A family dressed in Medieval garb followed Queen of Salsa Anyes Daskal into the amphitheater at Chicago's Senior Citizen's Park. After I listened to the African highlife and Cuban-infused sounds of the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, a French women's voice serenaded my ears as she passed me. "C'est ca!."
These sights and sound were part of the Bucktown Arts Fest on the near northwest side of Chicago. The annual festival was celebrated with gusto as 189 individual tables featured sculptors, painters, photographers and potters. Since it's original conception in 1984, Bucktown Fine Arts has used it to launch and sustain the careers of artists on the local scene.
The medieval-clad family was Bucktown's only remaining theater group, Trapdoor Theater, performing their play, "The Statue that Doesn't Lie." Trapdoor Theater has been bringing the microcosm of the stage to the community of Bucktown for 14 years, the same number of years it's been playing at the fest, noted artistic director Beata Pilch. "When we had money troubles, Bucktown Fine Arts has helped bail us out," Pilch noted.
Among other things, the group sends actors to theaters in Europe, to bring home lessons to cultivate local talent as they put on the classics, independent theater and the avant-garde.
Of a tour of the various tangible art: (Click on the picture for better viewing.)
Gabe Lanza paints the evil robots in "Another One Gone Wrong."
Amy Huisinga paints acrylic and accentuates beauty in the Chicago landscape in her rendition of "Lake Street Bridge."
And some pottery by Glenn Woods...
The festival also featured nonprofits; seen here is Sweety, one of the greyhounds taken in by Greyhounds's Only, Inc., an animal rescue agency.
Sweety was carrying a jacket asking for donations. She's a bit shy at first, though became rather curious at that strange box with the clicking noises.
The festival's Sunday evening ended with the groovy, artistic prog rock of The Diminisher. Shown here, they play "Dreaming in Asheville," mixing the sounds of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and the vocals of Andrew Bird in a haunted, sinister Gothic splendor.
They ended with the title track on their latest album, "Imaginary Volcano." The lead singer sang out, "You can't ignore the meanings of your dreams."