WBEZ | Theater http://www.wbez.org/sections/theater Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago’s Lyric Opera hosts costume sale http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago%E2%80%99s-lyric-opera-hosts-costume-sale-110751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Image6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Already on the lookout for a Halloween costume? Or possibly your next Comic Con or Renaissance Faire outfit? The Lyric Opera of Chicago has got your back.</p><p dir="ltr">This Saturday marks only the second time in Lyric history that the company will be selling some 3,000 pieces of their handmade costume collection to the public. Costume Director Maureen Reilly said the Lyric doesn&rsquo;t have enough room in their storage for all of the costumes - some dating back almost 100 years.</p><p dir="ltr">Some costumes, she said, have even become a bit repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think our Madame Butterfly and our Boehme are really gorgeous, but they&rsquo;re 30 and 40 years old. So if you&rsquo;ve been a season subscriber since you&rsquo;ve been 20 or something, you&rsquo;ve seen the same Boehme every 10 years or 8 years, so you want something new and different,&rdquo; Reilly said.</p><p dir="ltr">Prices range from $1 to $200, but Reilly said most garments are actually worth thousands of dollars. Some of the costumes come from as far away as Europe, while others were made in the United States. Shoppers will find items from operas like Pirates of Penzance, Voyages of Edgar Allen Poe, Anna Bolena, Otello, Flying Dutchman, Rigoletto, Don Carlo and more.</p><p dir="ltr">The last and only other time the Lyric held a sale like this was in 2004, when the company&rsquo;s warehouse in Pilsen was sold. They sold around the same amount of costumes, and brought in nearly $77,000. All the money goes back to the Lyric Opera.</p><p dir="ltr">This weekend&rsquo;s sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Civic Opera House.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><em>Andrew Gill is a WBEZ web producer. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewgill">@andrewgill</a></em></p></p> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago%E2%80%99s-lyric-opera-hosts-costume-sale-110751 Stalled immigration reform takes toll on Polish theater group http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/stalled-immigration-reform-takes-toll-polish-theater-group-109029 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Republicans immigration.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A small Polish theater company says they&rsquo;re another victim of stalled legislation on immigration reform. Teatr Brama Goleniow is regrouping after U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services denied eight of their company members visas to bring a stage production to the Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood.</p><p>The group had planned Chicago showings of Emotions in Sound &nbsp;in late September, a production they&rsquo;ve previously brought to the Ukraine, Peru, Scotland and Greece. But the U.S. visa snafu has delayed their plans to share the production with U.S. audiences.</p><p>&ldquo;In the beginning we applied for tourist visas,&rdquo; explained Jennifer Crissey, actor and project manager at Teatr Brama.</p><p>Crissey said she had been advised by officials at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw to apply for B-visas because their company was small, and did not view their intended travel as one that would yield commercial profit.</p><p>&ldquo;The actors going wouldn&rsquo;t be receiving salary, they wouldn&rsquo;t be getting paid to do this project,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Crissey said when the group went to the U.S. embassy in Warsaw for their visa interview in August, however, they were told that they should instead apply for artists&rsquo; visas.</p><p>&ldquo;So they essentially advised us one thing, and then changed their mind,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Crissey said that&rsquo;s when she asked the company&rsquo;s Chicago-based partner, Voice of the City, to sponsor their petition for P-3 visas, a class of visa specific to culturally unique artists and entertainers.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it was very evident in the application that this was geared for commercial exchanges on a scale that we just weren&rsquo;t doing,&rdquo; said Dawn Marie Galtieri, artistic director of Voice of the City, an arts alliance based in the Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood, &ldquo;so it started to make us very nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>Galtieri said she had to obtain a letter from the American Guild of Musical Artists to support their petition, as well as provide additional paperwork attesting to the wages and hours of the actors, contracts detailing the parameters of the production, and flyers and press releases about the show.</p><p>&ldquo;Really, it&rsquo;s a process for big stars,&rdquo; Crissey said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s when some big name comes from another country to play here, and they&rsquo;re playing at like United Center or some big stage like that.&rdquo;</p><p>Crissey estimated that in total, Teatr Brama spent nearly $3,000 in applying for the visas. Still, they were denied.</p><p>&ldquo;And I never in a million year thought that after providing them with all of the evidence that they asked for that we would get such an empty answer like, &lsquo;this isn&rsquo;t culturally unique enough,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Crissey, &ldquo;because, who can be the judge of that?&rdquo;</p><p>Crissey and Galtieri said they are now cobbling together an ensemble of actors from Chicago and across Europe who have authorization to travel to the U.S., and that they plan to move forward with the production in the absence of the original cast.</p><p>The show will be staged in mid-November.</p><p>A representative from Congressman Michael Quigley&rsquo;s (D-Illinois) office said that if Congress had moved on immigration reform this summer, Teatr Brama&rsquo;s visa woes might not have happened.</p><p>Poland, unlike many of its European Union counterparts, is not included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. without first obtaining visas. Quigley and other members of Illinois&rsquo;s congressional delegation have &nbsp;been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/polish-community-may-get-travel-perk-immigration-reform-107412">pushing to expand the parameters of the program</a> to include more countries, such as Poland.</p><p>In addition to a standalone bill that he has introduced in the House, Quigley also helped ensure that language to broaden the program be included in immigration legislation that the U.S. Senate passed in June.</p><p>Meanwhile, with just 18 days left in the House legislative calendar this year, pressure continues to mount for U.S. House Republicans to take up an immigration bill.</p><p>On Tuesday, hundreds of conservatives from business, faith and law enforcement groups converged on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers to nudge them toward bringing legislation to the floor for a vote.</p><p>&ldquo;Ultimately, if you&rsquo;re going against this legislation, you are absolutely going against the entire faith community and you are also going against essentially what every respected economist in America has been asking for,&rdquo; said Sheriff Mark Curran of Lake County.</p><p>Curran is among a handful of conservatives from Illinois joining the effort. The effort is organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, FWD.us, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.</p><p>Earlier this month, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration bill, after a bipartisan committee failed to produce its own bill. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-California) is the sole Republican to cosponsor the bill, along with 185 Democrats.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/stalled-immigration-reform-takes-toll-polish-theater-group-109029 30 things to do in Chicago this fall http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/30-things-do-chicago-fall-108606 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Fall%20Chicago%20Flickr.jpg" title="Grant Park in the fall. (Flickr/PhilontheWeb2001)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Summer may have its charms, but let&#39;s be real. When it comes to the three Ws (weather, wardrobe and whimsy), fall is the best season by far.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The sopping humidity of summer suddenly turns crisp and purposeful, ushering in a new academic year and bursts of gorgeous, coppery color in the trees.&nbsp;Chicagoans also become more fashionable, as we trade in our often unflattering shorts and sandals for a more polished look of jeans, scarves, layered cardigans and boots. We indulge in pumpkin lattes, host more game nights, watch the leaves fall and celebrate three of the year&#39;s best holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and <a href="http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/November/buynothingday.htm" target="_blank">Buy Nothing Day</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Back in June, I made a list of things to do in a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/30-things-do-chicago-summer-107847" target="_blank">Chicago summer</a>; but now, an even better season has arrived. In no particular order, here&#39;s 30 adventures to have this fall:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>1. A.V. Fest/The Hideout Block Party, Sept. 6-7</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">From Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, The A.V. Club (the arts-and-entertainment wing of The Onion) and The Hideout Inn (one of Chicago&#39;s best live music and performance venues) will combine forces for an epic <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/143973282461284/" target="_blank">music festival</a>&nbsp;outside The Hideout at 1354 W. Wabansia. Performers include Young the Giant, Neko Case, Mavis Staples and Superchunk.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>2. Windy City Wine Festival, Sept. 6-7</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Wine connoisseurs, rejoice! The 9th year of the Windy City Wine Fest, presented by U.S. Bank, will bring samples of over&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.eventful.com/events/windy-city-wine-festival-/E0-001-059429588-7@2013090616?utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=events&amp;SREF=FBEvent" target="_blank">345 different wines</a> from all around the world, alongside food pairings from some of the city&#39;s best restaurants. Meet at Buckingham Fountain for demonstrations from local chefs and expert-led wine pairing seminars.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>3. Renegade Craft Fair, Sept. 7-8</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Feeling crafty? This annual indie-craft marketplace, held on Division Street in Wicker Park, brings hundreds of craft makers out of their studios and into the spotlight for a festive <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/412070168914166/" target="_blank">weekend celebration</a> of all things handmade. The Chicago English Bulldog Rescue (CEBR) will participate again this year too, making this fest 100 percent pet-friendly!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>4. Riot Fest, Sept. 13-15</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://riotfest.org" target="_blank">Riot Fest</a> may be described as the last hurrah of summer; but by the time Sept. 13 rolls around, the atmosphere will &nbsp;feel a lot like fall. Fortunately, cooler temperatures and a jaw-dropping lineup featuring The Replacements, Rancid, Pixies and The Violent Femmes makes for a stellar combination.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>5. Chicago Music Summit, Sept. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_music_summit.html" target="_blank">first-ever</a>&nbsp;conference, presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), will give Chicagoans the opportunity to learn more about our city&#39;s thriving music scene and connect with industry professionals at the local and national levels. More than 20 panels on a variety of topics will feature 100+ speakers, including representatives from Sony Music Entertainment, Pitchfork and Live Nation.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>6. Try a new restaurant.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">New hotspots opening this season: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chichopshop" target="_blank">Chop Shop and the 1st Ward</a> (a Bucktown restaurant, bar, music venue and butcher shop combined into one) debuts in mid-September, <a href="http://chicago.eater.com/tags/a10" target="_blank">A10</a> (a European venture from Matthias Merges of Yusho and Billy Sunday) arrives in October and <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-23/features/chi-paul-kahan-and-co-readies-nico-an-italian-seafood-restaurant-in-gold-coast-20130623_1_publican-quality-meats-paul-kahan-curtis-duffy" target="_blank">Eataly</a>&nbsp;(Mario Batali&#39;s megaspace of eight restaurants, a microbrewery and a culinary school) opens its doors in mid-November.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>7. Drive out to the drive-in.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Before the weather gets too cold, bundle up with some blankets, popcorn and good company at the old-timey&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cascadedrivein.com" target="_blank">Cascade Drive-In</a> in West Chicago.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>8. Expo Chicago, Sept. 19-22</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art &mdash; a celebrated arts and culture fest offering tours, artist discussions, special exhibitions and site-specific projects&mdash;will take place over a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.expochicago.com" target="_blank">three-day weekend</a> at Navy Pier, with a &quot;Vernissage&quot; opening night benefit on Thursday. The event will feature 125 galleries representing 17 countries and 36 cities, including London, Zurich, San Francisco, Berlin, New York City, Madrid and Chicago.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>9. Volunteer at 826 Chi.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Help tutor a Chicago student at <a href="http://www.826chi.org/about/" target="_blank">826 Chi</a>,&nbsp;a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting learners ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. Back-to-school volunteers can choose to help students with their homework after-school, in schools, through events and outreach, on field trips or in conjunction with workshops at 826 and The Boring Store.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>10. Hit up a Subject to Change event.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/subjecttochangechi/?directed_target_id=0" target="_blank">Subject to Change</a>, an LGBTQ-friendly collective that aims to create &quot;no shame&quot; when it comes to the music they enjoy and the people they care about, holds monthly events at Township to raise funds and awareness for a variety of different community organizations. Past events have included benefits for the Chicago Women&#39;s Health Center, Chicago Books to Women in Prison and Vida SIDA. Keep your calendar open every first Tuesday this fall for more!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>11. Design Harvest Festival Sept. 28-29</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&#39;s annual street festival <a href="http://www.design-harvest.com" target="_blank">celebrating home design</a> will feature a myriad of local vendors and antique collectors, &nbsp;as well as family hay rides, pumpkin painting to raise money for a local elementary school, square dancing, cold beer, delicious food and live music programming from The Hideout.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>12. Hang out in a new bar.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Coming soon: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Punch-House/501622639921369" target="_blank">Dusek&#39;s/Punch House</a>&nbsp;in Pilsen&#39;s historic Thalia Hall (mid-September), <a href="http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2013-08-19/entertainment/41426244_1_violet-hour-bartenders-cocktail" target="_blank">Analogue</a>&nbsp;on Milwaukee Ave. (mid-October), and River North comfort food bar <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Dining/Dining-Guide/index.php/name/Tippling-Hall/listing/46375/" target="_blank">Tippling Hall</a>&nbsp;(late October).&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>13. Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 10-24</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now in its 49th year, CIFF continues its tradition of <a href="http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/sneak_preview/" target="_blank">bringing exciting new films</a> from more than 55 different countries to Chicago&#39;s main stage. This fall, the lineup includes the much-buzzed documentary &quot;Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,&quot; the Israeli horror film &quot;Big Bad Wolves&quot; and the 2013 Cannes&#39; Palme d&#39;Or winner &quot;Blue Is The Warmest Color. &quot; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>14. Hubbard Street: Fall Series, Oct. 10-13</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The incredible Hubbard Street dancers have a <a href="http://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/index.php?option=com_k2&amp;view=proditem&amp;id=211:fall-series&amp;Itemid=58" target="_blank">hot ticket</a> for Chicago audiences this year: a diverse and exciting program from choreographers Robyn Mineko Williams, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek and Alejandro Cerrudo that will feature nods to Michael Jackson, the Paris Opera and &quot;Flashdance.&quot;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>15. Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Oct. 13</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If you&#39;re not running that day, bring a sign and cheer on your friends! The <a href="http://www.chicagomarathon.com" target="_blank">marathon</a>&nbsp;has Two Waves that start at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, so bring that double-shot pumpkin spice latte with you to the start line.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>16. See a new theater show.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The must-sees: Joan Allen returns to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time since 1991 in the American premiere of <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16406291/the-wheel" target="_blank">The Wheel</a>, The Goodman Theatre&#39;s&nbsp;fall season opens in September with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16406631/pullman-porter-blues" target="_blank">Pullman Porter Blues</a>, and the Tony-Award winning musical <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16409076/once" target="_blank">Once</a>&nbsp;arrives&nbsp;at The Oriental for a limited run in October.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>17. Vintage Garage, Sept. 15 and Oct. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Uptown&#39;s <a href="http://www.vintagegaragechicago.com" target="_blank">Vintage Garage</a>, the only monthly flea market in Chicago, presents the best vintage and antique dealers under one roof every third Sunday from April to October. Don&#39;t miss your chance to attend the last two shows of the season: &quot;Vintage Art&quot; on Sept. 15 and &quot;Record Ramp&quot; with the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) on Oct. 20. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>18. Chicago Ideas Week, Oct. 14-20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This <a href="https://www.chicagoideas.com" target="_blank">annual hub</a> of creativity, connection and inspiration kicks off Year 4 with a wide assortment of events, master classes, labs and special presentations. An impressive array of speakers includes Buzz Aldrin, Cat Cora, Dan Savage, Elizabeth Smart, Malcolm Gladwell and Terry McMillan.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>19. Search for the best cider.&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&#39;Tis that time of year. For the hard cider fans: Sprout, SmallBar, The Grafton Pub and Kuma&#39;s Corner all have excellent selections.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>20. Third Coast Percussion, Oct. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Since its formation in 2005, <a href="http://www.thirdcoastpercussion.com/about-us/" target="_blank">Third Coast Percussion</a>&nbsp;ensemble has performed hundreds of concerts across the country. This year, TCP will be opening their Chicago concert season with a Frequency Series of &quot;Infinitesimal Machinery&quot; at <a href="http://www.thirdcoastpercussion.com/news-and-events/chicago-concert-season/" target="_blank">Constellation </a>on Oct. 20.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>21. Go on a Zombie Safari Hayride.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Make the trek to Tinley Park for an October weekend of fun, tractors and zombies in the cornfields! Yes, this is really a <a href="http://www.odysseyfunfarm.com/ZOMBIE.html" target="_blank">thing.</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>22. Play flag football.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&nbsp;Bears games are fun and all, but how about tossing the old pigskin in your own backyard? Organize a game of flag or touch football in your neighborhood park, then treat the winning team to beers.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>23. Shop local.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When scouring the streets for the best fall fashion, don&#39;t forget your local boutiques and online vendors. A few of my favorites: <a href="http://wolfbaitchicago.com" target="_blank">Wolfbait &amp; B-girls</a>, <a href="http://www.sofialivelovely.com" target="_blank">Sofia</a>, <a href="http://shoppenelopes.com" target="_blank">Penelope&#39;s</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://sarateashop.com" target="_blank">Sara Tea Shop</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>24. Laugh out loud at Pop Goes Alicia Live!</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Every <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/148783585330469/" target="_blank">first Tuesday</a> at The Hideout until November, join host Alicia Swiz and a rotating panel of local writers, comedians and activists discussing the latest in pop culture and buzzworthy current events.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>25. Step back in time to the 1893 Fair.&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Head to the Field Musuem on Oct. 26 for the Women&#39;s Board Gala in celebration of a sure-to-be <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/happening/exhibits/opening-vaults-wonders-1893-worlds-fair" target="_blank">stunning</a> new exhibition: &quot;Opening the Vaults: Wonders of 1893&#39;s World Fair.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>26. Check out a new band.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The gargantuan music fests of summer have come and gone (until we meet again, Walmart on the Lake), but never fear. <em>Time Out Chicago</em> has an excellent list of <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/music-nightlife/16397136/10-new-bands-to-see-this-fall" target="_blank">rising acts </a>to fall in love with this fall: from Jenny Hyval at the Empty Bottle to Water Liars at Schubas to Lucius at Lincoln Hall.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>27. Rubber Fest, Nov. 8-9</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://mirubber.com" target="_blank">Mr. Interntional Rubber</a>&nbsp;(MIR) is a rubber-fetish event that includes cocktail parties, a rubber/leather market and awards at the Center on Halsted. Go get your kink on, if you feel so inclined.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>28. Beer Hoptacular, Nov. 8-9</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If rubber is not your thing, attend Chicago&#39;s Fourth Annual <a href="http://beerhoptacular.com" target="_blank">Beer Hoptacular</a>&nbsp;at Lacuna Artist Loft Studios in Pilsen instead. Make sure to stick around for the best Hoptacular beer of the year (2012 winner: 5 Lizard from Bedford, Illinois)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>29. Find the best pie.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">During the autumnal months, a seasonal slice of delectable pumpkin or hot apple pie really hits the spot. Take refuge at Bang Bang Pie Shop, Hoosier Mama Company or First Slice Pie Cafe to satisfy your every craving.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>30. Christmas Tree Lighting at Daley Plaza, Nov. 27</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Watch Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the tree donor flip the switch at Chicago&#39;s 100th Annual <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/provdrs/attractions_eventsandexhibitions/news/2012/sep/christmas_tree_lightingandulsantahousekickofftheholidays.html" target="_blank">Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony</a>, accompanied by live music and performances at Daley Plaza. And say, &quot;Goodbye fall, I hardly knew ye.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">What would you add to this list?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/30-things-do-chicago-fall-108606 Burning Man-inspired event brings participatory art to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/burning-man-inspired-event-brings-participatory-art-chicago-108424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Red Curtain Stage.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Figment, an international arts exhibition inspired by <a href="http://www.burningman.com/" target="_blank">Burning Man</a>, held its first Chicago event over the weekend.</p><p>Figment follows in the footsteps of Burning Man &mdash; an annual arts festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada &mdash; by bringing free and interactive art pieces to the Garfield Park Conservatory on the city&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Visitors could play music with modified children&rsquo;s toys, sit on a swing that vibrated to electronica music and even play croquet with bowling balls.</p><p>As one of 10 cities to host Figment, Chicago&rsquo;s event also had exhibitions that were unique to the city and its social issues. The Theatre of the Oppressed Chicago did a performance about the recent school closings, and invited participants to portray politicians, teachers and students. Right after, the group led a discussion about improving the education system.&nbsp; Bring Your Bag Chicago built a canopy out 2,568 plastic bags, the number that curators say the city uses every minute.</p><p>Figment&rsquo;s website said the group&rsquo;s goals are to encourage artists to think about new ways to share their creativity and to challenge the way art is growing too expensive for many people to purchase. Figment began in New York in 2007.</p><p>To see instruments made out of children&rsquo;s toys and the plastic bag canopy, watch the video above.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 09:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/burning-man-inspired-event-brings-participatory-art-chicago-108424 Romeo and Juliet with a side of fries http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/romeo-and-juliet-side-fries-108407 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Image1_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zKR0wD1GHhI?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>In Chicago&#39;s Edgewater neighborhood a new theater group is presenting Shakespeare&#39;s classic Romeo and Juliet in an unconventional venue: a pub. Specifically the free performances are happening on the large patio of Moody&#39;s Pub at 5910 N Broadway. Director Ned Baker and Rabid Bat Theatricals have <a href="http://bar-and-jay.squarespace.com/info/" target="_blank">six performances left</a> in the run: August 14, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27.</p><p><em>Andrew Gill is a web producer for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/andrewgill" target="_blank">@andrewgill</a></em></p></p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 12:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/romeo-and-juliet-side-fries-108407 Blue Man Group holds open auditions http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/blue-man-group-holds-open-auditions-108031 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Blue Man 1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Blue Man Group is looking for new talent.</p><p>Thursday is the last day of a three-day audition at the Briar Street Theatre. Performers will compete for the chance to paint themselves blue and perform comedy and music on stage.</p><p>They will go through an interview, act in front of the casting department from New York, then play drums with music director and veteran blue man drummer Jeff Quay.</p><p>Around 50 men lined up outside the theatre Tuesday hoping to join the team.</p><p>Collin Batten, who has been a blue man in Chicago for the past four years, says it&rsquo;s hard to describe what the crew is looking for, apart from the an athletic, 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1 build, drumming and acting skills.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s something that we just ended up calling the &lsquo;X factor,&rsquo; that unknown spark in somebody&rsquo;s eyes that comes out and separates them out from the crowd,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Production Stage Manager Nykol Dedreu says it&rsquo;s all about the eyes. The performers don&rsquo;t speak in the show and need to communicate with their eyes and body language.</p><p>She also notes that aspiring performers need not be bald men. The group welcomes women, though they are rare because of the specific body shape required.</p><p>&ldquo;They all have to be kind of matching on stage, so you don&rsquo;t really as an audience member tell one from the other &mdash; it&rsquo;s the personality, not the look,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;So to have a girl blend with that, that&rsquo;s kind of a rare shape and form for a female.&rdquo;</p><p>The group did cast one female as a performer, and another woman made it to the last round of the open auditions in April 2011.</p><p>Aaron Legg flew in from Florida to audition. As applicants sat nervously next to the box office, he got out drumsticks and practiced on the floor.</p><p>He&rsquo;s only seen the group perform once, but their unconventional instruments and music attracted him. The self-taught drummer hasn&rsquo;t stopped playing since the age of 11 and he now performs at Sea World.</p><p>&ldquo;I used to cut pool sticks in half just to be able to play,&rdquo; Legg said. &ldquo;We build our drums out of tool boxes and traffic cones and they build their stuff out of PVC pipes so I can sort of feel a connection.&rdquo;</p><p>Finalists will go to an acting workshop, and play a scene in the full blue and bald getup before the casting crew make their decision.</p><p>The theatre group doesn&rsquo;t yet know how many people they&rsquo;ll take. Dedreu says they&rsquo;ll stop hiring when they have too many Blue Men.</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ reporting intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/blue-man-group-holds-open-auditions-108031 Fireworks: Who’s burning the money? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fireworks-who%E2%80%99s-burning-money-107942 <p><p><strong><em>We&rsquo;ve <a href="#Addendum">updated this</a> story with more information on Navy Pier finances. Thanks to our question-asker, Meg White, who pressed for more reporting. </em></strong></p><p>Colorful explosions will dart across the sky Thursday, emblematic of bombs bursting in air more than two centuries ago. And although many Fourth of July firework displays are free-of-charge to the public, someone is paying for this holiday pastime.</p><p><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/vote/current">Curious City</a> investigated the cost of fireworks after resident Meg White asked:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Does the city of Chicago (i.e.: taxpayers) pay for the biweekly fireworks displays at Navy Pier?</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re not familiar with the &ldquo;biweekly&rdquo; reference here, you should know that <a href="http://www.navypier.com/">Navy Pier</a> hosts a free fireworks show every Wednesday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Since 1995, the Pier has lit up the sky every Independence Day.</p><p>Not to add more wrinkles to Meg&rsquo;s answer, but you should know, too, that the city of Chicago once hosted its own Fourth of July fireworks show. City Hall stopped footing the bill in 2011, so now Navy Pier is the city&rsquo;s only Fourth of July fireworks display.</p><p>To answer Meg&rsquo;s question, then: Navy Pier Inc., a nonprofit that manages the many activities and developments at Navy Pier, pays for the 10-minute biweekly light show.</p><p>But that doesn&rsquo;t really tell the whole story.</p><p>Since it&rsquo;s the season for fireworks, we searched to Fourth of July firework displays in the Chicago area.</p><p>This year, the Illinois State Lottery is paying for the fireworks at Navy Pier, as well as several other firework displays around the state. The state lottery is sponsoring the Navy Pier fireworks at a cost of $20,000, which includes more than just colorful combustible shells.</p><p>The state lottery is also helping sponsor displays in Champaign, Batavia, Rockford and Harvey. The latter couldn&rsquo;t afford a fireworks display a year ago. In total the state lottery is paying $38,000 for fireworks as a marketing strategy to promote their Fourth of July raffle.</p><p>Citing contract agreements, Navy Pier wouldn&rsquo;t tell how much it costs to put on its 15-minute Fourth of July fireworks.</p><p>However, other municipalities and nonprofits hosting firework displays this holiday seasons were happy to share.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s compare Fourth of July fireworks by the numbers:</p><ul><li>Navy Pier: 15 minute show. Costs are unclear, but the recent sponsorship cost $20,000</li><li>Skokie: 20 minute show. Cost: $25,000</li><li>Itasca: 25 minute show. Cost: $70,000</li><li>Crown Point: 40 minute show. Cost: $17,000</li></ul><p>It&rsquo;s worth noting that these displays are paid for by very different means. In north suburban village of Skokie, <a href="http://www.skokieparks.org/special-events">the village&rsquo;s park district</a> pays. It receives some funding from the Village of Skokie, said Michelle Tuft, superintendent of recreation and facilities. The district is not charged for using the property of local schools.</p><p>Notably, Skokie markets its fireworks display as 3-D. If you&rsquo;re asking yourself, &ldquo;Aren&rsquo;t fireworks already in 3-D?&rdquo; &nbsp;Well, you&rsquo;d be correct, but the first 10,000 people to arrive to Niles West High School receive a pair of 3-D glasses, with which you can watch the fireworks for &quot;added effects.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.cpjuly4.com/fireworks.php">Crown Point</a>, Ind., on the other hand, raises mostly private donations to pay for its fireworks display and Fourth of July Parade. Since the 1980s, a group of volunteer citizens have taken on the task of fundraising and organizing the town&rsquo;s Fourth of July festivities. Other than a $5,000 grant from the city, the rest is put up by individuals and corporations. Donations range in all sizes. Some, we&rsquo;re told, are as small as $3.</p><p>In total Crown Point raises around $30,000. This year, one corporate sponsor &mdash; Mike Anderson Chevrolet in Merrillville &mdash; is paying for the entire fireworks display costing $17,000. &nbsp;</p><p>Interestingly, Crown Point was the only place in the Chicago area contacted by Curious City that was not contractracting <a href="http://www.melrosepyro.com/">Melrose</a>, a pyrotechnic company. Crown Point contracts with a firm called <a href="http://www.madbomberfireworks.com/">The Mad Bomber</a>. &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/itasca%20fireworks%20mrpeachum.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="A moment from Itasca's 2008 fireworks display. (Flickr/mrpeachum)" /></p><p>However, few firework displays compare to the size and scope of Itasca&rsquo;s 3,500-shell fireworks extravaganza, which takes four days to build and spans 30 acres. The venue can hold up to 8,500 cars and attracts around 40,0000 people.</p><p><a href="http://www.jamfests.com/itasca.html">Itasca&rsquo;s</a> show is a public-private partnership between the village and Hamilton Partners, a commercial real estate company. Roughly a third of the cost is covered using an Itasca hotel tax, which is earmarked for funding local special events. Around half the cost is offset by charging patrons $20 to park at the show (if that seems steep, organizers point out that the show itself is free). The remainder is paid for through corporate sponsorships.</p><p>Organizer Richard Staback says Itasca&rsquo;s display is one of the largest in the state.</p><p>&ldquo;There are more fireworks in our finale than most firework shows have in their entire show,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><em><a name="Addendum"></a>UPDATE:&nbsp;Last week Meg White wrote she was unsatisfied with Curious City&rsquo;s answer to her question regarding who pays for the semiweekly fireworks displays at Navy Pier. We reported that it&rsquo;s Navy Pier, Inc., but the nonprofit, which incorporated in 2011, declined to give details as to the cost of its individual firework displays. In fact, the pier declined to give any cost figures at all.</em></p><p><em>&quot;We&rsquo;re not required to give that out,&quot; said Navy Pier&rsquo;s Nick Shields. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have to and we don&rsquo;t talk about it. It&rsquo;s our business practice not to give that out.&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>Regardless, there are figures that give a more complete picture. According to the company&rsquo;s 2011 federal financial disclosure report (known as a &ldquo;990&rdquo;), Navy Pier Inc. paid $473,000 in 2011 to Melrose Pyrotechnics, an Indiana-based pyrotechnic company. It was Navy Pier&rsquo;s third highest-paid independent contractor that year.</em></p><p><em>There is no public data available for 2010 because Navy Pier, Inc., didn&rsquo;t exist before 2011. The 2012 paperwork is not available on reporting sites such as <a href="http://www.guidestar.org/">guidestar.org</a>. According to Shields, the nonprofit has not yet filed its paperwork for 2012.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Some of the semiweekly summer fireworks displays at Navy Pier are sponsored by public or private sponsors. (Such was the case on the Fourth of July when the Illinois Lottery purchased the sponsorship for $20,000.) The money generated through these sponsorships helps offset the cost that Navy Pier pays for fireworks services throughout the year. However, sponsorships don&rsquo;t cover the full amount. Shields didn&rsquo;t know how much of the cost is not covered by sponsorships, he said, as not all of the money Navy Pier receives from its firework-display sponsors goes directly toward shells and mortars. But he did say sponsorships don&rsquo;t cover all of the costs.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>As for taxpayers footing any remaining bill? It&rsquo;s worth noting that Navy Pier, Inc., received about 2.7 million in government grants in 2011, which was about 10 percent of their total revenue that year. The rest is generated from parking fees, amusements, retail and special events.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>To view Navy Pier&rsquo;s public 990 report, please find the attached document at the bottom of this story.&nbsp;</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Chelsi Moy is a Curious City multimedia intern at WBEZ. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/chelsimoy">@chelsimoy</a>.</em></p><p><strong><a name="Audio"></a>Taking a roadtrip for the Fourth or need a soundtrack for making your watermelon salad? Here&#39;s a summer playlist from the Curious City crew:</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F7164086&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fireworks-who%E2%80%99s-burning-money-107942 Goodman Theatre Artist Encounter: "The Jungle Book" http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/goodman-theatre-artist-encounter-jungle-book-107986 <p><div>Goodman Theatre Artist Encounters bring together audiences and the artists who create the work on our stages in an intimate environment, for a behind-the-scenes look at the plays and the playmaking process. Join us for an in-depth conversation with <em>The Jungle Book</em> director <strong>Mary Zimmerman.</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The jungle springs to life in a music-filled spectacle that chronicles young Mowgli&rsquo;s adventures growing up in the animal kingdom. Based both on Rudyard Kipling&rsquo;s time-honored children&rsquo;s tales and the classic Disney film&mdash;and with a score featuring the movie&rsquo;s best-loved songs and original Indian-inspired music and dance&mdash;this spellbinding world premiere is the theatrical event of the season.</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/GT-webstory_4.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Recorded live Sunday, June 30, 2013 at the Goodman Theatre&#39;s Healy Rehearsal Room.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 30 Jun 2013 15:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/goodman-theatre-artist-encounter-jungle-book-107986 Take 'Pride' in gay cinema http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/take-pride-gay-cinema-107890 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/weekend.jpg" style="height: 455px; width: 610px; " title="Tom Cullen and Chris New play lovers in the 2011 British film &quot;Weekend.&quot; (Sundance Selects)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declared a key part of DOMA <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/26/read-the-supreme-court-declares-doma-unconstitutional/" target="_blank">unconstitutional</a>, and also struck down Prop 8 to allow <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-prop-8_n_3434854.html" target="_blank">full marriage rights</a> to gay couples in the state of California.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>To celebrate this momentous victory (and gear up for the 44th <a href="http://chicagopride.gopride.com" target="_blank">Annual Chicago Pride Parade</a> on Sunday, June 30), why not have a movie marathon of the greatest LGBTQ films of all time?</p><p>Here&#39;s my top 15:</p><p><strong>15. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0960730/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank">Beautiful Darling</a></strong></p><p>A captivating documentary about the colorful and ultimately tragic life of Andy Warhol superstar (and one of the most beautiful transgender women to emerge from any era) Candy Darling.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>14. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318997/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Angels in America</a></strong></p><p>Though technically a television miniseries, this filmed adaptation of a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_in_america" target="_blank">Pulitzer-Prize winning play</a>&nbsp;earns a spot on this list because of the exceptional acting (especially Al Pacino as the fiercely closeted, AIDS-stricken attorney Ray Cohn) and a powerful story about the shifting social and political climate of the 1980s that still resonates today.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>13. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171804/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Boys Don&#39;t Cry</a></strong></p><p>Hilary Swank gives a stunning, Oscar-winning performance as Brandon Teena, a real-life transgender teen who was raped and murdered in 1993 rural Nebraska after a group of men discovered his secret.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>12. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1714210/?ref_=sr_3" target="_blank">Weekend</a></strong></p><p>This 2011 British drama about two men who meet and begin a sexual relationship the week before one of them plans to leave the country is reminiscent of <em>Before Sunrise</em>: a smart and perceptive take on star-crossed lovers that feels achingly, intimately real.</p><p><strong>11. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112651/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Celluloid Closet</a></strong></p><p>If you are intrigued by the depiction of homosexuals on film&mdash;from the heavily-censored Golden Age of Hollywood through the renaissance of the early 1990s&mdash; then this documentary (featuring interviews with Tony Curtis, Shirley Maclaine, Tom Hanks and Harvey Fierstein) is a must-see.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1315981/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">A Single Man</a></strong></p><p>Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, this artful and exquisite film tells the story of a college professor (Colin Firth) secretly grieving the death of his male partner in 1960s Los Angeles.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248845/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Hedwig and the Angry Inch</a></strong></p><p>Writer/director/star James Cameron Mitchell is a lightning rod of camp and innovation, turning his groundbreaking off-Broadway musical about an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedwig_and_the_Angry_Inch_(musical)" target="_blank">angry transgender rock star</a>&nbsp;into a movie that both satisfies the show&#39;s cult following and invites a new audience into Hedwig&#39;s irresistably bizzaro world.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>8. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0842926/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Kids Are All Right</a></strong></p><p>Some people hate this movie; I love it. The family dynamic, especially the committed yet complex relationship between long term partners Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), is a breath of fresh air in modern filmmaking: a remarkable story that portrays gay parents and their children like any other &quot;normal&quot; (loving, devoted and slightly dysfunctional) family on the block.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>7. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275491/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Bad Education</a></strong></p><p>Pedro Almódovar is one of my favorite directors, and this film is one of his most ingenious masterpieces to date. The effect of religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two men&mdash;estranged friends who grow up with a wealth of secrets and lies between them&mdash;is told with eye-popping color, frenzied edits and a story so full of shocking twists and turns that it must be seen to be believed.</p><p><strong>6. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Milk</a></strong></p><p>Sean Penn&#39;s Oscar-winning performance as gay rights hero&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Milk" target="_blank">Harvey Milk</a>&nbsp;is a triumph, and director Gus Van Sant also does a fine job in bringing Milk&#39;s inspiring true story to richly cinematic life. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388795/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Brokeback Mountain</a></strong></p><p>In 2005, this beautiful and heartwrenching film about the forbidden love between two cowboys (played by A-listers Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) not only changed the way that typically conservative audiences perceived gay romances onscreen, but also broke down the barriers for films featuring homosexual love interests to enjoy mainstream success.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119590/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Ma Vie en Rose</a></strong></p><p>As another film that changed the dialogue about LGBTQ issues in the U.S. and around the world, 1997&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Ma Vie En Rose</em> (&quot;My Life in Pink&quot;) should be required viewing for every parent or peer of a transgendered child. The story of a little boy named Ludovic who dresses like a princess and dreams of becoming a girl was revolutionary at the time, and continues to ring true for any family learning to accept their child for who they are.</p><p><strong>3. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109045/?ref_=sr_6" target="_blank">The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert</a></strong></p><p>This 1985 Australian comedy was a huge hit overseas, and it&#39;s not difficult to see why. Two drag queens and a transsexual (an endlessly delightful trio played by Guy Pierce, Hugo Weaving and Terrance Stamp) put on a cabaret in the middle of the desert. Hilarity ensues.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102494/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">My Own Private Idaho</a></strong></p><p>Take the perfect casting of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as gay hustlers, combine with the surrealist direction of Gus Van Sant and add a non-linear storyline set against the backdrop of early &#39;90s Portland for a film that re-defined &quot;indie&quot; for a new generation.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100332/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Paris is Burning</a></strong></p><p>In my opinion, this chronicle of New York City&#39;s drag scene in the late 1980s (including the vivacious, voguing performers who dream of becoming something more) is one of the most important and influential documentaries ever made. Do yourself a favor and see it&mdash;because if your experience watching this film is anything like mine, then it will change your life forever.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Honorable Mentions </strong>(not so much because I love them, but because they are beloved): <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089015/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Desert Hearts</a> (1985),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115736/?ref_=sr_3" target="_blank">Bound</a>&nbsp;(1996), <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069089/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Pink Flamingos</a>&nbsp;(1972), <a href="http://wiki" target="_blank">But I&#39;m a Cheerleader</a>&nbsp;(1999)&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073629/" target="_blank">The Rocky Horror Picture Show</a>&nbsp;(1975).&nbsp;</p><p>What are your favorite LGBTQ films?</p><p><em>Leah writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/take-pride-gay-cinema-107890 Second City co-founder Bernard Sahlins dies at 90 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/second-city-co-founder-bernard-sahlins-dies-90-107723 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/secondcity_star5112_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Comedy fans know the names &mdash; John Belushi, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Joan Rivers &mdash; but before those famous faces graced Hollywood movies or the &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot; stage they were discovered by Bernie Sahlins, co-founder of The Second City.</p><p>Alumni of the Chicago comedy club spent Monday remembering Sahlins, who died Sunday at age 90, as an innovator who along with business partners Howard Alk and Paul Sills opened the theater in December 1959. It quickly gained national attention and helped establish Chicago as a vibrant comedy town.</p><p>&quot;Bernie was absolutely crucial in the formative years of Second City, as important a figure as it&#39;s ever had,&quot; said comedian and actor Robert Klein, who went on from Second City in 1965 to star on television series and in movies.</p><p>Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues. It became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy.</p><p>Sahlins had an eye for talent, and he hired and nurtured the early careers of numerous future stars.</p><p>&quot;Bernie saved my life,&quot; actor Alan Arkin is quoted as saying in Sheldon Patinkin&#39;s 2000 book, &quot;The Second City: Backstage at the World&#39;s Greatest Comedy Theater.&quot; &#39;&#39;Second City wasn&#39;t a theater ensemble to me, it was a halfway house ... Bernie not only gave me a job, he took me in. I became his family, he became my family &mdash; the first family that I even had and loved.&quot;</p><p>Patinkin, who serves as Second City&#39;s artistic consultant, said his longtime friend played a critical role not just in establishing the theater but also in recruiting the talent.</p><p>&quot;He was great at it,&quot; Patinkin said. &quot;Look at the list of our alumni, many of them were found by Bernie. Bernie was really good at picking out the right ones.&quot;</p><p>In his 2002 memoir, &quot;Days and Nights at the Second City,&quot; Sahlins seemed aware of that influence.</p><p>&quot;For somehow this tiny venture quickly became an important phenomenon in the recent history of theatre, heralded for its contribution to popular entertainment,&quot; he wrote. &quot;One reason is, I believe, that we never thought of ourselves as popular entertainers.&quot;</p><p>Instead, colleagues remembered Sahlins as an intellectual who graduated from the University of Chicago and brought those edgy smarts with him to Second City.</p><p>&quot;You had to work from the top of your intelligence,&quot; said comedian David Steinberg, who was with Second City in 1964 and has worked on television shows such as &quot;Curb Your Enthusiasm&quot; and &quot;Mad About You.&quot; &#39;&#39;That was the rule that Second City broke in comedy: don&#39;t talk down to an audience ever; talk to the smartest person in the audience.&quot;</p><p>Michael McCarthy interned under Sahlins in 1981 and has written for &quot;Saturday Night Live,&quot; &#39;&#39;Sesame Street&quot; and Comedy Central. He said Sahlins would talk endlessly about the mission of comedy and tell him to &quot;always, always, always ask yourself, &#39;What are you trying to say, and is it funny?&#39;&quot;</p><p>Ramis, former cast member turned director-writer-actor-producer, told The Associated Press in 2009 that Sahlins brought a higher-brow style to comedy.</p><p>&quot;It was OK to be smart,&quot; Ramis said. &quot;It was OK to be intellectual.&quot;</p><p>And George Wendt, famous for &quot;Cheers&quot; before his time at Second City, told AP in 2009 that Sahlins demoted him to the touring company from the main stage.</p><p>&quot;He thought I was playing it too safe,&quot; Wendt said. &quot;He wanted me to loosen up.&quot;</p><p>Klein remembered Sahlins as an intellectual, but fun boss who loved cigars.</p><p>&quot;Not the kind who would put a lamp shade on his head at a party, but he had opinions on everything,&quot; Klein said.</p><p>Andrew Alexander, who along with business partner Len Stuart bought The Second City from Sahlins in 1985, said Sahlins will be remembered for always urging performers to work at the top of their intellect.</p><p>&quot;You think about that theater, and think of all the stars that came out of it ... from Belushi to (Dan) Aykroyd to Alan Arkin. It&#39;s extraordinary, the amount of talented people that came out of it,&quot; Alexander said.</p><p>Klein said he owes a great deal to Sahlins for hiring him.</p><p>&quot;I went to the Yale drama school and that wasn&#39;t nearly as valuable as making $150 a week at Second City,&quot; Klein said.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 08:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/second-city-co-founder-bernard-sahlins-dies-90-107723