Education | Features

Losing Harper High School

In a good school-bad school paradigm, Harper High School’s rich hundred-plus-year history risks being forgotten

L-R: Helen Tyner, Derrick Lawson, Sherry Williams (Maggie O'Brien)

Harper High School is the oldest neighborhood school in Englewood. Over the last century,  thousands of residents have graduated from there. Yet last month, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close Harper High School in the next few years. It is, by all accounts, considered a failing school. But for those who go to Harper now, the decision threatens to tear apart the social fabric that’s been woven across generations.

Bridgeport | Community

Who Owns Benton House?

Chicago’s last settlement house struggles to define its identity

Photos Courtesy of Benton House Office

A cold wind blew down South Gratten Street on a chilly November afternoon while Bridgeport residents outside stood in line for Benton House’s food pantry, donning jackets, scarves, gloves, and all. Seniors sat on plastic lawn chairs on the sidewalk with personal shopping carts in tow. Inside, toddlers bounced around the stairs while their mothers monitored them with hawk-like vision.

Features | Politics

A Broken Shield

Cook County’s public defenders are overworked and underfunded. But criminal justice reform won’t succeed without them.

Zelda Galewsky

Jeanne Bishop believes her profession is a vocation. After her pregnant sister and her brother-in-law were killed, she wrote a book about her path to forgiving her family’s murderer. Then she became a public defender in Cook County, representing those charged with lesser or even similar crimes.

South Shore | Stage & Screen

Reinventing Ghosts

Erica Mott pays homage to the men who built Chicago

Courtesy of Erica Mott

A quartet of male performers walks solemnly onto dirt and rock, holding steel sheets above their heads. An aerial view of a flock of birds flying over the Calumet industrial corridor is projected onto two jagged concrete pillars with a break of open space at its center. The performers break away from formation and scrape the metal sheets in feverish circular motions, creating clouds of dust. Already the performers embody the spirit of steel mill workers and mimic the machines surrounding them.

Pilsen | Queer | Visual Arts

Templehead’s Hallowed Halls

Rick Majewski

It’s a moody September evening at the Church of Templehead—clouds bruise the sky, and bursts of rain seem intent on ruining the party. Templehead, a DIY artists’ living space converted into a queer- and feminist-focused community venue, sits on the corner of 19th and Allport in Pilsen. It’s in a quiet pocket of the neighborhood, removed from 18th Street’s trickle of winers and diners. Tonight is JOSE FEST, a performance art festival named after Chicago-based artist Jose Hernandez and featuring an eclectic set of theatrical vignettes. Continue reading