Interviews | Visual Arts

Breaking Down the Electric Fence

Monika Neuland on socially engaged art

I grew up in Chicago; in my earliest years I grew up around Humboldt Park. It’s really funny, people ask me how did I come to work wherever it was—West Side, South Side. I was one of two Anglo kids in my school, so when people ask me about why I choose to work with diverse populations or whatever bizarre verbiage or politically correct verbiage du jour that there is floating around, I’m never sure how to really put that forward. The reality is I work with people that I grew up with, that are really to me the primary comfortable real everyday people. I guess as a white woman I’ve noticed people put this frame on me of, “Well, you’re this person working here, this is not the same.”

Development | Politics | Pullman

Growth of a Neighborhood

Pullman will soon have the largest rooftop farm in the nation. Will its impact be proportional to its size?

Lexi Drexelius

By this spring, a factory roof in Pullman will be home to a farm that grows up to a million pounds of pesticide-free produce a year. As 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale says, “That amount of lettuce is unreal!” When it opens up on top of eco-friendly cleaning product company Method’s new manufacturing plant, Gotham Greens’ rooftop farm will be the largest of its kind in the world. Not only will it grow produce year-round, but,  along with Method’s plant, the farm will also bring close to 150 new jobs to the community. The plans are an exciting development for an area that has historically had a higher unemployment rate than the city as a whole, but they also highlight a divide between Pullman proper and the surrounding area.  Continue reading

Stage & Screen

At Home in the House of Atreus

"Iphigenia in Aulis" at Court Theatre

Sonia Chou

I am a sacker of cities, destroyer of Troy,” proclaims Iphigenia toward the end of Court Theatre’s Iphigenia in Aulis. Only sacrificing Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis will raise the winds the Greeks need to sail to Troy; to that end, her father, the Greek commander Agamemnon, has resolved to kill her. Anguished but out of options, Iphigenia (Stephanie Andrea Barron) finally and fervently accepts her fate. The veneer of glamorous martyrdom in her words belies her death’s horror, and its futility: her murder will pave the way for the ten years of slaughter and atrocities to come. The fluidity and power with which Barron delivers the line similarly conceal the care and challenge involved in translating Euripides’ 2,400-year-old tragedy for today’s stage. In this production, what is just below the surface often has the strongest effect.  Continue reading

Music | Pilsen

Grrrls’ Night Out

Shred Fest comes to ChiTown Futbol

Juliet Eldred

There’s something about Shred Fest, She Shreds magazine’s annual festival celebrating female musicians, that seemed perfectly at home inside Pilsen’s ChiTown Futbol.


Piling up the Years

A review of Joseph G. Peterson’s Gideon’s Confession


Most people feel aimless or apathetic from time to time, but for the title character of Gideon’s Confession, stasis is a way of life. Describing himself as “a compass without a magnet”—directionless —he wallows in indecision about his career and his life, enabled by regular checks from a generous uncle. Continue reading


The Confidence Project

Behind the podium at the Englewood Toastmasters Club


I came in second,” says Sherri Allen-Reeves, stepping out from behind the lectern, “and most people who come in second and not first would feel defeated.” Her voice is powerful, but not too loud. Each word is measured, patiently delivered. “But I felt like I had come in first because for the first time in my life, I competed. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I did something I had never done before.” Continue reading