Saturday, November 07, 2020

Now open: Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival!


Gene Siskel Film Center banner

November 2020

Watch the Black Harvest Film Festival's new releases at home with the Gene Siskel Film Center's Film Center from your Sofa streaming series. The following tiles are available beginning Friday, November 6.
still from LOST
Opening Night: A Black Harvest Feast
Friday, November 6, 7:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 19
2019-20, Various directors, USA, 63 min.
Enjoy this feast of talent through five short films that provide a provocative taste of the festival to come. more info

The Outside Story
Saturday, November 7, 3:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 20
2020, Casmir Nozkowski, USA, 85 min.
With Bryan Tyree Henry, Sonequa Martin-Green
After locking himself out of his apartment, Charles (Henry, of ATLANTA, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK), an introverted, heartbroken film editor, finds himself on an epic journey up, down, and around his block with life-altering ramifications. more info

Shorts Program: Love African American Style
Saturday, November 7, 5:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 20
2019-20, Various directors, USA, 68 min.
Love can be for better or for worse, and in these five shorts, sometimes it’s worse before it’s better. more info

Saturday, November 7, 8:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 20
2020, Ashley O’Shay, USA, 87 min.
UNAPOLOGETIC, by Chicago filmmaker and former Film Center projectionist O’Shay, captures a tense and polarizing moment in Chicago’s fight for the livelihood of its Black residents. The film follows Janaé and Bella, two young abolitionist organizers, as they work within the Movement for Black Lives to seek justice for Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald, two young Black people killed by Chicago police. more info

still from FURTHEST FROM
Shorts Program: Family Matters
Sunday, November 8, 3:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 21
2019-20, Various directors, USA, 80 min
Family changes, challenges, and secrets, stirred with love, characterize these four shorts. more info

still from THE GATHERING
The Gathering: Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz
Sunday, November 8, 5:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 21
2020, Thomas Paige, USA, 91 min
This vibrant documentary chronicles a multigenerational music project started in 2005 by Jesse Sharps, one of the bandleaders of Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. more info

still from BROWN PAPER BAG
Brown Paper Bag
Sunday, November 8, 8:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 21
2019, Detdrich McClure, USA, 93 min.
With Rasheed Stephens, Tiara Parke
The year is 1942, and Archie Glass is trying to break into Hollywood. His opportunity comes in the form of an unusual job offer: find a young white movie star before the press reports that she is missing and he is promised a shot at his Hollywood dream. more info

See what's coming up at the Black Harvest Film Festival. click here
Shorts Program: Black History: Lost and Found
Monday, November 9, 6:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 22
2018-20, Various directors, USA, 62 min.
Four thought-provoking short films with historical themes. more info

still from THE NEXT STEP
The Next Step
Monday, November 9, 8:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 22
2020, Saquan Jones, USA, 91 min.
With Shadner Ifrene, Alan M. Johnson
Justin, a man in a transitional stage of his life, invites a group of friends to Brooklyn for a weekend fantasy basketball draft, when he discovers that he is not the only one in a transitional stage. It turns out that fantasy basketball isn’t the only game being played when longtime friends become rivals. more info

Shorts Program: Voices of Our Time
Tuesday, November 10, 8:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 23
2019-20, Various directors, USA, 80 min
Filmmakers powerfully address the racism, inequalities, and longstanding injustices of our time in these eight shorts. more info

still from PIGEON KINGS
Pigeon Kings
Wednesday, November 11, 6:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 24
2019, Milena Pastreich, USA, 80 min
This fascinating chronicle takes us through the backyards of South Central Los Angeles, where a close-knit group of African American men devote themselves to the hobby of breeding, training, and racing a unique breed of tumbling pigeon. Keith London, a former champion, guides us through this world. more info

still from THE INITIATE
Shorts Program: The Chicago Connection
Wednesday, November 11, 8:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 24
2018-20, Various directors, USA, 63 min.
Five short films featuring Chicago talent. more info

Shorts Program: Color Me Creative
Thursday, November 12, 8:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 25
2018-20, Various directors, USA/South Africa, 82 min
Seven short films celebrate creativity and the imagination. more info

still from BABLINGA
Shorts Program: Tales from Other Shores
+ The Richard and Ellen Sandor Black Harvest Film Festival Prize Presentation
Friday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.
Available to stream through November 26
2018-20, Various directors, Various nations, 96 min.
Stories from around the world illustrate new perspectives on Black life in these five international shorts. more info

River City Drumbeat
Friday, November 13, 8:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 26
2019, Anne Flatte and Marlon Johnson, USA, 25 min.
Edward "Nardie" White devoted his life to leading the African American drum corps he co-founded with Zambia Nkrumah in Louisville, Kentucky, three decades ago. Together they inspired youth from their West Louisville neighborhood to thrive by connecting them with the art and cultural traditions of their African ancestors. RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT follows this creative community of mentors, parents, and youth making their way in a world where systemic forces raise obstacles to fulfilling their dreams. more info

still from CARNIVAL
Shorts Program: Women of Color
Saturday, November 14, 4:00 p.m.
Available to stream through November 27
2019-20, Various directors, USA/UK, 88 min
Heart, soul, and perseverance are a Black woman’s essentials in these six shorts. more info

Love Like Winter
Saturday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 27
2019, Artel Great, USA, 75 min
With Nia Fairweather, Artel Great
Featuring stunningly beautiful Chicago vistas and an imaginative use of the geography of the streets, LOVE LIKE WINTER follows a star-crossed pair of former lovers who unexpectedly reconnect after ten years apart. more info

still from TWO GODS
Two Gods
Sunday, November 15, 4:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 28
2020, Zeshawn Ali, USA, 82 min
Hanif is a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in Newark, New Jersey. He mentors two kids—Furquan, a confident 12-year-old who comes from a rough home, and Naz, a 17-year-old who has been fighting his own struggles as a young Black man growing up in Newark. Hardship comes when Furquan's home life becomes more turbulent and Naz gets caught up in a serious arrest. more info

Thumbs Up For Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story
Sunday, November 15, 7:00 p.m. CT
Available to stream through November 28
2020, George King, USA, 95 min
Born one of 27 children in Jim Crow Alabama, Lonnie Holley was stolen away as an infant and sold for a pint of whiskey. Growing up in grinding poverty and abuse on society’s margins left its scars. At age 28, Holley discovers making things quiets the demons that haunt him to this day. Now, nearing 70 years of age, his artwork sits in the Smithsonian, the National Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while his music has garnered international critical acclaim for its stirring soulful depth. more info

still from THE KILL HOLE
The Kill Hole + 
Presentation of the Black Harvest Film Festival Legacy Award 
to Jacqueline Stewart
Closing Night Film
Monday, November 30, 6:00 p.m. (one-time event)
2011, Mischa Webley, USA, 92 min.
With Chadwick Boseman, Tory Kittle
Our 2020 Black Harvest closes with a tribute to the illustrious career of Chadwick Boseman. THE KILL HOLE, his first starring feature film role, screened in the 2012 Black Harvest festival. This thriller takes on issues from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as traumatized vet Lt. Samuel Drake (Boseman) is haunted by one very dirty secret from his past. Living on the margins of Portland as a taxi driver, Drake soon comes to realize that he remains the pawn of the Army’s venal independent contractors. He receives one final order: search out and take out the renegade fellow vet (Kittles) who was witness to his crime. The tense manhunt is set in the spectacular Oregon wilderness, where the face-to-face meeting of two hardened killers makes for an unpredictable resolution. The cast also includes Billy Zane and Peter Green. more info

Black Harvest is all about community, and in our Screen to Screen events, we invite our community of film lovers to join Black Harvest filmmakers and cast members for interactive, virtual Q&As, and panels...all from the comfort of your sofa. Until we can all meet again in person, we look forward to seeing you virtually, screen to screen. Please check this page frequently for updates, as new Screen to Screen events will be added throughout the festival.

Who Tells the Story
Tuesday, November 10, 6:00–7:00 p.m. CT 

Who tells the stories of the Black experience and history; does the storyteller change the story; who has agency to tell the story? more info

Panelists: Raymond Lambert, Stanley Nelson, Yoruba Richen, Joe Winston
Moderated by Troy Pryor

Fresh Perspective: Youth Film Showcase
Monday, November 16, 12:00 p.m. CT
One-day free event; Q&A following the screening
2019-20, Various directors, USA, TBA
A first this year, this selection of short films created by young Chicagoans will be followed by a conversation with the rising stars. more info
How to Get Your Movie Made
Sunday, November 22, 3:00 p.m. CT

This Black Harvest panel discussion annually offers insights into to Black filmmaking. more info

Panelists: Dr. Artel Great, Chinwe Okorie, Detdrich McClure, Jacynta Harris
Moderated by Sergio Mims
How Culture and Film Move Movements
Tuesday, November 24, 6:00 p.m. CT 

How has culture and film been used to bring about social and political change, and do films have the power to elicit change? more info

Panelists: Michelle Boone, Lonnie Edwards, Ashley O’Shay, Pemon Rami, David Weathersby
Moderated by NK Gutierrez

Harold Dennis Acting Workshop 
Saturday, November 14, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT

Participants will explore and practice different ways to deliver lines and monologues to evoke different audience responses.

To bring you the best in independent and international film, Gene Siskel Film Center curates its selection through many different distributors. Price per film may vary, but all films will be less than the price of a movie ticket. Streaming is easy, just:
1. Go To and find the movie you want to watch.

2. Click on "Stream Now" button. (You may need to set up an account on the streaming service.)

3. Pop some popcorn and enjoy your film.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Announce 107th Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park






Holiday events include a new virtual program, ice skating at Maggie Daley Park, and other activities across the Millennium Park Campus


CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced details for the 107th Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park – Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree, presented by Powering Chicago: IBEW Local 134/NECA. This year’s Tree is a 45-foot Blue Spruce donated by the family of Catherine Townsend of Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood (19th ward). Millennium Park holiday programs are produced by DCASE and presented by Powering Chicago, with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority.


“We are extremely excited to be continuing our city’s beloved winter traditions this season in a safe and healthy way,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Despite the historic challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unceasing in finding workable solutions at every turn that support our families, protect our communities, and unite us during this unprecedented moment.”


“Powering Chicago is honored to illuminate the 107th Christmas Tree for the City of Chicago,” said Elbert Walters III, Director at Powering Chicago, the labor-management partnership between IBEW Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of the City of Chicago. “This year’s Tree will provide a bright spot for Chicagoans and visitors in what has been a trying time for all. I want to thank Electrical Contractors’ Association members, All Tech Energy and members of IBEW Local 134 who are responsible for lighting and decorating this year’s Tree.”


Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, DCASE will not present an in-person Tree lighting ceremony for the public, but Chicagoans and visitors are invited to attend a new virtual holiday program premiering on November 19 at 6:30 p.m. at – and visit Millennium Park to see the City of Chicago Christmas Tree shining brightly near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. from November 20 through January 7. The Park is open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., for groups of 10 persons or fewer who practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. For information about where to enter/exit the Park and other details, visit


“Gardening has always been my mother’s favorite hobby,” said Sherri Mitchell, a daughter of 85-year-old, retired Chicago Public Schools teacher Catherine Townsend, who donated this year’s Tree. “Neighbors always complimented her on her flowers and her yard’s beautiful landscaping, not the least of which were our towering Spruce trees.”


The new, 30-minute “Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Holidays” program debuting on November 19 at 6:30 p.m. – presented in lieu of an in-person Tree lighting ceremony for the public – is produced by Kurtis Productions with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and DCASE. It will include a holiday greeting from Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman, special acknowledgements of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and music performances recorded at the Epiphany Center for the Arts featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de México Ensemble and Percy Bady and friends – with a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” The event will be archived and viewable throughout the Holiday season at


Skating will not be presented at Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink this season, but the Chicago Park District will offer skating in neighboring Maggie Daley Park at the Ice Skating Ribbon – opening on November 20. This season, reservations and masks will be required to skate. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. For details, visit


While visiting Millennium Park, guests are encouraged to take selfies with the iconic Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain sculptures, take a quiet stroll through Lurie Garden, and see the Millennium Monument and Jay Pritzker Pavilion lit up in holiday colors. Opening in December, a new art installation in Wrigley Square created by designer and gallerist Jason Pickleman, presented by the Millennium Park Foundation, will honor the Chicago lives lost to COVID-19.


Other in-person and virtual events across the Millennium Park Campus include:

  • Virtual tours of the Chicago Cultural Center – plus outdoor public art tours of the Millennium Park Campus on the first and third Saturday of the month,
  • In lieu of the annual Dance-Along Nutcracker® event at the Chicago Cultural Center, which remains closed to the public, the original Dance-Along Nutcracker will be streamed for free by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (December 12 & 13, – and Ballet Chicago will present two virtual versions of The Nutcracker (December 18–30, ticket at
  • Holiday shopping at Buddy, a new store created by the Public Media Institute selling Chicago-made art, objects and more – online for now at and on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center when it reopens (Additionally, show off your Chicago pride with artist-designed Official Summer Festival Merchandise created in collaboration with the Design Museum of Chicago,
  • Comedy Tailgate to Skate, December 1, and other special events at the Ice Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park,
  • CMS at Home: Brandenburg Concertos presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Harris Theater for Music and Dance, streaming December 17–21,
  • Monet and Chicago, through January 18, and other exhibitions and events at the Art Institute of Chicago,


The latest projections from Art on theMART will resume on November 12 with an all-new program. Just in time to celebrate the holidays, The Joffrey Ballet will debut a moving-image work of art featuring production images from its acclaimed production of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker; the Art Institute of Chicago will present images from two of its current exhibitions, Monet and Chicago, and Bisa Butler: Portraits; and Arts of Life will show a compilation of the artists’ bold images, animated together as a video projection. Shown nightly at 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. through December 30. For details, visit


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


Powering Chicago: IBEW Local 134/NECA

Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) of the City of Chicago, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership (LMCC) that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, our members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative, five-year apprenticeship program.


Millennium Park Foundation

The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic nonprofit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction, and curation of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free, accessible and equitable venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.


Thursday, November 05, 2020

Chicago Architecture Center >> CAC@Home


Chicago Architecture Center

New Frank Lloyd Wright program, OHC wrap-up and more walking tour options

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NOVEMBER 5, 2020 • ISSUE 23

Open House Chicago


Extended to 17 days, Open House Chicago 2020 was an “inspired and effective reimagining” of the festival, said one CAC member, with “impressive, diverse cross-cultural conversations” that “brought positive, thoughtful voices to [neighborhoods] often overlooked,” said two online programs attendees.

We completely reconfigured OHC for its 10th anniversary, to support public health and safety. Please share your thoughts with us. Tell us about your experience and enter for a chance to win a CAC Friends and Family membership!

The CAC extends its gratitude to everyone who took part, in person and remotely, from our 37 community partners, to the 50+ organizations represented by our audio narrators and online programs panelists, to the 100+ sites and buildings along our 25 self-guided trails, to the more than 12,000 people who installed and explored the OHC 2020 mobile app. None of this would have been possible without generous support from our sponsors and partners: Presenting Sponsor Wintrust, the National Endowment for the Humanities through its CARES Act grant program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the TAWANI Foundation, ComEd, Regenia Stein and Roland James, Orren Pickell Building Group, Ozinga, Choose Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, Open House Worldwide, Chicago magazine, the Chicago Reader, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago and Vocalo Radio. Thank you all—and stay tuned for dates to save for Open House Chicago 2021.




The CAC is proud to take part in a 48-hour, FREE international festival being convened November 14 and 15 by Open House Worldwide. Featuring contributions from architects, designers, urbanists and citizens in more than 40 global cities, Open House Worldwide will address important issues facing built environments around the world, from the climate crisis to housing and from transportation to post-pandemic design. Browse the festival schedule and please join CAC docents for Revitalized: What’s New and Cool on the River, Saturday, November 14 at 8pm Central Time.


As promised, online programs and virtual tours continue through this fall and winter. Upcoming programs include:

Frank Lloyd Wright in Glencoe
Wednesday, November 11 at noon

Discover the stories behind two Frank Lloyd Wright gems in north suburban Glencoe: Booth Cottage, 107 years old and recently relocated, and Ravine Bluffs, a collection of homes that showcase Wright’s interest in community planning. Register now to learn more from architect Peter Van Vechten and Glencoe Historical Society president Karen Ettelson.

FLW program

Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago
Wednesday, November 25 at noon

Chicago’s skyscraper-studded downtown core is home to a surprising number of houses of worship, serving believers of multiple faiths and representing a wide variety of architectural styles. This daytime program reveals the architectural splendor, intricate details and religious symbolism of five sacred spaces around the city’s center. Register now to learn more from CAC docent David Utech.

Sacred spaces program
Walking tours


Among our most popular walking tours, Historic Treasures of Chicago’s Golden Age is back, departing Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am, now 90 minutes and reconfigured as an outdoor-only experience.

With each CAC walking tour temporarily limited to six attendees, they’ve never sold out faster. (For maximum flexibility, consider booking a private tour—discounted for CAC members—or a custom tour.) Additional departures are now available for Evanston Along the Lake, Fulton-Randolph Market: From Gritty to Gourmet, Lake Forest Cemetery, Louis Sullivan, Mies and Modernism, Old Town Triangle, Riverwalk West, University of Chicago, Vice to Nice: Transformation of the South Loop and Lights, Camera, Architecture!

River cruise


Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruises aboard Chicago’s First Lady are still departing from the Chicago Riverwalk—just steps away from the Chicago Architecture Center. Book a safely distanced, photo-friendly cruise along the Chicago River, lined on both sides with brand-new buildings and projects under construction. Choose your departure and don’t delay—seating is strictly limited and fills fast.



Read along with CAC Director of Interpretation Adam Rubin as we flip through “What Do You Do With An Idea?” by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by May Besom—then try the self-guided activity linked below!

Read and build
Newhouse competition


The 39th annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition is an opportunity to showcase the talents of Chicago-area students who create projects that solve real-world problems. This year’s competition highlights the City of Chicago’s INVEST South/West initiative by concentrating students’ efforts on projects that improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham, Austin and Englewood. Dates to save include the competition launch on November 10, the start of registration on December 1 and the submission deadline of April 9, 2021.


JGMA project

The CAC extends its congratulations to Industry Council member JGMA (Juan Gabriel Moreno Architects), recognized by Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards. The firm won honorable mentions for Design Company of the Year and its Richard J. Daley College MTEC project, in addition to being named a Spaces and Places finalist for its Esperanza Health Centers Brighton Park, seen above. View Fast Company’s complete Innovation by Design Awards coverage online and, if you haven’t already, visit our YouTube channel to hear from Moreno, Kimberly Dowdell and Ernest C. Wong in conversation as part of the CAC’s contribution to International Museum Day 2020.


The Chicago Architecture Center, including all exhibits and the CAC Design Store, is open Saturday and Sunday from 10am–4pm. CAC building and neighborhood walking tours, departing from locations other than the Center at 111 E. Wacker Dr., are available for purchase on the 15th of the month prior to the month of the scheduled departure.

The CAC remains committed to providing the safest possible experience for its entire community of members, staff, visitors, volunteers and tour attendees. All Center visitors and CAC tour attendees are prompted to acknowledge and accept the CAC’s safety policies supporting recommendations from public health officials from the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.

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