Stories by Marc Vitali

The Magic of Magritte

Shooting a Real Story About a Surreal Sort of Guy

An extraordinary look at everyday objects, the Art Institute’s summer blockbuster is “Rene Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary.” Don’t miss it.

Rejection in Black-and-White

An Old Chicago Film Studio Knew What They Wanted – and It Probably Wasn’t Your Script

Apparently Chicago's silent film studio received enough unsolicited manuscripts to craft a form letter to silence prospective writers.

Chicago Artist Flying High with Flyboys and Girls

Comics, Pop Culture and Anime Inspire a Painter's "Parade"

You might have seen the name Hebru Brantley in the press last year. The Chicago artist made waves with just one sale when Jay-Z bought a painting of his at Miami’s Art Basel expo.

An Artist in Hiding

One Woman’s Passionate Chronicle of Life During Wartime

Charlotte Salomon’s art is a fantastic expression of her own personal drama. “It is my whole life.”

Blues for the Taking

City’s Largest Free Music Festival Brings the Blues (and the Soul and the Funk and the Folk and the…)

This weekend the 31st annual Chicago Blues Festival electrifies Grant Park with a diverse line-up that expands the definition of the blues.

Richard Pryor, John Belushi and… Maya Angelou?

A Little-Remembered TV Moment from 1977 Blends Comedy and Tragedy

This skit is a reminder of how progressive Richard Pryor could be in pushing the boundaries of storytelling. It's also somewhat shocking by today's standards because of the provocative language used on network TV in the ‘70s.

Modern Sculpture in an Old-Fashioned Setting

Free Art Show Invites Fresh Look at Civic Gem

An 88 year-old war memorial has a new function: it’s the stunning backdrop to a show of contemporary sculpture.

This 'Henry' is Unexpectedly Hilarious

Shakespeare’s Band of Brothers Breached by a Band of Fools

They spar, make obscene gestures, and throw around insults like “egregious dog,” “counterfeit rascal” and “damned and luxurious mountain goat.”

A Mother and Son in Verse

Chicago Family Transcends Tragic Twists of Fate

Gail and Morris Barazani have been married for 66 years – longer than their only son was alive...

That Ellington Elegance

A Mother’s Day Tip of the Hat to a Great Composer of American Music

Celebrating a decade of music and dance, the Harris Theater at Millennium Park hosts a Mother’s Day tribute to Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, who died 40 years ago this month.

Remembering a Movie Star in Park Ridge

Re-acquaint yourself with a Hollywood legend tonight at the Pickwick Theatre

Tyrone Power will be remembered in a double feature on the big screen. Power gets the spotlight for his starring roles in In Old Chicago and....

The State of the Arts

Artists from Illinois– and one from Minnesota – Make Monstrous Magic

Four solo exhibitions from local artists, plus one beast of an installation.

The Mystery and Allure of “White Mystery”

Dynamic Duo of Siblings Brings the Noise and More

Is White Mystery too wild for Chicago Tonight or just wild enough?

Dreaming of an Earthly Paradise

Kashmir and More at The Art Institute

Art Institute of Chicago - Nilima Sheikh

New at the museum -- two solo exhibitions feature a pair of female contemporary Indian artists.

A Chicago Memory from the Writer Who Groucho Marx Called “The Wittiest Man I’ve Ever Known”

George S. Kaufman was One of America’s Funniest Playwrights -- and He Had Self-Doubt and Talent in Equal Measures

It’s funny the way Chicago anecdotes bloom in books about Broadway.

Three Shows to Brighten Your Daylight Savings Time Weekend

Spotlight on Wildly Different Shows that Offer Light, Dark, and the Unexpected

Set your clocks forward on Sunday -- but not before you shine a light on some excellent art opportunities.

When Monty Python Put the Squeeze on PBS Pledge

39 Years Ago, Members of the Famed Comedy Troupe Turned Channel 11’s Membership Drive Into a Flying Circus

“Would you like to subscribe to public television, or would you prefer a knee to the groin?”

The Sting from Another World

Meeting a Pop Star is Like Meeting Royalty from A Distant Planet

Love him or not, people want to know: what was Sting like? Honestly, I was in King Sting’s galaxy for exactly 14 minutes last Thursday in a room with a lot of other people. If you want a real take on his personality, you should ask someone who’s known him for at least 15 minutes.

Gorey Details

13 Thrilling Things You May Not Know About the Mysterious Mr. Gorey

Edward Gorey was a Chicagoan. It’s amazing how many people are unaware (myself included, until recently) that the great Gorey was born in Chicago in 1925.

The Jokers Are Wild

A Still Life Artist Isn't Clowning About Portraiture

Clowns are funny. Clowns are scary. Clowns are divisive – people love ‘em or hate ‘em.

Writing in Ernest

App Helps Make Your Writing as Clear and Strong as Hemingway’s

A free new app is a fun and easy way to improve your writing. Brothers Ben and Adam Long created a program that aims to simplify your writing in the style of Ernest Hemingway.

Recommending a Theatrical "Train Wreck"

The Show Must Go On – A Big Top Tragedy Inspires Both Lunacy and Reverence

This Train Wreck isn’t really a disaster – quite the opposite – but it’s about a disaster: the tragedy that occurred in 1918 near Hammond, Indiana when an empty U.S. Army troop train crashed into a fully-loaded circus train stopped on the tracks.

Let It Beatles

You Don’t Have to be a Baby Boomer to Love The Beatles

Forgive me, but I don’t remember The Beatles arriving in America 50 years ago or their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

A Hollywood Alternative

Movie Posters Reveal a Parallel History of American Filmmaking

An upcoming art exhibition promises to be a fascinating look at film history and African-American history.

Fred Rogers, Artist (and Superhero)

The Beloved PBS host was a Master of Music with Powers of Persuasion

Fred Rogers was a friend to every child -- he was also an artist and a brave citizen.