Recently in Film Category

NATO, Writing, Politics, Biking the Arts...

| | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0)
A Busy Spring for Chicago Studies
by Sydney Paul, Class of '12

reunion1935baseballbtw.jpgSpring 2012 is already shaping up to be a busy time in the city with events like the NATO Summit in May.  We here at Chicago Studies plan to help students make the most of it.  We have the pedal to the metal with collaborations with a variety of faculty, the Sustainability Office, ORCSA, OMSA, the Creative Writing Program, the Human Rights Program,  the Logan Center, the Film Studies Center, and more. 

Here is a wrap-up of exciting events Chicago Studies has planned for Spring 2012:

NATO: Where It Came From and Where It's Going

(April 19th)  - 6:30pm Stuart Hall 101
mearshimerbtw.jpgJoin us for a discussion with Professor John Mearsheimer, who is the R.  Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, as  lectures on NATO's history and its relevance to the U.S.  and the world going forward.  Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program. 

According to Chicago Police reports, last year there were over 400 homicides in Chicago, approximately half of which were victims under 26 years old. One year earlier in 2009, the city made national news when the story of Derrion Albert's beating death made headlines. Two months prior to his death, CNN aired a special report on "Chicago's Deadly Streets", investigating the cause of violence in the city. The attention the city has received is not desired, but certainly needed. Stories of tragedy can be insights of empathic understanding and warrants for change; however we should recognize that not all actions and events can be explained. It's nearly impossible to imagine that statistically a person dies every day in Chicago from some form of violence. It's even harder to understand the reason why these events occur, but many are trying and are using this understanding to stop cycles of violence.

The Interrupters is a new documentary that bridges the gap between those who do work to address the problem of violence in Chicago and those who want to be informed. The Kartemquin Films produced work has received much praise for its ability to metaphorically pull audiences into what some call the "war zone" of West and South sides Chicago. Filmmakers follow CeaseFire, a Chicago-based violence prevention group which has one goal in mind: to save a life. CeaseFire employs "Interrupters" - themselves ex-offenders - who intervene, mediate and attempt to prevent violent acts from occurring, one incident at a time. Interrupters have lived the life of those they seek to influence, which makes it great strategy in effectively reaching out to their communities. It is through the words and actions of these Interrupters that audiences of the film leave with a better understanding of what CeaseFire calls the disease of violence.

Chicago Studies highlights for the week

| | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0)

Mark your calendars for some great events for students who want to explore Chicago, coming up this week and next:

TODAY Oct 1-31

Art Here, Art Now
Off Campus (see description)
HyPa and the University of Chicago invite you to celebrate Chicago Artists Month: Chicago's theme this year, "the city as studio," explores the impact of the urban environment on Chicago artists and their work, and the contributions that artists make to the vitality of our city. Art Here, Art Now is one of 12 Featured Programs for the 2010 Chicago Artists Month activities.

View local artists' installations 24/7 in the windows along 53rd Street and watch local artists at work during studio hours every Saturday in October from 1pm-5pm.


Tutoring Volunteer Info Session

5:00-6:00 PM
Reynolds Club, South Lounge
Learn about tutoring and mentoring opportunities in the local community from the University Community Service Center and representatives from local education organizations.

Oct 17

Reel Jazz Films

Where: HyPa Gallery, 5226 S. Harper Ave. in Hyde Park
When: 3:00pm, every Sunday in October

- "Jammin' the Blues" (1944), Oscar-nominated short featuring Lester Young, Red Callender, Illinois Jacquet, and Marie Bryant
- "The March of Time presents American Music" (1937) Jukebox films featuring Cootie Williams, Laurel Watson, and the Lindy Hoppers
- "Symphony in Black" (1935), featuring Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday
- "Ration Blues" (1945), featuring Louis Jordan, Una Mae Carlisle, and Hilda Rogers
- "Jumpin' at the Woodside" (from 1941 film Hellzapoppin'), featuring Slim Galliard, Slam Stewart, and the Lindy Hoppers

Each Sunday in October, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival and the Hyde Park Alliance for Arts and Culture present an afternoon of rare jazz films from the 1930s through the somewhat recent past, shown on genuine 16mm film.

How much: $5 suggested donation

Oct 21

Great Conversations Lecture Series: An Evening with Earl Shorris

12:00 - 1:30 pm - SSA
5:30-7:30 PM - Gleacher Center
Earl Shorris is the founder of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, the award-winning global program that uses the humanities in antipoverty efforts. A contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, he has received the National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Clinton, and the Condecoracion de la Orden del Aguila Azteca. His books include Riches for the Poor: the Clemente Course in the Humanities, The Politics of Heaven: America in Fearful Times, New American Blues: A Journey Through Poverty to Democracy, and Under the Fifth Sun: A Novel of Pancho Villa.

Submitted by first-year SoonKyu Park

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a movie called Outing Riley, directed by Pete Jones. It came highly recommended by friends and by Netflix, and it was exciting to see a LGBTQ movie set in Chicago.

The movie is about Riley, a forty-something gay architect who lives in Chicago, and his struggles to come out to his Irish-Catholic family. Although the plot may seem predictable, Riley stands out from other gay men in the movies. He is completely at home with himself and with his sexuality. He has already come out to his friends and colleagues and is in a long-term relationship with his partner. He is not like the two cowboys in Brokeback Mountain and isn't flamboyant like Truman Capote in Capote. Instead, Riley looks, talks, and acts like an average Joe living in Chicago, just another guy obsessed with the Cubs and the Bears.

Many of the movie's differences can be attributed to the setting. Riley doesn't live in 1960s Wyoming or 1940s New York, where homophobia was still widespread, but rather in twenty-first-century Chicago. Outing Riley is a portrayal of a modern gay man who is rarely seen in mainstream media.

What made the movie especially memorable is the way it portrays Chicago. At the beginning of the movie, Riley introduces himself: "I've always imagined my life as a movie. The problem with my imagined movie is, it might be boring. I'd add helicopters. Helicopters make everything exciting. But nobody's going to believe I have helicopters....If I were a guy from L.A. or New York, well, maybe. But I'm just a guy from Chicago." To Riley, Chicago is a different type of city than L.A. or New York. But as the country's third largest city, Chicago has skyscrapers and is a major financial center, home to the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, and its own professional sports teams.

So how is Chicago different from the other two? The director's answer seems to be that Chicago is more American than its two bigger sister cities. He believes that Chicagoans live "straight from the blueprint." They are born, go to school, get a job, get married, and have babies. Then they move to the suburbs, grow old, and die. If L.A. and New York are cities at the forefront of fashion and popular culture, then Chicago is the city of the average Joe.

When I think of New York, I imagine youngsters in chic clothes carrying "it bags." In contrast, Chicago reminds me of people in Levi's and sweatshirts. If I were to compare the two cities to alcoholic drinks, New York would be a martini and Chicago would be a local beer. New York is the city of Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, and Chicago that of the Gap and Levi's. Such generalizations simplify things too much, and there are of course average Joes living in New York and fashionistas in Chicago. After all, Chicago also offers a rich cultural experience with its many immigrant neighborhoods such as Pilsen, Little Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Ukrainian Village. And yet Chicago manages to maintain its identity, making the city a wonderful mixture of American and international culture.

Overall, the movie is delightful, filled with humorous episodes of Riley and his quirky brothers. The largely unknown cast shines, and the script is witty yet poignant. The film also takes you to numerous Chicago landmarks, including the Navy Pier, the Buckingham Fountain, the Lakeview neighborhood, and the lakeshore. I highly recommend the movie to anyone who interested in the city of Chicago or in LBGTQ culture--or both.