March is here, and that means it's time for another round of "...Got Art?" Of course, this list is just a small selection of all the wonderful creative things that are going on in Chicago this month, and I'm hoping to make it to as many events as I can. The best part of all this art is that it means there's plenty to talk about, so let's get the art dialogue started -- I look forward to hearing your reactions to what you see and experience!
Did you know this March marks Chicago's 175th birthday? Come celebrate by checking out the opening of The Flag and Seal Revisited at Expo 75 on March 2, which will feature artworks that take Chicago's flag and seal as their inspiration. If you're feeling particularly creative, be sure to visit on March 3, when Spudnick Press will be hosting a free workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. where visitors can make their own versions of the flag and seal. Celebrate the city with a little art of your own!
Have you been to the fabulous Up Comedy Club yet? If not, make a point of being there on March 8 for a one night only show featuring Sarah Vowell with Dinner Party alum Jon Langford, titled Seasick: Tales and Songs of Ships and Islands. Vowell, who has written for McSweeny's and appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart , will be promoting her latest book, Unfamiliar Fishes. It's an evening of laughs and a copy of the book is included in the ticket price, what more could you ask for?
If you're in the mood for a show that will entertain and possibly enlighten you at the same time, then visit the Encyclopedia Show on March 8th. Winner of the 2009 Orgie Theatre Award for Best Creation/Curation, the Encyclopedia Show is a literary variety show that uses "spoken word, monologues, storytelling, live music, comedy, lovable characters and even actual experts" to take on their chosen topics -- this month they'll be tackling the Supreme Court. With featured guests like Margaret Chapman, Ian Belknap and the champions of Tulsa, OK youth poetry contest Louder Than a Bomb, plus legal expert Dr. Anna Law (yes, that is her name!) it promises to be a fascinating evening!
I'm always blown away by the generosity of the people here in Chicago. If you want to support the arts and a great cause, consider attending The Art of Human Rights Exhibition and Silent Auction at the Coalition Gallery on March 10th. Some of the artists featured in show/auction include Jane Futon Alt, Tom Torluemke, and Nancy Pirri, among others. It's a great opportunity go home with beautiful artwork while helping others; all commissions from the exhibition benefit Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.
Part of what makes Chicago so great are the many unique institutions we have here, such as the National Veteran's Art Museum, the only gallery in the world that features art inspired by combat and created solely by veterans. In honor of International Women's day, Iraq War Veteran and curator Erica Slone has put together Overlooked/Looked Over, stating "I intend to shine a light on the unique experiences of women during service, in war, and as veterans." The museum will be hosting an opening reception on March 10th, with artist and curator talks -- take the time to connect with the women who serve our country and experience some powerful art at the same time.
What better way could there be to celebrate Women's History Month than by listening to beautiful music by the all-female Orion Ensemble? They will be offering a program "Celebrating Women Composers," featuring work by Chicago composer Stacy Garrop, as well as French composer Louise Farrenc, British composer Phyllis Tate, and German composer Fanny Mendelssohn. The Chicago Sun-Times has said Orion is "what chamber music should be all about: Individual virtuosity melded into a group personality." See them Sunday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston; and Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Roosevelt University's Ganz Memorial Hall, 430 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
Nicholas Barron is a perennial favorite of mine, and he was a huge hit as the opening act of January's Dinner Party. If you haven't seen him live yet, you'll have a chance on March 23rd at Chicago Art Exchange, where he'll be performing a solo concert and hosting an opening of his latest artwork. Doubly good!
One night only! On March 24, Luna Negra artistic director, choreographer and Dinner Party alum, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, brings a contemporary Carmen to the Harris Theatre. Want a little violence and rage with your love and passion? Get our tickets! This is not to be missed!
This is the month for anniversaries. The National Museum of Mexican Art, located in the heart of Pilsen, will be celebrating 25 years of promoting Latino arts and culture. The museum, which is the largest Latino cultural institution in the nation, will be hosting special programming all year. This includes three exhibits -- El Alma de la Fiesta, Keepers, and Mardonio Magaña: Circa 1938 -- that draw exclusively from the museum's collection of nearly 7,000 pieces. The museum will be hosting an open house on March 25th to kick off the celebrations, so if you haven't visited this vibrant art center yet, now is your chance!
If you're in the mood for an uplifting story, amazing music, and incredible dancing, look no further than Fela!, the critically-acclaimed musical that will hit the Oriental Theater on March 27. Fela!, which has won three Tony Awards for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design for a Musical, and Best Sound Design of a Musical, "tells the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation." The show has been wildly popular, drawing support from celebrities such as Jay Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. With the combination of Fela Kuti's music and choreography by Bill T. Jones, it's no surprise! I hope to see you there!
What art are you planning to see this month? As always, let me know what you great art you saw and what just didn't work. Let's get the art conversation flowing on Twitter @FearNoArtChgo and Facebook. Looking forward to it!
Follow Elysabeth Alfano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fearnoartchgo