Justice | Stage & Screen

Between Reform and Retribution

Stateville Calling looks at one man's fight against a failed justice system

Courtesy of Scrappers Film Group

The artwork and poetry of inmates lined the walls. Mid-afternoon on a Saturday in February, there was an intimate gathering of people at Art on 51st, a gallery in Back of the Yards. They came to hear the story of Bill Ryan, of the people of Illinois, and of a failing justice system. Stateville Calling directed by Ben Kolak and released by Scrappers Film Group, recounts one man’s mission to bring a chance of parole or clemency to elderly inmates who, due to Illinois’ unique criminal justice system, are currently serving lengthy or life sentences.

Development | Stage & Screen

Facing Fate

'The Area' is a complex, issue-driven documentary analyzing the erasure of a neighborhood, and shining a light on the meaning of community

Courtesy Scrappers Film Group

The phrase ‘Fix it Up, Don’t Tear it Down’—also the title of a painting by Chicago artist Nikko Washingtonentered my mind as I watched The Area.

Stage & Screen

Court Theatre’s Ron OJ Parson Hits a Hole-in-One

"Radio Golf" at Court Theatre is directed with humor and heart

Allen Gilmore, James T Alfred, James Vincent Meredith. (Michael Brosilow, Court Theatre)

What if you had the chance to become your city’s first Black mayor, or you had the chance to give an old man back the house you stole from him in a one-hundred-percent illegal land grab, but you could not do both. Which would you choose?

Music | Stage & Screen

Welcome to Jackie Taylor’s Place

The Black Ensemble Theater’s latest show offers familiar musical pleasures

Rick Stone (Alan Davis, Black Ensemble Theater)

If you have seen one of Jackie Taylor’s plays at the Black Ensemble Theater in Uptown, you have pretty much seen them all. The latest incarnation of her brand of concert-style musical theater peppered with somewhat preachy teachable moments, Rick Stone: The Blues Man, delivers on what enthusiasts of Taylor’s theater are there for. Everyone cast in this show is extraordinarily talented—and thankfully so, since audiences will sit well beyond two hours.

Lit Issue 2018 | Stage & Screen

Opening Up

As Young Chicago Authors ages, a new generation of open mics emerges on the South and West Sides

Adjua Pryor

One Tuesday evening last month, a group of about twenty gathered under a sculpture made of neon lights to listen to stories and tell their own in turn. This was the July meeting of Story Club South Side, held at Bridgeport’s Co-Prosperity Sphere, a community gallery and gathering space. The group is composed of writers, bloggers, poets, and some who identify as none of the above, but they’re united by a fascination with live performance. Yvette Piña, one attendee, said, “Every time I’m telling a story, I relive it so much I get goosebumps. It’s like, I remember how that felt, I remember that moment. There’s something cathartic about that.”

Stage & Screen | Visual Arts

Between the Three of Us

The Petty sisters meditate on growing up on the South Side

Members of the audience of "South Side Sisterhood" (Sarah Thomas)

The home movie clip shown at the beginning of “South Side Sisterhood” was simple. A toddler waddled around in a diaper; his siblings smiled and made faces at the camera. The trio were doing what many siblings do: simply being together.

Health | Stage & Screen

Their Body, Their Choice

A new interactive play challenges us to think about teen abortion differently

Morgan Sanders

What happens when a teenager wants to abort a pregnancy? Do they need to have their parent’s permission? The new play This Boat Called My Body answers these questions. A production of For Youth Inquiry (FYI), the theater company of the Illinois Caucus For Adolescent Health (ICAH), This Boat engages its audience in a conversation about the murky waters that teenagers must navigate in order to access a safe abortion. Our journey through this conversation begins with the story of Jane.

Nature | Stage & Screen | Visual Arts

Sites for Leisure, Sites of Danger

Artists and activists discuss reclaiming parkland as a public space

Courtesy South Side Home Movie Project

When L. Anton Seals, Jr. was growing up in South Shore, he and his family would often spend weekend nights camped out in Chicago’s public parks. Back then, he said, his family and friends took the Chicago Park District’s 11pm closing time as a suggestion, not a rule: “[We were like], how the park gon’ close at 11 o’clock?… Who gives you the right to close the earth?”