• 65 HBCU Leaders Urge Senate To Pass $2 Trillion Build Back Better Act

    Photo: Getty Images
    More than five dozen educators at historically Black colleges and universities across the country have joined forces in an effort to encourage lawmakers to pass “Build Back Better” legislation.
    If such legislation was passed, HBCUs would receive the much-needed funding that they have requested throughout the most recent presidential campaign and early stages of the Biden administration. To highlight the importance of such funding, the group of 65 HBCU&nb
  • Building 63rd House

    Building 63rd House
    On August 5, 1966, near Marquette Park, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was attacked while leading a protest to demand housing desegregation. Several blocks away from this spot stands 3055 W. 63rd, a formerly abandoned post office that turned 100 years old in 2020. This is the location where Blue Tin Production (a worker-run apparel manufacturing cooperative) is now building 63rd House, a hybrid organization headquarters for Blue Tin and community center for the greater neighborhoods of
  • Chicago Americana outfit Dogs at Large flirt with the comforts of lo-fi sounds

    Chicago Americana outfit Dogs at Large flirt with the comforts of lo-fi sounds
    Since the mid-2010s, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Sam Pirruccello (aided by a shifting group of collaborators) has been releasing languid, Americana-inflected indie rock as Dogs at Large. In 1975, Pirruccello’s father, Bo, and Bo’s brother Frank (Pirruccello’s uncle) cofounded the delightful country-rock band Ouray, and the music of Dogs at Large has a noticeable twang too. Dogs at Large’s sixth album, My Epiphone (which they self-released in December 2020), began as a
  • Chicago rapper Vic Spencer sticks to his ideals on Spencer for Higher 4

    Chicago rapper Vic Spencer sticks to his ideals on Spencer for Higher 4
    Chicago rapper Vic Spencer has built a catalog worthy of a book-length exposition, but for the time being I’ll restrict myself to a handful of observations about December’s Spencer for Higher 4 (Old Fart Luggage). One: UK rapper-producer Sonnyjim, who had a hand in every beat on the album, employs sumptuous sonics that help even Spencer’s most petulant turns go down easy and give his voluble verses a lived-in resplendence. Two: Spencer sometimes sounds like he’s dragging
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  • Thin

    Thin
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  • Local members, local food

    Local members, local food
    Since 2009, the Dill Pickle Food Co-op has offered locally owned products, healthy food options, and specialty items that can’t be found in any other grocery store. This full-service independent grocery co-op builds a dynamic and evolving local community with a more sustainable world. The Dill Pickle meets community needs and strengthens area diversity through products, services, and education. We are also a member-owned and financed grocery cooperative located in the Logan Square neighbo
  • Journalism and Police Accountability: Perspectives from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Torture Justice Center

    Journalism and Police Accountability: Perspectives from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Torture Justice Center
    Reader co-publisher Karen Hawkins, former Reader reporter John Conroy, Aislinn Pulley, co-executive director of the Chicago Torture Justice Center, and Mark Clements, an activist and police torture survivor discussed the role of journalism in uncovering police violence.You can watch the entire program here:
    Co-sponsored by the Chicago Reader, this Newberry program was held in connection with The Chicago Reader at 50, on view in the Newberry exhibition galleries through March 5, 2022.The p
  • Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” tells Society’s Unspoken Truth

    Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” tells Society’s Unspoken Truth
    Comedy and a threat to humanity glossed over with consistent questioning on whether what experts say is true. That sums up Netflix’s science fiction movie, “Don’t Look Up.”  Two Michigan State scientists, Dr. Randy Mindy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) complete a group study among colleagues and realized a large comet is headed towards Earth. It is guaranteed to hit the planet and kill everyone.
    Dr. Mindy and Dibiasky alert the pub
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  • Come winter, come market

    Come winter, come market
    The cold outside might make you think that farmers’ market season is over, but there are plenty of ways to purchase locally grown and regionally-created food year round. Here are a few upcoming possibilities. Plant Chicago in Back of the Yards offers year-round indoor markets, usually scheduled biweekly, with a limited number of vendors inside their building (which was originally a Chicago firehouse). The next event features local makers Bee-utiful Honey and Soap Junkii, among others
  • Putting on the plaid

    Putting on the plaid
    It’s not unusual to pick up labels in life; some you’re born with, some you achieve, some are thrust upon you. Cat McKay’s labels have come to her by all three methods as she wends her way through a theater career taking her from Ohio to London to Chicago.Some labels she’s collected are fighter, nerd, feminist, and queer theater artist. Her resume reveals she is an actor and playwright. She’s performed on stage and on camera, and for a while laid claim to having pe
  • Welcome to Venus

    Welcome to Venus
    Back in December, there was a shining sliver of time when it looked like we—as individuals, as artists, as arts institutions—were forging a clear, or at least clear-ish, path forward. Hundreds of people were back at work on live, in-person shows. A Christmas Carol burned bright at the Goodman. The Snow Queen got a shiny new reboot from a refreshed House. The Nutcracker, problematic as ever, nevertheless took root in the Joffrey’s sumptuous new home at the Lyric. And in an
  • One on One with Congressional Candidate Kina Collins

    One on One with Congressional Candidate Kina Collins
    Kina Collins is a lifelong activist and nationally recognized gun violence prevention and health care advocate with a proven track record of policymaking, coalition building, and collaborating with communities to improve public health and safety.
    She was born and raised in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. She grew up in a working-class union family and attended Chicago public schools.  Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, Kina Collins saw her community heavily impacte
  • Winter Arts Preview

    Winter Arts Preview
    Cover the Winter Arts Preview, Chicago Reader print issue of January 20, 2022. On the cover: Illustration by Mike
    Centeno. For more of Centeno’s work, go to
    mikecenteno.com.When we first started planning this special winter arts issue, there was reason for cautious optimism about live performances. But as December turned to January and the Omicron surge hit, several companies did what they’ve been doing for almost two years: they made new plans. Bridgette M. Redman profiles playwrig
  • Kia Smith is a south-side diplomat of dance

    Kia Smith is a south-side diplomat of dance
    At Chicago Dancers United’s Dance for Life festival last August, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage reverberated with layers of rhythm. Each row of dancers formed a different section of intertwining phrases—movements playful and powerful that recalled the musicality of jazz. The piece, South Chicago Dance Theatre’s Architect of a Dream, was the work of Kia Smith, the company’s founder and executive artistic director. Smith created the piece for SCDT’s annual Blac
  • A Conversation with Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton

    A Conversation with Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton
    Juliana Stratton made history becoming the first Black American to serve as Lieutenant Governor serving alongside Governor JB Pritzker. The southside native’s entire career has focused on bringing people together, building consensus, and solving problems. In her role as Lt. Governor, she leads the Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative, and chairs the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, the Military Economic Development Council, and the Illi
  • It’s become a different world

    It’s become a different world
    We see a show and later learn that it had to close abruptly. We can empathize with the actors’ disappointment and distress because we can visualize their faces and recall their voices. But how has the pandemic impacted those we see only briefly in the lobby as we enter or don’t see at all? How are they managing this crisis? I talked to stage managers and front of house staff at large, medium, and small Chicago theaters in late December and early January. When we talked, some theater
  • Talking democracy to death

    Talking democracy to death
    If you think Congress is inept in a crisis now, just wait till you see what 2465 has in store! In Brendan Pelsue’s dystopian dramedy, Wellesley Girl, the U.S. has been reduced to three (or maybe four, if you count abandoned Wellesley) towns in Massachusetts—the only places on the eastern seaboard where, thanks to MIT scientists, the water is safe to drink. The population is so small that everyone is a member of Congress, though the Supreme Court is now just Donna (Deanna Reed-Foster
  • Communicating from beyond

    Communicating from beyond
    Have you ever felt like a thing was made especially for you at just the right time? This was my overwhelming impression as soon as I walked into the Art Institute’s Ray Johnson show. I didn’t know much about Johnson prior to a deep dive I took, prompted by this exhibition’s sprawling collection of his endeavors. In my experience, Ray Johnson’s reputation has been more often name-checked than explained. The mystery and misdirection, it turns out, were by design. Johnson w
  • Singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada conquers heartache on her debut Marchita

    Singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada conquers heartache on her debut Marchita
    On her exquisite debut album, Marchita, Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada dissects the many bruised facets of a breakup in 11 intimate, elegant tunes. Estrada colors her compositions with her experiences growing up in a family of classical musicians and luthiers as well as her jazz studies at the University of Veracruz. On Marchita, she traces a line between those influences and iconic Latin American composers from the mid-20th century, including Chilean folk luminary Violeta Parra and
  • Karen Mom-Son Duo Lose Jobs, Arrested For Assaulting Black Worker On Camera [watch]

    Photo: Getty Images
    The white mother and son in Tennessee who called the cops and assaulted a Black man working at an apartment complex’s garage have lost their jobs and been charged.
    As the Black Information Network reported last month, Johnny Martinez was working in the parking garage of a Nashville apartment complex, checking vehicle permits, when a mother and son approached him, demanding to know what he was doing there.
    The now-viral video captured the moment the son, identified in a
  • Lizzo Responds To Critics Who Claim ‘Rumors’ Is The Worst Song Of The Year [watch]

    Photo: Getty Images
    Lizzo wants fans to know the true difference between viral music and good music.
    The Grammy Award winning star, whose 2021 song “Rumors” featuring Cardi B reached the top of the charts this year, is known for making huge records that can’t be put in a specific box. Her music is not only featured in television commercials, most of her songs a major hits on TikTok. So it comes as no surprise that “Rumors” is already breaking records since it’
  • Moderna Says Booster Dose Increases Protection Against Omicron

    Photo: Getty Images
    Moderna announced Monday (December 20) that a booster dose of its vaccine significantly increases antibody levels to protect against the Omicron variant.
    In a statement, Moderna touted “reassuring” data from a preliminary study that shows an authorized 50-microgram booster dose of its vaccine increases antibody levels 37-fold when compared to pre-booster levels. When a full100-microgram dose was used as a booster, antibody levels increased 83-fold, the company not
  • Serena Williams Donates $1M To HBCU Student Pitch Competition Winner

    Photo: Getty Images
    Serena Williams made a million-dollar investment over the weekend, donating the prize money to one lucky HBCU student pitch competition winner.
    The tennis G.O.A.T. partnered with Michael B. Jordan to donate $1 million during the inaugural Legacy QQQ HBCU basketball tournament in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday (December 18). The tournament also included a startup pitch competition where student entrepreneurs competed for the grand prize.
    TracFlo –– a financial app
  • Vic Mensa Speaks Out After Being Released From Jail: ‘I’m Free’

    Photo: Getty Images
    Vic Mensa is speaking out after being released from jail, following his weekend arrest. The “Down On My Luck” rapper, who was detained at the airport in Washington, D.C. for possession of mushrooms and LSD, took to Twitter to confirm his freedom, sharing:
    “Wow what a trip. I’m freeeeeee. love you all. god works in mysterious ways.”
    i’m freeeeeeelove you allgod works in mysterious ways
    — vino valentino (@VicMensa) January 19, 2022Vic w
  • Jay-Z Calls To Ban Lawmakers From Using Rap Lyrics As Criminal Evidence

    Photo: Getty Images
    Jay-Z and other artists are calling on New York City lawmakers to stop using rapper’s lyrics against them in court as criminal evidence. Hov teamed up with Meek Mill and a slew of artists — including Big Sean, Fat Joe, Robin Thicke, Kelly Rowland, and Yo Gotti — to urge lawmakers to sign and turn into state law the “Rap Music on Trial” bill (S.7527/A.8681). Jay’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, told Rolling Stone:
    “This is an issue that’s i
  • Ex-Officer Who Killed Laquan McDonald Set To Be Released From Prison

    Photo: Getty Images
    The white former Chicago police officer convicted of killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014 is scheduled to be released from prison as soon as next month.
    Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of killing McDonald in 2018, is scheduled to be released on February 3, after serving less than half of his 81-month sentence, an official with the Illinois Prison Review Board confirmed.
    “I’m hoping he’s learned the error of his ways. I have always asked for justice
  • Pardison Fontaine Speaks Out Against Megan Thee Stallion Breakup Rumors

    Photo: Getty Images
    Megan Thee Stallion and boyfriend Pardsion Fontaine have been keeping their relationship low-key in recent months. So much so that fans began to speculate that the Grammy Award winning couple had called it quits. Adding more fuel to the rumor mill, fans noticed that the “Savage” rapper deleted all the photos of her and Fontaine from her Instagram page.
    However, Pardi is speaking out, denying the claims and assuring fans that things are better than ever in their r
  • Elton ‘L10MixedIt’ Chueng, recording engineer

    Elton ‘L10MixedIt’ Chueng, recording engineer
    Elton Chueng, 33, began his career as a professional recording engineer with an internship at Classick Studios in 2011. He’s since worked with some of the brightest stars to emerge from Chicago’s hip-hop scene in the past decade, including Saba, Noname, Smino, and Chance the Rapper. In November his contributions to Yebba’s 2021 debut, Dawn, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.As told to Leor GalilI always loved music growing up. It really wa
  • SZA’s Cake Goes Viral As She Celebrates Her Acting Debut: ‘I Got The Part’

    Photo: Getty Images
    SZA is taking her talents to the big screen after landing a role, which marks her acting debut. The “I Hate U” singer took to her Instagram Story to celebrate the win and showed off her green, confetti celebration cake that read, “Congrats record breaker and fire actress.” The Grammy nominated singer wrote of the exciting news:
    “I can’t believe I got the part I wanted [watery eyes emoji] she’s an actress.”   
    &nbs
  • Drakeo The Ruler’s Girlfriend Honors Her Late ‘Soulmate’ After Tragic Death

    Photo: Getty Images
    Drakeo The Ruler‘s girlfriend is breaking her silence following her partner’s sudden passing over the weekend. Noel Bianca took to social media on Sunday to honor her late beau who was stabbed to death before hitting the stage at Once Upon a Time in L.A. music festival on Saturday. Bianca shared in an emotional post:
    “Darrell you knew everything about me and still loved me. I will miss our drunk nights, our arguments over nothing, u singing Sam Smith to me i

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