* Will Okun has a moving piece about Nicholas, a homeless teen who’s one of his best students.

* The inside of the Bean, from the exhibit “One Wall Away: Chicago’s Hidden Spaces,” which opens October 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (h/t Ashley).

* Topless Martha Stewart is in town to do Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; she talks with CST artistic director Gary Griffin here.

* Jay-Z’s playing the House of Blues on November 7 behind American Gangster, a concept album he made for the upcoming Ridley Scott movie just for kicks and without actually being asked to do so. Mark Jacobson’s piece for New York Magazine, which inspired the movie, is a great read, and has one of the best paragraphs I’ve ever read in any piece of journalism (emphasis mine):

“A couple of days later, eating at a T.G.I. Friday’s, [Frank] Lucas scowled through glareproof glass to the suburban strip beyond. ‘Look at this shit,’ he said. A giant Home Depot down the road especially bugged him. Bumpy Johnson himself couldn’t have collected protection from a damn Home Depot, he said with disgust. ‘What would Bumpy do? Go in and ask to see the assistant manager? Place is so big, you get lost past the bathroom sinks. But that’s the way it is now. You can’t find the heart of anything to stick the knife into.'”

* I still fail to see how the boxing tournament has anything to do with our preparation for the Olympics. The IOC needs to come here for Saint Patrick’s Day, when the Loop turns into a roving frat party and, save for some vomit, the city remains none the worse for wear. That’s much more impressive.