Posted inArts & Culture

Untangling identity

When Sarah Whyte was a child, her parents said it didn’t matter that she was Asian and they were white. What mattered, they said, was that she was their daughter.  That didn’t stop adults from reminding her she was adopted, telling her to be grateful she’d been “saved” from the orphanage in China. Nor did […]

Posted inDance

Visceral Dance Chicago turns ten

Entering Visceral Dance’s new venue, a visitor is struck by its size and the care taken to design a space that suits the company that built it. Tucked away on Rockwell Avenue and nestled up against the North Branch of the Chicago River, the performance space is painted a stark black, with soaring ceilings and […]

Posted inArts & Culture

London Road centers voices of survivors

British imports are common enough on Chicago’s stages. The plays of Simon Stephens regularly appear at storefront theaters; Court Theatre will revive Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead next season; and Six continues its Broadway reign following its 2019 North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. But it’s safe to say that Chicago audiences […]

Posted inOn Culture

At NEIU: a painful lesson in mission creep

A welcoming committee armed with signs and slogans gathered outside Northeastern Illinois University’s iconic El Centro building last Thursday, an hour before the university Board of Trustees was scheduled to meet there. “UNIVERSITIES ARE NOT BUSINESSES,” one sign read. “How much money have you spent hiring outside people to fire our own?” asked another. Buoyed […]

In Motion: Deeply Rooted Dance Theater reveals itself as Chicago’s “best kept secret” as it looks toward expansion

“I keep saying, in this moment, I think we may be one of the best-kept secrets,” says Nicole Clarke-Springer, the artistic director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.  The critically acclaimed Chicago-based dance company is beloved for its spectacular storytelling and world-class performers, but still, it’s often flown under the radar. In 2019, WTTW theater critic […]

Posted inArts & Culture

An ode to Black women

At first glance, Gio Swaby’s artwork can be deceptively simple. Her portraits are marked by thin, black lines that sketch the images of beautiful, confident Black women. But looking closer, you are drawn into a complex composition of stitched, knotted, and dangling threads and colorful appliqued fabric on a raw canvas background.  Simplicity and complexity […]

Posted inMusic

Congolese street-party alchemists Kokoko! pressurize the Empty Bottle with upcycled dance music

On Kokoko!’s first and only Chicago visit till now, the Congolese group put on the most bonkers fun show of the 2019 World Music Festival. Decked out in their signature yellow jumpsuits, they moved like they were sunk in trance or electrified by emergency, and their bracingly cosmopolitan junkyard beats—which they call “hot temperature music”—had […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Scene-powering fusion collective Cordoba celebrate a new album at Constellation

The members of Chicago jazz-fusion sextet Cordoba drive an inventive creative community with their many overlapping projects. Vocalist Brianna Tong, for instance, also sings in funky experimental ensemble Je’raf and punky trio Bussy Kween Power Trip, both of which also feature prolific Cordoba bassist Khalyle Hagood. Hagood, meanwhile, also plays in soul outfit the Devonns […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tongue tied

The best way to approach “Tongue & Nail” is by starting with the artworks that inspired the ensemble. And you won’t miss them. Kat Bawden’s visceral microfilm, Tongue Tie, is playing on loop on Iceberg’s gallery wall. The black-and-white video displays a tongue, close-up and painfully bound by thin twine. Beneath the video is Tarik […]