Chicago Reader to celebrate its 50ish anniversary at MCA on November 30

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 15, 2022

Contacts: Tracy Baim
Publisher, Chicago Reader

JT Newman
Owner & Event Producer, Sprout Partnerships

On November 30, the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), the nonprofit publisher of the legendary Chicago Reader newspaper, will host its 50ish UnGala at the Museum of Contemporary Art. A VIP reception will be held from 6-7 PM, followed by the main event, which will run until 11:30 PM. The MCA is the presenting sponsor for this benefit.

The UnGala will be a complete museum takeover coinciding with MCA’s new exhibit, Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today. The event will feature a variety of arts and entertainment that brings the Reader experience to life, including top local DJs, musicians, drag stars, dancers, puppets, balloon artists, and more.

The Reader Institute for Community Journalism is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Reader also works to uplift the local community journalism ecosystem through its Chicago Independent Media Alliance, which advocates for more resources for the entire sector.

To purchase VIP tickets:
To purchase general tickets:
For more information on the event:

The Museum of Contemporary Art Presents: 50ish, The UnGala

Where: The Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

When: Wednesday, November 30
6 – 7 PM: VIP Reception
7 – 11:30 PM: Main Event

What: 50ish is a whole museum takeover and art party celebrating the Chicago Reader’s 50th anniversary and Chicago’s best arts and entertainment.
Dress: Free and freaky / creative cocktail / you-do-you, but make it fabulous
Tickets: $15 – $1,000 ($250 and up are invited to the VIP reception)


  • Three levels of entertainment and fun
  • A VIP reception with a private viewing of the MCA’s new show: Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today, passed hors d’oeuvres, special cocktails, and Reader anniversary swag
  • Performance art and entertainment curated by the Reader arts team
  • Two stages with music, live art, and dance
  • Raffles with amazing prizes
  • Photo booth by GlitterGuts
  • 50ish Anniversary merch
  • 10% off at the MCA store (open until 8:00 p.m.)
  • And much more!

Emceed by: Scott Duff, Stand-Up Comedian and Host of Out Radio

Featured Artists:

  • Angelique Monroe – performance
  • Batty Davis – drag artist
  • Blue Alice – dance and performance
  • Chad the Bird – puppetry
  • Cristal Sabbagh and Shalaka Kulkarni – butoh, performance, and movement 
  • Debbie-Marie Brown – alternative emo soul
  • DJ Flores Negras – cumbia dance
  • DJ Scary Lady Sarah – goth 
  • Heavy Crownz – hip-hop
  • Lucy Stoole – drag artist
  • The Neo-Futurists – performance art
  • Ratso – puppetry
  • AJ Sacco – magician
  • Shawnee Dez – alternative R&B and soul
  • Sildance/AcroDanza presents Ellas y Yo Mexicanas – dance
  • Smarty Pants – balloon artist
  • Stylin’ Out Crew – hip-hop and breakdancing
  • DJ Velcro Lewis – old school R&B 

Performer Photos: Linked here

Presenting Sponsor

Epic Gourmet Popcorn
Half Acre
The Darrell R. Windle Charitable Fund and Polo Inn
CFL Workforce and Community Initiative
Miriam U. Hoover Foundation
Quarterfold LLC
Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation
Fifth Third Bank
Borst Accounting Solutions
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

Event Committee (list in formation)

Christie Hefner
Kenneth W. O’Keefe and Jason Stephens 
Bill Rossi and Dan Earles
Darrell R. Windle and Dave Samber

Evette Cardona and Mona Noriega
Michael Leppen
Gigi Pritzker
Bob Reiter
Eileen Rhodes
Adele Smith Simmons
Julia Stasch

Host Committee
Roxanne Decyk and Lew Watts
Eve L. Ewing
Janice Feinberg, PharmD, JD
Vanessa Fernandez
Rena Henderson Mason
David Hiller
Simone Koehlinger and Lora Branch
Reese Marcusson 
Michael Mock
Sharon Mylrea
Diane Pascal
Bruce Sagan and Bette Cerf Hill
Nan Schaffer and Karen Dixon
Lilly Wachowski