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The "David Bowie Is" exhibition makes its only US stop in Chicago

“David Bowie Is” just opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The MCA is the only scheduled North American stop for the acclaimed exhibit organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, meaning U.S. fans of the groundbreaking artist may want to plan a visit to the Windy City during the run (it closes January 4, 2015).



The exhibit is a fascinating chronology of Bowie’s career, showcasing music, costumes, video footage and rare photographs alongside streaming audio interviews and recordings. At the same time, it provides a telling look back at roughly six decades of history and pop culture and the inspiration they provided for the performer’s creative process.

But there’s more Bowie to be had in Chicago beyond the exhibit walls. The MCA has lots of eclectic programming planned in associated with the show.  Highlights include the David Bowie Variety Hour on September 26 and 27, when a mix of club and stage acts, including hip-hop dance company BOOM CRACK! and cabaret singer Meredith Miller; a Bowie film fest October 18 and 19; and Volume 1: Stardust, a private viewing of the exhibit followed by a DJ set by none other than 80s icon Boy George on November 7. There’s even a Bowie-themed menu—think Ziggy Stardust Schmaltz (a fancy cheese platter) and Starman Wings—at Puck’s Café within the museum.



Outside the MCA, on September 23, you can catch a one-night-only screening of “David Bowie Is” the movie, a documentary about the exhibit about the man (got that?). Added bonus: The showing is at Chicago’s legendary Music Box Theatre , an indie film house built in 1929 in the Lakeview neighborhood that still maintains much of its original charm.

Meanwhile, on the city’s Northwest Side, “Warhol, Reed & Bowie” is an exhibit of up-close-and-personal photos  of New York City’s art crowd—including Andy Warhol, Lou Reed and Bowie—taken by photojournalist Steve Schapiro showing at the newEd Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park through November 15.

If you can squeeze in some shopping, score some Bowie on vinyl at local record stores such as Laurie’s Planet of Sound in Lincoln Square or Logan Square’s Logan Hardware, which also has an arcade stocked with vintage games like Frogger and Asteroids. Hanging out there’s free when you make a purchase.



Or clothes-shop to re-create looks from your favorite Bowie era. Ziggy Stardust fans will dig Skyscraper Heels in West Lakeview, which stocks all manner of platforms, stilettos and other styles of sky-high high-heeled shoes in sizes that go up to 17. And if they don’t have what you want, no problem: They’ll custom make make the spaceman shoes of your dreams. Aladdin Sane lovers should head to Bucktown’s Heads and Threads Boutique, which stocks all manner of wigs and hairpieces to help you channel your inner punk rocker. Meanwhile, Thin White Duke aficionados will prefer the Chicago outpost of SuitSupply in the Gold Coast, where an in-store tailor can ensure a look that’s more “Golden Years” than Man from Mars.

Tagged: Midwest

Judy Sutton Taylor

Judy Sutton Taylor

Judy Sutton Taylor is a journalist, travel lover and mom in Chicago, Illinois. Find her on Twitter at @jsuttontaylor.