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Version Fest 12 Kicks Into High Gear This Weekend

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on May 4, 2012 7:20PM


Version Fest 12 officially kicked off Tuesday, but it's tonight's events that truly signal a beginning to transforming Bridgeport into what curator Ed Marszewski has long called "the community of the future."

The foundation of the festival are a series of pop-up shops happening around the neighborhood. These will work to highlight South Halsted Street's underdevelopment and show (hopefully) that new businesses can come out south and do well. The centerpiece of these pop-ups is the SMALL (Small Manufacturing Alliance). SMALL is a new organization that promotes companies and individuals that make locally manufactured products and provide services to small businesses and creators. SMALL will have its own showroom in the Co-Prosperity Sphere (3219 S. Morgan St.). Marszewski calls it a "People’s Macy’s."

Kevin Heisner is best known as the designer behind such restaurants and lounges as Nightwood, the revamped Lula Café, Empire Liquors and the upcoming The Trenchermen. Heisner has a gallery exhibition during Version called Tool Story with an opening reception this evening from 6-9 p.m. Heisner's exhibition combines found objects and electronic media, these tools become the characters in the third chapter of a story about the circular cause of reference in the evolution—and coexistence—of man and technology. The exhibition is at 751 W. 32nd St., which is also the home of Enoch's Doughnuts during the festival. Visitors to Nightwood and Girl & the Goat are well familiar with Enoch's doughnuts, which are among the best in the city.

The Research House for Asian Art (3217 S. Morgan St.) will feature the exhibition "Gang of Nine" with a reception beginning at 6 p.m. Zhang Haitian, Chai Yiming, Cai Xiaosong and He Saibang, four Shanghai artists who still work with the traditional medium of ink painting on rice paper, Chicago artists C.C. Ann Chen, John Henley, Maria Gaspar, Jason Dunda, and Laura Hsieh, present art that seeks common linkages in terms of the cultural context, form and craft and the path in which tradition and the modern could come together.

Paratext Books is taking up space during the festival at 751 W. 32nd St.. Throughout the festival they'll be selling books, zines and other publications from local authors. The bookstore will host workshops, weekly readings, art openings, screenings and story hours for kids. Paratext will provide a cozy and inviting space for you to spend an afternoon with fine company in sundry literary pursuits, offer workshops in bookbinding, and host readings and exhibitions. Paratext hosts a book swap beginning at 7 p.m.

Artist Ray Emerick has worked for years in a spacious studio at 3149 S. Morgan St. He joins Version Festival by reopening his studio to the public starting at 7 p.m.. Each weekend he will share his new art works. And on Saturday afternoons he will host a Children's Movie Series at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Bridgeport crate diggers and vinyl enthusiasts won't have to trek to Dusty Groove in Wicker Park in May. The record store is setting up a shop at 755 W. 32nd St. they have an opening party at 7 p.m. with refreshments and music.