Author Archive for Joy Crane

King of the Streets

Hyde Park’s 53rd Street might just be the place for future leaders to find their footing. Ten years ago, in what would later become the then-Senator Obama’s political campaign headquarters, a humble skate shop decided to test the waters.

The Rink

James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ blasted overhead, a last call for skaters to steal a few final laps before the rink closed for the day. In a final display of unbridled release, for once each skater’s face told more than their footwork. “Believe it or not, sometimes at some of these sessions, you can see different expressions of how people feel the music,” says Nathanial H. Simpson Jr.

Heavy rain in Colombia

Omar Valencia’s mother doesn’t have long to live. She has one more journey to make before her time is due, a final pilgrimage with her son back to her native Colombia. In anticipation of their departure, Valencia’s gallery, the Oxala on West 18th Street, celebrated the end of its eight year tenure this past Saturday night. But the sound of the door slamming was barely audible amidst the evening’s clamor: salutations of old and new friends, the clinking of wine glasses, children’s laughter, and red heels clicking to Latin American rhythms.

The Art of Schooling

[nggallery id=46] On most South Side elementary school playgrounds, the assortment of playthings is a pretty standard affair. A few basketball hoops, a squeaky swing set if you’re lucky, and woodchips to break a fall. Games of hide-and-go-seek are not…

Back to Bronzeville

Mary Robert Jones didn’t quite fit the setting. Decked in a heavy drab smock and a worn head-scarf, she stood out in the company of crisp church-goers in the meeting room at First Unitarian Church on 57th and Woodlawn. She…