Making a career in music and the arts is tricky in the best of times. These days, the struggle is surreal. Here’s our latest check-in with a few players on Chicago’s music scene where, to quote a famous Chicago soul singer, “Only the Strong Survive.”
Stories by Marc Vitali
The city named 2020 the Year of Chicago Music, and this week was supposed to be Cabaret Week. We visited a few jazz and cabaret folks and found a vast music scene that’s singing the blues.
Chicago is home to an uncommon art gallery that has become an important place for exploring artistic expressions of healing. We visit Awakenings Gallery in Ravenswood.
On stage at Lookingglass Theatre, a new play looks at a Chicago moment from March 1981 when Jane Byrne, the city’s first woman mayor, moved into the Cabrini-Green housing project.
We preview the exhibition “El Greco: Ambition and Defiance” at the Art Institute of Chicago, which partnered with the Louvre and the Grand Palais for the show, and learn about the man behind the masterworks.
Chicago native Solomon Dumas is one of 32 dancers in the national touring company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This week, he performs at the Auditorium Theatre, where he first saw the company nearly 20 years ago.
With a comic convention in town this weekend, we welcome comic book dealer Vincent Zurzolo – and his million-dollar collection.
Spectacular artwork from China fills not one, but two Chicago museums. We visit the Smart Museum of Art and Wrightwood 659 for a look at “The Allure of Matter.”
A new rock musical from the House Theatre of Chicago tells the incredible story of a teenage punk band from Evanston. We meet the cast of “Verboten” and an original member of the band.
Chicago is home to the only training orchestra in North America. And while it’s blooming with youth, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago is turning 100 this season. We sit in on a rehearsal to hear the dynamic sound that only an orchestra can make.
The latest selection for the citywide reading program is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book from New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert, who joins us in discussion.
A look at the life and legal work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with family stories from her son.
Circus arts, comedy and cabaret come together at Teatro ZinZanni. Six months into its run, the show has completely juggled its cast. New performers include two people with Chicago ties but very different backstories.
They are making music with a mission. A rousing Chicago gospel group brings a modern approach to traditional spirituals as they work toward social justice. We catch up with the Adrian Dunn Singers.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was center stage in the House impeachment hearings. Now she is on stage, in a sense: a new play about Pelosi is receiving its world premiere in Chicago. We drop by an early rehearsal.
The revival of Tracy Letts’ 1996 play “Bug” stars his wife, Steppenwolf ensemble member Carrie Coon. We spoke to the creative team right before opening night.
Ravinia Festival just announced a major new hire, and she comes with an amazing pedigree: conductor Marin Alsop was mentored by Leonard Bernstein.
The winter theater season is upon us, with a blizzard of good shows to see. Chicago theater critic Hedy Weiss gives her take on “Roe,” “Top Girls,” “The Mousetrap,” “Juliet” and “Verboten.”
Sixty years ago, a young photography student aimed his camera at Chicago teens. His name was Joseph Sterling, and we visited an old classmate of his for a closer look at the process of capturing youth culture and Chicago in the mid-20th century.
There is now more to explore at a local museum that really rocks. We visit the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, which recently reopened to the public.
He was called the Pope of Pop – pop art, that is. Andy Warhol predicted 15 minutes of fame for everyone. His own fame lasted decades and has endured since his untimely death in 1987. We explore “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again.”
For fans of comics and graphic novels, he is a superstar. But the artist Chris Ware lives a low-key life just outside Chicago. At his home studio, we meet the engaging comic book artist with an unusual eye for everyday life.
The Great Lakes are home to an estimated 180 invasive species. Freshwater biologist Scott Colburn, who recently joined a research team at the Shedd Aquarium, tells us about the latest efforts to protect Lake Michigan from invasive fish, mussels and more.
The independent record label sets the gold standard for roots music in Chicago and beyond. We visited the headquarters of Bloodshot Records on the eve of its silver anniversary – and got an earful.
For years, vintage toys have inspired renowned Chicago artist Karl Wirsum. And recently he shared his fun-filled collection with an extraordinary group of local artists at Project Onward.