NSML January 2014 : Page 84
noRTh ShoRe arts & culture here, for our annual roundup spotlighting culture’s finest hour, we give you the people, places and performances you’ll be r aving about. by tricia despres, elaine doremus and cynthia a. raymond THE ARTS HUB Re-Invent , a quirky 4,000-square-foot community art space in Lake Forest, was created by two 24-year-old Lake Forest natives who’ve been friends since they met in an art class at 11 years old. After returning from their respective colleges in Colorado and San Francisco in 2011, lifelong friends Kristin Mikrut and Cecilia Lanyon wanted to make art an integral part of everyone’s living and giving experience. With a leap of faith—and a few guts—they rented the former Kondradt’s Florist building to create a multipurpose space that is one part retail (representing more than 100 artists), one part gallery (with exhibitions changing every six weeks) and one part workshop space for classes and artists-in-residence. This month, from Jan. 10-Feb. 22, the gallery presents a retrospective of the artist Renee McGinnis’ work over 30 years, including her powerful paintings of great fallen ocean liners. reinventlf.com art mart the gallery at re-Invent in Lake Forest take two Putzel set on manhattan’s Upper west Side THE INDIE FILM Putzel This is one of those heartwarming films that should join the ranks of Moonstruck and When Harry Met Sally . Co-written (with Rick Moore), produced and directed by Wilmette native Jason Chaet, the film is a contemporary fable about the life of Walter Himmelstein (the putz), a young Jewish man whose life is confined to his family’s fish store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Seasoned actors Susie Essman ( Curb Your Enthusiasm ) and Park Ridge native John Pankow ( Mad About You ) add depth to the cast in this can’t-miss feel-good film. Just goes to show what a great story, $200,000 and a lot of ingenuity (they filmed the entire movie in two weeks) can produce. Look for the digital release this spring. putzelmovie.com 84 | | Winter 2014 Gutter
North Shore Arts & Culture
Tricia Despres , Elaine Doremus And Cynthia A. Raymond
HERE, FOR OUR ANNUAL ROUNDUP SPOTLIGHTING CULTURE'S FINEST HOUR, WE GIVE YOU THE PEOPLE, PLACES AND PERFORMANCES YOU'LL BE RAVING ABOUT.
THE ARTS HUB
Re - Invent , a quirky 4,000-square-foot community art space in Lake Forest, was created by two 24-year-old Lake Forest natives who've been friends since they met in an art class at 11 years old. After returning from their respective colleges in Colorado and San Francisco in 2011, lifelong friends Kristin Mikrut and Cecilia Lanyon wanted to make art an integral part of everyone's living and giving experience. With a leap of faith—and a few guts-they rented the former Kondradt's Florist building to create a multipurpose space that is one part retail (representing more than 100 artists), one part gallery (with exhibitions changing every six weeks) and one part workshop space for classes and artists-inresidence.This month, from Jan. 10-Feb. 22, the gallery presents a retrospective of the artist Renee McGinnis' work over 30 years, including her powerful paintings of great fallen ocean liners. Reinventlf.com
THE INDIE FILM
Putzel This is one of those heartwarming films that should join the ranks of Moonstruck and When Harry Met Sally. Co-written (with Rick Moore), produced and directed by Wilmette native Jason Chaet, the film is a contemporary fable about the life of Walter Himmelstein (the putz), a young Jewish man whose life is confined to his family's fish store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Seasoned actors Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Park Ridge native John Pankow (Mad About You) add depth to the cast in this can't-miss feelgood film. Just goes to show what a great story, $200,000 and a lot of ingenuity (they filmed the entire movie in two weeks) can produce.Look for the digital release this spring. Putzelmovie.com
THE ARTIST RENE ROMERO SCHULER
Lake Forest resident and self-taught fine artist Rene Romero Schuler's career is on a fast trajectory—straight up. On the heels of Schuler's first gallery exhibitions in Rome and Paris last summer, Ellen DeGeneres commissioned the artist to create a custom "Jackie O" painting from Schuler's Icon Series, and Jennifer Norback Fine Art gallery in Chicago, which represents Schuler's work, compiled an eponymous book of the artist's work released last month ($45, JNFA Projects). "Rene's paintings convey at once vulnerability, beauty and great strength," says gallery owner Jennifer Norback. "Ever since the first time I saw them, they have affected me viscerally. I'm fascinated by the dichotomy between her abstracted, almost brutal female forms, and her richly layered, thick impastos that effortlessly demonstrate both a deeply sophisticated color sense and her years of expertise with a palette knife.The paint itself, sculpted in three dimensions, resonates with vitality and force that seems to emanate from the figure itself." To create her richly layered works, Schuler literally sculpts her two-dimensional paintings out of oil with a palette knife."With every work I create, I strive to show the imperfection, stress and underlying beauty of the beings I portray," says Schuler. "There are no fine characteristics or clearly defined attributes in these figures. They are everyone and no one. I work on several pieces at one time; my mood dictates the direction of a piece, and if I don't finish it in a day, my mood shifts." That's one reason Schuler embarked on sculpting two years ago. "My small sculptures give me instant gratification," she says. "I love the tactile experience of working on them and bringing my painting to another dimension."Schuler's art is in the permanent archives of the Art Institute of Chicago and hangs in the homes of numerous prominent Silicon Valley executives. Reneschuler.com
Julie Whitehead Holdsworth To call this Lake Forester potter, a painter or a sculptor would do this multitalented artist an injustice. For Julie Whitehead's art evolves along with her life's journey."Every piece tells a story," says the artist at her new studio showroom, Whitehead Studios, in Highwood. Her first self-portrait, done in 2004, is a life-size sculpture made of found objects—red buttons on the shoes (she loved the tactile feel of sifting through her grandmother's button drawer), pieces of pots thrown while in college and painted ceramic tiles as the bustier—and depicts her progression as an artist from a little girl. "We can all relate to objects," she says, "but when you put them together, they tell a story." Over the past 14 years, Whitehead has perhaps been best known for her signature ornaments covered in lush fabrics and finished with elaborate bows. But now, she's embarked on a new challenge. "As a freshman-year undergrad, I became fascinated with clay, and this material has been with me for 40 years," she says. "You can create anything you want out of clay, but I had never done a figure." Until now.Whitehead's self-portrait bust (right) continues to tell her life story. There's no telling what she'll embark upon next.julieivbitebeadboldsivortb.com
The number of years the American Craft Exposition has hosted one of the country's foremost arts and crafts expos in Evanston. "Craft" in this case translates to the finest artisans from across the globe displaying one-of-a-kind museum-quality art across 12 different media—from baskets, ceramics and fiber to glass, jewelry, paper, wood and furniture. This year's co-chairs, susan White and Debbie Hulick, have some new events planned for the anniversary show: Craft in Action will offer demonstrations by artists, and Living With Craft will feature vignettes of dining rooms with art decor. T he annual show raises funds for critical breast and ovarian cancer research and care at Northshore University healthsystem.Americancraftexpo.org
Robert Falls The ability to take words off a page and instinctively know what they should sound like upon the stage is a talent most do not possess. Yet, for Evanstonian and longtime Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls, it comes naturally. Currently in the midst of debuting the world premiere of Luna Gale at the Goodman from Jan. 18-Feb. 23, Falls says he is particularly intrigued by the chance to put his natural talents to work alongside Luna Gale playwright Rebecca Gilman to tell the story of a family conflict that turns dangerous."Rebecca is a writer who challenges audiences to consider all angles of today's hot-button issues, and she holds nothing back in this gutwrenching new play," says Falls, who has previously directed Gilman's Blue Surge, Dollhouse and A True History of the Johnstown Flood.Goodmantheatre.org
THE COMEDIAN Jimmy carrane
Evanston resident Jimmy Carrane is no nerd… but he once was a selfproclaimed “300-pound fat kid growing up in Kenilworth” who found a comedic personality as a way to combat the stares he received in high school.“I basically would nd ways to make fun of myself to make others laugh,” he recalls during a recent interview with NS magazine. “When I could make someone laugh, it made me feel like I actually belonged in a world where, most of the time, I felt like quite an outsider.” And now, many years and lost pounds later, Carrane says he still recalls those moments during his ongoing live interview shows known as Improv Nerd With Jimmy Carrane. During the shows, Carrane interviews improvisational comedians about the industry prior to performing together and taking questions from the audience. “So many of the concepts of improv can be applied to real life,” says Carrane, whose next scheduled Improv Nerd show will take place Jan. 18 at Stage 773 in Chicago. “It’s all about listening to what the other person is saying.” So, who should learn improv? “People on the North Shore need it more than anybody,” he laughs. “Let’s just say that it’s an amazing way to express your true self.”
THE PRODUCER gigi pritZKer
Of all the magnificent Pritzker family legacies in Chicago, the most successfully entertaining has got to be Million Dollar Quartet. Produced by Gigi Pritzker (Relevant Theatricals), MDQ is now the longest-running Broadway musical production in Chicago’s history, with more than 2,000 performances, 500,000 tickets sold, a Tony Award and five smash-hit years in Chicago. Featuring live musical talent and based on a true story—when a twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis—the show provides all-age audiences with a powerhouse night of unforgettable rock ’n’ roll history.“For me, all of the entertainment I’m involved in starts with a story. Does it have impact and resonance? Does it make people think or feel? It’s the basis of it all,” explains Pritzker, adding that the secret of MDQ’s success is that it offers audiences an upbeat, feel-good story.In addition to live theater, Pritzker brings a little bit of Hollywood to Chicago by producing movies from her North Side office (Odd Lot Entertainment), such as the recent Ender’s Game starring Harrison Ford. “Theater gives you the opportunity to keep trying to make it better; you have to be present. Film is more of a machine, but I love the collaboration required by both,” she explains.One would think it hard to keep daily life down-to-earth with a name like Pritzker. But most who know Gigi will tell you that she manages to do just that, spending summer days at the family farm in Libertyville (hay, soybeans, cattle… the works) listening to her favorite country music.
Melissa Thodos and Jeanne Gang
The blending of architecture and dance seems like a gorgeous proposition, but something that doesn't happen frequently... which makes the collaboration between Thodos Dance Chicago and Studio Gang Architects that much more beautiful.Scheduled to premiere at Thodos Dance Chicago's Winter Concert Feb. 22 at Skokie's North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, the show will tap into Studio Gang's use of the experimental process of "jamming" to construct set pieces that Thodos Dance will interact with onstage. "It's going to be a radical collaboration between two top Chicago creative visionaries to create a brand-new form of live entertainment," remarks Melissa Thodos, Evanstonian and founder and artistic director of Thodos Dance Chicago. Thodosdancechicago.org
Mary Jo O'Gara It took Winnetka-based artist Mary Jo O'Gara 40 years to realize she had inherited the creative gene from her grandfather... but once she did, she became determined to share her talents with others. With her paintings now hanging on the walls of Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's offices, O'Gara spends the majority of her time teaching oil and gouache painting classes throughout the North Shore, along with heading up brand-new workshops such as Frame Your Art Well on Feb. 8 at the North Shore Art League in Winnetka. Maryjoogara.com
Lake Forest Civic Orchestra
There may be nothing quite as noble as a community orchestra-a group of amateur and retired professional musicians who play for the sheer joy of the experience-for no pay and little recognition. After a quarter century of being confused with other orchestras whose names included the words "North," "Shore" or "Suburban," The North Suburban Symphony decided to change their tune—and their name. After much deliberation and planning, the ensemble unveiled its new name at the 25th anniversary concert, Symphonic Explosion, featuring rock 'n' roll arrangements ranging from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, just before Thanksgiving.Henceforth, the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra has some big plans for the future. Now in his seventh year as music director, Ron Arden says, "i want [our new name] to define our future in a big way. It says many things—we belong to the community; we are volunteers; we believe in making a place for everyone to play; and we are in it for the long haul." Take in one of their upcoming concerts on March 16 or May 4. You won't be disappointed.Lakeforestcivicorchestra. Org
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