Change is Brewing

Coffee shops have become shorthand for gentrification. Can the South Side’s newest mean something else?

Zelda Galewsky

While Greenline works to show that Woodlawn can support a business, Currency Exchange has set about proving that their business supports Washington Park.


True Stories, Well Travelled

A review of The Places We’ve Been

“He points out into the overgrown green where his sister Bertha once gardened,” writes Pria Anand, in the journal she kept in Colombia. “I see bananas and trees and long grass, but only one flower, a tiny one, growing like a weed by the shed.”

Activism | Interviews | Police

Todd St. Hill

Lexi Drexelius

Todd St. Hill is an organizer with We Charge Genocide’s Cop Watch programming, which trains and promotes on-the-ground recording of police activity. St. Hill came to Chicago from Washington, D.C. He draws parallels between police violence in the two cities, and when he recalls growing up in the capitol, he talks about friends being followed down the street, harassed, or beaten by cops. At thirty, St. Hill is the oldest member of a delegation that has stressed leading by the youth. He talked with the Weekly about the goals of the delegation, and the brutality it names and demands redress for. Continue reading

Activism | Interviews | Police

Mariame Kaba

Lexi Drexelius

Mariame Kaba, a longtime educator and activist, has advocated for black youth on issues ranging from prison justice to women’s empowerment. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, an organization dedicated to ending youth incarceration, and has had a hand in founding numerous other justice-based projects. In June, she called together organizers across a spectrum of Chicago anti-racist groups to address police violence against black youth.  The collective would generate the We Charge Genocide report and its related accountability projects, including ChiCopwatch trainings and a viral campaign. She spoke with the Weekly on the morning before last week’s CPD budget hearing at City Council, for which We Charge Genocide members had published a set of questions about accountability for aldermen to ask at the hearing.  She talked about the history of brutality and resistance, recent and decades old, that grounds the U.N. report, and her hopes for the future the delegation might help create.

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Activism | Police

We Charge Genocide

Activists allege torture in a report to the U.N.

Dominique Franklin, “Damo” to friends, was twenty-three-years-old when he died. He spent the last two weeks of his life in a coma at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after being tased multiple times by a Chicago police officer. Witnesses, speaking anonymously to the Tribune, said he’d been turning to run away. The following month, activists in Chicago came together in answer to a call from tenured organizer and educator Mariame Kaba, spurred by his death. Next week, this same group of activists will send a delegation to the United Nations to argue that the unchecked violence of the Chicago Police Department must be recognized as torture. Their report is titled “We Charge Genocide.”  Continue reading

Pilsen | Queer

Five Years Out

Slow questions Paul's sexuality



Paul’s NOT Gay”—Slow Gallery’s latest show—was loosely conceived from a phone conversation between gallery proprietor Paul Hopkin and his father. Paul told his dad that he wasn’t seeing anyone, to which the older Hopkin replied, “Why do you bother telling everyone you’re gay if you aren’t having sex with men?” Continue reading
Hyde Park | Politics | Stage & Screen

Talk About a Question

Chasing grace with Anna Deavere Smith



What is grace?” asks Anna Deavere Smith, onstage in character as Reverend Peter Gomes. “What is grace? Well, that’s no small question.” This not-small question fueled a three-week artistic residency at the University of Chicago, culminating in the presentation of Smith’s ongoing work, “Conversations on Grace.” Continue reading

Housing | Pilsen | Visual Arts

How to Make Art Work

The Halsted of John Podmajersky III



Chicago Arts District” is an ambiguous designation, as much a brand as a region. The label was crafted in 2002 by John Podmajersky III to promote his family’s properties and the artists who lived and had gallery space within them. Podmajersky Inc. owns at least one hundred lots in East Pilsen; many of them form blocks of contiguous artist lofts and studio spaces along Halsted, concentrated between 16th Street and Cermak Road. There the company also hosts monthly 2nd Fridays Gallery Nights and an annual Pilsen East Artists’ Open House that pre-dates the district but is now run by Podmajersky staff.   Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | Pilsen


Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

On Saturday, September 14, 18th Street is covered in the colors of Mexico. It’s almost Independence Day, and Pilsen is wearing its heart on its sleeve. Flags wave from second-story apartments and car roofs. Glittering tassels, alternating pennants, and tissue-paper flowers boast red, green, and white. On the temporary stage at Paulina Street, a singer sways in an equally blooming dress, crooning Mexican tunes for an eager crowd at the Mercaditos en el Zócalo. At Racine, music floats from empty doorways, and in the late afternoon, the sidewalk begins to fill with a scattering of neighborhood cookouts. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | Beverly


Jonah Rabb

Jonah Rabb

Quick to balk at the typical outsider’s offhand impression of Beverly as a suburb, the neighborhood is fond of the tagline “Village in the City.” It feels a bit like having your cake and eating it too, a desire to affirm disparate identities as a community unto itself, and one that is still fundamentally of Chicago. Seated at the southwest edges of the city limits, Beverly most resembles the sort of small-but-not-too-small town young parents move to in search of good schools and a tree to hang a tire swing on. Continue reading