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Leslie Zemeckis’s Goddess of Love Incarnate tells of how Lili St. Cyr made stripping classy

Back in the 1940s, burlesque was considered a shabby, second-rate, and mildly sleazy form of entertainment. Then Lili St. Cyr took the stage. “Lili,” writes Leslie Zemeckis in her new biography Goddess of Love Incarnate, “revolutionized stripping and redefined what a stripper could be. Lili’s audience held their breaths, mesmerized by her queenly carriage. . […]

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Art Shay ‘Troublemakers’

The title of Art Shay’s new photo exhibit, “Troublemakers,” was deliberately chosen to play with audience expectations, says Erik Gellman, the Roosevelt University history professor who curated it. Visitors may come in expecting to see images of hooligans. Instead they’ll find photos of scenes from the freedom movements of the 1950s and ’60s as they […]

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The first Chicago Architecture Biennial brings the world to the lakefront and environs

Under a canopy of trees in Portugal’s Quinta Da Conceiçao Park, Belgian architects Jan De Vylder, Inge Vinck, and Jo Taillieu spent hours entranced by youngsters hitting tennis balls against the bright coral walls of Fernando Távora’s modernist pavilion. Arrested by how the simple game transformed the strict horizontal planes of pink concrete, they contemplated […]

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The silent half of Penn & Teller adds some magic to Shakespeare’s Tempest

Commonly interpreted as Shakespeare’s farewell to theater, The Tempest is the tale of a magician performing his final and greatest feat. Prospero plans to use skills acquired over a lifetime to put his wrecked world back together. When that’s accomplished, he promises, “I’ll break my staff, bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper […]

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Pulitzer winner Margo Jefferson explores the peculiarities of black privilege in Chicago in the memoir Negroland

Technically, Margo Jefferson grew up in the south-side neighborhoods of Park Manor and Hyde Park. But metaphorically she comes from Negroland—her name for a small segment of black America “where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.” Her father was the head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital; her mother graduated from […]

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The five more stars at this year’s Fifth Star Awards include Sandra Cisneros, Steppenwolf, and old lion Stanley Tigerman

Produced by the city Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, this free program celebrating the city’s creativity is Chicago’s version of the Kennedy Center Awards. Like last year’s rousing inaugural event, it will honor five stalwarts of the local arts scene, selected by DCASE and members of the mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. The 2015 […]