Presenting as part of the session: Performing the City - Saturday, November 6 at 1:00 pm
Jim Lasko is an artist concerned with public space. To that end, he has applied his formal training as a theater maker to create large-scale public spectacles, parades and site specific performances, as well as interactive exhibits and installations and traditional theater shows.
Mr. Lasko served as Artistic Director of Redmoon for 17 years. In that capacity he led the internationally renown company’s artistic programming and was a principle collaborator in most every production. Under new leadership, Lasko remains a core artist.
In 2009 Mr. Lasko was named the City of Chicago’s first ever Artist in Residence, an acknowledgement of his long commitment and success in creating artistic events that promote civic well being.
Some of Mr. Lasko’s most well received theater projects with Redmoon include a theatrical adaptation of Hunchback that toured the Midwest and East Coast before a successful run at the New Victory Theater in Times Square, NY. His adaptation of Frankenstein at the Steppenwolf Theater won numerous awards and distinctions and national attention. Cyrano, an adaptation of the classic tragedy by Rostand, was a collaborative effort with Court Theatre’s Artistic Director Charlie Newell that played at the MCA to sold out audiences for an extended run. Once Upon a Time, a collaboration with Frank Maugeri, performed at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and was the hit of the International Puppetry Festival in Charleville, France in 2009.
Redmoon’s outdoor spectacles remain some of the finest examples of Mr. Lasko’s commitment to activating public space. Galways Shadow, converted the façade of the MCA into a giant shadow screen. Long Live the King was enacted in and around a mobile 30 foot steel tower and toured Chicago’s neighborhoods before settling into a sold out run in Lincoln Park. Sink, Sank, Sunk was a wild extravaganza staged at the nexus of Chicago’s multiple transportation systems. Most recently, Last of My Species played on Chicago’s lakefront as a concert collaboration with a fictional Norwegian pop-star.
Mr. Lasko is a principle member of the international collaboration Dream Masons, whose most notable commission was their massive spectacle to celebrate the Salamanca Arts Center in Hobart, Tasmania.
As a free-lance designer, Mr. Lasko worked with French architect Odile Compagnon to design Spertus Institute’s Grey Family Center, an interactive children’s museum built around the creative power of language. He has been engaged to work with such diverse artists as Alexander Polyanichko and Gerard McBurney at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and internationally regarded contemporary artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.
Mr. Lasko serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Children’s Museum and on the Artistic Council for the Chicago Children’s Theater. He is an arts advisor to Children’s Memorial Hospital and is honored to continue to serve as a Director on Redmoon’s Board. He is the recipient of numerous honors and distinctions.
Description of Jim Lasko's talk:
Why Urban Spectacle is as Urgent as it is Cool
Jim Lasko will speak about his experience making spectacles with Redmoon in Chicago. He will show examples of Redmoon's work in theaters, streets, Public Parks and even lagoons in an effort to articulate a philosophy of arts, urban engagement, and cultural participation.