Arts & Culture

Parental panic and gender politics collide in “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 as prodigies and phrases like “the Harvard of preschools” abound. In this world, it’s not enough for children to be healthy. They must be exceptional.

The play follows Alex, a well-bred blonde Manhattan mom (Katherine Keberlein), and her therapist husband Greg (Michael Aaron Lindner) as they scramble to get their 4-year-old son, Jake, into an elite private school. The rigorous application process and the notion of paying $20,000 for kindergarten will be cringingly familiar to some audience members, anthropologically foreign to others.

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Female Athlete Triad can lead to serious consequences

By Katherine Dempsey

Tina has only gotten her period once during college.

The 21-year-old runner at a Big Ten university remembers seldom menstruating in high school or in college. Diagnosed with anorexia during her freshman year of high school, Tina – whose real name has been changed to protect privacy – spent several weeks out of school for treatment and to escape from the academic pressure that she says sparked her eating disorder.

Tina didn’t participate in track her freshman year of high school, and she says she remembers weighing less than 90 pounds at her lowest weight. With running, the anorexia also related to a her focus on eating right to run well and that turned into limiting the kinds of foods she ate. Continue reading

VIDEO: Flatts & Sharpe Co. keeps music real in Rogers Park

By Beth Werge

Despite the rise of software instruments, Flatts & Sharpe Music Co. is a locally-owned music shop that’s making sure real instruments aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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Lunar New Year celebrations kick off in Chicago

By Beth Lawrence

Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year, is one of the most celebrated holidays in China. The Chinese Fine Arts Society is bringing that celebration to Chicago with the city’s second annual Chinese New Year celebration.

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Love, peace and soul — on gig posters

By Antoinette Isama

Chicago’s nightlife scene peddles its wares through posters that are pasted on poles, thumbtacked on cork boards and attached to messages on the Internet. It’s a must that these posters pop; they are vital to drawing a crowd for live performers and shindigs alike.

A monthly dance party at Wicker Park’s Double Door has been practicing that art of attraction through its posters since its first night on the turntables.

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VIDEO: “Ash and dash” hits Chicago

By Abigail Hodgson

One Chicago parish is taking Ash Wednesday outside church walls and onto the streets of Chicago.

For people too busy to attend an Ash Wednesday service, Urban Village Church volunteers positioned around the city – from CTA stations to popular lunch stops – spreading ashes on foreheads in a visible cross accompanied by the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Continue reading

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