WBEZ | performance art http://www.wbez.org/tags/performance-art Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago's Honey Pot performers bring 'Negro Motorist Green Book' to life http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-08/chicagos-honey-pot-performers-bring-negro-motorist-green-book-life <p><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/Eulogy%20to%20America_0.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="(Carron Little/Out of Site)" /></div><p dir="ltr">For its latest work, <a href="http://honeypotperformance.com/" target="_blank">Honey Pot Performance</a> will perform an interactive performance art piece called <a href="http://outofsitechicago.org/2013/07/honey_pot_performance/" target="_blank">&ldquo;The Guidebook Sessions&rdquo;</a> and inspired by <em><a href="http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/87_135_1736_GreenBk.pdf" target="_blank">The Negro Motorist Green Book</a>. </em>The&nbsp;listing guide was sponsored in part by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation to help African Americans find accommodating businesses in the Jim Crow era.</p><p dir="ltr">The performance is also part of Honey Pot&#39;s larger work, &ldquo;Price Point,&rdquo; which explores &ldquo;notions of fairness and balance, or the lack thereof, in today&rsquo;s economic landscape.&rdquo; It&#39;s part of <a href="http://outofsitechicago.org/" target="_blank">Out of Site</a>, a weekly public performance series on Friday nights in Chicago&#39;s Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods. Honey Pot performs August 16 from 5-7 p.m. at the Polish Triangle (Western and Milwaukee Avenue intersection). Out of Site runs through October 11.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-194a0cc8-737b-a2ed-4f7f-86de3ca1ae25"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/87_135_1736_GreenBk_Cover.gif" style="height: 415px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(From the Collections of The Henry Ford)" />Honey Pot Performance is comprised of Meida McNeal, Felicia Holman, Aisha Jean-Baptiste and Abra Johnson. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>McNeal, artistic director of the collective, says Honey Pot performers&nbsp;use their own stories and experiences as well as essays and statistics to create and frame pieces. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>The women take a holistic and ethnographic approach and movements within each piece develop from their backgrounds as well as the audience. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;We tap into whatever social, cultural, political thing that&rsquo;s affecting us at the time,&rdquo; &nbsp;Holman said. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Currently, that is the struggle of&nbsp;</span>minority, working poor, and unemployed Americans.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-194a0cc8-737b-a2ed-4f7f-86de3ca1ae25">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s something that needs to be on the table and we need structures to allow people to talk about what they are going through,&rdquo; McNeal said.&nbsp;</span>&ldquo;You&rsquo;ve done everything you need to become a good citizen and it doesn&rsquo;t matter and we don&rsquo;t talk about it.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><span>Thus, <em>The Negro Motorist Green Book</em> and &ldquo;The Guidebook Sessions.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-194a0cc8-737b-a2ed-4f7f-86de3ca1ae25">Created by Victor Hugo Green, a postal employee and civic leader, 15,000 copies of <em>The Negro Motorist Green Book</em> were printed each year between 1936 and 1964. Businesses reviewed included hotels, gas stations, tourist homes (in which owners would rent rooms to travelers), beauty and barber shops, and restaurants that served African American customers. Originally restricted to the New York area, the guide book became national in 1937. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>African Americans participated in American car culture, but were ultimately limited in where they could go. As stated in its introduction, the book gave the African American traveler &quot;information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments, and to make his trips more enjoyable.&quot; </span></p><p>In addition to its public performances, the collective will also create its own version of <em>The Negro Motorist Green Book</em>&nbsp;for today&#39;s working poor and unemployed. &nbsp;</p><p>The current economic climate has impacted millions of Americans. But blacks, Hispanics, the working poor and the permanently unemployed struggled before and will continue to struggle long after this moment.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-194a0cc8-737b-a2ed-4f7f-86de3ca1ae25">Honey Pot&#39;s 20-page chapbook will include personal anecdotes about accommodating businesses and everyday economics. Information includes places to get taxes done for free and corner stores that allow payment with credit. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>By creating their own version of the book and performance, Honey Pot aims to address systemic prejudice on a local level, offer a moment of catharsis for the community and open a dialogue often missing from discussions of the economic crisis. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious&nbsp;writes about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Aug 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-08/chicagos-honey-pot-performers-bring-negro-motorist-green-book-life Chicago's 'Brave New Art World' is closer than you think http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/chicagos-brave-new-art-world-closer-you-think-106932 <p><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/296972676_2f74caf943_z.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 600px;" title="(Flickr/chicago boulevardier)" /></div><p>Stereotypes and stigma surrounding the art community are not entirely unfounded. Claire Molek, director of the relatively new River North space <a href="http://www.hauser-gallery.com/" target="_blank">Hauser Gallery</a> recounted her own experiences and education about the art world.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;The more I learned about the art world, the more I got disheartened about what I had to do,&quot; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Molek, formerly of Wicker Park&rsquo;s <a href="http://thisisnotthestudio.com" target="_blank">This is Not the Studio</a>, recounted the differences between that space and the larger art world.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;That was all about community and hospitality and being able to contribute to an elevated contemporary discourse,&quot; Molek said. The space was a chance to create a structured platform for positive growth for community.</p><p dir="ltr">However, she noted that it was difficult to run a gallery while not selling art or 21 existing in a commercial space. The larger forces and &quot;rules&quot; within the art world left her disillusioned and she eventually left it for eight months. When she returned to the art world, her disillusionment turned into renewed reinvigoration. Molek wanted to &quot;de-sterilize the gallery experience [and] make sure there&rsquo;s a comfortable space to make people feel welcome.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">This led to the creation of <strong><a href="http://bravenewartworld.com/" target="_blank">Brave New Art World</a></strong>, a new &quot;arts unification movement.&quot; <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/522730591102777/" target="_blank">Premiering Thursday</a>&nbsp;in the River North gallery district, the movement and event is a public forum. It will recur every first Thursday of the month from 5-8 p.m.</p><p dir="ltr">Featuring artist talks, performance art, and the open doors of such galleries as Catherine Edelman, Jean Albano, and Stephen Daiter, the event aims to provide a more inviting space for those inside and outside of the art community to come together.</p><p dir="ltr">People live and work in River North, but outside of the immediate vicinity of its popular clubs and restaurants, the neighborhood can feel isolating, abandoned and exclusive. When thinking about the market-driven art world in Chicago (as opposed to other art communities in the city), most reference the River North neighborhood. But the majority of artists living and working in Chicago do not live in the neighborhood.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago as a decentralized &ndash; even segregated &ndash; environment impacts the cultural, racial, and social makeup of the city. This is felt in the beloved but underrated art community. For a variety of artists and audiences, River North &ndash; despite its centralization and density of gallery spaces &ndash; is a historically-significant, yet inaccessible hub.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><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/27990_579940455374101_1998958612_n.jpg" style="height: 142px; width: 600px;" title="(Courtesy of Brave New Art World)" /></div><p>Access is important not just for the general public, but for all participating tiers in the art world. River North, a neighborhood that can be accessed by multiple train and bus lines, is the perfect meeting point then for those in all &quot;sides&quot; of the city.</p><p dir="ltr">From a philosophical standpoint, Molek said that we are, &quot;hungrier for human interaction...We want to learn about what is around us and develop our conscious in a different way.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Within a few months in her new position as director of Hauser Gallery, Molek realized that the same core tenets built within her smaller gallery practice were needed in this new neighborhood.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I knew we would have to do something more than what we were doing to create a buyer base and breakdown the environment of pretension and elitism,&quot; she said. &quot;That&rsquo;s the environment the art world plays in. I realized I had to make my own politics and standards if I wanted to continue in this community.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago has pushed out many incredible artists. People examine the city and wonder, &quot;What are you going to do next?&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">From a more localized standpoint, the event also aims to bring together the disparate art communities in the city. Brave New Art World is an attempt to address that question while staying true to the needs within the Chicago art community.</p><p dir="ltr">Molek believes that the young makers and administrators within the city should be looking at the galleries in River North as to how they became successful, while still bridging the gaps between perception and reality.</p><p dir="ltr">It is easy to buy into the idea of inaccessibility because it has existed for a long time. But in the end, these are often just &quot;antiquated stereotypes.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;We think that these places are inaccessible, that these people aren&rsquo;t nice,&quot; Molek said. &quot;But the reality is that all of these galleries want to share.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Let Brave New Art World then be the first step in bringing together just one facet of this separate, yet culturally-united city.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/chicagos-brave-new-art-world-closer-you-think-106932 Raw, shocking and beautiful: the Chicago Underground Film Festival holds nothing back http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/raw-shocking-and-beautiful-chicago-underground-film-festival-holds <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/100_4284.jpg" style="float: right; height: 308px; width: 280px; " title="PIG DEATH MACHINE John Moritsugu and Amy Davis, 84 min., Video, 2012, USA. (cuff.org)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The term &quot;independent filmmaking&quot; means something completely different today than it did 20 years ago.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When most people say, &quot;I love indie movies!&quot; nowadays, they&#39;re usually referring to those quirky, slightly lower-budget films distributed by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_film#The_.22Indie_Film.22_Movement" target="_blank">subsidiaries</a> of studio giants like Fox, Universal and Paramount Pictures (Fox Searchlight&#39;s&nbsp;<em>500 Days of Summer,&nbsp;</em>Focus Features&#39;&nbsp;<em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>, &nbsp;Paramount Vantage&#39;s&nbsp;<em>No Country for Old Men, </em>etc.), not old classics like <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390384/" target="_blank"><i>Primer</i></a>&nbsp;or &quot;no-budget&quot; films like <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390538/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv" target="_blank">Tarnation</a>&nbsp;</em>that were made on iMovie for $218.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, genuinely&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_film#Underground_versus_cult" target="_blank">independent</a>&nbsp;features and shorts&nbsp;that unions qualify as &quot;ultra-low budget&quot; (made for less than $200,000) are hardly ever released in theatres, and far too often vanish into obscurity.&nbsp;Some indie projects strike festival gold and get picked up by major distributors, like Oscar darling&nbsp;<em>Beast of the Southern Wild</em>&nbsp;at Sundance 2012 or Lena Dunham&#39;s <em>Tiny Furniture</em>&nbsp;at SXSW 2010. But unfortunately, most independently released films&mdash;especially those that push boundaries and challenge audiences with a more <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_avant-garde_films" target="_blank">avant-garde</a> storytelling style&mdash;rarely see the light of day.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Luckily for the <a href="http://www.deadline.com/2012/09/lesson-of-toronto-indie-filmmakers-better-keep-budgets-low-as-distribs-grow-stingier/" target="_blank">die-hard indie</a>&nbsp;film&nbsp;buffs of Chicago, we have a festival that celebrates true independent cinema and visual invention outside the Hollywood mold. In 1993, the <strong>Chicago Underground Film Festival </strong>(CUFF) was founded by Jay Bliznick, a Columbia College film student <a href="http://cuff.org/about/" target="_blank">fed up</a> with the exclusivity of the festival circuit. 20 years later, the festival has grown into a cutting-edge film event with national press coverage and participants from around the globe.&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dinosaurs-2-tjl.jpg" style="float: left; " title="DINOSAURS Terra Long, 12 min., Video, 2012, Canada (cuff.org)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This year&#39;s fest,which runs March 6 through March 10 at Logan Theatre, will exhibit an <a href="http://cuff.org/2013-fest/2013-full-program/" target="_blank">eclectic mix</a>&nbsp;of independent features, shorts, documentaries and experimental films augmented by <a href="http://cuff.org/afterparties/" target="_blank">nightly parties</a>&nbsp;and concerts. Instead of the slick &quot;indie&quot; films shown at high-brow festivals like Sundance, CUFF showcases works of unconventional artistry that eschew the status quos of market safety and monetary gain.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When John Waters received the Director&#39;s Tribute Award at the 1997 Deauville Film Festival, he said, &quot;I like the word &#39;underground,&#39; as in the Chicago Underground Film Festival. The word &#39;independent&#39; carries a stigma of whininess. &#39;Underground&#39; means a good time. &quot;</div><p>CUFF 2013 kicks off <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoUndergroundFilmFestival?fref=ts" target="_blank">tonight</a>&nbsp;with the Chicago premiere of <em>Untitled, </em>a&nbsp;double 16mm projector performance with live audio from experimental filmmakers Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder and Olivia Block. The show will be preceded by an 18-minute video short called <em>Wreading</em> from director Jesse Malmed, then followed by a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/163915733759308/" target="_blank">free afterparty</a>&nbsp;at The Owl with a vinyl set from <a href="http://www.chiboulevards.com/post/18851545995/stacks-o-wax-wednesdays-at-the-owl" target="_blank">Stacks O Wax</a> DJ Dan Maloney!</p><p>For the full program schedule, which includes festival guides, trailers and event listings, visit <a href="http://cuff.org" target="_blank">cuff.org</a>&nbsp;and get your tickets now.</p><p>Also, check out the film that I&#39;m most looking forward to seeing at this year&#39;s fest--<em>Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis</em>, directed by Roddy Bogawa:&nbsp;</p><p><em><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="300" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/37905092" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></em></p><p><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>&nbsp;or add her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/raw-shocking-and-beautiful-chicago-underground-film-festival-holds