Lit

An Otherworldly Success

South Side author Imani Josey’s The Blazing Star opens a portal into another world

Natalie Gonzalez

Late into The Blazing Star, the new young adult novel by self-described “South Side girl” Imani Josey, the Prince of Egypt leads the main character, Portia, into a palatial dining hall. “Personally, I wouldn’t call our Hyde Park home luxurious, but we didn’t want for anything,” Portia said. “But this room was not luxurious. It was otherworldly.”

Stage & Screen

Harlem in Hyde Park

With a festival and a new play, Court celebrates the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance

Courtesy of Court Theatre

In Blues for an Alabama Sky, the play produced this winter by Court Theatre, worlds collided: the Harlem Renaissance came to Hyde Park. According to Court’s executive director Stephen J. Albert “to explore and extend the African-American canon” is still Court’s long-term project. The theater’s appreciation of African-American art and culture are especially valuable to Court’s audience; he says Court’s audience “gets on its feet” to applaud “stories that speak to [its] own history.” Court sought to meet this demand this winter by producing Blues for an Alabama Sky, a story of the lives of five neighbors in Harlem during the 1920s—and to go beyond just meeting it, they added a two-month-long festival as accompaniment.

Lit

A Choir for Gwendolyn

Poets and friends read inspired works and reminisce at "Revise the Psalm" release party

Neal Jochmann

On January 7, a chorus of voices sang tribute to the beloved Chicagoan poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. Their hushed Logan Center audience heard selections from the new anthology Revise The Psalm, a collection of works celebrating Brooks’s life, published by Curbside Splendor this month to commemorate Brooks’s one-hundredth birthday.

Music

Nnamdi’s Sooper Dooper Secret Story

Prolific multi-instrumentalist Nnamdi Ogbonnaya on school, music, and self-discovery

Neal Jochmann

His attitude toward music is focused on learning and self-challenge, and not on audience pleasure per se.

Lit

Performing Negroland

Margo Jefferson and Jamie Kalven in conversation at the Sem Co-op

By improvising within the expansive, adapting forms of Negroland, [Jefferson] ends up incorporating more voices than her own.