Stories by Marc Vitali

Monumental Exhibitions Open Doors to Chicago History

Malcolm X College door painting by Eugene Eda Wade. (Photo by Lee Bey)

Two shows at the Chicago Cultural Center open doors to a local arts movement from 50 years ago.

The Surprising Story Behind ‘Whistler’s Mother’

James McNeill Whistler. “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother),” 1871. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, RF 699. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY.

We visit the Art Institute of Chicago to find out more about the 19th century oil painting “Arrangement in Grey and Black, Number One” – commonly known as “Whistler’s Mother.” 

Remembering a Forgotten Photographer of Chicago History

Jun Fujita (Courtesy of Graham and Pamela Lee)

One hundred years ago he took unforgettable photos of Chicago in turbulent times. Exploring the life of Jun Fujita, a Japanese immigrant who captured city history.

‘Extreme Ice’ at MSI Takes Dramatic Look at Climate Change

A meltwater river formed by glacier melt in Greenland. (James Balog / Museum of Science and Industry)

The changing face of glaciers around the world is the topic of a new exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Art Institute Expands Display of Arms, Armor and Medieval Art

“Armor for Man and Horse,” about 1520 with modern costume. South German, Nuremberg. The Art Institute of Chicago, George F. Harding Collection.

The Art Institute of Chicago unveils new galleries of medieval and Renaissance art – including the re-installation of the popular arms and armor collection. We get a sneak peek.

Chicago Singer Bethany Thomas Releases ‘First’ EP

Next week, the Jeff Award-winning actress and singer releases her first recording, called “First.” She joins us in performance and discussion.

Pinball Meets Paschke in ‘Kings and Queens’ Exhibition

From the exhibition “Kings and Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago.” (James Prinz / Elmhurst Art Museum)

Pinball machines and Ed Paschke paintings go side by side as a suburban museum becomes an artful arcade.

Revolutionary Dance of Merce Cunningham in the Spotlight at MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago joined forces with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for a dual exhibition about an artist of dance who worked with celebrated artists of other disciplines.

Monumental Exhibitions Open Doors to Chicago History

Malcolm X College door painting by Eugene Eda Wade. (Photo by Lee Bey)

Two new shows at the Chicago Cultural Center open doors to a local arts movement from 50 years ago.

Eliza Fournier: How to Garden When the Weather Gets Weird

Spring 2016 at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden)

The master gardener joins us to share some gardening tips for warm winter weather.

Hedy Weiss Reviews: ‘Sweeney Todd,’ ‘Uncle Vanya,’ ‘Game Changers,’ More

Paul-Jordan Jansen and Bri Sudia in Paramount Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” (Liz Lauren / Paramount Theatre)

The Paramount Theatre in Aurora is serving up a gothic new staging of the Stephen Sondheim hit “Sweeney Todd.” We discuss that show and other new productions, with the Chicago Sun-Times dance and theater critic.

Documentary Explores Life of Legendary Writer Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou in a scene from the documentary “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.”

The moving and powerful life of Maya Angelou: A new film explores the many facets of the acclaimed poet and writer.

Revolutionary Dance of Merce Cunningham in the Spotlight at MCA

Merce Cunningham, 2008. (Cameron Wittig, courtesy of Walker Art Center, Minneapolis)

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago joined forces with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for a dual exhibition about an artist of dance who worked with celebrated artists of other disciplines.

New Book ‘Identity Unknown’ Rediscovers Women in the Art World

(Courtesy of Donna Seaman)

Among America’s female artists, Georgia O’Keeffe gets much of the attention. But there are many other worthy – but lesser-known – female artists.

Hot Young Choreographer Shakes Things up at Joffrey Ballet

Justin Peck

The Joffrey Ballet recently reimagined Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”– and the company is now moving to the pulse of popular music.

Grammy Nominee Robbie Fulks Through the Years on WTTW

(Photo by Andy Goodwin)

The 59th annual Grammy Awards are this Sunday and one of the nominees is Chicago singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks. We revisit our conversation and performance with him.

Blair Kamin Weighs in on $500M Willis Tower Renovation

Big changes are in the works for Willis Tower. Architecture critic Blair Kamin gives us his read on that and the latest on the South Works project.

Jonathan Biss, Acclaimed Pianist, on His ‘Obsessive’ Approach to Music

(Courtesy of Jonathan Biss)

A studio performance by classical pianist Jonathan Biss.

Remembering a Forgotten Photographer of Chicago History

Jun Fujita (Courtesy of Graham and Pamela Lee)

One hundred years ago he took unforgettable photos of Chicago in turbulent times. Exploring the life of Jun Fujita, a Japanese immigrant who captured city history.

Behind the Scenes at Chicago’s Puppet Festival

Lookingglass Theatre presents "Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth" (Liz Lauren / Lookingglass Theatre)

Chicago Tonight goes behind the scenes at the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to find out who is pulling the strings.

‘Hamilton’ Voices Rise at Women’s March on Chicago

Three Schuyler Sisters of Chicago’s “Hamilton” to Speak and Sing on Saturday

“Hamilton” may be the story of the Founding Fathers, but at its core are the Schuyler Sisters. Meet the actors who portray the three sisters in advance of their appearance Saturday at the Women’s March on Chicago.

‘Hamilton’ Master Class a Special Opportunity at Little Black Pearl

“Hamilton” dancer Yossi Chaikin. (Chicago Tonight)

One of the dance captains of “Hamilton” taught a master class at a Chicago school for the arts. We were there to witness the cultural exchange.

Kurt Vonnegut Artwork Finds New Home at Chicago Veterans Museum

We speak with the president of the National Veterans Art Museum about a new exhibition of sketches by the acclaimed author of “Slaughterhouse Five.”

‘AIDS in America’ Exhibition Responds to Cultural Climate of 1980s

LADZ (John Arsenault and Adrian Gilliland), Eden #31, 2012. (Photo courtesy of the artists)

An ambitious new art exhibition looks at the cultural impact of, and creative response to, AIDS in America.

Stitches in Time: Historic Quilts at DuSable Museum

A modest but eye-opening new exhibition features practical works of art from the collection of a scholar on American quilts.