Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Visual Arts at MAAF

So you may have heard of this little thing called the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. No? yes! no? well if not, we should all seriously ponder why you're reading this website. ok ok, so its not a little thing. Its actually huge. Hugely spectacular. Artists and galleries from all over Chicago are going to be showing work. It's a showcase to both the city's rich and diverse creative community, as well as a testament to Logan Square as a new Artistic hotspot in a city of artists. Did I mention we were voted #1 in the Reader's Best of 2011? no? yes!...WOO!

Anyway, man oh man, do we have a lineup for you! If you were at the Share the Square Preview benefit (organized by Brett Swinny and Tracy Kostenbader of anysquared), you have a bit of an idea of what's in store. If not, then you'll just have to wait till July 29th! The artwork this year features a wide range of media, content, concept and audience. The Logan Square Literary Review will actually be presenting a show OF the cultural shift of Logan Square into a creative hotspot (and future #1 Reader neighborhood) at the turn of the millenia. Journalistic in content, the final result will be a timeline illustrating the emergence of arts venues and organizations along Milwaukee Ave.

Speaking of local, how about a show merging the local visual arts community with the amazing musical arts community? Katie Holland said "YES!" to that idea (you may have seen her work a couple months ago at IALS gallery). Curating a show of photographs, Independent:Chicago Band Photography will present the vibrant DIY music scene...visually.

And whats that you say? you want souvenirs from the festival so you can always remember the amazing art, food and music we're showcasing? Lucky You! The Uptown Multi-cultural Center's The Art Patch Project Will be handing out free artwork, as it were. Promoting the rights of artists to sell work publicly, they print their artists' selected works on cotton-patch postcards and hand them out,  in an effort to "create a Chicago art Mecca where artists can survive by their art sales 24-7."

What else did you say? you love MAAF and Logan Square so much, you want to live here? Well you're in luck! Have you heard of the new Hairpin Artist  Residency Lofts? Sure you have! All that annoying construction and big machinery at the corner of Milwaukee/Diversey/Kimball above Payless (don't worry, Payless Shoes is open during construction…) Yes, well  thats Hairpin Artists' Lofts. Set to open during MAAF, they're kicking  it off with Come Together, a juried show of 2 and 3 dimensional work,  that will be in conjunction with performances, music and all sorts of artist lofty-type…stuff. Pluuuus, you'll get to check out the new  studios. Who wouldn't want to live in an artist commune in a building  with a huge McDonalds billboard on it? Think of that Office building in Cleveland that used to host that Huge LeBron James billboard. Oh, sorry, my Ohio is showing. Well this is the Logan Square version, but artful…and better.

and lets not forget our favorite little arts cottage on Milwaukee Ave. The Comfort Station will be hosting a mixed media show of work by Jason Brammer. These works give a feel of antiquity by merging painting with found junkyard objects in the way of gauges, vintage handles and other rescued…junk. Junk to art! How nostalgic.

Lastly (well, not like "lastly, these are the only shows" because theres bunches more. so many bunches. this is just "lastly, i shall bore you no more with my writing"). OK, LASTLY, for all you New Media and Techy geeks (myself included), New Media Artlab has put together Satellite. Have you noticed how our current culture is dependently intertwined in the invisible web of social media, instant messaging, wireless networking, incessantly blasting us with all kinds of new information and communication? My guess is, since you're reading this, you have a faint inkling. But if you just so happen to be slightly clueless to this wibbly-wobbly timey-whimy new fangled media (or if you're just plain intrigued, like me), Satellite will open your eyes. Featuring time-based works, performances, new media installations, Satellite will exits independently as well as amidst other MAAF exhibits, using social media. Think of it as the curators put it, a "Meta-Exhibition"

still enthralled? here's a preview video of what to expect at the festival, designed by Brett Swinney and Tracy Kostenbader

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival 2011 Gallery Preview from Logan Square on Vimeo.

and don't forget, we're #1!

-Tanner Young

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's summertime and Logan Square is all about music!

It's summertime and the living is easy. Or so it should be! And if the livin' ain't so easy, get some much needed fun and relaxation on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer where there is no shortage of great music in the Square! If you like outdoor summer concerts, Logan Square is the place to be as there will be not one, but two outdoor concert series happening at the Logan Square monument this summer!  So whip out those blankets, chairs, and picnic baskets and head to the momument for free live music!

We at I Am Logan Square have teamed up with The Empty Bottle and 312 to present a free monthly concert series right in our neck of the woods at the Logan Square monument. "The Logan Square Music Series: Sundays in the Park" kicks off this Sunday, June 26 with  some great music by experimental rock band Califone and Bloodiest. The concerts are free, but go to the site to RSVP!  The concerts begin at 4 PM on June 26, July 24, August 21, September 18 with a final concert on October 9.  We will be here to remind you not to miss great bands like Thee Oh Sees, High Places, and Mucca Pazza.

And in case that isn't enough music goodness for you, the wonderful folks at The Whistler and Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) are bringing back Summer Sessions on the Square this year, presesnting a concert series, also at the Logan Square Monument, every 4th Saturday of the month through September 24.  All of the artists performing during the series are from or have ties to the Logan Square community. Summer Sessions is striving to have something for everyone, to be family-friendly and community-oriented, and to that end, there will be world music, indie rock and kids' music throughout the summer.

The series kick-off is this Saturday, June 25 from 5:30-8:30 PM with performances by experimental/minimalist pop band Thin Hyms, world/afrobeat/salsa-vibe group L'Orchestre Super Vitesse and  pyschadelic-blues-punk group Rabble Rabble.  And if you aren't the elaborate picnic type, there will be treats and eats for sale by Bun Pow Buns and Crumb

Logan Square monument is located at the intersection of Kedzie, Logan Boulevard and Milwaukee. All concerts in both series are free but donations are welcome to keep the series happening. 

 Lineups as of now, subject to change!

The Logan Square Music Series: Sundays in the Park , presented by I Am Logan Square, The Empty Bottle and 312--All shows at 4PM, Free with RSVP

Sun, June 26   Califone, Bloodiest
Sun, July 24    Thee Oh Sees
Sun, Aug 21    High Places
Sun, Sept. 18   Mucca Pazza
Sun, Oct. 9      TBA

Summer Sessions on the Square, presented by The Whistler and CHIRP --All shows from 5:30-8:30 PM, Free, suggested $5 donation

Sat, June 25     L'Orchestre Super Vitesse (world/afrobeat/salsa-vibe),  Thin Hymns (indie),  Rabble Rabble (experimental) 
Sat, July 23     Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (indie),  Girls Rock Camp - to be confirmed (kids)  
Sat. Aug.  27   Golden Horse Ranch Band (country music; they're doing a kids set & a set of classic country songs),  Intonation Music Workshop - to be confirmed (kids) 
Sat, Sept. 24      In Tall Buildings (indie),  The Arts of Life Band (kids)

--Brooke Herbert

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Go See "Three Days of Rain" While You Still Have A Chance!

Rebekah Ward-Hays & John Henry Roberts-- photo © Heath Hays
This week -Thursday, June 23rd through Saturday, June 25th- marks your last chance to catch playwright Richard Greenberg’s family saga Three Days of Rain at the Viaduct Theatre. Directed by Matthew Reeder, BackStage Theatre Company's production of Three Days of Rain is forceful and emotionally poignant in its telling of the story of two siblings: sensitive and troubled Walker (played by John Henry Roberts) and his sister, Nan (played by Rebekah Ward-Hays) who is trying to cope with her problematic brother after the death of their father, an architect by the name of Ned. After discovering that their father left a famous structure he designed, "The Janeway House" in his will to the son of a family friend, Pip (played by Tony Bozzuto), Walker gets angry. And while tension ensues and confessions come forth, many of Walker and Nan's questions, (inquiries shared by the viewers as well)  are pursued well into the second act.

Retrospection is a large part of the play. In the second act, the same three actors play the parts of the parents and provide spectators with some answers and closure, something that can’t necessarily be said for all the characters in the play. In turns emotionally charged and humorous, Three Days of Rain is a strong attempt to understand the ways in which absent and silent parents influence and shape the adult lives of their children. Or conversely, it is a play about children who even once they grow up, exhibit childlike traits in their attempts to uncover their parents' secrets, all while remaining stubbornly stuck in their convictions, which, more often than not, are rooted in emotional distortion rather than in truth.

What: Three Days of Rain at the Viaduct Theatre, presented by the BackStage Theatre Company
When: 7PM, Thursday, June 23rd through Saturday, June 25th
Where: 3111 N. Western Avenue (near the Belmont and Western intersection)
Cost: $25, $22 for seniors or $10 with valid student ID

--Julia Pagnamenta

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival Music

Summertime street festivals have finally begun in Chicago and, boy, are we happy about it! This week we interviewed Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White, who comprise Chicagoland redheaded fuzz rock duo, White Mystery, in anticipation of their headlining performance at this year’s Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival.

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. This year will feature two outdoor stages: the Cole’s Bar stage at Milwaukee and Belden, and the main stage placed picture- perfectly on the steps of the Logan Square monument. An indoor music stage will be running at the Logan Square Arts Center located at the Hairpin Lofts (Milwaukee/Kimball/Diversey). The center will be open its doors to the public for the first-time during the MAAF.

White Mystery is excited to be taking part in a unique arts-focused festival: “It's awesome when art takes over the streets and storefronts of Logan Square. Outdoor sculpture, galleries, partying in the streets, and unique performances like the Society of Young Superheroes production of a live comic book are exciting highlights.”

White Mystery is also looking forward to seeing some printmaking works. The Whites explain, “Printmaking is a favorite art form for White Mystery because the band hand-dyes white and block-prints its logo onto shirts, underwear, and fabric panels. Video installation pairs visual art with sound, which as musicians, we enjoy!”

And their thoughts on the music? “JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound are a rad headliner for Friday night, Hollows play upbeat tunes the same night as White Mystery, and the Cole's Stage presented by Cafe Mustache showcases a line-up of friends, like Rabble Rabble and Outerminds.”

However White Mystery aren’t the only folks excited about the MAAF music line up. Chicagoist recently gave the MAAF a favorable write up. Loud Loop Press noted that the MAAF music line up contains four bands on their “11 Bands to Watch in 2011” list.

For the full line up, visit the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival website. There you’ll find information regarding the music, featured art galleries, performance arts, the indoor arts market, open studios, family activities, and the culinary delights that will all be taking place at the MAAF.

Hope to see you there!

WHAT: Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival
WHEN: Friday July 29th to Sunday July 31st
WHERE: Logan Square’s commercial corridor (Milwaukee & California up to Milwaukee & Kimball)

PHOTOS BY Lee Klawans
All photos taken at Do Division

--Justine Rowland

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MAAF Culinary Arts & Calls for Artists!

The Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (July 29-31) is fast approaching and boy do we have some exciting sneak previews for you! In addition to the plethora of arts activities, music and visual art to be showcased at the festival, the culinary arts will be playing an exciting role as well. So far there are three gourmet mobile food trucks confirmed. Not hip to the mobile food truck movement? Chicago, too has the fancy meals on wheels that cities like Los Angeles and New York boast about. The trucks will be selling an array of mouthwatering goodies including tasty tacos and fresh salsas by Taquero Fusion (the first Latin American style food truck in the city), delectable naan-wiches by Gaztro-Wagon (voted best food truck by Time Out Chicago), and indulgent Wagyu/Kobe beef burgers by newcomer Wagyu Wagon (run by Aaron Crumbaugh, Le Cordon Bleu graduate and Amazing Race contestant).

The Boiler Room will also be showcasing their creative food endeavors at the festival with its new boozy soft-serve ice cream. IALS collaborator, Justine Rowland, was absolutely smitten when she tried it at Do Division last weekend, commenting that "Boiler Room's Jameson-infused soft serve ice cream is absolutely delicious. The sweetness of the ice cream is cut by the booziness of the Jameson, making for a mouthwatering snack to cool off (and get buzzed) with on a warm summer day."

Revolution Brewing craft beer and Lula Cafe's specialty Sangria will also be on-hand to quench your thirst and wash down all that yummy food!

So now that we've gotten you all excited about MAAF's awesome food selection, it's time for the call for artists! IALS is dedicated to enriching the arts throughout the neighborhood and some of our local business neighbors have gotten involved too! Boiler Room, with their aforementioned boozy ice cream, and Revolution Brewing, MAAF's co-presenting beer sponsor, are inviting artists to submit proposals to exhibit their work at both venues. To be considered for exhibiting, submit a proposal to Mandy Tandy (Boiler Room) at, or Morgan Marshall (Revolution Brewing) at

Want more info on the sweet food trucks to be at the 2011 MAAF? Follow the links below to find out where they'll be next! 
                                                                                             -Alex Palmer

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beth LeFauve, Jane Michalski and Monica Rezman exhibit recent works at I Am Logan Square

Despite the Logan Square neighborhood’s most recent flurry of attention, it has historically been a creatively vibrant community. IALS’s June exhibition will feature works by a group of longtime residents, established artists living and working in the neighborhood for over a decade. “From the Studios of: Beth LeFauve, Jane Michalski and Monica Rezman” will open on Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 6 PM to 9 PM at the I Am Logan Square Gallery, located at 2648 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Craft beer by Revolution Brewing and Sangria by D’Noche will compliment delicious seasonal hors d’oeuvres by Café con Leche, Rewster’s Café and Paper Moon Pastry. Musical entertainment will be provided by Resident DJ, Nick Kusiak.

“Over the years, we [Michalski, LeFauve and Rezman] have each been committed to producing art that is accomplished in our prospective media. We represent a few of the many talented artists working out of studios in Logan Square,” declares Jane Michalski, the exhibition’s curator.  “Thanks to the existence of the I Am Logan Square Gallery and other emerging opportunities, we are now able to show our work and celebrate our achievements in our own backyard.”

Jane Michalski has lived and worked in Logan Square since 1986 and has been a Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival curator since its inception in 2009. Michalski, who received her graduate training from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds BFA from the University of Wisconsin, has worked in the encaustic medium since 2005. She is known for her abstract works, which incorporate geometric structures transformed by layers of wax. She counts exhibitions at the Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, the Haydon Art Center of Lincoln, Nebraska, Katherine Butler Gallery in Sarasota, Florida and an Award of Excellence from the Tubac Arizona Center amongst her professional accomplishments. In addition to her thriving art career, Michalski maintains active in the community though her work with the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival and as a board member of the Logan Square Chamber of the Arts.

Beth LeFauve, an Interior Design graduate from Purdue University, has lived in Logan Square for the past twenty-five years, working with Chicago's architectural and arts communities. She has exhibited her work at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival and two of her paintings are scheduled to appear in HBO's new fictional Hugh Hefner Playboy show this fall. Le Fauve's works include acrylic paintings and found object assemblages.

Monica Rezman is a painter, textile designer and most recently a photographer who currently splits her time between Chicago and India. Rezman, whose work recently appeared at NEXT Chicago, explores eroticism, transformation and a spectrum of mind states through the subject matter of female hair. Her photographs and renderings are inspired by childhood memories of her mother altering and augmenting her own hair and her three-year-old daughter, who experiments with female adornment the same way. Rezman studied fine art and textile design at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Instituto Allende in Mexico, subsequently pursuing a career in textile design in New York City. Wanting to explore new artistic territory she commenced an intensive study of classical drawing and painting in Italy and continued studying at the School of Representational Art in Chicago.

Each of IALS’s three June exhibiting artists will participate in the 2011 Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, which will be presented from Friday, July 29 to Sunday, July 31 along Milwaukee Avenue between Kimball and California. “From the Studios of: Beth LeFauve, Jane Michalski and Monica Rezman” will run through the July 15th and all works will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the artist(s) and to support I Am Logan Square. IALS hosts monthly exhibitions of works by local artists and is currently accepting proposals for the fall. Participating artists must either live or work in Logan Square to exhibit their work and priority will be given to group or collaborative shows. The gallery is open to the public by appointment Tuesday through Saturday.