Carrie Spitler, Neighborhood Writing Alliance executive director, is reading:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I’m about a third of the way through. The story is about this woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cells are being used by people who are studying cancer. The thing I love about it is that it tells this story of an individual who’s hidden behind this huge corporate business. All of us want cancer research to move ahead, but it’s being done without any recognition of who’s being studied, down to the cellular level. It’s a fascinating look at how it all started, and the impact on her family—who didn’t know for years that her cells were being used that way. Skloot’s coming to Chicago in May—I’m going to see her and really looking forward to it.
Kate Lorenz, Hyde Park Art Center executive director, went to see:
As You Like It at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
It was the first time I’ve ever seen a play at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. I went with an English teacher and Shakespeare buff. I believe it was the closing weekend, if not the final performance; I find that on the final weekend of a show, you can kind of tell that it’s coming to an end; for this performance, it felt like there was a bit of closure. The set was amazing—I was most impressed by the set design, which was spare but supplemented the performance and didn’t take away from it. And the acting, I thought, was really good. It’s a pretty lighthearted play, so it was an easy thing to see on a Friday night after a long week.
Elisa Ringholm, Latino Union development director, is reading:
At the Dark End of the Street by Danielle L. McGuire
We’re building a program specifically for domestic workers—house cleaners, nannies, and elderly care givers—and this book is really relevant to our work. Sexual violence affects many women, especially domestic workers, so understanding it is key to achieving economic, and gender justice. This book reframes the understanding of the civil rights movement and itbeing born out of the African-American community organizing to stop sexual violence. Removing the silence around sexual violence struck me. When we’re in school, we never study women’s resistance to it. It’s an honor to learn about that history and read the stories, though they are heart-wrenching.
Taryn Kaschock Russell, director of Hubbard Street Two, saw:
Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 3 at the Art Institute of Chicago
This installation looks almost like Lite Brite: Kallat has put a complete speech on the staircase using LED lights, and as you go up the stairs the speech travels on any path you take. It’s powerful. The first time I saw the installation, I was shocked—I didn’t expect to see an installation at all, and then for one to be on the grand staircase. . . . I’ve gone back to it multiple times, and also did an installation and public performance there; as I was working on that, I spent a lot of time looking at the stairs. It’s different during the day than at night, because in the daytime the natural light’s coming down. At night, the lights become much more apparent.
Zach Dodson, Featherproof Books copublisher and creative director, saw:
Winterbureau’s Neche Collection
I’m obsessed with Winterbureau’s newest screen-print project, the Neche Collection (nechecollection.com). Every day, Veronica Corzo-Duchardt posts an image of an object from the extensive collection of her grandfather, Neche Eugenio Hadad. From old electronics and legal documents to toy Smurfs, it’s a fascinating look at the ephemera of a life lived all over the world. Even better, each week Corzo-Duchardt creates a limited-run screen print inspired by the objects. My favorite is “NC No.1,” drawn from the View-Master carousel of her uncle Eugine’s wedding photos.