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Got ART?

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Written by Nicole Nelson and Elysabeth Alfano

After taking a short vacation last month, the "...Got ART?" blog is back for July. It may be hot out, but there is still plenty of art to see and things to do if you're willing to brave the heat. Of course, this is just a small sampling of the many amazing things going on here in Chicago. Head out, see some art, and let me know what you think. Let's get the conversation flowing!

From the moment I heard about the gospel musical Crowns at the Goodman Theatre, written and directed by the fabulous Regina Taylor, I have been dying to see it. 2012-07-02-Crowns.jpg \Crowns tells the story of Chicago-born Yolanda, who "is sent down South after the death of her brother, [where] she finds strength in the tales of the wise women who surround her--and the powerful rituals connected to their dazzling hats." Guests on June's The Dinner Party got a taste of what Crowns is all about when Taylor talked about drawing inspiration from her mother's own hat collection, and claimed "it's the story beneath the brim that makes the hat important." Gospel singer Shari Addison, who appears in Crowns, drew a standing ovation with her powerful performance. With an emotional story, incredible music, and of course the dazzling hats, Crowns is not to be missed! Performances run through August 5. Watch the highlights of Regina Taylor and Shari Addison from The Dinner Party, and then buy your tickets here.

2012-07-02-TheLover.jpgThere is always such great theater happening in Chicago. This month, Soul Theatre returns to the city in style with Harold Pinter's one act play, The Lover, directed by Paul Wagar. Featuring the talents of Ravi Batista, Carl Lindberg and Mick Weber, The Lover tells the story of a married couple who attempt to "spice up their relationship by pretending to have an affair. But the worlds of fantasy and reality quickly collide and their erotic role-playing game spirals out of control." In addition to the performance, Soul Theatre will be hosting a series of free post-show discussions, a complete list of which can be found here. The Lover will be showing at A Red Orchid Theatre through July 15, so hurry and get your tickets now!

2012-07-02-Chrome.jpgIf you haven't been to Navy Pier in a while, now is the perfect time. The annual BIGart exhibition is back this year with some amazing new public art installations at Navy Pier's Gateway Park - and they truly are BIG. Among the standouts are Monochrome for Chicago, 2012 by renown sculptor Nancy Rubins, a carefully constructed array of repurposed aluminum canoes that stands over 30 feet tall. Also exciting is the inclusion of Roy Lichtenstein's Brushstroke Group, a work that has never been publicly displayed, thanks to a collaboration with Gagosian Gallery. Other featured artists include Anthony Caro, Almond Zigmund, and Steed Taylor. It's always rewarding to see Chicago uphold its reputation for being the destination for public art!

2012-07-02-Weinberg.jpgDavid Weinberg's name is synonymous with great art, whether you are discussing the collection of artists he has shown in his gallery or his own work in photography. Open all through this month at David Weinberg Photography is a body of work that he recently shot while on a trip to Bhutan. When speaking of the show, Weinberg had this to say: "There is a time-warp that kicks in when you first set foot in Bhutan. They dress the way they did 200 years ago and the country houses haven't changed much in design in that same period. It truly is a photographer's Shangri La." Weinberg's insightful photographs capture the unique beauty of the country and its people, so stop by his studio and experience Bhutan for yourself.

2012-07-02-QueenofHearts.jpg Jon Langford is both a talented musician and artist, so it was a joy to have him on The Dinner Party. To experience the best of both worlds, be sure to check out the opening for his latest show, Cheating Hearts, at Firecat Projects on July 6, from 7 to 10 pm. In addition to his showing his complex and storied paintings, Jon is slated to share his musical talents as well. With beers from Three Floyds and wines from Chicago-based Red and White Wines, it's sure to be an evening to remember. If you can't make it to the opening, Cheating Hearts will be up through July 28.

I'm always on the lookout for interesting things to do, so when I heard about everything going on at Jennifer Norback Fine Art , I got really excited. 2012-07-02-Lady.jpgOpening this month is Face: JH Engstrom | Andreas E.G. Larsson, showcasing "three generations of Sweden's most important photographers," with a reception on July 13 from 5 to 8 pm. Once you've had a taste of their work, come back July 14 for the screening of JH Engstrom's A Film About/With Anders Petersen, from 7 to 8 p.m. (RSVP). Finally, for those of you who enjoyed Wrekmeister Harmonies at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago this winter, you'll have a chance to see them in action again with the intimate site-specific sound performance The Light that Remains will Lead Us to Heaven, on July 20 at 8 p.m. (RSVP). Hope to see you there!

2012-07-02-tonyfitzpatrick.jpg Tony Fitzpatrick is a one of a kind. Not only is he an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, he's an engaging storyteller as well. He absolutely wowed the audience with his performance on The Dinner Party. If you've been wanting to see Tony in action again (and really, who wouldn't?) you'll have a chance this month when he takes to the stage at the Steppenwolf Garage with Nickel History: The Nation of Heat, the final chapter in a trilogy that began with This Train and continued in Stations Lost. Starring Tony Fitzpatrick with Stan Klein, Nickel History is adapted and directed by 16th Street artistic director Ann Filmer, and also features film and video art by Kristin Reeves and music by John Rice and Anna Fermin. The show opens July 19, so get your tickets here.

2012-07-02-SlamPoetry.jpg Slam Poetry has its roots here in Chicago, but the movement is steadily gaining ground and recognition. Nowhere is this more slam poetry than at Chicago Slam Works, where they will be concluding their inaugural season with In Any Tongue, a collaborative one-night only performance featuring German and American poets. For this unique performance, "where American poets will translate and interpret German poems then present the poems in both languages simultaneously through a large-scale, highly choreographed five to eight voice performance." In Any Tongue features the talents of the Speak'Easy Ensemble (JW Basilo, Dan "Sully" Sulivan, Molly Meacham, Robbie Q. Telfer, Shelley Geiszler Randall and Joel Chmara), Germany's Team Allen Earnstyzz (Stefan Dorsing, Tes Fu and Julian Heun) and Team Totale Zerstorung (Julius Fischer and Andre Herrmann), and also includes championship slammer André Schuermann from Switzerland. The performance takes place July 21 at the Vittum Theatre, so get your tickets now!

2012-07-02-KellyHogan.jpg When I discovered that Kelly Hogan was going to be performing at The Hideout this month, I knew I had to get tickets fast. Andrew Bird has called her "a national treasure," and if you've heard her new solo album that came out on June 5th, I Like To Keep Myself In Pain, you can understand why. Hogan has an incredible voice, and she has worked with some of the biggest names in music. Take advantage of your opportunity to see her live! Hogan performs July 22 at 7 p.m., tickets on sale here.

2012-07-02-CCP.jpg One of the things I love about Chicago is its commitment to the arts, and the strong sense of community in the city. This month Chicago Cultural Planyou can have a chance to be a part of Chicago's history by participating in a Town Hall hosted by The City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to discuss a draft of the new 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan. The talk will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center from 6 to 8 pm on July 31. RSVP to the event here. Don't miss an opportunity to have your voice heard.

Oooh, I have been waiting for the book, Groupon's Biggest Deal Ever, by Frank Sennett to come out! 2012-07-03-groupon2.jpgAfter a really delightful author book signing, I stocked up on gifts for friends and relatives. Sennett was allowed inside access for a year leading up to Groupon's Google buyout offer before its ultimate IPO. He weaves the tale of how lone-ranger type Andrew Mason takes a profitless company on a wild, wild ride. I am looking forward to delving in to this already acclaimed 'great read' over the lazy days of summer.

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!