Chicago Humanities Festival Announces Performing Arts Lineup for Fall 2013

Layout 1The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) announced today several of its performing arts presentations for the 2013 Fall Festival, which will explore the theme of Animal: What Makes Us Human, Oct. 13, 20, and Nov. 1–10 at venues across Chicago. CHF will present more performing arts offerings than ever before, spotlighting music, theater, performance art, and dance. Offerings include: a performance ofVoice of the Whale featuring flutist and founder of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Claire Chase; Chicago-based Jazz band The Fat Babies; pianist Anthony Molinaro; two theater productions: Rainpan 43’s homage to magic Elephant Room and Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit, Red Rabbit; a double feature event with performance artists Holly Hughes and Deke Weaver; and an exploration of South Asian myths by Chicago’s Kalapriya Dance.

“Humanities presentations are often perceived as static,” said CHF Managing Director of Programming and Production, Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins. “At the Chicago Humanities Festival, some of our richest programming comes from looking at the humanities through the lens of performance. We’ve successfully provided these types of events with our Stages, Sights and Sounds theater festival each spring, and we’re thrilled to integrate even more performing arts offerings for the 2013 Festival.”

Confirmed performances for the 2013 Chicago Humanities Festival include:

·         Voice of the Whale
Inspired by recordings of humpback whale songs, George Crumb created one of the classics of 20th-century music—Vox Balanae (Voice of the Whale). Scored for amplified flute, cello, and piano, the piece evokes the mysteries of the deep by utilizing instruments in non-traditional ways. The musicians featured in this performance are flutist Claire Chase, founder of ICE and 2012 MacArthur Fellow; Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn; and New York–based pianistJacob GreenbergAndrew Patner of WFMT and the Chicago Sun-Times hosts.

·         The Fat Babies
Chicago-based jazz band The Fat Babies are known for interpreting the classic styles of the 1920s and 1930s. Founded in 2010 by string bass player Beau Sample, the repertoire of these young musicians includes the music of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jelly Roll Morton, and King Oliver—music with verve, style, and buoyant dance rhythms. For their Festival debut, Sample leads the ensemble in an evening of story and song featuring Chicago vocalist Amanda Wolff.

·         Anthony Molinaro: Exploring the Music of the Beatles
Pianist, jazz artist, and Loyola University Chicago professor Anthony Molinaro is releasing Here, There and Everywhere: Arrangements and Improvisations on the Music of the Beatles in October 2013. The recording—and this performance—re-envisions the beloved songs of the Fab Four from Molinaro’s innovative perspective. Joining Molinaro for this concert and conversation is the Chicago Tribune’s jazz critic Howard Reich, who will discuss the pianist’s inspirations—and challenges—in bringing this project to fruition.

·         Elephant Room by Rainpan 43
Co-presented with the Museum of Contemporary Art
In this candy-colored love letter to the world of magic, three deluded illusionists are living their off-center lives by sleight of hand. These three world-class tricksters—stage names Louie Magic, Dennis Diamond, and Daryl Hannah—perform magic that functions and fools just fine, until they begin to fall apart. Conjuring a work of experimental theater into a magic show, their off-the-wall comedy unfolds on a set every bit as outrageous and surreal as the show.

·         White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour
Co-presented with the Museum of Contemporary Art
Nassim Soleimanpour, a young Iranian man, is a conscientious objector who refused his mandatory military service and is now forbidden to leave his country. In White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Soleimanpour turns his isolation to his advantage with a wild, original play that blends comedy and drama, requiring no director or set, with each performance featuring a different actor. The actors, notable Chicago theater personalities, receive the script just prior to going onstage. White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is presented in association with Aurora Nova Productions..

·         On the Edge of Your Seat with Holly Hughes and Deke Weaver
CHF presents two consequential artists of our time in a special double-bill evening, featuring Holly Hughes in the first half and Deke Weaver after an intermission, and concluding with a moderated question-and-answer session.

The Dog and Pony Show
Performance artist Holly Hughes presents her newest solo work The Dog and Pony Show (Bring Your Own Pony), offering her signature blend of theater and provocation. A “professional lesbian” who drove Jesse Helms apoplectic as one of the NEA Four, her work includes Let Them Eat Cake and Preaching to the Perverted, among others. In addition to writing, performing, and touring her work, Hughes is also a professor at the University of Michigan, where she leads the university’s BFA program in interarts performance. Hughes’s newest solo performance work offers a poetic and comic meditation on midlife crises in the key of canine.

The Unreliable Bestiary
Deke Weaver is a writer, performer, and video artist—and his lifelong project is The Unreliable Bestiary. Encompassing a series of performances and books, along with a website, The Unreliable Bestiary is an ark of stories about animals, our relationships with them, and the precarious worlds they inhabit. Weaver’s goal for the project is to present a full-length performance for each letter of the alphabet, representing a particular endangered animal with an economic, environmental, and historical context. To date, Weaver has created three pieces—Monkey, Elephant, and Wolf— and he presents selections from all three in a performance created for CHF.

·         Dancing the Divine
South Asian myths and legends describe a rich, symbiotic relationship between humans and animals. In the Buddhist Jātakas (stories that deal with the previous lifetimes of the Buddha), animals are active participants in the daily drama of life, revealing deep philosophical issues. In ancient Hindu traditions, animals are characters in stories as well as forms through which mortals commune with the divine. Historian Abhishek Ghosh joins Kalapriya Dance to interpret these tales and offer a perspective on how the divine manifests on earth.

Programs will take place in October and November 2013:

·         Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 on the Northwestern University campus (third annual Morry and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day)

·         Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 on the University of Chicago campus (seventh annual Hyde Park Day)

·         Friday, Nov. 1–Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 in and around downtown Chicago

Tickets to the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival go on sale to CHF members onTuesday, Sept. 3 and to the general public on Monday, Sept. 16. Tickets range from $5–28, with free and reduced-price tickets available for students and teachers (with valid ID). The full schedule and a listing of all programs will be available in August.

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