Modern Mediumship is Kept Alive by Chicago’s Spiritualist Community

Church of the Spirit

By Elizabeth Elving Dr. Kenneth James stood behind the pulpit at Church of the Spirit and smiled at the congregation. It was one of the first Sundays of the year to feel like spring and the crowd was sparse; about 40 people had trickled in during the morning meditation. “When you talk to someone about […]

Does Chicago have too many literary magazines for its own good?

Evanston Newstand

By Elizabeth Elving American readers met Holden Caulfield in The New Yorker. In 1946 the iconic teenager appeared in J.D. Salinger’s story “Slight Rebellion off Madison,” five years before The Catcher in the Rye was published. This is what literary magazines are for – helping writers develop their craft, and introducing readers to what’s next. […]

Live lit alive and well around Chicago

Hopleaf mic

By Elizabeth Elving Chicago’s literary scene is brought to life in venues all over the city, every night of the week. Below is a map of some of the city’s most popular weekly and monthly live lit events. Included are open mic nights In One Ear, North Side Story Club and Urban Sandbox, reading series Tuesday […]

Online crowdfunding helps self-publishers make their mark in print

Fairbanks and Kallen

By Elizabeth Elving On Valentine’s Day the members of the Soon-To-Be-Pretentious Writers Club were scattered throughout the Harold Washington Library Center judging books by their covers. Once a month, the writers meet at the library, comb the shelves for books that appear compelling, and write original stories based on their selections. After a year of […]

Parental panic and gender politics collide in “A Kid Like Jake”

Cinderella scene from "A Kid Like Jake"

By Elizabeth Elving Midway through Daniel Pearle’s “A Kid Like Jake,” a pregnant woman is asked if she’s hoping for a boy or a girl. It doesn’t matter, she says, as long as it’s healthy. But we already know this to be misleading. The play’s expectant couple live in a world where toddlers are touted […]

Fioretti takes break from campaigning for pastrami

By Stephanie Choporis and Elizabeth Elving Alderman Bob Fioretti began his morning as many Chicagoans did- -by heading to the polls. He cast his ballot at his own polling place, an assisted-living facility at 1504 W. Van Buren, alongside fiancee Nicki Pecori. He remained optimistic about his own election day prospects, in spite of a recent […]

Emanuel vows to “get back out there” as Garcia forces runoff

By Elizabeth Elving and Sara Romano Updated 11:16 p.m. Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to supporters at his election party Tuesday night that “we will get back out there” as he prepares for a runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on April 7.   Emanuel fell short of the majority needed to win outright, […]

Playwriting Competitions bring bold new voices to Chicago theaters

Red Theater's Red Hamlet

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 […]

E-books boost independent publishing, but aren’t about to replace print

Barnes and Noble's Nook

By Elizabeth Elving There’s something about holding a book – cracking the spine, thumbing through the pages, feeling the weight of it in one’s hands – that is essential to the act of reading itself. Or maybe there isn’t. The sale of electronic books skyrocketed after Amazon introduced the Kindle in 2007. E-books went from […]

Seven deadly sins take center stage in Logan Square

By Elizabeth Elving On Tuesday, at the 8 p.m. close of regular business hours, the owners of Logan Square’s Cafe Mustache dimmed the lights and placed tea candles on each of the mismatched tables. Patrons shut their laptops and switched from coffee to beer. The music faded out, and the talk turned to sin. The […]