Stories by Marc Vitali

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.

Restored Art Installation Invites Reflection on Consequences of War

A prominent work of art has been out of the public eye for almost five years. Titled “Above and Beyond,” the installation commemorates American soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and it's back on display at the Harold Washington Library.

‘Heroes on Deck’ Reveals Story Behind WWII Pilots, Sunken Aircraft

A new documentary tells the amazing story of World War II aviators who earned their wings aboard makeshift aircraft carriers on Lake Michigan.

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.

1970s David Bowie Photos Unveiled in New Book from Chicago-Based Artist

David with cigarette on a break from filming “The Man Who Fell to Earth” in New Mexico 1975. This became a Rolling Stone cover and a popular image. (Steve Schapiro / powerHouse Books)

On Saturday, photographer Steve Schapiro visits the Ed Paschke Art Center. The 81-year-old Chicago transplant will speak about his new book, “Bowie.”

Lorraine Hansberry Day Honors Celebrated Chicago Playwright

Lorraine Hansberry (Courtesy of The Goodman Theatre)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed May 19 "Lorraine Hansberry Day" in Chicago. We take a look at various events around the city honoring the Chicago playwright and her legacy.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Pays Tribute to Singer Sarah Vaughan

Bonus: 15 things you might not know about Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan, circa August 1946 (William P. Gottlieb via Wikimedia Commons)

Her nicknames included "Sassy" and the “Divine One," but whatever you called her, Sarah Vaughan was an exceptional voice. On Friday, the CSO pays tribute to her with performances by the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and three vocalists, including Ann Hampton Callaway.

‘FEAST’ Serves Up Chicago’s Diverse Food Culture, Cooking Traditions

Albany Park Theater Project presents "FEAST"

A critically acclaimed stage production by Albany Park Theater Project makes its television debut on WTTW Thursday night.

Chicago Painter’s Artwork Began in Suburban Kitchen, Ended Up in Museums

Jeanette Pasin Sloan, Crazy II. (Courtesy Jeanette Pasin Sloan)

A Chicago artist makes photo-realistic paintings you have to see to believe. We take a look at the artist’s self-taught beginnings in her suburban kitchen and how her hard work paid off. 

The Radical Beauty of Photographer Aaron Siskind at the Art Institute

Left: Aaron Siskind. Gloucester 16 1944, 1944. (The Art Institute of Chicago, The Mary and Leigh Block). Right: Aaron Siskind. Jerome 21 1949, 1949. (The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Aaron Siskind)

From New York to Chicago, the influential photographer and teacher focused on “the drama of objects.”

Broadway Star Kate Baldwin on Chicago Roots, ‘The King and I’

15 Things You Might Not Know About ‘The King and I’

Kate Baldwin and Paolo Montalban in 'The King and I' (Courtesy of the Lyric Opera)

The star of "The King and I," now on stage at the Lyric Opera, talks about her Evanston roots and performs songs from the production.

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. 

Lyric’s ‘King and I’: A Sumptuous, Crowd-Pleasing Clash of Cultures

Lyric Opera of Chicago's "The King and I" (Todd Rosenberg)

Epic yet intimate Rodgers and Hammerstein revival earns an opening night standing ovation at the Civic Opera House.

Virtuoso Photo-Realist Painter Returns to Chicago

Jeanette Pasin Sloan, Teapot Small. (Courtesy Jeanette Pasin Sloan)

Meet the onetime stay-at-home mom who painted everyday kitchen objects before emerging as a sought-after artist.