On the cover: Photo by Charles Shotwell. For more of Shotwell's work, go to shotwellart.com.

Whatever else it does include, the new normal at least does not include another Mayor Daley. What a time to be alive! This must be how the French felt long about 1792.

But as I promised, this issue isn’t so much about the next mayor. It’s about the city we will soon choose a progressive black woman to lead. It’s chock-full of Chicagoans past, present, and future. It’s about what we get up to when we spend time together.

Rising basketball star Markese Jacobs and up-and-coming rapper Brittney Carter are profiled in this issue, while our cover feature is on the Bearded Lady, a 1970s River North scenester—from back in the day when the area was all glam, glitter, and LGBTQIA—who used to hang out at a club called Dugan’s Bistro.

Oh, we’ve still got politics. Maya Dukmasova digs into 14 races’ worth of runoff data in advance of Election Day, April 2, while Ben Joravsky considers the troublingly low—although not worst-ever—February 26 turnout.

We’ve also got a two-page comics report on Chicago’s (lack of) accessibility for folks with disabilities. We look at ShawChicago, a 25 year-old readers’ theater that’s currently set to close at the end of June. Culture reporter Deanna Isaacs brings us Stanley Tigerman’s latest controversial opinions on architecture. Writer Brianna Wellen looks at a live-lit-style comedy show called Freshman, about bad, early art.

All capped off with our original weekly comic strips. Have a favorite yet? I love John P., don’t get me wrong, and no one is more dear to my heart than Violet, the pet-crime-solving girl detective. But nothing makes me more excited about the continued future of independent comics than the superweird, downright disgusting P.L. Dermes.

So read up, Chicago. You don’t have to start thinking too hard about the next election yet. You have a couple weeks.  v