Posted inArts & Culture

In Print: 50 ways to help your neighbor

Two years ago writer Steve Fiffer heard about a successful program for hungry students at Evanston’s Orrington School called “books and breakfast.” He convinced his wife, Sharon Sloan Fiffer, that they should replicate it at Kingsley School, where their daughter was a second-grader. Evanston has its share of urban problems but as the Fiffers described […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Air Craft Warnings: kite makers convene

For purists there’s no alternative to constructing your own kite. “You have the satisfaction of saying ‘I did it myself,’” says Charlie Sotich, a veteran kite enthusiast who regularly teaches kite-building classes. “Anybody can go to the store and give the owner ten or twenty dollars.” Earlier this month Sotich, a retired engineer and a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Kill the Clown

“No party hats inside,” a police officer’s radio crackles. State troopers in brown uniforms are frisking and questioning four Guardian Angels standing near a wooden snow fence with their hands behind their heads. One of them’s wearing a pink cardboard cone decorated with little clowns holding presents and a birthday cake. “Na na na na, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Mechanical Man

Marshall Field’s has a motorized Cinderella and Carson’s has mechanized elves, but it’s the robotic man in the frosted window at Mysels Furs and Leathers, 123 S. State, who’s riveting holiday shoppers and lunch-hour office workers. He’s wrapped in a full-length mahogany mink coat, standing on a ten-inch-high pedestal. One by one a dozen people […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Peace in the Hood

Santaru Stephens is brushing sunshine yellow paint on a rough brick wall at Clybourn and Division. Shadows are forming across his mural on this crisp fall day, and he’s pulled the hood of his paint-speckled sweatshirt over his head to keep warm. He looks vulnerable standing alone on the narrow sidewalk with cars and trucks […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A Man and His Worms

With gnats flitting about his face, Ken Otto pours yellowish slop from a dark green garbage bag into a wooden bin. The unmistakable stench of rotting kitchen waste fills the air in this subterranean pump room, lit by a single overhead bulb. He stops and peers into the bin, then adds another splash of the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

Dear Reader: With magic comes responsibility, I learned this weekend. A friend and I had what seemed the fortuitous experience of finding a magic wand in the middle of Halsted Street on Sunday afternoon during Northalsted Market Days. Lying abandoned, it was a homemade wand, a foot-long rod topped by a flat five-pointed star that […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Voter Registration

Norm Sloan ducks out of the rain just before 10:30 AM on a quiet Saturday and stakes out a dry spot at the entrance to the Century Shopping Centre. His arms are full of the tools for the day’s work: signs from County Clerk David Orr’s office, a folding table, a metal folding chair, a […]