When I wanted to see Night Catches Us, an independent black film released in 2011, there was only one theater in Chicago where it got a regular run: The ICE Chatham 14 on 87th Street.
But for movie-goers on Chicago's South Side, the Chatham is one of only a few options for seeing any film.
So you can imagine how people felt when they showed up Friday night and found a dark, shuttered theater.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office issued an eviction notice, which was on the door of the theater, along with another sign saying the theater was "temporarily closed" and would re-open soon "under new management." The Sheriff’s office and the Cook County Circuit Clerk’s office had no forthcoming information.
Now the theater may be re-opening. In an e-mail, owner Alisa Starks (who along with her husband Donzell opened the theater in 1997) said, "It's been a challenging process.
But when Boone and some members of her Cultural Affairs team made their presentation at Monday's city budget hearings, many aldermen had something else on their mind: Jumping jacks.
Mere steps inside the Steve McQueen exhibition you'll realize this is a completely different sort of show for the Art Institute of Chicago.
For one, the exhibition space is mainly dark - and vast. The first work is Static, McQueen's 2009 film which consists of a swirling shot of the Statute of Liberty. You can imitate the circling movements of the film by moving around the large two-sided rectangular screen.
Further in you'll pass a close-up of an eye bathed in red light, called Charlotte, after the British actress Charlotte Rampling. In another room three of McQueen's better known installations come together in a wide triangular structure: Bear (1993), Five Easy Pieces (1995) and Just Above My Head (1996).
In fact the entire space has been sculpted to present McQueen's work, including the construction of a series of small dark screening rooms that are accessed long passages with padded walls.
The Chicago International Film Festival is often considered a festival without a strong identity. It doesn’t have the star-studded, deal-making scene of a festival like Toronto or even New York. Nor is it a critical darling, with a small, edgily curated set of films that fussier film critics can fully endorse. In fact, one long-standing criticism of CIFF is that it tries to do too much for too many. And it's true there is no shortage of films here: more than 170, including features, documentaries and shorts.
But in recent years quantity and variety are not the enemies of good – even great – cinema. Instead, the array of films suggest CIFF is benefiting from stability among its programming staff, who now have enough years under their collective belt (and perhaps clout?) to start leaving their mark.
This year's MacArthur Fellows are the usual eclectic bunch. Commonly known as "genius grants," the list of 23 includes a geriatrician, a stringed instrument maker and an economist. Five people with ties to Chicago also got the nod.
Dylan Penningroth is a historian at Northwestern University. His work explores African-American life during slavery and after the end of the Civil War. He’s shed new light on the period, including how slaves were able to acquire and pass on property.
Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian writer.
The American writer Fran Lebowitz is known for her acerbic wit and pointed social critiques, through her essays published in Interview magazine and two collections, Metropolitan Life and Social Studie
She's currently on a public speaking tour called "A State of the Union Conversation," which comes to Chicago's Harris Theatre this Tuesday night. In our brief interview, she discussed the state of Fashion Week, her penchant for elitism and view of American politics.
I know you’re a fairly regular attendee at Fashion Week. What did you think about this year’s Fashion Week?
What I think about it is what I think about pretty much everything that used to be small and now that is big. Things tend to devolve when they attract more of a mass audience. I can say because I’m not running for anything. I have to say I have an elitist view of fashion and many other things I might add. So I think it is too big.
The title of your talk is The State of the Union.