Stories by Marc Vitali

Chicago’s Bloodshot Records Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Chicago-based musician Jon Langford speaks with WTTW News about long relationship with Bloodshot Records. (WTTW News)

The independent record label sets the gold standard for roots music in Chicago and beyond. We visit the headquarters of Bloodshot Records on the eve of its silver anniversary – and get an earful.

Vintage Toy Collection Inspires Exceptional Group of Local Artists

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.

Hedy Weiss Reviews ‘A Doll’s House,’ ‘I’m Lenny Bruce’ and More

Greg Matthew Anderson and Cher Álvarez in “A Doll’s House.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

There are many treats on Chicago stages these days. Theater critic Hedy Weiss joins us with her latest roundup.

Sister Helen Prejean on ‘Dead Man Walking’ at Lyric Opera

Sister Helen Prejean speaks with WTTW News.

It was a moving memoir that became an Oscar-winning film before premiering as an opera in 2000. After more than 60 productions around the world, “Dead Man Walking” is now headed to Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time.

Former Tattoo Artist Leaves Indelible Marks on Canvas

Photos of work by Chicago artist George Klauba. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

George Klauba is back on the scene, but he no longer inks people. These days, he’s an acclaimed painter sought after by collectors locally and abroad. And his new series of paintings features tattoo art.

At the Art Institute, a Panoramic View of Andy Warhol’s Artistic Output

Andy Warhol. “Self-Portrait,” 1986. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; gift, Anne and Anthony d’Offay in honor of Thomas Krens. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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.”

At the Driehaus Museum, a Chance to Look at Old Material in a New Light

A Tiffany and Company window on display as part of the “Eternal Light” exhibition at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Louis Comfort Tiffany led an all-star team of artists and designers who could create almost anything out of glass: lamps, jewelry, mosaics and also artwork of a spiritual nature. We visit the exhibit “Eternal Light.” 

‘Pop America’ Reframes Pop Art, Expands Notion of ‘America’

Antonio Berni, Mediodía (Noontime), 1976. Acrylic and collage on canvas, 78.22 x 78.34 inches (198.7 cm x 199 cm). Collection of the Blanton Museum of Art, the University of Texas at Austin. Barbara Duncan Fund, 1977.97. © José Antonio Berni.

Pop art gets reframed in a new museum show that looks closely at the visual culture of the 1960s and ‘70s – and sheds light on an entire hemisphere of artwork that really pops.

‘Downton Abbey’ Actor Harry Hadden-Paton Rehearses for Royal Role in Chicago

We go backstage as an actor prepares “The King’s Speech” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater – and remembers his role on “Downton Abbey.”

Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena on Visit to Chicago

Martha Bárcena, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.

Bárcena, who last year became the first woman to hold her position, discusses immigration and the political relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. 

‘Caution Freedom’ Shines Light on Artwork Too Provocative for Putin

Alexander Kosolapov, “Hero, Leader, God,” 2007. Painted Bronze, 25 x 28 x 13 inches. (Courtesy One After 909 gallery, Chicago)

Artwork once under attack by the Russian government is now on view in Chicago. We explore a show at the One After 909 gallery in West Town.

‘What Came After’ Exhibition Explores Legacy of Chicago Imagism

Tony Phillips, “The Space Between,” 1993. (Courtesy Elmhurst Art Museum)

Colorful and playful paintings hang next to erotic works and dark visions. An overlooked group of Chicago artists is getting its due – at a museum in Elmhurst.

Checking Out the Menu at Chicago’s US Pizza Museum

Pizza is on the menu at a Chicago museum dedicated to the world-famous dish. We check out the collection of a curator with a craving.

Comedian Damon Williams Stands Up for Hometown of Chicago

(Courtesy of Damon Williams)

Damon Williams has worked at City Hall, Subway and – for the last 27 years – has been a very busy stand-up comic. We catch up with Williams ahead of his benefit for Teamwork Englewood on Friday.

Vivian Maier Photos, Artifacts Donated to University of Chicago

Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

The legend of street photographer Vivian Maier has grown immeasurably since her death. Now the collector who acquired the majority of her work has made a gift to the University of Chicago: 2,700 of her images and some artifacts.

‘Memory Unearthed’ Shines Light on a Dark Chapter of WWII

Ghetto residents happily strolling, 1940-1944. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of the Archive of Modern Conflict)

The recovered photographs of Henryk Ross reveal complex stories of life in the Lodz ghetto. We visit a new exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie.

Isaiah Collier: An Emerging Chicago Talent in Jazz and Blues

Isaiah Collier (WTTW News)

With a new record in the wings – and concerts around the world – one of Chicago’s hidden musical talents is increasingly becoming not so hidden. He recently turned 21 years old – but musically, Isaiah Collier is an old soul. 

5 Fall Theater Recommendations from Hedy Weiss

Heather Chrisler and Terry Bell in “Howards End.” (Photo by Michael Courier)

There is a great variety of theater on stage in Chicago this fall. Critic Hedy Weiss recommends her current favorites.

Chicago Band Big Sadie Weighs in on Ken Burns’ Documentary ‘Country Music’

As Ken Burns’ latest series “Country Music” airs on PBS, a look at Chicago’s role in the history of country music with local band Big Sadie.

Revisiting Farnsworth House, a Masterpiece of Modern Architecture

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.

It is an international destination for architecture fans. We visit Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, with a photographer from Berlin.

Crème Sheri Brings a Big Personality to All Things Jazz

When there’s a jazz band on stage, there’s often an artist in the crowd. We visit a Chicagoan who obsessively draws the area’s jazz scene.

Restoring Artwork and Treasures at a Chicago Conservation Lab

We visit The Conservation Center, the country’s largest private conservation lab, for a look at how they are rejuvenating an artful piece of Chinese history.

Exhibit Digs Up Satire and Skeletons of ‘Legendary Printmaker’ Posada

A Mexican artist who died 100 years ago still influences popular culture. Inside the exhibit “Jose Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico.”

At Bridgeport Arts Center, Artists Search for Meaning in Migration

(Bridgeport Art Center / Arceo Press)

For decades, the southern border of the U.S. has been a flash point for conflicting points of view. Now, artists from both sides of the border – including Chicago – are navigating the rocky road of migration in “The Border Crossed Us.”

Chicago’s Music Box Theatre Celebrates 90th Anniversary

The Music Box Theatre, 1993. (Credit: Jerry Vasilatos / Music Box Theatre)

On Aug. 22, 1929, the North Side theater opened its doors as the first dedicated “talkie” house in Chicago. What makes this old movie house unique today.

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