From Vietnam to Old Town: Café owner shares her story

Cassava Café

By Carlos D. Williamson and Ya Zhou    Video by Vishakha Darbha Vung Nguyen has been a survivor her entire life. Even when she was forced to move from her home country to a refugee camp as a girl, she remained optimistic. After her family moved to the United States, Nguyen hoped her situation would […]

“The Flick” is a rich portrait of interpersonal drama

"The Flick"

By Carlos D. Williamson Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama will continue to draw in audiences for the next few months at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Baker, who has a number of other awards for her work, won the Pulitzer in 2014 for “The Flick,” which will be featured at Steppenwolf through May 8. […]

27-Year-Old Show Still Attracts New Audience Members

"Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind"

By Carlos D. Williamson For the Neo-Futurists, elaborate performances and quirky narratives are nothing new. Founded in Chicago by performer and playwright Greg Allen, the experimental theater troupe has been putting on shows since 1988. While the ensemble has changed over the years, the performers still find ways to keep audiences coming back.

Painter Fran Joy Brings Black Artists Together for ‘Justice for Peace’ exhibit


By Carlos D. Williamson For Fran Joy, art is another way to challenge people’s perspectives on race, gender and inequality. And the 65-year-old painter had yet another opportunity to display her unique artwork when she curated the “Justice for Peace” exhibition from Jan. 31 until the end of February. One of the objectives was to […]

Gallery founder aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse through art

Jean Cozier

By Carlos D. Williamson Jean Cozier didn’t know she’d be the owner of an art gallery at 61 – let alone one that showcased the works of survivors of sexual abuse and rape. Cozier still isn’t sure this is what she was meant to do. She just knows she can’t stop.

Women Wrestlers Aim for Olympic Stage

Victoria Anthony

By Carlos D. Williamson Most women simply aren’t encouraged to participate in male-dominated sports. Even the few who do won’t get the opportunity to represent their country in the Olympics. But Victoria Anthony may be the exception. The 24-year-old freestyle wrestler said she’s been competing for 10 years and has had her mind set on […]

Survivors of Human Trafficking Heal Through Art

"Goddess Kali"

By Carlos D. Williamson An art gallery on Chicago’s Northwest Side that typically showcases the work of survivors of sexual abuse and rape is helping support a new cause. The Awakenings Foundation Center and Gallery is featuring an exhibit that shows the artwork of survivors of human trafficking. While most survivors of trafficking have been […]

The Jim Crow South: Gordon Parks photo series on exhibit

Gordon Parks

By Carlos D. Williamson As a film director, the late Gordon Parks gave African-Americans empowering images  in the 1970s with the blaxploitation hit “Shaft.” But Parks took a different approach with his photography and challenged bigots to second-guess the impact of segregation in the Jim Crow South, said Rhona Hoffman, director and owner of a […]