WBEZ | Thurston Moore http://www.wbez.org/tags/thurston-moore Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Art pulls into Chicago’s Union Station http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/art-pulls-chicago%E2%80%99s-union-station-108591 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3544937155_a2411e7cd4_z.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="The Great Hall at Chicago’s Union Station. Can art raise the profile of this underused space? (Flickr/J. Stehen Conn)" />I&rsquo;m constantly flummoxed by my trips through Chicago&rsquo;s Union Station, the gorgeous Beaux Arts gem designed by Daniel Burnham.</p><p>Instead of being able to glory in (or even easily find) the Great Hall, like most travelers I more often spend most of my time navigating the cramped and low-ceilinged labyrinth below.</p><p>To be relegated to the dismal basement of one of Chicago&rsquo;s soaringly beautiful spaces seems like a punishment for a crime I cannot fathom, much less have possibly committed. What have any of us done to deserve this?</p><p>There is something of an effort to re-envision things, in the form of a <a href="http://www.unionstationmp.com/" target="_blank">master plan</a> for the station undertaken by the Chicago Department of Transportation, Amtrak, Metra and others.</p><p>Since the goal of the plan is to increase the station&rsquo;s capacity (according to CDOT, Union Station sees as much traffic as some of the busiest airports in America), it won&rsquo;t necessarily help travelers get more quality time or things to do in the Great Hall.</p><p>But as part of the process, there has been an interesting, summer-long experiment to make Union Station more of a place to hang out.</p><p>Initiated by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), the <a href="http://www.metroplanning.org/work/project/12/subpage/1" target="_blank">Activate Union Station</a> placemaking contest resulted in two installations - a nylon sculpture called &ldquo;Blah Blah Blob!&rdquo; on the Plaza and &ldquo;trainYARD&rdquo; an interactive park-like space in the midst of the Great Hall. Both were an attempt to enliven generally glum places through a mix of lectures, fitness classes and other activities.</p><p>Mandy Burrell Booth of the MPC says the project drew lots of attention to the station. And though it wrapped up over the Labor Day weekend, she hopes its long-term impact will be in getting planners to think of Union Station as an important destination and economic catalyst for surrounding neighborhoods, and not just a space to pass through.</p><p>Though the project is a great effort to bring creative ideas to the space, I&rsquo;d honestly prefer art or music over a corn-hole toss in the Great Hall. And Friday I&rsquo;ll get my wish, when an art event organizers have dubbed a &ldquo;nomadic happening&rdquo; pulls into Union Station.</p><p><em><a href="http://stationtostation.com/">Station to Station</a></em> is a train based, traveling art, music, food and film event that kicks off Friday in New York. Over the course of three weeks, it will pass through nine other train stations scattered across the country.</p><p>The actual art program also reflects the transient feel of train travel. Some artists will hop on for one or a couple of stops while others will stay on board the entire journey. There&rsquo;ll be stops in Pittsburgh, Sante Fe, Barstow and Los Angeles before the journey ends in Oakland, California. And on September 10, the train arrives in Chicago.</p><p>Starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall, there&rsquo;ll be music by a mix of local and out-of-town artists, including Thurston Moore, Theaster Gates, White Mystery, and others yet to be named. The variety and caliber of artists is equally impressive: Photographer Catherine Opie, moving image artists Ryan Trecartin, Yayoi Kusama and Dara Birnbaum, print makers Raymond Pettibon and Nam June Paik, and many more. Many of them will work across more than one medium. Kenneth Anger, best known for experimental films, is also one of the artists making the mysterious (and somewhat goofy sounding) &ldquo;nomadic sculptures.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to know what all of this adds up to: An exciting evening of improvisation and cutting edge work by top shelf and emerging artists? Or just a hot art mess? One good sign: The concept is the work of <a href="http://www.303gallery.com/artists/doug_aitken/index.php" target="_blank">Doug Aitken</a>, who seems to have a gift for enlivening all sorts of public spaces with ambitious and often mesmerizing art projects.</p><p>The event (which is underwritten by Levi&rsquo;s) is also a fundraiser for nine &ldquo;partner museums&rdquo; including The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The goal is to &ldquo;support non-traditional programming&rdquo; in these places, but it might also nudge the MCA and others to bring their creative clout to bear on the station. If so, <em>Station to Station</em> won&rsquo;t just be a more complicated take on the now annoyingly familiar (and often aesthetically underachieving) pop-up art show. It could provide another vehicle for lifting the public profile &mdash; and even public spirit &mdash; of Union Station. &nbsp;</p><p>What do you think? Should we have more programming, art or otherwise, in the Great Hall? What would you like to see happening there?</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-host of <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a> a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 09:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/art-pulls-chicago%E2%80%99s-union-station-108591 P4k Day 1: EMA, tUnE-yArDs and Thurston Moore http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-ema-tune-yards-and-thurston-moore-89234 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/IMG_8124.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Erika Anderson/EMA. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/EMA2.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 750px;" title="Erika Anderson/EMA. Photo by Robert Loerzel."></p><p>The main stages in Union Park kicked off at 3:30 Friday afternoon with EMA, the latest project from indie-rock veteran Erika M. Anderson, formerly of Amps for Christ and Gowns. The crowds were slow to filter in—unusual, compared to Pitchforks past, but the line on Ashland Avenue was reportedly epic—and the guitarist and vocalist seemed a bit frustrated to be playing into a relative void.</p><p>Not that the songs from “Past Life Martyred Saints” translated particularly well in the vast expanse of the ball fields and under the bright afternoon sun.</p><p>Wearing a giant “Ema” necklace and fronting a four-piece lineup, Anderson tried to put her spin on My Bloody Valentine’s walls of guitar noise and waves of crescendos. But there simply wasn’t enough power behind the group’s attack to make it feel much more than half-hearted, and the quieter moments in the dynamic ebb and flow just got lost.</p><p>As a twist to this year’s account, in homage to the often inscrutable, unjustly monolithic, but nonetheless trademark Pitchfork Webzine rating system, what say we adopt that tact to sum up the sets we experience?</p><p><strong>Rating for EMA: 3.2.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Photo by Robert Loerzel." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/TUNE.JPG" title="Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs." height="333" width="500"></p><p>Much more exciting was the next act on the second stage, which managed even to overcome significant sound bleed from Battles across the way. Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs is, quite simply, a magnetic and undeniable performer. She seemed a bit nervous during a hasty soundcheck in front of the already assembled crowd—“It’s like you’re seeing me get dressed!” she joked—but a faulty bass head and the sound problems were overcome by the time she launched into “Gangsta,” one of the standout tracks from her stellar second album, “w h o k i l l.”</p><p>Part of the fun is watching the Oakland-based singer and songwriter build her loops onstage, electronically layering vocal harmonies and polyrhythmic drum patterns, augmented on this tour beyond her old one-woman shows with the addition of a three backing musicians, most notably on horns. But the technological gimmickry really is secondary to the strength of her songs—so obviously a deeply informed and very loving homage to African music, as opposed to the cheeky cultural imperialism of Vampire Weekend—and the power of her enormous personality, which shines with every note she sings and plays.</p><p>And yeah, I’ll say it: She’s so great, she even makes you forgive <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-03-31/attention-indie-rock-no-ukes-84433">the ukulele</a>.</p><p><strong>Rating for tUnE-yArDs</strong><strong>: 9.2.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/IMG_8807.JPG" title="" height="333" width="500"></p><p>The polar opposite of Garbus in terms of personality, Sonic Youth legend Thurston Moore had an even harder time than EMA generating any excitement back on the main stages. No surprise, given he was highlighting the material from his recent acoustic album “Demolished Thoughts,” playing the soft-strumming, mumble-crooning troubadour while backed by violin and harp. (Yes, harp.)</p><p>Aside from name recognition, it’s hard to explain the logic of putting Moore on a primary stage with this kind of material at 5:30 p.m. There’s no kind way to say it: The set was a snooze-inducing bore, the most interesting aspect of which was the sound bleed (coming from the second stage to the main stages this time), producing unexpected juxtapositions of Thurston chamber music and Curren$y hip-hop.</p><p><strong>Rating for Thurston Moore: 1.3.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/Protest 1.JPG" title="" height="281" width="500"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Consciousness-raising from Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends. Photo by R" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-15/Protest 2.JPG" title="Consciousness-raising from Rape Victim Advocates and Between Friends. Photo by Robert Loerzel." height="281" width="500"></p><p><u><strong>PITCHFORK 2011 IN THIS BLOG:</strong></u></p><p>July 14: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis">Here we are now, entertain us.</a></p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 23:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-07-15/p4k-day-1-ema-tune-yards-and-thurston-moore-89234