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Stories by Marc Vitali

Pitchfork Lineup Includes Debuts by Melkbelly, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya

Two Chicago bands get ready to bring the noise this weekend when they make their debuts at the Pitchfork Music Festival.

Keith Haring’s Chicago Mural Speaks to Youth, Artists

Nearly 30 years ago, artist Keith Haring enlisted the help of 500 Chicago students to paint a 488-foot long mural. Chicago Tonight caught up with a trio of those teens who grew up to be artists themselves. 

New MCA Exhibit ‘Raised on the Internet’

An art exhibition takes you inside the digital domain of the internet and explores how the internet has changed the way we experience the world. 

Martin Espada Wins Top Poetry Foundation Prize

Often called “the people’s poet,” Martin Espada was recently awarded one of the nation’s top literary awards. 

New Arts Club Show Explores Chicago as ‘A Home for Surrealism’

Harold Noecker. “The Genius?” c. 1943. (Collection of Bernard Friedman, Chicago)

An unusual new art show looks at fantastic and strange paintings made by Chicago and Midwestern artists in the mid-20th century. We visit the Arts Club of Chicago.

Stony Island Arts Bank Remembers Historic Johnson Publishing Company

A new exhibition conveys the role of the publishers of Ebony and Jet magazines in spreading the word on black culture from their onetime offices at 820 S. Michigan Ave.

Ivan Albright, ‘Master of the Macabre,’ in the ‘Flesh’ at Art Institute

Ivan Albright. “Portrait of Mary Block,” 1955-‘57. Gift of Mary and Leigh Block. (© The Art Institute of Chicago)

By all accounts, Ivan Albright was a lighthearted fellow – but in the mid-20th century, the Chicago artist painted some very dark pictures.

Rediscovering Influential Chicago Artist Charles White at the Art Institute

Charles White. “Trenton Six,” 1949. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX. (© The Charles White Archives Inc.)

On the 100th anniversary of his birth, Charles White is being recognized with the first major retrospective of his work since 1982. 

New Arts Club Show Explores Chicago as ‘A Home for Surrealism’

Harold Noecker. “The Genius?” c. 1943. (Collection of Bernard Friedman, Chicago)

An unusual new art show looks at fantastic and strange paintings made by Chicago and Midwestern artists in the mid-20th century. We visit the Arts Club of Chicago.

Taking Flight with 30 Years of the Illinois Butterfly Network

(Courtesy of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

We peek behind the scenes at an exotic butterfly sanctuary in Chicago, and learn how volunteers help scientists track butterfly populations.

Chicago’s Ensemble Espanol Has Exported Spanish Dance Around the World

Behind the scenes with Ensemble Espanol as they prepare for an energetic show of Spanish dance.

At Blues Fest, a Taste of Delmark Records’ History and Future

Delmark Records founder Bob Koester (Courtesy City of Chicago)

We stop by Delmark Records, where a blues summit took place this week in preparation for the 35th annual Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park.

New Book Chronicles Path from ‘Hoop Dreams’ to Violent Reality

Shawn Harrington (Credit: NMSU and Dennis Daily)

CPS graduate Shawn Harrington is at the center of a harrowing but hopeful new book by Rus Bradburd, his former New Mexico State basketball coach-turned-author.

Exploring the World of Camper Culture With WGN’s Dave Hoekstra

(Jon Sall / Courtesy Chicago Review Press)

RVs and camper culture hit the highway in a book that celebrates the “moveable American dream.” 

How Will Lincoln Yards Impact Chicago’s Music Scene?

Lincoln Yards artist’s rendering (Courtesy Sterling Bay)

A former industrial corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River could be turned in to the city’s newest entertainment district. Rock critic Jim DeRogatis sounds a warning.

Rainn Wilson at Steppenwolf Theater In a Farce to be Reckoned With

The actor known for his role as Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office” talks about his dual roles in Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s new play “The Doppelganger.”

Chicago Theater Recommendations from Hedy Weiss

Tiffany Topol, seated, and, from left: Cassidy Stirtz, Nik Kmiecik, Jeanne T. Arrigo and Everleigh Murphy. (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

Theater critic Hedy Weiss gives us her take on shows from American Blues Theater, Shattered Globe, Porchlight, the Paramount Theatre and more.

Ivan Albright, ‘Master of the Macabre,’ in the ‘Flesh’ at Art Institute

Ivan Albright. “Portrait of Mary Block,” 1955-‘57. Gift of Mary and Leigh Block. (© The Art Institute of Chicago)

By all accounts, Ivan Albright was a lighthearted fellow – but in the mid-20th century, the Chicago artist painted some very dark pictures.

Teller Brings Dark Magic to ‘Macbeth’

Aaron Posner, left, and Teller (of Penn & Teller) adapt and direct Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Macbeth.” (Photo by Bill Burlingham)

Witches, sorcery and ghosts: Shakespeare’s spookiest and shortest play gets adapted into a horror thriller with modern day magic.

Faces, Places from a Chicago Photographer Now 90 Years Old

Barbara Crane, “Little Darlings,” 2012 (Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery)

She’s been photographing Chicago for nearly 70 years. Meet artist Barbara Crane.

Resurrecting ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Jo Lampert in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Jo Lampert and Michael Cunio, who currently appear in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Lyric Opera of Chicago, join us in performance and discussion.

Remembering the Lasting Contributions of Art Shay and Art Paul

The remarkable work of photographer Art Shay, and Art Paul, the first art director for Playboy who designed the iconic bunny logo.

Motown Mastermind Lamont Dozier Makes Music with Chicago Children’s Theatre

From left: E. Faye Butler, Alejandro Medina, Breon Arzell and Jesse Bhamrah in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s world premiere of “Last Stop on Market Street.” (Photo credit: Charles Osgood)

He wrote a multitude of Motown classics, and now he’s working with Chicago Children’s Theatre. Legendary songwriter Lamont Dozier and his son talk about their new musical “Last Stop on Market Street.” 

Taking Flight with 30 Years of the Illinois Butterfly Network

(Courtesy of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

We peek behind the scenes at an exotic butterfly sanctuary in Chicago, and learn how volunteers help scientists track butterfly populations.

Chicago Cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, 15, Makes Symphony Center Debut

The young musician joins us in conversation and performance ahead of her Chicago professional debut with the Chicago Sinfonietta next month.