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An old-school New Year

  As thousands of Chicagoans lined the streets of Chinatown this past Sunday afternoon to welcome in the Year of the Snake, the usual vigor and cultural tenacity associated with Chinese New Year celebrations seemed to be missing. The float…

Atheist Activism

The much-overlooked role of atheists in the civil rights movement was the topic of Thursday night’s talk with Kimberly Veal, executive director of the Black Nonbelievers of Chicago (BNOC).

El Sabor del Desdén

Last Friday night, readers and community members gathered in Pilsen’s Casa Michoacán for a reading and discussion of local author Victor M. Cortés’s latest work, “El Sabor del Desdén”. Little by little, it became clear that each character of the event, from the guitarist playing throughout the reception to the book’s presenters, has his or her own personal relationship with the author–his readers are his friends, his neighbors, his family. They are, also, the characters of his stories and his novel.

A Dream, Ft. Jay-Z

Perhaps the pure white walls had something to do with the naming of Blanc Gallery. This much white could be overwhelmingly sterile, but in “Dreams in Jay-Z Minor,” it acts as a contrast to the powerful works of Amanda Williams and Krista Franklin. The name of the exhibit comes from a time when Williams and Franklin were both having recurring dreams that featured rapper Jay-Z. But the exhibit is far from a shallow homage to a pop culture icon.

A South Side Slice

With names like “Awesome Apple Pie” and “Eat This Pie!” listed on the contender sheet, the South Side Pie Challenge–held this past Saturday in the cafeteria of the Ray School in Hyde Park–was not lacking for bravado. The elementary school cafeteria was decked out with signs displaying pie facts, recipes, and student pie art

Visualizing Change

“Wherever there is change, there are artists,” said Dianna Long, executive director of the Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center, at the beginning of a discussion last Saturday about a series of planned Peace Parks to be orchestrated by CUARC in…

Room for change

There is a difference between a room filled with people crippled by painful circumstances and one filled with people who have been galvanized into action to change them.  The auditorium at the University of Chicago School of Social Administration last…

Symbolic Vocabularies

When I entered Calles y Sueños, La Casa de Arte y Cultura, at around 8pm, artist Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves was discussing each of his sculptures in rapid-fire Spanish to the assembled group of 40 or so. Each intricate piece was composed of dozens of tiny symbolic elements, and the viewers stepped forward cautiously to peer into tiny crevices, iPhone flashlights in hand.