Chicago Ideas Week 2016

November 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Wow, every year I look forward to Chicago Ideas Week. It's usually the hardest I work all year and at the same time the coolest job I do.  I have been blessed enough to have photographed it every year since it's inception in 2010.  Each year I attempt to write a blog post about CIW, but usually get stuck trying to pick out my favorite images and decide which were my favorite moments to tell you about. That being said, I find it fitting that it serves as my first blog post this year.  First blog post in November....!!!  I know.  I lost my father in January and certain things are harder or take longer in the grieving process. Blogging has always been a challenge for me to keep up on, so one of the first things to slip I guess. This post is a good sign of me finally starting to climb out of the clouds. Looking forward to 2017. 

CIW 2016 I was the main photographer at the MCA Museum of Contemporary Art.  I photographed there three days Tuesday 10/18, Wednesday 10/19 and Thursday 10/20.  I was to set up a studio back stage for portraits of each speaker before getting mic'd to test their media, in which I generally have less than five minutes to get a good portrait. Mind you, these people are usually ten minutes out from going on stage to give a speech or participate in a panel discussion. Needless to say that is usually heavily on their mind, not getting a good photo they were just ambushed with.  So it takes some work on my part to make this possible.  Set up Tuesday morning was a bit rougher than I had anticipated being year 6 and all.  We were to set up a 3 light set up on a black 9ft paper sweep, in which we had an area of about  a 4.5 ft radius to do so. One of the things I love about CIW is that it is  a challenge. It's so alive, and so big and so exciting with so many moving parts and people that rarely does it flow according to plan. My lovely digital tech (who I will tell you more about later) and I spent the first 90 minutes trying out different possible solutions to make the set up work.  Finally we decided to tear it all down and make do with what we had.  We got rid of the back drop, grabbed a stage curtain and stretched and clamped it to serve as our background, after rigging one of the sidelights on top of lighting stage equipment very questionably we were ready to go.  Monday's schedule was Advertising, Future of Policing and Wild Card. Advertising we were still trying to make our assigned background and set up work out so I don't love any of those shots, so we will move on to the future of Policing.  Portraits are as follows: Eugene O'Donnell, Cedric Alexander who at one time was in the running for Chicago Police Superintendent, and Craig Futterman a Law Professor at University of Chicago.

Policing: Force of the FuturePolicing: Force of the FutureCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Cedric Alexander, Craig Futterman, Eugene O’Donnell, Cheryl Corley and Marc Lamont Hill discuss the future of policing. Over the last three years, the state of our country’s police force has become a national discussion. Now that cell phones double as a video cameras, incidents of violence perpetrated by police officers has become a regular part of our national conversation. What if we could reimagine the role of the police and change our approach to policing from distrust to positive action, and what does the future of policing look like? Policing: Force of the FuturePolicing: Force of the FutureCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Cedric Alexander, Craig Futterman, Eugene O’Donnell, Cheryl Corley and Marc Lamont Hill discuss the future of policing. Over the last three years, the state of our country’s police force has become a national discussion. Now that cell phones double as a video cameras, incidents of violence perpetrated by police officers has become a regular part of our national conversation. What if we could reimagine the role of the police and change our approach to policing from distrust to positive action, and what does the future of policing look like? Policing: Force of the FuturePolicing: Force of the FutureCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Cedric Alexander, Craig Futterman, Eugene O’Donnell, Cheryl Corley and Marc Lamont Hill discuss the future of policing. Over the last three years, the state of our country’s police force has become a national discussion. Now that cell phones double as a video cameras, incidents of violence perpetrated by police officers has become a regular part of our national conversation. What if we could reimagine the role of the police and change our approach to policing from distrust to positive action, and what does the future of policing look like? Policing: Force of the FuturePolicing: Force of the FutureCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Cedric Alexander, Craig Futterman, Eugene O’Donnell, Cheryl Corley and Marc Lamont Hill discuss the future of policing. Over the last three years, the state of our country’s police force has become a national discussion. Now that cell phones double as a video cameras, incidents of violence perpetrated by police officers has become a regular part of our national conversation. What if we could reimagine the role of the police and change our approach to policing from distrust to positive action, and what does the future of policing look like? Policing: Force of the FuturePolicing: Force of the FutureCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Cedric Alexander, Craig Futterman, Eugene O’Donnell, Cheryl Corley and Marc Lamont Hill discuss the future of policing. Over the last three years, the state of our country’s police force has become a national discussion. Now that cell phones double as a video cameras, incidents of violence perpetrated by police officers has become a regular part of our national conversation. What if we could reimagine the role of the police and change our approach to policing from distrust to positive action, and what does the future of policing look like?

This was a pretty exciting and passionate discussion, a little too bias on one side but intense none the less. I love Marc Lamont Hill.  I have had the pleasure to photograph him two years in a row for CIW.  He brings an energy and rebellious nature to some very serious topics and conversations that would not be as interesting without his touch. 

Wild Card Talk was up next, and that one usually always has some cool surprises in the line up, last year it was Beverly Johnson. This year it was Bob Saget, who was a pleasure to deal with.  I had heard he could be pretty lewd and crude, so I had my tough skin on.  He actually seemed like a really sweet guy, a few off color jokes here and there but nothing I found offensive. He was more than happy to play around on the sweep till I got the shot I wanted and he humored me and let me get a selfie of us.  

 

Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillBob Saget - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week)

Next up on the sweep was Dancer Michelle Dorrance, who was a total pleasure to which the audience seemed to think so as well.  She even got them all to stand up and participate in a dance with her. She talked a lot about tap dance, its history and influence and the dancers she found the most influential.  Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillMIchelle Dorrance - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week)

Everyone backstage and in the audience was super stoked to have surprise performance by Jimila Woods, especially my tech Jon Wes.

Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillJamila Woods - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week) Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week)

The talk was hosted by funny man Brian Babylon.  Who I have had the great pleasure to get to know and photograph several times throughout the years of CIW.  

Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillBrian Babylon - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week) Wildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillWildcard: Anything Can Happen, and We Promise You It WillCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18 : Jamila Woods, Bob Saget, Michelle Dorrance, Dr. Bradley Garrett, Yesenia Maldonado and Bryan Babylon perform for the Wildcard event at the Edison Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas Week)

Wednesday was Humanity & Technology, The Future of Storytelling and Comedy.  Two of my favorites from the Comedy talk were two hilarious women Negin Farsad who had me constantly cracking up and Phoebe Robinson of 2 Dope Queens. 

Comedy: But, Seriously…Comedy: But, Seriously…Negin Farsad - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19 : It’s no secret that Chicago is one of the world’s biggest comedy hubs. From Bill Murray to Tina Fey, some of the biggest names in the business have cut their teeth here. Comedy shapes our conversations and allows society to reflect on how it’s changed. A joke that was funny 20, 10 or even two years ago may seem completely unacceptable today. Take a thoughtful look at comedy as a whole with Chelsea Devantez, Negin Farsad, Anne Libera, Phoebe Robinson, and Bob Saget. Comedy: But, Seriously…Comedy: But, Seriously…Phoebe Robinson - CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19 : It’s no secret that Chicago is one of the world’s biggest comedy hubs. From Bill Murray to Tina Fey, some of the biggest names in the business have cut their teeth here. Comedy shapes our conversations and allows society to reflect on how it’s changed. A joke that was funny 20, 10 or even two years ago may seem completely unacceptable today. Take a thoughtful look at comedy as a whole with Chelsea Devantez, Negin Farsad, Anne Libera, Phoebe Robinson, and Bob Saget.

Thursday was Space and Hip Hop talks.  Host of the space talk was Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, self proclaimed gangster nerd who is all about the star stuff.  Loved this guy. He had a wonderful and engaging spirit and made for the perfect host for the space talk. 

I love astronauts so I had to get my picture with this guy, Four time space man Christopher J Ferguson who was on the final mission of the space program.  Turns out he was a photo enthusiast and had a some cool stories to share about photographing in space. 

Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Human beings have wondered about the universe for centuries, but it is only within the last 70 years that we’ve begun venturing into space. Should we continue that effort? How are experts working towards the next era of space exploration? From NASA to private enterprises to citizen scientists, find out humanity’s next frontier of space exploration. Christopher Ferguson, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Rocky Kolb, Angela Olinto, and Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. hold a conversation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas)

 

Rocky Kolb Cosmologist and Professor at University of Chicago. 
Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Human beings have wondered about the universe for centuries, but it is only within the last 70 years that we’ve begun venturing into space. Should we continue that effort? How are experts working towards the next era of space exploration? From NASA to private enterprises to citizen scientists, find out humanity’s next frontier of space exploration. Christopher Ferguson, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Rocky Kolb, Angela Olinto, and Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. hold a conversation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas)

I will have to admit the Hip Hop talk was one of my favorites of 2016.  Toure' who was the host of the Hip Hop talk was awesome to have on the sweep.  He let us get in a short interview on the sweep where he answered some tough questions like what it was like to interview Lady Gaga, favorite Nina Simone song and who was your favorite interview.  The two guests for the Hip Hop talk were Young Guru and Ghostface Killah one of the original founders of The Wu-Tang Klan. 

Hip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormHip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Since its arrival in the early 1970s, hip-hop has grown to shape much of American culture. Until recently, it hasn’t been included in conversations about fine art like other genres of music. Today, hip-hop is widely accepted as an essential art form for critiquing, influencing and reflecting on American society. Hear from some of the leading artists and producers in the genre about the future of hip-hop, and be treated to a rendition of Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." by Ghostface Killah. Hip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormHip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Since its arrival in the early 1970s, hip-hop has grown to shape much of American culture. Until recently, it hasn’t been included in conversations about fine art like other genres of music. Today, hip-hop is widely accepted as an essential art form for critiquing, influencing and reflecting on American society. Hear from some of the leading artists and producers in the genre about the future of hip-hop, and be treated to a rendition of Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." by Ghostface Killah. Hip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormHip-Hop: The Essential American Art FormCHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Since its arrival in the early 1970s, hip-hop has grown to shape much of American culture. Until recently, it hasn’t been included in conversations about fine art like other genres of music. Today, hip-hop is widely accepted as an essential art form for critiquing, influencing and reflecting on American society. Hear from some of the leading artists and producers in the genre about the future of hip-hop, and be treated to a rendition of Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." by Ghostface Killah.

This group pictures give you a little better idea of our space constraints in our very small backstage studios.  And, finally...a few shots of some of the behind the scenes powerhouses that make CIW go round.  First off we have my handsome and amazing digital tech Jon Wes, who without I wouldn't have made it. 

Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Human beings have wondered about the universe for centuries, but it is only within the last 70 years that we’ve begun venturing into space. Should we continue that effort? How are experts working towards the next era of space exploration? From NASA to private enterprises to citizen scientists, find out humanity’s next frontier of space exploration. Christopher Ferguson, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Rocky Kolb, Angela Olinto, and Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. hold a conversation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas)

Next up we have Asst. Stage Manager Angelique Grandone.  I must admit I think I have a thing for Asst. Stage Managers.  Most all of them that I have met have been amazing women who are excellent wranglers with awesome personality and a superior ability to deal with anyone and get any job done. 

Below Mel Safford Director of Booking and The Co-op and Rachel Graham Director of YOU(th) Programing.

 

Nick The Producer.

Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?Space Exploration: What’s After The Final Frontier?CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20 : Human beings have wondered about the universe for centuries, but it is only within the last 70 years that we’ve begun venturing into space. Should we continue that effort? How are experts working towards the next era of space exploration? From NASA to private enterprises to citizen scientists, find out humanity’s next frontier of space exploration. Christopher Ferguson, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Rocky Kolb, Angela Olinto, and Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. hold a conversation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Photo by Danyel Duncan/Chicago Ideas)

Below Gabrielle Zuckerman Head of Programming.

 

 

 

 


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