Stories by marc vitali

New Book Highlights Influential LGBTQ Artists

An about-to-be-released book shines a light on 50 pioneering artists from around the world who made indelible contributions to culture.  (WTTW News)

From “Swan Lake” to “Frankenstein” movies to the pop charts, the arts have always been deeply influenced by artists from the LGBTQ community. An about-to-be-released book shines a light on 50 pioneering artists from around the world who made indelible contributions to culture. 

Lasting Impressions of Cezanne at the Art Institute

Paul Cezanne. Montagne Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine, about 1887. The Courtauld Gallery, London. (Courtesy: Courtauld Gallery / Bridgeman Images).

Paul Cezanne was thought of as the greatest by some very great artists, including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet, to name just two. The Art Institute along with the Tate Modern in London is presenting its first exhibition of Cezanne in 70 years. 

Singer-Guitarist Melody Angel Playing Chicago Blues Festival

Melody Angel has Blues in her DNA. (WTTW News)

A local singer-songwriter has been going to the festival since her mother took her in a stroller. Now she’ll be onstage, and mom will be watching from the wings. Melody Angel – yes, that’s her real name – has blues in her DNA. 

Trumpeter Orbert Davis on the Musical Legacy of Miles Davis

(Courtesy: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic)

Jazz great Miles Davis is the focus of an ambitious concert this weekend at the Kehrein Center for the Arts in the Austin community. It is part of a new partnership between the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and the Art Center. 

Court Theatre Wins Tony Award for Best Regional Theater

(Credit: University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center)

Each year, the Tony Awards give special recognition to only one local theater in the U.S. Court Theater has just become the sixth theater in Chicago to win the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater. 

Onstage Around Chicago With Hedy Weiss

(Courtesy Cadillac Palace Theater)

Arts critic Hedy Weiss gives us her recommendations.

‘Native Truths’ Offer Fresh Perspective at the Field Museum

(Credit: Jay Young)

The Field Museum renovated its Native North America Hall and drastically shifted its focus. The new approach emphasizes story-telling and contemporary art – as well as historical items from the collection. The exhibition space is called “Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories.”

Library in West Garfield Park Home to Artist-In-Residence Who Will Create and Connect

Artist Alexandra Antoine will have her work displayed at the Legler Regional Library in West Garfield Park, where she works as the artist-in-residence. (Credit: Alexandra Antoine)

For the next two years, The Legler Regional Library in West Garfield Park will be home to artist-in-residence Alexandra Antoine. She’ll work on her own art while also connecting with people in the community. 

Music Prodigy from Ukraine Finds Community in Chicago

(WTTW News)

A local music prodigy began studying in his native Ukraine before he moved to Chicago with his family. The community of musicians he found here – and music itself – have helped sustain him during an uneasy time. 

Inside ‘The Matrix’ Auction with Lilly Wachowski

Hollywood history hits the auction block in Chicago this month. (WTTW News)

The four Matrix films set new standards for visionary moviemaking, and now artifacts from them and other movies are up for bid in an auction with a cause.

Pediatrician’s Book Aims for Social Change to Unlock the Potential in Every Child

The new book “Parent Nation” makes the case for an overhaul of national priorities and family policy.

A patchwork child care system, a lack of paid family leave and millions of busy and stressed parents — a new book argues the current model of raising children isn't always the best for kids' brain development. In that book, the author writes society should give all parents more time and tools to optimize the growth of young minds.

Washington Park Camera Club Helps Celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted With New Photos, Historical Context

(WTTW News)

Washington Park Camera Club members are combining their passion for pictures with early Chicago history to celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted. 

Chicago Doctor Says Individuals Will Have to Make Personal Decisions After Transit Mask Mandate Lifted

(WTTW News)

State and local officials offered some mixed messaging Monday on whether or not public transit riders would be required to wear mask after a federal court ruling. The day ended with Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifting his executive order.

Chicago’s Fine Arts Building, Still a Haven for Creatives, Undergoes Updates

An interior view of the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave. (WTTW News)

The building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., opened as the Studebaker Building in 1885 as a showroom and assembly plant for carriages. Thirteen years later, it was remodeled and repurposed as the Fine Arts Building.

What Today’s STEM Students Can Learn from Benjamin Franklin

(Courtesy PBS)

The new Ken Burns documentary “Benjamin Franklin” looks at the life of one of the founders of the United States. Of course, Benjamin Franklin’s scientific achievements are a big part of the story. But how do they resonate with today’s students of science?

Theater Critic Hedy Weiss Shares 4 Must-See Productions Now Running in Chicago

John Zdrojeski, left, and Sean Hayes in Doug Wright’s “Good Night, Oscar” at the Goodman Theatre. (Credit Liz Lauren)

Chicago theater is in full bloom for the spring season with a number of new productions and a return of some classic favorites. Hedy Weiss, theater critic for WTTW News, joins “Chicago Tonight” to share her must-see recommendations. 

Steppenwolf Theatre’s New Play ‘King James’ Spotlights Work of Two Ensemble Members

Chris Perfetti, left, and ensemble member and Artistic Director Glenn Davis in Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere production of “King James” by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph. (Credit Michael Brosilow)

The world premiere play “King James” spotlights the work of two Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members who loved basketball long before they loved theater.

Chicago’s Jam Productions Marks a Milestone – 50 Years in the Concert Business

A 1980 ad promotes a concert at the Uptown Theatre with Bob Marley and The Whalers. (Jam Productions)

Live music promoters Jam Productions is marking a half-century of putting on concerts in Chicago and around the country.

New Art Exhibition in Skokie Showcases Work of First Responders

A new art exhibition called “Courage” featuring the work of first responders is open at the Devonshire Cultural Center in Skokie through April 3, 2022. (WTTW News).

An art exhibition called “Courage …” features work made by first responders. It is running in Skokie through April 3.

Chicago Artist from Ukraine Dedicates Paintings to Peace

Ukrainian-born artist Elena Diadenko says proceeds from the sale of her work will benefit two Ukrainian veterans groups and the Red Cross. (WTTW News)

A long-delayed art exhibition has finally opened but with a new focus. A Chicago artist and teacher born in Ukraine makes both traditional and contemporary paintings. She is now using her ability to create to counter forces of destruction. 

‘Downton Abbey’ Actor Hits the Chicago Stage With New Show

Lesley Nicol brings her new autobiographical show “How the Hell Did I Get Here?” to the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago. (Courtesy of Pemberley Productions)

Actor Lesley Nicol earned accolades for portraying the head cook Mrs. Patmore on six seasons of the television show “Downton Abbey” and in two movies. Now, she’s ready to premiere her new stage show in Chicago.

Ancient Sea Creatures Surface in ‘Jurassic Oceans’ at the Field Museum

Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep will be on view at the Field Museum until Sept. 5, 2022. (Field Museum / Michelle Kuo)

The Field Museum is diving deep to introduce visitors to underwater wildlife that lived 200 million years ago. We have a preview of the exhibition “Jurassic Oceans – Monsters of the Deep.”

Staging a Dance in a Frank Lloyd Wright Masterpiece

(WTTW News)

It is an uncommon pairing of great architecture and modern dance. In Oak Park, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece will soon be the setting for a performance. We visited Unity Temple to find out what makes these dancers move.

Hedy Weiss on 5 Must-See Shows Currently Running at Chicago-Area Theaters

Black Victorians Franklin (Xavier Edward King, from left), Janet (Jaye Ladymore), Marcus (Travis Delgado), and Annelle (Ayanna Bria Bakari) discuss the state of their world in 1919 in Tyla Abercrumbie’s new play “Relentless.” (Brett Beiner Photography)

Theater critic Hedy Weiss joins “Chicago Tonight” to share her thoughts on five shows currently playing on Chicago-area stages. 

New Book Looks at Love and Relationships During Pandemic

Author Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and professor at Northwestern University and author of “Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis.” (WTTW News)

The new book “Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis” explores the lockdown experiences of singles and couples and new approaches to love, intimacy and vulnerability.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt Return to Spotlight at Art Institute

Funerary Mask, Late Ptolemaic Period–early Roman Period, 1st century BCE. Ancient Egyptian. (Courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago, W. Moses Willner Fund).

Back in 1890, the Art Institute of Chicago began collecting Egyptian art. Much of it has been out of view for years, but the museum spruced up the collection and is about to unveil it in a new gallery. We have a preview of ancient art and artifacts from the Nile Valley in North Africa.