February 2021: 35th Anniversary Spectacular

February 2021: 35th Anniversary Spectacular

Regular price $10.00 Sale

Midway to Java: The Forgotten Javanese Village in Chicago that Once Thrilled America

Though lost almost entirely from the public imagination and relegated to a footnote in Chicago’s history, the Java Village was the single most popular attraction on the fair’s Midway Plaisance. The village was a mostly authentic reproduction of the villages in then-Dutch East Indies. The “villagers” built their homes from wood and thatchery brought from the colonies. There was a small mosque and residence for the representatives of their Dutch overseers among thirty-six or more buildings set within a large compound near the giant Ferris Wheel. The village was more popular than the bellydancers, the first to appear in the United States, in the architecturally spectacular Turkish Pavilion, or the “Eskimous” braving summer heat to look authentically Arctic in their seal furs. — By Ted C. Fishman

Imperfect Union:  Race & Sports, A Chicago Relationship

The dynamic of race inside of sports is not and has never been relegated to a player versus owner paradigm. The levels of power, control and white maleness are spread across the entire coalition of sports in Chicago and go far deeper than a simple management versus labor construct. And while sports and race are both an international and national paradox of life, like politics, all sports is local. And our sports in Chi when viewed through the prism of race is no different than our politics. Ugly and beautiful at the same time, bullshit and real simultaneously. — By Scoop Jackson  

Built on a Better Bagel: Rye Deli + Drink and the Evolving Chicago Delicatessen

“I wanted to take bagels and pastrami to a new level,” says chef Billy Caruso of Rye Deli + Drink, which opened in November 2020. “There’s a New York bagel and a Montreal bagel, but I wanted to make a Chicago bagel. We build on the New York bagel, but I wanted a bagel that had a little more pull, a little more crunch, made of regionally sourced flours.”  — By David Hammond

Changing Identity: Measuring Progress in the Journey from "Gay Novelist" to Music Editor

In fact, it was in 1992 that Tom Tunney became the first openly gay Chicago alderman. He’s now the city’s vice mayor— appointed by our first openly LGBT mayor, Lori Lightfoot. The intervening years have witnessed countless other examples of the wholesale mainstreaming of gay people—some would say, at the expense of gay culture. People Like Us closed its doors in 1997, as did A Different Light some years later; Gay Chicago was one of many LGBT publications that folded in the new century. My own Newcity cover story is, in retrospect, one of the auguries of that coming shift; a decade prior, I wouldn’t have registered as newsworthy to anything but exclusively gay periodicals. — By Robert Rodi

Decisive Moment: Reflections on a Thirty-Three-Year Journey, as Chicago's Photography Doyenne Catherine Edelman Closes Her Gallery

“Cathy’s gallery has been an asset for the city and a real contributor to the field of photography on a local and international scope,” curator Karen Irvine says. “She has been a really active and important member of the photo community for all of the years that she has been open. Cathy is very connected, supportive, and knowledgeable about photography.” Despite a substantive trajectory, in December Edelman announced the gallery’s closure to the public as it makes a transition to private dealing. — By Hadia Shaikh

The Idea of the Blues: It's Time for Chicago to Capitalize on the Heritage that Changed the Course of Music 

Willie Dixon, who passed away in 1992, was the poet laureate of the blues. The Rolling Stones, Cream, The Doors, Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin all covered a Willie Dixon song on their debut albums. You can also hear Dixon playing his upright bass—purchased for $79 from the Sears, Roebuck and Co.  catalog—on the early Chuck Berry hits such as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “Rock and Roll Music.” — By Frank Luby

A New Movement: Despite Diminishing Funding that Threatens its Future, Dance in Chicago Soars. And Now is the Time for Equity to Take Wing

Lucky Plush tours extensively in the United States and abroad; they have performed at the Joyce Theater in New York and the Kennedy Center in D.C. They are the only dance company to receive a MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions. As in most companies, Lucky Plush members teach dance classes; unlike most, they also lead corporate team-building workshops. More than a dozen sponsors pepper the footer of their website. So why does a decorated mid-sized company presenting on one of the biggest stages in the Loop need to hustle a few bucks at intermission? — By Sharon Hoyer


Arts & Culture

Art: DePaul Art Museum cracks open the canon with Latinx initiative

Design: Show your style with locally made masks

Dining & Drinking: Peranakan food unites cultures at Kapitan

Film: A thirty-year meditation on movies

Lit : John Porcellino is only thirty years into his comics memoir

Music: Daniel Knox goes beyond the concept album

Stage: Brian Loevner has some tough-love ideas to save performing arts

Reviews: As the culture carries on...