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Heeding the Call

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 26, 2007 5:05PM

beast_2007_10.jpgChicago Calling, a collaborative festival linking Chicago-based artists with international friends and counterparts, continues tonight and Saturday, the exclamation point to Chicago Artists Month 2007. The festival as exchange program is perfect for an age where Skype, Google Talk, and unlimited wireless plans have dissolving the distance between us and our European, African, and Asian friends. If you’re commuting through the Thompson Center tonight, stop by the front plaza to hear Jennifer Karmin’s “Beast Poem,” inspired by Jean Dubuffet’s “Beast” sculpture (pictured), a curious mid-century public art achievement, and a favorite kids’ climbing toy.

The festival has roped in more than 90 artists, most of them participating in this weekend’s programs. A hodgepodge of talent converges on Elastic tonight in a program heavy on music and poetry (read on site and remotely) along with some film and broadcast. Café Mestizo (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and 32nd&Urban (3 p.m. – 7 p.m.) collectively host a veritable poetry and art marathon Saturday. Mess Hall’s free Saturday showcase includes "Territory," a movement and photography project exploring presence and absence, possibly the festival’s most meta-project. The concluding program at The Chicago Temple features more dance and poetry and a screening of Tampico, a short doc about a favorite solo street musician you may have encountered on blue or red line subway platforms.

More information and schedule at

Image via biscuitcleaver