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Funds sought for mobile theater documentary

  • Waltzing Mechanics performs "El Stories" on a CTA car.
Waltzing Mechanics performs "El Stories" on a CTA car. (Noisivelvet )
May 20, 2014|By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz | RedEye

A Chicago art group is hoping it can raise enough funds to complete its documentary about transforming a CTA rail car into a mobile theater.

Joseph Baldwin's and his group Noisivelvet on Monday began soliciting $500 on fundraising site Indiegogo to finish and screen their documentary "El Stories: Art on Track." In September 2012, Noisivelvet transformed a CTA car into a theater so the acting troupe Waltzing Mechanics could re-enact real-life stories about people riding the CTA.

The group performed "El Stories," their long-running show based on interviews with CTA riders, at the Art of Track festival, an event that allowed artists to decorate a chartered CTA train that circled the Loop for an evening. The festival used to be held annually, but the last show was in 2012.

Waltzing Mechanics shows usually run 45 minutes at the Greenhouse Theater in Lincoln Park. On the CTA car in 2012, the troupe performed for five hours in front of 2,000 attendees total, some of whom got to be be extras in the show, which was filmed for Noisivelvet's documentary.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Noisivelvet had raised $25 through Indiegogo. Donations are being accepted through July 3. Contributor rewards range from a Facebook shout-out to a private screening.

Baldwin said edits to the documentary are almost finished and he hopes to start screening at the end of the summer. The documentary is expected to run 30 to 45 minutes.

"We hope viewers will enjoy the stories told by the Mechanics, but a layer on top of that we hope they see the collaborative and creative nature of the project that brings together various artists into creating public work," Baldwin told RedEye in an email.

This is not Baldwin's first foray into CTA art. He spent years unsuccessfully trying to launch his mobile garden project, which would have transformed the bed of a CTA car into a garden but did an indoor version in 2011.

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