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Chrissie Dickinson died with too much writing yet to do and too much art yet to create

Chrissie Dickinson was a multimedia artist and award-winning country and rock ‘n’ roll critic whose work appeared in the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, the Boston Phoenix, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. She died on May 19, 2022, from heart failure. She is remembered here by friend and creative partner Cynthia […]

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Cynthia Plaster Caster broke the mold

Kind. Funny. Genuine. A sweetheart, an artist, a legend. If the true sign of a life well lived is a tidal wave of emotional tributes when you die, then Cynthia Albritton—better known to the whole wide world as Cynthia Plaster Caster—lived a very good life. So much so that writing about her after her passing—she […]

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Rescuing the legacy of Dancin’ Man

On December 13, I took a long drive to Des Plaines to pick up relatives of my friend Perry Kanlan, a showbiz-adjacent eccentric known as Dancin’ Man. The time on the road gave me the chance to reflect on the circumstances of my relationship with him. I formally met Perry in 2011, when my friend […]

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A tribute to Syl and Jimmy Johnson

Chicago shaped Jimmy and Syl Johnson, and the brothers stayed grounded here even as they became global heroes. The singer-guitarists moved up from Mississippi after World War II and played blues and R&B, carving out their own spaces within those sounds. They had outwardly contrasting personalities and their careers took different paths; they worked together […]

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Long live Squeak

I met Squeak in Saba’s grandparent’s basement. The walls were plastered with magazine covers, the space stuffed with recording equipment and video games. A memory not easily forgotten—I’ve probably told this story a thousand times, in writing and in person. It was 2016, a year after the first time I interviewed Saba and a couple […]