Like his two earlier novels, Tony Lindsay’s Chasin’ It is set on Chicago’s south side and examines spirituality, family ties, redemption, and black pride. A pulp thriller reminiscent of the novels of Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, it depicts the life of Terri Parish, a drag queen, ex-convict, and crack addict who turns tricks downtown. […]
In 2000, shortly before he left Chicago for New York University’s MFA program, poet Quraysh Ali Lansana was chatting with his friend Zahra Baker about Harriet Tubman. They knew that the abolitionist had suffered from narcolepsy due to a childhood blow to the head, and wondered whether God had talked to the deeply religious Tubman […]
This isn’t just a Senate race. It’s the reality show of the year.
A politics junkie positions himself for the future.
Oscar Micheaux’s entrepreneurial spirit made him the most prolific black filmmaker in history. Raised in Metropolis, Illinois, in the late 1800s, Micheaux worked as a shoeshine boy, a Pullman porter, and a homesteader in South Dakota and Nebraska, and later drew on his farming experiences to write novels. He published his books himself, selling them […]
In the early 1990s, Northeastern Illinois University history professor Patrick B. Miller and George Mason University sport studies professor David K. Wiggins began collecting essays, interviews, and other articles by African-American athletes, scholars, and sportswriters. The voices of black athletes were missing from scholarly treatments of sports, they felt, and writing produced by black writers […]
Overheard at 80th and Yale Man on street: “You got it running, huh?” Man in passing black Bronco: “It always ran. I just can’t stop!”
In America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues With African Americans (Warner Books), Harvard African and African-American studies chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. tackles an issue long debated within the black community: how to bridge the gap between its haves and have-nots. The book attempts to answer the question through interviews with 44 Americans across the […]
AGAINST LOVE: A POLEMIC Laura Kipnis Pantheon The title of the latest from cultural critic Laura Kipnis’s seems tactically misleading. Romantic love makes a juicy target for a would-be enfant terrible–the apparent ambition of a writer who opens her book with a “Reader’s Advisory” that warns us to “Please fasten your seatbelts: we are about […]
Growing up in Chatham, Gina Barge often listened to her father–saxophonist Gene “Daddy G” Barge–reminisce about his days at Chess Records in the 1960s. There, he produced and performed with the Dells, Fontella Bass, and Muddy Waters, including on the latter’s notorious Electric Mud, the psychedelic 1968 record that enraged blues purists. Gene often played […]
Almost since the day Simeon Career Academy opened, parents and students on the far south side have been pleading with the school board to shut it down. The board opened the high school in 1964 in an abandoned Kroger warehouse at 82nd and Vincennes. Board officials assured the community the site was temporary–they were going […]
David Wendell first became fascinated with planes while chasing crop dusters during summer breaks at his family’s Nebraska farm in the early 70s; now 36, he’s been independently researching the history of air travel his entire adult life. Currently living in northwest-suburban Harwood Heights, Wendell has interviewed retired pilots and combed through newspapers and old […]
In his memoir, Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory (Pitchfork Battalion), underground publishing advocate Mickey Hess uses deadpan humor and pungent observations to describe the price he pays for pursuing a passion–teaching college students how to write. Unlike one friend who chooses medical school for a high-paying career, Hess ekes out a living as an […]
A Pilsen artist prepares to launch his work–and himself–into the sky over Lake Michigan
Over the last decade Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian Sherman Alexie has busily made a name for himself as both a writer and an uncompromising advocate for Native American concerns. His dozen or so novels, short-story collections, volumes of poetry, and screenplays have dealt with historic and contemporary oppression of Indians, the quest for identity, the pitfalls […]