Stories by Marc Vitali

(Courtesy of Brigitte Calls Me Baby)

Homecoming for Chicago Band Brigitte Calls Me Baby — Lead Singer Talks Elvis, Pen Pals and a Promising Future

The spotlight shines brightly these days on Chicago band Brigitte Calls Me Baby. The group just had its national TV debut on “CBS Saturday Morning,” and the influential public radio station WXPN called the band “future rock royalty.”

(Courtesy of Alexandra Duvivier)

How Do You Say ‘Abracadabra’ in French? Acclaimed Parisian Magician on Chicago Performances, Life in Magic and Fooling Penn & Teller

Paris-based magician Alexandra Duvivier charms audiences with the art of close-up – or parlor – magic. She’s one of a growing number of women in the profession, and she even performed a trick that fooled famed duo Penn & Teller.

Chicago Art Auction, Paschke, Origin, 1995 (Courtesy of Rago/Wright/Toomey & Co.)

Auction House Puts Chicago Art on the Block: A Preview of ‘Elevated’ Artwork

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will devote an entire sale to Chicago artwork from the past 100+ years. The auction is titled “Elevated: Art Via Chicago.” 

A look inside “Titanic: The Exhibition,” which just opened at Westfield Old Orchard. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Does It Sail or Sink? Exhibition on the Titanic Launches at Skokie Mall: Review

The most famous ship in history is being remembered at the most famous shopping mall in Skokie. “Titanic: The Exhibition” just opened at Westfield Old Orchard.

Katy Sullivan stars in a production of “Richard III” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

She Plays Richard III on Stage, Competed in the Paralympic Games and Worked With Phillip Seymour Hoffman — Meet Multitalented Actor Katy Sullivan

Actor and Paralympic athlete Katy Sullivan portrays the ruthless Richard III at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

“Highway Patrol” runs through Feb. 18 at the Goodman Theatre. (Courtesy of Goodman Theatre)

At Goodman Theatre, Actor Dana Delany Steers ‘Highway Patrol’ Into the Heart of a Compelling Mystery: Review

Secrets and lies hide in plain sight in “Highway Patrol,” a can’t-miss mystery at the Goodman Theatre, writes WTTW News reporter Marc Vitali. It tells a true story centered around a puzzle that seems easy enough to solve. As the mystery morphs and raises new questions, it makes for a riveting evening of storytelling.

“Illinoise” runs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier though Feb. 18. (Matt Murphy)

15 Things to Know About Sufjan Stevens and the Album That Inspired ‘Illinoise,’ the New Show at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Perhaps the most anticipated show in Chicago this winter, “Illinoise” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater promises “a new kind of musical.” Dance and stories are woven into songs written by Sufjan Stevens from his beloved 2005 album “Illinois.”

This stretch of hand-laid brick, completed as part of the once-grand U.S. Route 66 westward from Chicago to California, is preserved near the central Illinois town of Auburn. (Carol M. Highsmith)

National Effort to Crowdsource Route 66 History Seeks Stories, Photos from Chicagoans

“Route 66 was the first great American road trip,” said Amy Webb with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The trust is crowdsourcing Americans’ stories, memories and photos of the famous road that connected the Midwest to the West.

The Kiddieland Amusement Park sign at the Melrose Park Public Library, 801 N. Broadway in Melrose Park. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Remembering Kiddieland: Remnant of Beloved Amusement Park Lives on in Melrose Park

“If we didn’t take it, it would’ve gone to the scrap heap,” Gary Marine, Melrose Park’s director of public works, said of the historic Kiddieland sign that now lives in the Melrose Park Public Library parking lot.

(Courtesy of Bull Stock Media)

Buck Around and Find Out — Professional Bull Riders Bring Thrills to Chicago Area, 8 Seconds at a Time

Professional Bull Riders is a sports league based on the most popular event at rodeos: bull riding, the man-versus-beast contest in which a cowboy rides a bull in search of eight seconds of glory and a slice of prize money. A tour is coming to Rosemont Jan. 12-13.

© 2023 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Picasso Exhibition Recognizes Family, Friends and Lovers Crucial to the Artist’s Career

Even an artistic genius gets by with a little help from his friends. “Picasso: Drawing from Life” spotlights the artist’s works on paper and explores the influence of friends, muses, fellow artists and dealers.

Edgar sits precariously atop an electrical pole before his eventual rescue. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Column: How a Local Cat Survived Harrowing Hours Atop an Electrical Pole Thanks to Some Good Customer Service

A 9-year-old orange tabby named Edgar spent a frosty night alone atop a utility pole in an alley earlier this week. WTTW News reporter Marc Vitali details Edgar’s rescue.

Items on sale at the Buddy store inside the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Find Last-Minute Gifts for Art-Minded Friends at Chicago’s Buddy Store, Showcasing Local Artists and Causes

Museum shops and galleries have a great deal of goods you won’t find elsewhere. The Buddy store in the Chicago Cultural Center is top of the heap for art-loving localvores.

Richard Hunt is pictured working at his studio in 2021. (WTTW News)

Chicago Sculptor Richard Hunt, Who Created Indelible Public Art From His Astounding Studio, Dies at 88

Renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, whose work can be seen across his hometown of Chicago, died at age 88.

A scene from the Neapolitan crèche at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Going for Baroque: Rare Neapolitan Nativity Set Marks 10 Years in Chicago

Ten years ago this month, a spectacular Nativity set called a crèche debuted at the Art Institute of Chicago. A gift from an Italian collector, the crèche was made in Naples and dates from the mid-1700s. It’s a traditional Nativity scene in a non-traditional setting.

This rare poster featuring Harry Houdini just conjured a world sales record. (Courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions, Chicago)

Magic Poster Sets World Sales Record at Chicago Auction House

The poster features an image of Harry Houdini performing his famous Milk Can Escape, in which the performer was locked into a galvanized iron can filled with water and secured by locks. The image is rich with showmanship and hyperbole, warning: “Failure Means a Drowning Death.”

Left: Black Hawk (Sauk). Right: M’intosh (Creek). Both images are on display in “Indigenous Portraits Unbound” at the Newberry Library. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Portraits Unbound: Historic Prints of Indigenous People on View at the Newberry Library

On display at the Newberry Library are selections from “History of the Indian Tribes of North America,” a set of early 19th century books rich with imagery. It’s one of the earliest and best records of what Indigenous people, including Seneca and Black Hawk, actually looked like.

David Vass recently released his memoir, “Liar, Alleged.” (Provided)

Growing Up Gay and Going Into Showbiz — New Memoir Spotlights Celebrities, Crimes and Seductions: Column

David Vass’ new memoir, “Liar, Alleged,” is a wildly entertaining narrative of gay life in the 1950s and ‘60s. The book moves through the hedonism of the ‘70s, the tragedy of the ‘80s and why it all matters now.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1923 passport photo.

Did Ernest Hemingway Shoot a Toilet? 10 Truths and Myths About the Larger-Than-Life Writer From a New Book

A Chicago-area writer explores the myths and legends surrounding Ernest Hemingway, the Oak Park-born titan of American literature. 

“The Sunflowers Quilting Bee at Arles” by Faith Ringgold, 1991.

Vibrant and Defiant: American People and Stories Populate the Artwork of Faith Ringgold at MCA Chicago

The new exhibition “American People” is the first solo retrospective of artist Faith Ringgold in Chicago. This vivid and revealing show is not only rare — it’s must-see.

The famed Downton Abbey dining room featured at “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.” (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

‘Downton Abbey’ Comes to … Skokie? New Exhibition Transports and Delights: Review

In the old Bloomingdale’s store, there’s plenty of elbow room to tour this museum-quality show filled with sets, memorabilia and props. 

“ICONS” features photographs by Steve McCurry. The exhibit is on display at the Loyola University Museum of Art through March 31, 2024.

Icons of Photography: Loyola Art Museum Hosts First Show in Four Years Featuring Famed Works From Steve McCurry

A new exhibition focuses on photographs that remind us of the vastness of human culture. It’s a striking blend of art, journalism and storytelling. More than 80 large-format prints represent the career of Steve McCurry, a photography Hall of Famer and a controversial figure to some.

(Courtesy of Center for Native Futures)

Native Art Gallery Looks to the Future With a Nod to the Past

The Center for Native Futures was founded by artists on a mission to make an epicenter of Native creativity. The inaugural exhibition showcases dynamic work from artists representing 19 Native tribes.

Gabe Fajuri of Potter & Potter Auctions looks over a collection of posters from magician Ricky Jay set to be auctioned off. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Look Inside a Magician’s Treasury of Magic Mementos and Eccentric Ephemera Set to be Auctioned in Chicago

A Chicago auction house is offering an astonishing archive of vaudeville posters, sideshow ephemera, and what is called magicana. All of it was collected by magician Ricky Jay, who died in 2018 at age 72.

“The Spoils of War” by Jim DeRogatis, 2012. (Nick Infield)

Military Miniatures Loom Large in the Life of Rock Critic Jim DeRogatis

Jim DeRogatis serves as secretary of the Military Miniature Society of Illinois, and he’s a skilled maker of all things small. From Oct. 20-21, the group is hosting its annual show, with 200 exhibitors displaying their sculptures in a juried exhibition.

Bob Dylan sings “The Times They Are A-Changin’” at the White House on Feb. 9, 2010. No photography was allowed when Dylan played Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre on Oct. 6, 2023. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Bob Dylan Revs Up Chicago’s Cadillac Palace in Freewheeling Concert

On opening night of a three-night stand at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre, Bob Dylan and his band delivered a show that satisfied even as it mystified, and he bookended the concert with a surprise pair of Chicago-centric cover songs.