• ‘You have to respect the power of objects’

    ‘You have to respect the power of objects’
    In July, as COVID-19 restrictions began to lift and the Chicago performing arts geared themselves up to resurrect, the Rough House Theater Co. headquarters at coartistic directors Claire Saxe and Mike Oleon’s home in Humboldt Park morphed into a puppet rehearsal palace.Rough House’s anthology production House of the Exquisite Corpse wouldn’t be opening at the Chopin Theatre for another three months, but there was plenty to do. Lighting designer Connor Sale was in the attic stu
  • Introduction

    Introduction
    Most filmmakers start small and aspire to more elaborate productions and thematically richer narratives. On the contrary, South Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo has been working backwards from that notion; his films seem to get increasingly shorter, with his first feature from 2021 (In Front of Your Face is the second) and 25th overall having a run time of just over an hour. Hong, however, has indulged in a sort of filmic maximalism, releasing between one and three films a year for the past
  • Clean

    Clean
    This grim movie presents Adrien Brody’s character, a garbageman named Clean, as the wronged party in an unforgiving world. His tearful nights, plagued with regret over the fallout of a violent past, punctuate dull days of trying to be good. In between trash routes, he brings prepared lunches to his irresponsible neighbor’s granddaughter Dianda (Chandler DuPont) and refurbishes cast-off scrap to sell to a pawnbroker played by RZA. The lonely martyr on the fringe that is Clean finds a
  • Below the Fold

    Below the Fold
    Below The Fold is a matter-of-fact procedural that’ll feel familiar. The title is a reference to news deemed less noteworthy, relegated to the lower half of a newspaper where it isn’t instantly visible. Enter veteran reporter David Fremont (Davis DeRock) and new reporter Lisa (Sarah McGuire), former flames who are assigned to revisit a cold case on the cusp of its tenth anniversary. Set in Skidmore, Missouri, the film feels like an homage to David Fincher as the reporters traverse a
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  • Catholic school house

    Catholic school house
    In November 2021, news broke that filled the Chicago house-music community with pride. Hometown house legends Ten City were nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronica Album for Judgement, their first full-length studio recording since 1994. Many Chicago fans remembered that around the time of the group’s formation in the mid-1980s, their producer, house pioneer Marshall Jefferson, had taken the nation by storm with his 1986 Trax single “The House Music Anthem” (aka &ldq
  • Mandingo Griot Society: a global exchange born in Chicago

    Mandingo Griot Society: a global exchange born in Chicago
    Foday Musa Suso absorbed centuries of tradition growing up in Gambia. As part of the griot caste, his family had performed a centuries-long role in Gambian society, narrating historical epics and singing praise songs while playing the kora, a harplike 21-string instrument his distant ancestors invented. Suso dreamed of bringing his music to places far away—places represented in his mind by American recordings that would become, along with the music of his own people, his artistic guides.&
  • Duranguense: made in Chicago

    Duranguense: made in Chicago
    A style of music, dance, and dress: duranguense, which surged in Chicago at the turn of the 21st century, encompassed all of this.Duranguense is a hybrid genre, with roots in the northwestern Mexican state of Durango as well as the music known in the industry as Regional Mexican—it includes popular genres linked to rural Mexico, such as banda and tambora, which are based on brass-band and drum sounds, respectively. As duranguense began to evolve in the 1990s, it was transformed through it
  • Chicago’s instrument industry helps the world make music

    Chicago’s instrument industry helps the world make music
    Like a giant urban phoenix, Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1871 to become a behemoth in architecture, the arts, and business. Thanks to its waterways and its train system, the city had been known as a transit hub since the 1840s, but the shipping industry got priority during the Great Rebuilding as the city strove to emerge bigger and better than before. By the early 20th century Chicago had become the most important transportation center in the United States. In his 1914 poem
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  • Malachi Ritscher gave Chicago’s fringe music his whole heart

    Malachi Ritscher gave Chicago’s fringe music his whole heart
    Listen to a raw and raucous Nirvana concert at Metro in 1990. Hear Slint performing a knockout cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” at Club Dreamerz. Check out a rare live set from local postpunks End Result, or New York’s ESG in 1984 at Lakeview’s long-defunct countercultural nightclub Medusa’s. Or peruse more than 1,000 recordings of MacArthur fellow and local jazz great Ken Vandermark, along with dozens from late free-jazz saxophonist Fred Anderson.&n
  • P.S. Studios, where a musician recorded musicians

    P.S. Studios, where a musician recorded musicians
    Paul Serrano, founder of P.S. Studios, was a south-sider at his core. Once a student of Captain Walter Dyett’s famed music program at DuSable High School, he forged a path as a young trumpeter in New York before settling back in Chicago and playing on sessions up and down the city’s storied Record Row.By the time Serrano opened up his recording studio in 1966—ultimately located at 323 E. 23rd—he was a former member of Woody Herman’s big band and an accomplished hor
  • Before Detroit had Motown, Chicago had Vee-Jay

    Before Detroit had Motown, Chicago had Vee-Jay
    Vivian Carter and James Bracken formed Vee-Jay Records in 1953 to produce the “good music” that listeners of Vivian’s radio broadcasts and customers of her record store in Gary, Indiana, wanted to hear. By “good music,” her audience—largely southern-born African American migrants to the Chicago region—didn’t mean classical or pop. They hungered for electric blues, R&B, and gospel. At the time, neither Vivian (Vee) nor Jimmy (Jay) could have im
  • Chicago’s 1920s nightlife incubated world-changing musical and social experiments

    Chicago’s 1920s nightlife incubated world-changing musical and social experiments
    The Roaring Twenties have often been portrayed as a time of wealth, glamor, and social change. Technological advances, including more widespread electrification and increased use of automobiles, plus the growth of mass media such as radio and movies, drove a booming economy—though then as now the benefits were inequitably distributed. Inspired by movie stars and current events—notably the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote—young people adopted ne
  • How a gospel vocal style walked into Chicago and out to the world

    How a gospel vocal style walked into Chicago and out to the world
    “Walk around, walk around, walk around, walk around,” the background singers chant, their a cappella harmonies chugging fire like a train bound for glory. Then the clouds open and a high tenor floats out of the sky. “I want,” it says, before swooping up into a falsetto yodel that seems to reach beyond heaven itself: “Jeeeessssuuuuus to walk around me.” The pleading notes are strung out over bar after bar. It sounds like the song will never touch down on earth
  • You May Have Unclaimed Money or Property

    You May Have Unclaimed Money or Property
    On February 1, states across the country will celebrate National Unclaimed Property Day to raise awareness and encourage people to check if they have cash or property owed to them, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.
    “We know when we get money back in the hands of residents, it does more good for our economy than sitting in a bank,” Frerichs said. “You don’t have to wait until February 1, you can check our website today at illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH and find out if
  • IL State Legislators, Advocates Announce One Fair Wage Legislation

    IL State Legislators, Advocates Announce One Fair Wage Legislation
    One Fair Wage, a national nonprofit that advocates on behalf of restaurant workers, along with State Rep. Camille Lilly, Women Employed, and local restaurant owners and workers announced the One Fair Wage Act (House Bill 5139), which would end the subminimum wage in Illinois.
    The legislation is being announced in response to a wage shortage crisis across Illinois; One Fair Wage says raising wages for restaurant workers who work for subminimum wages is critical to helping the industry recover. On
  • NEA Announces American Rescue Plan Grants to Arts Organizations

    NEA Announces American Rescue Plan Grants to Arts Organizations
    The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced it has recommended American Rescue Plan (ARP) awards totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. The organizations may use this funding to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. The full list of recommended awards, sorted by city/state, is available on art
  • Secretary Cardona Lays Out Vision for Education

    Secretary Cardona Lays Out Vision for Education
    In a major address at the Department of Education, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona laid out his vision for continued recovery through the pandemic and his priorities for broader investments in America’s education system to ensure all students can succeed and thrive. During the address, Secretary Cardona discussed key strategies the Department, schools, colleges, and universities must take to help students, educators, and school communities – from preschool through postseco
  • Lizzo Turns Heads In Chic High-Waisted Jeans & Blouse For Low-Key Dinner

    Lizzo Turns Heads In Chic High-Waisted Jeans & Blouse For Low-Key Dinner
    Photo: Getty Images
    Lizzo is usually quite the risk taker when it comes to come serving looks — but on Tuesday night, she opted for a more casual, chic ensemble while turning heads in the process. The “Truth Hurts” singer hit up Craig’s in West Hollywood for a low-key dinner, while rocking high-waisted pants with a simple, elegant black blouse with long sleeves and white and green designs; complete with a set of brilliant white heels and a classic black quilted Chanel han
  • Witnesses Testify They Knew George Floyd Needed Medical Attention

    Photo: Getty Images
    Federal prosecutors are building their case against the three former Minneapolis police officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd.
    On Wednesday (January 26), prosecutors called eye witnesses to the stand in order to argue that even civilian bystanders could tell Floyd needed medical attention while CPR-trained ex-officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao pinned him to the ground for more than nine minutes.
    “I could tell somethin
  • This Black-Owned Clothing Brand Is Teaching History Through Fashion

    Photo: Getty Images
    Who knew you could get fly and learn something at the same time!
    That’s exactly what Resilient Grace is on a mission to do. The Black woman-owned and operated clothing brand sells products directly inspired by the Black heroines we often don’t learn about in school.
    In one viral TikTok, brand owner Kyra Brown explains how she’s continuing to give weekly lessons on the Black women we all need to know about in a new video series aptly named “Why Didn&rsq
  • Janet Jackson Addresses Longtime Rumor That She Had A Secret Baby In 1980’s

    Photo: Getty Images
    Janet Jackson is speaking out about the pesky, 35-year old rumor that she gave birth to a secret baby with ex-husband James DeBarge in the 1980’s. In a clip from her upcoming self-titled documentary, Miss Jackson denied the long-standing rumors, saying:
    “I could never keep a child away from James. How could I keep a child from their father? I could never do that. That’s not right.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoXbfAevF4E?feature=oembed]The
  • This Area Has The Biggest Wealth Gap Between Black And White Americans

    This Area Has The Biggest Wealth Gap Between Black And White Americans
    Photo: Getty Images
    Racial disparities continue to exist across the United States, creating barriers for Black people to succeed. but a new study outlines which states are worse than others when it comes to racial inequality.
    “Current trends show that a wide financial gulf continues to divide racial groups in the U.S., with Hispanic and black Americans still at the bottom of the economic ladder,” according to WalletHub, a financial website, on Tuesday (January 25). “Non-Hispani
  • Police Beg For Help In Solving Death Of Black Teen Dumped On Freeway

    Photo: Los Angeles County Police Department
    The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public’s help in figuring out who is responsible for the killing of 16-year-old Tioni Theus, whose body was dumped on a busy freeway nearly three weeks ago.
    Theus’ remains were discovered early January 8, officials with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed to CNN. The county medical examiner determined the teenager died as a result of a gunshot wound to the neck.
    Leaders at the ci
  • A love letter to Ravi Shankar

    A love letter to Ravi Shankar
    “What Andrés Segovia is to the guitar, what Pablo Casals is to the cello, so Ravi Shankar is to the sitar. The master. The one who you might say revolutionized the instrument.” This is how Chicago legend Studs Terkel began a 1983 radio broadcast on which Shankar appeared. Among other subjects, the two luminaries of their respective crafts discussed Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film Gandhi, for which Shankar and George Fenton composed the music and received an Academy Awa
  • Take your time up there

    Take your time up there
    Q: I’m a heterosexual cisgender male who loves prostate stimulation. I discovered it later in life, but it’s been a staple for the last 15 years. I’m worried I’m pushing the envelope too much and need your advice. Lately, the last six months or so, I will have an orgasm that’s so intense I have pain just to the right of the base of my penis and balls immediately afterwards. If I push a finger in toward the center of my body, it’s tender. I
  • Cook County Judge Raúl Vega is retiring under a cloud of allegations

    Cook County Judge Raúl Vega is retiring under a cloud of allegations
    This investigation was a collaboration between the Reader and Injustice Watch.Elizabeth Francy first encountered Cook County Circuit Judge Raúl Vega when her contentious divorce and child custody case was transferred to his courtroom more than a decade ago. She said Vega often yelled at her in court and appeared to treat women differently than men. She and other women with cases in his courtroom also said they were told to wear skirts or “dress pretty” to appease him. Francy
  • George Floyd’s Civil Rights Centered In Federal Trial Opening Arguments

    Photo: Getty Images
    Opening arguments in the federal trial for the three former Minneapolis police officers who participated in the murder of George Floyd began Monday (January 24).
    Prosecutors focused on Floyd’s civil rights, accusing Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Kueng of making the “conscious” decision to not protect the 46-year-old on May 25, 2020.
    “In your custody, in your care,” Assistant US Attorney Samantha Trepel told the court, while reading from the Minne
  • Meagan Good Calls Pending Divorce ‘The Most Painful Thing I’ve Experienced’

    Photo: Getty Images
    Meagan Good is speaking out about her pending divorce from husband of nine years, Devon Franklin. In a recent interview with XONecole, Good gave fans more insight into her surprise split with Franklin, and how she’s currently coping with the significant life change. Good shared:
    “Throughout life, I’ve always approached relationships as understanding that at some point, they’ll get to the place that they’re going to, and then they would be over. I
  • Medical Examiner Rules Lauren Smith-Fields’ Death ‘Accidental’

    Photo: Instagram
    A Connecticut medical examiner ruled Monday (January 24) that the death of 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields was “accidental” and caused by “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol,” multiple news outlet reported.
    Bridgeport police discovered Smith-Fields unresponsive in her home on December 12, 2021, after a man she met on the Bumble app contacted authorities, according to a police incident report
  • Memphis 12-Year-Old Shot Dead After Writing Letter To Gov. About Gun Law

    Photo: Getty Images
    Before winter break, a Black 12-year-old from Memphis penned a letter to the Tennessee governor, expressing his concern of the state’s new gun law.
    On Christmas morning that middle schooler was shot dead after getting struck by a stray bullet while playing with presents in his family’s home.
    “I am a sixth grader at Sherwood Middle School and it is my opinion that this new gun law will be bad and people will be murdered and I think people should not have a gu

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