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Art Institute Tour Part of Black History Celebration

Events include talks, music and theatre performances, film screenings and more

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The final performances of “Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine,” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s social satire, and a jazz concert that celebrates the music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie, are just two of the Evanston campus events at Northwestern University celebrating Black History Month.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African-Americans in United States history. It also has inspired Northwestern -- where it is an annual celebration -- to organize a more than month-long, local celebration featuring guest speakers, music and stage performances, panel discussions, informal talks, lectures, film screenings and more.

Northwestern community members and their guests are also invited to visit the Art Institute of Chicago for free on the night of Feb. 26, to view a new exhibition by Chicago artist Eldzier Cortor, a painter and printmaker whose iconic images of African-American life have made him one of the country’s most revered artists.

For a complete listing of Black History Month 2015 events, visit the African American Student Affairs website

The following Northwestern events are free, unless otherwise noted, and open to the Northwestern faculty, staff and students and the general public.


“Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine” by Lynn Nottage and directed by Jerrell L. Henderson, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Nottage’s social satire is a classic comeuppance tale with a devilishly comic twist. It tells the story of Undine, a quick-witted, sharp-tongued and successful public relations executive, who rules every aspect of her world in downtown Manhattan. That is until her “perfect” husband suddenly disappears, running off with all of her money. Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, she must return to her childhood home in Brooklyn and cope with the crude new reality of transforming her setbacks into small victories. She also has to try to reconnect to a family she has purposefully forgotten in pursuit of her own ambitious rise to self-perceived glory. Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $23 for seniors over 62, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators; $10 for full-time students with IDs and $5 for Northwestern students, advance purchase only, or $10 at the door.

• Block Cinema, Special Programs series, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” (Thomas Allen Harris, 2014, United States, DCP, 92 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, FREE. Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Inspired by Deborah Willis’ book, “Reflections in Black, Through a Lens Darkly” casts a broad net that begins with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris’ family album. “It considers the difference between black photographers who use the camera to define themselves, their people and their culture and some white photographers who, historically, have demeaned African-Americans through racist imagery. The film embraces both historical material (African-Americans who were slaves, who fought in the Civil War, were victims of lynchings or were pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement) and contemporary images made by such luminaries as Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks and Carrie Mae Weems. The film reveals deeply disturbing truths about the history of race relations while expressing joyous, life-affirming sentiments about the ability of artists and amateurs alike to assert their identity through the photographic lens.” -- Film Forum. In person: Author Deborah Willis, co-producer of the film, will attend the screening. Space is limited.

The Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra’s “Two Men of the Royal Court of Jazz -- the Duke and the Count,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. The Bienen School will pay tribute to Duke Ellington and Count Basie, who defined the swing era of jazz through their incomparable big band charts that have influenced the sound of jazz from the 1930s to the present day. Featuring the music of their respective bands, this concert celebrates their soul and blues-drenched genius. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Northwestern Night at the Art Institute, 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at 111 South Michigan Ave., Chicago. Northwestern faculty and students and their family members and friends are invited to a free night at the Art Institute of Chicago. While you are there, visit the “Eldzier Cortor Coming Home: Recent Gifts to the Art Institute” exhibition in Gallery 124, which opens Feb. 21 and runs through May 31. The 99-year-old Chicago artist, who attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1936, is this year’s recipient of the Leadership Advisory Committee’s Legends and Legacy Award, an honor recognizing African-American artists who have achieved national acclaim with careers spanning more than 50 years. Cortor’s exhibition celebrates a generous gift of his artworks that he made to the Art Institute in 2012. The show features a selection of these works, including examples of his signature Women and Dance prints, his hybrid woodblock prints, his experimental “abattoir” works and works that he created while working with the Federal Arts Program from 1938 to 1943, when he focused on African-American social life on Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit: Northwestern students, staff and faculty and their guests may enter the museum at the Modern Wing Entrance at 159 E. Monroe Street, for free when they show a valid WildCARD ID. This event and the Northwestern/Art Institute partnership are supported in full by Shirley Ryan. For more information on Northwestern Night, visit (Note: general admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.)

• Block Cinema, Special Programs series, “The Stuart Hall Project” (John Akomfrah, 2013, United Kingdom, DCP, 103 minutes) 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, FREE. Acclaimed British documentarian and film essayist John Akomfrah’s portrait of sociologist and cultural critic Stuart Hall (who died in 2014) is a remarkable look at one of the great contemporary intellectuals. Hall was Jamaican-born, black, and rose up through the 1950s white academic establishment in Britain, not only becoming a respected professor and writer but also a public figure who used the mass media to discuss race, class, politics and more. It is these television and radio appearances that Akomfrah primarily draws from, letting Hall’s own words shape the film, along with excerpts of jazz great Miles Davis, a particular passion of Hall’s. Akomfrah creates an intimate, accessible document without sacrificing the ideas that dominated Hall’s thinking and life.