Stories by Marc Vitali

Turbulence of America in 1930s Gives Rise to Distinct Artistic Voices

Grant Wood, “American Gothic,” 1930. (Friends of American Art Collection. The Art Institute of Chicago)

It has been said that the Great Depression was the best thing that ever happened to American artists. A new exhibition looks at how artists of the 1930s applied their diverse visions to the American dream during this time of immense change.

Actor Kevin Bacon Speaks With Young Chicago Authors

Kevin Bacon at a Young Chicago Authors event on Thursday.

We hear from actor Kevin Bacon about helping out a group of young Chicago authors known as the Bomb Squad.

How Playboy Magazine Created a Taste for Architecture and Design

"Designs for Living" article in July 1961 Playboy magazine issue. (Courtesy of Elmhust Art Museum)

We revisit an exhibition in suburban Elmhurst that examines how Playboy exposed its readers to new concepts in architecture and design.

Innovation, Sustainability Key to Future of Farming in Illinois

Nic Helderman of Mighty Vine.

Tomatoes and salad greens that are served in upscale Chicago restaurants are grown in Ogle County, Illinois. We visit the source.

Lipizzan Horses Trained in Dressage a Noble Mix of Athlete, Artist

On a horse farm north of Chicago, a European tradition combines artistry and athletic prowess. We meet some of the star athletes–and the ponies that will someday take their place.

‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Jonathan Pryce on his Many Roles for Stage, Screen

Actor Jonathan Pryce on "Chicago Tonight."

Actor Jonathan Pryce joins us to talk about the controversial character Shylock he portrays in Shakepeare's “The Merchant of Venice”–and his scene-stealing role in “Game of Thrones.”

Puerto Rican Museum Celebrates Culture, Embraces New Traditions

(Courtesy National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture)

Take a look inside a museum of Puerto Rican art and culture in a historic building in Humboldt Park.

Hedy Weiss Reviews: ‘War Paint,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ More

"War Paint" at Goodman Theatre. (Joan Marcus)
The Chicago Sun-Times theater critic reviews a Pulitzer prize-winning play at Steppenwolf Theatre, a pair of one-man shows and two Tony award-winning actresses.

Oak Park Collections Reveal ‘Hidden Hemingway’

A new book combs through the local archives to document the life of an American literary lion, Ernest Hemingway.

New Book Puts ‘Anger and Forgiveness’ Under the Microscope

(Photo credit, from left: U3096855 / Creative Commons; Pixabay)

Anger is everywhere. A new book looks at anger from ancient times to current politics. A conversation with the author of "Anger and Forgiveness."

The Arts Club of Chicago at 100

Picasso, Miro, and now the latest acquisition of the Arts Club of Chicago as it marks its centennial year.

Steve Dahl Dissects the Disco Demolition

Steve Dahl at Disco Demolition Night, July 12, 1979. (Paul Natkin)

The new book "Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died" explores the notorious history of the "Anti-Disco Army" – a rebellion that led to chaos at Comiskey Park and a forfeited game for the Chicago White Sox.

Eliza Fournier Shares Midsummer Gardening Tips

The Chicago Botanic Garden's Eliza Fournier shares a bushel of recommendations to keep your garden healthy in the summer heat.

Turbulence of America in 1930s Gives Rise to Distinct Artistic Voices

Grant Wood, “American Gothic,” 1930. (Friends of American Art Collection. The Art Institute of Chicago)

It has been said that the Great Depression was the best thing that ever happened to American artists. A new exhibition looks at how artists of the 1930s applied their diverse visions to the American dream during this time of immense change.

Obama Library in Chicago to be Designed by New York Team

The University of Chicago (Credit: Tom Rossiter)

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama announced Thursday that the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago will be designed by renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.  

Mel Brooks Celebrates 90th Birthday

Mel Brooks. (Photo credit, from left: Towpilot, Angela George / Wikimedia Commons)

The great Mel Brooks turns 90 on Tuesday. A WTTW11 crew met him in February 2001 when this genuine genius of entertainment was just a babe at 74 years old.

Lila Downs Blends Tradition, Activism in Music

Lila Downs is an innovative singer with roots in both Minnesota and Oaxaca, Mexico. She studied voice and anthropology in college and marries the two interests in her culturally inspired musical pursuits. 

Big Mural on Campus: Lane Tech High School Adds to Art Collection

Students are the focus of a new mural at a CPS school that has a nationally recognized art collection. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the contemporary work.

History of the Rolling Stones Told by Glencoe Native in New Book

Rich Cohen

From their rise in the early 1960s at the forefront of the British invasion to the worldwide mega-tours of more recent decades, the Rolling Stones have never left the public eye. A new book takes a panoramic look at the band. 

Little Black Pearl Artists Focus of Union League Club Exhibit

Young artists get a rare opportunity to show their work. We visit the Union League Club to see an exhibition by a cultural institution in the Kenwood community called Little Black Pearl.

War of Words Continues in Springfield as End of Fiscal Year Looms

| Meredith Francis

Illinois State House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joins "Chicago Tonight" after a week of incendiary rhetoric in Springfield as the end of the fiscal year is just two weeks away.

Master of Painting Brings Art from Bronzeville to the World

“Past Times,” 1997. (Courtesy of the MCA)

From his studio in Bronzeville, Kerry James Marshall creates large-scale canvases that are prized in museums around the world. A 1997 winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Marshall spoke with “Chicago Tonight” at the opening of his career retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Chicago Journalist Shares His Memories of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali versus Ernie Terrell at the Houston Astrodome in 1967. (Cliff / Flickr)

A Muslim prayer service was held Thursday to honor the boxer in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. As part of a Nation of Islam delegation, Salim Muwakkil met Muhammad Ali in Kingston, Jamaica in 1974.

Alligator Records Has Been Rocking the House for 45 Years

The Chicago Blues Festival kicks off Friday with a tribute to Alligator Records. Founder Bruce Iglauer and musician Toronzo Cannon reflect on the significance of the music they love.

In Chicago and Des Plaines, 2 Artists Driven by Myths and Dreams

"The Unknown Room" by Gina Litherland, left, and "Lady Fukushima" by Paul Lamantia.

A pair of Midwestern artists makes richly detailed paintings that explore mythology and nightmares. Aside from mysterious themes and striking visuals, the works of painters Gina Litherland and Paul Lamantia are essentially different.

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