1. Nasa in the Hollow at PeregrineProgram
Work by Manuel Rodriguez and Kendall Babl.
PeregrineProgram is located at 3311 W. Carroll Ave. #119. Reception Sunday, 1-4pm.
2. Mathias Poledna at The Renaissance Society
New commissioned works.
The Renaissance Society is located at 5811 S. Ellis Ave. Cobb Hall 418. Reception Sunday, 5-8pm.
3. Mend Thine Every Flaw at Heaven Gallery
Work by Shawn Creeden, Marshall Elliot and Rachel Starbuck.
Heaven Gallery is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Friday, 7-10pm.
4. Everything is Text at Comfort Station
Work by Jon Chambers.
Comfort Station is located at 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Saturday, 5-8pm.
5. Krampusnacht at Co-Prosperity Sphere
Work by Paul Nudd, Andrea Jablonski, Chris Hefner, Bruce Neal, Christopher Smith, Kevin Jennings, Stephanie Burke, Jeriah Hildwine, Sarah Leitten, Catie Olson, BJ Vogt, Matt Marsden, EC Brown, Justine Harlan, Sean DeSantis, Ryan Swain, George Edward Hurden IV, Nathan Case-McDonald and Meg Duguid.
Co-Prosperity Sphere is located at 3219 S. Morgan St. Reception Friday, 8pm-12am.
1. The Square Root of Pi(e) at Chicago Artists Coalition
Work by Rami George, Dan Paz, Jenyu Wang and Alexandria Eregbu.
Chicago Artists Coalition is located at 217 N. Carpenter St. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.
2. Almost Ergonomic at Studio 424
Curated by Third Object, with work by Alex Chitty, Laura Hart Newlon, Kate O’Neill, David Bhodi Boyland, and Jeff Prokash.
Studio 424 is located at 167 North Racine Avenue, Suite 1. Reception Saturday, 5-9pm.?
3. Retreat at Richard Gray Gallery
Curated by Theaster Gates, with work by Derrick Adams, Erika Allen, Elizabeth Axtman, Bethany Collins, Tony Lewis, Kelly Lloyd, Valerie Piraino, Mitchell Squire, Wilmer Wilson IV and Nate Young.
Richard Gray Gallery is located at 875 N. Michigan, Ste. 3800. Reception Friday, 5-7pm.
4. Iffy Conditions at Garden Apartment Gallery
Curated by Daniel Bruttig, with work by Boris Ostrerov, Erin Thurlow, Frank Pollard, George Blaha, Jessie Mott, Joe Cassan, Julia Klein, Kelly Kaczynski, Lauren Carter, Mike Schuh, Paul Nudd, Peter Fagundo, Scott Wolniak, and Shane Huffman.
Garden Apartment Gallery is located at 3528 W. Fulton Blvd. Reception Friday, 6-10pm.
5. Fetish at Defibrillator Gallery
Work by Dani Ploeger.
Defibrillator Gallery is located at 1136 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Friday, 8-11pm.
1. Placemakers Summit (Part 1 & Part 2) at Mana Contemporary Chicago
Part of VERSION14. Part 1 (Saturday) 1pm: Contested Territory with Multiuso, The Graffiti Institute and 96 Acres, 2pm: Tactical Urbanism 101 with Rik Adamski, 3pm: ArchiGO with Paul Durica and Nick Fraccaro, 4pm: A Free Frame with Robert Herbst, 5pm: Presentation TBA by Krisann Rehbein. Part 2 (Sunday) 1pm: Why Aren‚Äôt We All Developers By Now? with Charles Vinz, 2pm: Wicker Park Bocce Club with Alex Gara, 3pm: Space-taking and place-making with Sean Starowitz, 4pm: Fertile Substrate: the down and dirty job of placemaking with Nance Klehm, 5 pm: Hypercities, Bangkok with Logan Bay.
Mana Contemporary Chicago is located at 2233 S. Throop St. Discussions 1-6pm Saturday and Sunday.
2. don’t trust the floor at Slow
Work by Claire Ashley, Tony Balko, Meg Duguid, Jason Dunda, Max Byron Garett, Kevin Jennings, Chuck Jones, Julie Potratz, Rebecca Walz and Ryan Michael Pfeiffer.
Slow is located at 2153 W. 21st St. Reception Saturday 6-9pm.
3. So It Goes at Sunday Project
Work by Tim Mann, Ryan Nault, and Allison Wade.
Sunday Project is located at 1344 W. 18th Pl. #1F. Reception Sunday 3-6pm.
4. We do what we like and we like what we do at Western Exhibitions
Work by Dan Attoe, Elijah Burgher, Lilli Carré, Ryan Travis Christian, Courttney Cooper, Nicholas Frank, Richard Hull, Dutes Miller, Rachel Niffenegger, Paul Nudd, Robyn O’Neil, Stan Shellabarger, Geoffrey Todd Smith, Deb Sokolow, and Ben Stone.
Western Exhibitions is located at 845 W. Washington Blvd. Reception Friday 5-8pm.
5. SOLO @ CIRCA at CircaModern
Work by Allison Reimus.
CircaModern is located at 1114 N. Ashland Ave. Reception Friday 5-9pm.
There is a really fantastic comics festival going down this weekend at Columbia College. Edie Fake and Neil Brideau have been putting it together for the last several months, as is evident from the ambitious vision and extensive programming. It’s like a world-class event with some phenomenal talent, old and new alike. A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to email back and forth with them about what the festival is about, what’s going down and how it relates to the pulse of the Chicago comic scene.
Caroline Picard:Â I can’t believe thatÂ CAKEÂ is just around the corner â€” what made you all decide to put something like this together? Why this year? What’s it been like to organize?
Edie Fake:Â Yeah -Â CAKEÂ is coming up so fast – it’s really exciting! Our initial impulse was that the alternative comics community in Chicago is so large and vibrant, it didn’t make sense tonotÂ have a comics festival to celebrate it. We’d been to other amazing small press festivals of different flavors: TCAF in Toronto, Stumptown in Portland, SPX in Bethesda, BCGF in New York, APE in San Francisco… and it’s awesome to see these festivals harnessing the energy of a city’s scene and putting it in conversation with artists from all over.
This year is shaping up as an amazing year to debut a show likeÂ CAKEÂ – there’s a ton of outstanding comics coming out right now, and I’m blown away by the talent we’ll be hosting. We’ve gotten to watch the Chicago Zine Fest (CZF) really take off in the past few years too, which is really encouraging.
Organizing for this year’sÂ CAKEÂ meant laying a lot of groundwork for the festival to continue – so it’s been a long and wild ride at times. We’ve got a tight core of five organizers now and an auxiliary committee of about 20 other folks and that sort of manpower really helps make everything more manageable. It actually makes putting it together pretty fun.
CP:Â In many ways I feel like your efforts in organizing community zine and comic-events is this incredible way of drawing out and publicizing vital energy that tends to lie below the surface. I feel like there is a ton of natural comic-energy at the moment, but I also feel like my awareness is tied to community opportunities for discussion and public engagement (like CAKE) that you and others are creating. Can you talk a little bit about what that’s been like? And maybe the tension (if there is one) between insular community-creativity and public accessibility?Â
Neil Brideau: I think over the past few generations comics have really come into their own. Â They’re being accepted more by the larger cultural world, and I think that helps cartoonists break out of their shells a little bit. Â Most ofÂ CAKE’s exhibitors are in their late twenties and early thirties, and I feel like this generation is a lot more social than their immediate predecessors. Â There’s this stereotype of the alternative comics artist toiling away in their studio not getting any financial or critical compensation for what they love, and feeling sorry for themselves. Â But I see our peers really celebrating their creative process and the creative process of others. Not that there aren’t a lot of nights spent alone in a room inking pages of comics very few people will read. Â I think Chicago too, in general is really welcoming of DIY and small-run creativity. Whether it’s the Night Market, or the CIMM Fest, or the Chicago Zine Fest, or Printers Ball, or house shows that DIYCHI is putting together, Chicago seems to be an incubator for lo-fi production and celebration of that production. Â I think cartoonists in Chicago react to that energy, and are more social and community-oriented animals.
CP:Â Is there a way that you would characterize the comic-making energy and interest in Chicago at the moment? Do you have a sense for how that compares to other cities?
EF: Comics in Chicago have been a pretty big deal for a while – but I think we’re in a golden time right now. There’s a lot of overlapping community here. The Trubble Club is a great example of folks meeting up and drawing, sharing about what they’re making and influencing each other’s work. We’ve got micropresses like Sarah Becan’s Shortpants Press and printshops like Spudnik and try-anything stores like Quimby’s. Lyra Hill’s performative reading series Brain Frame is expanding whatÂ comics are and how they’re presented. We’ve also seen totally off-the-chain events happen here recently like Hilary Chute’s star-studded Comics: Philosophy and Practice conference. This city values great comics like no place else- the scene here is really open, supportive and interactive. People here really up the ante for each other.
CP:Â I feel like we should talk aboutÂ CAKEÂ too, of course! What kind of things can people expect? Are there certain events that stand out as highlights for you?
EF: It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend! We’ve got over 200 artists exhibiting comics and a full slate of panels, screenings and conversations. We tried to set up events that we thought were a vital part of comics that we hadn’t seen happen before, like a panel on silkscreened comics and how the printing technique changes and expands the shape of comics. Ryan Sands, who’s an incredibly interesting and edgy editor is presenting a slideshow/mixtape of stuff he’s excited about and it just might be like seeing the future. The Eyeworks Animation Festival has curated a great program of work that highlights the overlap of comics and cartoons along with a q&a with Amy Lockhart, Marc Bell, Jim Trainor and Jo Dery. We’ve also got artist and comics historian Joe Tallarico leading a discussion on comics and fine art between two tremendous local art monsters, Paul Nudd and Karl Wirsum.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too – we’ve really been able to do a lot our first year out, including putting out an anthologyÂ CAKEÂ Book with ITDN Group and an art show in conjunction with Morpho Gallery’s downtown Annex. It’s going to be a great time.
CP:Â Aren’t some people debuting comics too? What’s that like? (I’ve never been to something where comics â€” and multiple comics â€” debuted, but I imagine it’s some kind of custom? haha. I sound like such a goober.)
NB:Â Oh yeah! Debuts are a great tradition at alternative comics shows. Self- and small-press publishers often use comics fests as anchors to plan their publishing schedule. Making a comics fest likeÂ CAKEÂ as the first time someone can get their hands on a comic helps create a buzz for their publication, the creators are excited to get it in people’s hands, and a lot of attendees seek out new work, knowing their the first folks to get their eyes on the comic! Â So celebrating these brand new books are events within the larger event ofÂ CAKEÂ and those celebrations add to the excitement that already exists within this convergence of tons of comics creators showing off their gems of self expression.
We have over 25 new titles debuting atÂ CAKE, which we’ve been announcing on our website, one at a time. Being the one who posts them on the site, I’ve been bubbling with anticipation about some of the stuff coming out. Â My list of comics I need to get my hands on is already really big. Â A few that stand out to me are:
–Suck It Up by Krystal DiFronzo, who enthusiastically performed a portion of the comic (which involves a character puking out her stomach to consume her lunch) at the most recent Brain Frame performance at Happy Dog
–July Diary by Gabrielle Bell, published by Uncivilized Books. Â Gabrielle is a great cartoonist who drew a comic everyday last July, which is now collected in this book.
–The Adventure School for Ladies Comics Intensive, is putting together a book during their two-week session, which takes place right beforeÂ CAKE, so their book will be hot off the presses!
–Weather by Gabby Schulz -who also goes by the name Ken Dahl. Â Secret Acres is publishing a comic featuring his character, Gordon Smalls, who is a great vehicle for Gabby’s social commentary on american consumerism.
For more information about CAKE and all its illustrious events, please visit their website.
1. Living By Example at Northeastern Illinois University Fine Arts Center
Work by Jeroen Nelemans, Ryan Richey, Ryan Travis Christian, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Deborah Boardman, Dana Carter, Kirsten Leenaars, Zachary Cahill, Ann Toebbe, Melissa Oresky, Alberto Alguilar, Corinne Halbert, Meg Duguid, Heidi Norton, Paul Nudd, Maria Gaspar, Mindy Rose-Schwartz, Eric Brown, Catie Olsen, and Michael Rea.
Northeastern Illinois University Fine Arts Center is located at 5500 N St. Louis. Reception Friday from 6-9pm.
2. the big stink moves like a moth towards the light at HungryMan Gallery
Work by Ethan Cook, McKeever Donovan, Michael Hunter, Andrew Laumann, Mallory Anita Lawson, Sofia Leiby, John Roebas, Letha Wilson, and Eric Veit.
HungryMan Gallery is located at 2135 N. Rockwell St. Reception Saturday from 7-10pm.
3. The Warmest Guest at Autumn Space Gallery
Work by Magalie GuÃ©rin.
Autumn Space Gallery is located at 1700 Irving Park #207. Reception Saturday from 6-9pm.
4. Honk If You Love Painting at Terrain
Work by Anna Kunz.
Terrain is located at 704 Highland Ave., Oak Park. Reception is Sunday from 2-4pm.
5. Accidents in Gravity at ACRE Projects
Work by Michelle Anne Harris.
ACRE Projects is located at 1913 W 17th St. Reception is Sunday from 4-8pm.