Washington Park

A Gentleman’s Game

The morning of the Midwest Cricket Conference’s (MCC) Division II final dawns so hot that the sun melts the goose feces that litter the massive fields of Washington Park. On ground number four, elegantly dressed all in white and toting worn bats and wooden wickets, the QC Kings and Rogers Park are readying themselves for the culmination of a tournament begun in April. QC Kings, captained by Nihar Shah, is made up of all Indians, while Rogers Park has only Pakistanis. “Oh dear…” a spectator might worry, sipping tea and thinking abstractly of Kashmir border conflicts, “I hope the game doesn’t get ugly.”

Cirque du Soul

On October 1st, the eastern edge of Washington Park is coming alive as families make their way into the blue and yellow tents of the UniverSoul Circus. The classic circus imagery is all here: brightly dressed clowns, animals pacing outside the tents, food everywhere, and appreciative kids. But there’s a significant difference from a typical circus scene: the audience is almost entirely African-American, and the circus itself draws on themes of black culture. Inside the tents, the expected smells of popcorn and funnel cakes that fill the air have a twist; vendors sell foods such as “soulhot wings” to inspire the mood in the circus audience.

Hip-Hop under the Big Top

The Soul Circus Divas circled around the ring, grooving along to Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” as their roaring audience’s applause swelled with frenetic excitement. Accenting their performance with impressive headstands and choreographed dances, the Divas amazed the crowd with…