Free films at Chicago Cultural Center. Attend WTTW Community Cinema on the 3rd Saturday all year 2017.
When: Saturday, June 10, July 15 & August 19, 2017 • 2-5pm
Where: 78 E. Washington, Claudia Cassidy Theater Register here.
What is it
WTTW Community Cinema screens award-winning documentaries and is followed by a discussion with a panel.
Real Boy June 10
FREE screening and Discussion of Real Boy. REAL BOY is an intimate story of a family in transition. As 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her trans son. Along the way, both mother and son find support in their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen.
The Arab Americans July 15
FREE screening and Discussion of The Arab Americans. The Arab Americans is the untold story of almost 200 years of the contributions of those who immigrated to the United States from the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf have made to the American fabric.
The film vividly paints a portrait of the Arab-American immigrant experience through the stories of people who, like all Americans, immigrated in pursuit of the American Dream, including Senator George Mitchell, Jamie Farr, General John Abizaid, Anthony Shadid, Helen Thomas and more.
With historical immigration patterns as background, the film explores the personal stories of Arab-Americans and how they have contributed to the collective American experience.
At a time when the media tends to paint Arab peoples and culture with the broad brush of terrorism, it is increasingly important to present a positive image of the many people of Middle Eastern, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula who have made America their home, and highlight their American journey as an important part of the larger American Experience.
Who is Claudia Cassidy?
If you attend events at the Chicago Cultural Center you’ve no doubt visited the Claudia Cassidy Theater. I was wondering who is she/was she? Of course the spectacular Newberry Library, which holds her papers, has a nice biography online. To summarize: she was a sometimes caustic Chicago Tribune theater critic while maligned by some was still respected enough by her peers to get a theater named after her.
Claudia Cassidy was born in 1900 in the port town of Shawneetown, IL, where she first encountered the performing arts on show boats that cruised the Ohio River. When she was 14, Cassidy’s parents George and Olive moved the family to Champaign, IL.
After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1921, Cassidy worked as a secretary at the Chicago Journal of Commerce, where she moved into theater criticism after an editor, looking for someone to write a last minute review, spotted her in the office. Her sharp, opinionated writing style attracted many fans, and her column became an important feature of the Journal.
In 1941 she moved on to a larger audience at the Chicago Sun, but left after a year for the Chicago Tribune at the behest of publisher Robert R. McCormick. While at the Tribune, Cassidy wrote her “On the Aisle” commentary as well as other reviews and articles steadily until 1965, and beginning in 1949 made annual summer tours of European festivals for “Europe on the Aisle.”
After 1965, Cassidy wrote on a free-lance basis for the Tribune, Chicago Magazine, and other publications, and from 1968 to 1983 she hosted a weekly radio program of arts criticism on Chicago’s WFMT-FM.
Cassidy, sometimes referred to as “Acidy Cassidy,” was an influential presence on the Chicago theater scene, particularly from 1942-1965 when her Tribune byline was a consistent feature in the paper. Her writing alienated and angered some in the arts community, but her praise also promoted the careers of others, including Tennessee Williams, Lotte Lehmann, and Maria Callas. Cassidy fiercely supported Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” which premiered at Chicago’s Civic Theatre in 1944. She also strongly influenced events at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where her public admiration or disdain of music directors had a direct effect on the CSO’s history.
Cassidy was married to William J. Crawford for 57 years. After his death in 1986, she retreated from public life and lived alone at the Drake Hotel. Her last published writing was for the 1990-1991 Lyric Opera program book. She died after a brief illness on July 21, 1996.
Her obit in the NYTimes Claudia Cassidy, 96, Arts Critic; Did Not Mince Words in Chicago give more details.Here’s an excerpt:
Ms. Cassidy wrote an energetic, often florid prose, and she took no prisoners. Sometimes referred to as “acidy Cassidy,” she hounded the conductors … off the podium of the Chicago Symphony and out of town, and her scathing denunciations of most visiting Broadway productions as sorry leftovers shipped out to the hinterlands made her the scourge of New York producers. Some artists left the city vowing never to return.
Still she got a theater named after her in 1997. Here’s the Trib article on the dedication. ow we know!