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Bodies of Work: The Chicago Festival of Disability Arts and Culture

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Chicago's first-ever festival focusing on work created by and about artists with disabilities includes performances, visual art, film and video, lectures, and workshops presented throughout the city and in some suburban locations through Sunday, April 30, with several visual art exhibits running beyond that date. More than 50 cultural institutions and community groups are participating; all venues are wheelchair-accessible and have accessible restrooms. Many performances include audio description, word-for-word captioning, or sign-language interpretation. Below is a schedule of selected events; for a complete schedule and information on public transportation, parking, accessibility, and accommodations, see www.bodiesofwork.org or call 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2927).

FRIDAY 28

R Traffic

Conceptual, interdisciplinary dance, and media artist Bill Shannon delivers an improvised, choreographed performance that the audience watches from a moving tour bus equipped with video screens and a DJ, as Shannon mixes his relationship to the concrete with freestyle street dancing, gravity-defying skateboarding, and silent-film poetics. The physical feats can be astonishing. (LM) a Departs 6 PM from Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010, $22.

In and Out of the Institution

Short films and videos from Australia and the U.S. a 6 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

Mirror of Unique: Beautiful Me, Beautiful Us

Members of the Thresholds psychiatric rehabilitation center perform an ensemble-created program of short pieces. Sharing personal recollections and self-affirmation may be therapeutic, and the company's intense effort is admirable. But the stories barely scratch the surface of what it's like to feel different or alone, and the production seldom succeeds as theater. A discussion follows the performance. (JG) a 7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington, 773-435-3536, $15.

Peeling

The International Theatre of Chicago presents a staged reading of Irish playwright Kate O'Reilly's drama, in which three challenged actresses struggle to confront their fears of love, sex, war, intimacy, and personal limits as they perform The Trojan Women. A discussion follows the performance. a 7:30 PM, Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497, $7.

Erasing the Distance: The People I Know

Monica Payne directs performances based on true stories of people who have struggled with mental health issues and their loved ones. The show is followed by a dialogue with the audience. a 8 PM, Jane Addams Hull House Center for Arts and Culture, 1136 W. Wilson, 773-944-5062, $15.

Cradle of Man

See listing in Theater & Performance. Word-for-word captioning and sign-language interpretation available for this performance. a 8 PM, Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000 (TTY 312-871-0682), $20.

Afterlife

Allison Peebles directed this 2003 Scottish feature about two estranged siblings whose mother falls ill. 100 min. a 8:15 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

SATURDAY 29

Audism Unveiled

Discrimination against the deaf is the subject of this hour-long 2005 documentary by Ben Bahan, Dirksen Bauman, and Facundo Montenegro. Also on the program: Liz Crow's eight-minute UK short Nectar. a 10 AM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

Fits and Misfits

Fred Camper writes, "In Kerry Richardson's The Kids Are All Right, Jerry's Orphans, a group founded to protest what they consider the degrading 'half a person' approach of Jerry Lewis's telethon, attempt to crash broadcasts, chanting 'no more pity' and making a good case that Lewis's attitude is wrong. The protests are gratifyingly assertive, but the historical change in attitudes they signify goes largely unexplored." Shorts from France, Australia, the UK, and the U.S. complete the program. 95 min. Richardson and Chicago playwright and Jerry's Orphan member Mike Ervin will take part in a dicussion after the screening. a Noon, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

Making Images and Self-Representation

Panel of artists moderated by Northwestern University medical humanities and bioethics prof Alice Dreger. a 2:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F

Cradle of Man

See listing in Theater & Performance. Audio description available for this performance. a 5 PM, Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000 (TTY 312-871-0682), $20.

Mirror of Unique: Beautiful Me, Beautiful Us

See listing for Fri 4/28. a 7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington, 773-435-3536, $15.

Peeling

See listing for Fri 4/28. a 7:30 PM, Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497, $7.

Erasing the Distance: The People I Know

See listing for Fri 4/28. a 8 PM, Jane Addams Hull House Center for Arts and Culture, 1136 W. Wilson, 773-944-5062, $15.

SUNDAY 30

Deregulating Disability and Sexuality

Two short documentaries about issues specific to disabled women. 99 min. a 11 AM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

R Murderball

"We're not going for a hug--we're going for a fucking gold medal," exclaims one of the disabled jocks in this exhilarating documentary about quad rugby, an aggressive, high-contact wheelchair sport for quadriplegics. Directors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro follow a handful of U.S. players from the 2002 world championship in Sweden to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, giving an honest, down-to-earth account of how life goes on for people with disabilities. The players here aren't sanctified by their handicap--in addition to having lost so much in life, they can also lose on the court, and learning how to do so gracefully makes them the same as anyone else. R, 88 min. (JJ) a 1:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). F

Letters to Alex: The Genesis of Frida Kahlo's Voice on Disability Experience

Talk by art historian Gail W. Werblood. a 2 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010. F

Mirror of Unique: Beautiful Me, Beautiful Us

See listing for Fri 4/28. a 2 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington, 773-435-3536, $15.

Cradle of Man

See listing in Theater & Performance. This performance offers a free "touch tour" of the stage for visually impaired patrons at 1:30 PM and is audio described. a 3 PM, Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000 (TTY 312-871-0682), $20.

Erasing the Distance: The People I Know

See listing for Fri 4/28. a 8 PM, Jane Addams Hull House Center for Arts and Culture, 1136 W. Wilson, 773-944-5062, $15.

EXHIBITS

Humans Being: Disability in Contemporary Art

Work by 20-plus artists, through 6/4. Also, "Thinking Out Loud," work from studio programs for artists with disabilities, through 5/14. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 (TTY 312-744-2947). Mon-Thu 8 AM-7 PM, Fri 8 AM-6 PM, Sat 9 AM-6 PM, Sun 10 AM-6 PM. F

Self-Portraits as an Artist

Work by Jason Lazarus, through 4/30. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010. Thu-Sun 10 AM-5 PM. $10, $6 students and seniors.

Peer.me.sis Project

Autobiographical art from Little City Foundation, through 5/31. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. (daily 9 AM-6 PM), and Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph (Mon-Thu 10 AM-7 PM, Fri 10 AM-6 PM, Sat 10 AM-5 PM, Sun 11 AM-5 PM), 847-221-7766. Audio describers will be at South Shore Sat 4/29, 1-3 PM, and at Gallery 37 Sat 4/29, 1-3 PM. F

Navigation/Negotiation

"Disability-themed" art by School of the Art Institute students, staff, and alumni, through 6/12. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, 312-499-4286. Mon-Fri 5-9 PM, Sat 2-9 PM, Sun 2-6 PM. F

Expressions of Ability

Group show, through 4/30. Jane Addams Hull House Center for Arts and Culture, 1136 W. Wilson, 773-907-9403. Thu-Fri 10 AM-6 PM, Sat noon-5 PM. F

Disability in Chicago

Historical exhibit, through 7/31. National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, 1801 S. Indiana, 312-326-0270. Tue-Fri 11 AM-6 PM, Sat 10 AM-5 PM, Sun noon-5 PM. $10, $7 students. Audio describers survey the show Sat 4/29, 3-5 PM.

The Abstract Mind Mural

Mural by 30-plus professional artists working with "individuals living with mental illness," through 4/30. Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Dr., 312-337-2536. Thu-Sat 9:30 AM-4 PM, Sun 11 AM-5 PM. $11.

Interactive Playground

Art from seven countries exploring "the concept of disability," plus work by members of the group Arts of Life, through 4/30. Also, "Urban Perspectives," cityscapes and portraits by adults with developmental disabilities, through 4/30. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838. Thu-Fri noon-8 PM, Sat-Sun noon-5 PM. Reception Fri 4/28, 6-9 PM. F

ImaginArt

Drawings and paintings by kids and adults with special needs, through 4/30. LaSalle Bank, 135 S. LaSalle, lower arcade, 312-726-7090. Daily 8 AM-6 PM. F

Side by Side

Collaborative work by disabled and nondisabled artists, through 4/30. Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple, Hinsdale, 63 0-986-1976. Thu 9 AM-9 PM, Fri 9 AM-6 PM, Sat 9 AM-5 PM, Sun 12:30-5 PM. F

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