WBEZ | MacArthur Genius Grant http://www.wbez.org/tags/macarthur-genius-grant Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Architect Jeanne Gang tapped to design U of C dormitories http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/architect-jeanne-gang-tapped-design-u-c-dormitories-108164 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/uofc.png" alt="" /><p><p><span style="line-height: 1.15;">Chicago architect Jeanne Gang has been chosen to design a new residence hall and dining commons complex for the University of Chicago.</span></p><p>Gang, a winner of the MacArthur &lsquo;Genius Grant,&rsquo; is known for functional buildings that boldly respond to their physical and ecological environments. She&rsquo;s designed three curving dormitories marked by vertical glass and open space both inside and out.</p><p>&ldquo;This view of campus life can be seen from the street and is no longer hidden away and so there&rsquo;s really a direct connection between student life and city life,&rdquo; Gang said.</p><p>The three new buildings will have a dining hall for the entire campus, two student lounge areas called community commons and what Gang is calling &ldquo;house hubs,&rdquo; which she described as taking a three-story house and intersecting it into a modern building. There&rsquo;s also a top-floor reading room that overlooks the city&rsquo;s lake and skyline. The tallest building will be 15 floors.</p><p>Gang said it was important for her team and the university to design a space that keeps the existing, vibrant community culture there alive. Another source of inspiration came from U of C&rsquo;s neo-Gothic architecture: She wanted to include those elements in her design.</p><p>But she also had to make sure she met the university&rsquo;s architecture guidelines, which include making sure new buildings enhance the existing architecture.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;As a contemporary architect it&rsquo;s always a challenge. How do you do that with a series of Gothic-style architecture?&rdquo; Gang asked.</p><p>The Gang buildings will replace a dorm by Chicago architect Harry Weese, which university officials said has run its course, and house nearly four times the number of students.</p><p>Total construction cost is estimated at $148 million, said Associate Vice President and University Architect Steve Wiesenthal. Funding will come from a variety of sources, including philanthropy and room and board fees.</p><p>The project should be complete by fall 2016. In the meantime, students will be relocated to two other residence halls.</p><p><em>Katie Kather is an arts &amp; culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @ktkather.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/architect-jeanne-gang-tapped-design-u-c-dormitories-108164 You don't deserve a MacArthur 'genius' grant, so don't even joke about it http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/you-dont-deserve-macarthur-genius-grant-so-dont-even-joke-about-it <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4768560542_d59eb4baea_z.jpg" style="float: left; height: 218px; width: 300px; " title="Junot Diaz, 2012 MacArthur Genius, in 2010. (Flickr/American Library Association)" />This year&#39;s crop of MacArthur geniuses &mdash; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/macarthur-fellows-include-5-chicago-ties-102820">several of whom were from Chicago</a> &mdash; inevitably inspired jealousy, frustration and anger amongst those in creative and science fields. But Write Club founder Ian Belknap doesn&#39;t want to hear about how you deserve it more than them, not even for a second. Read an excerpt below or listen above:&nbsp;</p><div><em>The MacArthur Fellows &ndash; the &ldquo;genius&rdquo; grants &ndash; were announced this&nbsp;week. Each year, Chicago&rsquo;s largest private foundation awards these&nbsp;prestigious prizes, each of which comes with $500,000, no strings&nbsp;attached.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>I will discuss this year&rsquo;s &ldquo;class&rdquo; of &ldquo;geniuses,&rdquo; but before I do, I&rsquo;d like&nbsp;to begin by eliminating something.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Each and every year, when the MacArthur Fellows are announced,&nbsp;there is some dipsh** in your circle of acquaintance who says or posts&nbsp;or tweets some variation of the following: &quot;Aw DANG! I didn&rsquo;t win AGAIN!&quot; Or &quot;Guess I&rsquo;ll have to wait till next year,&quot; or, &quot;</em><em>Who do I gotta blow to get a Genius grant?&quot;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>There. That sh** right there? That sh** that is burning up right now?&nbsp;Let&rsquo;s all of us agree right now that that is some sh** that we will never,&nbsp;ever say again, OK?</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>That sh** was maybe MODERATELY amusing when it was first&nbsp;uttered. But that was like 30 years ago. And what shallow reservoir of&nbsp;funny there was in this remark has long since evaporated. Look &ndash;&nbsp;when you&rsquo;re the eighteen millionth person to say a thing, it is&nbsp;SUPREMELY annoying to the rest of us. It&rsquo;s like you&rsquo;re the &ldquo;Where&rsquo;s&nbsp;the Beef?&rdquo; lady &ndash; your moment of cultural relevance is long past and&nbsp;we&rsquo;d all be grateful if you&rsquo;d shut your f***ing trap.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>So can we all swear here and now to two things &ndash; raise your right&nbsp;hand and repeat after me:&nbsp;I, state your name, will never willingly utter any variation of this&nbsp;MacArthur remark, because saying something this boring and&nbsp;stupid just demonstrates that the gulf that separates me from&nbsp;being a genius is quite vast.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>I further pledge that if anyone should make any version of this&nbsp;remark with earshot of me, I shall strike them full in the face&nbsp;with a flyswatter, a flyswatter I shall carry for this purpose.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>OK. Good. Let us never speak of this again.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 pm., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></div></p> Fri, 12 Oct 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/you-dont-deserve-macarthur-genius-grant-so-dont-even-joke-about-it Jazz pianist Reginald R. Robinson keeps a 'song in his soul' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not every production boasts a certified MacArthur genius as an accompanist. But trust the Old Town School of Folk Music to know a musical talent when they see one.</p><p><a href="http://www.reginaldrrobinson.com/">Jazz pianist and composer Reginald R. Robinson</a>, 39, plays piano and contributes a few of his own neo-ragtime compositions to the school’s first excursion into theater, <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/"><em>Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em>. </a>Opening tomorrow and running just through Sunday, the piece is set during the Great Migration, 1910-1930, and looks to be a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 336px;" title=""></p><p>When Robinson got the $500,000 award, in 2004, he was flat broke and considering quitting the business. A Chicago native, he’d grown up too poor to afford music lessons. He dropped out of school at 15 to teach himself to play piano—a decision aided by his new neighborhood and high school in the Back of the Yards.</p><p>“I was sort of pushed,” Robinson says. “I could stay in school at that point and risk getting shot or jumped on. There was a lot of bad things happening in the school, in the area. And I was like, ‘Do I wanna continue to go through this? Or do I want to stay home?’” Sounds like a no-brainer, though quitting school isn’t usually the best way to pursue a career.</p><p>“My parents strongly objected to me leaving school,” says Robinson. “You know, they were typical caring parents: they did not want me to drop out. But I’d be getting to school late, and all kinds of stuff…. So I stayed home and mastered the music I wanted to play for the rest of my life.”</p><p>“I didn’t realize it would turn into anything like this. I just went along, doing the music, and one thing led to another.”</p><p>When Robinson went back to school to get his GED in 1992, some of the faculty noticed him writing down music in the hallway. One of them, musician Mac Olsen, invited Robinson to meet his piano teacher, who worked in a violin shop that hosted a jam session every Saturday. One day when Robinson was there, horn player Ira Sullivan came in.</p><p>“I couldn’t sit in with the other guys,” says Robinson, “cuz they were reading from charts. So I sat and listened, and after they finished, after about an hour and a half, I got up there and played some solo piano—‘Maple Leaf Rag’ and one of my own pieces, ‘Good Times Rag.’ And Ira Sullivan was like, wow. He said, ‘I know ‘Maple Leaf,’ but what’s that other piece? Is that Scott Joplin?’”</p><p>Sullivan introduced him to stride pianist Jon Weber, who paid for Robinson’s first demo and introduced him to Delmark’s Bob Koester. Robinson’s <em>The Strongman</em> came out in 1993; two other albums on Delmark followed. But sales weren’t great. The MacArthur grant enabled Robinson to self-produce <em>Man Out of Time</em> in 2007, made up of pieces he’d composed over the preceding decade; <em>Reflections</em> came out in 2010.</p><p>Asked whether the MacArthur award inspired him, Robinson says, “It confirmed what I knew, that my music was worth something. From that, receiving the award, things became easier. It’s like a magic carpet—it helps you go into places that you wouldn’t normally be able to go.”</p><p>Fortunately, being a bona fide genius hasn’t gone to his head.</p><p>The award, Robinson says, “is like the song, ‘Keep a Song in Your Soul.’ It’s about remembering where you come from. And it’s about the music. It wasn’t about the title. Nobody called me a genius before I got the award. I told myself I was a genius—in the privacy of my own room. ‘Hey, this is a good idea!’ I’d say it in a joking way. ‘This is perfect! Man, I like this!’”</p><p>“It was always about the music. Through it all, that’s what kept me going. Whether it’s good times or bad times, always writing music. My story before the MacArthur: it was music!”</p><p>Directed by Andrea J. Dymond, <em>Keep a Song in Your Soul</em> is a collaboration between Robinson, Grammy-winning string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Chicago choreographer Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin, all of whom also perform.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683 List: Zulkey.com Interviewees Who Went On to Win McArthur Genius Grant Winners (Plus One Pulitzer Prize) http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-10-04/list-zulkeycom-interviewees-who-went-win-mcarthur-genius-grant-winners <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/zulkey jad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/03/how_do_you_guys_choose.php">Jad Abumrad</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_021706.html">Stuart Dybek</a><br> <br> <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_042007.html">Atul Gawande</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_090503.html">George Saunders</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_092906.html">Jennifer Egan</a> (just the Pulitzer)</p><p><em>(Not related to geniuses in the least, but "Pop-Up Video" is back, and I reviewed it <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/pop-up-video,62723/">here</a>.)</em></p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-10-04/list-zulkeycom-interviewees-who-went-win-mcarthur-genius-grant-winners Video: Jeanne Gang talks about her first skyscraper http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-09-20/video-jeanne-gang-talks-about-her-first-skyscraper-92209 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/jeanne gang.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jeanne Gang, who just won a MacArthur Genius Grant, talked the Aqua Tower, mushrooms and more when she appeared on <em>The Interview Show</em> last year. Proof that the quickest way to get a Genius Grant is to appear on the show!</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8cHU38BBLSg" width="560"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EuJH7qhGlH8" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-09-20/video-jeanne-gang-talks-about-her-first-skyscraper-92209