Friday, May 27, 2011

Experience "Art through Gardening," a block party at Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm

Noisivelvet, an organization that promotes artists, especially those interested in public art, is throwing a block party, aptly called Art Through Gardening, at the Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm on Sunday, June 5th. Arts aficionados, urban farming enthusiasts and foodies alike are encouraged to attend as well as those interested in supporting local produce and initiatives that shape their community. Be sure to check out Aaron Strauss' biodegradable sculpture made from organic material such as mud and grass. The sculpture will blend in and gradually decompose into the garden. The Chicago Rarities Orchard Project will also be on-site offering people tastings of apple soda and if their project succeeds by this fall Logan Square will have its very own community orchard along Milwaukee and Logan Boulevard!  And because urban farming is big on self-sustainability, Sol Air, a company that works towards providing Chicago with renewable energy, will be powering the speakers used at the event with solar power.  If you still aren't convinced, maybe Urban Worm Girl will change your mind. She will be present and touting the merits of composting (anywhere from the local community garden to your very own kitchen) with the help of red worms.

Art Through Gardening will extend past the confines of the Corner Farm via 5000 sq feet of donated sod. If you want to remember the event after the fact, don't fret because art collective Ibid will be using Sony Video to document the block party, which will give people the opportunity to access the videos via QR code (when a phone scans information and sends it to a website). If you, like many of us, are yearning to get involved in the artist/urban farming community that is taking Logan Square and Chicago by storm, this is one block party you won't want to miss!

WHAT: Art Through Gardening
WHEN: Sunday, June 5th
VENUE: The Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm
3240 W Altgeld St and N Sawyer Ave, 60647

-Julia Pagnamenta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Support Children's Literacy at Nothin' Less during WallahGala(May 30- June 3)!

The owner and founder of Nothin’ Less Café, Elena Martiniuc, is hosting a celebratory week dedicated to International Children’s Day: The first ever WallahGala! The gala begins on Monday, May 30th with a puppet workshop led by Courtney Kearney and ends Sunday, June 5th with performances (spoken, dance, music) by The Room, a local group of young artists. For six days, Nothin’ Less encourages all audiences to attend a wide variety of events; everything from a multilingual workshop where children learn Spanish through music (Monday May 30th at 11:30AM), to a belly dancing performance with Sonya Souk (Friday June 3rd at 9PM).

A $5 suggested donation is encouraged for all events, since proceeds from the WallahGala fund Bookwallah, a local not-profit  organization that promotes literacy in children around the globe, founded in 2009 by Logan Square resident, Seena Jacob. Donations collected during the WallahGala, including funds raised from their silent auction and raffle, featuring fantastic original artworks, will go towards building libraries, promoting literacy, spreading the joy of reading and buying books for orphanages. Jacob, the organization's founder, will be onhand throughout much of the week, giving daily presentations and answering questions for those interested in learning more about the organization's work.

Ultimately, this promises to be an interesting mix of people, sights and scenes. So don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore local talents, all while contributing to an important cause! Those impressed by WallahGala will be pleased to learn that this is just the beginning of a string of art and youth focused events at Nothin’ Less: In Martiniuc’s opinion, young people spend too much time on their smartphones and ipods and not enough socializing and getting to know each other. To counter this growing isolation, she has decided to make Nothin’ Less a space where “young people can show others who they are.” This summer, Martiniuc will host weekly poetry slams, monthly movie nights and turn her space into a gallery where young artists can show their work.  If you aren’t already a regular, maybe WallahGala should be your incentive to check out Nothin’ Less and make this place into your creative home!

What: WallahGala at Nothin’ Less Café
When: May 30th to June 5th
Cost: $5 suggested donation
Where: 2642 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60647

For a complete list of WallahGala events check out:

--Julia Pagnamenta

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Patio Season is Here!

Photo courtesy of El Cid
Despite the rain and cold of this past Sunday, local Mexican restaurant El Cid #2 was busy playing host to foodies, friends and family alike at the second installment of its new 3rd Sunday “Pig & Swig” event. Displaying culinary arts at its best, owner Jose Gonzales was available for the entire event (from 2-5pm) to offer advice and demonstrate El Cid’s meat-roasting techniques. Jose knows a thing or two about spit-roasting, given that the “Pig & Swig” has its origins in regular roasts Jose’s family has been hosting in their own back yard for 20+ years.
Photo courtesy of El Ci
While at the restaurant, Jose was kind enough to offer a tour of the entire facility. The main level room is designed for a quick meal, with a slightly diner-style feel to the seating. On cool days, patrons can warm up by the fireplace in the upstairs lounge, where paintings by Chicago artist, Scott Jackson enrich its walls. El Cid #2 also offers copious outdoor seating between a front sidewalk patio and their fabulous fenced-in back patio.

Along with showcasing local artists like Scott Jackson, Jose also looks forward to hosting live musical performances and participating in the upcoming Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (MAAF).  From July 29-31st, the MAAF transforms Logan Square's commercial corridor into full blown arts district featuring visual and performance art, live music, interactive arts activities for the whole family and culinary offerings to delight the senses including craft beers by Revolution brewing and gourmet food trucks.     

“A margarita just goes perfect with the sun,” says Jose. He takes satisfaction in seeing people cheerfully seated outdoors, relishing summertime in Chicago.

However El Cid #2 isn’t the only place to go if you’re interested in enjoying some al fresco dining. Several other restaurants around the Square have recently opened their patios. Lula Café, Dunlays on the Square, Ciao Napoli Pizzaeria, Longman & Eagle, Rewster’s Café, and Café Con Leche are all within easy walking distance of the Logan Square blue line stop and all feature outdoor seating during the summer.

For now, while the weather is still shifting between spring showers and summer heat, be sure to take advantage of the beautiful days every chance you get. It always seems that patio season comes and goes far too quickly. Support Logan Square’s culinary arts by taking a seat and ordering a meal outside on your favorite patio. You’ll be glad you did.

WHAT: “Pig & Swig” patio pig roast

WHEN: 3rd Sundays- 6/19, 7/17, 8/21, 9/18

TIME: 2:00-5:00 PM
VENUE: El Cid #2

ADDRESS: 2645 N. Kedzie Blvd, 60647

                                                                                   -- Justine Rowland

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elastic Arts Hosts Legendary South Side Musicians

AACM Musician Hanah Jon Taylor
Susan Fox, from Elastic Arts, spoke to us about "Intersections," a collaborative weekly concert series with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).  The title of the series is not incidental: Fox and Chicago artist Alpha Bruton conceived it as they recognized all the intersections that these concerts symbolize. Fox cited an intersection of musical traditions, of north vs. south side, of Chicago vs. Madison (Connections that Fox made while running Madison’s Freedom Fest launched Intersections), as well as Elastic’s location on the Diversey and Milwaukee intersection.

One of the most interesting intersections is north vs. south. Before performing at Elastic, the Velvet Lounge on Cermak served as the AACM's home. Unfortunately, The Velvet Lounge wasn’t able to survive much longer after the death of legendary owner and musician Fred Anderson. Anderson’s passing last June was a huge loss to the Chicago artist community, especially as he was a mentor to many AACM musicians. Upon the Lounge’s closing, Ed Wilkerson, Jr. Chicago saxophone and clarinet player reflected, “Until something is gone, you don’t realize how much a part of your life it was.” 

For the Logan Square arts community the loss is bittersweet. While we mourn the closing of the legendary south side club, we are also tremendously excited to be hosting the AACM as they inspire us with their tremendous creative energy.

Enjoy the music of Hanah Jon Taylor Artet Saturday, May 7 at 9PM. 

Other "Intersections" concerts are scheduled for:
May 14   Tatsu Aoki and the Miyumi Project 
May 21   Jeff Chan and the Chicago Clarinet Conglomerate 
*Elastic is a BYOB venue located over Friendship Restaurant at 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

For more information check out the Elastic website: 

--Julia Pagnamenta