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Buddy Guy, Skrebneski, Second City, among Fifth Star honorees

Buddy Guy | COURTESY DCASE

Updated Aug. 16, 2106.

Chicago blues legend and six-time Grammy Award-winner Buddy Guy, legendary Chicago photographer Victor Skrebneski, actress, playwright and Black Ensemble Theater founder/executive director Jackie Taylor, National Museum of Mexican Art founder/president and Chicago Public Schools educator Carlos Tortolero, and the iconic The Second City are this year’s Fifth Star Awards honorees, it was announced today by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). The Q Brothers will host the star-studded event.

Presenters on stage will include supermodel Cindy Crawford (presenting to Victor Skrebneski, whom Crawford credits with helping launch her career), actor/comedian and Second City alum Fred Willard (presentig to Second City), Broadway star Chester Gregory (presenting to Jackie Taylor; Gregory launched his career with the starring role in Black Ensemble Theater’s “The Jackie Wilson Story”) and Shemekia Copeland (the new “Queen of the Blues” presenting to Buddy Guy).

Jackie Taylor | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media
Jackie Taylor | James Foster/For Sun-Times Media

The awards (inaugurated in 2014), which recognize the efforts and accomplishments of the honorees in Chicago’s arts and cultural scenes, will be presented Sept. 14 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The event is free and open to the public and will feature live performances by Buddy Guy, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Black Ensemble Theater, the Q Brothers and Second City, and video tributes.

“Buddy Guy, Victor Skrebneski, Jackie Taylor, Carlos Tortolero and The Second City are not only some of our city’s most influential artists, but their ingenuity and contributions to Chicago’s vibrant arts scene make them great cultural ambassadors and an inspiration for many,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a prepared statement. “We created this award—a nod to the four stars and our flag that are quintessentially Chicago—because we are committed to supporting and growing the arts in our city.

“Over the years, there have been many ideas proposed for a fifth star on Chicago’s iconic flag,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of DCASE, in a prepared statement. “These ideas all share one thing in common: They represent a city always in search of new moments of growth, transformation and enlightenment. And while there are no plans to add a fifth star to our flag, we believe there is beauty and magic in the quest for one.”

Carlos Tortorelo | COURTESY DCASE
Carlos Tortorelo | COURTESY DCASE

In addition, DCASE is seeking nomiations for the “Rising Star” youth award (also presented on Sept. 14). Candidates must be 14- to 19-years-old, “demonstrating potential and passion in the arts, must be residents of the City of Chicago, and available to attend the event.” Please send nominations (including name, age and brief bio) to dcase@cityofchicago.org. The deadline is June 30.

For more information, visit fifthstarawards.org.

Victor Skrebneski | COPYRIGHT VICTOR SKREBNESKI
Victor Skrebneski | COPYRIGHT VICTOR SKREBNESKI