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Stories by Marc Vitali

‘Bitten by the Blues’ Chronicles Rise of Chicago’s Alligator Records

Looking back over 50 years of the blues with the founder of Alligator Records Bruce Iglauer.

Art Institute Exhibit Brings ‘Floating World’ to Life

(Utagawa Toyokuni. A painting from One Hundred Looks of Various Women, 1816. Weston Collection.)

History, beauty and pleasure are on display in the first public showing of a standout collection of Japanese art. 

The Weird and Fanciful Art of the Hairy Who

Jim Nutt. “Wowidow,” 1968. The Art Institute of Chicago, The Lacy Armour and Samuel and Blanche Koffler Acquisition funds; the Estate of Walter Aitken. © Jim Nutt.

A show at the Art Institute explores the work of a group of Chicago artists who made a strong impression on the art world in the 1960s.

Chicago Artist’s Caricatures a New Yorker Staple

Barack Obama and the Constitution by Tom Bachtell (Courtesy of the artist)

Meet Tom Bachtell, a longtime contributor to The New Yorker whose caricatures of famous people in popular culture go around the world.

For South Side Native Dion ‘No I.D.’ Wilson, Hip-Hop About Intention

No I.D., left, is interviewed by “Chicago Tonight” special correspondent Jeff Baraka.

He’s not a household name, but the music executive and producer known as No I.D. is a major behind-the-scenes player. Meet the Chicago music producer who has recorded Kanye West, Jay-Z and others.

Celebrating the Holidays with Jazz Singer Dee Alexander

Dee Alexander sings holiday songs and talks about playing with a big-band jazz orchestra.

Capturing Icons of the 1960s, ‘70s: Behind the Lens of Steve Schapiro

A pair of photography exhibitions offer a side of celebrity but focus on one man’s view of the struggle for civil rights.

Chicago Artist’s Caricatures a New Yorker Staple

Barack Obama and the Constitution by Tom Bachtell (Courtesy of the artist)

Meet Tom Bachtell, a longtime contributor to The New Yorker whose caricatures of famous people in popular culture go around the world.

The Art Institute of Chicago Celebrates 125th Anniversary

The Art Institute of Chicago in 1893 (Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago)

Saturday marks 125 years since the opening of the historic building that houses the Art Institute of Chicago. We reflect on the past – and look to the future – with James Rondeau, the museum’s president and director.

London Photographer Shines a Light on Chicago People, Places

“Chicago Lights,” ShanZuo ZhouShi and DaHuang ZhouShi (Credit: Abigail Zoe Martin)

Abigail Zoe Martin moved to Chicago three years ago and used her camera as a calling card. A new exhibition of her work features portraits of both famous faces and little-known locals.

Chris Jones’ Book ‘Rise Up!’ Examines Contemporary American Theater

From “Angels in America” to “Hamilton,” a new book from Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones looks at the last quarter century of American theater.

Singer Paul Marinaro ‘Blessed’ to be Performing in Chicago

One of Chicago’s hottest singers is on the comeback trail following a severe health scare. We catch up with Paul Marinaro at the Green Mill.

Local Museums Embrace Rich History of Design in Chicago

Wall clock designed by George Stephens and made by the Hammond Clock Company, Chicago, 1938. (Chicago History Museum)

A look at Chicago’s historical influence on an enduring design style. Plus, overlooked graphic art made by African-American designers.

Capturing Icons of the 1960s, ‘70s: Behind the Lens of Steve Schapiro

A pair of new photography exhibitions offer a side of celebrity but focus on one man’s view of the struggle for civil rights.

Inside Wrightwood 659, a New Home for Art and Architecture

The facade and interior of Wrightwood 659 (Credit: Jeff Goldberg)

A Chicago apartment building from the 1920s has been radically reimagined. It is now an unusual art gallery designed by a world-renowned architect. 

Heroic Artist Alex Ross Takes on Comic Book Legends

(Courtesy Alex Ross)

The renowned comic book artist unmasks his methods for capturing Spider-Man, Black Panther and other Marvel superheroes in his new book “Marvelocity.”

The Weird and Fanciful Art of the Hairy Who

Jim Nutt. “Wowidow,” 1968. The Art Institute of Chicago, The Lacy Armour and Samuel and Blanche Koffler Acquisition funds; the Estate of Walter Aitken. © Jim Nutt.

A new show at the Art Institute explores the work of a group of Chicago artists who made a strong impression on the art world in the 1960s.

Fall Theater Recommendations from Hedy Weiss

Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Francis Guinan, left, and K. Todd Freeman in the world premiere of “Downstate.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Hedy Weiss reviews a provocative new play about sex offenders at Steppenwolf Theatre, plus a new musical based on the movie “Tootsie.”

New Book ‘Art in Chicago’ an Ambitious Historical Overview

William Walker, “Childhood Is without Prejudice,” 1977 (Photograph by James Prigoff and Robin J. Dunitz)

Chicago has been the creative home to many unusual artists over its history. A new book looks at the big picture, from the Great Chicago Fire to the art scene of today.

South Side Artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s Get Spotlight in 2 Exhibitions

How South Side artists charted new courses for Chicago art – and created a cultural legacy that echoes to this day.

Transforming the Merchandise Mart Into a Canvas for Digital Art

This weekend, the largest digital art projection in the world will be projected onto a Chicago landmark. Here’s a preview of Art on the Mart.

Singer Paul Marinaro ‘Blessed’ to be Performing in Chicago

One of Chicago’s hottest singers is on the comeback trail following a severe health scare. We catch up with Paul Marinaro at the Green Mill.

Fall Gardening Tips From Eliza Fournier of the Chicago Botanic Garden

Cooler weather can present challenges to local gardeners. How to make the most of the season.

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art ‘Lions’ Exhibit Taps into Its Roots

A jewel of a museum in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village has emphasized contemporary art for more than 40 years. We visit the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art for a look at its past – and future.

On Eve of CSO Season Opener, a Conversation with Riccardo Muti

Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti joins Hedy Weiss in conversation.

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