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Prime Time: Ascend


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 transform the museum in spectacular ways. The series is an electrifying social experience created with artists and key cultural groups in the city.

The MCA partners with online music magazine Pitchfork for this November Prime Time. Titled Ascend, the event explores themes of growth, renewal, ritual, and harmony, and showcases the best of Chicago's emerging musical talent along with art activations from local artists as well as food and drink throughout the museum.

Ascend features Chicago musical artists Noname, who blurs the lines between poetry and rap; Jamila Woods, whose music is rooted in soul and hip-hop; and the Godfather of Footwork, RP Boo, who closes out the evening. Also featured are DJ sets by Slo’Mo Party’s Audio Jack, Adachi Taiko’s thunderous drumming, and indie-rock duo Homme’s escalating vocals and experimental sounds; interactive video installations by Ben Baker-Smith, Sara Ludy, and Sam Rolfes; and a cleansing experience with Asrai Garden, Chicago’s beautifully dark and lush floral shop, which leads smudge stick–making activities. Visitors can also enter the magical world of The Fantasorium to convene and preen with fellow partygoers and enjoy atmosphere, activities, and art curated by the evening’s oracle, artist Claire Arctander. Finally, Joshua Kent invites you to sit and radically reimagine empowerment in a chair composed of hundreds of flowers.

Prime Time: Ascend is cocurated by Kristen Kaza from No Small Plans Production with Ann Meisinger at the MCA.


Scheduled Events:


7:30–8 pm HOMME

8:15–8:30 pm ADACHI TAIKO

8:30–9:15 pm JAMILA WOODS

9:25–10:10 pm NONAME

10:15–11 pm RP BOO

Jamila Woods

Photo: Zoe Rain and Whitney Middleton


Photo: Bryan Allen Lamb
Prime Time: Ascend video still


Video production by Moll Jean Nye


Prime Time: Ascend is sponsored in part by Mailchimp, Perrier, and FCB Chicago.