Stories by Marc Vitali

Local Acts Ric Wilson, Lala Lala Make Their Pitchfork Debuts

This weekend is the 14th annual Pitchfork Music Festival – a homegrown stage for adventurous music from around the world, including Chicago. We visit a pair of young local artists as they prepare for their Pitchfork debut.

5 Chicago Theater Recommendations: ‘Music Man,’ ‘True West’ and More

Monica West (Marian Paroo) in “The Music Man” with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and a book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Mary Zimmerman. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

There’s a parade of new shows on stage in Chicago. Theater critic Hedy Weiss recommends her current favorites.

At Museum of Science and Industry, a Brave New World of Wearable Tech

Richard Browning of Gravity Industries demonstrates his Jet Suit as he takes off from the steps of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. (Courtesy of MSI Chicago)

The exhibition “Wired to Wear” aims to lift the veil on clothing and accessories that can boost your health and wellness – or just express your creativity.

Mary Zimmerman Reimagines ‘The Music Man’ at Goodman Theatre

A scene from “The Music Man” at Goodman Theatre, with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and a book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Mary Zimmerman. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

“The Music Man” marches into the Goodman Theatre. Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman gives us details on the big parade.

Chicago Jazz Orchestra Celebrates 40 Years of Big, Bold Sounds

Chicago Jazz Orchestra in concert. (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

They started swinging back when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Michael Bilandic was in City Hall. How the Chicago Jazz Orchestra brings a fresh approach to timeless music.

Blues Prodigy Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram Hits Chicago

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Buddy Guy called him “the next explosion of the blues” when he was still a teenager. The long-delayed debut album by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram has finally arrived – and it’s on Chicago’s Alligator Records. 

Acclaimed Photographer Recalls Learning His Trade in Chicago 70 Years Ago

We visit a career-spanning show of work by Marvin E. Newman, a still-working photographer who captured Chicago and its people in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection Sparks Creative Thinking at Suburban School

We visit the newly upgraded Nettie McKinnon Gallery inside in Park Junior High School in La Grange Park.

Meet the Artist Behind ‘The Obama Paintings’ As They Debut in Chicago

Artist Rob Pruitt compiled a display of 2,922 images of former President Barack Obama, one for each day of Obama’s presidency.

Artist Rob Pruitt created a painting for each of the 2,922 days of Barack Obama’s presidency. His project is now on display in Chicago. 

Art Institute Show Explores ‘Iconic Photographs’

Paul Strand. Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951. Collection of Robin and Sandy Stuart. © Aperture Foundation, Inc. Paul Strand Archive.

Photography has long been used to make images of iconic works of art. Sometimes the photographs themselves become icons. A new show explores a collection of famous pictures from the 20th century.

Art Show Highlights Sheldon Peck’s Passion for Painting, Human Rights

We visit a local house on the route of the Underground Railroad that was built by a man who was also an accomplished painter of early Illinoisans.

‘Volta’ Performer With Local Roots Tumbles Back to Chicago

Kevin Beverley speaks with WTTW News.

Cirque du Soleil has visited Chicago every other year since 1989. This year, for the first time, the internationally minded “Circus of the Sun” features a performer with local roots. Meet Kevin Beverley.

Chicago Theater Recommendations: 5 New Shows to See This Spring

Anna Uzele, center, performs “I Don’t Need Your Love” in “Six” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

From the wives of Henry VIII to Frankenstein’s monster, there is plenty to see on local stages right now. Theater critic Hedy Weiss shares her take on five shows currently on stage.

Modern Manet: Beauty, Fashion and Intimacy in New Show at Art Institute

Édouard Manet. “Jeanne (Spring),” 1881. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

A sure sign of summer coming is the opening of a big show at the Art Institute of Chicago. This year, it’s a fresh look at the early modern artist, Edouard Manet. We preview the show.

Gullivers Selling a Slice of Chicago Restaurant History

A famous Chicago pizza joint is filled with antiques, and they’re all going to be part of an unusual estate sale. We go for a look.

‘Brotherland’ Photographer Documents Conflict, Life in Ukraine

Photographer Brendan Hoffman speaks with WTTW News about his exhibition, “Brotherland: War in Ukraine.”

The young American photographer Brendan Hoffman tells us about his show at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

‘Arresting’ Exhibition Showcases Fine Art, Sculpture of Medieval Africa

Seated Figure, Possibly Ife, Tada Nigeria, Late 13th-14th century, Copper with traces of arsenic, lead, and tin, H. 54 cm, Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, 79.R18, Image courtesy of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Block Museum show “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time” showcases the splendor and influence of medieval West and North Africa. We tour the exhibition with a special guest from the Smithsonian.

Video: ‘West Side Story’ Artists Perform at WTTW

Amanda Castro, left, and Mikaela Bennett appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Three cast members from Lyric Opera’s “West Side Story” join us in conversation and performance. 

Delinquent Tax Deadline Looms for 45K Property Owners in Cook County

(Stephen M. Scott / Flickr)

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas offers some last-minute tips ahead of the annual tax sale.

The Wild Life of Nature Photographer Thomas Mangelsen

 “Dreamcatcher” (2000), © Thomas D. Mangelsen

A world-renowned nature photographer visits Chicago for the opening of an exhibition of his truly magnificent wildlife pictures at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

George Freeman Tells Us How to Lead a Life in Jazz

At age 92, the jazz guitarist is a living legend from Chicago’s first family of music. We pay him a visit.

Joffrey Ballet Reaches ‘Across the Pond’ for Latest Program

(Courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet)

The venerable Chicago dance company got a creative boost from across the pond for the closing show of its season. Meet the Brit who made his own Britney Spears video and is now working with the Joffrey Ballet.

‘Cambodian Rock Band’ a Story of Joy, Survival

Greg Watanabe in the play “Cambodian Rock Band.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Rock ‘n’ roll and human survival go hand-in-hand in a new production at Victory Gardens Theater. We meet some of the creative team behind the show.

Dual Art Show at Intuit Makes Case for Art as Therapy

Susan Te Kahurangi King (New Zealand, b. 1951). Untitled, c. 2015. (Private collection, courtesy of the artist, Chris Byrne, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and Marlborough Contemporary, London and New York)

This pair of art shows couldn’t be more different, highlighting a New Zealand artist who hasn’t spoken in more than 50 years; and two Chicago artists who fight addiction with creativity.

‘Brotherland’ Photographer Documents Conflict, Life in Ukraine

Photographer Brendan Hoffman speaks with WTTW News about his exhibition, “Brotherland: War in Ukraine.”

The young American photographer Brendan Hoffman tells us about his new show at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.