In this episode of Artbeat Chicago, the renovation and renewal of the Chicago Theater district is discussed, a young actress playing the role of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is profiled, a throng of classic black art is showcased in the downtown gallery scene, and a production based on the life of Peggy Guggenheim is visited. Studs Terkel briefly appears in the piece on Mahalia Jackson.
00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone, countdown and title screen.
00:51Copy video clip URL Intro sequence for Artbeat Chicago.
02:20Copy video clip URL A segment showcasing the program’s funding rolls before the actual program begins.
02:40Copy video clip URL The first segment entitled “Dramatic Improvement” highlights Chicago’s renewal of the theater scene. Geoffrey Baer takes the viewer through the new Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, which is currently being constructed. Theater critic Johnathan Abarbanel discusses some of the positive effects of the theater district improvement. One of the main proponents behind these improvements is Mayor Richard M. Daley, who really believes in the importance of culture in the city. Lewis Manilow of the Goodman Theatre speaks highly of Mayor Daley’s support of the renewal plan. “He knows one big thing: that great cities need great culture.” Various other theater employees from around the city comment on the renewal. Architect Daniel Coffey talks about the importance of the district as a whole. Marj Halperin of the League of Chicago Theaters talks about the positive implications of the renewal for the many neighborhood theaters throughout Chicago. Chris Jones, writer for Variety Magazine, talks about the need for top notch theater productions now that the district is being improved.
08:42Copy video clip URL Ten second break.
08:52Copy video clip URL The second segment entitled “Singing Her Praises” sheds light on an up and coming singer/actress named La Tonya Beacham and her portrayal of legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in a theater production centered around her life. Jackie Taylor of the Black Ensemble Theater talks about Beacham’s first audition. Beacham speaks of her love for Mahalia Jackson. Studs Terkel makes a brief appearance and talks about the first time he heard Jackson’s music and states that he had “never heard a voice like that.” Terkel also discusses working with Jackson throughout their careers. He goes on to talk about Jackson’s performances and how she became Martin Luther King, Jr’s favorite singer. Various clips of both Mahalia Jackson and La Tonya Beacham roll as Taylor talks about the central theme of the production.
14:41Copy video clip URL Cut to another short ten second break.
14:51Copy video clip URL The next segment entitled “Respect For Elders” showcases the rich history of early 20th century African-American art. Many of the paintings of the time have not been showcased up until now. Various art enthusiasts and artists weigh in on the history of this type of art. Dr. Margaret Burroughs and Robert Adams of Adams Fine Art discuss the African-American art movement in Chicago in the early 20th century. Burroughs also talks about the Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration and how that affected the art movement in Chicago. Susan Woodson of the Woodson Gallery talks about the notion of a white gallery showcasing black art.
19:39Copy video clip URL Cut to another short ten second break.
19:48Copy video clip URL The final segment entitled “Such A Character” features a brief look at a play based on the life of American Art collector Peggy Guggenheim. Rick Tuttle of the Blue Rider Theatre talks about the play and how it had been put together. Donna Blue Lachman, who plays Guggenheim in the production, speaks of Guggenheim’s importance in the art world. Hedy Weiss, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, talks about Lachman’s work as an actress. Tuttle, Weiss, and Lachman herself go on to talk about Lachman’s role as Guggenheim.
24:14Copy video clip URL The Beat Goes On Weekly Sampler segment rolls as the video comes to a close.
26:21Copy video clip URL The credits begin to roll.
27:32Copy video clip URL Tape ends.