The Opening Act

Thomas Bauman looks back to the Pekin Theater


2700 South State Street was once an anchor in a lively network of saloons, cafés, and vaudeville houses, as well as Chicago’s first major home for African-American theater. The Pekin Theater, as Thomas Bauman writes in his new history of the venue, was “engulfed” by the Dearborn Homes in 1946 and demolished in 1952. Continue reading

Interviews | Music

An HPAC Retrospective

The Hyde Park Art Center turns seventy-five

"Magnetic Reaction" by Art Green, 1968

“Magnetic Reaction” by Art Green, 1968

Scrappy” is hardly the first adjective one thinks of upon seeing the Hyde Park Art Center, now located in the northwest corner of the neighborhood at 50th and Cornell. Continue reading

Bridgeport | Stage & Screen

A Support Group for Humanity



On a chilly November night, Co-Prosperity Sphere barely seems to be heated, but this matters little to the small crowd that has gathered for South Side Story Club. Kept warm by scarves and excitement, people mingle as they add their names to the list from which a few will be randomly picked to present. The theme for the night is “Since Last Time.” What has happened in the last thirty days? The answers are surprising, entertaining, interesting. All are delivered in the intimate setting of this eclectically-furnished space, within a time limit of eight minutes. Continue reading

Back of the Yards | Englewood | Junctures

Peoria Street & Garfield Boulevard



To talk about Garfield and Peoria is to talk about St. Basil–Visitation parish. Its two landmarks face one another on either side of Garfield Boulevard: Visitation Catholic School and St. Basil’s Church, with Peoria running in between. Today, the church and school communities are both small but vibrant; Father Hernán Moran-Rosero of St. Basil’s speaks fondly of Visitation’s annual Christmas concert, which is held at the church each year and marks a rare instance when the pews are filled. Just a few decades ago, empty seats at St. Basil’s would have been unthinkable, as would a Latino reverend. Continue reading

Housing | Lit

Where People Live

Stories from the projects

high rise coverPublic housing in one of the most prosperous nations on Earth shouldn’t become the backdrop of a human rights crisis. And yet it is so—everyone knew it was for nearly as long as Chicago’s housing projects existed. “High Rise Stories,” compiled by Audrey Petty, tells of the pitfalls of the projects, straight from the men and women who lived there. Narratives are culled from interviews with people young and old, who once lived in the city’s now defunct high-rise housing projects. Continue reading