EYE ON INDIA FESTIVAL Returns to Chicago, June 5-29

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EYE ON INDIA FESTIVAL Returns to Chicago, June 5-29

The Eye on India festival, a unique and colorful extravaganza of Indian culture, returns to Chicago June 5 - 29, 2014.

The fourth annual festival honors the wealth of India's cultural heritage by showcasing the best of traditional and contemporary Indian art, literature, theater, film, music and dance.

Programs will take place throughout the city and suburbs in venues including the Field Museum, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Temple, Chicago Cultural Center, Reva and David Logan Center at the University of Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music, Evanston S.P.A.C.E. and the Chicago Park District.

The Eye on India Festival 2014 opens on Thursday, June 5, with a gala event at Open Secrets Studio, 401 N. Racine, Chicago. The full schedule of events that follows includes a South Asian community event at the Field Museum, author conversations at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, a fashion show at Willis Tower, music performances by Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project at the Chicago Temple and a theatrical production of "Hamlet - The Clown Prince" featuring leading Indian theater personalities at The Dance Center.

Programming is subject to change. For more information about the annual Eye on India festival and programming updates, visit www.eyeonindia.com.

Many events are free. For the ticketed events, tickets may be purchased by visiting www.eyeonindia.com or by calling 630-886-0817 beginning early April, unless otherwise noted below.

Current Schedule of Events

Thursday, June 5, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Opening Gala

Open Secrets Studio, 401 N. Racine Ave.

Tickets available at www.eyeonindia.com or 630-886-0817

The opening gala kicks off the festival with appearances by Natya Dance Theater, Chicago artist Zesha Begewadi, Chicago fashion designer Maria Pinto and Columbia College Chicago fashion student designs. Tickets to this premier event are $125 and can be purchased at www.eyeonindia.com.

June 7 - 13

Exhibition: Eye on India Fashion Week

Willis Tower Lobby, 233 S. Wacker Dr.

Free Event

A showcase of South Asian fashion design will feature the Sew Sari competition pieces.

Saturday, June 14, 1 p.m.

Film Screening: "Umrao Jaan"

Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington St.

Free Event

Directed by Muzaffar Ali, this award-winning 1981 Bollywood classic is set in Northern India in 1840. Known for its lavish traditional costumes and beautifully sung ghazals (a poetry form similar to the Petrarchan sonnets), the film follows the life of young Umrao Jaan, a young woman trained in the skills of a courtesan to gain the attention of wealthy men.

Sunday, June 15

Night Out in the Parks

Chicago Park District locations

Free Event

Outdoor film screenings, Bollywood dance workshops and music and dance performances will take place in several parks as part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks program. Schedule to be determined. For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Monday, June 16, 1 - 5 p.m.

Visual Arts Conversation

Location TBD

Free Event

Will involve Indira Johnson, Jim Lasko and Sanjeev Shankar.

Wednesday, June 18, 5:30 p.m.

Conversation: "Then and Now: Chicago's Indian American Experience"

Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

Free Event

Experts, immigrants and artists will reflect on their experiences and present related artifacts in this event co-presented with the Field Museum, the Indo-American Heritage Museum, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute and the Smithsonian Museums.

Thursday, June 20, 6:30 p.m.

Music: Saxophone Sisters

Evanston S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston

Tickets available at www.eyeonindia.com or 630-886-0817

Saxophone-playing sisters Lavanya and Subbalaxmi may have inherited music ability from their very talented family, but their personal performance journey took a twist when they picked up saxophones at the age of 15. Now certified by the Limca Book of Records as the only women saxophonists in India, they have performed more than 5,000 concerts in 17 countries with their eclectic musical repertoire covering Canatic, Hindustani, Western and jazz music. Tickets available for $20-30.

Saturday, June 21, 1 - 5 p.m.

Author Conversations: "Words on Water"

The Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.

Tickets available at Columbia College Chicago, www.colum.edu/Dance_Center/ or 312-369-8330

"Words on Water" presents a series of author conversations with three prestigious Indians - Rana Dasupta, Ravi Venkatesan, and Indira Johnson - discussing current topics related to arts and literature. Rana Dasupta is a British Indian novelist and essayist, whose book "Capital: A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi" is a haunting nonfiction account of the city gripped by an intoxicating mix of ambition, money, power and rage. Ravi Venkatesan is the former chairman of Microsoft India and the author of "Conquering Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere," where he offers advice to multinational companies looking for success in emerging markets. Finally, Indira Johnson, one of Chicago Magazine's 2013 Chicagoans of the Year, will lead a discussion of art and activism with a panel of Columbia College Chicago faculty and members of the Chicago art community. Johnson has been at the forefront of the Ten Thousand Ripples Public Art and Peace Initiative, which works to show the power of the arts as a catalyst for social change. Tickets for this event are $15.

Sunday, June 22

Night Out in the Parks

Chicago Park District locations

Free Event

Outdoor film screenings, Bollywood dance workshops and music and dance performances will take place in several parks as part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks program. Schedule to be determined. For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.

Documentary Screening: "Unbroken Glass" with filmmaker Dinesh Sabu

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

Free Event

In partnership with Kartemquin Films and SAAPRI, Eye on India shines on light on the often misunderstood, scorned and taboo topic of mental health in the South Asian community. Documentary filmmaker Dinesh Sabu, in conversation with health experts, will reflect on how he and his siblings have pieced together and understood the mental illness in his family. This is a free event, but donations will be accepted.

Wednesday, June 25, 8 p.m.

Music: Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project

Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Free Event

World Music Wednesday presents the Sufi Gospel Project.

Thursday, June 26, 6:30 pm

Music: Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project

Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St.

Tickets available at www.eyeonindia.com or 630-886-0817

Proving that many expressions of Hallelujah can exist in harmony, the Sufi Gospel Project finds the common language of faith in music. Traditional western gospel melds with Indian classical sounds, while Indian spiritual texts find their counterparts in Western poetry to create a sound that touches every soul. Presented in this special venue, the Chicago Temple in downtown Chicago, this event is a ticketed event for $15.

Friday & Saturday, June 27-28, 6:30 p.m.

Theater: "Hamlet - The Clown Prince"

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.

Tickets available at Columbia College Chicago, www.colum.edu/Dance_Center/ or 312-369-8330

To be or not to be...a clown? Actor and filmmaker Rajat Kapoor, best known to international audiences for his portrayal as uncle Tej Puri in Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding," has directed this comedy about a group of clowns putting on a production of Shakespeare's famous tragedy. The clowns, stymied by misinterpreted text and mishaps, find their own meaning within this great piece of literature. Tickets are $30.

Sunday, June 29

Night Out in the Parks

Chicago Park District locations

Free Event

Outdoor film screenings, Bollywood dance workshops and music and dance performances will take place in several parks as part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks program. Schedule to be determined. For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.

About Eye on India Festival: Eye on India Festival is an annual literary and cultural festival that presents the best of traditional and contemporary Indian art, literature and cultural forms to local audiences. The program includes a mix of art exhibits, debates and discussion panels, cultural performances and collaborations with local artists and groups in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. Eye on India has established itself as the leading festival of Indian art forms in the diverse cultural calendar of North America. More information at www.eyeonindia.org.

About the Producers: Eye on India provides a platform for cultural, artistic and educational exchange and helps facilitate opportunities for collaboration and understanding between India and the United States.

For almost 25 years, Teamwork Arts has presented the finest of Indian performers, writers and visual artists to the world. Currently producing 21 annual performing and visual arts festivals in 12 countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Among their events is the immensely popular Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the world's largest literary gatherings, featuring over 200 authors and critics from across the world. Other Teamwork events include the Hay Festival in Kerala, the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, the Ishara International Puppet Festival in New Delhi and the musical extravaganza "Bollywood Love Story - A Musical" now on its world tour.

Eye on India is supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust and is made possible in part by gifts from the Efroymson Family Fund and the Hamid-Efroymson Family Fund.

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