Category: Entertainment

Renting a car for no reason except to drive

Do people take Sunday drives anymore? When I was a kid, we’d eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house on the East Side of Joliet, and then all eight of us would pile into the car for a trip to Pilcher Park, always stopping at the greenhouse and the artesian well. Sunday drives have largely... Read more »

Learning about Native Americans firsthand

“Are you a native?” I asked the Lyft driver who was taking me to pick up a rental car in Albuquerque. I meant native of Albuquerque, but she thought I meant Native American. It was an understandable assumption: New Mexico has a higher percentage of Native Americans, almost 11 percent, than any state except Alaska.... Read more »

Hometown prison opened for tours

“When did you get out?” We Joliet natives were used to getting that question. Two prisons weren’t my hometown’s only claims to fame. Joliet had the first junior college in the nation. Basketball star George Mikan, actress Mercedes McCambridge, children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and singer-songwriter Lionel Richie were among the luminaries with Joliet roots.... Read more »
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Time for another Chicago to-do list

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about having been to only two of the places on Chicago magazine’s 2018 best of Chicago list. I score better with the self-made list I blogged about in May 2016. Now that I’ve gone to a Chicago Sky game (August 19), all but one of the things on... Read more »

Living on the Wabash Arts Corridor

The year I moved to the South Loop, 2013, Wabash Avenue from Roosevelt north about half a mile — the very area where I live — was slated to become an arts corridor. Before then the only tourists likely to go to South Wabash were headed to Buddy Guy’s Legends. An excess of parking lots... Read more »

Raising my voice against loudness

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera last week, just days before it closed Sunday. Reading critics’ overwhelmingly glowing reviews after, I was surprised that only a couple of them mentioned what I thought the production’s flaw: it was too loud. The music drowned out the lyrics. On Chicagoland Theater Reviews Dan Zeff mentioned... Read more »
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The Great American Read and other book lists

For a reader and lover of lists, the Great American Read is a double delight. The upcoming eight-part PBS series will feature the 100 novels apparently most loved by Americans. It premieres May 22 on WTTW. The list is already online at www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read, where you can take a quiz to see how many of the... Read more »

Wordnesia strikes when playing Scrabble

My friend Sandie and I were playing Scrabble, as we do every Tuesday, and I blanked on spelling annul. Two n’s or two l’s? Another time I juggled the u and e in fuel back and forth. I spent my career in the word business and am a decent speller. How is it then that... Read more »

Rethinking my reaction to BLKS

I saw BLKS, currently playing at Steppenwolf, in previews. I was eager for the reviews to come out to reinforce my opinion. Self-doubt had set in when the performance got a standing ovation from quite a few in the audience. It hadn’t wowed me. Despite its name and playwright Aziza Barnes’s writing that it’s “a... Read more »
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Thoughts for December: the weather and shopping

The carolers at Cloud Gate Friday sang “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” but I doubt that any of us were unhappy that it was warm enough to leave the gloves and hats at home. Christmas was still 3½ weeks away. The snow could wait. The weather the past few days has been such a... Read more »