Today begins a new edition of our blog feature “Variations on a Theme,” in which we devote digital ink to a topic that fascinates us. This week, it’s aldermen.

This week’s theme ties into Mick Dumke’s cover story on Walter Burnett Jr., the 27th Ward alderman.

And in case you missed it, here’s last week’s “Variations on a Theme,” Fiction Week—an extension of our Pure Fiction issue—featuring Craig Champlin’s five-part serial “The Ernie Bedlam Stories.”