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DePaul Art Museum Transforming into Sochi Karaoke Bar

By Paul Biasco | February 26, 2014 7:56am
 A photograph of a karaoke singer in Russia published in the "Sochi Singers" book by Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen.
A photograph of a karaoke singer in Russia published in the "Sochi Singers" book by Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen.
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Rob Hornstra

LINCOLN PARK — The Olympics are over, but you can still be a Sochi star.

This Friday the DePaul Art Museum is hosting a night of karaoke, Sochi-style, MCed by the school's ultra-eccentric professor of design who goes by the alter ego Beverly Fre$h.

The event will turn an upstairs exhibition room into a Sochi-esque karaoke party in a nod to the karaoke singers of Sochi and the surrounding Russian region.

The free event is being held in conjunction with The Sochi Project exhibition at the museum, which depicts a darker side of the Olympic city through photographs and multimedia displays.

The exhibition put on by photographer Rob Hornstra and writer Arnold van Bruggen of the Netherlands, has been critically acclaimed around the world.

While Hornstra and van Bruggen were traveling throughout Russia over a five-year period leading up to the Olympics they noticed a uniquely Russian tradition in almost every bar they ended their nights at.

A singer would enter with his or her laptop around 8 p.m., connect to a pair of speakers set up in a uniquely decorated corner of the tavern and belt out Russian music for an entire night.

The two men were so enthralled by some of the singers and mini stages with painted landscape backdrops that they published a photo book titled "Sochi Singers" as part of The Sochi Project.

The only difference Friday night is that there won't be a single singer, everybody gets a turn.

Zachary Ostrowski, the DePaul assistant professor who goes by Beverly Fre$h, will get the night started at 8 p.m. There will be a cash bar.

"We want to get the students and the community involved. We really want to try to have the museum be a place where people can come," said Gregory Harris, the curator of the exhibition. "It doesn't always have to be a very serious experience."

The DePaul Art Museum created a mock-up display of a karaoke stage in the main part of the exhibit, but Friday night's party will be held in a much larger room on the second floor.

The closest thing to the Sochi karaoke part the museum has ever held was a West African dance party hosted by WBEZ radio's Tony Sarabia, which was in conjunction with the Studio Malick exhibition.

"We are just trying to tie it into the signers part of the exhibition," Harris said. "The fun, lighthearted, goofy parts of the show."