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Prime Time: Vibes

Photo of white smoke engulfing man looking in a box

Dan Deacon

Photo: Frank Hamilton


MCA Prime Time is an after-hours series that taps into the creative pulse of Chicago with an eclectic mix of live music, performance art, film screenings, and interactive programs that transforms the museum in spectacular ways. Occurring three times a year, the series is an electrifying social experience that provides a platform for artists and key cultural groups in the city.

For the inaugural event, the MCA collaborates with Chicago-based Land and Sea Dept., the concept and project development studio behind such famed restaurants as Longman & Eagle, Parson’s Chicken & Fish, and the Cherry Circle Room at the newly reopened Chicago Athletic Association. The collective brings their combined expertise in art, design, music, food, and drink to the MCA for a truly one-of-a-kind event.

Titled Vibes, the event explores themes of collaboration, inspiration, and community with performances and art activations throughout the museum. Elliot Bergman, of indie-pop duo Wild Belle, opens the event with a live performance on the plaza, welcoming guests as they arrive at the museum. Electropop star Dan Deacon brings his blissfully frenetic dance music and unpredictable theatrics to a live-music performance powered by infectious pop beats, audience participation, and general comic mayhem. Chicago artists Drew Ryan (DOMESTIC ANIMAL) and Derek Weber (AFTERGLOWINGS), team up throughout the night with live music performance and liquid light. Hit + Run, the world’s originators in live-event screen printing, help visitors create their own, custom-made artworks, while Jeremiah Chiu’s (Plural) Smartphone Symphony, an interactive art piece inviting participants to play tones via their smartphone, allows participants to construct their own user-generated symphonies. In addition, Land & Sea Dept. curate the LSD Mini-Mart, showcasing the work of local makers across various disciplines, including Sonnenzimmer, the Arts of Life, LVL3, The Pitchfork Review, WesternXeditions, Drag City, and many more.

Alongside the interactive art elements, bars and restaurants from the Land and Sea Dept. family pop-up in the museum for the evening. Parson’s Chicken and Fish set up their custom red-and-white umbrellas and picnic tables, as Chef Hunter Moore and bar manager Charlie Schott serve up Parson’s signature dishes and slushies. Tiki bar Lost Lake and adjoining American-Chinese take-out counter Thank You set up shop as well, featuring Paul McGee’s signature cocktails and bites from Chefs Jennifer Jackson and Justin Tootla. Longman & Eagle’s Off-Site Bar is on-site, complete with bar manager Phil Olson’s drinks and Executive Chef Matt Kernery’s culinary offerings.


Scheduled events:

  • Elliot Bergman {bio: (Wild Belle), Quin Kirchner (NOMO) and Erik Hall (In Tall Buildings)Plaza, 7:30–8 pm Bergman, Kirchner, and Hall welcome guests with a live-music performance from within Alexandre da Cunha's Figurehead. Ryley WalkerAtrium, 8:15–8:45 pm Local psych-folk abstractionist Ryley Walker performs a live-music set. Dan Deacon
  • Atrium, 9–10 pm

Electronic pop artist Dan Deacon headlines the event with a live-music performance powered by infectious pop beats, unpredictable theatrics, and plenty of audience participation.

  • Domestic Animal and Afterglowings
  • First floor, Kanter Center, 10–10:30 pm

Part liquid light show, part live-music piece from Chicago-based artists Drew Ryan and Derek Weber.

  • Mike Rea, Rock Practice Live
  • 1st-floor lobby, 7:15pm, 8:15 pm, 10:30 pm

Chicago-based artist Mike Rea performs a mixed-media piece.

All evening:

  • Impala Sound Champions Surprise Guests (DJ sets)
  • Atrium

The Impala Sound Champions set the tone of the event by spinning sounds through the Impala Sound System, a large-scale speaker installation.

Smartphone Symphony

Edlis Neeson Theater

Participatory chance music art piece by Jeremiah Chiu (Plural), which invites participants to play tones and animated loops through their smartphone. The resulting cacophony creates a multimedia, user-generated symphony.

  • LSD Mini-Mart ®
  • First Floor, Kanter Center

A collective of Chicago based makers across creative disciplines showcase art, design, small-print publications, objects, and music. Artist Ryan Travis Christian curates a video program featuring Nate Bernot, Shana Moulton, Allison Schulnik, Brent Weinach, and Scott Wolniak.

  • Josue Pellot, Pedestal drinking a Malta
  • 1st-floor lobby

A sculptural installation by Chicago based artist Josue Pellot.

  • Video Projections
  • Atrium

Projections of video work by Chicago artists: Lille Carré's If it feels familiar, you are going in circles (2014)}; Paul Nudd's Blood Yolk(2013), Muppet Butt(2013), and Purple Tar(2013); and Philip Vanderhyden's Dead Cat Bounce(2015).

  • Hit Run
  • 4th-floor lobby

Collaborate with live screen printers Hit + Run to create one-of-a kind wearable artworks. Choose from a variety of original graphics—each exclusive to Vibes—including designs by Chicago artists Juan Angel Chavez, Stephen Eichhorn, Wyatt Grant, Cody Hudson, and Adam Scott.


Food and drink available for purchase.


Generous support for Prime Time Vibes is sponsored in part by Anne L. Kaplan and Perrier.