Lori B. Andrews, “the bioethicist” in last week’s People Issue, was pleasantly surprised by:

threewalls’ Community-Supported Art Mitch Albom has Tuesdays With Morrie, but I have Thursdays with the Chicago Reader. The Reader is like a friend who drags you to a party you expect to despise (Flying Elvises?), at which you meet the love of your life. Where else would I have learned of “Gum Blondes,” an exhibit of portraits of famous blonds in chewed colored gum? My top 2011 culture experience was Threewalls’ community-supported art. A riff on community gardens, people paid in advance to receive 12 pieces of art (instead of fruits and vegetables). Risky, like letting someone else pick out your tattoo, since you had no control over which sculptures, collages, prints, or photos you received. But they were all great, and when I saw Eric Fleischauer’s digital photo in which the iconic Hollywood sign was replaced by one that said YouTube, it was love at first sight.

Christy LeMaster, “the indie film maven” in last week’s People Issue, totally digs:

Credit: Joe Riina Ferrei

Manual Cinema Manual Cinema is one of my favorite projects of the last year. They are a collaborative group of puppeteers, graphic artists, and musicians who build engrossing, cinematic, live animation performances. They use a clever combination of shadow puppets and overhead projectors to create the visual landscape and accompany it by playing a live score mixed with prerecorded sound and Foley effects. It’s easy to like Manual Cinema; their world is an inventive and beautiful mix of mediums for sure, but what gets me as a film geek is how they also manage to recontextualize cinematic conventions in the process. The editing and framing are performed manually which gives it the feel of a predigital cinema. And the live performance aspect breathes a compelling immediacy into our usual experience of the ubiquitous 2-D screen. Their works completely reenchant me with the moving image. I am really looking forward to their upcoming project FJORDS, a collaboration with the Chicago Q Ensemble based on the poetry of Zachary Schomburg set to run at the Poetry Foundation in February.

Jamil Khoury, “the theater activist” in last week’s People Issue, is captivated by:

Boss Is Chicago city government as treacherous as it appears in the Starz hit series Boss? I sure hope not. I’m also going to assume that Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) and his wife Meredith (Connie Nielsen) are not stand-ins for former mayor Richard M. Daley and his late wife Maggie (as online chatter speculates). But hey, when have Chicago and Illinois politics ever been portrayed as immaculate? Boss is simply upping the stakes (I pray!), and brilliantly so. As a proud Chicagoan, I can’t get enough of this show! Sex, violence, corruption, plot twists galore. Boss creator and executive producer Farhad Safinia captures the zeitgeist of our toddling town with a vengeance, and he does so making generous use of Chicago actors and locales. We may not come off looking squeaky clean, Chicago, but as Boss attests, we sure are fascinating to watch!