Posted inStreet View

Style invades Navy Pier

In April, a peculiar crowd descended upon Navy Pier, not quite blending in with the spot’s usual and more conventionally dressed clientele. Tourists and local visitors sporting accidental normcore shared the looong path to Festival Hall with EXPO Chicago attendees, who never disappoint in serving the latest fashions.  Celebrating its tenth anniversary, it is fair […]

Posted inMusic

Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita, and Gustavo Ovalles reveal the essence of Africa in the Americas with their musical conversation as Suba Trio

Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa has spent nearly 30 years exploring different facets of African music. He’s recorded more than two dozen albums, and each one is a journey of discovery and wonder. Among the most sublime are his collaborations with virtuosos from Africa and the African diaspora, including his two most recent, 2017’s […]

Posted inFeature

Ghosts, cryptids, and Chicago

When Jack Wagner was 15, he made a documentary about the haunting of Wheaton’s Grand Theatre. Built in 1925, the historic theater went through several identities over the decades (including an aughts-era punk venue where Wagner’s band played). When he showed up with his camera, the owner shut Wagner and his buddies in the empty […]

Posted inMusic

On their second full-length,. . . So Unknown, Philly’s Jesus Piece reach ridiculous levels of heaviness

From the moment Jesus Piece issued their self-titled 2016 debut EP, the Philly metalcore five-piece were clearly the real deal. Slamming together the most intense parts of hardcore and death metal into something guttural and ferocious, the band arrived like a manifesto nailed to your forehead, declaring that they could bring it as hard and […]

Posted inOn Politics

Karen’s plan

At the risk of making you think I’m weirder than you may already think I am . . . Sometimes when walking alone late at night, I talk to friends and family who have died. Been doing it for a couple of years now. Going back to the pandemic when the streets were so deserted […]

Posted inTheater Review

The broken double helix of pain

Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s play is about the limits of love—both in what it can accomplish, even when it feels infinite, and in what it can tolerate before it disappears. Monique (the protean Ayanna Bria Bakari) shows up at her sister’s house with her 11-year-old daughter in tow and an undisclosed agenda. (Daughter Sam is played […]

Posted inTheater Review

The price of blood

Aleshea Harris’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down, produced by Congo Square Theatre last year, provided a trenchant and sometimes anguished portrayal of how racialized violence affects Black Americans over generations through a series of vignettes, rituals, songs, and more. Is God IsThrough 6/4: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Searching for enlightenment

Artist Theodora Allen’s work has long reminded me of the Major Arcana tarot or a deck of playing cards; her paintings, both intimate and grand, are worlds ripe with hidden meanings. This merge of the physical with the metaphysical produces an uncanny sensation in the viewer. One might reasonably expect The Lovers, The Queen of […]

Posted inMusic

Jessee Rose Crane and Philip Lesicko of the Funs celebrate a stripped-down new album as Glow in the Dark Flowers

It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since Jessee Rose Crane and Philip Lesicko left Chicago for the teeny downstate town of New Douglass (population: 350 as of the 2020 census), partly because you can still feel their influence in our underground rock scene. With their old duo, the Funs, they’ve played noisy but […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago rapper SolarFive joins forces with producer Custom Made for Paved With Good Intentions

Quentin Cole, who makes music as SolarFive, has given a lot to modern Chicago hip-hop. The diligent rapper, beat slinger, and engineer has made superb albums with his beat collective, OnGaud, and he’s collaborated with some of the city’s brightest hip-hop artists, including Defcee, Mick Jenkins, and Pivot Gang’s MFn Melo.  SolarFive flexes his soulful, […]