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Eight Forty-Eight

Three to See: Unlikely Venues

Each week, Chicago Public Radio's Matt Cunningham brings us three events for our cultural calendar. This week he's found three unusual venues for art.

You don't need a black tie and velvet curtains to be moved by opera. A rose my any other name, would smell as sweet. And tonight, you will be able to hear seven sopranos perform for free at the North Shore Retirement Hotel ballroom in Evanston.

Three years ago, in preparation for a vocal conference, baritone Sherrill Milnes visited the retirement community, looking for a space to host a performance of his vocal students from Northwestern University.
Margaret Gergen is the general manager of the hotel. She said "yes" to what was supposed to be a one time performance.

GERGEN: And there was such a connection between the residents and the singers, the students. We had a reception afterwards and people would leave. They wanted to talk to the kids and hear what they were doing.

This year other schools, besides Northwestern where invited to participate. The final seven will be performing tonight in whats billed as Opera Idol. The diva the audience selects will receive a scholarship for professional training. Seating is limited and reservations are required, so call ahead.

For another performance going on this weekend, not at a traditional venue, head to Hyde Park for the second stop of our Three to See. Performance artist Nicole Garneau began creating site specific works throughout the city this January and will continue each month.

The series Uprising broadly addresses the idea of revolution. It also marks the anniversary of the turbulent year, 1968. In this weekend's installment, Garneau and volunteers will perform a call and response at the community garden at 61st and Blackstone.

GARNEAU: I actually think people have a great need to come together and speak together or feel apart of something that's worlds or sounds. On one level, when you speak something, that is an energetic manifestation of those words and ideas. And its going out into the world.

If you want to volunteer in the energetic manifestation, show up at noon. If you just want to watch, the performance begins at 1:30p.m. at the neighbors of Experimental Station garden in Hyde Park.

Another venue that at first glance seems like an odd place for an art exhibition is on the lush grounds of the Lake County Forrest Preserve at the Discovery Museum. Stop three of our Three to See examines album art from the earliest attempts in the late 1930s to present day, exploring how the images represent Jazz, Funk, Punk and Pop music. Justin Collins is exhibits developer at the museum. He says as the music is a sign of the times, so is the cover art.

COLLINS: MTV was becoming really popular. And the music was reflecting it, the art had to also reflect the culture of the time. And that's probably why Adam Ant chose the image from the music video because it was part of the culture. In the same way that you look at the Duran Duran album, you think immediately 1985, it is what art was in 1985.

The show also highlights works by established artists, such as Robert Maplethorpe's photograph of Patti Smith, Andy Warhol's cover for the Velvet Undgerground and Salvador Dali's creation for a Jackie Gleason album.

The exhibition LP Art continues through August 3 at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois.

For Three to See, I'm Matt Cunningham, Chicago Public Radio.

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