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A Very Long Commencement

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 2, 2005 12:13PM

Chicagoist remembers celebrating graduation with good friends, parties and a few too many beers. Columbia College students celebrate their graduation with exhibitions, hip hop poetry, and site-specific performances. Come see for yourself Friday at the Manifest Urban Arts Festival. Organizers promise to keep spectators enthralled (and busy) with the work of over 1,000 students.

Spectacle Fortuna, the centerpiece of the day’s events, brings art and performance out into the South Loop streets through “music, procession, street spectacle, and community ritual” culminating in Grant Park. Judging from the online slide show, it’s kind of like a parade demonstrating how our spirits and souls are like the wind. And judging by the proximity to the lake, nature may help them make their point.

Get to the South Loop early for the TICTOC project, where you can watch artists dye their hair, play hopscotch and empathize with your many problems. Throughout the neighborhood, one artist/blogger will even be making her most intimate thoughts public! The poetry, theater, dance and film & video departments are all showcasing final projects, and a trolley is available to shuttle you around between various performance spaces and galleries where you can take in (and even purchase) student work.

Those of us working day jobs might be more inclined to camp out Friday evening for the Grant Park performances. Headlining the main stage are Saul Williams, the hip-hop poet with an enviably long resume, and the genre-defying and socially conscious Ozomatli. Consider it a warm up for the summer festival season at the south end of the park.

If you can’t make it to the smorgasbord of high, low, and medium culture, peek in on the action throughout the day at the Manifest website.

Thanks, Justin!