An Honest Living

This documentary profiles four Chicagoans—a painter, a musician, a burlesque dancer, and a martial arts teacher—who’ve pursued their respective interests for years while holding down day jobs. Director Jordan Freese seems unconcerned with whether his subjects are talented; his point is that they’re industrious, thoughtful, and well-rounded, the sort of people you’d want to share a city with. Freese also raises some fundamental questions about art: Is it more important to satisfy oneself or to communicate with a large audience? Do artists express themselves more freely when they needn’t worry about making money or winning wide acclaim? The movie offers no conclusive answers, but it paints a rich, good-humored picture of the creative life.