Close to the end of ’Vol. 51’Salem Collo-Julinon September 8, 2022 at 1:01 am

On the cover: illustration by David Alvarado. For more of Alvarado’s work, go to instagram.com/tuffasaurus. Credit: David Alvarado

We’re close to the end of “Volume 51” in a few issues. Yes, that means that we have survived nearly 51 years of publication, a feat that perhaps no one imagined might happen when we first started in 1971. 

For someone like me, a native Chicagoan who is themselves headed to just shy of 50 (all right, 48) this month, it’s so improbable that something like the Reader still exists. It’s a forum for intelligent writing, covering the important stuff like government shenanigans, battles between police and citizenry, new worlds of music, cinema, and theater, all wrapped up in a totally free to read package. Très 70s of us, no? Our coverage is not just about Chicago—it’s an attempt to show you the soul of what Chicago really is. 

Did you know? The Reader is nonprofit. The Reader is member supported. You can help keep the Reader free for everyone—and get exclusive rewards—when you become a member. The Reader Revolution membership program is a sustainable way for you to support local, independent media.

We often find that the issues we write about (like income woes, wrongful convictions, a lack of equity within our neighborhoods, health care) are issues that someone writing for the Reader in the past also tackled. But we are hopeful for new solutions to these old problems. The guaranteed income program described by writer Sky Patterson (in a series of stories originally created for City Bureau) is one such possibility. And sometimes we echo ourselves a bit in these pages: Kelly Garcia’s coverage of a mayoral candidate with a not-so-savory record could time travel into countless past municipal election cycles. (Unfortunately, people who want to assert unnecessary amounts of power in their public and personal lives are still attracted to our City Hall—go figure.)

When contributor Isa Giallorenzo pitched a story on Hyun’s Hapkido School in Bucktown, I was plagued with a vague memory of “I know these people . . . why do I know these people?” It turns out that my Uncle Rob trained with Grandmaster Hyun in the 80s, alongside his friend Michael Kiefer, who wrote about Hyun and his school for the Reader in 1982. I remember as a kid hearing from Uncle Rob, “I’ve got this friend Kiefer, he’s a writer, he even wrote for the Chicago Reader!” As we all get older, it’s nice to see that some of these legacies still thrive.


A century of guaranteed income 

The push to solve poverty through government-backed cash grants is nearly 100 years old.


Printers Row Lit Fest embraces Chicago’s writers

Printers Row Lit Fest has been bringing all things literary to the streets of the Printers Row neighborhood for 37 years. The festivities return for the second weekend of September with a packed schedule of events.  The festival is many things to many people: a homage to the publishing industry, a shopping spree for book…


Chicago-based sound artist Dorothy Carlos refreshes drone textures on Circuit Spectre

Cellist and sound artist Dorothy Carlos moved to Chicago last year to begin an MFA in sound at the School of the Art Institute, but she’s got a foot planted on the east coast. She studied cello performance and anthropology at New York University, and she recorded all of the new Circuit Spectre (American Dreams)…


Sandra Cisneros feels the love of the universe

When Sandra Cisneros talked about romance, writing, and faith over Zoom from her bright home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, she discussed her own poetry but also referred to Peanuts. In the strip Lucy complains about not finding love while ignoring Snoopy’s embrace. Almost on cue, Cisneros then got a face lick from Nahui…


Yola has persevered through peaks and valleys to stand for herself

If you’ve ever fought to pursue your dreams despite pressure from family or society, Yola’s inspiring story will resonate with you. Raised by a single mother in Bristol, UK, the guitarist and singer-songwriter fell in love with music at a young age, but her mother discouraged her from pursuing it as a career because it…


Praise expertly honor the D.C. melodic hardcore of the 80s

Baltimore band Praise have been working within a classic melodic hardcore sound since their 2010 debut seven-inch, and they dig even deeper into that terrain on their newest album, All in a Dream—their first for legendary hardcore label Revelation. While they started out in a more traditional mosh-heavy vein, Praise started diving hard into the…


Strong and steady

Modernity and tradition. Relaxation and tension. Chaos and order. Yin and yang—roughly speaking. These are complementary universal forces that can easily lose balance and therefore create trouble. But not at Hyun’s Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do School, a Bucktown martial arts storefront rooted in the same location for over 50 years; an unexpected harmony permeates…


Dreary North Fest will broaden your understanding of extreme music—and test your limits

Brett Ray had proved his commitment to extreme music long before he launched the extreme-music blowout Dreary North Fest last year. He’s been booking shows for more than two decades, and he’s been releasing music through his label, Suspended Soul Tapes and Records, for close to ten years. He also regularly tests strangers’ capacity to…


Funny Pages

Kline’s trick to getting everything to coalesce is commitment—of himself, his passion, and his love—resulting in a distinctly dark comedy that is worth seeing.


Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

For those who grew up with any personal proximity to the Black church or religious homophobia, this movie will hit incredibly close to home.


Me Time

Me Time unfortunately fails to turn this smart idea for a comedy into anything worthwhile.


Peter von Kant

Ozon’s ode offers a diverting, fresh perspective on Fassbinder’s harrowing melodrama.


Matches

Oo looking for females . . .


Classifieds

Help wanted/employment/job listings and classified listings for legal notices, professional services, research, and adult services


Disability takes center stage with Babes With Blades

A man who murders children, abuses his wife, and usurps the throne, Shakespeare’s Richard III is the epitome of villainy—and usually shown as a limping hunchback othered because of his disability. Babes With Blades, in collaboration with University of Illinois Chicago’s Disability Cultural Center, challenges that portrayal in a current production at the Edge Theater.…


The Cats Renounce Their Origin


Jeff Parker and the rhythm section from Tarbaby cut loose on Eastside Romp

Why did it take six years for this album to be released? It didn’t take long to make: electric guitarist Jeff Parker, double bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits spent just one day recording Eastside Romp in a Pasadena studio in late May 2016, and it’s been mixed since 2018. The music certainly hasn’t…


Chagall’s Camelot

James Sherman began his career as an actor; he joined the Second City in the 70s, while he was still a student at Illinois State, appearing in the shows Once More With Fooling and East of Edens with the likes of George Wendt, Tim Kazurinsky, and Miriam Flynn. But starting with his 1982 backstage play,…


Shifting priorities

How parenthood and the 2020 uprisings impacted Tiara Déshané’s approach to music


Anna-Michal Paul, chalk artist extraordinaire

If you’ve ever been to a show at Thalia Hall, you’ve walked right past Anna-Michal Paul’s work. She creates the hand-drawn chalk art that greets concertgoers as they ascend the stairs to the second-floor venue. Her detailed, textured portraits and stylized lettering, which she catalogs on Instagram at latenightchalkshow, are as much a part of…


You can’t smother romantic feelings

While he’s hosting your birthday party and playing with your testicles, he is not your boyfriend.


Party like it’s 1926

Blank Theatre Company’s production of The Wild Party (book, music, and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and based on the 1926 narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March), directed by Jason A. Fleece, tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, toxic lovers in the roaring 20s. In their Manhattan apartment, they throw a party, which manifestly goes…


The Reader’s guide to the 2022 Chicago Jazz Festival

In a less imperfect world, Millennium Park would be hosting the 44th annual Chicago Jazz Festival right about now. As of 2019, the festival had been held in downtown parks for an unbroken string of 41 years. Thanks to COVID-19, though, it was canceled in 2020 and 2021. The first summer of the pandemic, the…


Teaching to the test

If National Merit had to be pitched as a movie, it would be “The Breakfast Club in a test prep class.” Competing for high scores and the scholarship that goes with them—and, perhaps more important, the accolade of National Merit Scholar—are The Privileged Jerk, The Sidekick, The Striver, The Weird Girl . . . .…


The cop who would be mayor

CPD officer Frederick Collins has more than 40 misconduct complaints. Now, he’s running for mayor.


Joy and community reign at the MCA’s new celebration of local arts, Chicago Performs. 

Chicago Performs is a new annual event hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art that spotlights exciting local artists while showcasing the city’s rich and vital creative landscape. Envisioned as a way to provide a national platform to Chicago artists as they reach the next phase of their careers, the inaugural edition of the two-day…


Mixtape romance

The titular girlfriend in the local premiere of the two-person musical (book by Todd Almond, music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet) kicking off PrideArts’s 2022-23 season never appears. Referred to only fleetingly, she is nevertheless both presence and absence throughout the story of two young gay men who fall in love after their high school…


A little bit bloodless

I love Dracula. I’ve loved him ever since a Saturday afternoon in the late 70s or early 80s when I saw Bela Lugosi portray him on TV as part of Creature Double Feature. Max Schreck, Christopher Lee, and many other actors have only deepened my appreciation for the immortal bloodsucker. I always root for him…


Seven don’t-miss Jazz Festival sets

The Jazz Institute of Chicago’s bookings for this year’s Jazz Festival reaffirm the organization’s commitment to presenting a variety of music by local, national, and international acts. Everything on the bill is worthwhile, but these are the sets at the top of my list. Chicago Jazz FestivalThu 9/1, 11 AM-9 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78…


The Reader’s Jazz Festival jukebox

Like any music fest, the Chicago Jazz Festival is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure that you listen to. It’s even more multifarious than most—not only does it take over Millennium Park for four days, it also books events at the Cultural Center and Maxwell Street Market and a series of neighborhood concerts (copresented with…


How does cannabis affect the body and how to avoid overdoing it

Despite the growing acceptance and accessibility of cannabis in states where it’s been legalized, many outdated stigmas surrounding the plant remain. That means that even people who use cannabis for recreational or medical purposes might know more about its associations with party culture or old-school anti-marijuana films that depicted it as a societal menace (remember…


Demdike Stare celebrate Jamie Hodge’s techno productions with an archival double LP

A teenage Jamie Hodge enchanted the international underground-dance community in 1993 with his debut 12-inch as Born Under a Rhyming Planet, Analog: Heaven. Techno figurehead Richie Hawtin released Hodge’s music on his Plus 8 label after the Chicago producer played him some original recordings—he dropped in on Hawtin in Ontario at the end of a…


Siul Reynoso of Los Gold Fires drops a supremely summery new single as Gabacho

Chicago Latine indie band Los Gold Fires have been quiet the past couple years, but guitarist Siul Reynoso has focused instead on a warmhearted, psych-tinged solo project called Gabacho. Reynoso has released an EP and a few songs under that name, and last week he dropped the third Gabacho single of the year. The luxuriant…


Sofia Kourtesis’s shimmering house music is as thoughtful as it is party ready

There was a time when Sofia Kourtesis was content to simply make party music. On her first two EPs, the Berlin-based Peruvian house producer crafted shimmering tracks that could soundtrack the most humid of summer afternoons. She shifted gears, though, on her 2021 breakthrough, Fresia Magdalena (Technicolour), whose five tracks moved away from pure hedonism…


Sidi Wacho sing of a revolution that will be danced

Fronted by French-Algerian rapper Saidou and Chilean rapper Juanito Ayala, Sidi Wacho unite rebelliousness on both sides of the Atlantic (specifically, Northern Africa and the global south) through activist rap in French and Spanish. Accordionist Jeoffrey Arnone, trumpet player Manel Girard, and drummer Christophe Demazeux accompany the group’s heartfelt, powerful lyrics with dance rhythms from…


Scorched Tundra XII celebrates heavy music from Sweden, Chicago, and beyond

Promoter Alexi Front began his love affair with Scandinavian metal in the mid-2000s by publishing a zine and running a label. He started the Scorched Tundra festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2011, and five years later he began throwing one in Chicago as well—spearheading a sort of underground-metal sister-cities program. Front is a curator by…


Hocus-pocus

As the years roll by, mayors and aldermen come and go but the great Tax Increment Financing scam stays forever. Oh, TIFs, TIFs, TIFs. Haven’t written about them in awhile. But they’re always on my mind, to paraphrase the great Willie Nelson. They’re particularly on my mind as I follow the falsehoods advanced by both…

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