Stories by marc vitali

(Courtesy Riot Fest)

Calls for Dedicated Place to Host Summer Music Festivals, Keep Out of Neighborhood Parks

This summer hundreds of thousands of music lovers will descend on the city for its annual music festivals. And that impact on public land is a point of contention for some neighbors who live near the parks.

(WTTW News)

UChicago Researchers Aim to Transform the Nation’s 911 Call System

A University of Chicago initiative aims to modernize and strengthen the nation’s 911 system – and they’ve just published a blueprint for how to do it.

John Putnam (Christopher Kale Jones) and Ellen Fields (Jaye Ladymore) look to the stars in Chicago Shakespeare's world premiere production of It Came From Outer Space, in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, June 22–July 24, 2022. (Credit: Liz Lauren).

New Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Heads to Space

The recent Broadway smash “Six” is perhaps their most notable success. Now, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is bringing aliens to center stage with a musical-comedy adaptation of the 1950s sci-fi film “It Came From Outer Space.”

Renee Lockett and Brianna Buckley in “cullad wattah” at the Victory Gardens Theater. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

Theater Critic Hedy Weiss on 3 Must-See Productions Running This Month

Local stages are heating up this summer. While there may be plenty of worthwhile options, Hedy Weiss joins “Chicago Tonight” to give a rundown of some of her must-see productions.

Rapper Vic Mensa curated an art show at Kavi Gupta in the West Loop. (WTTW News)

Chicago Rapper Vic Mensa Curates New Art Show

The show curated by rapper Vic Mensa is called “Skin and Masks.” It was inspired by Frantz Fanon, the influential 20th century thinker and author of “Black Skin, White Masks.”

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)

New Book Highlights Influential LGBTQ Artists

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. 

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

Lasting Impressions of Cezanne at the Art Institute

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. 

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

Singer-Guitarist Melody Angel Playing Chicago Blues Festival

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. 

(Courtesy: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic)

Trumpeter Orbert Davis on the Musical Legacy of Miles Davis

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. 

(Credit: University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center)

Court Theatre Wins Tony Award for Best Regional Theater

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. 

(Courtesy Cadillac Palace Theater)

Onstage Around Chicago With Hedy Weiss

Arts critic Hedy Weiss gives us her recommendations.

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)

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

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. 

(WTTW News)

Music Prodigy from Ukraine Finds Community in Chicago

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. 

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

Inside ‘The Matrix’ Auction with Lilly Wachowski

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.

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

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

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.

(WTTW News)

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

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

(WTTW News)

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

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.

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

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

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.

(Courtesy PBS)

What Today’s STEM Students Can Learn from Benjamin Franklin

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?

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

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

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. 

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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).

New Art Exhibition in Skokie Showcases Work of First Responders

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

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)

Chicago Artist from Ukraine Dedicates Paintings to Peace

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. 

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)

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

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.

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

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

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.”