Fearless Art / Arte audaz
Greetings friends! In the past 15 days I’ve immersed myself in Chicago’s International Film Festival, multi-faceted performance scene, and actively engaged art…
“Cohabit”- Environmental artist, Jenny Kendler, conveys how we all are part of nature, and desperately need to interact with her in order to be fully nurtured.
“Rastros y cronicas: Women of Juarez” opened at the National Museum of Mexican Art (the only continuously free museum in Chicago) and runs through February 14, 2010. The exhibit focuses on the reactions of artists to the femicide that has claimed over 500 young women’s lives since 1993 on the U.S. / Mexico border.
Book: Diane Taylor‘s, “Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s ‘Dirty Wars'” (available to read in full on Google Books) explores how performance influences and controls society and politics.
Group: CoachSurfing is a good-will exchange site where one hosts visitors to the city and/or stays with other hosts when traveling. The Chicago group meets with their traveling coach-surfers every Thursday for fantastically fun (and cheap) cultural exchange. I thank social coordinator and radio host, Justin Velander Holt (‘Bob Dubilina’) for introducing me to the group.
Lecture: “Dance for the Camera” is an annual screening and discussion at the Chicago Cultural Center of international dance film (meaning that a dance is not simply filmed for an archive by a camera but, instead, specifically choreographed for it). Hedwig Dances performed and presented a preview of their dance film “Arch of Repose” which will premier at the Music Box Theatre and the Alliance Francaise in early November. [For more details, click here.] I was personally very proud to see Belgium’s Cel Crabeels excerpt of “Slave Unit” (see below), as I was the one who encouraged her to submit the piece that explores how the photographer-hunter turns into the model-prey and vice versa.
Movies: ‘A Woman’s Way’ (Strella, Greece) was my favorite movie of the Chicago International Film Festival for it’s bold and bright take on Greek tragedy (see below). Director Panos H. Koutras shared how he struggled to get funding because of his insistence on a happy ending. ‘Backyard’ (El traspatio, Mexico) left a lot to be desired because of Carlos Carrera’s Hollywood take (sexual scenes fetishizing violence, over-acting, fiction presented as fact) on the deaths of the women of Juarez (mentioned above). ‘Daniel & Ana’ (Mexico), on the other hand, was phenomenally executed by director Michel Franco. The psychological trauma of violence, being violated, and violating are handled masterfully and provoke a cathartic experience. ‘Eastern Plays’ (Bulgaria/Sweden) pulled on my heartstrings and left and indelible character in my memory: we hear the psychologist giving advice off camera; slowly….the camera pans and we see he’s no one to be giving advice! ‘Lars and Peter’ (Denmark) was my favorite short for capturing the difficult relationships experienced between a young son and his widowed father. ‘Soundtrack for a Revolution’ (USA) is a must-see documentary by Dan Sturman and Bill Guttentag about folk songs and the singers who drew strength from them in order to fortify the struggle for equal rights. What revolution are we fighting? What will its soundtrack be? LET IT NOT BE SILENCE!
Performance Theater: ‘Hey, Mr. Spaceman’ was a fun musical show combining trapeze, short films and comedy. The sold-out ‘FEAR’ (a guided haunting experience inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and produced by the Neo-Futurists) was excellent. Last but not least, I am so glad I was able to catch “Rollin’ Outta Here Naked” at the Chopin Theater. Inspired by “The Big Lebowski,” the Burlesque show was produced by Vaudezilla with excellent acting. I appreciated their progressive approach to the neo-burlesque format ( imagine Walter, shown below, stripping away his gun and rolls of fat to reveal a lovely lady, whose goatee and Vietnam dogtags remain).
Dudes and dudettes…thanks as always for reading, chatting, and cheering… criticizing, ignoring, and questioning. Have a great rest of the month and drop me a line if you’re interested in attending a Scary Story Reading I will be doing Thursday (10/29) in the West Loop.