WBEZ | jason lazarus http://www.wbez.org/tags/jason-lazarus Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en City Self exhibition attempts a portrait of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/city-self-exhibition-attempts-portrait-chicago-109394 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mca photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans do not always welcome critiques of their city by outsiders.</p><p>Take Rachel Shteir. In <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/books/review/the-third-coast-by-thomas-dyja-and-more.html?pagewanted=1&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">a now infamous essay for the <em>New York Times</em></a> last April, the DePaul University professor and New York native confessed she was &ldquo;bugged by Chicago&rsquo;s swagger,&rdquo; given its laundry list of economic and social problems. She even called out some local writers for perpetuating the &ldquo;bloviating.&rdquo;</p><p>The response, at least here, was swift, severe, and resoundingly negative. Shteir had more than touched a nerve. She started a fight.</p><p>So when Dieter Roelstraete decided to curate an exhibition about Chicago&mdash;currently running at the Museum of Contemporary Art&mdash;and include work by artists from outside the city, he was well aware he too might &ldquo;rile&rdquo; people.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a city that likes to talk about itself, and doesn&rsquo;t like other people talking about it, which is true of many cities,&rdquo; said Roelstraete, whose installation is called <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/now/2013/318" target="_blank">City Self</a>. &ldquo;So this show for me is a little bit of an experiment. Because I myself go out on a limb.&rdquo;</p><p>Consisting largely of photography, Roelstraete says City Self functions as kind of a &ldquo;dialectic&rdquo; about Chicago: between the views of insiders and outsiders, from both bird&rsquo;s eye and &ldquo;from within the bowels&rdquo; points of view.</p><p>Works by local artists such as cartoonist Chris Ware and photographer Jonas Dovydenas present up-close, mainly warm, and people-centric views of Chicago&rsquo;s neighborhoods and ethnic communities. Alongside those are works that cast what Roelstraete calls a &ldquo;forensic&rdquo; eye on the city.</p><p>Ruth Thorne-Thomsen and Tom Van Eynde capture small, enigmatic scenes that convey a sense of desolation and at times disaster. Catherine Opie and Andreas Gursky&rsquo;s epic photographs of Chicago&rsquo;s economic and architectural infrastructure render the city as a dazzling, if impersonal, space. The show&rsquo;s centerpiece unfolds on a floor-to-ceiling screen housed in a long, dark, rectangular gallery. Chicago, a 2011 film by Sarah Morris, is a spectacular, almost glistening panorama of the city.</p><p>Chicago takes a very familiar and even boosterish point of view. There are long, repeating shots of well-worn tourists spots such as the John Hancock Building and Manny&rsquo;s Deli. Regular Chicagoans hang out at the beach, eat lunch, and motor down Lake Shore Drive. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley holds a press conference.</p><p>But all of it has an uncanny air. Morris&rsquo; camera wanders through spaces that are now shuttered, such as the former Ebony Jet Magazine offices. She films industry that has largely vanished (meat packing, much of local newspaper publishing). All ambient sound is stripped away. Instead, everything plays out over a minimalist (and eventually annoying) electronic beat. If the film comes across as an advertisement, it is for something nobody seems interested in buying anymore.</p><p>Roelstraete said Morris&rsquo; film inspired the show&rsquo;s theme.</p><p>&ldquo;Her obsession with surface is duplicated in quite a few of the works by outsiders who really don&rsquo;t care so much about getting to know the city,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re kind of more interested in this slightly alienated spectacle of the modern metropolis.&rdquo;</p><p>Morris is an outsider. She is British and lives in New York. But in a post-screening discussion, she revealed that her ability to make this film relied on her connection to the most insider of insiders: Penny Pritzker, the Chicago billionaire-businesswoman currently serving as U.S. secretary of Commerce.</p><p>That complicates the insider-outsider dynamic that Roelstraete is attempting to explore. And though Roelstraete too is an outsider -- he moved here from Berlin less than a year ago -- he seems less interested in Chicago as a specific locale, seeing it as the &ldquo;quintessential American city.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Just the intensity of gun violence, or the byzantine complexities of bipartisan politics in this country,&rdquo; said Roelstraete. &ldquo;So if there is a dark undertone, I guess it is the dark undertone of American society as a whole.&rdquo;</p><p>City Self is at the Museum of Contemporary Art through April.</p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author"> Alison Cuddy</a> is an arts and culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook</a>&nbsp;and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/city-self-exhibition-attempts-portrait-chicago-109394 Weekender: Art Fests, Punk Rock and Pop-Up Businesses! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/weekender-art-fests-punk-rock-and-pop-businesses-98793 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lumpen%20times.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="SMALL Showroom (Lumpen Times)"></div></div><p>This weekend culture will descend upon us with all the intensity of a summer rainstorm. <a href="http://www.versionfest.org/">Version Fest 2012</a> launches its opening salvo by taking over Bridgeport - inside and out. And at <a href="http://www.colum.edu/manifest-2012/">Manifest</a>, Columbia College Chicago students will take part in the school’s Great Convergence, part of the day-long showcase of the varied cultural fruits of their labor from the past academic year.</p><p>Then a whole slew of celebrations are going down around <a href="http://chicagocincodemayo.com/">Cinco de Mayo </a>and <a href="http://www.chicagohash.com/">Polish Constitution Day</a> – no doubt the sounds of feasting and dancing will ring through many neighborhoods.</p><p>Sound is one of Chicago’s more abundant resources, from annoying sounds, like short sharp car honks to the soothing sounds of waves along the lakefront. Mainly we experience a steady stream of city-suitable sounds – sirens, air brakes, jack hammers, CTA announcements, lovers' spats, randomly yelled insults … You get the drill.</p><p>In the midst of that cacophony local artist Jason Lazarus has a plan: to create his own small sonic intervention.</p><p>Friday night at precisely 8:37, Lazurus will unleash a one-minute burst of noise. The name of the project is <a href="http://occupy837.com/">Occupy837</a>. Think of it as an arty twist on the old 420 – an act that is simultaneously solitary and collective in form.&nbsp;</p><p>Lazarus has been doing this alone fairly regularly. He’ll prop up a window in his apartment and let loose for 60 seconds, over a megaphone equipped with a siren. As he puts it, it’s a “wonderfully pathetic” moment of “me being loud and no one else doing it.”</p><p>But now he’s going public, by inviting the crowd gathered for Manifest to participate. He'll bring a big pile of thrift store pots and pans to a parking lot at 916 S. Wabash and ask people to grab some and bang away.</p><p>The project was initially inspired <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSNuPGkr8Fc&amp;feature=related">by protests in Iran <span style="text-decoration: underline;">a few years back</span></a>, when people would hit their rooftops and chant a set phrase in unison. Lazurus found it moving, an “elegant way to show solidarity and resistance at the same time.”</p><p>His political target is a bit closer to home: <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/05/03/151956938/do-campaign-ads-seem-more-negative-this-year-its-not-just-you">Super PAC </a>reform. Lazarus is concerned that these new actors and methods of financing campaigns have contributed to the “failure” of our political system.</p><p>Success or failure is something Lazarus himself has had to contend with on this project. “Victory will be either small, nil or big and … I’m so scared of this failing that I’m just going to do it and embrace it."</p><p>Lazarus' action may or may not effect political change. But he may help to reimagine how dissent and resistance work. As he puts it “sonic space is a wonderfully open and under-utilized space for protests. [If] there was a critical awareness over Chicagoland [so that on] any given night you might hear people yelling, honking, banging pots and pans together – you would know that for a minute of the day all those people are symbolically showing their resistance.”</p><p>I asked Lazarus if he might be a presence when the NATO Summit comes to town later this month. Instead he’s mulling a takeover of a different public forum. “I’m thinking maybe I’ll go to a White Sox night game and get 20 people to do an Occupy837 sonic, in the middle of baseball game, with 20,000 people in attendance.”</p><p>For a preview, head to Manifest, which is all day Friday. The rest of Weekender’s community-building events are below!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beetle.jpg" style="height: 159px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://colectivoelpozo.weebly.com/index.html"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>1. Los Carralejas</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday - Sunday</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Theater by and for immigrants, exploring how Mexico's violence affects young people.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://teatroluna.org/luna-central/">Luna Central</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; 3914 North Clark Street</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/american-psycho-christian-bale.jpg" style="height: 163px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>2. American Psycho</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday and Saturday at Midnight</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Investment banking, red in tooth and claw -&nbsp; and axe!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/chicago/landmark%27scenturycentrecinema.htm">Landmark Century Centre Theater</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">2828 North Clark Street</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/reatard.jpg" style="height: 184px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEojGEN9MFo"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. Better Than Something</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Saturday 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A documentary exploring the short life, time and music of punk rock musician Jay Reatard.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.thispublicworks.com/">Public Works</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">1530 North Damen Avenue</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/version.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.versionfest.org/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Version Fest</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday - Sunday</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Art types at work and play, throughout the month of May!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bridgeport</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pol_mex.jpg" style="height: 190px; width: 241px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div></div><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Concert for Cinco de Mayo and Polish Constitution Day</strong></span></p><p>Sunday 4 p.m.</p><p>A concert featuring music from Mexico and Poland - sweet!</p><p>St. Bruno Church</p><p>4751 South Harding</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Click <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810" target="_blank">here</a> to subscribe to the <em>Weekender</em> podcast.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>What're you up to this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.</strong></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 May 2012 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/weekender-art-fests-punk-rock-and-pop-businesses-98793