Chicago Reader print issue of April 6, 2023 (Vol. 52, No. 13)

Page 13

FREE AND FREAKY SINCE 1971 | APRIL 6, 2023

TICKETS ON SALE MAY 1 2023

100+ EVENTS JUNE 6 – SEPTEMBER 10

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA • MARIN ALSOP

Claire Bourg • Ravenna Lipchik • Rannveig Marta Sarc • Alexander Hersh • Greg Ward

Glenn Zaleski • Dan Chmielinski • Kenneth Salters

• Michael Feinstein • Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Ruth Page Civic Ballet • DanceWorks Chicago • Deeply Rooted Dance Theater • Hedwig Dances

Jumaane Taylor • Jacob Collier • Lawrence • Tiny Habits • Ms. Lauryn Hill

Arnaud Sussmann • Michael Stephen Brown • Chicago • Ravinia Jazz Scholars

Pat Metheny • Karim Sulayman • Sean Shibe • Melody Gardot • Counting Crows

Dashboard Confessional • Glory Days • Ralph’s World • Charlie Puth • Summer League

Jesse & Joy • Jorge Federico Osorio • Calidore String Quartet • Santana • Miriam Fried

Mark Steinberg • Paul Biss • Kim Kashkashian • Marcy Rosen • Alessio Bax • Straight No Chaser

Ambrosia • Ne-Yo • National Seminario Ravinia Orchestra • Chicago Philharmonic

Jonathan Rush • Apollo’s Fire • John Fogerty • Hearty Har • Miko Marks • Chicago

Symphony Chorus • Janai Brugger • Ashley Dixon • Paul Appleby • Ryan Speedo Green

Adrian Dunn Singers • Ayodele Drum & Dance • Jim Gailloreto Trio • Senn High School Choir

Heather Headley • Ravinia Lawndale Family Music School • Trinity UCC Choir • Sasha Cooke

Ariel Quartet • Ayano Ninomiya • Matthew Lipman • Karen Ouzounian • Henry Kramer

Valentina Peleggi • Gabriela Montero • Natalia Lafourcade • Maria Schneider Orchestra

Alexis Lombre • Rebirth Brass Band • Danish String Quartet

• Mei-Ann Chen • Jeremy Denk

Ted Sperling • Andréa Burns • Morgan James • Capathia Jenkins • Laurie Berkner • Jason Mraz

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite • Apollo Chorus of Chicago

• Matthew Polenzani

Joshua Hopkins • Kathryn Lewek • David Leigh • Christian Sanders • Tiffany Choe • Taylor Raven

Diana Newman • Adam Lau • Yunchan Lim • Boz Scaggs • Keb’ Mo’ • The Special Consensus

Jonathon Heyward • Benjamin Beilman • Teddy Abrams • Jeffrey Kahane • Lee Mills

Rufus Wainwright • Opera for the Young • Blues Traveler • Big Head Todd & The Monsters

John Legend • Ailyn Pérez • Kevin Murphy • Joshua Weilerstein • Alisa Weilerstein

Jethro Tull • Kenny Loggins • Yacht Rock Revue • George Stelluto • Lara Downes • Nicole Cabell

Buddy Guy • George Benson • Classic Albums Live (The Dark Side of the Moon)

Okee Dokee Brothers • Boyz II Men • The Isley Brothers • Misha Dichter

Disney Encanto In Concert • Thiago Tiberio • Jurassic Park In Concert • Scott Terrell • Train

Parmalee • Brandi Carlile • Carrie Underwood • Jory Vinikour • Tessa Lark • Shakti

Béla Fleck • Music of the Baroque • Dame Jane Glover • James Ehnes

Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center’s Hiplet Ballerinas • The Era Footwork Crew

Forward Momentum Chicago • Joel Hall Dancers • M.A.D.D. Rhythms • Move Me Soul

Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago • Najwa Dance Corps • Praize Productions • Billy Childs

Rufus Reid • Steve Wilson • Sara Caswell • Christian Euman • Kurt Elling • Black Oak Ensemble

DJ Derrick Carter • DJ Michael Serafini • DJ Garrett David • Lucy Stoole • Nico • Reik

Early access to live music—

you give it by donating to Ravinia and our education programs; you get it with the ticket presale only for Ravinia supporters. Benefits start with a $100 gift to the nonprofit Ravinia Festival.

Access tickets early! See more

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 3

THIS WEEK

BEST OF CHICAGO

04 Introduction Love is not a scarcity economy, nor is Chicago

station Beloved Radio, karaoke at Sidekicks, and more

CHICAGO READER | APRIL 6, 2023 | VOLUME 52, NUMBER 13

94 Gossip Wolf Dream-pop artist Lipsticism celebrates a new collaborative single, Legend Conversation welcomes DJ Premier for an interview and performance, and Metro hosts a celebration of life for polymorphic queer artist and drag icon JoJo Baby.

CLASSIFIEDS

09 Best of Chicago | City Life Howard Brown Health Workers Union, Stockyards Industrial Park, what to do when someone is sleeping across three seats on the train, and more

51 Best of Chicago | Cannabis Canna Bella Lux, SESH Mobile VIP Lounge, dabbing, and more

FILM

86 Movies of Note Chevalier has a lesson to be learned, and One True Loves is more than a rom-com.

96 Jobs

97 Research

TO CONTACT ANY READER EMPLOYEE, EMAIL: (FIRST INITIAL)(LAST NAME) @CHICAGOREADER.COM

CEO AND PUBLISHER SOLOMON LIEBERMAN EDITOR IN CHIEF SALEM COLLO-JULIN

PRODUCTION MANAGER KIRK WILLIAMSON

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER AMBER HUFF THEATER AND DANCE EDITOR KERRY REID MUSIC EDITOR PHILIP MONTORO CULTURE EDITOR: FILM, MEDIA, FOOD & DRINK TARYN ALLEN CULTURE EDITOR: ART, ARCHITECTURE, BOOKS, LITERARY ARTS KERRY CARDOZA ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND BRANDED CONTENT SPECIALIST JAMIE LUDWIG SENIOR WRITERS LEOR GALIL, DEANNA ISAACS, BEN JORAVSKY, MIKE SULA STAFF WRITERS DEBBIE-MARIE BROWN, KATIE PROUT LISTINGS COORDINATOR MICCO CAPORALE COPY EDITOR AND DATA ASSOCIATE SKY PATTERSON EDITORIAL INTERN EJUN KIM

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS ANN SCHOLHAMER

DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE ALIA GRAHAM

59 Best of Chicago | Arts & Culture The New 400 Theaters, Theatre Y’s “Camino” productions, the art of Mony Kaos, and more

THEATER

21 Best of Chicago | Buy Local Tiny Werewolves, Pilsen Community Books, Weaving Mill, and more

33 Best of Chicago | Sports & Recreation Toss & Spin, Lucha Libre in the Park, Movement Wrigleyville, and more

39 Best of Chicago | Food & Drink Bob’s Pizza, Sweets by Dragonflies, Garbage Hill Farm, and more

73 Best of Chicago | Music & Nightlife Dancer and drag artist Lynzo the Heartthrob, online radio

BEST OF CHICAGO 2022 CREDITS

WRITERS Taryn Allen, Jake Austen, Noah Berlatsky, Ed Blair, Cristalle Bowen, Debbie-Marie Brown, Kimzyn Campbell, Micco Caporale, Kerry Cardoza, Salem Collo-Julin, Leor Galil, Isa Giallorenzo, Jack Helbig, Alejandro Hernandez, Deanna Isaacs, Ejun Kim, Steve Krakow, Helaine Krysik, Annette LePique, Jamie Ludwig, Philip Montoro, Marissa Oberlander, Yolanda Perdomo, Katie Prout, Kayla Pulley, Dilpreet Raju, Bridgette M. Redman, Kerry Reid, Kat Sachs, Mike Sula

PHOTOGRAPHERS Taryn Allen, Kimzyn Campbell, Micco Caporale, Kerry Cardoza, Leor Galil, Isa Giallorenzo, Deanna Isaacs, Jamie Ludwig, Philip Montoro, Marissa Oberlander, Dilpreet Raju, Kerry Reid, Kirk Williamson

88 Plays of Note The Comedy of Errors at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and more

MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE

90 Shows and Records of Note Previews of concerts by Fire-Toolz, Tei Shi, Carcass, and others, plus reviews of new releases by Kara Jackson, Roy Kinsey, and Warm Human

94 Early Warnings New concerts and other updated listings

COPY EDITING AND PROOFREADING

Salem Collo-Julin, Sky Patterson, Kerry Reid, Jackson A. Thomas

COVER AND SECTION INTRO PHOTOS

DESIGN AND PHOTO DIRECTION

LAYOUT ELEMENTS AND GRAPHIC DESIGN

ORIGINAL COVER CONCEPT Enrique Limón

BEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN MODEL CAT Vincenzo, courtesy of Kirk Williamson

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING VIVIAN GONZALEZ MARKETING PROJECT STRATEGIST SHAWNEE DAY NEWSLETTER ASSOCIATE CHASITY COOPER SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ASSOCIATE NIESHA DAVIS

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4 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
IN THIS ISSUE

In Motion: The

For decades, the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center (CMDC) has been at the intersection of dance, innovation, and inclusivity. Located in the South Loop, CMDC is a hub for young dancers of all skin tones, ages, and sizes. It’s also the home of the illustrious Hiplet Ballerinas, a company that has taken the dance world by storm through its fusion of pointe and hip-hop dance choreography.

“We’re keeping kids engaged and involved and we’re changing lives through the discipline of dance through the Hiplet ballet experience,” says founder and executive director Homer Hans Bryant.

A er dancing professionally for industry pioneers, including Arthur Mitchell (cofounder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem) and Maria Tallchief (who directed the Chicago City Ballet throughout the 1970s and 1980s), Bryant settled down in Chicago. In 1990, he opened his dance school as the Bryant Ballet School and Company, and in 1997, he changed the name to Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center to better reflect the diversity of its students.

From the beginning, Bryant made it his mission to teach the importance of inclusivity and confidence to the young dancers who entered his doors, ensuring the takeaways from his training went beyond pliés and tendues. Looking back over the years, it seems to have paid off: Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in dance and other industries.

“We have newscasters. We have people on Broadway. We have people in The Lion King. We have dancers in different companies. We have doctors. We have lawyers,” Byrant says of his former students. “Some students are bringing their kids back to dance. So it’s fulfilling, we really know that we’re doing great things.”

Byrant had been combining hip-hop and Caribbean music and dance with traditional ballet for years as a tool to get more school-age children engaged in the company’s performances. In 2009 he officially trademarked the term Hiplet, a combination of the words hip-hop and ballet, and it has become a global sensation. The standards for joining the company are high. Prior to joining, dancers need to be extensively trained in pointe and or hip-hop technique, and are either handpicked or selected a er a rigorous audition process.

A er posting videos of the Hiplet Ballerinas on social media in 2016, the company went viral. The company has since been featured on Good Morning America, America’s Got Talent, and frequently performs abroad.

“I say that we’re trained in tradition, but we’re dipped in versatility,” Byrant says of the company. “That’s the Hiplet ballerina. They can do anything.”

Along with their innovative choreography, the Hiplet Ballerinas are known for their body positivity; their performances feature a wide variety of body types onstage—a contrast from traditional ballet companies that prioritize slim silhouettes. Bryant says the diversity is intentional.

“These Black and Brown kids can say, ‘OK. I can’t be a Misty Copeland, but I could be a Hiplet ballerina,’” says Byrant. “When you see the ballerinas, they come in all different shapes and sizes, and diversity is really important to me.”

Despite CMDC’s and Hiplet’s success, Byrant has run into his fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to financing. To keep the school running, Byrant says he sometimes has no choice but to go without a paycheck, and more recently financial difficulties have forced the Hiplet Ballerinas to downsize from 16 to ten performing artists.

Fortunately, in 2019, CMDC joined the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, a program that provides funding, performance opportunities, and operational support to some of Chicago’s most beloved dance institutions. This year, they’re part of the organization’s second cohort of organizations.

“I keep saying that there’s no dance without finance,” Byrant says. “That is what’s so wonderful about the cohort and the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project.”

Along with increased funding and visibility, the CBDLP has allowed Bryant and CMDC to connect and collaborate with the other companies in the cohort, as they work together to upli Black dance.

“Bolstering these connections is vital to our various legacies and Black dance,” Byrant says. “Knowing that we are leaving a strong

impact and a great road map for future generations through this cohort is very rewarding to me.”

In late March, students from CMDC and the Hiplet Ballerinas performed with the other companies in the CBDLP cohort in a performance titled Sans Pareil, French for “unparalleled,” a nod to the Haitian lineage of Chicago’s founder, Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, at the Logan Center.

Then in April, the company will host auditions for Hiplet Ballerinas as CMDC continues to educate hundreds of dancers from across the city. The ultimate dream, Bryant said, would be for the school and company to move into a new building, preferably downtown. But in the meantime, Bryant and his company’s mission remains the same: to inspire the next generation of Black artists and leaders.

“These kids love to dance. The professional company loves to dance. I need to keep them engaged,” Bryant said. “We’re standing on the shoulders of so many great Black artists and that has to continue. We have to honor that.”

The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project is a program of the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Their current cohort of local dance companies includes Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center & Hiplet Ballerinas, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, the Era Footwork Collective, Forward Momentum Chicago, Joel Hall Dancers & Center, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Move Me Soul, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, NAJWA Dance Corps, and Praize Productions Inc. For more about CBDLP, visit chicagoblackdancelegacy.org, and chicagoreader.com/special/ logan-center-for-the-arts-at-the-university-of-chicago.

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 5 Paid Sponsored Content
Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center innovates and raises the next generation of artists
Photo courtesy of CMDC

Iam fond of scrolling through Instagram’s stories feature, where you sometimes get to see “reposts,” items created by other people that the accounts you actually follow on the app have scooched over to their stories to share with everyone. It feels like walking by people’s house windows and catching a glimpse of the art on display in their living rooms. You might not want that seven -foot oil painting of cats making love in the grass near Promontory Point, but, by God, someone else is more than welcome to hang it on their wall. And stories, retweets, reposts, and the like are these small ways that we the viewer or reader get to see your virtual living room: the things you like, the world that you’ve created around you.

Living in a city is a ridiculous venture: it’s expensive, it’s crowded, it’s filled with people that don’t always love us. And living in Chicago comes with even more pressure and stress, especially when it feels like pundits, politicians, and people who don’t live here think we’re something that we are not.

This brings me back to Instagram. I saw a message there last night from a DJ coming to town to visit a music venue I love. I’ll call her DJ X. “What’s up, it’s your girl DJ X,” she said on the reel reposted in the

BEsT OF CHICAGO 2022

music venue’s stories. “I’m super excited to come out to CHIRAQ next week, holler at me there!”

The comments were immediate and Chicagoans did not disappoint. “You better lose the Chiraq,” read one. “We’re not even the most dangerous city,” said another. And it’s true. While I’m sure DJ X meant well, I don’t have to tell you how it feels to have to sidestep the landmines of inaccurate stereotypes about our fair city, in the comments, in the streets, or wherever.

Chicago is not a scarcity economy. What’s a scarcity economy? It’s what were trained to believe that we have available to us in this world. It’s easier for a few people if most people think there's not enough to go around.

But like the concept of love, and the concept of freedom, we do not dwell in scarcities here. There is abundance. There is more than enough. The city is yours, mine, and ours, if we want it that way. When people from outside our city tell us that the only thing we have to o er is violence and corruption, we need to remember that those people need care, education, and support, because someone has convinced them that they need to other us. And we know that’s just not true. Chicago is love.

Thank you for voting in our poll and sharing with us your own “best of.” More than 400,000 votes were cast in 300 categories, with over 10,000 Chicago-related nominees listed. While predictably, y’all like food (most popular category by vote: Best Pizza), you also cheered on the small businesses, service providers, neighborhood parks, and nightclubs that make it a pleasure to be from here.

It should go without saying that everyone on our masthead worked hard over the last six months to get this in your hands, and I give all the giardiniera to our entire team, from our business department to our delivery drivers. All the people listed on the Table of Contents page also helped to create this issue for you, to tell you our stories, and hopefully give you some inspiration to get even more engaged with Chicago. If you’re holding this issue in print (oof, lift with your knees, it’s a heavy one!) or checking us out on the interwebs, you already know the score. And if this is your first time on the Reader ride, welcome to the best city in the world. Not the most dangerous, not the most jaded, not the snootiest—the best. I’ve been here for my whole life and it’s my privilege to share this great city with you. Thanks for reading.

6 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Arts & Culture Buy Local Cannabis Food & Drink Music & Nightlife Sports & Rec City Life
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER

Sirius (Lyrics)

You’re just like a star, you only come out to be seen. All that you are is radioactive, I’m soattracted to your explosive ambiance...I wanna dance. Will you be the fire in my hands, burn me? Burn me.

You’re hearts all ablaze, I can see it shining your skin. The way you’re dancing love, we’ll melt together and won’t seperate, please be careful. One single touch of your lips ignites my mind, Burn me.

You’re the only star I see, my galaxy, the only thing I need to see when I look up at God. You’re the only one for me I’m tired of being so lonely, love come let me bless you with my heart. And yes, I’ll make the clouds weep if you ask me to, or let the sun shine on through, to rest on your face.

You’re just like a star, why so serious? Blinding me with everything you’ve got, this flame we have is effervescent, and I’ve got smoke in my eyes, please don’t get to close, you’ll burn me.

Anaiet (she/they) is a singer, songwriter, and multidisciplinary instrumentalist from the South Side of Chicago. A graduate of ChiArts and alum of Merit School of Music, the performing arts have continued to shape their early adulthood. Among many performances, with Sistazz of Nitty Gritty, she opened for The Sun Ra Arkestra. In 2022, she had her first headlining show at The Hideout, and has played piano at several Chicago venues such as Thalia Hall, The Duplex, Dorothy’s, Constellation and more.

Poem curated by Chima “Naira” Ikoro. Naira is an interdisciplinary writer from the South Side of Chicago. She is a Columbia College Chicago alum, a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors, and South Side Weekly’s Community Builder. Alongside her friends, Naira co-founded Blck Rising, a mutual aid abolitionist collective created in direct response to the ongoing pandemic and 2020 uprisings.

Free Programming from the Poetry Foundation!

Hours

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 11:00 AM–4:00 PM

Thursday: 11:00 AM–7:00 PM

Poetics in Practice: Art Writers Panel

Join us for a panel on art writing with Camille Bacon, Amarie Cemone Gipson, Daria Simone Harper, and Jessica Lynne.

Saturday, April 15, 2023, 2:00 PM

Poetry off the Shelf: Renee Gladman, Eileen Myles & Simone White

Join us for a reading and conversation with Renee Gladman, Eileen Myles, and Simone White as they celebrate their new book releases.

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 7:00 PM

Alex Katz: Collaborations with Poets

Experience the first exhibition to bring together the full range of materials that showcase renowned painter

Alex Katz’s extensive collaborations with poets.

Open through May 20, 2023

Learn more at PoetryFoundation.org

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 7
A biweekly series curated by the Chicago Reader and sponsored by the Poetry Foundation.

AVE THE DATE s

CELEBRATION June 1,2023

On June 1st, The Chicago Reader is thrilled to bring back its iconic event of celebrating the Best of Chicago–nominated and voted by YOU.

Indulge in delicious bites and beverages with entertainment from some of the Best of Chicago winners. Location and more details will be announced soon.

Sponsors

8 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll

City Life

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 9
CHICAGO 2022 NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER
BEST OF

BEST ACTIVIST

First Place: Jahmal Cole

Second Place: Eve Ewing

Third Place: Tonika Lewis Johnson

BEST ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION

First Place: My Block My Hood My City

Second Place: Brave Space Alliance

Third Place: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

BEST ALDERPERSON

First Place: Andre Vasquez (40th Ward)

Second Place: Matt Martin (47th Ward)

Third Place: Maria Hadden (49th Ward)

BEST BEARD

First Place: Tony Breed

Second Place: Brandon Pope

Third Place: Barber Greg

BEST BLOCK CLUB

First Place: Greater Rockwell Organization

Second Place: Winona Foster

Carmen Winnemac Block Club

Third Place: Lakewood Balmoral

BEST BLOG

First Place: Chicago Public Square

Second Place: CHIRP Radio music blog

Third Place

Picayune Sentinel

BEST CHARITY

First Place: Greater Chicago Food Depository

Second Place: Chicago Abortion Fund

Third Place: PAWS Chicago

BEST CHICAGO INSTAGRAM

ACCOUNT TO FOLLOW

First Place (tie): @mindchicago

@cuppachicago

Third Place: @thechicagogoodlife

BEST CHICAGO TIKTOK

First Place: @6figga_dilla

Second Place: @ChrissyChaplecka

Third Place: @ajumma_rising

BEST CHICAGOAN TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER

First Place: @ghareebnawazCHI

Second Place: @ericzorn

Third Place: @lisabevolving

BEST CHIROPRACTOR

First Place: Back Home Chiropractic

Second Place: Division Chiropractic

Third Place: Hyde Park

Chiropractic Wellness Center

BEST THREE-DAY-LONG WORKERS STRIKE FROM EMPLOYEES OF ONE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST LGBTQ+ ORGANIZATIONS Howard Brown Health Workers United

This From January 3 to 5 this year, the freshly unionized members of Howard Brown Health Workers United (HBHWU) staged day-long strikes at seven different Howard Brown clinic locations in the city. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an excess of government funds that LGBTQ+ -focused health system could access, but as those funds dried up, Howard Brown chose to eliminate programs and some sta positions in cost-saving measures. Workers at Howard Brown thought that the cuts were handled poorly, so they started organizing to be recognized as a union. In August 2022, 90 percent of the team voted to unionize as HBHWU.

When it came time to bargain the working contracts, Howard Brown requested that the union workers voluntarily lay o 100 of themselves amid already-understa ed conditions across the city. After the union refused to do so, management forcibly laid o 60 workers, cutting off people’s access to company software earlier than they had promised to. This compromised client care for many providers, who were not able to let their clients know that they wouldn’t be seeing them anymore. In response, Howard Brown Health Workers United mobilized a three-day strike and filed 20 different unfair labor practice charges against their employer for illegal layo s and bad-faith bargaining.

Many of these workers are LGBTQ+ themselves and were patients of the center before being employed there. They recognize that Howard Brown provides essential services for those typically neglected by the rest of the health care system, such as low-income people, HIV+ people, and trans people. HBHWU considers its primary job now to continue shining a spotlight on the ways in which patient care has been negatively affected by layoffs at Howard Brown, which continue to happen. We applaud the union’s commitment to community care.

—DEBBIE-MARIE BROWN

BEST PLACE TO GRAB A MIDDAY NAP

cots can find themselves in PR trouble (think Twitter and Elon Musk).

So what is a person to do when in need of a power nap?

Visit Biân at 600 W. Chicago.

ven high-powered executives sometimes need a midday siesta to power through the day. Yet, dropping one’s head on a desk can leave one cramped and even more tired, while companies that provide

A private membership spa and wellness center, Biân o ers a range of services, from a trendy restaurant to mindfulness classes to spa services to a music room.

Sleep is woven into its wellness package,

10 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Sometimes you need a midday siesta. COURTESY OF BIAN
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continued from p. 10

with a luxury nap room that can be rented out in 30- to 120-minute intervals.

What makes it a great nap? It starts with the bed—a Hästens mattress from Chicago Luxury Beds. These beds are handmade with ethically sourced materials and designed to provide support, comfort, and ventilation.

Next, guests choose among high-tech or high-touch amenities to improve the sleep experience. Users can program the lighting and temperature levels and select among Biân’s music and podcast o erings or plug in their own USB device. Those seeking a more mindful experience can tune into a Biân sleep meditation.

Then there are the benefits of having the nap room not far from the spa. Guests can book a massage that ends with them drifting into dreamland.

strong enough?’” Sylvia told me. “We respect when other people have doctor's appointments, if somebody has cancer or some other chronic health problem, we respect when they have to go for treatment at a certain time, or when they have to do something or when it's getting them down. We don't provide that same respect for people who are addicted to a substance, even though it is as much of a physical and mental health condition as it is chronic.”

When nap time is over, the lights gently rise, and a voice through the intercom issues a warm wake-up call.

BEST HOUSING CASE MANAGER WHO TAKES NO SHIT WHILE GETTING SHIT DONE Sylvia Hibbard, The Night Ministry

In the history of human existence, there occasionally is someone who becomes so famous for excelling at what they do that they only need one name: Buddha. Beyoncé. Sylvia.

Sylvia Hibbard is a case manager for the street medicine organization The Night Ministry. I’ve heard her name uttered with respect from what feels like pretty much every unhoused person I know on Lower Wacker and in the Loop.

“She doesn’t coddle you,” Chris Murray, an unhoused Chicagoan who is working with Sylvia, told me. “But whatever pace you work at, she’ll follow that pace too. It sounds so simple to say she's patient, but that work is constantly getting rejected at your job. You see this person who wants to get help. And they're doing the first ten steps, but they can't make the last two. What's really cool about her is that even if it takes someone a year or longer,” she doesn’t take it personally, and she doesn’t push. Also: “she’s funnier than people know.”

“I've learned—and I'm still learning—to ask the question, ‘Hey, when is a good time during the day for you, when you feel like you're

A job application, a Homeless Status Certification letter so someone can obtain a free state ID, a ride to check out a potential apartment to find out if it’s a good fit for the unhoused person who needs it—Sylvia, 58, o ers holistic support. “Somebody who is unhoused should not be defined by that. They should be defined by the whole person they are,” she told me. People who are experiencing homelessness can call the Night Ministry at 773-256-7549 to receive health care and begin the housing process. —KATIE

Miller,

director, Preservation Chicago

Looking for a short answer to the question of why Chicago needs to save, say, the shuttered, circa 1920 Continental Can Company building at 3815 S. Ashland? Or that ordinary little old yellow brick warehouse at 206 S. Je erson? Stumped about why anyone should have to be worried about something as recently built as 1965’s Taft Hall at UIC?

Ward Miller can tell you, but the answer probably won’t be short. You’ll want to get a good meal under your belt, make any necessary pit stops, grab a cup of co ee or something stronger, and settle into a cushy chair with feet up and a neck rest before you dial him up to ask.

Because Miller knows everything about

BEST CO-WORKING SPACE

First Place: Guild Row

Second Place: Workbox

Third Place: Honeycomb Network

BEST DENTIST

First Place: One Mag Smile

Second Place (tie): Pure Dental Spa

First Dental Center

BEST DOCTOR (GENERAL OR PRIMARY CARE)

First Place: Dr. Alison Cromwell

Second Place: Dr. Agnes Libot

Third Place: Dr. Cherie Gilleon

BEST ELECTED OFFICIAL IN CHICAGO

First Place: Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

Second Place: Andre Vasquez

Third Place: Matt Martin

BEST ELECTED OFFICIAL IN COOK COUNTY

First Place: Toni Preckwinkle

Second Place: Brandon Johnson

Third Place: Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

BEST EMAIL NEWSLETTER

First Place: Block Club Chicago

Second Place: Chicago Public Square

Third Place: Hey Chicago! (City Cast Chicago)

BEST FEDERAL OFFICE HOLDER FROM ILLINOIS

First Place: Tammy Duckworth

Second Place: Dick Durbin

Third Place: Lauren Underwood

BEST HOME CONSTRUCTION OR REMODELER

First Place: Tinker and Chance

Second Place (tie): JC Lilly Relevant Homes

Icon Remodeler Chicago

BEST HOTEL

First Place: Chicago Athletic Association

Second Place: The Hoxton

Third Place: The Guesthouse Hotel

BEST HVAC MAINTENANCE OR REPAIR

First Place: Oasis Heating and Cooling

Second Place: American Vintage Home Third Place (tie): Browns Heating and Cooling Guardian

BEST LABOR UNION

First Place: Chicago Teachers Union

Second Place (tie): Art Institute of Chicago Workers United SEIU Local 1l

12 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Ward Miller at a rally in front of St. Adalbert Church in Pilsen COURTESY OF PRESERVATION CHICAGO
BEST PERSON TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO HEAR AND MORE ABOUT WHY THAT NEGLECTED BUILDING THAT'S ATTRACTED A DEVELOPER'S EYE SHOULDN'T BE TORN DOWN Ward
executive
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 13 Thanks, Reader readers, for naming Chicago’s best blog. Subscribe free here: sub.chicagopublicsquare.com

BEST LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION

First Place: DANK Haus German

American Cultural Center

Second Place: Alliance

Française de Chicago

Third Place: Na Gaeil Chicago

BEST LAWYER

First Place (tie): David Oppenheim

Jerry Boyle

Third Place (tie): Zafar Bandukda

April Preyar

BEST LOCAL TV BROADCAST NEWS

First Place: WGN 9 News

Second Place: Chicago Tonight (WTTW)

Third Place: ABC 7 Eyewitness News

BEST NEWSPAPER

First Place: Chicago Reader

Second Place: Chicago Tribune

Third Place: Chicago Sun-Times

BEST NORTH SIDE

NEIGHBORHOOD

First Place: Andersonville

Second Place: Lincoln Square

Third Place: Logan Square

BEST OB-GYN

First Place: Dr. Bonnie Wise (The Northwestern Specialists for Women)

Second Place (tie): Dr. Nicole E. Williams (The Gynecology Institute of Chicago)

Dr. Teresa Tam (All For Women Healthcare)

BEST OVERALL RADIO STATION

First Place: WBEZ 91.5 FM

Second Place: WXRT 93.1 FM

Third Place: Vocalo Radio 91.1 FM

BEST PODCAST

First Place: City Cast Chicago

Second Place: Busted Business Bureau

Third Place: The Mincing Rascals

continued from p. 12

Chicago’s architectural heritage. A tireless communicator in the cause of preserving that heritage, he’s been a regular presence at related government hearings and neighborhood meetings. Anytime I've covered them, I've found him there—patiently waiting for a turn at the mike to make yet another impassioned pitch for saving a piece of the city’s history.

A native Chicagoan who cut his teeth working with preservation architect John Vinci, Miller is former executive director of the Richard Nickel Committee. Since 2013, he’s been executive director of the increasingly influential Preservation Chicago (check out their excellent monthly watchdog newsletter). As he’ll be happy to tell you, Continental Can, the Warehouse (where Frankie Knuckles created house music), and Walter Netsch’s brutalist Taft Hall are all on Preservation Chicago’s 2023 list of the city’s seven most endangered buildings.

BEST PLACE TO RECEIVE OVERDOSE PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TRAINING Chicago Recovery Alliance

Ilearned how to administer naloxone, the opioid overdose-reversal medication, through the Chicago Recovery Alliance. In 2019, a family member had recently relapsed: though his drug wasn’t dope, that experience made me want to learn more about this miracle med I’d heard of. Most of the attendees were medical workers, but some were just ordinary Chicago civilians, on their own like me. For two hours, we learned about the stig-

ma drug users face, risk factors for overdose, how to recognize warning signs, and how to respond if you think someone has overdosed: lifesaving information, and life-changing.

“Just because an individual uses drugs, they are still capable of making healthy choices and identifying their needs, and we forget to give them autonomy,” explained Jen Andel to me over the phone. “My focus is keeping them safe while they use.”

Andel, the overdose prevention specialist at CRA, trains individuals and groups “anywhere and everywhere the need is”: virtually, at methadone clinics, in low-income housing community rooms, and at nightlife hot spots like Metro. There are two types of trainings—one is 60 minutes, and the other, more data dense, is two to three hours. But both cover much of the same material—what an opioid is, what neighborhoods in Chicago experience the highest rates of opioid overdose, and what a safe relationship with drugs can look like. Attendees learn how to administer both nasal and injectable naloxone, and leave with some of each. Both trainings are intended for health care workers and lay people alike. To schedule a training, email Jen at jenniferandel@anypositivechange.org.

BEST INDUSTRIAL PARK TO MEET GHOST COWS IN

Stockyards Industrial Park

For our Best of Chicago 2019 issue, I wrote about meeting someone in my southside neighborhood who had grown up outside of the Chicago stockyards and had

memories of a cow that escaped the corral and was chased south on Racine Street by a stockyard worker on horseback. I’ve since heard from several neighbors and others who grew up around here that crafty animals trying to escape the clutches of Armour and Swift was a fairly common occurrence in the decades before the yards closed for business in 1971. Some have shared stories about pigs showing up and rooting through people’s trash cans, and a small flock of sheep that somehow got as far as Sherman Park.

Stockyards Industrial Park is still home to some food-related industry, like the distributor Testa Produce and a few meat wholesalers’ home offices, but it's no longer a place where live animals are held for slaughter. On Sundays, its streets are especially quiet, the relative stillness sometimes interrupted by drag racers. While there isn’t an o cial place to hang out in the park proper, it’s still a trip to walk or bicycle between the mostly dormant factories. Once you’re there, just breathe in the air that is confusingly layered with the scent of hair products and meat-processing facilities, and you might be rewarded by an ethereal visitation with a group of cow spirits who’ve been released to the universe. —SALEM COLLO-JULIN

BEST MUNICIPAL ELECTION COVERAGE FROM A MEDIA OUTLET THAT STARTED IN 2017

The TRiiBE

The TRiiBE, aka Chicago’s premier Black digital news platform dedicated to changing the narrative of Black Chicago, had a running start in 2017 and has not

Your play helped generate $834 million for education last year

14 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
When you play, Illinois wins

SHAHIDUL ALAM: SINGED BUT NOT BURNT

Renowned photographer and activist Shahidul Alam exposes the resilience of Bangladeshi people and their continued struggle for freedom over four decades.

A dazzling electronic art installation combining ancient poetry and modern anime—part comic book, part motion picture, part meditation on history.

PATRIC McCOY: TAKE MY PICTURE

Traveling Chicago by bike, always with his camera, Patric McCoy captures 1980s Black gay Chicago, creating a poignant marker of place, time and memory.

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 15 ll
IMAGE CREDITS: (KONGKEE) The Tears, 2020, by Kongkee (Kong Khong-chang 江記; b. 1977, active Hong Kong and London). Courtesy of the artist and Penguin Lab. Copyright © 2020 the artist. Detail. (ALAM) Last Goodbye, 1996, by Shahidul Alam, Courtesy of the artist. Detail. (McCOY) Five, 1985, by Patric McCoy, Courtesy of the artist. Detail.
WRIGHTWOOD
CHICAGO
FRIDAY!
wrightwood659.org THESE EXHIBITIONS ARE PRESENTED BY ALPHAWOOD EXHIBITIONS AT WRIGHTWOOD 659 Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk is organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
OPENS NEXT
APRIL 14 - JULY 15, 2023

slowed down since. The TRiiBE was founded by Morgan Johnson, who made the Forbes 30 Under 30 media list in 2019, and Ti any Walden, selected in Poynter’s 2018 class for Poynter’s and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media. The publication has only ever had one or two sta writers at a time, but with help from their freelancers and editors, the team has consistently put out more compelling and relevant election coverage than any of the legacy publications in the city. The impact is strengthened because it is one of few publications to focus so specifically on Black Chicago in a very Black and heavily segregated city.

From interrogating the politics of former Chicago progressive leaders who have reappeared to Black voters wearing a liberal guise; interviewing all the Black mayoral candidates before the election and keeping readers up to date on them after the election; staying on the tail of Mayor Lori Lightfoot with compelling interviews moderated by Black Chicago leader Bella BAHHS; and engaging with the controversial opinions of Black locals, such as: “Are there too many Black people running

for Chicago mayor?”, the TRiiBE has reached over 43,000 followers combined on Twitter and Instagram.

It’s refreshing that the TRiiBE exists in a news media culture where all-white editors in a newsroom are the norm. Because of that, some of these legacy publications don’t necessarily have the cultural scope and know-how to address Black Chicago directly, correctly, and confidently like the TRiiBE can. Kudos to y’all, and long live the Black Press.

BEST ABOLITIONORIENTED MUTUAL AID PROJECT Chicago Community Jail Support

Chicago Community Jail Support is one of many vital mutual aid groups that sprung up following the 2020 murder of George Floyd, as local protests against

16 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
50 East Ida B. Wells Drive | Chicago, IL TICKETS START AT $25 AuditoriumTheatre.org 312.341.2300 Dorrance Dance’s SOUNDspace, photo by Stephanie Berger. ONE NIGHT ONLY RHYTHMS OF RESISTANCE DORRANCE DANCE, TRINITY IRISH DANCE COMPANY, AND M.A.D.D. RHYTHMS APRIL 22
from p. 14
continued

racism and police brutality resulted in mass arrests of demonstrators. The all-volunteer e ort aims to support anyone being released from Cook County Jail, the majority of whom are discharged with little more than the clothes on their backs, regardless of weather conditions. While the group’s website says that the jail is supposed to “provide bus cards and phone calls to those being released,” they note that often doesn’t happen. In response, CCJS volunteers set up outside the jail every evening, at the corner of 27th Street and California Blvd, and o er snacks, drinks, phone calls, and safe rides home to newly released individuals. There are myriad ways to get involved with Chicago Community Jail Support or their support mission. You can donate your time or set up recurring donations, which help purchase things like cab fare, Gatorade, and items o their Target registry. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer on the ground (training is provided) or lend a hand

from home, such as fundraising or organizing supply drives. The folks behind CCJS believe that “incarceration is not the solution to a healthier, safer Chicago,” but while it remains a reality, they are determined to demonstrate tangible, life-affirming solidarity.

BEST ACTION TO TAKE WHEN AN UNHOUSED CHICAGOAN IS SLEEPING ACROSS THREE SEATS ON THE TRAIN

Nothing

Nothing. Do absolutely nothing. Don’t take a picture of someone at their most vulnerable. Don’t post it online for the world to see. Don’t tag the CTA in a post of faux-compassion that reveals your panic and

discomfort at having to share a public space with someone who is desperately poor. Don’t be a snitch. Don’t complain loudly about the person sleeping as you stand next to them, and for the love of god, do not touch them or try and wake them up, unless you genuinely worry they might need medical help. This is not violence; no one is hurting you. Let your fellow Chicagoan sleep in peace.

However, if you absolutely can’t mind your own business, here are some things you can do. If the train car is full and someone boards whose physical health or abilities mean they need to sit, and you are able to stand? Stand up and give them your seat. Learn about why the shelter system in Chicago is overcrowded. Read, in their own words, why some people choose to shelter on the CTA. Research initiatives like Bring Chicago Home, which could help support and house Chicago’s 65,000 unhoused folks, including 17,773 CPS students. Ask your alderperson what they’re

doing to make the lives of your unhoused neighbors safer and better, and if you don’t like their answer, join a group working to change it. Understand that, unless you are a billionaire, all of our fates are entwined. bringchicagohome.org

BEST USE FOR THE LAKEFRONT IN A COLD SNAP

Putting it all in perspective

Ifinally got COVID-19 in December, first testing positive on the 16th. For Christmas my family was gathering at my parents’ home in Texas—my brother, his wife, and my precociously deranged seven-year-old niece were traveling from New York. I had one chance all

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 17 Jail support happens regardless of the weather. COURTESY CHICAGO COMMUNITY JAIL SUPPORT Mikko Franck & Hilary Hahn APR 13–15 Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour: Celebrating 65 Years APR 14 Evgeny Kissin APR 16 Trifonov Plays Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 APR 20–23 In Context featuring Jessie Montgomery & Rachel Barton Pine APR 24 Jurowski, Helmchen & Shostakovich 8 APR 27–29 Jerusalem Quartet with Pinchas Zukerman & Amanda Forsyth APR 30 Choose 3 and save 15%! Coming up at Symphony Center Mikko Franck & Hilary Hahn Evgeny Kissin Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour: Celebrating 65 Years Trifonov Plays Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 CSO.ORG | 312-294-3000 SYMPHONY CENTER | 220 S. MICHIGAN AVE. Official Airline of the CSO Media Partners Funding for educational programs during the 2022/23 SCP Jazz season has been generously provided by Dan J. Epstein, Judy Guitelman and the Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation. The Artist in Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is made possible through a generous gift from James and Brenda Grusecki. | The appearance of Daniil Trifonov is made possible by the Grainger Fund for Excellence. | Trifonov Plays Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 performances are dedicated to the memory of Donald D. Powell, in grateful recognition of his generous legacy bequest. | Major support for CSO MusicNOW is generously provided by the Zell Family Foundation, the Sargent Family Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

BEST RADIO DJ

First Place: Lin Brehmer (93XRT)

Second Place: Terri Hemmert (93XRT)

Third Place: Ninja (CHIRP Radio)

BEST REASON TO STAY IN CHICAGO

First Place: arts and culture

Second Place: the summer

Third Place: food

BEST SECRET OASIS

First Place: Garfield Park

Conservatory

Second Place: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Third Place: North Pond Lincoln Park

BEST SOUTH SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD

First Place: Pilsen

Second Place: Hyde Park

Third Place: Bronzeville

BEST STATE ELECTED OFFICIAL

First Place: JB Pritzker

Second Place: Mike Simmons

Third Place: Will Guzzardi

continued from p. 17

year to see everybody together, and suddenly it looked like I’d miss it.

I would eventually test positive for 17 days, forcing me to cancel even a last-ditch shortened trip. I’d spend Christmas and New Year’s in isolation. When a brutal cold snap arrived on the 22nd, none of that had happened yet, but I was already in despair. Catastrophizing comes easily to me during the O cial Merriest Time of the Year.

In the predawn hours of the 23rd, the temperature bottomed out at ten below, with a wind chill of minus 40. I couldn’t sleep, and I developed a perverse desire to subject myself to the worst of a Chicago winter. As I walked to the lakefront in the dark, the sliver of exposed skin around my eyes burned and went numb. Soon it began to feel stiff, resisting the motion of the muscles in my face. I turned east, looking out over the water, and waited for the black to turn blue.

The wind at my back had traveled 1,400 miles from the polar vortex. The point on the

planet’s surface where I stood turned at 800 miles per hour toward the sun, 499 light-seconds away and itself moving at half a million miles per hour relative to the supermassive black hole at the galactic center. The cloud cover lightened to indigo. My body wanted to survive. Friends had brought me food. I would keep on living. —PHILIP MONTORO

BEST BREAKFAST SPOT RUN BY A SOON-TO-BE-FORMER ALDERPERSON Ann Sather Restaurant

Iwas introduced to Ann Sather Restaurant around the time that alderperson Tom Tunney bought it from the actual Ann Sather, which, according to the restaurant website, was in 1981. Tunney—who’s retiring from the

18 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
store.chicagoreader.com SOMETHING READER FOR EVERYONE!
A view of the lake from Berger Park PHILIP MONTORO
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 19

BEST SUBURB

First Place: Evanston

Second Place: Skokie

Third Place: Oak Park

BEST TOUR

First Place: Chicago

Architecture Center

Second Place: Tours With Mike

Third Place: Brick of Chicago

BEST WEST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD

First Place: Ukrainian Village

Second Place: Humboldt Park

Third Place: Wicker Park

continued from p. 18

City Council this year—wasn’t yet an alderperson then, and the restaurant was a few storefronts further west on Belmont, in what I was told was a former funeral home. It had a friendly counter with stools for folks eating

solo (I’d sometimes bump into my editor there), cozy tables on two floors, and the same wholesome Swedish breakfast and lunch food that it has today.

In its current flagship home, where quaint Scandinavians cavort across a flower-bedecked mural and, especially on weekend mornings, a happy, caffeinated din fills two spacious dining rooms, you can enjoy delicate Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and Swedish meatballs, a wide choice of wraps and cereals, or—and this is my recommendation— any of the large variety of egg entrees that all come with two sides.

Why eggs? Because among the side options is the delicacy that has tethered me to Ann Sather all these decades: the world’s absolute, no-contest, best-ever cinnamon rolls. They arrive warm, soft, and fragrant from the oven, in pairs, topped with a generous polish of frosting. Force yourself to eat your protein first, then—and I’m only sharing this magic step with you—give your cinnamon roll a kiss of butter before taking a bite. You can thank me later. —DEANNA

v

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Buy Local

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 21
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER
BEST OF CHICAGO 2022

BEST APARTMENT FINDER

First Place: Domu Chicago Apartments

Second Place: Craigslist

Third Place: Apartment People

BEST AUTO DEALERSHIP

First Place (tie): McGrath

Imports Automotive Group

Berman Subaru of Chicago

Third Place: The Autobarn Dealer Group

BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP

First Place: Ashland Tire & Auto

Second Place: Garcia’s Auto Parts, Tires, and Service

Third Place: Speedline Tire and Auto Service

BEST BARBERSHOP

First Place: The Public Barber

Second Place: Logan Parlor

Third Place: Old Dog Barbershop

BEST BICYCLE SHOP

First Place: Uptown Bikes

Second Place: Working Bikes

Third Place (tie): BFF Bikes

Heritage Bikes and Coffee

BEST BOARD GAME STORE

First Place: Dice Dojo

Second Place: Bonus Round Game Cafe

Third Place: Athena Board Game Cafe

BEST COMICS SHOP

First Place: AlleyCat Comics

Second Place: Quimby’s Bookstore

Third Place: Third Coast Comics

BEST DANCEWEAR SHOP

First Place: Chicago Dance Supply

Second Place (tie): GNAT Glitter Kink

Gus Giordano Dance School Shop

BEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION OR BANK

First Place: Chase

Second Place: Wintrust

Third Place: Byline Bank

BEST FLORIST

First Place: Flowers For Dreams

Second Place: Asrai Garden

Third Place: Fleur

BEST GARDEN SUPPLY

First Place: Gethsemane Garden Center

Second Place: Adams and Son and Daughter

Third Place (tie): Farmers Market Garden Center

Sprout Home

BEST WOMAN-OWNED BRA SHOP WHERE EVERY BRAWEARER IS WELCOME Busted Bra Shop

The right bra can improve your posture, relieve back pain, help clothes fit better, and sometimes make you feel a little sexier (or a lot), but let’s face it: shopping for bras can be a major pain in the boob. Many top-selling brands prioritize fashion over quality (as if we can’t have both), and center consumers within a narrow range of sizes, skin tones, gender identities and presentations, and budgets—limiting their clientele and their profits, rather than deepening their investments in inclusivity, diversity, and design.

That’s what makes Busted Bra Shop so refreshing. Founded by Lee Padgett in 2013, the Detroit-based company came to Hyde Park in 2018, and opened its sixth location in Lakeview last year. They operate on the premise that everyone is welcome, and anyone who wants to wear a bra deserves a great fit. “Sometimes people like to wear something beautiful close to their skin that no one knows about,” Padgett says. “It empowers them, in a way. That’s my biggest thing—I want to empower people.”

Busted’s bras run from 28-56 bands and A-P cups (by contrast, Victoria’s Secret stores carry 30A-44DD). Prices run $40-$275, but most are between $50-$80. They also carry maternity and postsurgery bras, as well as swimwear, loungewear, and lingerie from sizes XXS to 10XL. While they don’t currently carry chest binders (Padgett says she doesn’t currently have enough knowledge about binding), they do sell compression tops, and also o er panties that can accommodate any anatomy.

Given the intimate nature of fitting intimates, Busted’s atmosphere is purposely welcoming and low-stress. You can browse their gorgeous displays or consult with their team of bra-fit experts, who’ll measure those unsure of their size, and pull customized selections from their stockroom. They also host private parties (no deposit required) for birthdays, showers, gender a rmation celebrations, or any other reason. Padgett also adds that they’ve got great snacks. bustedbrashop.com —JAMIE

BEST LOCAL ALTERNATIVE TO THE GAP Dearborn Denim

Clearly, Robert McMillan is not trying to make a quick buck. After leaving a more lucrative (yet less personally fulfilling)

job in trading, he established Dearborn Denim in 2016.

“It was exciting to build an apparel manufacturer from the ground up. I had a bunch of old, beat-up sewing machines in an abandoned laundry and an idea that we could ethically manufacture great jeans right here in Chicago and sell them directly to customers. Since then, we have upgraded our plant to a state-of-theart manufacturing facility and are moving into our new factory in a couple of months,” says the 38-year-old entrepreneur, who currently employs 40 people. After closing a few stores during the COVID-19 pandemic and facing other challenges with the business, Dearborn Denim still keeps going strong. “Our store in Andersonville does amazing. I believe we will start expanding our retail footprint again in 2024,” McMillan says.

Dearborn Denim offers great options in men’s jeans at surprisingly affordable prices ($75-$120) for a product made locally with premium materials. It also o ers quality sweat suits, hoodies, and leather accessories—among other products. Special mention to the beautiful women’s high-waisted palazzo denim pants ($98). “We are expanding our women’s line this spring and moving towards releasing seasonal collections, rather than only providing evergreen products. We want to build the largest apparel manufacturer in the USA to provide ethical and affordable apparel options for customers looking to buy American. This city needs good stable jobs, and I think building a manufacturer is a great way to do that, as long as we get continued support from our customers,” McMillan says. dearborndenim.us —ISA GIALLORENZO

22 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
A tempting outfit at Busted Bra Shop LEE PADGETT

MID SOMMAR FEST

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 23

2yearsrunning

continued from p. 22

BEST PLACE TO START YOUR OWN FASHION LINE FROM SCRATCH AIBI Fashion Lab

Fashion entrepreneurs of Chicago, behold! The Apparel Industry Board, Inc. (AIBI) has much of the equipment and instruction you need. In AIBI’s Fashion Lab, designers have access to 14 industrial sewing machines, multiple specialized machines, and three cutting tables. They also o er a Gerber patternmaking system—which includes a large format plotter to print patterns and markers—and one-on-one instructions on how to operate all this machinery.

In case sewing is not part of your skill set or interest, AIBI’s executive director Ambar Campos says that sewing is not a requirement to start a fashion line or get involved with AIBI. “However,” she adds, “learning and understanding the production process is necessary for success. Through our ‘Business of Fashion’ seminars and mentoring, we walk beginners through this process and connect them with the resources they need to manufacture their products.” AIBI has a variety of programs connecting and instructing the local fashion community in different stages of development. Their Breakfast Club, for example, is geared toward established entrepreneurs.

Created in 1987 by Dorothy Fuller to be the central hub of information and resources for the sewn products industry in Chicago, AIBI’s resilience is remarkable. Over all these decades it has led initiatives such as Conscious Costume, which promotes circular consumption, and Cre8 Space, a program that includes educational design workshops for BIPOC youth from the south and west sides. To celebrate their 35-year anniversary, AIBI launched Chic In Chicago, a coloring book featuring 26 artists who have contributed to the Chicago fashion industry. Buying the book is an easy way to support this valuable organization. aibi.com —ISA

BEST VALUES-DRIVEN CUSTOM PET ART

Tiny Werewolves

Hopefully other pet owners can relate to my obsessive need to order custom art pieces of my dog, Swift, in literally any medium you can imagine. If only our four-year-old, now iconic, mini poodle mix knew he’s a muse—captured with felt,

BEST HAIR SALON

First Place: Little Broken Things

Second Place (tie): Edit Salon

Smith and Davis Salon

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS

First Place: District

Second Place: Wilderhouse

Third Place: Spot!

BEST INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

First Place: Women and Children First

Second Place: Semicolon Bookstore

Third Place: The Book Cellar

BEST JEWELRY STORE

First Place: Bryn Mawr Jewelers

Second Place: Identity Body Piercing

Third Place: Asrai Garden

BEST KIDS CLOTHING

First Place: Cloud and Bunny

Second Place: Peach Fuzz

Third Place (tie): Lilla Barn Clothing Kido

BEST LANDSCAPE COMPANY

First Place: Christy

Webber Landscapes

Second Place: Patch Landscaping

Third Place: Herrera Landscape and Snow Removal

BEST LOCAL CLOTHING DESIGNER

First Place: Sophia Reyes

Second Place: Kone Ranger

Third Place (tie): Jamie Hayes

Joe Freshgoods

BEST PET ADOPTION OR ANIMAL SHELTER

First Place (tie): One Tail at a Time PAWS Chicago

Third Place: The Anti-Cruelty Society

BEST PET STORE

First Place (tie): Urban Pooch

Ruff Haus

Third Place: Jameson Loves Danger

BEST PICTURE FRAMING STORE

First Place: Foursided

Second Place: Blick Art Materials

Third Place (tie): Frame Chicago

Artists Frame Service

BEST PLACE TO BUY GENDERNEUTRAL CLOTHING

First Place: Big Bud Press

Second Place: The Alley

Third Place: Kone Ranger

BEST PLACE TO BUY LOCAL WARES

First Place: Andersonville Galleria

Second Place: Neighborly

Third Place: Transit Tees

24 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
AIBI Fashion Lab COURTESY OF AIBI
favoriterealestatecompany
ThanksformakingusChicago's
LIVINGROOMREALTY.COM
Merch from Tiny Werewolves MARISSA OBERLANDER

on a wood block, in photo shoots, on holiday cards, and even on a cute backpack pin. The last two items came from queer-owned Tiny Werewolves, Kayla Pekkala’s burgeoning Chicago-based online business of custom and small-batch artisan goods. I may have come for the pet pieces, but what captured my loyalty is a loud, artistic, and admirable focus on social justice messaging.

After a toy company Pekkala worked at closed just before the pandemic, she created Tiny Werewolves. Pet art began as a tribute to her departed dog, Meatball, and to benefit a favorite local organization, Live Like Roo. Requests from pet parents poured in, and products diversified to include everything from mugs to magnets. Her focus on cause-based pieces has been consistent, starting with “Just Wear The Fucking Mask” shirts in 2020. She pairs retro designs with themes around LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, mental health, and more, “softening the hard edge of topics that are often hard to talk about,” she says—a nuanced and successful take on aesthetics as activism. Pekkala has drawn more than 300 pets (including horses and a pig) under the supervision of her two “furry terrier gremlins,” Tater Tot and Casserole, and I bet many who

have entered through the pet door have left more focused on living (and wearing) their core beliefs. tinywerewolves.com

OBERLANDER

BEST LOW-KEY PLACE TO IMPRESS A DOG Bosly's Backyard

If you’re looking to impress a dog with a playdate, Bosly’s Backyard is all a dog could want. Kiddie pool full of tennis balls? Check. Obstacle course of jumps and tunnels? Check. Bridges to traverse and a wide-open, soft floor to run around on with pals? Check! But this is not some random doggy daycare where your dog will be subject to stranger danger or less well-behaved pooches. No, here you control the invitation list. Bosly’s rents their space by the half hour and hour, and it's up to you which pups to bring. If that sounds too fancy, consider the Bosly’s Backyard mission.

Owner Kim Theobald left the advertising world to pursue her passion: making dogs happy. A long track record of working with rescues like One Tail at a Time left her

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 25 Thank you Chicago for voting us Best Framing Service 4 years running! preserving your stories for over 20 years
Bosly's Backyard COURTESY BOSLY'S BACKYARD

continued from p. 25

well-positioned to reach the Chicago dog community. After some pop-up and pandemic trials, she opened the permanent location in Ravenswood in 2020.

“I really wanted to pursue my passion in supporting dogs, dog rescue, and opening a private dog play space that is safe and stressfree for all dogs,” Theobald says. Her desire to o er her own rescue pup, Bosly, the benefit of a safe play place was the impetus for the idea.

Bosly’s caters to all dog types, including extroverts, introverts, and reactive dogs, but they aren’t averse to hosting huge pup birthday pawties. They'll even offer some scheduled recurring playdates for vetted dogs who need to run o a little steam. boslysbackyard.

BEST PLACE TO FEED YOUR STATIONERY ADDICTION Atlas Stationers

There is something so calming about a stationery store—the colorful rows of notebooks, the tidy aisles of o ce gad-

getry, the stacks of pens and planners. If the only stationery store you’ve set foot into is a Staples, you are missing out on a true vibe that o ers a sense of space and order in an otherwise wild world.

Atlas Stationers, located right under the el at 227 W. Lake, is the premier place to inhale that woody paper smell and sample some fancy writing apparatus. The building and the signage all serve up City of Big Shoulders energy—they even have their own glittery black signature ink, called Atlas Iron Ore, paying homage to Chicago’s history.

Founded in 1939, Atlas Stationers has followed every trend in stationery, from typewriter ribbons to stocking Chicago’s own Field Notes and Japan’s wildly popular minimalist planners like Hobonichi and Midori. Retail manager and third generation Atlas employee Brendan Schmidt says, “In 2020, we relaunched and moved away from o ce supplies and into fine writing, stationery, and inks”—a wise move that makes the store a rival of international stationery stores. The store has also made the leap to the digital realm and does a mean business in online sales, with a huge social media following from stationery geeks around the globe.

Lucky Chicagoans can enjoy a leisurely browse before popping over to the nearby Blue Bottle Co ee to imbibe the juice of all creatives and to try out the new hands-on stationery implements. It’s open Monday through Friday 9 AM-5 PM and Saturday 10 AM-2 PM. atlasstationers.com —KIMZYN

BEST USED POETRY SECTION IN CHICAGO

Powell’s Books Chicago

Myopic Books in Wicker Park has a ton of poetry on o er, but the prices aren’t that much better than you could find new. The late, lamented Bookman’s Corner in Lakeview sold books so cheap it made it feel like you were stealing them—but there weren’t that many poetry books to steal. Between those extremes, the sweet spot for used verse in the city is the venerable Powell’s Books in Hyde Park. A wall of floor-to-ceiling titles includes bargain rates on a dizzying array of titles—Ai to Zukovsky, with Louise Glück’s

26 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
847.651.5402 erinf@atproperties.com Voted Chicago’s Best!
Powell's Books Chicago KIRK WILLIAMSON

BEST PLACE TO BUY

MEN’S CLOTHING

First Place: Cowboys and Astronauts

Second Place: Kone Ranger

Third Place (tie): Independence Phayes

BEST PLACE TO BUY

WOMEN’S CLOTHING

First Place: Lost Girls Vintage

Second Place: Hazel

Third Place: Milk Handmade

BEST PLACE TO GET MARRIED

First Place: Chicago Cultural Center

Second Place: Firehouse Chicago

Third Place: Salvage One

collected poems somewhere in between. I love filling holes in my library at a ordable prices. (Russell Edson’s selected poems for $6.50!) But my favorite part of shopping at Powell’s is that prices are reasonable enough that you can take a chance on a book or two you’ve never heard of. A while back, I picked up Mischa Foster Poole's 2018 unboxing, teardown from Veer books, a collection of delightfully clotted, surreal Joycean gabble (“Comes up your bonus ball at the last instant/co ee, your malt Matterhorn, your hope/of not far o ”). More recently, I took a (successful!) gamble on Ecuadorian poet and diplomat Jorge Carrera Andrade’s Micrograms , a short collection of haiku-like poems and translations. (“Crickets plant their blue flags/atop the evening/with tiny glass hammers.”) I’ve been informed by reliable sources that Powell’s sells other books as well, but I wouldn’t know. I never make it out of the poetry section.

BEST BOOKSTORE TOTE BAG

Pilsen Community Books

This is not just a tote bag (though their new caterpillar design by the local Bear Wood Editions is adorable and helps support the Atlanta Solidarity Fund). Pilsen Community Books is a neighborhood bookstore that actually serves their neighborhood. Located on 18th Street in Pilsen, PCB o ers a variety of bilingual programming (book clubs and author readings) and inclusive community events centered on social justice. They are worker-owned and operated, and a vocal source of support for bookseller unions and the labor movement in general, appearing at last year’s Labor Notes Conference. It is also

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT

First Place: Erin Feinerman

Second Place: Stacey Malow

Third Place: Amy Duong Kim

BEST REAL ESTATE COMPANY

First Place: Living Room Realty

Second Place: Dream Town Realty

Third Place: @properties

BEST RECORD STORE

First Place: Reckless Records

Second Place: Bucket O’Blood

Third Place (tie): Laurie’s Planet of Sound Rattleback Records

BEST RESALE SHOP

First Place: Brown Elephant

Second Place: Village Discount Outlet

Third Place (tie): Buffalo Exchange Trends Consignment

BEST SEX TOY SHOP

First Place: Early to Bed

Second Place: Pleasure Chest

Third Place (tie): Egor’s Dungeon 64TEN

BEST SHOE STORE

First Place: Alamo Shoes

Second Place: Fleet Feet

Third Place: Wesley’s

BEST STREETWEAR BRAND

First Place: Kone Ranger

Second Place: Joe Freshgoods

Third Place: Gente Fina

BEST TATTOO ARTIST

First Place: Cloey Zikmund

Second Place: Natalie Andrews

Third Place: Ricki Proper

BEST TATTOO SHOP

First Place: Good Omen Tattoo

Second Place: Great Lakes Tattoo

Third Place: Fudo Tattoo

BEST T-SHIRT SHOP

First Place: Strange Cargo

Second Place: RAYGUN

Third Place: Modest Merch

BEST VETERINARIAN

First Place: BLVD Vet

Second Place: Ravenswood Animal Hospital

Third Place: Dr. Marcy Milkowski (VCA Lake Shore Animal Hospital)

BEST VINTAGE STORE

First Place: Broadway Antique Market

Second Place: Lost Girls Vintage

Third Place: District

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 27 SHOP NOW: MCACHICAGOSTORE.ORG

a pretty great bookstore, with an immense selection of independent, leftist, and art house presses at accessible prices. I highly recommend their selection of used books. Try your luck—I’ve taken home Yukio Mishima, Fernanda Melchor, and Thomas Mann for pennies on the dollar. Their merch has made them TikTok famous; their first tote design is a loving ri on a New Deal–era Works Progress Administration poster, featuring a small group walking with books in hand. The Works Progress tote and caterpillar bag both feature the ever-prescient reminder to “Always Carry A Book.” Words, indeed, to live by. PCB works with unions to print and design their merch. Even in the sometimes unseen aspects of supply chains, Pilsen Community Books stalwartly upholds worker dignity and respect. Head to Pilsen to see a true gem of a community bookstore, and take some time to pick up a tote while you’re there.

BEST PLACE TO REMINISCE ABOUT CHILDHOOD

!Ka-Pow!!

Collectibles

Ifound the tiniest naked Troll doll here. It was lying on its stomach, with its feet kicked up, holding its little face in its hands. As a kid, I really hated Troll dolls; their miniature grotesque faces scared me. But now, as an adult, I find them sweet and endearing—their inordinately long tufts of neon hair no longer appear threatening.

At !Ka-Pow!!, the walls are stacked with vintage and modern toys from the 70s to today. It occupies a small space on Belmont, and at first, it’s definitely sensory overload. Between the hundreds of action figures and various Strawberry Shortcake cookware, there’s almost no negative space. But if you zoom in on the individual toys—perhaps a tiny Troll doll—you’ll find something that rekindles a childhood joy . . . or fear. —EJUN

BEST ORGANIZATION FOR ALTRUISTIC WEAVING NERDS The Weaving Mill

At The Weaving Mill a textile is not only a textile—it is also an intriguing puzzle to be solved, a way of making sense of our surroundings, a community builder. With this philosophical approach—and so much taste—Emily Winter, 35, has helmed this beloved local enterprise since 2015. At the time, the Chicago Weaving Corporation had decided to cease production, and their weaving equipment needed new stewards. Thus The Weaving Mill was created, to make use of the idle equipment while working in tandem with Envision Unlimited, an organization that provides services to people with special needs. Through two programs cleverly named after the basic components of weaving, W.E.F.T. (Westtown Education for Textiles, composed of Envision Unlimited students) and W.A.R.P. (Westtown Art Residency Project), The Weaving Mill connects working artists and special needs artisans and encourages an environ-

28 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
continued from p. 27 !Ka-Pow!! Collectibles KIRK WILLIAMSON

ment of creative collaboration that’s reflected in their beautiful wares. Though a portion of their line—small batches of clothing and home textiles—comes from these programs, most of their output is designed, woven, and sewn at The Weaving Mill by a team of three people. Winter describes their aesthetic as “elemental, fundamental, colorful, rectilinear, textural, chance-oriented, responsive, and materially sensitive.” According to her, the purpose of The Weaving Mill is to “make useful and beautiful things, and make them well; build systems that work in relation to their context; and give attention to materials and to people.”

They clearly give a lot of attention to the weaving process itself, whose every fiber is highlighted in initiatives such as the Reverse Drafting Club, a mail-based fabric unraveling club, with nearly 400 members from all over the world. Another initiative is their Seed Li-

brary, where they donate seeds of plants used for natural dyes. An easy way to get involved with this fascinating organization is by subscribing to their newsletter and attending one of their open studio sessions. The next one will be on April 16.

BEST PLACE TO FIND VINTAGE MUSIC EPHEMERA AT REASONABLE PRICES

Let’s Boogie Records & Tapes

Let’s Boogie Records & Tapes (3321 S. Halsted) is a time machine to a di erent era. Bridgeport and Pilsen have no shortage of outlets for serious crate diggers (shout-out to 606 Records), but Let’s Boogie has been around

COURTESY THE WEAVING MILL
The Weaving Mill

continued from p. 29

longer than any other shop in the area—Neal S. Keller opened it in the mid-70s—and it has the ambience to match. These days it’s open only one day per week (Saturdays from 11 AM till 6 PM), so it’s definitely a labor of love—a place where music enthusiasts can experience classic dad-rock record-store vibes without paternalism or condescension. The store is plastered with posters that look like they haven’t moved since the 80s, and it smells historic. But it’s run by the friendliest people, and they’re always excited to talk all things music and Chicago.

Not only does Let’s Boogie o er an eclectic mix of local ephemera—Harold Washington campaign buttons, deadstock T-shirts for radio stations that no longer exist—but it also sells its collectibles at great prices. If you’re any kind of concert-tee hunter, you know that the market has gotten insane. A couple months back, I saw a 1988 Lita Ford shirt selling for almost $200 at a Village Discount Outlet. At Let’s Boogie? I got an original Van Halen shirt, I’d guess from the “Jump” era, for $20. Their selection is extremely hit-or-miss, especially for vinyl, but it changes constantly. For the warm welcome and the thrill of the hunt, Let’s Boogie is one of my favorite Bridgeport spots.

BEST SHOP BOOTED FROM THE THOMPSON CENTER WHEN GOOGLE TOOK OVER Momadou’s Jewelry and Clothing

No matter what dreary business might have drawn you to the Thompson Center before Google purchased it last year, every visit o ered its own rewards. For me, they included the jaw-dropping architectural splendor of the lobby (best appreciated with a hot co ee and a Munchkin from the food court), the rotating exhibits of the Illinois State Museum’s Chicago Gallery, and retail therapy breaks at Momadou’s Jewelry and Clothing. This wonderful shop was a gallery of a di erent kind, stocked with flattering, easy-to-wear women’s clothing from all over the world—but especially from Africa and India—in vibrant print fabrics. I bought my all-time favorite outer garment there a decade or so ago, a long, black-lined, zip-front, mauve “sweatshirt” coat with a hood and pockets. Made in Nepal

and embellished with hand embroidery, it could hold its own in any exhibit of modern art. I'm still wearing that garment, but Momadou’s is no longer housed in the Helmut Jahn masterpiece. Momadou’s lease was about to expire around the time Google bought the building, and they were forced to leave. The good news is that they’ve relocated relatively nearby to 404 S. Michigan, where they’re

still selling artful, reasonably priced clothing (some for men too) and handmade statement jewelry, along with items like shea butter lotion from Ghana and a wide assortment of fragrant, alcohol-free body oils from India and Africa. Did I mention that the store’s owner and namesake is always welcoming, even if (as is often the case with me) you’re only browsing?

30 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Momadou's Jewelry and Clothing DEANNA ISAACS Let's Boogie Records & Tapes ALISON GREEN
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 31 THE ONLY PERMANENT JEWELRY SHOP IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO JOIN THE ‘LOOP’ AT 716 N WABASH AVE, CHICAGO IL, 60611 | WWW.PISTACHIOSONLINE.COM | PISTACHIOSJEWELRY

InTheLoop

AnArts&CultureNewsletter

Monday Night Foodball

The Reader’s weekly chef pop-up series, at Ludlow Liquors.

Follow the chefs, @chicago_reader, and @mikesula on Instagram for weekly menu drops, ordering info, updates, and the stories behind Chicago’s most exciting foodlums.

April 10: Beef Wenningtons from The Wurst @thewurstmeats

April 17: Mexican-inspired cuisine from Milo’s Market @milosmarket

April 24: Liquid Funk Fermentation Bistro with Jennifer Kim and Alt Economy @alteconomy

May 1: Grilling with Foodball O.G. Giong Giong @gionggiongpops

May 22: School Pizza Night with Chopped alum Crust Fund Pizza @nachosandlager

May 29: Memorial Day bye week

June 5: The return of Tasting India and friends @tasting_india

June 12: Roman-style, wood-fired pizza from Bad Johnny’s @badjohnnysgoodtimes

Deliveredtoyourinboxtwiceamonth,InTheLoop willspotlightthebestofChicago’svisualand performingarts–fromtheater,dance,andpoetryto art,film,andliteraryreviews.

Signupforfree chicagoreader.com/getintheloop

May 8: Puerto Rican jibaritos and munchies with Moncho Moncheo @monchomoncheo

May 15: Celebrating four years of Mom’s @momschicago

June 19: Tripping Billy’s greatest hits @therealbillyz

June 26: Central Texican barbecue with Heffer BBQ @therealhefferbbq

Head to chicagoreader.com/section/food-drink/monday-night-foodball/ for weekly menus and ordering info.

32 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll

ports & Recreation

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 33
CHICAGO
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER
BEST OF
2022

BEST ATHLETE

First Place: Candace Parker

Second Place: Justin Fields

Third Place: DeMar DeRozan

BEST DOG PARK

First Place: Montrose Dog Beach

Second Place: Horner Park Dog Park

Third Place: Jackson Bark

BEST GYM

First Place: Anthos Training

Second Place: First Ascent

Third Place: Unanimous Boxing Gym

BEST LAKE SWIMMING SPOT

First Place: Montrose Beach

Second Place: Promontory Point

Third Place: Hollywood Beach

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD PARK

First Place: Humboldt Park

Second Place: Winnemac Park

Third Place: Horner Park

BEST PROFESSIONAL MEN’S SPORTS TEAM

First Place: Chicago Cubs

Second Place: Chicago White Sox

Third Place: Chicago Bulls

BEST PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAM

First Place: Chicago Sky

Second Place: Chicago Red Stars

Third Place: Windy City Rollers

BEST SPORTS FACILITY

First Place: Wrigley Field

Second Place: Guaranteed Rate Stadium

Third Place: United Center

BEST SPORTS TV OR RADIO ANNOUNCER

First Place: Pat Hughes

Second Place: Jason Benetti

Third Place: Stacey King

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD WRESTLING SHOW

Lucha Libre in the Park at Unity Park

From 20th-century wrestling promoter

Fred Kohler to former WWE Champion

CM “Chick Magnet” Punk, Chicago is a town steeped in professional wrestling history. We’ve got it all. Chicago boasts a historically strong wrestling scene (including groundbreaking independent women’s professional wrestling promotion SHIMMER), we’re a constant tour spot for larger companies, and there’s a strong lucha libre contingent here as well. Chicago’s become a bit of a mecca for die-hard wrestling folks, especially with one of All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW’s) largest pay-perviews (All Out) often hosted in the Chicagoland area.

Over the past seven years, the Unity Park Advisory Council has carved its name into the annals of Chicago wrestling history with its yearly event Lucha Libre in the Park. Lucha Libre in the Park features mostly local wrestlers putting on a delightful show for an audience of kids, parents, and a small handful of black T-shirt-wearing dorks, all assembled outdoors in Logan Square’s Unity Park.

One of my favorite forms of wrestling is

the hyperlocal indie wrestling show—a show designed for people who aren’t religious attendees of the sport, such as children and other sorts who like hollering and having a nice time. So an annual wrestling show that features the Logan Square Championship and wrestlers who get jeered for “being from Wisconsin” checks all my boxes. It’s a perfect entry point to the wide world of wrestling, trading the cramped and elitist vibes of many indie wrestling shows for a wonderful day in the park where you can watch some flips, some suplexes, and some kids losing their minds. Also, they’ve got pretty good popcorn! —ED BLAIR

BEST DEVELOPMENT IN CHICAGO PRO WRESTLING Lolo McGrath running shows in Evanston

Hearing that wrestling promoter Lolo McGrath was moving to Chicago was one of the more quietly exciting moments of the past few years. With their former copromoter Billy Dixon, McGrath put on shows that avoided the “Pride section at

Target” vibes that plague so many queerfocused wrestling shows (which are usually bankrolled by straight promoters seemingly looking to cash the LGBTQ+ dollar).

Dixon and McGrath are both queer, and their previous events have showcased the vast array of wrestling talent in the D.C. and mid-Atlantic regions. “The work that I was doing in D.C. was a very specific love letter to D.C.,” McGrath explained to me.

Since moving out here, they’ve set up base camp in Evanston and ran their first show, “Cross the Line: Palmhouse Pro Wrestling,” last November at Evanston’s Palmhouse. The show featured a who’s who of indie wrestling, from the inaugural and current Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling World Champion Trish Adora to Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling’s “Non-Binary Nightmare” Max the Impaler. McGrath said that they don’t have the same sense of connection with Evanston as they had with D.C. just yet but articulated the vibe that they’re shooting for as “an invitation for something more to come.” As indie wrestling has been trending toward a more hard-core tape-trading (well, MP4-trading) fan base over the past two decades or so, many promotions have lost much of their local flavor. Knowing there’s a promoter in town who’s invested in building community (queer and otherwise) over selling streams is a deep relief. I’m incredibly excited about what’s to come. —ED BLAIR

34 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Lucha Libre in the Park 2015 COURTESY UNITY PARK ADVISORY COUNCIL

BEST SPORTS TICKET REP Michael Amato with the Chicago Sky

Iattended lots of Sky games last year, mostly because the 2021 WNBA champs are awesome and the arena vibe is groovy, but also because ticket rep Michael Amato is so tenacious. After I bought cheap seats for a single game, I was slightly taken aback when a rep reached out immediately, then genuinely surprised that his approach felt less like an act

of desperation and more like a warm invite. My man on the inside is Michael, a Des Plaines native who’s spent a few seasons selling the Sky, working his way from intern to account executive as he completes a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing at DePaul. While in retrospect I’m sure he used legit promo codes and his knowledge of the ticketing system to get me great discount seats, at the time it sure seemed like an old-school Chicago hookup. I eventually sprang for 2023 Sky season tickets, but the package was so inexpensive that I feel like I bought it after hours off the back of a truck.

I also own cheapskate-level White Sox season seats, and everyone I’ve dealt with there

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 35
Lolo McGrath runs indie wrestling shows in Evanston. JEREMY LAWSON Chicago Sky vs. Minnesota Lynx at Minneapolis’s Target Center (8/27/19) LORIE SHAULL/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)

continued from p. 35

has been great (though when the office had to make calls in fall 2020, the week of the La Russa hiring, my guy sounded world-weary and abused). But Michael is special. When he sent out a Christmas message to his accounts, he added: “If you ever need anything, even a conversation, my line is always open.” My ticket rep not only helps me watch Rebekah Gardner go hard to the hoop, but he’s also there for the pick-and-roll if I need to get around holiday depression.

BEST HIDDEN BEACH AND NATURE HIKE

South Shore Beach and nature sanctuary

When it comes to Chicago beaches, finding a little patch of sand to call your own among the crowds is tricky. So if you prefer a more chill experience, head to the South Shore Beach and nature sanctuary tucked right behind the South Shore Cultural Center at 7059 S. South Shore. This four-season hidden spot offers impressive views of Chicago architecture and Indiana industry. But more important, it o ers nature: warm sands in summer, impressive ice formations in winter, and fox sightings all year round, as the tiny prairie preserve mixes with a snug woodland where you can walk the trails on a boardwalk or sit and rest at a firepit or on the concrete rubble along the waterline.

The whole area is 65 acres of golf course (nine holes), beach house, sanctuary, and rodeo ring (where the Broken Arrow Riding Club, Chicago’s own Black-organized rodeo, often performs its shows). All are accessible to the public, which walks, rides, or drives through the colonnade entrance, with metered parking available behind the South Shore Cultural Center.

The beach is open 7 AM-11 PM every day. But swimming is permitted only when lifeguards are on duty during summer hours, and dogs are not permitted in the nature preserve area (because of the aforementioned foxes, et cetera). Whether you go to swim, golf, hike, or see rodeo, you’ll be happy to be a Chicagoan when you bask in the sun at this gem of a spot.

BEST RACKET SPORTS ENTHUSIAST

Chris Clark of Toss & Spin

For college tennis player Chris Clark, the COVID-19 pandemic became an unexpected reset that helped him bring his master’s of business administration back to the court. After stints at Gatorade, Wilson Sporting Goods, and the Kraft Heinz Co., he found himself out of a sports start-up job, with his love of racket sports “staring me in the face no matter what I did,” he says. Fueled by his passion and business experience, Toss & Spin grew from Instagram content with industry pros to outdoor lessons (where my husband

found Clark and rekindled his own tennis game). The mission? Access and enjoyment through racket sports by o ering classes and now team-building and community events for companies and brands.

Clark prides himself on the company’s Uber model of meeting the consumer where they are, a key element that promotes access and lowering barriers to racket sports. “Whether we’re on the south side of Chicago or in Los Angeles, we’re at the courts nearest you,” he says. He furthered that message by cannily foreseeing pickleball’s rise and its unique appeal as a play-anywhere sport with a “court” you can create within minutes. After transforming venues such as the United Center and the Old Post Office rooftop, Toss & Spin has partnered with Shake Shack for a national pickleball club. The ten-city national “tour” offers clinics, a tournament, and, of course, swag. I’m going to take Clark at his word that

almost anyone can pick up the sport “fairly easily” and look forward to joining the ranks of newly minted racket athletes born from such creative, experiential e orts. tossandspin.com

BEST WORKOUT FOR UNATHLETIC QUEERS

Climbing at Movement Wrigleyville

Indoor rock climbing has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last few years. It’s everywhere in places like California and Colorado, where white, wealthy, outdoorsy, granola people reign supreme, but it’s gaining

36 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Chris Clark (fi h from right, second row) and students at Toss & Spin
COURTESY CHRIS CLARK
South Shore Beach and nature sanctuary in bloom KIMZYN CAMPBELL

AUDIO EXPO NORTH AMERICA

APRIL 14-16, 2023 • CHICAGO

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APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 37
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continued from p. 36

popularity here in Chicago too, especially after its appearance in the (delayed) 2020 Summer Olympics and because of its year-round accessibility as an indoor sport.

Coming out of the pandemic slump, ever looking for reasons to move my body and queer-friendly spaces in which to do so, I took advantage of different promotions at gyms across the city—a free week at Movement, BOGO day passes at First Ascent and Brooklyn Boulders—in an attempt to decide whether or not I could justify such an expensive hobby.

In the end, I caved and became a member at Movement Wrigleyville, the giant four-story gym that overlooks the baseball field. It’s open, clean, and unintimidating—even for out-of-shape first-time climbers.

I have complicated feelings about the fact that Movement’s membership base is majority white and north-side saturated and that its fees make it financially inaccessible for many (it’s a stretch for me on my journalism salary), but it ticks a lot of boxes for me—and it seems like many in the queer community feel the same. To address the demand, Movement regularly hosts queer climbing nights, independently and in collaboration with local collective Queers on the Rocks.

If you have a chance, give Movement a try—local gays will likely feel right at home between the massive Pride flag and the glowing red Wrigley Field sign out the window.

—TARYN ALLEN

BEST DIY MOBILE SKATE PARK

OnWord’s OnSite project

Last July I wrote a Reader cover story, “Welcome to the skate park,” about OnWord, “a local skate crew that welcomes skaters of all ages and all abilities, prioritizing women, trans, nonbinary, and gendernonconforming people, and anyone else who identifies as LGBTQ+.” As a queer beginner skater, I fit their target demographic, but even as my story appeared on stands, I hadn’t yet summoned the courage to attend one of their events. In August—guess what, everyone?—I signed up for OnSite 2.0, the second annual weekend-long event where skaters came together to build and design a DIY skate park. On a blisteringly hot Saturday, I took the bus to Work 26, a community arts hub in Little Village, where I met a group of timid queers. Most of them were first-timers who had come

alone too, and almost all of us were beginners who’d picked up skating as a pandemic hobby. Sheepish in our paper name tags, nobody wanted to be the first to step on a board.

During the first five-hour day, Learn + Build, those of us new to power tools were taught how to safely use them, and we split into groups to connect the precut parts of di erent mini ramps and rails. On the second day, Skate Jam, we finished our projects, competed in novice-level skate contests, and helped each other practice clumsy ollies and drop-ins for the first time. We ate local tamales, and almost everyone won a prize from a contest or ra e. I even made friends—as an adult!

It was a scrappy setup, with our homemade fixtures weighed down by sandbags on an uneven floor, but before it was packed up for later use, I’m sure it was the best DIY mobile park in the city.

38 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Movement Wrigleyville MONICA MCFADDEN Skaters build a DIY skate park at Onsite 2.0. TARYN ALLEN

Food & Drink

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 39
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER BEST OF CHICAGO 2022

BEST WAY TO GET A TASTE OF MIDWESTERN STATE FAIRS 365 DAYS A YEAR

Bob’s Pizza’s original pickle pizza

I’m a guy who loves the concept of state fairs, and more specifically the socially acceptable kind of eating that takes place at them. It would be irresponsible for me, a 37-year-old who begrudgingly reads nutritional-facts labels, to make room in my diet for deep-fried ice cream, or a hot dog deepfried in corn-dog batter, onions, cheddar cheese, and minced tater tots—both of which were available last summer at the Minnesota State Fair and made me dream of traveling across state lines to try such, uh, delicacies. Last summer, Twin Cities alternative journalism site Racket reviewed the fair’s 38 o cial foodstu s, and reading it gave me a secondhand sugar rush. If such carnivalesque items fail to whet your appetite, you may not be interested in the one I’m singling out: pickle pizza. It appeared at other midwestern state fairs last year, including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana—where it won the Taste of the Fair prize. My state fair road trip daydreams didn’t come true, but fortunately for me I can get pickle pizza anytime I want (within reason) from Bob’s Pizza. Launched out of Pilsen in 2019, Bob’s operates three other Chicagoland locations now, each one serving pizzas cut like they’re from New York; one pie provides six slices, two of which can satiate a pizza hound like me. The pickle pizza has a velvety garlic cream, enough thinly sliced pickles to satisfy a pointillist, and an inviting, light sourness that I’ve begun to crave since I had my first taste. famousbobspizza.com

John James Audubon was a complicated character. On one hand, the French-American artist and ornithologist wrote and hand painted the 435 gorgeous life-size prints that make up the original birder bible: The Birds of America. And yet, he was a despicable human: a racist, vehement anti-abolitionist, and enslaver (among other things), facts that have caught up with the Chicago Audubon Society, which plans to rub his name out of the local chapter.

That has not stopped many patrons of Logan Square’s marvelous Meadowlark from nicking about half of the first 500 printed copies of its inaugural menu, a mock field guide featuring drinks inspired by Audubon prints. Beverage director Abe Vucekovich (a Violet Hour alum) narrowed down 16 prints of native midwestern birds to illustrate his wildly varied, sometimes challenging, but uniformly delicious cocktails: a swooping Herring Gull for a floral, fruity tequila-pear, brandy-Ramazotti-peach potion; a pair of uncharacteristically noble Chicago Pigeons for a gin-smoked Malort–Earl Grey flip; brooding Turkey Buzzards for a Sazerac-style

rye-rum-amaro mix with mole bitters, poured neat into a rocks glass.

The thefts became such a problem that now if bartenders spot patrons swiping the menu, they’ll ding the poacher’s tab $8. Don’t put that kind of Audubon energy into the world; you can just ask them to sell you one. That’s at least until May 1 when Vucekovich unveils a new menu with a new theme: no more Audubon, no more birds, but “a celebration of Chicago and a bygone era.” meadowlarkchicago.

BEST NEW CONDIMENT OBSESSION

Chili crisp

Chili crisp is a versatile, addicting, savory, and utterly delicious chunky sauce that understandably became a hit culinary trend in 2022. It’s most commonly made with a base of crushed red peppers and neutral oil and then loaded with an assortment

of added spices and fried garlic or shallot for crunch.

Once I heard of the concept, it was like I saw it everywhere, new versions popping up faster than I could eat them, from limited local brands to the Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch. The first one I tried was Momofuku Chili Crunch, which I received as a gift along with some specialty spices. Then, LA’s small-batch Boon Sauce blew my mind. I got my hands on Fly By Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp and subsequently became addicted to the whole brand. Not long after, I jumped at the chance to try Bombay Chili Crunch at my local farmers’ market, created by local chef Jasmine Sheth of Tasting India; her recipe is heavy on the cumin seeds in the best way. Then I bought the Asian classic, Lao Gan Ma, at Joong Boo Market. Andersonville’s Ándale Market recently introduced me to Chicago brands CHI-Lee and This Little Goat, which are next on my list to try.

And of course, my TikTok algorithm knows me best; after being fed tons of recipes for homemade versions, I’ve created my own chili crisp recipe: it’s heavy on whole peppercorns,

40 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
ABE VUCEKOVICH
Pages of Meadowlark's drink menu
—LEOR GALIL
BEST COCKTAIL MENU LIKELY TO LEAD TO A THEFT-RELATED CREDIT CARD CHARGE
“The Meadowlark’s Field Guide Vol. 1: Birds of the Midwest”
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 41 A variety of chili crisp brands TARYN ALLEN
Pickle pizza from Bob's Pizza in Pilsen LEOR GALIL

MSG, and crispy bits. It’s perfect on noodles, tofu, rice, dumplings, cucumbers, roasted vegetables, sandwiches, pizza, guacamole, ice cream—anything. I can no longer enjoy eggs without it. —TARYN ALLEN

BEST HOME BAKERY FOR OUTRAGEOUS CUSTOM CAKES ON A BUDGET

Sweets by Dragonflies

Sylvia Patterson, mom of spooky-silly goth Twitch streamer DJ Patrixia, is an absolute vibe master, and it comes out in her imaginative confections. The self-taught baker owns Sweets by Dragonflies, which is amazingly affordable and has a quick turnaround, with vegan options. And while Patterson can reliably re-create anything you’d find at a grocery store bakery (basketball cake, anyone?!), she shines when she can be a little o eat.

After seeing the brain cakes she o ered last Halloween—dense treats with thick swirls of frosting like brain folds—I reached out to her at Christmastime. My birthday is the day after Christmas, so as a person of goth persuasion, I was looking for something both festive and macabre to serve at my birthday party. With

only a week until the celebration, I shot her an email asking if she could make two brain cakes updated for the season, insisting nothing would be too outlandish. Enter Rudolph the Braindeer and Frosty the Snow Brain.

The former had bone-like antlers, a chocolate button nose, and eyes that didn’t quite look in the same direction, and its exterior was airbrushed to look slightly bloody and oozing.

The latter was an uncanny pinkish gray with a jaunty little top hat, trimmed with spruce and berries that hid a gash where the two hemispheres met. Together, the cakes were the perfect combo of seasonal, funky, and gruesome.

When she delivered them (yes, she delivers!), I couldn’t stop squealing and sending pictures to friends. All my party guests gushed about the inspired, unusual eats—which fed way more than advertised. She’s now my go-to baker. instagram.com/sweetsbydragonflies

Goldfinger Brewing Company’s Vienna Lager

The Reader has been loving on Metropolitan Brewing since July 2008, when cofounder Doug Hurst was still using a six-gallon pilot system. They’d already settled on Dynamo Copper Lager as a flagship beer, and for a decade it was my favorite daily drinker. I’d buy it whenever I succumbed to option paralysis in a liquor store—I knew I’d never regret it. So when Metropolitan retired Dynamo as a year-round beer in spring 2021, my heart broke a little. It’s now a winter seasonal, released in January.

In a city as rich in beer as Chicago, though, I’m not doomed to pine after Dynamo for nine months each year. Last winter I discovered Goldfinger’s Vienna Lager, a year-round part of the lineup at the Downers Grove brewery since it opened in July 2020. Goldfinger has been shipping it in cans since early 2021, and it actually competes with my longtime beloved.

Both beers are Vienna lagers, though Goldfinger’s recipe is simpler: just Vienna malt and Czech Saaz hops. They’re both nutty and toasty, as you’d expect, with a hint of to ee. Dynamo looks a shade darker, thanks to some Munich malt, but it tastes brighter—yeast from venerable Munich brewery Augustiner-Bräu gives it a floral nose, like violet custard, and it has a touch of clover honey sweetness. The Goldfinger Vienna Lager feels silkier, with lingering flavors of caramel and baked dates—a complexity that brewer-owner Tom Beckmann attributes to double-decoction mashing. Goldfinger’s naturally carbonated

beer has finer bubbles than Dynamo, and both finish dry, with a cleanly earthy bitterness. I’ll always pick Dynamo first when I can, for old times’ sake. But the Goldfinger Vienna Lager will be around all year—and it proves that Chicago can produce two perfect versions of this beer, each with its own charms. goldfingerbrewing.com —PHILIP

BEST EXPERIMENT IN UTOPIAN LIVING DISGUISED AS A BACKYARD FARM

Garbage Hill Farm

From afar, artist, educator, and organizer Jen Delos Reyes seems tireless. She splits her time between Ithaca, New York—where she works at Cornell as an associate professor in the art department and as the inaugural associate dean of diversity and equity for the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning—and Chicago, where she runs Side by Side, a part-time micro-residency for BIPOC arts workers, and Garbage Hill Farm, a small-scale backyard urban farm, both of which are in McKinley Park. But for Delos Reyes, any project worth doing is worth doing with community. (As her Trunk Show-commissioned bumper sticker read, “Together we do us.”) So it’s worth noting that she cultivated her .22-acre property with the help of

42 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
BEST BEER FOR WHEN YOU CAN’T GET METROPOLITAN DYNAMO
Goldfi nger’s Vienna Lager and Metropolitan's Dynamo Copper Lager PHILIP MONTORO Feel like Bambi with the chocolate cake at A Taste of Heaven in Andersonville. KIRK WILLIAMSON continued from p. 41

numerous volunteers, friends, and neighbors and that the same community is crucial to sustaining the farm, through sales, donations, and a Community Supported Agriculture program. The farm started just two years ago, but it already boasts a micro-orchard, public berry patch, free seed library, self-harvest mutual aid garden, native prairie, and greenhouse. It’s also home to a flock of chickens and two adorable Nigerian dwarf goats. The project is meant to model “what is possible on a residential lot in an urban center,” but its primary goal is growing food for local food pantries. Last year, the farm donated more than 500 pounds of food and this year aims to increase that amount. “What I am doing is not revolutionary,” Delos Reyes wrote on her Instagram, noting the popularity of similar “Victory Gardens” during WWII. But modeling an alternative, sustainable, communal way of life is one small part of the revolution. garbagehill.farm

BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE TO EAT TO FEEL LIKE A WOODLAND CREATURE IN A DISNEY MOVIE

A Taste of Heaven Bakery & Cafe

Chocolate cake is my favorite dessert of all time. I pick up a slice at Whole Foods at least once every two weeks, and it’s always my litmus test for any bakery. For me, every chocolate cake serves some kind of function. The Whole Foods slice is a biweekly a rmation that life is good, in spite

BEST BAGELS

First Place: New York Bagel & Bialy

Second Place (tie): Chicago Bagel Authority

Steingold’s

BEST BAKERY

First Place: Lost Larson

Second Place: Pie, Pie My Darling

Third Place: Broken Tart

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

First Place: Redhot Ranch

Second Place: Sultan’s Market

Third Place: Ghareeb Nawaz

BEST BANH MI

First Place: Nhu Lan Bakery

Second Place: Ba Le Sandwiches

Third Place: Bon Bon Sandwiches

BEST BARBECUE

First Place: Smoque BBQ

Second Place: Green Street Meats

Third Place: Soul & Smoke

BEST BARISTA

First Place: Ryan Haynes

Second Place: Cameron Bash

Third Place: Emma Snow

BEST BARTENDER

First Place: Shelly Mercurio

Second Place: Mike Vanderbilt

Third Place: Jamie Chambers

BEST BEER GARDEN

First Place: Hopleaf

Second Place: Half Acre

Third Place: Bungalow by Middle Brow

BEST BEER SHOP

First Place: Beer Temple

Second Place: Bottles & Cans

Third Place: Beermiscuous

MAKE A RESERVATION: MARISOLCHICAGO.COM
Illustration of farm founder Jen Delos Reyes and her farm animals ALLISON FRIES / GARBAGE HILL FARM

BEST BREAD

First Place: Publican Quality Bread

Second Place: Bungalow by Middle Brow

Third Place: Lost Larson

BEST BURGER

First Place: Au Cheval/Small Cheval

Second Place: Little Bad Wolf

Third Place: Redhot Ranch

BEST BUTCHER SHOP

First Place: Paulina Meat Market

Second Place: Gene’s Sausage

Shop & Delicatessen

Third Place: Publican Quality Meats

BEST CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Jibaritos y Mas

Second Place: Casa Yari

Third Place: Garifuna Flava

BEST CARRYOUT OR DELIVERY COCKTAILS

First Place: Violet Hour

Second Place: Lonesome Rose

Third Place: Antique Taco

BEST CHEESEMONGER

First Place: Beautiful Rind

Second Place: All Together Now

Third Place: Stamper Cheese Company

BEST CHEF

First Place: Stephanie Izard

Second Place: Joe Flamm

Third Place: Zoe Schor

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

First Place: Sun Wah BBQ

Second Place: Lao Sze Chuan

Third Place: Chef’s Special

BEST CHINESE TAKEOUT OR DELIVERY

First Place: Friendship Chinese

Second Place: Sun Wah BBQ

Third Place: House of Wah Sun

BEST COCKTAIL

First Place: Estereo

Second Place: Koval

Third Place: Dorothy

BEST COFFEE ROASTER

First Place: Dark Matter

Second Place: Metropolis

Third Place: Metric

BEST COFFEE SHOP

First Place: Hexe

Second Place: The Green Post

Third Place: Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea

BEST COOKING CLASSES

First Place: The Chopping Block

Second Place: The Wooden Spoon

Third Place: Get in the Kitchen

continued from p. 43

of seemingly apocalyptic daily stressors. This one slice I procured in Madison, Wisconsin, symbolizes the importance of occasional opulence—sometimes it’s OK to splurge on seven layers of dark fudge and brown-butter caramel.

A Taste of Heaven’s hazelnut chocolate torte is the epitome of cartoon foods. Whenever I watch an animated Disney movie, I always want to eat their food (the bread in Aladdin, the cakes in Alice in Wonderland). They look almost imperceptibly delicious, and sometimes I can’t even discern what they’re eating. To me, this hazelnut torte belongs in Bambi. Enveloped in a chocolate glaze, the dark chocolate cake is filled and frosted with a fluffy hazelnut buttercream. Bits of hazelnut float in the filling, o ering up a satisfying crunch that anchors the cake’s silkiness. I imagine that Thumper, Bambi, and Flower are eating it teaparty-style in a meadow of flowers. The simple flavors and nuttiness feel like an appropriate afternoon treat for a whimsical woodland creature. atasteofheaven-chicago.com —EJUN KIM

BEST GO-TO, OLD-SCHOOL, NORTHWEST-SIDE ITALIAN RESTAURANT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT La Villa Restaurant & Banquets

Comfortable, decades-old, family-owned restaurants—the kind in which everyone knows each other, going back generations—are becoming rarer in Chicago. Such places are gems, harkening back to a different, more working-class Chicago, when the moniker “City of Broad Shoulders” was more fitting and neighborhoods were defined by their parishes.

La Villa Restaurant & Banquets is one of these gems: it’s a northwest-side, homey, family-style Italian restaurant and banquet hall in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. Founded

in the 1970s, La Villa is busier than ever due to the outstanding work of owner Christine Petrancosta and sta . Whether you’re dining out with a group, your family, or a date, this is a fun, comfortable lunch or dinner destination to consider.

The extensive menu features generous portions, including standout dishes such as minestrone soup, eggplant parmesan, and chicken Vesuvio. If you’re in the mood for fried chicken or wings, La Villa’s rivals the best in the city despite its Italian focus. Wine enthusiasts will be happy with the varied wine list. Finish o your meal with a rich, flu y tiramisu for dessert.

If you’re looking for a suitable space for your next event, La Villa’s banquet rooms are very active, especially on the weekends. They accommodate weddings, showers, graduation parties, and life events of all kinds.

La Villa kept their price points affordable throughout the pandemic, continuing to do so despite inflation, a true sign ownership cares about their customers. lavillabanquets.com

44 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Chicken Vesuvio, vegetables, and roasted potatoes at La Villa Restaurant & Banquets JORDAN HOLLANDER / HELAINE KRYSIK

BEST PERSON TO RESTORE YOUR RUINED VINTAGE JAPANESE CHEF’S KNIFE Güd Knife

"This is your knife. This is your tool. This is what you love. And if something happens to it, it can be heartbreaking. It's nice to be able to bring that tool back to where you have that feeling of ‘this is mine.’”

Jordan Ross is one-half of the Asian stoner food pop-up SuperHai, but when he’s not slinging dan dan nachos and cheesy fried Spam musubi, he’s rescuing damaged blades from the traumas inflicted by restaurant kitchen work. Ross honed his own polishing, sharpening, etching, and rehandling skills on his first precious Japanese knife—a Makoto Kurosaki Gyuto—figuring he’d better learn to protect his $250 investment. He soon started helping out pals on the line who’d broken the tips on their Shuns or dulled their Wusthofs. Eventually he got good enough to take on jobs like removing the chips and thinning the edge on a Takeshi Saji Rainbow Damascus or reprofiling and thinning the blade on a Kikuichi

that was ruined by an established professional knife sharpener who should know better.

He’s since begun importing partially finished, free-forged artisanal Tosa cutlery from small Japanese knifemakers, refining the edges on the spines, putting on the finishing polish, and building custom-made handles and wooden knife sheaths for clients. Keep an eye out for his forthcoming intro to knife skills and maintenance classes at the Japanese Culture Center on July 8 and August 5. Each student walks away with their own whetstone to continue their education. gudknife.com —MIKE

BEST TACO RESTAURANT FOR VEGANS ON CLARK STREET

Penelope's Vegan Taqueria

Chicago has a reputation as a foodie city to uphold. For vegans and vegetarians, it’s no different. As more vegan options pop up on menus, Penelope’s Vegan

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 45
Upgrade your Japanese chef's knife or take a class at Güd Knife. JANE SHANG

continued from p. 45

Taqueria decided to open up a second location, this time in Andersonville.

Penelope’s has a long enough menu that most vegans would find it cumbersome to look through if it were at a traditional taco spot with limited options for noncarnivores.

Located at 5204 N. Clark, the new restaurant’s unassuming exterior could be easily missed if not for its hot pink paint job. New twists on classic Mexican fare provide endless options for diners to pore over and try, from flavorful chilaquiles and molletes to eye-catching enchiladas and pozole.

The menu o ers lots of gluten-free options as well, with more than half of the tacos (which start at $4.50) on the menu currently being gluten-free. Amid the fresh new takes, like cauliflower ceviche, are more commonly seen classics such as elote (or even Takis elote!) and Jarritos soft drinks. (It’s BYOB, with a table fee of $8.)

With a bright interior lined with decorated skulls, or calaveras, and velvety chairs to match the River North location’s aesthetic, each table is adorned with a sweet little cactus in lieu of the typical candle or vase of flowers.

Penelope’s also offers a much wider floor plan than many other north-side restaurants, making it a welcome addition for groups looking to grab a bite during a night out in Andersonville or Edgewater. penelopesvegantaqueria.com —DILPREET

BEST USE OF GREEN CABBAGE Curtido with pupusas at Las Delicias, El Cuscatleco, or anywhere else you can get it

I’m not trying to start a fight. I can name a dozen addictively delicious ways to eat green cabbage—in fact, I have a jar of homemade Sichuan-style brine-fermented cabbage in the fridge right now, which I love with my chili oil. I had to say “best” because this is Best of Chicago, but it’d be better to say I’ve been craving this combination in an unhinged way—and if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re gonna want to get right on that.

I usually get curtido and pupusas at Pu-

46 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Curtido with pupusas from Las Delicias PHILIP MONTORO Penelope's Vegan Taqueria DILPREET RAJU

BEST DESSERTS

First Place: Pie, Pie My Darling

Second Place: Defloured

Third Place: Elske

BEST DOUGHNUTS

First Place: Do-Rite

Second Place: Stan’s Donuts

Third Place: Firecakes

BEST FALAFEL

First Place: Sultan’s Market

Second Place: Pita Inn

Third Place: Taste of Lebanon

BEST FARMERS MARKET

First Place: Logan Square

Farmers Market

Second Place: Green City Market

Third Place: Andersonville Farmers Market

BEST FOOD RELIEF EFFORT

First Place: Greater Chicago

Food Depository

Second Place: The Love Fridge Chicago

Third Place: Community Kitchen Chicago

BEST FOOD TRUCK

First Place: DönerMen

Second Place: Fat Shallot

Third Place: Soul & Smoke

BEST FRIED CHICKEN SHACK

First Place: Honey Butter

Fried Chicken

Second Place: Harold’s

Third Place: Parson’s Chicken & Fish

BEST GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA

First Place: Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

Second Place: Paulie Gee’s

Third Place: Chicago’s Pizza

BEST GOURMET MARKET

First Place: Gene’s Sausage

Shop & Delicatessen

Second Place: Foxtrot

Third Place: L&M Fine Foods

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

First Place: Greek Islands

Second Place: Andros Taverna

Third Place: The Athenian Room

BEST HOT DOG

First Place: Superdawg Drive-In

Second Place: Portillo’s

Third Place: Redhot Ranch

BEST ICE CREAM

First Place: Jeni’s

Second Place: Black Dog Gelato

Third Place: Vaca’s Creamery

BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Ghareeb Nawaz

Second Place: The Spice Room

Third Place: Essence of India

BEST ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICH

First Place: Johnnie’s Beef

Second Place: Al’s Beef

Third Place: Portillo’s

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Monteverde

Second Place: La Scarola

Third Place: Bar Roma

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

First Place: San Soo Gab San

Second Place: Cho Sun Ok Restaurant

Third Place: Jin Ju

BEST LIQUOR STORE

First Place: Binny’s

Second Place: Bottles & Cans

Third Place: Go Tavern & Liquors

BEST LOCAL BEER

First Place: Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer

Second Place: Son of Juice by Maplewood Brewery & Distillery

Third Place: Vienna Lager by Dovetail Brewery

BEST LOCAL BREWERY

First Place: Half Acre Beer

Second Place: Off Color Brewing

Third Place: Marz Community Brewing

BEST LOCAL DISTILLERY

First Place: Koval

Second Place: Maplewood

Brewery & Distillery

Third Place: CH Distillery

BEST LOCAL FARMER

First Place: Mick Klug Farm

Second Place: Nichols Farm & Orchard

Third Place: Angelic Organics

BEST LOCAL FOOD PRODUCT

First Place: Upton’s Naturals

Second Place: Vargo Brother Ferments

Third Place: Egg Rolls Etc

BEST LOCAL GROCER

First Place: Tony’s Fresh Market

Second Place: HarvesTime Foods

Third Place: The Dill Pickle Food Co-op

BEST LOCAL SPIRIT

First Place: Jeppson's Malört

Second Place: Koval

Cranberry Gin Liqueur

Third Place: Letherbee Gin

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 47 LincolnSquare|thechoppingblock.com Thank you for voting us BestCookingClasses and BestOnline Cooking Instruction
you to all our fans for your continued support. You’re the best customers a family-owned diner could have.” — Mickey, Jo, Michael and the crew Reader Best of Chicago 2022 14-year winner • veggiediner.com meat free since ’83
our 40th anniversary!
“Thank
It’s

continued from p. 46

puseria & Restaurant "El Cuscatleco" (3125 W. Lawrence) or Las Delicias (4010 W. Montrose). Most curtido recipes build on a foundation of shredded cabbage and carrot with onion, scallion, hot pepper, or all three; it’s a quick-pickled slaw dressed with vinegar, salt, a bit of sugar, and a magical sprinkling of dried Mexican oregano. El Salvador claims it, but you can find it at all sorts of Latin American restaurants.

As a fiend for all things pickled, I’ll eat curtido by itself, but with pupusas it really shines. Curtido’s snappy texture and herbaceous, almost fruity zing perfectly complement the fatty richness of pupusas—nutty masa, gooey cheese, spicy stewed chicharrones, earthy chipilín leaves or loroco buds. The crisp, caramelized coins of cheese that’ve oozed onto the grill are each a little bite of heaven with a forkful of slaw. Do you ever feel sad when you get full, because it means you have to stop eating? This is that kind of meal.

BEST TINY STOREFRONT BAKERY/BISTRO IN OAK PARK

Broken Tart

You can find some of the best scones— flaky, buttery, crunchy, savory scones, not too sweet, not too chewy—in Oak Park, in a tiny storefront just a few blocks west of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. There you will find Broken Tart, an unassuming Tardis-like co ee shop and bakery, almost invisible from the street.

Once you get inside, you’ll find customers queued up at the display case, eyeing hungrily the bowls of scones (kale salad and rosemary apricot), plates of sweet cornbread biscuits (jam and butter or cheese and hot honey), and cakes (olive oil, ricotta chip, pistachio zucchini

loaf) and cookies. Owned and run by sisters Katie and Krissy Mack, Broken Tart has only been open since September. But it's always packed—on Saturdays the line goes out the door.

“We outgrew the space basically as soon as we opened,” jokes Katie. Krissy—a pastry chef with experience in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco—created the menu. “The kale salad scone and our rosemary scone and the biscuits, all were products that I worked out just specifically for Broken Tart.” The scones especially are to die for, but you have to show up early if you want one. “We make a lot of scones in the mornings,” Krissy explains, “and then I usually do a second bake once we get low. But I think some days we’re out by 10 AM. People just come in and buy huge boxes of them to take to work.” brokentart.com —JACK

BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOURSELF OUT ON A DATE Ghin Khao Eat Rice

Here’s a rule I live by: once a month, take yourself on a date. No phones allowed; bring a book. Last month, I ventured to Ghin Khao Eat Rice, and I can assure you it’s the perfect spot. (And I’ve done this 21 times!) First, it’s truly delicious and authentic, with nearly 200 Google reviews clocking in at an average 4.8 stars. I had the beef nam tok and Grandma’s Pork Belly—both were perfectly spiced, sour, and fresh. Second, it sits in a quiet spot on West Cermak. Ghin Khao’s not packed, but there’s enough hustle in the kitchen to create the perfect soundscape to your reading. Third, when you go up to pay, the owner might just slide you a homemade brownie packed in Saran wrap. Eat it on the bus ride back home while you finish up a chapter. ghinkhaochicago.com —EJUN

48 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Katie (le ) and Krissy Mack of Broken Tart COURTESY BROKEN TART

BEST MEAL KITS

First Place: Funeral Potatoes

Second Place: Gemma Foods

Third Place: Meez Meals

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Mi Tocaya Antojería

Second Place: 5 Rabanitos

Third Place: L’Patron

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN

RESTAURANT

First Place: Sultan’s Market

Second Place: Middle East

Bakery & Grocery

Third Place: Galit

BEST NEW FOOD TREND

First Place: whipped feta

Second Place: gourmet ice cream bars

Third Place: ube brownies

BEST NEW POP-UP

First Place: Umamicue

Second Place: Birria Ta-Ta-Tacos

Third Place: Herbivore

BEST ONLINE COOKING INSTRUCTION

First Place: The Chopping Block

Second Place: The Kids’ Table

Third Place: Drew Keane

BEST OUTDOOR DINING

First Place: Bungalow by Middle Brow

Second Place: The Warbler

Third Place: Aba

BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT

First Place: Lula Cafe

Second Place: Kasama

Third Place: Split-Rail

BEST PALETERIA

First Place: La Michoacana Chicago (3108 W. Lawrence)

Second Place: La Michoacana

Premium (1855 S. Blue Island)

Third Place: La Michoacana Ice

Cream Shop (3415 W. Belmont)

BEST PIEROGI

First Place: Kasia’s

Second Place: Gene’s Sausage

Shop & Delicatessen

Third Place: Staropolska

BEST PIZZA

First Place: Pequod’s Pizza

Second Place: Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

Third Place: Paulie Gee’s

BEST PIZZA BY THE SLICE

First Place: Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe

Second Place (tie): Dimo’s Pizza

Dante’s Pizzeria

BEST PIZZA DELIVERY

First Place: Chicago’s Pizza

Second Place: Pete’s

Third Place: Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe

BEST PLACE WORTH A WAIT

First Place: Lula Cafe

Second Place: Kasama

Third Place: Virtue

BEST POLISH RESTAURANT

First Place: Staropolska

Second Place: Red Apple

Third Place: Podhalanka

BEST PRESERVES

First Place: Rare Bird Preserves, Inc.

Second Place: Bushel & Peck’s

Third Place: Wild Witch Preserves

BEST QUESABIRRIA OR BIRRIA DE RES TACOS

First Place: Birrieria Zaragoza

Second Place: Tacotlan

Third Place: Birria Ta-Ta-Tacos

BEST RESTAURANT GROUP

First Place: Lettuce Entertain You

Second Place: Boka

Third Place: Hogsalt

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

First Place: Shaw’s Crab House

Second Place: RPM Seafood

Third Place: Half Shell

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 49

continued from p. 49

BEST “DON’T GO HERE, GO THERE INSTEAD” CHICAGO FOOD TIKTOKS

@plateswithp

The first time my girlfriend sent me a TikTok from @plateswithp, she said, “I don’t know why, but I trust everything she says.” I, too, became an immediate fan.

Paige has been making food and lifestyle content on TikTok since 2021. The Chicago native’s content ranges from OOTD and GRWM videos to full, thorough restaurant guides, but her most compelling foodie series—and the one that skyrocketed her success as a creator—is “Don’t go here, go there instead.” She discusses restaurants across neighborhoods, giving the best alternatives to places that are overhyped or overpriced, factoring in ambience and drink options alongside food reviews.

“As a food critic and connoisseur, I had seen TikToks about restaurants that I felt were not worth visiting,” she told me via email. “I wanted to provide my viewers with raw and honest feedback on some of Chicago's hot spots to help them make the best pick.”

@plateswithp has full guides on the Out of O ce app, but you can also just binge her TikToks for categories like “No resy needed,” “Black restaurant week spots to try,” “Trusted takeout,” “Birthday on a budget,” and more.

First Place: Luella’s Southern Kitchen

Second Place: Virtue Restaurant

Third Place: Soul & Smoke

BEST SOUP

First Place: Taste of Lebanon

Second Place: Mon Ami Gabi

Third Place (tie): Karl’s Cra Soup

Sultan’s Market

BEST SOURDOUGH

First Place: Publican Quality Bread

Second Place: Bungalow by Middle Brow

Third Place (tie): Lost Larson, Hewn

BEST STEAK HOUSE

First Place: Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar

Second Place: Tango Sur

Third Place: Boeu aus

BEST SUSHI

First Place: Lawrence Fish Market

Second Place: Kai Zan

Third Place: Sushi Hall

Hexe Coffee Co.

Anyone who’s ever spent much time with me could tell you that I love iced co ee, and—somewhat ironically for a person who’s spent half their life in small music venues—I hate tightly packed indoor spaces (the pandemic just made me hate them more). So, naturally, I’ve been raving about Hexe Co ee Co.’s gigantic patio since I first stepped foot on it a while back.

Hexe (“witch” in German) was founded by Parker Slade, who taught himself how to roast co ee in an attempt to curb his spending on pricey drinks. He eventually grew his hobby into a wholesale business, while supplying local festivals and markets with barrel-aged iced brews.

BEST TAQUERIA

First Place: Taqueria Chingon

Second Place: L’Patron

Third Place: Edgewater Tacos

BEST THAI RESTAURANT

First Place: Opart Thai House

Second Place: Sticky Rice

Third Place: Aroy Thai

BEST UP-AND-COMING CHEF

First Place: Damarr Brown

Second Place: Carlos Cruz

Third Place: Oscar Samayoa

BEST URBAN FARM

First Place: Urban Growers Collective

Second Place: Urban Canopy

Third Place: Big Delicious Planet

BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Handlebar

Second Place: Kale My Name

Third Place: Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

First Place: Chicago Diner

Second Place: Handlebar

Third Place: Kale My Name

BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

First Place: HaiSous

Vietnamese Kitchen

Second Place: Pho 777

Third Place: Nhu Lan

BEST WINE BAR

First Place: Webster's

Second Place: Rootstock

Third Place: All Together Now

BEST WINE LIST

First Place: Easy Does It

Second Place: Rose Mary

Third Place: Elske

BEST WINE SHOP

First Place: BottlesUp!

Second Place: All Together Now

Content creator @plateswithp PAIGE DAVIS

Opened in 2019, Hexe’s dark painted walls and curious art play up its occult flirtations, and its overall concept checks all the best boxes. Delicious local-roasted co ee? Check. Thoughtful cocktail, wine, and beer selection? Check. Decent music? Check. Excellent house-made pastries, including vegan options? Double check. There’s nothing not to love unless you’re as crowd-averse as I am, and the fact that virtually every seat is filled almost every time you stop by makes your

friends, your baby stroller, your dog, or all of the above without ever feeling too crowded. Sure, the drinks and snacks are the main draw, but outside on the patio they also feel like the icing on the cake. hexecoffee.com

LUDWIG v

50 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
BEST COFFEE SHOP PATIO FOR THE COVID CAUTIOUS AND/OR THOSE WHO JUST LIKE THEIR SPACE
pulse race faster than a quadruple espresso. Which brings us back to that amazing patio. Chicago has a lot of coffee shops, but few, if any, can boast as much outdoor square footage. The tables are nice and spread out, and it’s big enough to bring your date, your —JAMIE
Hexe Coffee Co. KIRK WILLIAMSON
BEST SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT
Third Place: Independent Spirits

BEST OF CHICAGO 2022

Cannabis

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 51
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER

BEST POTANIST TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA Cae Jones

When Cae Jones was fired from his job at his neighborhood dispensary a few years ago, he could’ve pivoted toward a more traditional industry. Instead, he built an Internet presence under the moniker Jungle Cae (also Cae, the Potanist) to educate others on cannabis culture and laws, while dispelling harmful myths around marijuana stemming from the War on Drugs and anti-drug propaganda.

"I got really passionate about learning about cannabis science and medicine and the industry,” Jones says. “I just started sharing that through my social media, and things kind of exploded to where people almost all the way around the world have recognized [me] from educating people about cannabis online.”

As a budtender, Jones's duties initially involved helping medical marijuana consumers understand the nuances and benefits of cannabis and pinpointing the best products for their needs. After recreational cannabis use became legal in 2020, he says his employer prioritized quick customer turnover, resulting in less personalized interactions.

Jones uses his platform to center his passion for education, dropping videos with thorough explanations on topics, such as state-by-state marijuana law reforms, and booking private consultations on subjects like growing cannabis at home. He also works to normalize cannabis use; a video in which he waters houseplants while smoking a joint recently went viral.

I am a young Black person educated in cannabis on a very scientific, legislative level. I focus on putting out intentional, quality media that both highlights, [or] doesn't necessarily highlight but just features, cannabis as something that is not this wild thing,” Jones says. “I really want to open people's minds up to what an everyday stoner can be, what an educated stoner can be, and, really, to what cannabis can be for your life.”—ALEJANDRO

BEST METHOD FOR A SEASONED POTHEAD TO CONSUME WEED THAT ISN’T SMOKING IT Dabbing

All right, just stay with me on this one. Before you read ahead because the thought of using a blow torch

to get high on a Tuesday afternoon seems off-putting, remember that we are in 2023, and there are now a variety of electronic dab rigs that heat up on their own. They’re also safer to use because the hottest part of the rig is not exposed. My personal favorite rig is the Pu co Peak Pro. As someone who has smoked bud consistently for six years, my recent switch to concentrates could not have been kinder on my body. Once your tolerance is super high, you obviously have to smoke

more to match your previous high, and what you’re left with is an itchy throat and perennially cannabis-scented clothing. Here’s an alternative: Order yourself an electronic dab rig online; head to a local dispensary (such as Sunnyside in Lakeview or River North); and grab a few grams of wax, shatter, or crumble—experiment as you please. No matter what you choose, you’ll have the cleanest and quickest high of your cannabis career. Cheers.

BEST “ADULT USE” (REC) BUDTENDER

First Place: Monique McCorkle

Second Place: Juan Cruz

Third Place: Kemett Hayes

BEST “ADULT USE” DISPENSARY

First Place: Dispensary 33

Second Place: SunnySide

Third Place: nuEra Chicago

BEST CANNABIS ACCESSORY BOUTIQUE (NON-DISPENSARY)

First Place (tie): Cannabella Lux

Saint Lucia’s

Third Place (tie): AMIGOS & Us

Ms. Hemp Lady

BEST CANNABIS ACCESSORY SELECTION IN A DISPENSARY

First Place: Dispensary 33

Second Place: Sunnyside

Third Place (tie): NuEra Chicago

RISE Mundelein

BEST CANNABIS ADVOCACY OR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE ORGANIZATION

First Place: Cannabis Equity Illinois

Second Place: Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change

Third Place: Norml

BEST CANNABIS SUPPER CLUB, HOME CHEF, OR CATERER

First Place: High Minded Events

Second Place: Manny

Mendoza: Herbal Notes

Third Place (tie): Mateo’s Pot

Rocío Vargas PLANDA

BEST CLINIC TO GET CERTIFIED FOR A MEDICAL CARD

First Place: Dr. Consalter

Second Place: Innovative Wellness

Third Place: Compassionate Clinic

BEST CONSUMABLE, OTHER (MINT, TABLET, SNACK FOOD, ETC.)

First Place (tie): Incredibles

1906 Drops

Third Place: Beboe

BEST HOME GROW SUPPLY SHOP

First Place: Chicago Roots

Second Place: Brew & Grow

Third Place: Aroma Grow (Wheeling)

BEST INFUSED BEVERAGE (DRINK, DROP, SYRUP, TEA)

First Place: Wake-N-Bakery

Second Place: PTS Tonics

Third Place: Cann

52 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Cae Jones COURTESY THE ARTIST.
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 53

continued from p. 52

BEST WOMAN-OWNED CANNABIS BRAND Canna Bella Lux

Ti any Woodman, founder of Canna Bella Lux, believes cannabis can be luxurious. She’s building a brand with “a di erent kind of luxury that leads with love, uplifts others, and [gives women the space to] be extra.”

Woodman is a Chicago native with a Puerto Rican mother and an Italian father, who grew up in the Rogers Park area. A self-proclaimed “late bloomer” to cannabis, she began consuming in 2018 and by 2019 was discouraged by the lack of women-inspired lifestyle cannabis brands. By early 2020 she opened her own brick-and-mortar accessory shop in Lincoln Square with credit cards and a dream. The shop had a lot of promise, but then COVID-19 arrived, and Woodman had to reimagine the day-to-day operations for Canna Bella Lux. She went live on Instagram every day and did many giveaways. She built community through free local contactless product deliveries and online events. Because of these e orts, she was able to keep the doors open but closed the shop when the lease was up in June 2022.

About the decision, Woodman explained, “A smart leader knows when to pause.

Despite the pause, Canna Bella Lux has not slowed, and Woodman just announced a brand expansion as the first Latina-owned cannabis brand to hit the Illinois market. She partnered with the 1937 Group, the first minority-owned and vertically-integrated cannabis group in Illinois to o er exclusively women-grown flower with a focus on women’s pain relief. This partnership provides much-needed equity to women in the cannabis industry. According to the Harvard Business Review , women-led startups only received 2.3 percent of venture capital funding in 2020.

BEST “PRIVATE” SPACE TO SMOKE A BLUNT OUTDOORS

Pratt Beach

Ilike to lay out a blanket in a city park and smoke a fat Backwood under the sun just as much as the next guy. I don’t like the low hum of anxiety I feel when I’m smacked and alone around too many people who aren’t smoking too. Once I’m properly high, if I see

54 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Tiffany Woodman COURTESY OF CANNA BELLA LUX
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 55

a few middle school kids sitting under a tree nearby or notice the delicious waft of my strain traveling closer to a large family hosting a carne asada, my own anxiety ruins the high. But I’m determined to smoke outdoors.

The “private” beach on Pratt, aka the one that sits secluded behind some trees near the intersection of Sheridan and Pratt, is, frankly, my safe space. It’s only a safe space for two to three months at a time when it’s warm enough to go outside, but it’s intimate and quiet. The small beach is divided into three parts with a lot of trees and shrubs providing shade around the perimeter of the sand. The trees o er an abundance of places to choose to be tucked away and not be too visible. But even if you are in someone’s line of sight, Pratt is much more sparsely populated than Warren Park or Foster Beach, two other spots I’ve smoked at up north that always have me looking around jittery and concerned.

It’s a beach that gets forgotten by many Chicago residents who live too far away from Rogers Park to consider it as an option. Well, to that I say: More beach for me.

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR WEED TESTED

Money Tree Genetics

So you’ve coaxed your girl up from a tiny seed to a bushy green giant who bends under the weight of her dank, frosty, purple flowers. These, you’ve lovingly harvested, dried, cured, and trimmed until they’re ready to smoke. But how well did you do from a measurable scientific perspective? What’s the THC per-

centage, the CBD? The cannabigerol? How about terpenes, the chemical compounds that give your buds their flavor and aroma? Did you miss any mold development? How about parasites?

Or maybe, you just don’t trust the lab analysis on your dispensary-bought weed. Or maybe you want to know if your dealer’s shit is as good as they say.

Whatever sparked your curiosity, just takeone or more 1.5 gram buds to this Irving Park seed bank, which is home to a $8,500 GemmaCert PRO. The Israeli-manufactured desktop chamber will laser every dimension of your flower using near-infrared spectroscopy and data analytics and issue a printout of all its stats within 15 minutes.

The cost is $35 for a single test or $100 for four tests if you want to get the average levels on an entire plant—or your entire crop. For better or worse, your buds are returned to you intact.

BEST SWANK WEED PARTY BUS

SESH Mobile VIP Lounge

Every once in a while, this contented stoner of some 30 years can still have a “cannabis epiphany,” as I'm often quite floored at how far the legal marijuana world has progressed. Case in point, while DJing a record fair and happening at Life on Marz Community Club back in January, I was not prepared for the majesty of the SESH bus.

As cofounder and director of training McKensie Kahnweiler exclaimed, “My favorite thing is when people walk in the lounge and squeal with joy, saying, ‘This is what stoner

56 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
continued from p. 54
COURTESY SESH
The people of SESH in front of the magic ride

dreams are made of.’” Kahnweiler nailed my exact feeling as I walked onto this chill, swank, roving venue, which was not packed with drunken sports fans heading to a game nor a froofy bachelorette party. Instead, I witnessed turned-on folks laughing, casually socializing, and groovin' on 70s funk tunes, in a perfectly mood-lit rec room with tires, and with all manner of joints and swag laid out for sampling (this time via sponsor Daze O , who hired the bus for the event).

The park ’n’ pu service, aka SESH (Social Equality Smoke House), is the only such weed-on-wheels game going in Chicago (and probably the country). Khanweiler and Derrick Levy honed their skills and knowledge working together at Green Thumb Industries and left in March 2021 to start SESH with Theresa Schiller and Ryan McBride, launching the lounge on Halloween of that year. Kahnweiler elaborated, “We came up with the Mobile VIP Lounge concept because we are all big cannabis consumers and dreamed of being able to partake more frequently with the community.” This pu -patron hopes that this neighborhood-based, fantasy-became-reality motor party parks on my block soon! —STEVE KRAKOW v

BEST INFUSED CHOCOLATE

First Place: Mindy’s

Second Place: Incredibles

Third Place: Nature’s Grace and Wellness

BEST INFUSED GUMMIES

First Place: Mindy’s

Second Place: Wana

Third Place: KIVA Lost Farms

BEST LOCAL CBD SOURCE (LOCAL NON-DISPENSARY SHOP OR BRAND)

First Place: Cubbington’s Cabinet

Second Place: CBD Kratom

Third Place: Soul and Wellness

BEST MEDICAL BUDTENDER OR PATIENT CARE REP

First Place: Andres Zepeda

Second Place: Monique McCorkle

Third Place: Alesha Crosby

BEST MEDICAL CANNABIS

BEST NON-VAPE CONCENTRATE (STRAIN AND BRAND/PRODUCER)

First Place: Cresco Slurricane

Second Place: Rythm Live

Grapefruit Sour Diesel

Third Place: Grassroots Lemon Royale Live Sugar

BEST PET CBD PRODUCT

First Place: Cubbington’s Cabinet P’Nut Budder Drops

Second Place: Dr Solomons

Third Place: Mary’s Medicinals

BEST PRODUCT FOR INCREASED LIBIDO

First Place: 1906 Love Drops

Second Place: Rythm A ernoon Delight

Third Place: Rick Flair Drip

BEST STRAIN OR CONSUMABLE PRODUCT FOR PAIN RELIEF (INCLUDE PRODUCER)

First Place: Cresco Bio Jesus

Second Place: Rythm Orange Herijuana

Third Place: Rythm Kosher Kush

BEST STRAIN OR PRODUCT FOR RELIEF OF ANXIETY (INCLUDE PRODUCER)

First Place: Cubbington’s Cabinet Classic CBD Tincture

Second Place: 1906 Bliss

Third Place (tie): Rhythm Orange Herijuana Verano Essence Gelato

BEST STRAIN OR PRODUCT FOR SLEEP (INCLUDE PRODUCER)

First Place: Incredibles Snoozzzeberry

Second Place: Cubbington’s Cabinet Nighttime Reserve

Third Place: Miss Grass Quiet Times

BEST TOPICAL

First Place: Doctor Solomon’s

Second Place: Avexia Pain Relief Balm

Third Place: PTS Body Oil

BEST VAPE CONCENTRATE (STRAIN AND BRAND/PRODUCER)

First Place: Rythm Live Brownie Scout

Second Place: Verano Reserve Live

Resin Orange Pound Cake

Third Place: Select Elite Live Ray Charles

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 57
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Summer Theater & Arts

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Providing arts coverage in Chicago since 1971. chicagoreader.com

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APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 59
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BEST
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER

BEST PLACE TO PRETEND YOU'RE RUNNING AN ART SALON IN YOUR ECCENTRIC AUNT'S BASEMENT

The downstairs lobby at the Chopin Theatre

Some of Chicago’s coziest theater lobbies are in Wicker Park. Upstairs at the Den, overstu ed leather chairs and an electric fireplace provide a great place to warm up on a cold night. But the Chopin Theatre’s basement lobby has always been my favorite weird place to hang out before a show, especially when the show feels a little dark or at least undefinable, like Kokandy’s Sweeney Todd or Alex Grelle and Jesse Morgan Young’s Floor Show

.

Descend the narrow stairs, and step into what looks like a cross between a speakeasy and a 1970s rec room—a blend of faded elegance and kitsch that shouldn’t work. But it somehow sets the stage for whatever’s going to happen beyond the sliding metal doors where the real show will take place.

As far as what you’ll find there? Old tapestry sofas, mirrors, swag lamps. Shelves filled with books and tchotchkes. A plastic plant that provides a home for an enormous ceramic parrot. Walls covered in posters of past productions, as well as what looks like thrift-store art—perhaps donated after the demise of an ancient relative who spent decades toiling away on their canvases, never to find recognition in this life. (Yes, that appears to be a portrait of Leonard Cohen hanging next to what looks like a 19th-century French nude.) Chicago Shakespeare’s lobby may have the best view, but if you’d like to imagine yourself sipping absinthe with your own version of Auntie Mame, the Chopin basement is the place to be. —KERRY

AN OCTOGENARIAN TELL A STORY ABOUT GETTING IT ON

Grown Folks Stories

Grown Folks Stories manages to do the thing that other storytelling events sometimes fall short of: center

BEST ART GALLERY

First Place: Wrightwood 659

Second Place: Elephant Room Gallery

Third Place: Chicago Truborn

BEST ART GROUP OR COLLECTIVE

First Place: Englewood Arts Collective

Second Place: Fulton Street Collective

Third Place: PO Box Collective

BEST VISUAL ARTIST

First Place: Saúl Palos Rodriguez

Second Place: Chad Eckersley

Third Place: Katie Klimacek

BEST MURAL

First Place: For My Neighbors, With Love by Ponnopozz (Adrianne Hawthorne), Ravenswood and Berteau

Second Place: Robin Williams by Jerkface and Owen Dippie, 2051 N. Milwaukee

Third Place (tie): On The Wings of Change by Diosa (Jasmina Cazacu), 33 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. Be Your Higher Self / mind body and soul by Rahmaan Statik, Chicago and Laramie

BEST STREET ARTIST

First Place: Cool Disco Rich

Second Place: J.C. Rivera

Third Place: Sentrock

BEST PHOTOGRAPHER

First Place: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

Second Place: Alicia Mayorca

Third Place: Elias Rios

BEST MUSEUM

First Place: Art Institute of Chicago

Second Place: National Museum of Mexican Art

Third Place: The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

BEST LECTURE SERIES

First Place: Chicago

Humanities Festival

Second Place: Family Action Network

Third Place: Voices for Justice: a Social Justice Speaker Series

BEST NEW NONFICTION BOOK BY A CHICAGOAN

First Place: Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sánchez

Second Place: When Blackness was Golden! by Pemon Rami

Third Place: Britney Spears’s Blackout (33 1/3) by Natasha Lasky

BEST NEW NOVEL BY A CHICAGOAN

First Place: When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar

Second Place: Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe

Third Place: The Man Across the Alley by Emilie Barage

60 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
BEST CHANCE TO HEAR
Descend the Chopin Theatre's narrow stairs and step into what looks like a cross between a speakeasy and a 1970s rec room. KERRY REID

BEST NONFICTION WRITER

First Place: Mariame Kaba

Second Place: Jonathan Eig

Third Place: Cristalle Bowen

BEST NOVELIST

First Place: Rebecca Makkai

Second Place: Mia P. Manansala

Third Place: Emilie Barage

BEST COMICS ILLUSTRATOR

First Place: Caroline Cash

Second Place: Mads Horwath

Third Place: Whitney Wasson

BEST COMICS WRITER

First Place: Eve Ewing

Second Place (tie): Mads Horwath

Caroline Cash

BEST NEW POETRY COLLECTION BY A CHICAGOAN

First Place: Phases of a Butterfly:

The Egg by Shuntonese Richardson

Second Place: Wherever I'm At: an

Anthology of Chicago Poetry edited by Donald G. Evans and Robin Metz

Third Place: The Bovine Huff by Jessie McCarty

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 61 You’re invited 17 MAY PUBLIC HUMANITIES AWARDS CHICAGO ILHUMANITIES.ORG/PHA23-CR Honoring Tracie D. Hall, Rebecca Ginsburg, Stephanie Manriquez, & Alyson Thompson Thank you to our Sponsors:

continued from p. 60

the human experience. At Grown Folks, the five-minute stories from Chicagoans who represent a variety of stages of life, backgrounds, and perspectives are always real accounts from daily life. Each night has a loose theme, but mainly nonprofessional and unrehearsed tellers sign up when doors open, so you really have no idea what you’re going to hear.

The series started in 2010 as a regular evening event at the store and community space Silver Room and is now on its 13th year of monthly live storytelling, recently holding court at the Promontory in Hyde Park. Some of the best tellers are first-timers from the audience who are moved by the experience to tell everyone a real story from their own lives. Unlike some of the bigger storytelling nights, you won’t hear the same five stories in a row from recently jilted-in-love graduate students here. Sure, maybe there will be one sad grad, but they’re likely to be followed by an electrician with a funny story about his mom. Or you could hear from an elder with a disarmingly complicated, raunchy sex memory from a recent affair she was involved in with her sister’s husband (which she told in the style of a romance paperback so she didn’t feel as nervous). “His hands made her lips . . . quiver,” said the 80something storyteller into the microphone, as myself and the rest of the audience spontaneously applauded. —SALEM COLLO-JULIN

BEST NSFW NIHILISTIC QUEER PUNK ARTIST

Mony Kaos

Chaos reigns in the artwork of Mony Nuñez, aka Mony Kaos. Drawing from the aesthetics of Tom of Finland, anarcho-punk iconography, vintage gay porn, and cutesy cultural figures like Betty Boop, Kaos’s NSFW compositions—which take the form of screenprints, air-brushed banners, fliers, zines, ceramics, T-shirts, hooked rugs, and illustrations—explode with color and attitude. In her campy, raunchy, and nihilistic oeuvre, you’ll find teddy bears in studded necklaces, lesbian orgies, and a reproduction of the cover art of Hagar the Womb’s Funnery in a Nunnery record. The artist has long been enmeshed in the city’s south-side punk scene, making show fliers and band T-shirts. You can frequently find them selling their wares at the roving Zine Mercado; interested parties can also check out stock on their web store or at Buddy Chicago, located inside the Chicago Cultural Center. A recent screenprint centers a quote from the

late artist and activist David Wojnarwicz: “Hell is a place on earth. Heaven is a place in your head.” It’s an apt summation of Kaos’s aesthetic, where cops are pigs and the grim reaper lurks around the corner, but you’re still free to don your leather, turn on X-Ray Spex, and envision your wildest fantasies. instagram.com/monykaos —KERRY

BEST PORN AT A SHORT FILMS SCREENING

Mes Chéris at Free Yr Dick

Last June, I interviewed emerging filmmaker Henry Hanson about his short Bros Before , a funny 20-minute hyperpop fever dream where two trans men struggle to understand their changing friendship after they begin hooking up. At the end of July, it made its hometown debut at Facets following eight shorts by trans filmmakers from the United States, Canada, and Germany. The event was called Free Yr Dick. Each movie was thoughtfully curated to demonstrate a range of aesthetic and emotional concerns through a trans lens—from ADORABLE , an abstract animation about evolving internal and external relationships to the body, to Monogamy House, an uproarious satire of reality dating shows (also a Bros Before Easter egg). But the film that moved me most was Mes Chéris, a 2020 short directed and produced by Ethan Folk and Ty Wardwell and written by Jamal Phoenix.

One month before his top surgery, Phoenix says goodbye to his chest by living out a fantasy as a high-femme sex worker named Chéri. Partially inspired by Phoenix’s past experiences as a brothel worker, the movie occupies a murky creative space between documentary and pornography. In interview sequences, Phoenix describes how his fantasies are changing with his physique. What would be the most sumptuous goodbye to this part of himself that represents so much of his past life and desires but that he wants to abandon? Watching him have sex as Chéri is compelling for its visible complexity of joy, sadness, and freedom. At the end, I was misty-eyed for what it captured about my own relationship to my chest. Later, I realized it provided me with language for communicating my unique sexual needs to partners too. I haven’t been able to shut up about this movie since. —MICCO

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A still from Mes Chéris , which screened at Facets last summer PINKLABEL.TV Artwork by Mony Kaos KERRY CARDOZA A Speak Your Peace event at Pilsen Art House JUAN JOSE AVALA JR.

BEST OPEN MIKE RUN BY A HOMEGROWN CREATIVE COMPANY Speak

Your Peace open mike by FourtuneHouse

In summer 2021, I was a just-graduated Northwestern student, and Speak Your Peace was the first open mike I attended as a newly Chicago-based musician looking for Black community, shared artistic experiences, and the opportunity to whip out my guitar for a three-minute slot in front of my peers. I couldn’t know it then, but none of the dozen open mikes I’d attend afterward would live up to the lively experience that FourtuneHouse curated for me.

Makafui Searcy, the 22-year-old director of FourtuneHouse, says he founded the company as an artistic safe space that could function as an engine to drive creative entrepreneurship in Chicago. Speak Your Peace, which began as a collaboration with the Pilsen Art House, is attended by longtime artists as well as firsttime performers, primarily 18- to 24-year-old Black and Brown folks on the south side.

Searcy, the child of entrepreneurs, grew up side by side with Chicago artists such as Sonny, NombreKari, and Dreamer Isioma, and he says he “inherently just wanted to support [his] people.” The open mike his creative company birthed is one of the most vibrant and celebratory spaces in the city; you can feel how eager attendees are to perform and to hype up anyone else with grit enough to grace the stage. SYP started online during the pandemic as a virtual place that invited local artists to share messages of uplift and personal inspiration, but it’s since evolved into a seasonal indoor-outdoor marketplace and open mike featuring vendors of clothes, visual art, food, and books. On an average day, 60 or more people sign up to perform, some of them just rapping and singing over a track and others bringing multiple support musicians onstage for a more fully live performance.

Speak Your Peace has since moved to the FourtuneHouse Art Center at 4410 S. Cottage Grove, and for its upcoming season it’ll add a north-side venue to be determined. The open mike usually runs from late spring till early fall, and FourtuneHouse will post updates on Instagram at @fourtunehouse. You know it’s summertime when Speak Your Peace is popping o . —DEBBIE-MARIE BROWN

BEST POET

First Place: Eve Ewing

Second Place: Hannah McDonald

Third Place: Jessie McCarty

BEST POETRY ORGANIZATION

First Place: Young Chicago Authors

Second Place: Poetry Foundation

Third Place: The Chicago Poetry Center

BEST READING SERIES

First Place: Grandma’s House

Second Place: Tuesday Funk

Third Place: Sunday Salon

BEST INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHER

First Place: Haymarket Books

Second Place: Tortoise Books

Third Place: Meekling Press

BEST ZINE

First Place: How To Be Sober by Whitney Wasson

Second Place (tie): Will That New Development Benefit Your Community? by City Bureau

No Pants Revolution by Andrea Pearson

BEST STORYTELLING SERIES

First Place: The Moth

Second Place: ¡Ay Cucuy!

Third Place: Story Sessions

BEST VENUE FOR DANCE

First Place: The Harris Theater

Second Place: Auditorium Theatre

Third Place: Harold Washington

Cultural Center

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

First Place: Dawn Xiana Moon

Second Place: Sheena Laird

Third Place: Jackie Ovassapian

BEST DANCE PRODUCTION

First Place: The Fly Honeys at Thalia Hall

Second Place (tie): Queer Dance

Freakout: An Interactive Dance Spectacle at Elastic Arts

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque at Greenhouse Theater Center

BEST DANCE STUDIO OR TRAINING PROGRAM

First Place: Hyde Park School of Dance

Second Place: Joel Hall Dancers and Center

Third Place: Newport Theater

BEST DANCE TROUPE

First Place: Joffrey Ballet

Second Place: Queer Dance Freakout

Third Place: Raks Geek

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 63 BOOK TICKETS: MCACHICAGO.ORG/ FRICTIONS
06–JUN 18, 2023
Photo by Will Rawls.
APR

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BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR MOVIE TRIVIA CONTEST Music Box Trivia and Brunch

Ithought I could’ve been a contender. But all too soon, I was knocked out at the fun but challenging event known as Music Box Trivia and Brunch. It’s held every Sunday in the Music Box Theatre’s lounge from 1–3 PM, but get there early because people start claiming seats just after noon. It’s BYOB—and the “B” is brunch. People bring in bagels and sandwiches from Steingold’s next door, but you can get the

theater’s popcorn or movie-inspired cocktails at the lounge bar.

Hosts and film aficionados Carmel Companiott, Alexsandra Gomez, and Kimberly Villanueva explain the rules to the teams (six people max). There are six categories: actor spotlight; director spotlight; visual round (stills from movies, sometimes extreme close-ups that make it challenging); audio round (a brief clip); runner up’s choice; and wildcard, where the hosts pick. These aren’t questions from a trivia book—the hosts interject funny, personal asides into the questions. Themes and clues are shared in advance on the @musicboxtrivia Instagram page. First prize isn’t a one-way ticket to Palookaville but a $25 gift certificate to Steingold’s. Other prizes include tickets,

posters, and rights to name a category.

“We’ve created a nice community of people who are interested in movies and trivia,” says Gomez. “But we invite new people to come out.”

When I attended, my team of “Duke and Duke” scored only 24 out of a possible 60 points. The nice (and smart) guys at our table o ered to team up, but we foolishly declined. Despite the defeat, it was fun, so I'll be back.

BEST MOVIE THEATER TO RELIVE YOUR TEEN YEARS

The New 400 Theaters

It's something special to see a movie at the New 400, Chicago’s longest-running movie theater. Up in Rogers Park, the New 400’s tickets are half the price of any AMC, their concessions are astoundingly affordable (go

BEST DANCER

First Place: Dawn Xiana Moon

Second Place (tie): Kamrah Raqs Deidre Dillon

BEST ORIGINAL DIGITAL CONTENT (DANCE)

First Place: Rhythm Nation (Uniting Voices Chicago)

Second Place: RPM (Donnetta "Lil' Bit" Jackson and M.A.D.D. Rhythms)

Third Place: Chicago Dance History Project

BEST VENUE TO SEE DRAG

First Place: Berlin

Second Place: Roscoe’s Tavern

Third Place: Baton Show Lounge

for it and get the popcorn), and their day-glo interiors are reminiscent of an 80s arcade or Jerry Garcia’s rec room. It’s amazing.

The New 400 is a neighborhood theater that welcomes all to the experience of movie magic. Going to see a film pre-pandemic was an exercise in group catharsis—you could scream along with crowds of Loyola students at the theater’s late-night October scary movie series, or laugh at Vin Diesel chanting “family” over and over in the Fast & Furious franchise (yes, the New 400 carries first-run films, too).

With the pandemic inextricably altering how and when we see movies, the theater has found itself in dire straits. With limited showtimes and increasingly empty seats, the theater is in danger of closing its doors. Please, I beg of you, do not let this happen! Do yourself, your BFF, your lover, your neighbors, your coworkers, your nemesis, and your cinematically inclined dog a favor and see a movie at the New 400. Not only will you not regret it, you’ll exit the theater with a smile and feel as you should after any movie—young, free, and happy.

BEST DRAG PERFORMER

First Place: Lucy Stoole

Second Place: Irregular Girl

Third Place: Derry Queen

BEST OPEN MIKE

First Place: Schubas

Second Place: Logan Theatre

Lounge Open Mic Comedy

Third Place: Fruit Salad at the Martin

BEST COMEDIAN (NON-STANDUP)

First Place: Kristi Durkin

Second Place: Conner Stumm

Third Place: Nikki Hartung

64 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
The New 400 is Chicago’s longest-running movie theater. COURTESY THE NEW 400 THEATERS

PERFORMERS: KENNEDY BALDWIN, KARL BRADLEY, ARLIETA HALL, SPENCER HODGES, ADONIS HOLMES, JASON TOLLIVER

DIRECTOR: ROB WILSON, MUSIC DIRECTOR: TONY BELSITO, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: SABRINA ODIGIE, STAGE MANAGER: DEVONTE E. WASHINGTON

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 65

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BEST FILM SERIES THAT INTERROGATES THE MEANING OF “HIGH ART”

Highs & Lows at the Music Box Theatre

“Cinema was born with the intention to fulfill the needs of spectacle for the working classes—the mainstream.” So exclaims the thesis posted to the metaphorical door that’s the Music Box Theatre website. “Yet, as time pressed on, and the cinematic form grew, so did the separation of cinema from its origins, from the people and their governing reality.” Thus Highs & Lows—a series presented by Oscarbate podcast hosts John Dickson and Will Morris at the Music Box Theatre over several weeks in early 2022—sought to explore the dynamic between so-called “high art” and pejoratively branded mainstream cinema with double features that included one film from each category. The films were linked by meaningful and often surprising similarities. Take the pairing of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). What could those two, Jesus and Peggy Sue, possibly have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out, as both films evoke a strong emotional response through plots involving the reassessment and potential redoing of the past. When possible the screenings were projected on 35-millimeter, the films then connected by their physical properties as well as their thematic ones. Recent pairings in this ongoing series include Jean Luc-Godard’s Keep Your Right Up (1987) with Joe Dante’s

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) and Andrew Fleming’s The Craft (1996) with Jacques Rivette’s Duelle (1976). The order in which they’re screened doesn’t matter, nor does any literal assessment of which film is the high and which is the low; ultimately each demands respect on its own terms. musicboxtheatre.

BEST WAY TO COMBINE THEATER, EXERCISE, AND HISTORY Theatre Y's "Camino" productions

In 2017, the members of Theatre Y completed the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain—a 500-mile route followed by pilgrims for centuries. That sparked the company's annual ambulatory “Camino” productions, which invite audiences to walk through different Chicago neighborhoods while experiencing a series of environmental performances. In 2019, the Camino Project focused on neighborhoods surrounding the 606. COVID-19 kept the group from producing in 2020, but in 2021, they returned with an exploration of the city’s west- and south-side boulevards in You Are Here

Now based in North Lawndale, where they’re turning a former storage facility into a community arts center, Theatre Y’s third Camino Project was last year’s Laughing Song: A Walking Dream. The production centered on their new neighborhood, as seen through the eyes of artistic associate and North Lawndale native Marvin Tate, and through the biogra-

phy of singer George W. Johnson, who became the first Black American artist to record commercially in 1890. The four-hour journey made for an exhilarating, immersive afternoon—culminating, as all the Camino shows do, with the artists and audience sitting down together for a free shared meal. (All Theatre Y programming is free of charge.)

BEST VENUE FOR IMPROV

First Place: The Annoyance

Second Place: Second City

Third Place: Logan Square Improv

BEST SKETCH/IMPROV TROUPE

First Place: Ghost Rats

Second Place : Gag Reflex

Third Place (tie): Riff Smoochers

BEST VENUE FOR STANDUP

First Place: Laugh Factory

Second Place: Lincoln Lodge

Third Place: The Den Theatre

BEST STANDUP COMIC

First Place: Deanna Ortiz

Second Place: Joe Eames

Third Place: Cassidy Kulhanek

BEST FILM FESTIVAL

First Place: Music Box

70mm Film Festival

In 2021, founding artistic director Melissa Lorraine told the Reader’s Josh Flanders that the company’s focus for the Camino shows had shifted since their first year: “The bulk of your experience is a conversation with a stranger that we are curating and guiding you through . . . You bring your own theater.” For summer 2023, they’re shifting once again: The team has turned the creative reins over to Theatre Y’s youth ensemble, who will share what they think we ought to see and understand about North Lawndale. I can’t wait to stretch my legs and my mind once again and to see my fellow “pilgrims” take it all in beside me.

BEST MIDNIGHT SCREENING OF AN ICONIC EARLY-2000S MOVIE Scooby-Doo at the Music Box Theatre

On a cold November night, as the clock struck midnight and the movie theater lights dimmed, the audience broke into raucous, hooting-and-hollering applause, and I knew that movie-going etiquette was out the window. Sipping Mystery Machine Margaritas—the Music Box’s featured cocktail for the occasion—longtime fans of 2002’s cult classic Scooby-Doo watched with giddy anticipation as the beloved members of Mystery Inc. reluctantly reunited to untangle the secrets of Spooky Island. As each star made their debut, viewers screamed and fangirled, the theater overwhelmed with a sense of, “Damn, I forgot the cast was this iconic.” There’s Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, Linda Cardellini as Velma, and a not-distractingly-bad CGI Scooby Doo. Together, they make no runof-the-mill live-action adventure flick; the 2000s star power, queer energy, and stoner jokes that all went over my head as a kid, cause Scooby-Doo to elicit a specific queer nostalgia and sense of camp that hit just right. Shoutout to Elizabeth Arnott for programming this memorable Scooby screening. —TARYN

Second Place: Chicago

International Film Festival

Third Place: Chicago Latino Film Festival

BEST FILM PROGRAMMING

First Place: Music Box Theater

Second Place: Gene Siskel Film Center

Third Place: Chicago

International Film Festival

BEST FILMMAKER

First Place: Paloma Nozicka

Second Place: Aliya Haq

Third Place: Steven Haas

BEST DRIVE-IN MOVIE

PROGRAMMING

First Place: Music Box Theatre

Second Place: ChiTown Movies

Third Place: Rock Island Public House

BEST MOVIE THEATER

First Place: Music Box Theatre

Second Place: Logan Theatre

Third Place: Davis Theater

BEST MOVIE THEATER BAR

First Place: Music Box

Lounge & Garden

Second Place (tie): Carbon

Arc Bar at Davis Theater

Logan Theatre Lounge

BEST ESTABLISHED THEATER COMPANY

First Place: Steppenwolf

Second Place: The Neo-Futurists

Third Place: Chicago Shakespeare Theater

66 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
From Theatre Y's Laughing Song (2022) JUSTIN T. JONES

BEST ARTS EDUCATION PROGRAMMING PlayMakers Laboratory

PlayMakers Laboratory (PML) stands out among other theater and arts education programs for its unique approach to teaching creative writing—and so much more—to Chicagoland area students (grades three to six).

What sets PML (founded in 1997) apart is that the adult actors and musicians in the program adapt the students’ written stories into sketches and songs, which are performed for the schools and later for the public (for most of their history, through the long-running That’s Weird, Grandma). This way, students not only learn to express themselves through writing but also get to see their stories come to life onstage. That’s Weird, Grandma went on a pandemic pause in 2020, but the company hopes to bring it back soon. Meantime, the company has been doing other occasional public performances, including touring with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series.

In a world where many young people spend a significant amount of time alone in front of screens, PML provides opportunities for social-emotional learning and confidence building, as well as creative expression and collaboration.

PML’s story of perseverance, growth, and change is also inspiring. In January 2022, the company almost closed because of financial constraints. But with the help of generous donors, PlayMakers returned to in-person teaching and playmaking in spring 2022. The support PML received highlights how important its emphasis on community, collaboration, and ensemble has been for creating change and empowering young people.

BEST INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN DRAG PAGEANT SYSTEM BASED IN CHICAGO

The Continental Pageantry System

The art of drag has been around for centuries, and today’s drag ball scene can trace its roots to post-Civil War Harlem, when Hamilton Lodge No. 710 began hosting regular competitions. The modern drag pageant evolved from one-off nights in bars, clubs, and rented banquet halls, to several pageant systems throughout the country; if you’ve ever seen Miss America on TV, you’ll be familiar with the format. The stakes of these competitions can be high, but so can the barriers for entry. For example, since the Miss Gay America (MGA) pageant (which began in 1972 at a Nashville bar) began drawing contestants and audience members from different states, winners have been guaranteed prize packages, including full-time work for at least their reigning year. But MGA’s long-standing rule barring transgender performers has shut out many potential trans and nonbinary

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 67 335175_4.75_x_4.75.indd 1 3/31/23 2:49 PM
From That's Weird, Grandma EVAN HANOVER Paula Sinclair competing at the Miss Continental Elite pageant in 2022 JACK NEILSEN

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participants.

In 1969, Peoria native Jim Flint established the Baton Show Lounge in River North. The club quickly became one of the country’s premiere venues for drag performance, and by the late 70s, Flint realized that there was an opportunity to support performers that were excluded from pageant systems like MGA. He launched the Miss Continental pageant in 1980, which became a highly coveted title, partially because it had no specific rule regarding the participation of trans performers. Miss Continental has since expanded into an international system of preliminary competitions that culminate in an extravagant series of events in Chicago each Labor Day weekend. It’s also inspired three titles in addition to Miss Continental, creating opportunities for even more folks to compete: Mr. Continental (for hot male-identifying contestants), Miss Continental Plus (for more zaftig competitors), and my personal favorite, Miss Continental Elite. Created in 2004 as a competition for entertainers 40 years old and up, Elite’s competitors are often seasoned performers whose talent is unmatched. thebatonshowlounge.com —SALEM COLLO-JULIN

BEST FILM PROGRAMMING THAT CELEBRATED BLACK WOMEN FILMMAKERS An Open Window:

Black Female Directors Across the Diaspora at Doc Films

For those lamenting the dearth of films made by and centered on Black women, this several-week series was a welcome and much-needed salve. Programmed for the Doc Films’s spring 2022 calendar by Erisa Apantaku and J. Michael Eugenio with support from South Side Projections and Arts + Public Life, the series offered an embarrassment of riches: shorts and features, documentaries and narratives, this had it all. Highlights for me included Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground (1982), which received its theatrical release just eight years ago, having gone unappreciated in its time; local

filmmaker Yvonne Welbon’s Remembering Wei Yi-Fang, Remembering Myself (1995) preceding Camille Billops and James Hatch’s Finding Christa (1991), both of which explore family dynamics and the impact of lived experiences; and short works by Cheryl Dunye ( The Watermelon Woman ) exploring the intersection of race, sexuality, and familial ties. The other filmmakers represented in the series were Sarah Maldoror, Rosine Mbakam, Alice Diop, Pearl Bowser, and Madeline Anderson. Select screenings had introductions; Welbon was in attendance to introduce her film, local programmer Imani Davis spoke before Losing Ground , and Reader contributor Danielle Scruggs was on hand to introduce a screening of films by Khady Sylla and Ngozi Onwurah. Apantaku and Eugenio provided an invaluable resource with this series, and it’s an inspiring template for future endeavors. Especially appreciated was the inclusion of short films, which disenfranchised filmmakers are often relegated to make, due to the greater amount of resources needed (and often denied to them) to make feature films. Programmers of the city, take note: more like this, please. docfilms.org —KAT

BEST ARTIST WHO WON'T BE BUYING NEW ART MATERIALS Selina Trepp

In our age of overwhelming hyperconsumption, time scarcity, and environmental concerns, few artists are more inspiring than Selina Trepp, 49. In October 2012 she stopped acquiring new art materials and created “I Work With What I Have,” a concept that permeates all her work. “Work with what you have. If it doesn’t work one way, do it another way,” Trepp summarizes. She adopted this principle shortly after having her first and only child, when time and money demanded more consideration. Trepp also lists other reasons such as “modeling the ability to make without consuming” and “a ecting the value within [her] studio ecosystem.” “When things start running out, they become more powerful,” she says.

The result of this practice is a more creative, layered, and vibrant output, brimming with color and movement. So much so that Trepp is known for her strangely beautiful abstract animations—last year they took up a whole room

68 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Esmaa Mohamoud Let Them Consume Me In The Light Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St. Allana Clarke I Feel Everything Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd. Kavi Gupta | Chicago | 312 432 0708 | kavigupta.com Opening April 14

BEST MUSICAL

First Place: SIX the Musical (CIBC Theatre)

Second Place: Sex and the Windy City: an Unofficial Musical Parody (iO Theater)

Third Place: Pocus Hocus: A Virgin’s Revenge (Rejected Sequel Theatre at the Den Theatre)

BEST NEW LOCAL OPERA PRODUCTION

First Place: Fire Shut Up In My Bones (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Second Place: FORCE! (Anna Martine Whitehead for Elevate Chicago Dance at Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center)

Third Place: Two Remain(Out of Darkness) (Chicago Fringe Opera)

BEST NEW PLAY

First Place: 1919 (Steppenwolf)

Second Place: The Wizards (APO Cultural Center)

Third Place: Pocus Hocus: A Virgin’s Revenge (Rejected Sequel Theatre at the Den Theatre)

BEST NEW THEATER COMPANY

First Place: Visión Latino Theatre Company

Second Place: HATE/LAB

Third Place: Campfire Repertory Theatre

BEST OFF-LOOP

THEATER COMPANY

First Place: The Neo-Futurists

Second Place (tie): The Newport Theater Hell in a Handbag Hot Kitchen Collective

BEST OPERA COMPANY

First Place: Lyric Opera of Chicago

Second Place: Chicago Opera Theater

Third Place: Chicago Fringe Opera

BEST ORIGINAL DIGITAL CONTENT (THEATER)

First Place: The Neo-Futurists

Second Place (tie): Playground Social

Pocus Hocus: A Virgin’s Revenge

BEST PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL

First Place: Silver Room Block Party

Second Place: Chicago Live!

Third Place: Rhinoceros Theater Festival

BEST PLAYWRIGHT

First Place: Ricardo Gamboa

Second Place: Terry Guest

Third Place: Preston Parker and Bianca Shaw

BEST STAGE ACTOR

First Place: Max Thomas

Second Place: Sean Parris

Third Place (tie): Liz Falstreau Bianca Shaw

at the Chicago Cultural Center, and in the summer of 2021 they were projected nightly on the Merchandise Mart’s massive facade as part of the series Art on the Mart. Trepp will soon have one of her stop-motion animations, We Walk Together, permanently installed at O’Hare airport.

Born in Switzerland and raised in a large commune just outside of Zürich, Trepp had an unusual upbringing. She considers her parents one of her biggest influences, “never asking me to conform,” she says. “My father gave me this advice: ‘If in doubt, be radical.’ This is great advice, but beware—it can backfire,” she adds, in a playful tone. Her husband, Dan Bitney—a percussionist for cult band Tortoise and Trepp’s partner in their musical duo, Spectralina—and their child, Maxine, also count as major influences: “Dan is a gifted musician and one of the kindest people I know. My child, who is autistic, is super creative and [is someone] from whom I learn a lot every day.”

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 69 Principal Support Corporate Sponsor Partner 312.443.3800 | GoodmanTheatre.org Groups of 10+: Groups@GoodmanTheatre.org BY
ADAPTED AND DIRECTED BY ROBERT FALLS A family verges on bankruptcy while their country stands on the brink of revolution. Endings and beginnings. Bittersweet departures. The comedy of life. When Madame Ranevskaya returns to her heavily-mortgaged estate on the eve of its auction, the aristocratic widow finds that the fate of much more than her beloved orchard hangs in the balance. Anton Chekhov’s canonical masterpiece is an exploration of loss, love and how to live in a society that’s changing fast. Following his criticallyacclaimed productions of Three Sisters, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, Robert Falls takes on the last of Chekhov’s four major plays. NOW THROUGH APRIL 30
ANTON CHEKHOV
The artist in her studio COURTESY SELINA TREPP

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BEST LOCAL STAGE DIRECTOR READY FOR NEXT BIG STEPS

Georgette Verdin

Afew years ago, I wrote a story for American Theatre on Chicago as a great town for stage directors. One name that wasn't totally on my radar then has since become a top favorite. Georgette Verdin, who has been managing artistic director for Interrobang Theatre Project since 2015, has a special gift for bringing stories of what she describes as "identity, grief, unprocessed trauma, and the intimate lives of women" to compelling life onstage.

A short list of plays helmed by Verdin (who is queer and Cuban American) demonstrating that gift includes 2021's This Wide Night (by Chloë Moss), about two former "cellies" sharing a squalid bedsit in London; last spring's Spay (by Madison Fiedler) about two sisters in West Virginia dealing with the reality of opioid addiction; and September's Enough to Let the Light In (by Paloma Nozicka), in which two women in love confront secrets both supernatural and entirely too human. She also won raves last fall for her production of James Sherman's Chagall in School with Grippo Stage Company.

Verdin doesn't need to rely upon conceptual flourishes to make a splash. Instead, she builds the relationships between characters and text with careful attention to each small moment that reveals bigger truths about grief, joy, and everything in between, bringing audiences right up to the jagged edge of those emotional revelations. Her local profile has been growing: she was the Michael Maggio directing fellow at Goodman last year and was just

named interim artistic associate at Northlight. I'd hate to lose her entirely, but Verdin gets my vote as a Chicago director who deserves national attention too.

BEST ART SHOW ON THE SOUTHEAST SIDE'S ECOLOGY Norman W. Long at Glass Curtain Gallery

It can be hard to wrap your head around the complex ecological makeup of the areas surrounding the Calumet and Little Calumet rivers. Formerly heavily concentrated sites of industry, parts of these southeast neighborhoods are now in the slow process of getting cleaned up, via the green development of places like the Marian R. Byrnes Natural Area and Big Marsh Park. Making sense of this area has been an important part of the artistic practice of Norman W. Long for several years. In “Calumet in Dub,” Long’s solo exhibition at Columbia College’s Glass Curtain Gallery, the South Deering–based artist used a range of materials to make the area’s ecology tangible. The front room featured an eight-speaker installation that played Long’s signature soundscapes: field recordings layered and looped with the artist’s illbient-inspired synth-made beats. Two back galleries displayed some of Long’s research materials, including newscasts on environmental justice in Chicago, photos and field recordings of important historical sites in the Calumet region, and data on water quality and ecological life, which Long translated into sound. Long works with sound for its ability to

BEST STAGE DIRECTOR

First Place: Katrina Dion

Second Place: Sam Locke

Third Place: Xavier M. Custodio

BEST THEATER BAR OR LOBBY

First Place: Steppenwolf

Second Place: Chicago Magic Lounge

Third Place: The Annoyance

BEST THEATER DESIGNER (SETS, LIGHT, SOUND, ETC.)

First Place: Sam MacNerland

Second Place: Conchita Avitia

Third Place: Karen Wallace

BEST THEATER PRODUCTION

First Place: Pocus Hocus: A Virgin’s Revenge

Second Place: The Wizards

Third Place: Raks Geek

represent time and take up space. “Layering, echoing, looping, and reversing sounds speaks to how memory and history are synchronic,” he told Columbia. “How memories and histories are layered and can be covered or uncovered.” His ongoing work tracking these ecological sites and histories, making them readable and accessible, helps draw attention to the reality of these areas, regardless of what any government document might say. —KERRY

BEST ART SHOW THAT FLEXED ON CHICAGO'S PLACE IN THE NEW MEDIA LANDSCAPE

Every Chicagoan knows this city is the underdog of major metropolises. There’s no shortage of things we don’t get enough credit for. When it comes to art, I’m of the mind that our most unsung heroes right now are our new media artists—creators who are pushing technology’s creative applications and imagining new ways to blur the boundaries between analog and digital. I saw a lot of impressive stu in this realm last year. (Ava Wanbli’s performance about avatars and transitioning from the consumer to the consumed at an underground fundraiser was a standout.)

But one new media exhibition that’s especially stuck with me was Bun Stout’s fashion show Local Legend, which debuted at Co-Prosperity last July.

The self-described “mixed-reality wearable

BEST THEATER TRAINING PROGRAM

First Place: The Annoyance

Second Place: CIC Theater

Third Place: Newport Theater

BEST VENUE FOR THEATER

First Place: Steppenwolf

Second Place: Goodman Theater

Third Place: Chopin Theatre

BEST VIRTUAL PLAY

First Place: Party Hotline Live! 18 Days of Jest (Playground Social)

Second Place: Same Time, Next Year (Act Your Page)

Third Place: The Christians (Act Your Page)

art collection” includes five sculptural looks inspired by Stout’s experiences as a trans person who’s grown up traversing the stretch of highway between Indianapolis and Chicago. Referencing iconic local visuals like the “Hell Is Real” billboard along I-65, Stout’s clothes emphasize the body as a site where local cultural terrain can be absorbed and remade, literally carrying the weight of this landscape while responding to it with playfulness and imagination. Each look includes augmented reality triggers that, when scanned, reveal fragments of poetry like bits of artificial dandelion blowing in the breeze. The collection is about the ephemeral moments that represent raucous queer joy, punk rock spirit, and extravagance amidst hostile territory. Modeled by nightlife personalities and contextualized with projections and electronic music, the powerful multimedia showcase that was “Local Legend” became the stu of local legends. —MICCO

BEST BOOK ABOUT WOMEN IN PUNK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

Hit Girls: Women of Punk in the USA, 1975-1983

History is supposedly written by the victors. Most devotees of early American punk and hardcore could probably rattle o the travails of Henry Rollins’s time in Black Flag or Ian MacKaye’s memories of the 80s D.C. hardcore scene, as the two have

70 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
“Local Legend” at Co-Prosperity
"Norman W. Long: Calumet in Dub" at the Glass Curtain Gallery, Columbia College Chicago JONATHAN MICHAEL CASTILLO
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 71 TICKETS START $20 | steppenwolf.org | 312-335-1650 2022/23 GRAND BENEFACTORS 2022/23 BENEFACTORS PRODUCTION SPONSOR BY DONNETTA LAVINIA GRAYS DIRECTED BY VALERIE CURTIS-NEWTON A moving exploration of love-Black, queer, familial-and what must be sacrificed to raise a child. LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE NOW PLAYING We are honored to be recognized with four “Best of Chicago” awards! Thank you to our friends at the Chicago Reader and our artistic community, we are so proud to be a part of this city! BEST OF CHICAGO 2022

continued from p. 70

told their stories ad nauseam. But how many know the story of the all-women San Diego band the Dinettes, whose one-time drummer Shawn Kerri created the Circle Jerks’s iconic Skank Man image? Or that of St. Louis teenage girl quintet the Welders, who covered Andy Kaufman and sang about being prudes? For Hit Girls, local writer and rocker Jen B. Larson painstakingly compiled nearly 300 pages of biographies on women in (mostly U.S.) punk bands from 1975 through 1983. She purposely focused on lesser-known acts, doing the crucial work of bringing them into the spotlight and securing their places in the annals of punk history. The book’s format is reminiscent of punk zines; interviews with band members are sprinkled throughout the book. Bands are sorted chronologically and by geography; the midwest’s section is particularly robust, highlighting everyone from Chicago’s Da! to Ohio’s Chi-Pig. Hit Girls makes clear that the 90s riot grrrl movement wasn’t the first time women dominated punk; those artists were reclaiming space forged by pioneers like Alice Bag, Tina Bell, and Adele Bertei. In an introductory essay, Bag notes the importance of claiming space and explains how doing so brings about change “that starts from within and spills out into the lives of those around us.” —KERRY

BEST ANNUAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN LOCAL FILMMAKERS AND MUSICIANS

Chicago Film Archives Media Mixer

Some things may happen annually, but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. The CFA Media Mixer is one such event. Started in 2012, the Media Mixer—put on by Chicago Film Archives (CFA)—brings together local filmmakers and musicians to make an original work out of footage from the Archives’ immense collection of ephemera concentrated on the history and culture of Chicago and the midwest at large. Last year was the tenth iteration of this singular event, which merges two vibrant local communities into an evening of pure creation. The duos, listed in the order of filmmaker and musician, were Kishino Takagishi and Daniel Knox; Tempestt Hazel and Azita Youssefi; and Janelle

Dowell and Sen Morimoto. They culled from works by the likes of JoAnn Elam and Mort and Millie Goldsholl, as well as home movies and amateur films from across the decades. The results are always mesmerizing—one comes away in awe of the power of creativity, at once drawn in by its magnetism and confounded by its elusiveness. The event, which took place at Constellation, often features live accompaniment; last year Sen Morimoto performed along with Dowell’s film, and most of the artists were present to participate in a post-screening conversation. Amy Beste, SAIC lecturer and curatorial mastermind behind the Conversations at the Edge screening series at the Gene Siskel Film Center, hosted. Joining those in the present were the ghosts of the past, given a new form in which to enjoy an evening of art and community. chicagofilmarchives.org —KAT SACHS v

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COURTESY FERAL HOUSE From Elsewhere (2022) by Janelle Vaughn Dowell and Sen Morimoto COURTESY CHICAGO FILM ARCHIVES

Music & Nightlife

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 73
NICK MURWAY FOR CHICAGO READER BEST OF CHICAGO 2022

BEST OVERDUE CELEBRATION

Charles Stepney: Out of the Shadows at Pritzker Pavilion

Charles Stepney shaped some of the most memorable pop music of the 20th century, including records by Ramsey Lewis, Minnie Riperton, the Dells, Terry Callier, the Emotions, and Earth, Wind & Fire. But when he died in 1976 at age 45, the composer, producer, and arranger had yet to release anything under his own name—he was obscured by the towering work he’d done for others.

Last year, Chicago label International Anthem worked with Stepney’s three daughters—Eibur, Charlene, and Chanté—to address that oversight. An event series called the Summer of Stepney led up to the September release of the first Stepney solo album, Step on Step, which compiled recordings he’d made in his south-side basement studio.

The Summer of Stepney culminated in the concert Charles Stepney: Out of the Shadows at Pritzker Pavilion on August 18. Eight string players, five horn players, five singers, and a six-piece rhythm section performed new arrangements of songs Stepney had written, arranged, or produced.

Stepney’s eclectic, forward-looking style is ornate but emotionally immediate, o -kilter but infectiously grooving. He loved using daring tone clusters, just this side of dissonant, to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It’s the feeling of a supernatural visita-

tion—and it’s definitely divine.

Out of the Shadows closed with radiant, bustling versions of the New Rotary Connection’s “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun” and Minnie Riperton’s “Les Fleurs,” two of the many Stepney songs that remain familiar because they’ve been sampled (by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, the Fugees, and Jurassic 5) or licensed for commercials, movies, and TV. But chances to hear this music performed live are vanishingly rare—ensembles of su cient size are all but extinct in pop. This heartbreakingly beautiful set made it clear just what a tragedy that is.

BEST NINE-MINUTE, 12-SECOND CHICAGO HIP-HOP MIXTAPE

Portrait by Davis

I’ve known Chicago rapper Davis for a few years. I first encountered him as part of local underground hip-hop collective Why Footclan, which also runs a label for its small but mighty collection of MCs. Davis, aka Davis the Dorchester Bully (among other pseudonyms), collaborates with fellow Why? rapper Joshua Virtue in the duo Udababy, but he also makes solo material. Last year Davis put out two mixtapes: December’s Plum Whisky, a fulllength collaboration with Detroit producer Foule Monk, and May’s Portrait , a vigorous sprint of an EP whose four songs arrive as a single, unbroken track that’s just nine minutes and 12 seconds long. I’m predisposed to dig Davis’s style of hip-hop: He’s a sharp-witted MC who likes cluttered, toothy instrumentals but doesn’t feel the need to compete with their bluster by raising his voice. He slides through the thickest, noisiest beats with relaxed con-

fidence, and he shifts his cadence only when he needs to speed through his most verbose verses. Long before he dropped Portrait, Davis knew the power of concision, and he uses every second of the EP to sharpen its edges. He grew up in Calumet Heights, but reading that isn’t the same as hearing him rap about eating a pizza puff from Pee Wee’s on 87th on the dazzling, soulful “52nd & State.” He’s not only a great rapper but also consistently shows me how to do a lot with a little. —LEOR GALIL

BEST 4 AM BAR

First Place: The Owl

Second Place: Berlin

Third Place: Alice’s

BEST BLUES BAND

First Place: Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials

Second Place: Toronzo Cannon

Third Place: The Smiley Tillman Band

BEST CLASSICAL ENSEMBLE

First Place: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Second Place: Chicago Sinfonietta

Third Place: Lyric Opera Orchestra

BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC EVENT

First Place: Grant Park Music Festival

Second Place: Thirsty Ears Festival

Third Place: The Godfather Live, 50th Anniversary (Chicago Philharmonic)

BEST COUNTRY BAND

First Place: Lawrence Peters

Second Place: Totally Cashed

Third Place: Dry County Line

BEST DANCE PARTY

First Place: Nocturna

Second Place: Fortune

Third Place: Global Currency

BEST DIVE BAR

First Place: Simon’s

Second Place: Rainbo Club

Third Place (tie): Empty Bottle Liar’s Club

BEST EMERGING BAND

First Place: Calicoloco

Second Place: The Dearlys

Third Place: big bird.

BEST EMERGING LOCAL LABEL

First Place: Sooper Records

Second Place: Ur Mom Records

Third Place: Take a Hike Records

BEST ESTABLISHED BAR

First Place: Hopleaf

Second Place: Empty Bottle

Third Place: Gman Tavern

BEST GAY BAR

First Place: Berlin

Second Place: Sidetrack

Third Place: Roscoe’s Tavern

BEST GIG POSTER DESIGNER

First Place: Ryan Duggan

Second Place: Mikaela Jane

Third Place: Molly Rian

BEST HIP-HOP DJ

First Place: DJ Ca$h Era

Second Place: DJ Bonita Appleblunt

Third Place: DJ Cymba

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From le : Junius Paul, Brandice Manuel, Meagan McNeal, Tiaybe Bledsoe, Candice Hoyes, and Greg Artry all performed in the 24-piece lineup of Rotary Connection 222 at Charles Stepney: Out of the Shadows on August 18, 2022. BRIAN ASHBY Davis JOHN ALCANTARA
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 75

continued from p. 74

BEST PLACE TO CATCH A MAN PRACTICING HARMONICA WHILE HE URINATES

Sidekicks

Sidekicks (4424 W. Montrose) is an understatedly chill karaoke joint. Flashy people sing at Alice’s or Cafe Mustache, but if you’re looking for a good, weird time singing to a mix of people that might include Bass Pro card carriers as well as homos you haven’t met at every other gay spot, Sidekicks is the place. Its ochre-hued wood paneling, decaying dartboards, and menu of sandwiches and highly caloric snacks straight from the deep freezer give it an 80s rec-room vibe, though its cash-only bar and cigarettesmoking bouncers remind you that this place is for adults only. As far as their karaoke setup: Song jockey? Rude. Song selection? Unremarkable. And yet, Sidekicks has my heart because it’s always ridiculous and wonderful. For one thing, a retired schoolteacher can’t stop trying to burn it down, making his first attempt in 2015 and returning to do it again as soon as he was released from prison for the crime. Iconic!

My most recent outing to Sidekicks included too many delights to detail, but the most notable was the Harmonica Man. He was practicing outside when I arrived, leaning beside the entrance door and sliding the harp back and forth across his lips with one hand like a cartoon character devouring corn on the cob. In the other, he held a phone set to record. An hour or two later, he was on the stage belting out some bluesy number I can’t recall, punctuating his performance with feverish harmonica solos. Later that night, I ran into an old friend who laughed when I mentioned being fascinated by the Harmonica Man’s single-minded commitment to demonstrating his skill. “Well,” my friend said, “he was doing it in the bathroom earlier. That man played harmonica while we stood there pissing together.” Are you out there, Harmonica Man? I love you! —MICCO CAPORALE

BEST CITYWIDE DISPLAY OF TALENT AT A MONTHLY UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP SHOW

Skoli Moly Donut Shop

If you were to walk into Cafe Mustache during Skoli Moly Donut Shop, you’d have no clue you were on the Logan Square strip of Milwaukee Avenue on the northwest side. That’s because DJ Skoli, government name Ryan Roberts, curates variegated, seamless lineups of up to ten singers, rappers, and DJs from across the city in a way that most venues fail to replicate. This is a testament to Skoli’s decade-long history of throwing local events and using his resources as a DJ and social powerhouse to elevate the work of other artists.

Skoli is the founder of a record label and

event production company called Kinky Elevator Music, which showcases experimental beat-driven artists and helps them build their brands; that’s also the name of the Hyde Park native’s Soundcloud, where he used to post his own music and that of his peers, at their request. Skoli has injected the ethos of that passion project into the Skoli Moly Donut Shop, usually held on the third Thursday of the month. Each artist gets ten to 15 minutes to perform, Skoli provides homemade doughnuts for sale, and folks come anticipating a raw, hype experience. Toward the end of the night, Skoli or another DJ plays beats and lets a cypher unfold, with artists and audience members alike invited to participate in a spontaneous freestyle right in the middle of Cafe Mustache.

The next installment of the Skoli Moly Donut Shop falls on Thursday, April 20, and the party celebrates its second anniversary in May. I look forward to many more years.

BEST HIP-HOP GROUP

First Place: Pivot Gang

Second Place: Mother Nature

Third Place: Greenlights Music

BEST HIP-HOP PARTY

First Place: 606 Open Mic at Subterranean

Second Place (tie): Global Currency at Sleeping Village Energy (Smallworld Collective) at the Promontory

BEST HIP-HOP PRODUCER

First Place: Montana Macks

Second Place: Cutta

Third Place: Custom Made

BEST HOTEL BAR

First Place: LondonHouse Roo op

Second Place: Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago

Third Place: Roof on theWit

BEST HOUSE MUSIC DJ

First Place: Derrick Carter

Second Place: Ariel Zetina

Third Place: Zeetus Lapetus

BEST INDIVIDUAL BLUES MUSICIAN

First Place: Buddy Guy

Second Place: Joanna Connor

Third Place: Jamiah Rogers

BEST INDIVIDUAL HIP-HOP ARTIST

First Place: Pinqy Ring

Second Place: Rich Jones

Third Place: Psalm One

BEST INDIVIDUAL JAZZ MUSICIAN

First Place: Makaya McCraven

Second Place: Dee Alexander

Third Place (tie): Sen Morimoto Isaiah Collier

BEST INTERNATIONAL OR WORLD MUSIC ACT

First Place: Funkadesi

Second Place: Surabhi Ensemble

Third Place: Dos Santos

BEST JAZZ ENSEMBLE

First Place: Chris Greene Quartet

Second Place: Isaiah Collier & the Chosen Few

Third Place: Alvin Cobb Jr. Trio

BEST LESBIAN BAR

First Place: Nobody’s Darling

Second Place: Dorothy

Third Place: Big Chicks

BEST LGBTQ+ PARTY

First Place: Queen!

Second Place: Strapped

Third Place: Slo’ Mo

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—DEBBIE-MARIE BROWN The sign outside Sidekicks promises “Karaoke Eve Ryn Ight.” MICCO CAPORALE DJ Skoli eats a doughnut outside Cafe Mustache during one of his monthly Skoli Moly Donut Shop parties. SARAH ELIZABETH LARSON
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 77

BEST LOCAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR

First Place: Blue Skies by Dehd

Second Place (tie):

Please Have a Seat by Nnamdï

Few Good Things by Saba

BEST LOCAL LABEL

First Place: Drag City

Second Place: Sooper Records

Third Place: International Anthem

BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL

First Place: Riot Fest

Second Place: Pitchfork Music Festival

Third Place: Square Roots

BEST MUSIC PODCAST

First Place: Car con Carne

Second Place: Sound Opinions

Third Place: Emo Social Club

BEST MUSIC VENUE

First Place: Thalia Hall

Second Place: Metro

Third Place: Empty Bottle

BEST MUSIC VENUE BARTENDER

First Place: Gary Kessler

Second Place: Adriana Rose

Third Place: Adam Geiger

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR

First Place: Hopleaf

Second Place: Empty Bottle

Third Place: Gman Tavern

BEST NEW BAR

First Place: Dorothy

Second Place: Hi Lo

Third Place: Easy Does It

BEST NON-ORCHESTRA

CLASSICAL ENSEMBLE

First Place: Third Coast Percussion

Second Place: La Caccina

Third Place: Fourth Coast Ensemble

BEST POP ARTIST

First Place: Cole DeGenova

Second Place: Justice Hill

Third Place: Dawn Xiana Moon

BEST PUNK BAND

First Place: Naked Raygun

Second Place: Meat Wave

Third Place: Bev Rage & the Drinks

BEST R&B ARTIST

First Place: Jamila Woods

Second Place: Kaina

Third Place: Shawnee Dez

BEST RECORDING STUDIO

First Place: Electrical Audio

Second Place: Uptown Recording

Third Place: Classick Studios

continued from p. 76

BEST CONCERT CONVERSION EXPERIENCE

Dos Santos at Midsommarfest

If you care about music, you’ve surely encountered the particular frustration of finding a band you know you should like. You listen to their albums, and you can tell they’re good, but the sparks don’t fly. That was my relationship to Chicago five-piece Dos Santos—until I finally saw them live at last year’s Midsommarfest.

Dos Santos play a hybrid strain of rock ’n’ roll that incorporates chicha, cumbia, psychedelia, and more. Their 2021 album, City of Mirrors, is an expertly crafted recording: the many layers of its kaleidoscopic arrangements have been carefully placed in sonic space to create a lush, wide-screen panorama. But as vibrant as it is, it never even tries to sound like a group of people making music in real time right in front of you.

I’m an old punk rocker, so I prefer bands

BEST LOCAL MIX SERIES THAT BECAME AN INTERNET RADIO STATION

Beloved Radio

Early in the pandemic, Zoë Miller and brothers Cameron and Matthew Chapleau launched Beloved to release music on vinyl. The demand for the format was pushing manufacturers past their limits, though, resulting in prolonged pressing delays. Beloved’s first of two releases so far—a reissue of the 2011 EP Demonstration by Urbana indie-rock band Easter—wouldn’t come out till the middle of 2021. By that point, Beloved had already entrenched itself in Chicago’s music scene with a weekly mix series that brought in a wide variety of guest curators, among them photographer Jacob Pesci (mix 11), FroSkate founder Karlie Thornton (mix 24), Dehd guitarist-vocalist Jason Balla (mix 17), and indie songwriter Mia Joy (mix 33). Last summer, the Beloved team decided to take advantage of their growing Rolodex to launch an Internet radio station that could serve Chicago’s many niche music communities—a local answer to Dublab in Los Angeles or to NTS and Balamii in London. Beloved Radio launched Friday, December 30, 2022, and has maintained a regular schedule ever since: Friday through Sunday, 10 AM till 11 PM each day. Each DJ

whose shows top their records—if you can’t move somebody more powerfully in person, are you even trying? At Midsommarfest, Dos Santos proved they can. They played to a big, relaxed audience during a balmy indigo sunset, and they moved as a single creature—like

gets one monthly hour-long slot, so an average month includes 156 hours of original mixes. Beloved Radio creates some of the same magic we almost lost with the passing of the golden age of college radio: somebody you might bump

a big cat that shows its strength even in its most serene and sensual movements. People danced in groups and couples, kids rode around on their parents’ shoulders or chased each other through the crowd—and everyone swam in the same rhythm. —PHILIP

into unknowingly at a show (or at a co ee shop or bus stop) can put together a selection of songs just because they want strangers to get excited about them, and it can light up your whole brain with joy. —LEOR GALIL

Beloved Radio prefers to foreground its many contributors, not its founders.

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Dos Santos headlined Saturday night at Midsommarfest, which returned to in-person in 2022 for the fi rst time since the start of the pandemic. PHILIP MONTORO
COURTESY BELOVED
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 79 THE NEW ALBUM FEATURING “GHOSTS AGAIN“ OUT NOW MORE INFORMATION AND MEMENTO MORI WORLD TOUR DATES AT DEPECHEMODE.COM

continued from p. 78

BEST CULTURAL PROGRAMMING AT A MUSEUM Music at the International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science (1524 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive) bills itself as “North America’s Only Museum Devoted to Surgery,” but that’s only part of the picture. It’s housed in a Gilded Age lakefront mansion based on a chateau once occupied by Marie Antoinette and built in 1917 for socialite Eleanor Robinson Countiss, cofounder of the American Furniture Mart. This historic building would be worth visiting even if its ballrooms and corridors weren’t filled with inspiring, thought-provoking, and macabre exhibits—among them lavish medical-themed oil-painted murals, ornate centuries-old eyewear, a giant collection of gallstones, and gynecological instruments

as antiquated as Samuel Alito’s ideas about reproductive health.

The International Museum of Surgical Science maintains permanent collections and presents special exhibits and medical-themed art shows. But it’s also become one of Chicago’s premier venues for offbeat music and cultural programming, hosting concerts, book

BEST ROCK BAND

First Place: Dehd

Second Place: Local H

Third Place: Pinksqueeze

BEST SINGER-SONGWRITER

First Place: Girl Named Nino

Second Place: Mitch Mead

Third Place: Dawn Xiana Moon

BEST STREAMING CONCERT SERIES

First Place: Audiotree

Second Place: City Winery

Third Place: Fulton Street Collective

readings, lectures, crafts workshops, dramatic presentations, and other events inspired by medicine, healing, or a related part of the human experience. Page through the IMSS calendar, and you’ll believe there are as many ways to approach those subjects as there are cells in a human body (that is, approximately 37.2 trillion). In 2022, the museum’s bookings included a synesthesia-inspired art show, a film series curated by Visual AIDS that explored the HIV epidemic, and The Priestess of Morphine: A Forensic Study of MarieMagdalene , an operatic performance about a German Jewish lesbian poet and author whose work centered lust and opiates and who died in a Nazi-run sanitarium. The IMSS also hosts relatively straightforward concerts, though the artists themselves are rarely straightforward: sound-collage duo Paradise Complete and experimental musician Jordan Reyes both played record-release shows last year, for instance, and UK avant-garde label Touch presented an event at the museum as part of its intercontinental 40th-anniversary celebration. Whatever draws you to the IMSS, you can leave knowing there’s nowhere else on earth quite like it.

BEST PLACE TO ESCAPE AN EDM CLUB OVERRUN BY A MICHIGAN STATE FRATERNITY

Green Door Tavern

After watching Matt Reeves’s The Batman, I felt compelled to re-create the movie's nightclub scene for myself: I wanted to find someplace slinky, saturated in red light and bass. My friends and I headed down to River North, and after paying a cover charge of $50 per person, we landed in a subterranean nightclub that reeked of fruit

BEST SUBURBAN MUSIC VENUE

First Place: FitzGerald’s

Second Place: SPACE

Third Place: The Darkroom

BEST VENUE FOR BLUES MUSIC

First Place: Kingston Mines

Second Place: Rosa’s Lounge

Third Place: Buddy Guy’s Legends

BEST VENUE FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC

First Place: Millennium Park

Second Place: Symphony Center

Third Place: Civic Opera House

liqueur. But something was o . The floor was littered with tiny empty bottles from smuggled Pink Whitney vodka shooters. Everyone was in dresses and suits. When I was in line for the bathroom, a group of girls informed me that they had traveled to Chicago for a Michigan State University fraternity formal. We booked it out of there and hurried around the corner into a small dive bar: the Green Door Tavern.

Housed in a two-story building constructed in 1871, immediately after the Great Chicago Fire, the Green Door Tavern (678 N. Orleans) has been a neighborhood favorite for more than a century. Its name derives from its literal green-painted door, which during Prohibition was a way to indicate the presence of a speakeasy. Chicago memorabilia line the wooden interior, and locals anchor the bar. It’s warm and familiar, with an atmosphere that makes me want to lean back in a La-Z-Boy and drink a beer (and I don’t even like beer). Green Door may not have provided the superhero sex appeal I thought I was after, but stepping inside it felt like a homecoming.

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The Hall of Immortals at the International Museum of Surgical Science, which hosts many of the museum’s concerts JAMIE LUDWIG A small sampling of the decor at the Green Door Tavern KIRK WILLIAMSON
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 81 PHOTO: TODD ROSENBERG A coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Festival. Presented through special arrangements with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. mtishows.com Lyric’s presentation of West Side Story is generously made possible by Lead Sponsor The Negaunee Foundation with additional support from The Davee Foundation and Bank of America Lyric Opera of Chicago thanks its O cial Airline, American Airlines, and acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency BERNSTEIN / SONDHEIM / ROBBINS / LAURENTS Featuring favorites “ Tonight ,” “ Maria ,” “America ,” and more. June 2 - 25, 2023 Tickets from $30 lyricopera.org/WSS Musical theater euphoria! - Chicago Sun-Times “ “

BEST COMMITMENT TO A CONCEPT ALBUM’S BIT

The oral history of a fictional 1994 alt-rock album in Annie Fish’s Weird Like Me

In September, Chicago rocker Annie Fish dropped Weird Like Me , an album full of rippers that would’ve clinched 16-month leases on WXRT’s airwaves during the 90s alternative boom. She also created a parallel universe where the album was an improbable cult hit: her Bandcamp page includes a link to a fictional oral history that spends more than 7,000 words explaining how Weird Like Me became a sensation in 1994. In this world, Fish is a fallen star who struggled with (and was ultimately undone by) industry misogyny, label subterfuge, and a complicated relationship with an explosively growing audience that only wanted to mosh. The fictional Fish went

into hiding after getting booted from her label, so the real Fish constructed the oral history without her—it relies on a cast of supporting characters, including bandmates, a manager, and a music critic named Barry Krudup. (Do I think Krudup is named after actor Billy Crudup, who played Stillwater guitarist Russell Hammond in Almost Famous ? Yes! Am I reluctant to ask Fish about it, in case I’m wrong? Also yes!) Fish’s illustrations capture early90s Alternative Nation style, and she nails the feel of a rock oral history with awkward segues between speakers and people backing up over their own words—world-building that works so well in part because Weird Like Me also sounds great. The swaggering “Down Town Drive” will have you wishing it’d gotten airplay 30 years ago alongside the Smashing Pumpkins and Hole.

BEST PRODIGAL SON IN A ROCK BAND

singer Brian Case, guitarist Jonathan van Herik, and drummer Noah Leger stretched the icy, brittle sounds of classic postpunk over gangly new skeletons to create their minimalist dirges.

Van Herik left in late 2017, after the recording of Facs’ debut album, Negative Houses Bassist Alianna Kalaba replaced him in January 2018, and Case switched to guitar. Kalaba preferred a growling tone and a riffier bass style, and with her aboard, the band grew heavier, darker, and more abstract, pairing ruthlessly precise grooves with alien textures.

Jonathan

van Herik returning to Facs

Chicago trio Facs arose almost seven years ago out of the hiatus- turnedbreakup of Disappears. Bassist and

Kalaba has appeared on every Facs release since, including the new Still Life in Decay (due this week via local label Trouble in Mind), but she parted ways with the group after the sessions for that record. Van Herik returned in summer 2022 to fill the vacant spot. “When I o ered to play bass, it was from the viewpoint of a fan more than an ex-member,” he says. “They had grown into themselves so much as a band that I felt like I was stepping into a ready aesthetic that I could understand and respond to immediately.”

Because of the communication that connects his bandmates to one another and to their listeners, van Herik explains, making music is “enriching and meaningful in a society that can feel so isolating and commercialized.” And that’s not all: “It’s fun, too.”

Facs play record-release parties at the Empty Bottle on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8. —PHILIP MONTORO

82 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Annie Fish COURTESY THE ARTIST Facs: Jonathan van Herik, Noah Leger, and Brian Case EVAN JENKINS continued from p. 80
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 83 Logan Center for the Arts 915 East 60th Street logancenter. uchicago.edu SAVE DATE LOGAN CENTER BIRTHDAY BASH SUN, MAY 21, Noon–3PM Arts-making • Food & Fun • Storytelling • Performances • Community • More! FREE

BEST VENUE FOR DANCE MUSIC

First Place: Smart Bar

Second Place: Berlin

Third Place: Podlasie Club

BEST VENUE FOR HIP-HOP

First Place: Subterranean

Second Place: The Promontory

Third Place: Golden Dagger

BEST VENUE FOR JAZZ

First Place: Green Mill

Second Place: Jazz Showcase

Third Place: Constellation

BEST VENUE FOR MAGIC SHOWS

First Place: Chicago Magic Lounge

Second Place: Liar’s Club

Third Place (tie): Golden Dagger

Logan Arcade

BEST VENUE FOR ROCK MUSIC

First Place: Empty Bottle

Second Place: Metro

Third Place: Thalia Hall

continued from p. 82

BEST MULTIHYPHENATE BURLESQUE DANCER, EMCEE, AND EVENT CURATOR FOR BLACK FEMMES

Lynzo the Heartthrob

Ican’t remember where exactly I was introduced to nightlife icon Lynzo the Heartthrob, because they frequent so many places where it might’ve happened. Raised in Hyde Park, Lynzo is a self-taught and constantly booked drag artist, burlesque performer, and exotic dancer; an event curator; a queer and trans plus-size stylist; an activist for sex workers’ rights; an emcee and host; a creative director for photo shoots; and a coproducer of Hoochie Hotspot, a year-old sex-worker-run event-production company, which I included in a 2022 Reader roundup of new Chicago BIPOC and/or queer events.

Once you dip your toe in the Boystown drag scene, Heartthrob is one of a few faces you’ll

come to recognize immediately. But they developed their passion and skill for curating spaces for Black femmes before segregated Boystown stages would give them a chance to shine. In 2016, at age 21, they started working as an event-booking manager for arts organization and digital magazine AMFM, helping curate and execute events from start to finish on a two-person team for two years. Beginning in 2018, they cohosted Rich Jones’s music series All Smiles for its last year and a half at the Tonic Room (which has since reopened as the Golden Dagger). Around the same time, they began teaching themselves sensual movement, which they paired with their childhood experiences in competitive ballet, jazz, and hip-hop dance in order to learn burlesque.

The Heartthrob considers their first drag performance to be a 2018 lip-synch competition at Cole’s Bar, where they won $20 and a bottle of vodka mouthing the words to Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” while wearing a massive, flowing pink satin top. They’ve since joined the arsenal of people making drag and burlesque stages throughout the city more accessible for Black and Brown folks. Lynzo, here are your flowers.

—DEBBIE-MARIE BROWN v

84 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
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allinAday'swork

e Negro Motorist Green Book is an exhibition that highlights the history and legacy of “ e Green Book,” the annual guide that provided Black Americans with information on restaurants, gas stations, department stores, and other businesses that welcomed Black travelers during the Jim Crow era.

Closes April 23

NOW PLAYING R Chevalier

Historical dramas can be tricky; it’s hard to bring accuracy and authenticity while trying to captivate an audience. And where Chevalier succeeds with a decently entertaining story, it does falter slightly with the facts. There are certainly times when it’s tempting to pull up a Wikipedia entry or deep dive into whether Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) were actually close or if Marie-Josephine (Samara Weaving) was a real person. If you’re a history nerd with a passion for accuracy and period dramas, this might be a tad hard to sit through.

For example, Chevalier starts off with our lead, Joseph Bologne, aka the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, showing up to a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart concert and completely embarrassing the pompous protege with his violin talents. While it doesn’t seem like this event happened, it’s a creative way to showcase how Bologne was the bane of Mozart’s existence while living in Paris—being dubbed “the Black Mozart” later on—and was actually every bit as cool and accomplished as he’s made out to be in this film.

So while the film plays loosely with the facts, Harrison plays Bologne in a way that garners empathy and makes you root for him, even when he’s not the most pleasant. He’s the son of a rich white plantation owner and an African enslaved person, and because of his musical abilities, he’s sent off to receive proper education (and torn away from his mother, who is still his father’s property). He’s beaten and ridiculed, met with white supremacist ideology at every turn; but still, his brilliance catapults him up to the queen’s court (which did happen). The story showcases a man who’s trying to maintain the excellence that has made him somewhat equal to those around him while still feeling hesitant to accept his heritage.

The cast is entertaining and fun, with Minnie Driver playing Marie-Madeleine Guimard, Fleabag’s Sian Clifford playing Madame de Genlis, and Marton Csokas playing Marc René, marquis de Montalembert

and Marie-Josephine’s husband. Ronke Adekoluejo plays Joseph’s mother in a heartwarming and strong performance. The movie wraps up in a nice ribbon, with Bologne’s mother telling him, “Choice comes from within; there’s always a choice to fight,” rounding out the movie with a lesson to be learned. —ALANI VARGAS PG-13, 107 min. Wide release in theaters

R One True Loves

The trailer and publicity for Andy Fickman’s One True Loves advertise it as a contrived rom-com goof. Emma (Phillipa Soo) is happily married to Jesse (Luke Bracey) until he disappears in an airplane crash off the Pacific coast. Widowed, a er four years she finally finds love again with her middle school best friend Sam (who we’re supposed to think is nerdy and less attractive than the competition, even though he’s played by Simu Liu). Then, on the eve of Sam and Emma’s wedding, Jesse returns. Emma has to decide who she wants to spend her life with: her returned husband or her new fiance.

There are definitely some funny lines in the film; high school music teacher Sam oversharing with his classes made me laugh out loud a couple of times. But at its core, One True Loves isn’t really a zany screwball film. It’s a dramatic weeper with surprising heart.

The exact details of Jesse’s four-years-on-a-desertisland experience are improbable. But the plot serves as a metaphor for a range of more mundane experiences—a loved one dying, a divorce, the way time and life and loss change you. Young Emma is an adventurous travel writer, free-spirited and with her eyes on the horizon—and then she can’t be that anymore, and she has to figure out what she can be instead.

“I don’t think things have to last to be real,” Emma says. The romantic reconciliation here isn’t really with either of the guys on offer. Instead, the story is about Emma figuring out how to love her past and her present without betraying either. Rom-com fans may be slightly disappointed. But sometimes, One True Loves insists, it’s OK to not be quite what you were expected, or expected yourself, to be.

100 min. Wide release in theaters v

86 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll FILM Chevalier SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Find new film reviews every week at chicagoreader.com/movies R READER RECOMMENDED b ALL AGES N NEW F
e Negro Motorist Green Book was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with Candacy Taylor and made possible through the generous support of Exxon Mobil Corporation. Southside, Chicago, Illinois, 1941. Russell Lee. Farm Security Administration/O ce of War Information Photograph Collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC - DIG - ppmsc - 00256.
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HAROLD WASHINGTON • HARRY S TRUMAN • KENNEDY-KING • MALCOLM X • OLIVE-HARVEY • RICHARD J. DALEY • WILBUR WRIGHT

THEATER

OPENING

R Silly swan song

Barbara Gaines leaves us laughing.

Barbara Gaines started her tenure as artistic director for Chicago Shakespeare Theater (then called Chicago Shakespeare Workshop) in 1986 by staging Henry V on the roo op of the Red Lion Pub. She’s closing it out with a production of The Comedy of Errors that contains a sly homage to that debut in the form of the St. Crispin’s Day speech.

First presented at Chicago Shakes in 2008, this Comedy features additional dialogue by Second City vet Ron West that creates a play-within-a-film-withina-play setting. It’s 1940, and a film version of Shakespeare’s early farce about mistaken identity and twins separated at birth between Ephesus and Syracuse is being shot at breakneck speed at Shepperton Studios in London—in between bombing runs by the Lu waffe. But not even the threat of death from above can stop the hams from hamming it up, especially Kevin Gudahl’s Lord Brian Hallifax. Already disgruntled that he has to play one of the dim-witted servant Dromio twins rather than one of the slightly less dense Antipholi (the other set of separated twins—just read the plot summary on your own), Hallifax keeps trying to work St. Crispin into the proceedings.

Meantime, the other Dromio and the film’s director, Dudley Marsh (Ross Lehman), is contending with an unfaithful wife (Susan Moniz), who also happens to be

the leading lady, and a Hollywood crooner and RAF flyboy (Dan Chameroy) whose comfort with iambic pentameter is shaky.

Many of the 2008 players are on board, but Gaines’s valedictory production doesn’t waste much energy with soppy nostalgia. Instead, it nimbly both sends up and honors the worlds of make-believe on stage and screen. A fine final treat from Gaines for we happy few, indeed. —KERRY REID THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Through 4/23: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2:30 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Thu 4/13 1 PM; no shows Tue 4/18 or Wed 4/19; Spanish subtitles Tue 4/11 7:30 PM, open captions Wed 4/12 1 and 7:30 PM, ASL interpretation Fri 4/14 7:30 PM; Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand, 312-595-5600, chicagoshakes. com, $455-$92

Cultural storms

Decolonizing Sarah doesn’t realize its dramatic potential.

A production with a promising premise is especially disappointing when it falls short. Unfortunately, that’s the case with Uprising Theater’s Decolonizing Sarah: A Hurricane Play

Amidst the chaos of a category three hurricane and the COVID-19 pandemic, exes Waleed (Kal Naga) and Sarah (Maren Rosenberg) find themselves isolated in an Airbnb. Sarah, a white woman, grapples with her cultural differences with Waleed, a Palestinian Ameri-

can, and must determine whether their values are too fundamental to overcome. Meanwhile, she explores a potential relationship with Charles (Whitman Johnson), a hedge fund manager and her “racially perfect partner.”

The chemistry between Naga and Rosenberg feels awkward, hindering the ability to connect with either character. Naga spoke quickly and mumbled at times during the performance I attended, making it difficult to catch everything he said. Both actors are hampered by a script reliant on buzzwords and lengthy lines that don’t translate well to the stage.

With the hurricane sound effects drowning out the dialogue, the opening scene is also hard to follow. The play has its moments of resonance, but a scene where a neighbor shoots Waleed falls particularly short. Predictable from the start, it lacks the necessary nuance to capture the interaction’s complexity.

In the resolution, Sarah’s initial choice to be with Charles instead of Waleed, despite carrying his child, le a sour taste in my mouth. It feels like a capitulation to societal pressures and a rejection of Arab culture. The central question of whether Arab Americans can be fully accepted as U.S. citizens seems to be answered here with a resounding “no.” While the play has potential, director and playwright Samer Al-Saber’s vision is unclear, resulting in a disjointed and uncomfortable viewing experience. —BOUTAYNA CHOKRANE DECOLONIZING SARAH: A HURRICANE PLAY Through 4/22: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, 773-697-3830, thedentheatre.com, $25

Too soon?

A COVID-19 drama struggles to stick the landing.

It feels early to stage a play set during, and concerning the effects of, the early days of COVID-19 on its characters. We can still feel those days intimately, and the degree of veracity required to make this a world we want to and can meaningfully revisit is high. Glass Apple Theatre’s world premiere of Joel Z. Cornfield and Mark Smith’s When All of This Is Over (directed by Brian McKnight) is a well-cast effort that struggles to stick the landing. Miles (Evin McQuistion) and Gemma (Katie O’Neill) are Chicago neighbors in quarantine March 2020, starved for connection. (Trenton Jones’s set design does a lot to convey the loneliness of that time, feeling “so close but so far” from others and physical contact.) Both also end up on FaceTime with their moms, creatively depicted with the use of projections on the back wall (designed by DJ Douglass). As a counterpoint to the emotional walls put up by Gemma, a type A lawyer, and Miles, a former Marine, their little sister and best friend (respectively) join the fray and inject some energy, humor, and chaos into a fraught time. The cast does great work here in the way they cautiously and vulnerably relate to one another, but the writing takes a sharp le turn from realism, injecting too much hindsight and theorizing into a time when those parts of our brain were very difficult to access. —MARISSA OBERLANDER WHEN ALL OF THIS IS OVER Through 5/7: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, 773-338-2177, glassappletheatre.com, $25 v

88 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
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TUESDAY APR 18 / 7PM / 18+

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CARCASS

Municipal Waste / Sacred Reich Creeping Death

SATURDAY APR 22 / 10PM / 21+

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EDEN: A SAPPHIC HOMECOMING

ft. Panterah (DJ SET) / Litney (TOR.) Ynfynyt Scroll (PUTIVUELTA BOGOTÁ) and more!

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS

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FRIDAY APR 14

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GEORGE FITZGERALD SCUBA

KITTY SPIT

SATURDAY APR 15

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Matthew Dear presents AUDION (dj set)

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AXEL BOMAN

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Dinosaur Galaxy

FRI APR 21 8PM

THESE BEASTS (RECORD RELEASE)

Electric Hawk / Evasive Actions

THU APR 27 7:30PM

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HIT GIRLS: WOMEN OF PUNK IN THE USA, 1975-1983

Author Reading with Jen B. Larson Q&A hosted by Jill Hopkins

SAT APR 29 7PM

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MUSIC

Recommended and notable shows and releases with critics’ insights for the week of April 6

Angel Marcloid drops another bold and inexplicable album as Fire-Toolz

CONCERT PREVIEWS THURSDAY6

Fire-Toolz See Pick of the Week at le . Kate NV headlines. 9 PM, Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont, $20, $18 in advance. 21+

FRIDAY7

Constellation Turns 10! See also Sat 4/8. Bitchin Bajas headline the first show of Constellation’s two-night birthday party; Natural Information Society, Josephine Foster, Sam Prekop, and Wadada Leo Smith open. 7 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $50 per night, $250 VIP weekend pass. 18+

Given the relentless corporatization of American life, any place you can find that isn’t a front for a faceless, rent-seeking conglomerate feels special. Certain independent music venues earn a special reverence by establishing a center of gravity for communities and movements in need. Since April 2013, when Constellation opened on Western Avenue in a shared space with Links Hall, it’s been far more than just a club with cutting-edge bookings; it’s been a stabilizing and nurturing influence on jazz, classical, experimental, and other music scenes buffeted by an increasingly hostile economic and political climate.

IF I HAD MY WAY, there’d be several fully sta ed news operations focused just on Chicago music, and each one would have a reporter dedicated full-time to the work of experimental producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and recording engineer Angel Marcloid. All on her own, Marcloid produces as much fascinating, discombobulating music—glitchy screamo, proggy smooth jazz, metallic noise, ambient vaporwave—as an artistic collective that’s drawn together a dozen people, and that’s not even counting the hundreds of releases by other musicians she’s mixed or mastered. Marcloid’s Fire-Toolz project introduced me to her ever-expanding oeuvre around six years ago, when I first saw her perform, screaming and singing through her battering-ram electronic productions in a Wicker Park loft. I felt so sleepy that night that I almost headed home before she went on, but the shock of her set—which ping-ponged instantaneously from clean, aggressively sweet pop to jittery, aggressively distorted metal, and sometimes braided them together—rattled me wide awake. I haven’t stopped listening to Fire-Toolz since. Her new album, I Am Upset Because I See Something That Is Not There. (Hausu Mountain), perplexes and energizes me in the ways only Marcloid can. “The Great Allower,” for example, opens with a knotty grind slashed by warped saxophone squalls, satiating my need for overwhelming metal—though it soon redirects its pulse into a quiet, rustling drone, which might tempt me to move closer to the speakers if it weren’t for Marcloid’s unpredictability. Her omnidirectional creativity makes I Am Upset a hell of an album—it gives me hope for music’s future and all the directions it can go.

For its tenth anniversary, Constellation is taking a moment to celebrate and promote its non profi t arm, Constellation Performing Arts, an endeavor that seeks to cover programming costs; if you buy a weekend pass, 60 percent of the price is tax deductible. Each night is packed with performers who’ve repeatedly trod the venue’s floorboards, and several are presenting new work. On Friday, octogenarian trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith—who recently released a bristling, electric recording titled Fire Illuminations on his Kabell imprint—will lead a band that includes Constellation founder and CPA board president Mike Reed on drums. Josephine Foster uses guitar, field recordings, and her sui generis warble to project a holistic vision of nature on Domestic Sphere (Fire), which comes out the day of her performance. Joshua Abrams’s Natural Information Society releases Since Time Is Gravity (Eremite) a week later, but anyone lucky enough to catch their celebratory New Year’s Eve concert at Constellation already has an idea of how strong that album’s material is. Sam Prekop will play a solo electronic set, and Bitchin Bajas will close Friday night with their immaculate synthetic grooves.

Saturday kicks off with a solo set by Arto Lindsay (formerly of DNA and Ambitious Lovers), whose recent Charivari (Corbett vs. Dempsey) enacts a vertiginous dance between his allusive crooning and beyond-corroded guitar playing. Angels & Demons, a duo of vocalist Amirtha Kidambi and alto saxophonist Darius Jones, will investigate the texts of Sun Ra. Pianist Craig Taborn and local analog sorceress Matchess will play solo sets, and Finom (the chameleonic art-rock band formerly known as Ohmme) will cap the celebration.

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KATE NV, FIRE-TOOLZ Thu 4/6, 9 PM, Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont, $20, $18 in advance. 21+
PICK OF THE WEEK
b ALL AGES F
ELIZA JANUS

SATURDAY8

Constellation Turns 10! See Fri 4/7. Finom headline the second show of Constellation’s twonight birthday party; Matchess, Craig Taborn, Angels & Demons, and Arto Lindsay open. 7 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $50 per night, $250 VIP weekend pass. 18+

Jump Up Records 30th Anniversary Celebration

The Scofflaws headline; the Skalars, Highball Holiday, Chris Murray, and DJ Chuck Wren open. 8 PM, Chop Shop, 2033 W. North, $30. 21+

Any music community would be lucky to have an advocate as tireless and devoted as Chuck Wren. This Chicago DJ and label head has been evangelizing for ska (and its related Jamaican sounds) throughout the midwest for more than three decades, uninfluenced by all the pop trends that’ve come and gone. He founded Jump Up Records in 1993, a fortuitous time for the genre: the jumpy beat of ska’s hardcore-influenced third wave was becoming a national phenomenon. A few years ago, he digitized a cassette recording of the first episode of his first radio show, This Is Ska , which had aired on WNUR in 1989; the recording is also on the Jump Up Mixcloud page, in case you want to hear Wren (then also known as Rude Boy Roger) promote an upcoming set he was spinning at Medusa’s in Lakeview. You don’t need to time travel to hear Wren as a DJ, of course—he’s got a weekly WNUR program called Everything Off Beat, and he DJs the last Thursday of each month at Lincoln Park bar Delilah’s.

Wren will also hold it down on the turntables at Jump Up’s pearl anniversary party, headlined by long-running Long Island band the Scofflaws. Frustratingly, most of their catalog is unavailable on major streaming services, but YouTube’s ska archivists (skarchivists?) have preserved the group’s tightly arranged, horn-heavy albums, which were released in the 1990s via New York label Moon Ska (founded as Moon Records in 1983 by Toasters front man Robert Hingley). Jump Up’s party doubles as a sort of Moon Ska reunion—the Scoff-

MUSIC

laws are one of three artists on the bill from the label’s orbit. Saint Louis band the Skalars put out their sole album, Change Up , via Moon Ska in 1999, coloring its relaxed, sophisticated arrangements with Jessica Butler’s soulful singing; loungeleaning Milwaukee outfit Highball Holiday released a self-titled 1997 album through Moon imprint Ska Satellite. Rounding out the bill is Chris Murray, who fronted Canadian group King Apparatus till their split in 1994 and now lives in Los Angeles, where he sometimes performs as a one-man band. These musicians all have enough contagious energy to power Wren to Jump Up’s next big birthday.

Miirrors Pink Frost open; DJ Greg Corner spins between sets. 8 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, $15, $12 in advance. 21+

Miirrors’ sound is as smooth as their name suggests. The Chicago outfit’s debut album, Motion and Picture (Pravda), is filled with giant, radio-ready alterna-rock meticulously designed and arranged for earworm bliss. Formed by singer Brian McSweeney and drummer Shawn Rios, who can trace their friendship back nearly 25 years, Miirrors originally focused on recording, but the addition of multiinstrumentalists Dmitri Rakhuba, Patrick Riley, and Andre Miller has turned the band into a live juggernaut as well. McSweeney has enough high-tenor horsepower to make the band’s 2019 cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Gunshot Glitter” (which features Buckley’s original drummer, Matt Johnson) sound like a fitting tribute rather than a presumptuous one, while Rios batters recent singles such as “Where Do We Go From Here” with jazzy funk rhythms that keep even their most polished surfaces interesting. On Motion and Picture, the five-piece blaze through their multipart songs with the seamless assurance you’d expect of a practiced road band, not a group just starting out. Their secret, aside from lots of practice, is that they’ve all been playing together (or near each other) for years in the Chicago scene—members have played in the Ataris and the Offi ce, among other bands. The newer arrivals have unleashed a glut of creativity too; the Miirrors’ live sets already include a lot of material developed a er they fi nished making Motion and

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 91
The Scoffl aws headline the Jump Up Records anniversary party. FLAVIA MENSEN Wadada Leo Smith opens the fi rst night of Constellation’s tenth-birthday celebration. JIMMY KATZ Miirrors COLIN SIPOS

continued from p. 91

Picture, with songs that dig deeper into their prog and shoegaze impulses. Their live set at Sleeping Village in February was packed, sweaty, and enthusiastic; I expect this Hideout show to be similarly exuberant. —NOAH BERLATSKY

SUNDAY16

JEsse Ray & the Carolina Catfish Old Grand Dad and Shukin & the Ramblers open. 7 PM, Reggies Music Joint, 2105 S. State, $15. 21+

Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish emerged about a decade ago with a sound that harks back to the days when many considered rock ’n’ roll to be “the devil’s music.” Their home base is Grand Rapids, so the “Carolina” part is a misnomer, but their name isn’t the important thing—their gritty rockabilly and blues would still be fun if they called themselves the Michigan Lake Trout or Betsy DeVos & the School Looters. Fronted by electrifying vocalist, guitarist, and harmonica player Jesse Ray Cahue, who has a silvery voice worthy of comparison to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent, the Catfish have cycled through several drummers; Paul Jensen currently holds down the beat. Though the pandemic curbed the band’s activity for a spell, they came back last year with a rollicking self-titled album that earned them a nomination for Best Roots/Americana Album at the 23rd Jammie Awards, presented by Grand Rapids radio station WYCE. Last month, Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish hit the studio to track material for their next record, and with any luck you’ll get an early taste here of what they have coming down the pipeline—and in any case, the show will give you a slug of rocket fuel to rev you up for the week.

Tei Shi Sweet93 opens. 8 PM, Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont, $20, $18 in advance. 21+

Tei Shi’s smooth electro-pop, influenced by 90s R&B, conjures the thrill you’d get as a kid from riding in the backseat of your older sister’s car. She’s effortlessly cool and seductive, and her Spanish and English vocals and bass-heavy beats invite giddy listeners to come along for the journey. Last month, the Los Angeles-based Colombian Canadian singer-songwriter and producer (born Valerie Teicher Barbosa) released Bad Premonition , a sixsong EP about losing and regaining control over her personal life and career a er a tumultuous split from her record label three years ago.

“For once can I be in the right place at the right time,” she sings on the EP’s title track, her crystalclear vocals gliding over a sparse backdrop of rippling, reverb-drenched bass and beats. Her wish appears to be coming true in 2023, as she finds success in several elements of her multidisciplinary career—she’s also active in the fashion world, and has been featured in campaigns by the likes of Helmut Lang, Glossier, and Acne.

A er a string of high-profile collaborations and tours with fellow genre-bending artists, including R&B-electronica producer Blood Orange and artpop icon Kimbra, Tei Shi has stepped into the headlining role for a ten-date tour across the U.S. and Canada—and Chicago is her only stop in the midwest. Tei Shi performs with the self-assured swagger of an artist already selling out stadiums, working the mike with the energy of a Y2K pop idol as she dances and crawls across the stage in elaborate ensembles topped by waist-length wigs. After her previous local appearances at the Vic and Thalia Hall, it’ll be a treat to see her in the relative intimacy of Sleeping Village; fans should think twice before passing up this opportunity.

—ANNA WHITE

TUESDAY18

Carcass Municipal Waste, Sacred Reich, and Creeping Death open. 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $37, $32-$34 in advance. 18+

During Carcass’s initial decade together, the Liverpool outfit staked a claim as one of the most influential extreme metal bands of all time. In the late 1980s, their first two albums defined the sound of goregrind—a subgenre still so closely associated with them that artists who play it today it are o en said to be engaging in “Carcass worship.” Next, they created one of melodic death metal’s most iconic statements with 1993’s Heartwork . Three years later—before the release of the polarizing death ’n’ roll album Swansong —Carcass called it a day.

Since re-forming in 2007, Carcass have toured fairly steadily and released two albums: 2013’s backto-basics Surgical Steel and 2021’s Torn Arteries, on which the core trio of bassist-vocalist Jeff Walker, guitarist-vocalist Bill Steer, and drummer Dan Wilding look backward without getting stuck in a nostalgia trap. At times Torn Arteries feels like a sharper collection than its immediate predecessor. As the band revisit sounds they explored on their 90s albums, they incorporate classic-rock flourishes that manage to feel at home in the gory, grinding muck.

In a time when throwback death-metal bands all seem to pull from the same abysmal wells, Carcass take inspiration from their earliest musical fascinations to forge ahead. They’ve put out two songs that explicitly reference Liverpool brethren the Beatles: “Eleanor Rigor Mortis” from Torn Arteries and “The Long and Winding Bier Road’’ from the 2020 Despicable EP. They add playful power-pop handclaps to the Torn Arteries track “In God We Trust,” and Steer injects his grisly riffs with bluesy, soulful flourishes at nearly every turn. Cynics may see these twists as signs of a band straying ever further from their original ethos, but every detour ensures that Carcass remain not only vital to metal but also utterly singular. Skeptical old fans may turn up to Carcass shows and cross their arms during the new material, but when Walker throws his hand in the air and encourages the crowd to chant along with the band’s gurgling, grimy riffs, it’s impossible to deny the gods of grind.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kara Jackson, Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?

September

karajackson.bandcamp.com/album/why-does-theearth-give-us-people-to-love

Society hasn’t yet adequately grasped the rolling mental-health crisis facing children and young adults whose education and social lives imploded practically overnight at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but preliminary studies indicate that the kids are not, in fact, all right.

When the lockdowns struck, singer-songwriter and former U.S. youth poet laureate Kara Jackson was yanked out of freshman year at Smith College. On “Bed,” their contribution to a May 2020 Why? Records compilation, they perfectly articulate their generation’s bottled-up anxiety and melancholy: “In my bed / I cry too much / My pillow’s plush is turning to mud,” they sang, in a smoky, soulful contralto abutted by gently lapping guitar chords. Jackson recorded the track, along with a trove of other demos, in their childhood bedroom in Oak Park. With the help of Soopernovas Nnamdï, Kaina, and Sen Morimoto, those recordings have been transformed into Jackson’s achingly beautiful, lushly orchestrated full-length debut, Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? “No Fun/Party” pairs crisp couplets with guitar and sleepy strings (performed by Jackson and violinist Macie Stewart, respectively), opening up into a plangent ballad: “I think I’m taken for granted / Every person that I’ve dated / Tells me I’m intimidating / Like a snake that’s busy praying.”

The title track traces grief’s overwhelming arc: Jackson’s desolate vocals-and-guitar intro bloom into a chorus featuring Nnamdï, Kaina, and Morimoto, then soar to redemption. It’s a clear standout, which is saying something given that the album’s 13 songs don’t include a weak link in the bunch. (Its track order could’ve used some finessing, though—it

92 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
Find more music listings at chicagoreader.com/musicreviews
Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfi sh JEFF BRINN
MUSIC
Tei Shi LEEAY

MUSIC

ends, rather unceremoniously, with the minute-long “Liquor.”) Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? sprouted bravely from a specific time and place, but Jackson’s talent is timeless. Kara Jackson plays an in-store show at Shuga Records (1272 N. Milwaukee) on Monday, April 17. —HANNAH EDGAR

Roy Kinsey, Volume 2: Soft Life HOM Fantastic Sounds roykinsey.com

In this economy, embracing a so life can be complicated—much like living as a queer Black man anywhere on Earth. Nobody understands this better than Chicago rapper Roy Kinsey. Kinsey’s musical approach is tactical and autobiographical: he works a day job as librarian at a west-side public school, and examination informs his art, resulting in a profound discography.

In person, Kinsey exudes self-assurance and magnetic sexual confidence; he o en feels the cold edges of an unforgiving and prejudiced society, but he still wants to play. Kinsey describes his latest project, Vol. 2: So Life, as an “audio postcard . . . a li’l love note.” With Mike Jones handling the bulk of production, Kinsey covers a lot of ground across the record’s brief four tracks. Tough-as-nails opener “Stay Dangerous” collides Kinsey’s caustic verses with the kaleidoscopic flow of Mvte (aka Chicagoan Mia Moore). After setting that do-not-fuckwith-me-or-my-people vibe, Kinsey slows things down for the fluid, sensual “Libra’s Lullaby,” which features drippy, R&B-flavored guest vocals from local singer-songwriter Demetruest.

from the first artist to document feelings of confusion, alienation, anger, and grief while managing a breakup, but her strong-willed, clear-eyed performances make her music feel as huge and inevitable as a Marvel blockbuster (and more memorable than whatever the latest Ant-Man sequel is). On “Better Than Who?,” Johnson’s crisp vocals guide the song from solemn guitar strumming through a wall-of-

sound chorus; she admits that someone she loved couldn’t give her what she needed at her worst, singing like she’s confessing to a close friend even when her voice erupts in full-throated thunder. She can express hair-raising intimacy with a performance that could reach the back seats of a sold-out amphitheater—and it makes “Better Than Who?” one of my favorite songs of the year. —LEOR GALIL v

SATURDAY, APRIL 8

Susan Werner In Maurer Hall

FRIDAY, APRIL 14 8PM

Windborne In Szold Hall

SATURDAY, APRIL 15 2PM

Mark O'Connor

Crossing Bridges

A Retrospective on His Childhood Years in Music

SATURDAY, APRIL 15 8PM

Tom Paxton & The DonJuans In Maurer Hall

SUNDAY, APRIL 16 7PM

Aynur In Maurer Hall

SUNDAY, APRIL 16 7PM

Arlo McKinley In Szold Hall

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 8PM

Steve Poltz In Szold Hall

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 8PM

Ivan Neville In Maurer Hall

The viral “Think big, bitch!” TikTok vocal sample sets the tone for Kinsey’s prideful bars on closer “Truly Iconic.” He delivers the lines “Blond hair in my bonnet / I ran shit up at Target / For them coins I’m goin’ Sonic” with breezy bravado over sparse, bouncy production. As artist and activist Ricardo Gamboa said during a Kinsey listening event a couple years back, “This is not reactionary queer hip-hop.” These are the chronicles of an artist tackling life’s complexities through reflective music and—for the time being—welcoming some relief.

Warm Human, Hometown Hero

Weepy BB

warmhuman.bandcamp.com/album/hometownhero

As Warm Human, Chicago pop artist Meredith Johnston likes to marinate in artificial sounds: her music usually relies heavily on synthesizers, and she processes overdubbed layers of her powerful voice to give them a cybernetic sheen. What makes her distinctive isn’t those techniques but rather the nuance with which she uses them—she still manages to sound tender and vulnerable. The new Warm Human album, Hometown Hero (released via her own Weepy BB Records), arises from a radical shi in process: Johnson wrote and recorded the album on electric guitar, which she’d never played till she impulsively bought a Telecaster a er a breakup. As a result, Hometown Hero should feel familiar to anyone who has consoled themselves with alternative rock. Johnson toys with the formulas of Top 40 pop just as perversely here as in her earlier work, invigorating the album with a subversive bite. She’s far

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 8PM

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas In Szold Hall

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 7PM

David Howley

(of We Banjo 3) In Szold Hall

THURSDAY, APRIL 27 8PM

Shana Cleveland

(of La Luz) In Szold Hall

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 93
Kara Jackson LAWRENCE AGYEI Roy Kinsey JESSICA LEVIN
NEW SHOWS ANNOUNCED • ON SALE NOW! 5/9 The Microphones / Mount Eerie 5/12 & 5/13 Omar Offendum's Little Syria 5/19 Partha Bose (sitar) and Indranil Mallick (tabla) 5/20 Tracy Grammer 5/22 Rickie Lee Jones 5/25 Joan Baez (book event) 5/28 National Tap Day 6/3 Junior Brown 6/11 RIOPY
Adeem
4/12 Chinobay & Dance of Hope 4/19 Ugochi & the African Soul Ensemble WORLD MUSIC WEDNESDAY SERIES FREE WEEKLY CONCERTS, LINCOLN SQUARE OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG 4544 N LINCOLN AVENUE, CHICAGO IL OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG • 773.728.6000
6/22
the Artist / Jamie McDell
8PM
UPCOMING CONCERTS AT

EARLY WARNINGS

7/28, 6 PM, Canal Shores Golf Course, Evanston b

LTJ Bukem, MC Armanni Reign, Toyacoyah, Chrissy Tee 5/12, 10 PM, Smart Bar

Lustsickpuppy 7/8, 7 PM, Subterranean b

Macklemore 9/29, 7:30 PM, Aragon Ballroom b Melanie Martinez 7/11, 7:30 PM, Aragon Ballroom b

John Mayer, JP Saxe 10/18, 7:30 PM, United Center b

Mesh, Exwhite, Cel Ray 6/13, 9 PM, Empty Bottle Metalliques, Amazing Heeby Jeebies, Feral Faucet 6/10, 9 PM, Montrose Saloon

NEW

Aggrolites, Crombies 8/18, 8 PM, Chop Shop, 18+

Dee Alexander & John

McLean, DJ Duane Powell 5/19, 7 PM, the Promontory b

Amarcord Trio 5/17, 9 PM, the Whistler F Arts Fishing Club 8/9, 8 PM, Schubas

Audien 6/3, 10 PM, Prysm Nightclub

Joan Baez 5/25, 7 PM, Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music b Bandits on the Run 6/24, 8 PM, Gman Tavern

Belvedere 8/24, 7 PM, Cobra Lounge, 17+

Dan Bern, Chatham Rabbits 5/19, 8:30 PM, Golden Dagger

Bigbabygucci 4/27, 8 PM, the Promontory b

Andrew Bird, Uwade (Out of Space) 7/30, 6 PM, Canal Shores Golf Course, Evanston b

Bleu Clair 5/13, 10 PM, Prysm Nightclub

Bluebucksclan 5/22, 8 PM, Subterranean, 18+

Sam Burchfield & the Scoundrels 7/9, 7:30 PM, Schubas

Caleb Caudle 6/23, 9:30 PM, Hideout

Chats, Cosmic Psychos, Schizophonics 10/12, 6:30 PM, the Vic b

Chicago Immigrant Stories IV featuring the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic 6/3, 7:30 PM, Harris Theater b

Chuck Strangers, Kipp

Stone 5/19, 9:30 PM, Sleeping Village

Brian Citro 5/12, 7 PM, the Whistler F

D4vd 7/16, 7:30 PM, Bottom Lounge b

Dawes, Lucius (Out of Space) 7/27, 6 PM, Canal Shores Golf Course, Evanston b

Deadwolff 5/9, 9:30 PM, Liar’s Club

Iris Dement 7/16, 7 PM, Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music b

Demola 8/25, 7 PM, the Promontory b

John Doe Folk Trio 6/17, 8 PM, Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music b

Dubious Brothers 5/12, 9 PM, Martyrs’

Eddie 9V 5/12, 8:30 PM, Golden Dagger Electric Callboy 9/6, 6 PM, House of Blues b

Enter the Mirror: A Celebration of Les Rallizes

Dénudés featuring John Dwyer with Tom Dolas, Drew St. Ivany, and Bill Roe; Cindy Lee; Steve Gunn; Who Is the Witness?; Oui Ennui; Cafe Racer; Mandy 6/17, 5:45 PM, Bohemian National Cemetery b

Fear 6/17, 8 PM, Reggies Rock Club, 17+

First Fragment, Dischordia

6/4, 8 PM, Reggies Music

Joint

Fontaines D.C., Been Stellar 8/22, 8 PM, Metro, 18+

French Police, Closed Tear, Lesser Care 9/20, 9 PM, Chop Shop, 18+

Frights 7/19, 7 PM, Cobra Lounge b

Fuego 6/30, 8 PM, Avondale Music Hall, 17+

Peter Gabriel 9/30, 8 PM, United Center b

Good Morning Bedlam 5/14, 8 PM, Golden Dagger

Mark Guarino book release for Country & Midwestern featuring Danny Black and friends 6/20, 7:30 PM, Gman

Tavern F

Erwin Helfer 6/2, 8 PM, Hungry Brain

Laurence Hobgood Trio 5/26-5/27, 8 PM, Green Mill

Hotel Mira 6/14, 8 PM, Subterranean, 17+

Eric Hutchinson 9/27, 8 PM, City Winery b

Eilen Jewell 9/7, 8:30 PM, FitzGerald’s, Berwyn

Syleena Johnson 6/29, 8 PM; 6/30, 7 PM, City Winery b

Josh Joplin 8/10, 8 PM, City Winery b

Kansas 7/15, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre b

Lola Kirke 8/26, 9:30 PM, Hideout

Kloud 6/16, 10 PM, Concord Music Hall, 18+

Klub Nocturno 5/19, 9:30 PM, Concord Music Hall, 17+

Korine, CD Ghost 6/9, 10 PM, Empty Bottle

Less Than Jake, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Pink Spiders 7/8, 7 PM, Concord Music Hall, 17+

Lord Huron, Allie Crow Buckley (Out of Space)

Mike’s Dead, Haunt 6/12, 7:30 PM, Beat Kitchen b John R. Miller 6/14, 9 PM, Sleeping Village Millyz 6/8, 8 PM, Avondale Music Hall b

Murder by Death 8/31, 9 PM, Metro, 18+ Murder Junkies, Busby Death Chair, Anger, Modern Crooks 6/9, 9 PM, Reggies Music Joint My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Adult., Kanga 11/4, 7:30 PM, Bottom Lounge, 17+

Neffex 12/1, 9 PM, Lincoln Hall, 18+ Nothing but Thieves 9/23, 7:15 PM, the Vic b Tim O’Brien Band 7/26, 8:30 PM, FitzGerald’s, Berwyn Oracle Sisters, Ryder the Eagle 9/23, 8 PM, Schubas, 18+ Owl City 10/18, 7:30 PM, House of Blues, 17+ Pansy Division, Bev Rage & the Drinks 6/17, 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 17+ Pixies, Modest Mouse, Cat Power 8/30-8/31, 6 PM, Salt Shed b

Polyphia, Domi & JD Beck 10/19, 8 PM, Riviera Theatre, 18+ Possessed by Paul James 6/1, 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 17+

Louise Post 7/20, 8 PM, Lincoln Hall, 18+ Queen & Adam Lambert 10/30-10/31, 8 PM, United Center b

Bonnie Raitt 10/8, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre b Rhemantics 6/1, 8 PM, Montrose Saloon Rocket Summer, Juliana Theory 7/2, 8 PM, Bottom Lounge, 17+

Never miss a show again. Sign up for the newsletter at chicagoreader. com/early

The Rumble featuring Cro-Mags, Killing Time, Rotting Out, End It, Zulu, Dead Heat, Militarie Gun, Raw Brigade, Fugitive, Domain, Kind Eyes, Big Laugh, Killer, Year of the Knife, Restraining Order, Sector, Conservative Military Image, Missing Link, Spaced, and more

7/21-7/22, 4 PM, Cobra Lounge, 17+

Jill Scott 7/24-7/25, 7 PM, Chicago Theatre b

Anna Shoemaker 5/20, 7 PM, Subterranean, 17+

Regina Spektor, Allison Russell (Out of Space)

7/29, 6 PM, Canal Shores Golf Course, Evanston b

Spiritual Cramp 6/23, 9:30 PM, Sleeping Village

Sunflower Headlights, Long Farewells, Iris Marlowe 6/16, 8:30 PM, Montrose Saloon

Swans, Norman Westberg

9/21, 8 PM, Metro, 18+

T3R Elemento, Leonilo

Jaimes 7/1, 7:30 PM, Park West b

Tape B 6/17, 9 PM, Chop Shop, 18+

Tigercub 5/26, 7:30 PM, Gman Tavern

Don Toliver, Pi’erre Bourne 6/20, 6:30 PM, Aragon Ballroom b

Matt Ulery’s Delicate Charms 5/19-5/20, 8 PM, Green Mill

DJ Louie Vega 5/26, 10 PM, Smart Bar

Whitewolfsonicprincess, Mixture 6/14, 7 PM, SPACE, Evanston b

The Widow Cameron, Slow Witch 6/21, 9 PM, Hideout

Wilder Blue 7/22, 8:30 PM, FitzGerald’s, Berwyn

Wei Xu, No Better Today, Judiper’s X 5/16, 8 PM, Golden Dagger

GOSSIP WOLF

A furry ear to the ground of the local music scene

CHICAGO DREAM-POP artist Alana Schachtel , who records and performs as Lipsticism , has a seemingly effortless command of melody, and her ethereal, diaphanous productions make her songs feel like floating through a tranquil sky filled with gorgeous fluffy clouds. In December, she released the outstanding album Two Mirrors Facing Each Other (Earth Libraries), and it’s been in constant rotation at Gossip Wolf headquarters ever since. She followed it in February with “Forever Forever,” a new collaborative single with producer Erik Gunther (aka DJ Immaterial ) that she says “explores wanting to transcend a singular self bound by finite time and wanting to irrevocably meld into one with the ones we love for eternity.” On Friday, April 7, Lipsticism performs at Sleeping Village , opening for Avey Tare of Animal Collective.

Over the past year, Legend Conversation —an ongoing interview series launched in 2018 by Closed Sessions honcho Alex “RTC” Fruchter —has hosted hip-hop royalty such as Raekwon, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Just Blaze. Gossip Wolf is intrigued, to say the least! On Thursday, April 6, Legend Conversation returns to Dorian’s for a sit-down with DJ Premier , who will also perform behind the turntables; DJ Ca$h Era and RTC will spin too. The event starts at 10 PM and runs till 1 AM; admission is $20 at the door.

Heart Attack Man, Arm’s Length, Super American, Photocopy 6/29, 7:30 PM, Bottom Lounge, venue changed, 17+ v

On Sunday, April 9, Metro hosts a celebration of life for queer artist and veteran club kid JoJo Baby , who died last month at 51. After switching from seminary to beauty school as a teenager, they became a hairstylist, puppeteer, doll maker, costume designer, and drag artist. Their biggest heroes were Boy George, Jim Henson, and Clive Barker. JoJo Baby’s extravagant, otherworldly outfits made undreamed-of possibilities tangible, and they le an indelible mark on generations of Chicagoans who found refuge in nightlife. The free celebration runs from 7 PM to 11 PM. —J.R. NELSON

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or email gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

94 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll
UPDATED
Cat Power MARIO SORRENTI
CHICAGO
WOLF BY KEITH HERZIK
SHOWS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IN THE WEEKS TO COME b ALL AGES F
APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 95

CLASSIFIEDS

JOBS

GENERAL REAL ESTATE RENTALS FOR SALE

NON-RESIDENTIAL

PROFESSIONALS & SERVICES

CLEANING

RESEARCH

JOBS

Accurate Group, Inc. seeks Project Engineers for Lincolnshire, IL location to perform civil eng design calculations, quantity estimates & cost estimates. Bachelor’s in Civil Eng/any Eng field/ related field req’d. Req’d Edu/Exp w/:Microstation, FHWA TNM 2.5, CSI SAP 200, CSI SAFE, CSI ETAPS, Autodesk AUTO CAD & Autodesk CIVIL 3D. Send resume:A. Ramos, REF:MA, hr@accgi.com

Senior Software Developer Senior Software Developer – (Multiple Openings) Design, develop, test, Integrate technologies /Framework & implement application s/w using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Angular, SQL, GIT, Bootstrap, C#, Restful API, Asp. net Web Api, .NET Core. Must be willing to travel & reloc to unanticipated client locations throughout the US. Reqs MS in Comp Sci, Sci, Engg or rel w/2 yrs exp in the above-mentioned skills & Technologies. Include JOB ID # SSD02 and Mail resumes to Cyberbridge International, Inc. dba Creospan, Inc. 1515 E. Woodfield Rd., Ste 370, Schaumburg, IL 60173

Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developer: Design, devlp, enhance, code, test, deliver & debug sw using Java, JavaScript, microservices, Spring Boot, Spring Framework & SQL. Reqs BS in Comp Sci, Sci, Engg or rel w/ 2 yrs exp in Full stack devlpmt using Java & Spring Technologies. Must be willing to travel & reloc to unanticipated client locations throughout the U.S. Include the JOB id # FSD01. Resumes to Cyberbridge International Inc dba Creospan Inc , 1515 ood eld d Ste 3 Schaumburg, IL 60173

Lead Software Engineer

Motherson Technology Services USA Limited in Schaumburg, IL is seek’g

COMMUNITY PERSONALS

standards; assist staff & users; determine software & hardware needed and make recommendations. Req. Bachelor’s in any eld incl foreign equivalent) & 12-month exp. in job offered or job providing IT support & customer service.

Send resume by email careers@digitalmint.io to Red Leaf Chicago LLC dba DigitalMint, ATTN: Jonathan Solomon.

PUBLIC NOTICE ADULT SERVICES

Lead Software Engineers to dsgn & dvlp s/w apps/ solt’ns. No trvl; no telecomm. Job duties projbased @ unanticipated sites w/in U.S. Relo may be req’d @ proj end. Send resumes to: Motherson Technology Services USA Limited, Attn: HR, 1101 Perimeter Dr., Ste 150, Schaumburg, IL 60173

Junior Technician Junior Technician in Chicago, IL, to test, maintain, monitor & troubleshoot programs & systems, assist with malfunctions & program issues; handle kiosk deployment issues; work with teams to expand, modify & improve system; work on system design & test procedures & quality

Help Wanted Full-Time he ffc of nfo S cs at the University of IL Chicago (UIC), located in a large metropolitan area, is seeking multiple full-time IT Technical Associates (Developer – Business Intelligence) to asst dept w/ the following duties: Under direction & supervision, develop, modify, test, & dist. reports, metrics, dashboards, & selfserv reporting capabilities based on specs def by hosp bus. units; Srve as subj-matter expert in bus. intelligence suite of tools & apps, which inc Electronic Hlth Rec. sys speci cally pic clin apps & integrating sys; Use various data modeling techniques, data mining algorithms, sys analysis & design along w/ advncd prog langs to enable key bus metrics; Build custom reports, dev complex SQL queries, delvr metrics for qual imprvmnt initiatives & dev dashbrds for critical dec making by hosp ldrship; Engage dir w/ bus. units to define reqs & supprt various bus. intel initiatives; Part. in dev & mntnce of trng content as part of bus. intelligence training prog; Perf othr rltd duties & part. in spec proj as assigned. Trvl req in b/w local worksites only. Requires Bach deg or foreign equiv. in Comp. Sci., Info. Systems Mgmt, Mgmt Info Systems, or rltd eld of study plus yrs of exp in info systms, healthcare info systms, bus. intel., or data warehsng, & lastly cert. in one of the following Epic bus. Intel. apps or rltd cert area: 1. Cogito Access Data Model 2. Cogito Clinical Data Model 3. Cogito Revenue Data Model. For fullest consideration, pls submit CV, cvr ltr, & 3 prof references by 4/19/2023 to Sharad Choudhary, Info. Svcs, Univ of IL Chicago, 1740 W Taylor Ste 1300, Chicago IL 60612 or via email schoud7@uic.edu.

UIC is an Equal Opportunity A r ati e Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans, & ind w/ disabilities are encouraged to apply. UIC may conduct bckgrd chks on all job candidates upon accpt of a contingent offr ltr. Bckgrd chks will be perf. in compliance w/ Fair Credit Reporting Act. As a qualifying federal contractor, the U of I Systm uses E-Verify to verify employment eli-

gibility. The U of I Systm reqs candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment & to auth inquiries to current & for er e plyrs re nd ings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more info, visit https://www.hr.uillinois. edu/cms/One.aspx?portalId=4292&pageId=1411899 U of I faculty staff & students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for med or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable Univ processes.

Medical Laboratory Scientists Northwestern Memorial Healthcare seeks Medical Laboratory Scientists for Chicago, IL location to perform test procedures. Bachelor’s in Med Tech/Lab Sci/ Clinical Lab Sci/Chem/ Bio/Allied Health field qualifying applicant for ASCP cert exam req’d. Req’d Skills: ASCP MLS/ MT req’d (ASCPi also accepted). Drug test & background check req’d. Must be willing to work 2nd shift. Apply online: http://jobseeker.nm.org/

Req ID: REF48418L

Analytics Developers

Northwestern Memorial Healthcare seeks Analytics Developers for Chicago, IL location to deliver data warehouse & analytic solutions. Bachelors in IT/Analytics/Informatics/ Med Sci/related field +2yrs exp req’d. Req’d Skills:2 yrs w/relational databases; SQL for data extract, manipulation & report; work w/business users in dev analytical solutions; SQL query; stored procedures; data visualization w/Power BI/ Tableau/Python/Crystal Reports/SSRS; dev incl analysis, design & support; structured programming. Background check req\’d. May telecommute in the Chicago area w/ ability to commute to HQ hicago o ce as re d Apply online:http:// jobseeker.nm.org/

Req ID: REF48756X

Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago is seeking a Lead Risk Analyst in Chicago, IL Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago is seeking a Lead Risk Analyst in Chicago, IL. Lead the design process and modeling development to implement new initiatives or keep up with market trends. May work from home 3 days per week. Must live within commuting distance of office. Apply on-line at fhlbc.com/careers.

Technology Consultant Slalom’s Chicago, IL o ce has ultiple open ings for Technology Consultant (various types/ levels): Identify & develop technology solutions for clients. Must be available to work on projects at various, unanticipated sites w/n commuting distance of Slalo o ce Some telecommuting is permitted. TO APPLY: Go to www.jobpostingtoday .com, search for job ID 21247 & submit resume.

Great Lakes Precision Tube, Inc dba GL Precision Tube, Inc seeks Quality Engineer w/ mast or for deg equiv in IE or rel fld & 2 yrs exp in job offer or auto qual sys. Must have crswrk, internshp or exp in QMS ISO 9001:2015; AIAG concepts (APQP & PPAP MGMT); SPC (Ctrl chrts, Capblty Data); gage calib; PLEX ERP tool; metall analy; read Cust Draw Prnts; GD&T, FIFO Mgmt; & root cause analy & 8 D prob solv. Apply to HR: 237 S. Highland Ave., Aurora, IL 60506 or https:// www.glptube.com/

Kenway KC Kenway Consulting, LLC seeks Solution Architect in Chicago, IL to lead the archtctr dsgn for sclbl entrprs sftwr or cstm web aplctns; Reqs BS in Comp. Sci or clsly rltd fld nths exp in rltd ocptn. Reqs 24 mnths exp the fll ng non rlt nl/NoSQL dtbs (Azr Csms DB w/ Gmln); rltnl/SQL dtbs (Mcsft SQL Srvr, Azr SQL DB); frntnd dev. Skls incl. HTML/CSS/ Jvascrpt; dta lks (Azr, A S Sno fla e ; n ldg of dvlpg web srvcs and RST APIs. Mail resumes to Sarab Weiss at 20 North Clark Street, Suite 1825 Chicago, IL 60602.

(Wood Dale, IL) K.R. Komarek Inc. seeks Technical Services Assistant w/ 3 yrs exp in job offer or Agglomeration/Compaction oper & mthds. Must have exp in mat hndlg & in ISO9001:2015 found. Freq dom & occ intl trvl req. Apply to HR: 548 Clayton Ct., Wood Dale, IL 60191 or https://komarek. com/about-komarek/ komarek-careers/.

Marketing/Operations

Marketing/Operations

Schawk USA, a Matthews International co, has an opening in Chicago, IL. Marketing/Operations Specialist: commission, develop & implement solutions brand business, across range of industry verticals. 25% dom & int’l travel req’d. Remote work may be permitted in Chicago area. Submit resume (principals only) to: Sarah.Sorace@sgkinc.

com Must include recruitment source + full job title in subject line. EOE

Network Engineer Network Engineer Location: Aurora IL Responsible for the dsgn & implementation of hardware/software based on the reqmnts of the customers wired/ wireless IP networks. Setup SNMP managers & import & configure MIBS. Bach’s degree in elec. eng’g, telecommunications or related plus 2 Yrs exp in data networking & wireless technologies (Cisco, Nokia or equiv) including designing, managing & implementing large network (wired or wireless) deployments. Must have a CCNA or Nokia NRS Lvl 1 cert. Background check & drug screening req’d. 15% domestic & 5% international travel. Mail resumes to: Scientel Solutions LLC 2021 N Eola Rd Aurora IL 60502

Billing and Posting Clerks Post stop-payment notices to prevent payment of protested checks; Verify accuracy of billing data and revise any errors; Verify signatures and required information on checks; Prepare itemized statements, bills, or invoices and record amounts due for items purchased or services rendered; Perform bookkeeping work, including posting data or keeping other records concerning costs of goods or services or the shipment of goods; Answer inquiries regarding rates, routing, or procedures; Compile reports of cost factors, such as labor, production, storage, and equipment; Create billing documents, shipping labels, credit memorandums, or credit forms; Perform general administrative tasks, such as answering telephones, scheduling appointments, and ordering supplies or equipment; Return checks to customers or retrieve checks returned to customers in error, adjusting accounts and answering inquiries about errors as necessary. Mail résumé to Amgaabaatar Purevjal, iCodice LLC, 5005 Newport Dr, Suite# 505, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Education Counselor Education Counselor - Evaluate students through testing; counsel students; Travel to academic fairs, seminars, & university visits; conduct research on college ranking systems; & communicate w/ admissions officers. Telecommuting permitted 100% of time within US with domestic travel req\’d approx 2-3x/ mo lasting 1-3 days per trip. Min Reqs: Master’s

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in Education or closely rltd field + 2 yrs exp in occupations rltd to Education Counselor; 2 yrs exp in the following: evaluating students’ abilities, academic success, and interests through GPA, testing results & interviews; counseling students on behavioral, social & emotional issues that affect academic performance; & advising students w/ academic course selections, extra-curricular activities, & sports participation; 2 yrs exp working w/ Presentation software, MS Word/ Google Docs, & CRM software. Please send resume to Amerigo Education LLC at Career2@ amerigoeducation.com

Director of Operations

Director of Operations: Burr Ridge IL. Plan, direct, coord transp, storage, distribution activities in acc w policies, laws or regs. Supervise activities of workers engaged in receiving, shipping goods. Direct inbound, outbound logistics ops. Resolve issues: truck repairs, city & license plate stickers. Shipping, routing of trucks & vans, incl sched drivers. Employee perf reviews, disciplinary actions, maintain proper docs. 2 ys exp as director of operations or transportation operations manager. HS. Res: Bony Transportation Inc, bonytranportation@ gmail.com

Senior Accountant

Senior Accountant: Examine, analyze, interpret accounting records to prep financial statements, give advice, audit, evaluate statements. Prepare reports on audit ndings eport to gnt recommend changes in operations & financial activities. Reconciliation, balance sheets, income statements. Bachelor in Accounting. 2 yrs exp as accountant. Res: Patriot Transport, Inc. 450 Kehoe Blvd, Carol Stream IL 60188

Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago is seeking a Lead Risk Analyst in Chicago, IL Perform leading role on design process or modeling development to implement new initiatives or keep up with market trends. May work from home 3 days per week. Must live within commuting distance of office. Apply on-line at fhlbc.com/careers.

Software Developer/ Lead Software Developer/Lead - Park Ridge, IL SOFTCON USA, INC needs professionals: Plan, lead using ASP.Net, C#, AnjularJS, Visual Studio, SQL, JIRA and WCF. Req. – Master’s with 1 yr exp or bachelor’s +5 yrs. Exp. Comp. salary,

Travel/Relocation within USA possible. Please mail resume to Ref: President, 2604 E. Dempster Street, Ste 209, Park Ridge, IL- 60068.

SENIOR BUSINESS

INTELLIGENCE ENGINEER Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC seeks Senior Business Intelligence Engineer to work in Chicago, IL & develop, own, implement & deploy state of the art Business Intelligence Engineering solutions. Degree & commensurate exp. req\’d. Apply online at keyword R-67824 at careers.kraftheinz.com/ careers/SearchJobs

SR. MANAGER, IT APP SUPPORT – WORKDAY

Kraft Heinz Foods Company seeks Sr. Manager, IT App Support – Workday to work in Glenview, IL & be responsible for protecting, maintaining & extending the Workday Global Template solution to ensure maximum availability of the service and stability of the integrations to other applications. Degree & commensurate exp. req\’d. Apply online at keyword R-67936 at careers.kraftheinz.com/ careers/SearchJobs

Wellbeing Center of Expertise (COE) Specialist – Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Chicago, IL. Manage COE programs, processes & databases rltd to wellbeing education, upskilling associates, & engagement tools.

Job reqs Bach’s deg in Nutrition, Food Sci, Food ndustry Mg t or rltd fld + 5 yrs in the food sci industry working with research, nutrition regulation, or legislative requirements. Telework benefit permitted up to 1 day/wk. Up to 20% travel req’d. To apply, send resume identifying Job Code 124 to MarsTA-PIC@ effem.com. No calls.

Sr Process Engineer (Bensenville IL) Sr Process Engineer (Bensenville IL) Complete chem. eng’g for ClO2 solut’ns. Must have bachelor in chem. eng’g, rltd/equiv & 5 yrs progressive post-baccalaureate exp. in process eng’g, incld work’g w/ pumps, tanks, rotat’nal equip, pip’g, heat exchangers & material movement. Domestic travel rqd 4-6 days/month. Internat’nal travel rqd up to 2x/year. CV to PureLine Treatment Systems, at lucy. sutton@pureline.com.

Sr Electrical Engineer (Bensenville IL) Sr Electrical Engineer (Bensenville IL) Complete electrical eng’g incl proposal, design, install & test. Must have bachelor in electric/ electronics eng’g, rltd/ equiv & 2 yrs exp. as electrical eng. incl pro-

96 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll

gram’ng PLCs & utiliz’g AutoCAD & e-plan. Domestic travel rqd to client sites up to 2 days/week. CV to PureLine Treatment Systems, at lucy. sutton@pureline.com.

Chicago Station Manager Chicago Station Manager w/ Milkyway International Chemical Supply Chain in Chicago, IL needed to communicate Head Office strategy & directions into bite-size bits to be implemented in region. Initiate & dev business opportunities within new or existing markets. Budget (CAPEX/ OPEX) Management. Procure & consolidate strategies to meet reqs of local market. Dev SOPs/ process to meet local operating environment. Req Bach (U.S. or FDE) in Business, Logistics & Supply Chain Management, or closely rel field +5 yrs management exp at international logistics company involving managing implementations (across multi-functional business units & countries) of strategic, comprehensive, & complex projs & ensure smooth start-up; facilitating development of Standard Operating Procedures; training staff on SOP reqs; reviewing existing customers’ operation flow & optimizing the process; reviewing, standardizing, translating, & documenting all existing operating procedures; communicating w/ overseas employees, management & customers/vendors & maintaining & developing business relationship w/ existing & prospective clients. Send resumes to HR Manager at marciamurillo@ mwclg.com

Multiple Openings Serenity Home Healthcare Inc. in Niles, IL. has multiple openings for the position of Nursing Assistant (NA23): Provide physical support to assist patients to perform daily living activities. Mail resume with job ID# to Ayowale Alao, 6640 W. Touhy Ave., Niles, IL. 60714. Unanticipated worksite locations throughout U.S.

Neocol Inc seeks Director, Integrations w/ bach or for deg equiv in CS, SE, CIS, math or rel fld & 3 yrs exp in job offer or MuleSoft Archit or Devp or w/MuleSoft. Also accepts 3 yr deg or studies/crswrk & 4 yrs exp. Must have exp in data integ & mig prin & data archt des. Telecom perm. May reside/wrk anyw in US. Apply to: HR, 20 W Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60654

RESEARCH

Have you had an unwanted sexual experience since age 18? Did you tell someone in your life about it who is also willing to participate?

Women ages 18+ who have someone else in their life they told about their experience also willing to participate will be paid to complete a confidential online research survey for the Women’s Dyadic Support Study. Contact Dr. Sarah Ullman of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Criminology, Law, & Justice Department at ForWomen@ uic.edu, 312-996-5508. Protocol #2021-0019.

PROFESSIONALS & SERVICES

CLEANING SERVICES

CHESTNUT ORGANIZING AND CLEANING

SERVICES: especially for people who need an or-

SOMETHING READER FOR EVERYONE!

ganizing service because of depression, elderly, physical or mental challenges or other causes for your home’s clutter, disorganization, dysfunction, etc. We can organize for the downsizing of your current possessions to more easily move into a smaller home. With your help, we can help to organize your move. We can organize and clean for the deceased in lieu of having the bereaved needing to do the preparation to sell or rent the deceased’s home. We are absolutely not judgmental; we’ve seen and done “worse” than your job assignment. With your help, can we please help you? Chestnut Cleaning Service: 312-332-5575. www. ChestnutCleaning.com

HOUSING

619 S. LaSalle, 1 BDRM/ Studio $1695-$2095 Printer\’s Row. 10\’ and 18\’ Loft Ceilings. Modern Kitchen with Quartz Countertops, Stainless Appliances, Dishwasher, Microwave, Gas Range, In Unit Washer/Dryer.

Sleek Bathroom . Bike Room, Health Club, High Speed Internet, Roof Deck Included. Pets Deposit/Rent. Parking Available Aprox. $260 Month. Call: (773)853-1564

PUBLIC NOTICE

NOTICE OF PUBLIC SALE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY Notice is hereby given that pursuant to Section 4 of the Self-Storage Facility Act, State of Illinois, Chicago Northside StorageLakeview /Western Ave Storage LLC will conduct sale(s) at www.storagetreasures.com by competitive bidding starting

on April 5th and ending on April 12th @ 12:00 pm on the premises where the property has been stored, which are located at Chicago Northside Storage 2946 N Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60618. 773-305-4000. In the matter of the personal property of the individual listed below, Chicago Northside StorageLakeview. Nnamdi Ugbaja Z07, Braxton Black Z52, Charlotte D. Drover Q13, Renato Medina F13. Purchases must be made with cash only and paid at the time of sale redemption. All goods are sold as is and must be removed at the time of purchase. The sale is subject to adjournment. .

PERSONALS

MJM DOM 52 SEEKS SUB FEMALE MJM DOM 52 SEEKS SUBMISSIVE FEMALE & WILL TRAIN BONDAGE SPANKING ORAL PLEASURE PUNISNMENT CAN HOST-224-292-9899.

SOUP FANS UNITE Seeking like-minded chicagoland soup enthusiasts to develop a premier community dedicated to sharing recipes & stockpot recommendations. Join the conversation, chitysoup@gmail.com

ADULT SERVICES

Danielle’s Lip Service, Erotic Phone Chat. 24/7. Must be 21+. Credit/ Debit Cards Accepted. All Fetishes and Fantasies Are Welcomed. Personal, Private and Discrete. 773-935-4995

APRIL 6, 2023 - CHICAGO READER 97
the platform The Chicago Reader Guide to Business and Professional Services JOIN US! WWW GECHAMBER COM shop local 773-616-6969 1234/1250 S. Michigan Ave. In/out. Must call 8 am-9 pm. No annoying texts. European Relax Massage Licensed & Certified Cupping health & wellness A premier contractor serving Chicago and the surrounding areas since 1976. We o er remodeling, repairs, maintenance work, spray foam installation, and much more. Contact for more info! (773) 528-1671 | thebuildingdoc@hotmail.com | garyjbuilder.com home improvement To advertise, e-mail ads@chicagoreader.com
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98 CHICAGO READER - APRIL 6, 2023 ll CHEMA SKANDAL
COMICS

No passports required to enjoy this multinational journey!

The International Latino Cultural Center invites you to embark on an extraordinary cinematic journey to discover the diversity, beauty, and richness of Latino culture… ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival.org For the entire lineup of films, special events, and more visit

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