Culture Vultures | Slideshows | Chicago Reader

Culture Vultures 

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Ethan Austin, cofounder and second banana at Give Forward, went with his whole company to see: A Good Old-Fashioned Mix of This and That on its opening night at Second City. (Click on the caption for more)

"It's sketch and improv, and a fun little show. There was a hilarious sketch about two 'kids' opening presents; the presents kept getting lamer, but the two performers became increasingly excited about them, jumping around. It was a very frenetic scene—I don't know how they lasted the whole time, which must have been four or five minutes. I probably would have passed out after 30 seconds."

Through April 28, 10:30 PM, 1608 N. Wells, secondcity.com.

Barbara Koenen, director of Chicago Artists Resource in the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, just started reading: James Gleick's The Information (Click on the caption for more)

"His book, Chaos, from the 1980s, was so revelatory and inspiring to me as an artist and, later, as a bureaucrat. He talked about how systems develop and patterns evolve, and our attempt to identify and predict them—and he was great at explaining complex physics so a layperson could understand. Very engaging. In talking about this new book, Gleick said it has taken him 20 years to understand what he'd started writing about in Chaos—that 'information' is a fundamental building block of the world found in genes, bytes, currents, codes, bits, libraries, etc. He also talks about the invaluable role of redundancy in communication, which I find especially reassuring. I haven't finished it yet, because I'm savoring every bit!"

Cameron Esposito, stand-up comic, might be reading: Something by Tobias Wolff (Click on the caption for more)

"David Sedaris recommends that we all read Tobias Wolff--not just when asked by a reporter about his favorite authors, but in front of a full theater of his own fans. I would have been happy just to hear new work, or Sedaris's take on stories I've read, when I saw him in suburban Waukegan last month--his only stop on this tour in the Chicagoland area. But charm a group of suburbanites with dirty jokes, tell off-the-cuff anecdotes during a Q&A session, and then end the evening plugging someone else's books--copies of which he was selling in the lobby next to his own? That man's as classy as he is hilarious."

Winifred Haun, artistic director at Winifred Haun & Dancers, checked out: The film Never Let Me Go (Click on the caption for more)

"It was originally a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote Remains of the Day. I loved the mystery of the movie—it's a bit of a thriller — and that you think you know what's going on, but you can't really tell. Slowly, like in the book, the story is revealed. And even at the end of the movie, you still have this penetrating feeling like, you think you know what's going on, but you really just sense it and feel it instead of having everything laid bare. Carey Mulligan, who plays the lead, is really wonderful. She comes across as really smart and strong. I would love to play with the concept of feeling that there's something there, but not being able to see it directly, in my work, so that people feel comfortable having it touch them without it being spoon-fed to them.

Ken Saunders, owner/director of Ken Saunders Gallery and Art Chicago exhibitor, just experienced: We Shall Be All, an audio/sound/sculpture performance by Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Click on the caption for more)

"One piece happens in the main hall, the other in a dark room. The two works were both magical: both provided the listener/viewer with an opportunity to enjoy an artistic experience that was transcendental and out-of-body, if only because as a listener/viewer you had to respond to the fact that the experience was so different than expected. One goes into a museum to look at things, so just responding to the challenge of bringing different senses to bear can make for a really enriching experience. The evening I went, a bunch of more knowledgeable members of the art scene were in the audience, and I could tell that they were genuinely moved."

Through June 12, 220 E. Chicago, mcachicago.org.

2/5

Barbara Koenen, director of Chicago Artists Resource in the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, just started reading: James Gleick's The Information (Click on the caption for more)

"His book, Chaos, from the 1980s, was so revelatory and inspiring to me as an artist and, later, as a bureaucrat. He talked about how systems develop and patterns evolve, and our attempt to identify and predict them—and he was great at explaining complex physics so a layperson could understand. Very engaging. In talking about this new book, Gleick said it has taken him 20 years to understand what he'd started writing about in Chaos—that 'information' is a fundamental building block of the world found in genes, bytes, currents, codes, bits, libraries, etc. He also talks about the invaluable role of redundancy in communication, which I find especially reassuring. I haven't finished it yet, because I'm savoring every bit!"

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