Missisippi Flanagan also performs. World Music Company, 1808 W. 103rd St. October 17. Saturday, 8pm. (773)779-7059. $20. (Brandon Hopkins)


Disco Demolition 30th Anniversary
July 12, 2009 was the 30th anniversary of Disco Demolition at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, and this welcome, if belated exhibition displays photographs by Diane Alexander White from the day that disco died. Initially a promotional event–DJ Steve Dahl publicized that tickets for the White Sox and Detroit Tigers doubleheader would be 98 cents and an old disco record–quickly became a mass riot, when the records, as promised, were burned with explosives in the middle of the field before the game. The 34 photographs serve as evidence of this mysterious and confusing event, which was an “emblematic moment” in the decline of disco, according to Rolling Stone’s 1986 book, “Rock of Ages.” Beverly Arts Center, 2417 W. 111th St. Through October 25. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, noon-6pm. (773)445-3838. (Sarah Pickering)

Colson’s Truck Group
Beverly Arts Center plays host to an exhibition of ten infamous artists from Chicago, all talented creators who, for one reason or another, have been repeatedly rejected by the city’s premier galleries. In spite of this setback, these artists continue to produce interesting and engaging art. Artists include Rick Therrio, Peter Barnes, John Colson, Jim Pizzillo, Sandra Leonard, Pat McDonald, Joe Crosetto and Chris Tedin. Incorporating a wide range of styles and materials, the show is thematically a “diverse cohesion,” according to its curator and participating artist Carla Winterbottom. In spite of their distinctions, the pieces manage to complement each other. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Through October 28. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 10am-4pm; Sunday, noon-8pm. (773)445-3838. Free. (Leah Reisman)

South of No North: 3 Artists of Conscience
The exhibit is part of Chicago Artists Month, which showcases local artists that exemplify the diversity of the city and its art community. Victor A. Lopez creates beautiful and expressive abstract paintings, which, for all their organic complexity, maintain a structure through layers and layers of color. Erik DeBat’s high-energy work is visibly influenced by pop art, and while it ranges from representational to abstract, it is all very much grounded in popular culture. Jeff “Kingdom” Kilpatrick uses hand-made stencils to paint the people and buildings that populate our society. A mixture of locals and celebrities, his subjects are like those of an alternate universe comprised solely of light and shadow. Beverly Arts Center, 2417 W. 111th St. Through October 28. Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, noon-6pm. (773)445-3838. (Sarah Pickering)

New Collages by Jack Girard and Recent Paintings by Lawrence Tarpey
Jack Girard and Lawrence Tarpey are both from Lexington, Kentucky, but their work addresses the human condition from very different approaches. For Girard, collage “suits the fragmented design of (his) days,” and as the photo-real mixes with dreamlike blocks of color, the viewer gets the impression of looking into the artist’s, or perhaps even his or her own, subconscious. Tarpey describes his process as “somewhat obsessive.” Like the love child of Cubism and Surrealism, his patchwork creations are achieved through a combination of oil and pencil on gessoboard. The paintings are not without humor, but a muted color palate and restrained composition hints at graver undertones. Logsdon 1909, 1909 S. Halsted St. Through November 7. Saturday, noon-5pm and by appointment. (312)666-8966. (Sarah Pickering)

Artist Makeba Kedem-DuBose was raised in a public housing project on the West Side of Chicago. She calls her family and friends from that area her “tribe.” Having cultivated an appreciation of art from a Jesuit priest, the artist developed her own style. Blending African ancestral traditions with her Judeo-Mystic religion, she strives to let her work reach out to viewers and pull them in. The pieces are bright and uplifting, and range from the abstract to hyper-stylized representations. eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. Chicago Ave. Through November 15. Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. (773)752-3955. (Sarah Pickering)

This group show features the video work of 18 artists from around the world presenting their view of Shanghai. Each artist spent time in China, observing and absorbing the culture firsthand. The pace at which the city is growing and changing makes it a suitable subject for this particular medium; all videos will be on display in HPAC’s Black Box Gallery. Some pieces choose to contrast older notions of a “mystical orient” with more modern representations of globalization. Very much an exhibit of our generation, this show celebrates the growth of this global city, while simultaneously questioning its sustainability. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through December 13. Monday-Thursday, 10am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. (Sarah Pickering)

Polonia and Other Fables
Allan Sekula’s “Polonia and Other Fables” is an endeavor in documentary photography aimed at exposing the “social impact of global economics” in Chicago, according to the curatorial statement. His images focus mainly on Chicago’s labor community and large Polish immigrant population. The exhibition is complemented by samples of Sekula’s writings, which are as essential to his art as his photographic pursuits. As is characteristic of Sekula’s work, the exhibition is critical of the medium of photography while being decidedly photojournalistic. For this story, at least, Sekula can rely on his images to do the telling. Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave. Through December 13. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)702-8670. Free. (Leah Reisman)

Freidhard Kiekeben’s digital wall frieze “Loop” is a new site-specific installation at the Hyde Park Art Center. Printed on ninety feet of vinyl panels, the images swirl and contort to create intricate patterns. A related collection of nontoxic etchings by Kiekeben hangs on the opposite wall, offering even more oscillating visuals. While the art depends on simple patterns, the extensive repetition yields a massive and complex work. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through January 10. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. Free. (Sarah Pickering)

The cities and small towns of the Midwest have never been a part of the mainstream art world, last breaking through with the unsentimental, deceptively folksy murals of Thomas Hart Benton. The Smart’s “Heartland” presents contemporary art from this geographic center and cultural periphery, featuring videos, photography, drawings, and site-specific installations made by artists from Kansas City to Detroit. Some works reference the expected imagery of the Midwest, whether real or stereotyped, such as Greely Myatt’s installation of a lawnmower with plant roots, while others treat less-localized personal and societal issues with a refreshing lack of New York-style narcissism. Originally shown at a museum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to explain the culture of a people who elected Obama, this examination of familiar territory may yield surprises. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Through January 17, 2010. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10am-4pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. (773)702-0200. (Helenmary Sheridan)

Joanne Trestrail: Piecework
Joanne Trestrail, an alumna of the Hyde Park Art Center’s ceramics classes, brings to the gallery a unique take on form. From a distance her pieces look like rocks, but upon closer inspection, they turn out to be crescendoing multilayered works. These are not stones to dismiss easily. Trestrail’s focus on the fundamental building blocks creates pieces that grow organically, recalling the stratigraphical storytelling of geology. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through January 17. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. (773)324-5520. Free. (Tizziana Baldenebro)