BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
It’s that time of year again, and The Chicago Art Department is trolling for funds. Dedicated to the watering and feeding of burgeoning Chicago artists, CAD was founded in 2004, and since has generated exhibitions, artist residencies, classes and workshops.
This year their telethon-themed benefit will feature a tuxedo-clad host wrangling all manner of entertainment, including Paper Machete, a live magazine focused on political and cultural commentary. A guest of Paper Machete, Chicago jack of most trades Robin Okrant will perform.
I’ve known Robyn since, as students in The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s masters program, we met in some forgettable performance-related class. Robyn proved more memorable. Not only does she remind me of everyone with whom I made Challah at Jewish day camp, but endlessly creative, she always seems to have some new endeavor up her sleeve.
Our Town: You’re perhaps most recognized for your “Living Oprah” project. How did that come about?
Robyn Okrant: My inspiration for “Living Oprah” was a burning desire to learn why the media and celebrities have such a strong influence over women. I decided to be a crash test dummy for a whole year and see what would happen if I lived according to Oprah Winfrey's Best Life advice. I thought of my project as part social commentary, part fascination with Oprah's fervent fans, part honest investigation. Is it even possible to live according to someone else's ideals and find happiness? And if it's not, why are we knocking ourselves out trying to live up to a bar that's set impossibly high?