Posted inMusic

The Reader’s guide to World Music Festival Chicago 2023

In July, I attended a community meeting at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater about the city’s plan to turn the Park District facility into a temporary shelter for asylum seekers. A group of protesters, angry that much of the armory’s programming would be relocated or otherwise disrupted, carried bright yellow signs reading “Don’t Displace Us.” […]

Posted inMusic

Congolese street-party alchemists Kokoko! pressurize the Empty Bottle with upcycled dance music

On Kokoko!’s first and only Chicago visit till now, the Congolese group put on the most bonkers fun show of the 2019 World Music Festival. Decked out in their signature yellow jumpsuits, they moved like they were sunk in trance or electrified by emergency, and their bracingly cosmopolitan junkyard beats—which they call “hot temperature music”—had […]

Posted inMusic & Nightlife

Best prodigal son in a rock band

Chicago trio Facs arose almost seven years ago out of the hiatus-turned-breakup of Disappears. Bassist and singer Brian Case, guitarist Jonathan van Herik, and drummer Noah Leger stretched the icy, brittle sounds of classic postpunk over gangly new skeletons to create their minimalist dirges. Van Herik left in late 2017, after the recording of Facs’ […]

Posted inMusic & Nightlife

Best overdue celebration

Charles Stepney shaped some of the most memorable pop music of the 20th century, including records by Ramsey Lewis, Minnie Riperton, the Dells, Terry Callier, the Emotions, and Earth, Wind & Fire. But when he died in 1976 at age 45, the composer, producer, and arranger had yet to release anything under his own name—he […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Best use of green cabbage

I’m not trying to start a fight. I can name a dozen addictively delicious ways to eat green cabbage—in fact, I have a jar of homemade Sichuan-style brine-fermented cabbage in the fridge right now, which I love with my chili oil. I had to say “best” because this is Best of Chicago, but it’d be […]

Posted inCity Life

The Chicagoans

The People Issue’s class of 2022 showcases folks from many walks of life. As subjects, their common thread is an incessant need to create welcoming spaces for other individuals like them, enact change, further their craft, do good, and in one instance, amplify the representation of stoner lesbians in graphic novels. Read profiles of 21 people by and as told to 15 Chicago Reader writers.

Posted inMusic

The Reader’s guide to World Music Festival Chicago 2022

The term “world music” has never been adequate to the task we’ve set it—even in its most benign reading, it implies a division between the listener and the rest of the world. And if that listener is in the United States, our country’s global hegemony in popular music colors the term’s meaning too.  Americans don’t […]

Posted inFood & Drink

The tastes of home

It’s a common refrain in the city: Chicago summer is so worth the wait. Newbies and transplants can feel the buzz of opportunity in the air when the weather starts to turn. Visceral summer memories fuel locals through even the coldest, darkest months. And many of those memories involve food and drink—cookouts, summer cocktails, farmers’ […]