Posted inOn Culture

Walking with the dead

When Anne Ford interviewed Adam Selzer for the Reader in 2014, it was all about his job as a ghost tour leader. You didn’t have to read between the lines to sense that it wasn’t the perfect gig for a truth-seeking research glutton.  “No matter how skeptical I tried to be, I felt like I […]

Posted inOn Culture

Sun, sand—and segregation

So, a bicyclist walks up to a beach on the North Shore. It’s hot, he’s been riding, he just wants to put his feet in the cool Lake Michigan water that he can see sparkling behind a booth and a prominent “beach pass required” sign. A hapless kid with a summer job is manning the […]

Posted inOn Culture

A bloody Independence Day in Highland Park

Nothing was said about it on the July 4 television interviews I saw, but among the security experts interviewed during coverage of the Highland Park parade shooting, one face and name had resonance. Crisis management expert and former FBI agent Phil Andrew survived another mass shooting in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, more than three decades […]

Posted inOn Culture

Out at the Center

They were there. No fuss, no ballyhoo, but queer artists have been a significant part of Bronzeville’s South Side Community Art Center since its founding in 1940. You might or might not see it in the art. That’s the main takeaway from “EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center,” on exhibit at SSCAC through July 2. “EMERGENCE: […]

Posted inOn Culture

The end of Roe

Regarding the recently revealed U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling on Roe v. Wade: WTF? Because, it’s the F we’re talking about, right? That little itch we’re biologically programmed to scratch and its inordinate, inequitable aftermath? As I’ve opined here before, if cisgender men were the ones carrying a pregnancy for nine months, suffering through an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

In search of freedom

This commission by Chicago Opera Theater brings to town a new opera by the prolific and celebrated Belize-born British composer, singer, pianist, and performer Errollyn Wallen, with librettist Deborah Brevoort. Loosely based on S.I. Martin’s novel Incomparable World, the story is grounded in the little-known historical fact that the Brits recruited enslaved people in the […]

Posted inOn Culture

Bleacher bummed

Something else took me to Arizona last week, but on what the locals considered a pleasant Tuesday afternoon I was in Surprise Stadium, in the Phoenix suburb of the same name, for the Cubs’s final preseason game. They were facing the Texas Rangers.    Both teams were wearing Cubbie blue. The temperature on the field was […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Review

Holocaust, the opera

It was a little disturbing that in the final moments of Chicago Fringe Opera’s stirring production of the Holocaust opera Two Remain (Out of Darkness), what should pop into my head but “Springtime for Hitler.”   I was thinking I could blame Mel Brooks. If I’d never seen The Producers, maybe a rousing full-cast anthem titled […]

Posted inOn Culture

A resonant Tosca

There’s a war raging in Europe. A brutal clash that includes an entrenched repressive autocracy and ordinary civilians determined to fight for their freedom. Tyrannical power is vested in one man—a deranged “security” professional who cares only about his own twisted agenda. He decides who lives and dies; everyone trembles before him. Someone needs to […]