Kevin Harris, community relations director at the Marin Foundation, watched:
Stonewall Uprising by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
Since we just had the Pride Parade, I just watched this documentary on PBS’s website. It gives context to the parade and where it came from, and provides insights on the history of the Stonewall riots of 1969—when New York City cops arrested people for being LGBT. Watching the film, then going to the parade, provided some good reminders for me that things have changed quite a bit. The film celebrates being out and being able to be an individual. I thought it did a good job of providing interviews with people who had known what was going on at Stonewall. Other documentaries get into the fuller history more, but this one focused on one section of the history—the three nights that the riots lasted.
Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and other books, appreciated:
The work of artist Nick Cave
Cave’s the hometown genius who perfects his devotion to kinetic whimsy and sonic exhilaration by assembling gargantuan where-the-wild-things-are mountains of rattly found objects, fur, sticks, stones, and sometimes even textiles—within which he actually emplaces living, breathing human beings . . . who dance! I saw some of these monsters walking down the street in Hyde Park recently and asked one where the show was. He said I had just missed it, which was momentarily disappointing—until I realized I just got to have a conversation with a seven-foot-tall DayGlo blob of psychedelic fur. See Cave’s work for yourself at the Smart Museum of Art’s Go Figure show, on view in Hyde Park until September 4.
Marla Seidell, writer and actress who’s appearing in Obama’s Oval Office Live! at Greenhouse Theater Center, read:
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver
One story I particularly liked was “They’re Not Your Husband,” about a guy whose wife is a waitress in a 24-hour coffee shop. He visits her at work, and some guys make remarks about her hips being a little bit juicy. The husband gets really upset and tells her to lose weight. Then he goes to her work again, pretending he’s not her husband and asking the guys, “Doesn’t she look great?” But they’re not paying attention to her anymore—they’re looking at another woman, who’s got curves. At the end of the story the husband acts goofy, and another waitress asks the weight-losing waitress, “Who is that?” It’s about marriage, and how your spouse can be a stranger, in a way.
Benjamin Anaya, book fair coordinator at Girón Books, read:
Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood by Peter N. Pero
This book is not only a great collection of images—photography, vintage postcards, historic maps, facade designs, drawings, front covers of publications (among them, the Reader‘s “Who Killed Rudy Lozano?”)—it also includes treasured information all about Pilsen. It’s a graphically attractive, valuable document, with timely information about recent urban/demographic changes in this point of entry for immigrants—from the first settlers Marquette and Joliet, to the heritage left within its walls by Croatians, Slovenians, Germans, Lithuanians, Poles, Italians, Czechs, and, in the last years, Mexicans and other Latinos.
Chauncey Hollingsworth, who teaches digital media and game design at DePaul University, saw:
The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick
Can a two-hour art house movie about growing up in the suburbs connect with a 140-character attention span? Absent the hive mind of the Internet and nestled in a seat in the darkness of the Landmark, I watched this film the night it came out—mesmerized, face wet with tears. I didn’t spend my summers fighting transforming robots—my dad made me rake leaves. I learned the right way to pick a weed (be sure to get the roots). I wondered if God knew I existed, and if he cared about this fragile little place. Malick threaded my tiny life through a projector and showed me a universe. I’m still thinking about it.