Music - TREND MAG originally published at Music - TREND MAG

Chaz Ebert to moderate discussion, “Creating Change: Arts and Activism,” following Sunday’s matinee 

CHICAGO, March 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following this Sunday’s matinee performance of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production Proximity, audience members are invited to stay for the panel, Creating Change: Arts and Activism, a conversation with artists who are using different forms of expression to ignite change. It will be moderated by Chaz Ebert, president and CEO of Ebert Digital and the film criticism website

This discussion will be dedicated to the memory of Chaz and Roger Ebert’s grandson, Joseph London Smith, an unintended shooting victim. Joseph was the son of Chaz’s son Josibiah Smith and Shenna Galloway

Proximity is a trio of operas that addresses some of society’s greatest challenges: isolation, climate change and the devastating impact of gun violence. “I am so grateful to the Lyric Opera for commemorating Joseph in this manner,” Chaz said. “They have been very compassionate.”

The panel is being hosted by Lyric Unlimited and Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh, director, creative engagement for Lyric Opera, and will include:

Barrett Keithley, a producer of culturally moving art experiences best known for his paintings/murals and nonprofit, Paint the City, which impacts social justice issues. Lyric Opera of Chicago commissioned Keithley to create three original mural installations in the spirit of its other world premiere this season, The Factotum

William Estrada, an arts educator and multidisciplinary artist. His current research is focused on developing community-based and culturally relevant projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces.

Shawn Wallace, a composer and arts educator who studies how music can enhance the story creation and storytelling process.

Karen Slack, an operatic soprano known for her dynamic and passionate performances in both lead roles and on the concert stage. Her advocacy focuses on making the field more inclusive of people of color and women.

The three works featured in Proximity are “The Walkers,” composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain with libretto by Anna Deavere Smith; “Four Portraits,” composed by Caroline Shaw with libretto by Caroline Shaw and Jocelyn Clarke; and “Night,” composed by John Luther Adams with libretto by the late John Haines.

Ebert, a member of the Lyric Opera board, was inspired to dedicate the conversation in honor of her grandson because of “The Walkers,” which deals with the devastating impact of gun violence on our cities, neighborhoods and families. Joseph, a filmmaker, was scouting locations for a music video that he was set to direct in Atlanta when he was struck and killed by a stray bullet. He was 30 and left behind a 7-year-old daughter.

“Our family was devastated by Joseph’s death, and since he was an artist, we want to use art to honor him. Along came this opera like no other that challenges us to view our proximity from a sphere of hopefulness, or as Anna Deavere Smith eloquently stated at the Chicago Humanities Festival preview, ‘Hope isn’t a given, it’s a resurrection.’ We want to do everything we can to contribute to that resurrection of hope.” 

Proximity runs at the Lyric Opera in Chicago March 24 through April 8. For tickets and showtimes, click here.

Media contact: Shawn Taylor | [email protected]| 312-371-6260 and Robin Beaman [email protected] | 312-208-1212.


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The post Lyric Opera’s “Proximity” Post-Performance Panel on March 26 Dedicated to the Memory of Chaz and Roger Ebert’s grandson, Joseph London Smith first appeared on TREND MAG.

Music - TREND MAG originally published at Music - TREND MAG