Education | Features | South Loop

Who Controls South Loop Schools?

CPS plans to close National Teachers Academy. Parents say it’s a political maneuver.

Jason Schumer

The National Teachers Academy (NTA), a neighborhood school on the Near South Side, is “one of the premier facilities in the school system,” one University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) expert said. Its teachers have received city and state awards. It outperforms most schools in the country for reading and most Chicago public schools for attendance, and it’s improving at above-average speed.

Best of the South Side 2015 | South Loop

Best of South Loop 2015

Alex Harrell

It’s a bright Saturday morning in the South Loop. The men in suits who rush off during the weekdays to Chicago’s bustling Loop have retired their formal wear and turned to the comfort of colorful Hawaiian shirts. Couples, both young and old, are out strolling through the neighborhood before the humidity settles on the city. The gentle rustle of trees mixed with chirping birds and the occasional passing car creates a serene, urban lullaby. For residents of the South Loop, the neighborhood can feel like the city’s best-kept secret.

Best of the South Side 2014 | South Loop

South Loop


In the lush, winding Women and Children’s Park in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, kids play hide-and-seek near a bubbling fountain while day camp counselors mediate tiffs between toddlers. A mother of two pushes a stroller, picking a few apples from one of the garden’s trees and stowing them in her backpack.  Continue reading

Music | South Loop

Ms. Go Hard

“Femme Fatale” hits Reggies

Where my ladies at?” screamed Sasha Go Hard, leaping across the stage in a light blue sweatsuit.  A chorus of high-pitched screams was her answer. She paused, mic in hand, and stared out at the crowd for a moment. “I said,” she repeated, “where my ladies at?” Continue reading

Mixed Media | Music | South Loop

First Time, Every Time

An ever-changing variety show takes the stage at Jazz Showcase

The producers of the Weekly show. From left to right: Dan Shapiro, Robert O’Connor, Angela Oliver, Angelina Marie, and Monte LaMonte.

The producers of the Weekly show. From left to right: Dan Shapiro, Robert O’Connor, Angela Oliver, Angelina Marie, and Monte LaMonte.

The host of “The Weekly Show” takes the stage with a rather impressive false penis hanging out of the front of his pants. After several jokes far too vile for polite publishing, he uses his prosthetic phallus as a phone to call in the next act. Continue reading

Food | South Loop

Consider the Oyster

Chicago Oyster House in the South Loop



The twentieth-century food writer M.F.K. Fisher had her first oyster at a boarding school Christmas party. In her book The Gastronomical Me, Fisher remembers swallowing the mollusk with adolescent daring before sweeping out to dance. “Oysters are simply marvelous!” she thinks giddily to herself. “More, more!” Continue reading