April is a busy month in Chicago, especially for Chicago's arts scene. The return of Riccardo Muti to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) this week, Steppenwolf’s newest production of the Hot L Baltimore, and that visual cornucopia, Artropolis, are just a few of the city's hottest events this month. Here are some noteworthy April events worth adding to your calendar, with more to come. (Additional reporting and writing for this story by Tom Mullaney.)
Next Theatre - April 7 to May 8, 2011: This Evanston-based theater company, celebrating its 30th anniversary season, is known for staging socially and politically provocative drama. This month, Next offers the Chicago premiere of “The Metal Children” by Adam Rapp, fresh from a sold-out, Off-Broadway run in New York. The play dramatizes a NY writer’s struggle to keep his young adult novel from being banned by a small-town school board. It parallels Rapp’s own fight with middle-America family values in Muhlenberg, PA over his novel, The Buffalo Tree.
Chicago White Sox Home Opener - April 8, 2011: The Chicago White Sox start their 2011 season, hopefully with a better start than the Cubs.
Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMM) - April 14-17, 2011: If the last rock feature you saw was the Rolling Stones’ IMAX, “Shine a Light” or Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” you can get your rock, reggae, and hip-hop fix starting April 14 as CIMM presents its 3rd annual festival and screens 70 films from more than 20 countries ranging from features, animation, documentaries, concert films, and music videos. The world premiere of Fix: The Ministry Movie about the British industrial rock band opens the festival that night at the Music Box Theater with a guest appearance by Ministry bassist, Paul Barker. The festival also features live concerts. This arts extravaganza takes place at 10 venues all around town.
“Illuminating the Shadows: Film Criticism in Focus”- April 21-23, 2011: Cineastes, Arise! The air will be thick with clashing opinions and dueling thumbs at an ambitious conference probing the state of film criticism at Northwestern’s Block Museum. The conference features four panels and four screenings with appearances by renowned critics from across America like former Reader critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Dave Kehr (The New York Times), Karina Longworth (LA Weekly), Wesley Morris (Boston Globe) and Scott Foundas (Film Society of Lincoln Center). Chicago is fully represented by Michael Phillips, J.R. Jones, Hank Sartin, Ray Pride, Fred Camper, Bill Stamets and Ignatiy Vishnevetshy to cite just 8. The conference kicks off with a screening of noted director, Errol Morris’ 2010 feature, “Tabloid”. All events are free and open to the public on a first-come basis.
Vivian Maier, Photographer - April 15 to June 18, 2011: Is there any Chicagoan left who, in the past three months, has not heard the amazing story of this Austrian-born, Chicago photographer who toiled for many years as a nanny to North Shore families? Her recently-closed show at the Chicago Cultural Center was a huge success. Like so many figures throughout art history, Maier received no recognition of her work during her lifetime but is now being hailed as one of the 20th Century’s greatest street photographers. It was only as the result of an estate sale shortly before her death in 2009 that a trove of 100,000 negatives and 3,000 of her prints revealed her secret, second identity. Art adviser Russell Bowman mounts a new show of her work at his River North gallery, 311 West Superior, on April 15th. An opening reception is scheduled from 5:30 to 8 p.m. By all means go and be spellbound by Maier’s astute eye which, like Weegee or Helen Leavitt in New York, captured the life and people on Chicago’s streets of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
Earth Day - April 22, 2011: Help the environment by tuning into your planet for Earth Day. Several events will be happening throughout Chicago.
Easter - April 24, 2011: Find Chicago Easter brunches and celebrations.