Arts & Culture

President to dedicate Pullman Park as Chicago’s first national monument

By Matt Yurus

President Barack Obama heads home Thursday to designate America’s next national monument: Chicago’s historic Pullman Park, a site that was home to unprecedented advances in industrialization and impacted African-American and labor history.

In 1879, George Pullman, the man who gave America the luxurious Pullman railcar, built his factory and America’s first “company town” on the Far South Side of Chicago. Continue reading

Archbishop Cupich celebrates first Ash Wednesday in the Loop

By Ellen Kobe

Archbishop Blase Cupich presided over Mass Wednesday, giving ashes to guests at St. Peter’s in the Loop.

Cupich was installed as the leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago in November, and this service marked the start of his first Lenten season in the city.

Beginning at 6 a.m., hundreds of people filed in and out of St. Peter’s. Nylon coats shuffled and boots squeaked on the marble floor as people entered the lobby with clean foreheads. They went to one of six stations in the lower auditorium, and within minutes, left with a cross of dark ashes above their eyebrows.
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VIDEO: Nazi bomber lands at Museum of Science and Industry

By Beth Lawrence

This month the Museum of Science and Industry is offering a rare and up-close look at a piece of history that’s usually out of reach. The German Stuka, one of only two remaining in the world, normally hangs in the rafters. For now, the museum has landed the bomber on its main floor to be viewed, cleaned and scanned with new 3D technology.

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Chicago Celiac Catholics celebrate communion in the low-gluten way

By Ellen Kobe

On a Saturday evening in January, Carol Shilson, a parishioner at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Lincoln Park participated in a common experience among Roman Catholics: the Eucharist. As the sun went down and the church’s stained glass windows turned from vibrant colors to darkness, the Rev. Jeremy Dixon consecrated the communion — turning the bread and the wine into what Catholics believe is the actual body and blood of Christ.

From the left-side pews, Shilson made her way down the main aisle with the rest of the congregation, which sang a hymn, folded their hands and strode back to their seats while the wafers melted in their mouths and the burning sensation of wine seeped down their throats.

Holy Communion is a shared experience for Shilson and other Catholics. They are only required to go through these motions once a year, although the sacrament is more routine for many who go to Mass every Sunday or even daily.

But for Shilson, receiving traditional communion is a health hazard. She has Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder activated by ingesting a gluten protein in wheat. Continue reading

Chicago comic school artists react to Charlie Hebdo massacre

By Taylor Mullaney

In 2013, the Europe-based International School of Comics opened a new campus in Chicago. Six weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Annalisa Vicari, Emma Rand and Christopher Kutz, teaching artists from the school, said they do not fully excuse the publication’s drawings. Vicari, 29, Rand, 23, and Kutz, 41, shared how they think the attacks will affect art education and artists’ limitations moving forward.

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Still time to apply for Top Chef Season 13

By Karin Vandraiss

Bravo’s hit series, “Top Chef,” wastes no time lining up new talent. On Wednesday LA chef Mei Lin won the title honors for Season 12, but the show has already started its annual, nation-wide scouting trip to cast the  upcoming season. Chicago’s live casting call was earlier this week, but even if you missed it, there’s still time to apply.

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Free Street youth debate on stage: All lives matter or no lives matter

By Kate Morrissey

One year ago Tuesday, Deonta Mackey was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in the Pullman neighborhood when he tried to rob the officer at gunpoint at a gas station.

“Track 13,” a play created by a youth ensemble composed of members from the Young Fugitives ensemble and members from the youth ensemble at Free Street Theater, uses Mackey’s death as a jumping off point to explore different perspectives about young people of color and their struggle with police violence in Chicago. Continue reading

Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild

By Sara Freund

Leafless trees stretch their branches toward the gray sky like ageless giants at the Chicago Botanic Garden .

The trees appear frozen still, but they are warriors. Some species of oak trees sense when they’re under attack – they detect the saliva of chewing insects and retaliate.  The oaks release chemicals to warn their neighbors of an impending attack. Continue reading Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild

Playwriting Competitions bring bold new voices to Chicago theaters

By Elizabeth Elving

The theater is a place to ask questions, and the writers in this year’s Young Playwrights Festival weren’t afraid to tackle some of the biggest ones head-on. The four winning entries of Pegasus Theatre Chicago’s annual high school competition just closed their run at Chicago Dramatists in River West under the title “Something Wicked Interferes.” While vastly different in subject, all four used the surreal and supernatural as tools to chip away at the veneer of everyday life.

In “A Matter of Life (& Maybe Death)” by Deja Jenkins, a coma-stricken teen plays cards with the grim reaper. In Daisianee Minenger’s “Dare to be Different,” a child-like narrator uses nursery rhymes to tell a story of gang politics in Detroit. Taylor Vazquez’s “Dirty Spoons” is a trenchant spoof of reality TV. And in Steve Maloy’s “A Day at the Office,” an advertising executive considers selling his soul to the devil (a sharp-dressed charmer who informs him that both Heaven and Hell are owned by Halliburton).

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VIDEO: Classical music goes silent elsewhere, resonates in Chicago

By Chris Ayan

The Green Bay Symphony Orchestra will close its doors at the end of the 2014-2015 season. Critics have often claimed that classical music is dying. But in Chicago classical music is alive and well.

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