Schedule

Take a look below at the panels, live performances, family-friendly activities and more that run through the entire weekend.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15

CO-PROSPERITY (3219-21 S. Morgan St.)

6 to 9PM

OVERFLOW: The Mississippi in every state imaginable
Opening reception hosted by Deep Time Chicago

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16

MAIN STAGE

11AM to 12PM

The River Speaks with DJ Elock

12 to 1:15PM

The Politics and Big Business of Exploiting Our Rivers 
Panelists: Teresa Cordova, Director, UIC Great Cities Institute | Yana Kalmyka, Labor and Environmental Justice Director, Warehouse Workers for Justice | Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Alderman, 25th Ward | Edith Tovar, Senior Just Transition Organizer, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

1:30 to 2:45PM

Meet Your Makers: The Radical Artists and Activists Creating on the Edge of Environmental Collapse 
Panelists: Resita Cox, Filmmaker/Director, Freedom Hill | Mechiya Jamison, Curator, Moving Freely | Coya Paz, Artistic Director, FreeStreet Theater | Gloria “Gloe” Talamantes, Founder, The Brown Wall Project

2:50 to 4PM

Live performances by Johari Jabir | Yuri Lane | Cat Mahari | The River Speaks presented by Tristen Ortiz and Anish Tailor with DJ Elock

4 to 7PM

Live DJ sets by Jesse De La Peña | John Simmons | Gino “Rockin” Romo 

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

11AM to 2PM

Participatory Mapping led by Rozalinda Borcila, Ömür Harmanşah and Zack Martin

11AM to 6PM

Seed-bombing the Chicago River with Urban Rivers

12 to 3PM

Canoe tours with Friends of the Chicago River and P.E.R.R.O.

1:15 to 1:45PM

Water Testing & Environmental Justice in the Science Classroom with Chicago Environmental Educators

2 to 3PM

Performance by Douglas Ewart on Bubbly Creek and the gates of the South Ashland Bridge presented by Tender House Project
Additional activities led by Shedd Aquarium

CORNER STORIES

11AM to 4PM

Corner stores often serve as the kitchen table around which residents of neighborhoods gather. Just like in houses of worship, community spaces and schools, corner stores are where greetings are exchanged, updates are shared and news about the latest neighborhood happenings buzzes. They are as Chicago as two- and three-flats and the “L.” Recognizing the important roles they play in amplifying, connecting and informing neighbors, we’ve created Corner Stories, where Backward River Festival goers can share stories, experiences and aspirations as they relate to the Chicago River, nearby communities and the city at large.

11AM to 12:30PM: Share your water stories with the Freshwater Lab
12:30 to 1:30PM: Hoodoisie Radical Activist Archive Stories
1:30 to 2:30PM: Yollocalli Arts Reach-Living La Villita Testimonios 
3 to 4PM: Community Speak Outs

COMMUNITY EXPO

11AM to 6PM

Visit the community expo for meaningful exchanges with representatives from nearly 30 different community-based organizations.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17

MAIN STAGE

11 to 11:45 a.m.

The River Speaks with DJ Elock 
Drag bingo with Cindy Nero

12 to 1:15 p.m.

That Ain’t Trash, It’s Treasure: Waste as a Valuable Resource 
Panelists: Rosa Cabrera, Director, Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC | Dorlan Curtis Jr., Assistant Director of Research, Cape Eleuthera Institute/Co-founder FoodPost Farms | Eco and the Flamingo

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

The Revolution Will Flow: Reimagining the Radical Potential of the Chicago River 
Panelists: Rachel Havrelock, Founder and Director, Freshwater Lab at UIC | Mila Marshall, Clean Water Advocate, Sierra Club | Janie Pochel, Lead Advisor, Chi-Nations Youth Council | Chicago Adventure Therapy

3 to 6:45 p.m.

Live performances by AlefromthePark | Apollo Mighty | Sandra Antongiorgi

6:45 to 7 p.m.

Closing by The Backward River Team

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

11AM to 2PM

Participatory Mapping led by Rozalinda Borcila, Ömür Harmanşah and Zack Martin

11AM to 6PM

Seed-bombing the Chicago River with Urban Rivers
Additional activities led by Shedd Aquarium

CORNER STORIES

Corner stores often serve as the kitchen table around which residents of neighborhoods gather. Just like in houses of worship, community spaces and schools, corner stores are where greetings are exchanged, updates are shared and news about the latest neighborhood happenings buzzes. They are as Chicago as two- and three-flats and the “L.” Recognizing the important roles they play in amplifying, connecting and informing neighbors, we’ve created Corner Stories, where Backward River Festival goers can share stories, experiences and aspirations as they relate to the Chicago River, nearby communities and the city at large.

11AM to 4PM

11AM to 12:30PM: Share your water stories with the Freshwater Lab
12:30 to 1:30PM: Hoodoisie Radical Activist Archive Stories
1:30 to 2:30PM: Yollocalli Arts Reach-Living La Villita Testimonios 
3 to 4PM: Community Speak Outs

COMMUNITY EXPO

11AM to 6PM

Visit the community expo for meaningful exchanges with representatives from nearly 30 different community-based organizations.

BRIDGEHOUSE EXPERIENCE
(SATURDAY AND SUNDAY)

A rendering depicting the exterior of the Cermak St. Brighouse and bridge in bright primary colors.

Tender House Project returns as a partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the inaugural Backward River Festival with cultural activations in two of Chicago’s historic bridgehouses. Tender House Project will activate the DuSable Bridge for the second iteration of Bridge Lift, featuring a musical performance in concert with the live sounds of the moving 101 year-old bascule bridge during the city’s scheduled bridge lifts. This rare performance will be viewable among the moving gears of the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum and the Chicago Riverwalk.

Lumpen Radio and Communities Amplified will premiere a series of live radio transmissions at the South Ashland Bridgehouse featuring stories from community organizations across Chicago’s 25th Ward. With the support of Public Media Institute, the broadcasts will be amplified during the Backward River Festival where people can tune-in and listen to the live broadcast of speeches, poetry & storytelling, music and discussions from community leaders, youth and stakeholders. In the evenings, the bridgehouse will symbolize a beacon of resident voices and the strong presence of the Chicago River through a curated selection of film projections created by Chicago artists. 

These programs are made possible through the amazing collaboration of Tender House Project, Public Media Institute, the UIC School of Art & Art History, Deep Time Chicago and the Freshwater Lab at UIC.

For a full program listing, visit tenderhouseproject.com/calendar-of-programs.