By Tom Lynch
On an unusually warm and muggy evening in early March, a sizeable crowd has gathered at Andersonville’s Women and Children First Bookstore, all here to help celebrate the release of “Ruins,” local author Achy Obejas’ new novel. All seats taken, some are forced to stand in the back, near the table that supports the bottles of champagne and large white cake, with the book’s title and the author’s name scribbled across it in edible coloring. After a few announcements, Achy’s introduced, and she sweetly refers to W&C as “home base”; her reading’s received well-everyone’s here to see her, after all-and afterwards, you get the sense she’s relieved by the audience’s lack of questions, that she’d rather not be at the center, with all eyes on her. Either that or she wants to hit the booze and cake as soon as possible.
“I still get really nervous,” Obejas says. “Nobody believes me when I say that, but I still get insanely nervous about reading.” Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Elise Jesnig
Keegan’s Pub on 106th and Western is surprisingly calm the day before the 31st Annual South Side Irish Parade. Four regulars are interspersed around the U-shaped bar, drinking a pint and talking amongst themselves while the bartender wipes down the counter and flips through the channels to see if there is anything good on TV. It’s almost a little too relaxed considering that in less than twenty-four hours, more than 300,000 will come into Beverly by the busload and the bar will swell up to its 133-person capacity.
“We just wait for the storm to come,” says the bar’s manager Mary McDermott. “The whole week before, it’s the calm before the storm.” Read the rest of this entry »
Columbia College’s Story Week 2009 continues Thursday and Friday, kicking off with an event featuring the school’s playwriting students, who stage scenes from their work, at Film Row Cinema on Wabash. Later in the day at the same venue a panel discussion ensues, titled “On the Rise: Chicago Theater and Beyond,” featuring About Face Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar, Goodman’s Tanya Palmer and Oobleck Theatre genius Mickle Maher. Friday offers a conversation with “The Girl on the Fridge” author Etgar Keret at Hokin Annex, plus a celebration of F Magazine, with Keret, Mort Castle, Augustus Rose and Betty Shiflett, later in the evening. The big event is Thursday night’s “Literary Rock & Roll” party at Metro, featuring Nami Mun, Lydia Millet and “Lush Life” author Richard Price. You should never miss an opportunity to see Price. (Tom Lynch)
Columbia College’s Story Week 2009 runs through March 20; visit colum.edu/storyweek for complete details.
This Week’s Biggest Gainers
1 Gordon Beckham
The young Sox infielder has been on fire during spring training, batting well over .300 and prompting several sportswriters to speculate on his making the big-league team this season. Read the rest of this entry »
The Newberry Library’s latest exhibition, “Hidden Then Found: Women’s Stories from the Newberry Manuscript Collections,” is the result of happenstance. While the library’s special-collections curators were combing through Chicago Daily News reporter Robert J. Casey’s manuscripts, they had stumbled across his wife Hazel MacDonald’s work from the first half of the twentieth century. Realizing that MacDonald, as well as fellow journalists Kay Ashton-Stevens, Emily Hahn and Georgie Anne Geyer, deserve a chance in the spotlight, curators “thought it would be an interesting concept to feature their work and highlight their accomplishments,” says the exhibit’s curator Lisa Janssen. In honor of Women’s History Month, “Hidden Then Found” is a tribute to their struggles as well as their groundbreaking contributions in journalism. The exhibit, which runs through Saturday, showcases the women’s experiences through photographs, newspaper clippings and personal letters. The exhibit is part of the library’s Spotlight Series, “which highlights new materials that the Newberry Library has acquired,” Janssen says.
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco also demolished downtown Santa Rosa, about 50 miles to the north. During the rebuilding process, Frank Doyle, a local businessman who referred to himself as a “champion of the future,” pushed a radical agenda. “When we construct our new downtown thoroughfare,” he said, “let’s make it wider than it has been in the past. That way it will accommodate the promising technological innovation called the automobile.” Draw inspiration from Doyle’s prescience, Aries. Read the rest of this entry »
By Michael Nagrant
He might eat foie gras on occasion, but even if you’re an animal-rights advocate, there’s no question that Mark Caro is a great human being. The Chicago Tribune scribe and author of the new book “The Foie Gras Wars” gave a reading at Borders in Lakeview last Thursday. He opened the affair with a duck joke told by his young daughter, which engendered a bout of crying from his other daughter who was a tad jealous of her sibling’s moment in the limelight.
As the father of a 2-year-old, I’m pretty sure I would be terrified and would be shuttling off my son in a similar moment. Instead, Caro gallantly humored his daughters, and continued to allow their occasional involvement, while he entertained with rapturous story and smartly answered questions for over an hour. Read the rest of this entry »
Where can you find six women in one room who would happily don a strap-on and take on a guy? Or a bar full of men who shout out the maximum distance they’ve managed to shoot a load?
Logan Square bar The Burlington is home to the monthly Sunday Night Sex Show, where creators and hosts Allen Makere and Robyn Pennacchia infuse your mind, libido and sense of humor with any and all things sex-related. Read the rest of this entry »
River North’s Mr. Beef Deli has been serving Chicagoans beef sandwiches for thirty years. Its walls, decorated with old and new album covers, movie posters and autographed celebrity photos, testify to both its age and enduring popularity. In a much-publicized crisis, Mr. Beef is facing foreclosure. Unable to get a new line of credit “in these economic times,” the sandwich shop may be forced to shut its doors. Read the rest of this entry »
For a moment, forget about our new president’s vow to hunt and capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. What if it’s already been done? In Chicago-bred author George Matheos’ new book, “The Man Who Killed Osama,” the novel’s protagonist, Jake Darren, kills Osma Bin Laden twice. (Bin Laden is actually killed a total of four times during the course of the book.) “The basic assumption of the book is that most Americans, if not most of the world, would love to see Osama killed-many times over,” Matheos says. Matheos’ idea for the book was inspired by numerous news reports that surfaced every so often that Bin Laden might have been dead. “The intention was not to write a book about Osama per se but of the circumstances of his death,” says Matheos. “What would an average American from Chicago do if he had the opportunity to kill Osama?”