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Home Explore Newcity Chicago June 2020

Newcity Chicago June 2020

Published by Newcity, 2020-06-03 12:07:38

Description: Newcity's annual summer issue is a little different this year. Where summer has historically been a time of abundance and celebration in Chicago, COVID-19 and political unrest have dovetailed to create a cultural vacuum. We hope to fill the void with a selection of summer-themed offerings: reminiscents, memories, odes and more, all in search of one thing: hope for a better future, one that sees the return of our city's finest season. Also in this issue: attending festivals from home, the current state of the arts under pandemic, chefs share their summer favorites, and more.


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JUNE 2020 Newcity June 2020 1

LIVE-STREAMING EVENTS AND CLASSES, EXHIBITIONS AND TOURS, MUSICAL AND THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES, LECTURES, INTERVIEWS, AND MORE. Attend an online dance class, discover family- friendly gatherings, hear from distinguished practitioners, or take a leisurely stroll through the University’s public art. With this collection of virtual offerings created by and for UChicago students, faculty, staff, guest artists, University professional organizations, and community partners, you can discover—or rediscover!—the breadth and depth of the arts at the University of Chicago, on the South Side, and in the City of Chicago. ARTSBLOG.UCHICAGO.EDU/ VIRTUAL

Detail view of “X,” 2015. Artist: Eddie Santana White (aka “Edo”). This work was part of the artist’s 2020 exhibition Memories Museum at the Logan Center. Image courtesy of artist.

ARTSBLOG. EXPLORE Dex R. Jones, A Real One (detail). Photography. UCHICAGO. ART On View: Dex R. Jones: Storied Portraits, EDU/ Through August 31 VIRTUAL ONLINE ST. JOSEPH, MI 269.983.0271 Explore online galleries and classes, interviews with curators and artists, and discover free projects for the whole family at

THE CONVERSATION June 2020 Novelist Joe Meno discusses his nonfiction debut ........................ 9 &ARCTUSLTURE JJUUNNEE22002200 NNeewwccitityy oSfUSMOMLITEURDE ART Pandemic lays bare Dead Pools...................................................... 11 art worker precarity....................................... 34 A Perfect Summer Picnic for Two.................. 16 Camp Outsider............................................... 18 DANCE Have the Summer of Your Dreams ............... 20 Pivot Arts Festival and Mandala Makers A Summer Idyll...............................................22 Festival make the move online ......................36 Three Cheers for Air Conditioning .................23 Get in the Game............................................ 24 DESIGN The Adult Pleasures of Kiddie Pools .............. 27 Stay home with the 2020, The Year Without a Summer Chicago Humanities Festival.........................38 (After Rasputina)............................................28 Crowd Porn................................................... 30 DINING & DRINKING Chefs share their POETRY home-cooked sunny day favorites ............... 40 “While his Guitar Gently Weeps, I turn” FILM by Dipika Mukherjee......................................... 21 Chicago exhibitors’ “Spring” last movie on a big screen............................ 43 by Rachel Jamison Webster ................................. 21 “Sonnet for the Ages” LIT by Ed Roberson................................................ 26 A conversation with Tracy Clark about “flashlights, south loop” her award-winning Cass Raines series ........ 45 by Rachel DeWoskin ......................................... 26 “Self-Portrait Lined by Adam Zagajewski” MUSIC by Simone Muench + Jackie K. White ................. 26 Alex Dixon recalls—and records— “Writing for Summer, in an Uncertain Spring” Blues legend Willie Dixon ..............................47 by Lizzie Bourne...............................................29 STAGE Chicago theater and the pandemic ......................................... 49 55

letter FROM THE EDITOR I adore summer. Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska and later Joliet, Illinois, my summers were far from the crowded urban Here’s what I especially love: lazy Saturday afternoons scenes I cherish now, but rather long, lazy open spaces hanging out near the bar at a crowded lakefront beach. of limitless possibility and minimal accomplishment. Classical music concerts under the stars on the lawn Days without agendas: spent reading, watching base- in Millennium Park. Long runs along the lake. Watch- ball on TV narrated with the grandfatherly comfort ing dancers of all ages and sizes and races under the of Jack Brickhouse, and playing games in the yard with stars at Summer Dance. Drinking beers in the bleach- my younger brother Brent until darkness fell. Explor- ers on a hot sunny afternoon at White Sox park. Ear- ing the less-than-photogenic solitude of a suburban ly afternoons in Grant Park at Lollapalooza. Seeing landscape, or the farm roads near my cousin Rick’s old friends and meeting new ones at Printers Row Lit home in Hope, North Dakota, or floating on an inner Fest. And so on... tube on the Minnesota lake where my grandparents built a cabin. Each summer, my brother, mother and I Most of what I love about summer in the city won’t would drive to the North Dakota region where my exist this year. Will it be un verano perdido? Lost this parents grew up and met. We'd spend a month, much once, maybe forever? of it in towns of just a few hundred folks, while my father taught summer classes back home before joining Summer came and passed away, us for his two-week break. Hardly seemed to last a day But it's over and what can I do. As a schoolboy, most of my days were spent in a state of serendipitous social distance, blissful times for in- —Electric Light Orchestra, “It’s Over” trospection and the pleasure of small moments, inter- rupted only by the occasional trips to the swimming Like so many, we've been taking advantage of our pool, the movies or a Fourth of July family picnic. homebound life to sort through accumulated posses- sions, including a raft of keepsakes and personal papers. Suddenly, this summer is one I’m looking forward to. As my head swarms with memories, I started thinking Not the season I'd expected, but a chance to relive more about the summers of my childhood, when the season distant joys. meant just as much to me as it does now. NNeewwcicittyy JJUUNNEE22002200 Brian HIEG—GBrEianLHKieEggelke 66

CONTRIBUTORS ON THE COVER CHRISTOPHER REJANO (Photographer, RACHEL JAMISON WEBSTER (Poet, “Spring”) Cover Photo Christopher Rejano Cover and “Summer of Solitude”) is a Chicago- is an associate professor of creative writing at Cover Design Dan Streeting based cinematographer. His most recent film Northwestern and author of four books of poetry, “Knives and Skin” premiered at Berlinale and including “”September and “Mary is a River,” Vol. 35, No. 1404 Tribeca Film Festival. a finalist for the National Poetry Series. PUBLISHERS FRANK TEMPONE (Writer, “The Conversation”) ED ROBERSON (Poet, “Sonnet for the Ages…”) Brian & Jan Hieggelke is a teacher, literary critic and essayist who lives The fourteenth winner of the Jackson Poetry Associate Publisher Mike Hartnett in and loves the Rogers Park neighborhood. Prize, Ed Roberson is the author of ten books of EDITORIAL Follow him @Tempone on Twitter. poetry and an emeritus professor in Northwestern Editor Brian Hieggelke University’s MFA creative writing program. His Managing Editor Jan Hieggelke MONICA KASS ROGERS (Writer/Photographer, previous honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Art Editor Kerry Cardoza “A Perfect Summer Picnic for Two” and “Summer Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Dance Editor Sharon Hoyer Comforts”) Of all that Monica Kass Rogers African American Literature and Culture Design Editor Vasia Rigou photographs, food and the people who make it Society’s Stephen Henderson Award. Dining and Drinking Editor are favorite subjects. “My job has given me the David Hammond privilege to learn about food from the chefs and RACHEL DEWOSKIN (Poet, “flashlight…”) Film Editor Ray Pride restaurateurs who make it. It's been agony, seeing is the author of “Two Menus: Poems,” ”Banshee,”  Lit Editor Tara Betts them shut down during this most challenging time. “Someday We Will Fly,” “Blind,” “Big Girl Small,”  Music Editor Robert Rodi Still, they find ways to serve. True hospitality.” “Repeat After Me” and “Foreign Babes in Beijing.”  Theater Editor Kevin Greene ART & DESIGN S.L. WISENBERG (Writer, “Camp Outsider”) SIMONE MUENCH and JACKIE K. WHITE Senior Designers Fletcher Martin, is the author of “The Sweetheart Is In,” (Poets, “Self-Portrait…”) are professors at Lewis Dan Streeting , Billy Werch “Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other University and faculty advisors for Jet Fuel Review. Designers Jim Maciukenas, Obsessions” and “The Adventures of Cancer Bitch.” Their collaborative chapbook, “Hex & Howl,” is Stephanie Plenner forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2021. MARKETING DIPIKA MUKHERJEE (Poet, “While His Guitar Marketing Manager Todd Hieggelke Gently Weeps…”) lives in Chicago, is core faculty LIZZIE BOURNE (Poet, “Writing for Summer…”) OPERATIONS at StoryStudio Chicago and teaches for the is a writer and actor based in Chicago, originally General Manager Jan Hieggelke Graham School at the University of Chicago. from the UK. She's worked with theater companies Distribution Nick Bachmann, across the city, and writes on-demand poetry Adam Desantis, Preston Klik, with typewriter crew Poems While You Wait. Quinn Nicholson Guaranteed Funding Renowned Faculty JUNE 2020 Newcity One copy of current issue free at select locations. Additional copies, including back issues up to one All admitted students receive full •Chris Abani year, may be ordered at funding for three academic years •Eula Biss Copyright 2020, New City Communications, Inc. and two summers including •Brian Bouldrey All Rights Reserved. •John Bresland • living stipend ($32,844/yr) •Averill Curdy Newcity assumes no responsibility to return • tuition scholarship •Sheila Donohue unsolicited editorial or graphic material. All •health insurance •Stuart Dybek rights in letters and unsolicited editorial or •Reginald Gibbons graphic material will be treated as unconditionally Additional Beneets •Juan Martinez assigned for publication and copyright purposes •Shauna Seliy and subject to comment editorially. Nothing may •Funds for conference and research travel •Natasha Trethewey be reprinted in whole or in part without written •Funds for contest and publication fees •Rachel Jamison Webster permission from the publisher. •Training as teachers •Join editorial staff on Apply Newcity is published by •Write and study at a university with Newcity Communications, Inc. graduate programs in other arts including in Poetry or Creative Nonection 47 West Polk, Suite 100-223, Chicago, IL 60605 music, theatre, writing for screen and by December 15, 2020 stage, and dance, plus access to the Visit for advertising literary and artistic communities and editorial information. in Chicago. Subscribe at 7

Newcity JUNE 2020 We rely on independent media to provide a myriad of human experiences in a city that is often bifurcated along the viaducts of class and race. Journalism for the people, by the people: A fundraiser to support 40+ independent Chicago media outlets Deadline June 5, 2020 8

Joe Meno the conversation /Photo: Lucia and Novelist Joe Meno Nico Meno Discusses his Nonfiction Debut Between Everything and Nothing by Frank Tempone Razak Seidu Some writers have /Photo: Bo Demsas /Photo: Bo Demsas talked about their difficulty with creative productivity Joe Meno has been a professor of creative writing and How has teaching during this time. How has JUNE 2020 Newcity humanities at Columbia College Chicago for twenty fiction changed for the pandemic affected years, and there may not have been a year with the plot you since COVID-19? your creativity? twists of 2020. He’s reinventing the fiction-writing course he teaches to fifteen students in a session, packs Maybe less than I initially would’ve I think that’s totally natural. The a class of fifty humanities students into a Zoom class- expected. It has required more in- only other time I can reference room in the next, then navigates his graduate students novation in terms of organization. is after September 11, where that toward completion of final thesis manuscripts. His new How long can fifty people operate felt like [there were] such polit- book, “Between Everything and Nothing,” offers a jour- as a group on Zoom? I’m teaching ical, cultural, social shifts that nalistic rendering of the story of two Ghanaian refugees, a craft and process class of fifteen for months afterwards artists re- Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal, through their im- students where we’re exploring contextualized their work. There probable paths to asylum and discovering one another, the work of magical realists, so we might be value in being forced to for the first time, at a bus station in Minneapolis. looked at a bunch of short stories, reinvent yourself. then we looked at Italo Calvino’s “The United States is a poem,” Meno writes, “a song, an “The Baron in the Trees,” then Toni I reread “Tender as Hellfire,” apparition. Its power resides in the fact that it’s large- Morrison’s “Beloved.” We can see “How the Hula Girl Sings,” ly imaginary.” Through the journey of assembling the everybody on the Zoom screen. and then “Marvel and a first book-length nonfiction of his career, Meno in- It seems to function at least, but Wonder.” If you were to terrogates the country he loves, and in doing so, at- it’s definitely not desirable. With- study Joe Meno’s fiction, tempts to discern a recognizable shape of the America in a couple of days of doing this you’d see your trajectory that, on one hand cultivated his family’s existence, and you realize you miss the improvi- as a writer. I’m wondering on the other, denies access to its fertile land to black sation and ecstasy of someone how “Between Everything and brown refugees. saying something that you hadn’t and Nothing” stripped you expected. It just flattens every- down to maybe starting over thing. I grew up Catholic and again. I got the sense that there’s something ritualistic— you were careful in this book. something sacred—about being You’re known as a fiction in a space and people generating writer, so how did you feel work together. I’m trying to make emotionally and psychologi- that happen on Zoom and you cally as you wrote this book? realize there’s a certain electrici- ty that’s lost. I couldn’t have written this book if I hadn’t written “Marvel and a Wonder.” That book has six char- acters that you follow over the course of this physical journey, and to me it’s very much about America at a certain point. It calls up the things that I love about this 9

Newcity JUNE 2020 country and things that I have grave ques- they seemed to open up. Five hours went smugglers moving men through Colombia, tions about. And in some ways this nonfic- by without us taking a break. At that point, I through Panama, and they’re often ac- tion book echoes some of those same thought, “This is not an article. There is so companied by drug smugglers. questions. That novel was practice in how much material and so much about moving you manage, structurally, this long odyssey from Ghana and their [separate] journey What are your feelings about with two protagonists and these different from Brazil, up through South America and the United States after the shifts in time. I didn’t feel like I was careful. Central America. I had no idea. experience of writing “Between Once I had that structure in place, all I had Everything and Nothing”? to do was document what Seidu and Razak When we talk about immigration and asy- described and try to make it as engaging lum in the United States, we imagine that I have strong, complicated feelings about as possible. I don’t know if I could have people just appear at the southern border, the United States. My family came over as done this book or had interest or motivation and you might hear about young people or immigrants from Bosnia, Poland and Italy or confidence if I hadn’t done a bigger families on trains throughout Mexico. But and they were able to establish themselves physical journey novel. My hope is that peo- the idea of the black market and human and work and start families. I think of my ple get engaged with these two men, their smuggling for immigrants and asylum seek- great grandfather, who was killed in a quar- incredible stories, and the architecture of ers starting as far south as Brazil—I just had ry in southern Indiana. His family was given the book just falls away. no idea—I kept asking more and more ques- $200 and his ten-year-old son was given a tions. And when we got into talking about job to take his father’s place. The book came Could you talk about the first time detention, it ended up being eight hours. Ini- from a deep curiosity about how this coun- you met Seidu and Razak? tially this was going to be about them cross- try works. I felt like I did not know what an ing into Canada, but I realized this was a adult in the United States should know I have a friend Sami Tesfazghi, a film pro- more profound human odyssey. about asylum in this country. I had all these ducer up in Canada, and he’s a refugee him- assumptions about how the process worked, self. He and his family left Eritrea during the As a journalist, how were you and the more time I spent with these two Ethiopian-Eritrean War, first went to Berlin able to put their feelings into words men, the more I realized the asylum system and ended up in Canada. We had been that were factually accurate? in the United States is unlike that of any first working on some film projects and he said, Did that come during the interviews world nation. There are three things that “Hey, this strange thing happened. You or was that just a mood or a tone people need to recognize: One, the fact that should come interview these guys. They you felt from them? it’s a criminal act to come to the border with- have this incredible story.” I flew up to Win- out documents, even if they are applying for nipeg with the intention of doing a long-form Much of the experiences that they de- asylum, and both Seidu and Razak were hor- essay or a feature. We met at a hotel in this scribed were things I didn’t know firsthand. rified to realize that because their docu- little sterile meeting room, and these two I wanted to know as much as what could ments were stolen, they were committing a men come in, very friendly and gregarious. be captured during the interview process. crime. The second thing is that asylum seek- At first, you try to establish some kind of rap- A lot of the thoughts and feelings came in ers do not have the right to have legal coun- port when you’re talking, before you even second, third, fourth drafts where I had to sel unless they’re able to afford it. For many turn on the tape recorder, asylum seekers, it’s not a realistic possibility. and it usually takes about go back, either by phone In Canada, the United Kingdom and France, twenty minutes to get a or email. I was able to go asylum seekers are automatically given a feel for each other before back and re-interview legal representative to help them through you hit “record.” This them for the major parts the process. They’re placed in housing cen- strange thing happened of the book so I could go ters with other refugees or asylum seekers. when we sat down. Razak back, get more context, They’re not pleasant, wonderful institutions, just started telling the clarify some things they but they’re not prisons built for the contain- story about crossing were describing, then try ment of criminals. In the United States, we through the snow, and the to get some understand- have this huge system of for-profit prisons temperature, and what ing of what they were specifically built to house immigrants and they were wearing, and thinking—I was trying to asylum seekers that started after September having to crawl beneath push for that. What does 11. Other first world nations try to give asy- this searchlight, then that feel like when you’re lum seekers the chance to integrate into Seidu would pick up the walking through the jun- their countries by giving them work permits. story. I realized kind of gle? What sensations did This idea that [the United States] treats asy- quickly that they’d already you have? Part of it is just lum seekers, who are willing to risk their lives started telling the story so listening to their voices as to get here, the same way we treat criminals, I turned on the tape recorder. For the next they’re describing what is just unfathomable. Those are the things five hours, these two men spoke back and they’re feeling. There’s a moment Seidu that are just hard to reconcile. It’s not a po- forth. It was like watching this incredible describes when he and his fellow traveling litical issue in the sense that these policies book or film just unfold in front of you. The companions are walking through this jun- have always existed under both Republican way they communicated and the way their gle in northern Colombia and they come and Democratic presidents. There doesn’t stories overlapped and then differed from upon these dead bodies. The first time he seem to be any evidence that those policies each other––I don’t know if I ever had an told it, I think I was shocked because it are going to change in the near future. experience like this before. As the story went was so far from any books or films or any- on and the more challenging and gruesome thing that I was aware of in that journey Go to for an extended the events they faced [became], the more from South America to Central America. I version of this interview. found out that there’s a highway of human 10

SUMMER 2020 The Summer 2020 Issue — Dead Pools photo essay by Christopher Rejano JUNE 2020 Newcity 11

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A PERFECT SUMMER 2020 SUMMER PICNIC JUNE 2020 Newcity FOR TWO: Chef Tommy Van Lente tells us by Monica Kass Rogers O utside-time in the warmth and breezes is essential, soul-saving freedom during this strange Chicago summer. To help you enjoy that in the easiest- breeziest way, we asked Chef Tommy Van Lente of TVL Culinary what he’d put in his perfect picnic basket for two. “First off,” Van Lente says, “with so many great restaurants switch- ing to grab-and-go this summer, that’s all going to be elevated like never before, so check those op- tions. But when you get the chance to play in the day outside, you want to keep it simple. So, if it were me, I’d go with good bread, cured meats, good wine, some nice soft cheeses and fruits. That’s simplicity at its finest. “For the wine, I’m going rosé, all day, with something from Red & White Wines on Milwaukee, or Craig Perman from Perman Wine Selections. I’d get a baguette, or any bread they have available, from Floriole Café and Bakery. For some good, soft cheeses, I’d go to the French Market, or any of Chi- cago’s great farmers markets. When you’re walking through any one of those markets, pick up good pickles and a handful of fresh fruit. And for the cured meats, pâtés and charcuterie— anything from Salumi Chicago or whatever Rob Levitt’s doing at Publican Quality Meats. We are spoiled rotten with the offerings all of these people give the city every day!” 17

SUMMER 2020 1 oCuAtsMidePr by S.L. Wisenberg Newcity JUNE 2020 For many years I didn’t understand I admit I was “all exited[sic],” as I wrote mumps, which had been going around. the appeal of summer camp. The rituals in my diary the day before I left for I doubted myself, though, as I did most and traditions were alien, unfathomable. overnight camp the first time. I was in most things, and I didn’t tell my At one camp they told us to make lanyards eight years old, tall for my age, bookish parents. I felt slightly guilty that I but never told us why or what they were. and shy. My sister and friends had gone didn’t. They drove me to a parking lot At another, which was “quietly Jewish” (a to this camp. It was maybe five or six where I hesitantly boarded the bus scholar’s term), they served bacon, which hours from our house in Houston and for Echo Hill Ranch. We arrived, were I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat. Toward was a (Jewish) camp. The parenthesis assigned our cabins, and so on. Years the end of the session at that camp (in the meant that all the campers seemed to be later, the owners’ son Kinky Friedman— Ozarks; I didn’t know where I was but I Jewish but the fact wasn’t mentioned singer, author, and outrageous guber- knew that Ozarks wasn’t a state) spon- much, though we recognized the Sab- natorial candidate—described Echo Hill sored something called Red and Black, bath by wearing white. The more Zionist as a camp for over-privileged kids. We when the campers were divided into two and serious local kids (or those who had were mostly middle-class kids (some teams that competed for points. Why this parents who were) went to Camp Young upper-middle) who went to public rivalry? And I couldn’t grasp why we were Judea. The more religious went out of school; our parents were the children of graded on how well we made our beds and state to Camp Ramah, which from sec- immigrants. At camp we met kids swept our cabins. (I didn’t realize that ondhand descriptions sounded like living whose parents our parents knew— there is something militaristic about even in an open-air synagogue. through Jewish fraternities and sorori- the most benign summer camps.) ties at the University of Texas, via other The morning before I left I looked mysterious ways that Jewish Texans And it was all outside. in the mirror and noticed a small lump knew other Jewish Texans. under my jaw. I thought maybe I had 1 — The author in third grade 2 — The author's diary about mumps at camp 3 — Bunkmates at the second camp in Missouri 18

More than an aside: My career as an SUMMER 2020 asthmatic began when I was three days old. The affliction still comes upon me after 2 you a bad attitude and you question every- JUNE 2020 Newcity a cold or when I’m exposed to dust, mold thing. As they say, nihilism means nothing or pollen. Because I was sick so often, I into the infirmary. A friendly denatured to the dancing peasant, and I think that missed one-third of my nursery-school skunk walked around, as domesticated holds true for the average camper. classes; I have the illustrated report card as a cat. The place was air-conditioned, to prove it. which helped filter out allergens. I lay in A few years later, a bunch of children bed and read the books on hand. I read and pre-teens in the neighborhood turned I don’t have asthma “attacks.” My asth- “Pollyanna.” Instead of “said with feeling,” their attention to another (Jewish) camp, ma creeps, not leaps. I start wheezing, then the author often used the term “ejaculated.” the one in the Ozarks. Besides hailing my chest gets tight. When I was young, my from Texas, kids came from the greater mother would give me a Tedral pill dis- I was only a rising third grader, cities of the South (Memphis, Atlanta, solved in a spoonful of Coke. That medi- and a naïve one at that, but the Chattanooga), the lesser cities of the Mid- cine was later taken off the market. If the verb seemed more than strange. west (St. Louis, Kansas City) and small Tedral didn’t help enough, I’d take predni- 3 And the next day my parents towns within both regions. I went to this sone and maybe an antibiotic; I still take picked me up. camp for two years and asthma followed. those two for bronchitis. Then as now, the My so-called “best friend” there used to cough would break up and within a week The next summer I went back make fun of my noisy breathing as we or two or three I’d be back to normal, for free. Echo Hill had a strong climbed the slope to the mess hall. The breathing clearly and being wary, and con- affinity with the story of the Ti- second year after severe asthma, I took tinuing to take preventive meds. tanic, which I didn’t question prednisone and got my period twice, because I liked singing about which in those days meant no swimming. I started allergy shots when I was three. the doomed ship, one of many That summer an older camper, a lifer, went I stopped at thirteen after spending a night versions of a folk song about to town with a counselor for a dental ap- in the ICU on an oxygen tank, but that’s the disaster. The chorus: It was pointment. There was a car accident and another story. The first night at Echo Hill I sad/ it was sad/ it was sad/ it she died. She had been sitting in the pas- was wheezing and miserable. No one had was sad/ it was sad when that senger seat, which other campers called considered that the Great Outdoors would great ship went down/ hit the the “death seat.” The camp closed after be rife with mold and pollen, and the cabin bottom of the sea./ Husbands that summer. with dust and more mold. As I lay on my and wives/ little children lost their lives!/ it was sad when I feel for kids now whose summer bunk bed, I silently repeated, to comfort that great ship went down. camps are closed this summer. In a way I myself, “Someday I’ll be as famous as Lou- envy their love of the institution. I don’t isa May Alcott.” Like always, I imagined And there was Titanic Night, think I hated camp, but not being able to there was a miniature German village in which was like a themed talent show. I got breathe means you can’t enjoy yourself my chest. I suppose the wheezing must a white cloth and colored it with yellow very much. I thought that telling my par- have reminded me of accordions. I felt a crayon. I took to the stage and said I had ents I’d rather stay home would be a defeat, counselor slip a second pillow under mine, been on the Titanic diapering my baby a failure to do my duty. Camp was a waste to elevate my chest. when the ship hit the iceberg, and my child of my parents’ money and my time and went overboard. And (fake moaning) all I health. But I look back with fondness at The next day my glands were swollen. had left was her dirty diaper. that day in infirmary, with the friendly My self-diagnosis was confirmed and skunk and the fictional girl who always I packed up my shorts and tops with name My performance was deemed the fun- found the best in everything. tapes my mother had sewn on, and I moved niest and I was awarded a certificate. I had asthma the whole time. Let me just say that having asthma at a place that’s supposed to be fun, isn’t. Suffering gives 19

SUMMER 2020 HAVE THE odSfrUyeaoMumrMs ER by David Witter Illustration by Sean Patrick Newcity JUNE 2020 I was born six weeks premature, weigh- goers playing guitar, swimming off the rocks Spending untold hours alone or semi- ing only a few ounces. I spent the first and gazing at cosmic hippie images drawn alone isolated in your house gives you plen- months of my life in an incubator. My with pastel chalk on the cement. I fished, ty of time to think. Memories of my sickly father later told me that for some reason he boated, canoed and kayaked. I worked as childhood returned. So did the days sitting always knew I would be okay. But the con- a lifeguard through college. I spent one poolside with Mr. Williams, who, when dition of my birth resulted in an early child- summer lifeguarding Tennessee Williams, lucid, spun magnificent tales about his hood filled with illness. I spent my sin- who, after the critics gave tepid reviews to time in New Orleans, sitting in his court- gle-digit years battling asthma, pneumonia, his final play, “A House Not Meant to Stand,” yard, beneath a fountain, drink or many severe allergies and other ailments. Be- took refuge in the calming waters of the drinks in hand, inspired to write “A Street- cause of the possibility of illness I was often pool at the Radisson Hotel, then at 505 car Named Desire.” unable to go outside and play with other North Michigan. An amateur musician, I children, or if so, only for short periods. So have spent my middle-aged summers play- I got an idea that just might save my san- living in quarantine is nothing new for me. ing beach parties, block parties, farmers’ ity. We will all, for the most part, be isolated In fact, it was a way of life. markets and outdoor patios at bars and in our homes, apartments, porches, yards restaurants. But this summer will be differ- and patios this summer. I have become de- But there was a solution. My father ent. There will be little or no sun, sand, water termined to combine my childhood experi- screwed hooks into the beam between the and live music shared with others. ences with my dreams of living and writing living and dining room and fashioned some in New Orleans in the 1940s. A few clicks chain and a plank of wood into an indoor swing. Mattresses and pillows became forts. My parents also assembled a jungle gym so I could climb and play in our back- yard, still under their watchful eyes in case I developed an asthma attack. My cousins next door turned our basements and back- yards into realms of vampires, zombies and other monsters. Then there was reading. Books opened up a world of wonder for a boy who often could not leave the house, as my room became the home of Hobbits, pirates and superheroes. As I got older, I outgrew many of these childhood ailments. I spent my early teen years playing soccer, football, hockey and street games like Kick the Can and Catch One Catch All with the neighborhood chil- dren. I continued to mature, and through high school, college and my early adult years I became a boy of summer. I spent my summers at the Fullerton rocks with beach- 20

on Wayfair and Walmart pro- ough the internet and can be While his Guitar Gently JUNE 2020 Newcity duced inexpensive solar-pow- delivered to your door. You Weeps, I turn ered fountains, wrought-iron fur- can turn your living space into niture and paint delivered free to a medieval castle, a sixties hip- by Dipika Mukherjee my door. More clicks on garden pie pad with black light posters centers produced images of and lava lamps. Paris, Rome or to State, past Lake, to follow a melody drizzling leafy green plants, flowers and Brazil. “Alice in Wonderland,” melancholy into a Chicago night, lakebreeze ferns to be bought in vast, open “Pink Flamingos,” Andy Warhol a caress of yearning, for Yesterday, yay yay. air garden centers. Sazerac rye at Studio 54, “Edward Scissor- I am drawn to this: a busker, his stage the entire whiskey, Peychaud bitters, ab- hands,” Oz, grunge, the lair of street, strumming a guitar, his voice soaring over sinthe and lemon are not under the dominatrix. the traffic hum as he begins, Here Comes the Sun. quarantine. It won’t cost much, I lean against Walgreens, with homeless mother far less than the summer trip that Stop streaming. Make your and child. Rowdy teens cross over, hurtling I will not take. own movie set. Clean, buy, paint, hooded, they circle and zoom, surround him, hang, drink. Repeat. We can all shouting Beat It! He smiles, and complies. For others, the possibilities get through the summer safe, Jackson’s Beat It, Beat It, wickedly segues are endless. Almost anything healthy and sane, just as my fam- to Weird Al and the boys shout Eat It! you want is now available thr- ily did, so many years ago. the music unceasing on this easy congregation of grace. Evening news scrolls on the ABC marquee Death Toll… but we dance. We sing with mingling, joyous breath, over this transient field of pure joy. Spring by Rachel Jamison Webster I keep remembering that this time of suffering is also many people’s first spring. They’re seeing startling greens wave at them from the trees, and purples bright as toys pushing up plush from the dirt. Some are learning to walk on stubbled grass and feeling its tickling insistence while the grass feels that seeped flattening as the inevitable revelation of what has been and will be again. They hear the chips and chirrups of birds and do not miss the noise of traffic, school buzzers, children squealing on the playgrounds. They do not know those slides and swings are not always wrapped in these yellow ribbons snapping at the wind. Everything’s new and simply true, like the wrinkled gray branches that pulse to bud then blossom with stars thin as tissue. They will not remember this as a time of darkening. It will just be a story people tell sometimes. How the losses and hollows of what could not be stopped made the flowers seem brighter that spring, more necessary in their beauty. 21

SUMMER 2020 iAdySllUMMER by Patrick Roberts Illustration by Dan Streeting Newcity JUNE 2020 W ell,” says my friend from two counties over, “what way to solve hunger and overpopulation was to eat children.” good is summer under pandemic conditions?” “Monster!” “Put your medical marijuana to some real use,” I “He didn’t mean it, numbskull. It was satire. Now where was say, “and cough up a little imagination.” I? Oh yes, children!” “I don’t like to cough,” says my friend, “It scares the neighbors.” “You seem to be suggesting,” says my friend, rolling a suspi- “All right,” I say, “We’ll use my imagination. It’s not so phlegmy as yours. Shall I think of an indoor summer ac- cious eye, “that we throw out social distancing, not to mention tivity?” social taboos, and have children over for summer barbecuing.” “Do.” “Right. So. Do you want to play with yourself?” “Good lord!” say I, “I said no such thing! I was merely going Silence through the ether. to suggest we take up crochet! Or some other Youtubified “Don’t even think,” say I wading into the breach, “that such hobby we can half-ass learn while sheltering in our homes a question embarrasses you. And besides, I meant not what like frightened children who also happen to be bored, alone you seem to be thinking.” and probably drunk. Or at least buzzed.” “And you meant?” “A game, you ass. I meant play a game with yourself. Like “Oh, fuck it,” says my friend slowly descending into Zoom solitaire or Boggle.” gloom. “I suppose we’ll just have to sweat this summer out.” “I fail to see the di erence,” my friend sni s, “between Bog- gle and what I was thinking.” “Just like all the others!” I say with no small measure of élan. I pivot. “Forget indoor summer games, which you seem to But my friend has abruptly abandoned me to the void. I already have in hand. Instead, let’s think of some glorious, turn o my computer. I play Boggle. I play it again. outdoor summer fun we can have in Chicago. Of course, we must factor in a few variables: ) Plague; ) All the good stu is closed or cancelled; ) I’ve been furloughed; ) My mask stinks of garlic; ) I view anyone not wearing a mask with fear and loathing, especially joggers, dog walkers and babies.” “I must admit,” admits my friend, “that masks do improve the looks of some.” “So let’s see…I know! Name something that Chicago has in abundance during the summer.” “Squirrels.” “True, but no. Guess again.” “Rats.” “Close. The answer is children.” “I’ve read they have turned to cannibalism.” “Children?” “No rats, because the restaurants are closed. As far as I know, children have nothing to do with it.” “You know, Jonathan Swift once modestly proposed that the 22

THREE SUMMER 2020 fCorHAEIERRS CONDI TIONING by Emerson Dameron L ife was once a struggle. Now it’s a pleasure. In our early days, we evaded nat- ural predators, survived fearsome diseases, and struggled to pass our genes into the next generation. Now, we can have all the summertime sex we want, and we don’t even have to get sticky. That’s partly thanks to alcohol. But it’s mostly thanks to air condition- ing—the most important innovation of modern times. From the dawn of time, and possibly before, all organisms have gravitated toward pleasure. Humans, being the best creatures, have gotten the most. Of course, things didn’t really get mov- ly in industrial settings. It didn’t go main- as serf society crumbles. We use it to stream until the postwar housing boom. cool ourselves, to heat the world, and ing until Americans showed up. to humiliate all those who would chal- Builders used it to compensate for lenge us. We take down entire ecosys- Early on, our ancestors harnessed the ine icient, shoddy design, and to drop tems of lesser creatures, starting with cheap construction into forbidding, the annoying ones, particularly bugs. power of fire, which was hot. It proved scorpion-infested hellscapes such as We stay cozy as we open up new com- Scottsdale, Palm Springs and Las mercial real estate opportunities in useful for toasting our food, warming Vegas. Energy companies loved it, too, Greenland and Antarctica. Air condi- since it encouraged load building, en- tioning is among the most blunt and ourselves in the winter, and inhaling abling private citizens to consume kilo- powerful instruments we’ve created in watts like Arkansas electric chairs. our never-ending quest to make nature fun chemicals. our bitch. It’s so ubiquitous now that it often But it left one challenge to solve. We’d browns out the power grid. It keeps us In spite of all the gloom and doom, fat and happy in places we have no over the whimpers and moans of the managed to get warm. But how could business being alive. And its continuing naysayers, let’s take a moment to toast dominance contributes significantly to our accomplishments. We’ve come we get cool? climate change, meaning that, the more a long way—without tiring, perspiring, A/C we use, the more we will need it, or even leaving home very much. Be- In the twentieth century—the Ameri- and the less we will be able to keep cause we’ve done it with the power going without using more of it. It’s a vi- of air conditioning. can Century—we defeated fascism and cious, sexy cycle of winning. Three cheers for air conditioning! May communism and solved most of our With air conditioning, we can live like cooler heads prevail. Sweat is for suckers. royalty, safely ensconced in our condos real problems, leaving us to spend most of our time and ingenuity in pur- suit of that simplest of pleasures: com- fort. From that impulse came the magic of air conditioning. JUNE 2020 Newcity Electrical A/C was invented by Willis Carrier in , and hasn’t changed much—most of the droning, rattling win- dow units use the same technology as refrigerators. At first, it appeared most- 23

SUMMER 2020 iGnEthTe GAME by Javier Otero Newcity JUNE 2020 I open my eyes and find myself in the the globe. After my first login abruptly middle of a remote farm, lying down ended at the wrong end of an Abomina- in a stable. I get up and walk outside tion’s grasp, I knew I needed to go back, to take in the views of the open plains, and I did. In this new reality, I would the long-running rows of corn and the spend the next six years building a com- small cottages nearby. I look for cues on munity of friends, straddling time be- where I should go or what to do next. tween the physical world and the infinite I walk toward the edge of a field with a one on the other side of the screen. tall wooden gate. It’s open, and beyond I forged the perfect place to escape I can see the gravel road is lined with when I needed to—one I felt couldn’t towering trees, each spaced enough to exist in reality. As I reached a troubling reveal a dense fog spanning for what milestone of a year’s worth of playtime, looks like miles. Despite the ominous 365 days logged into the game, the real- appearance, it fills me with curiosity. world toll was becoming apparent. My I move ahead, in awe of the sheer height relationships with family strained. My of the trees, when an odd noise from the work suffered. I lost friends, and even- distance finds its way to my attention. tually my marriage. I catch a glimpse of a shadow that ap- pears to be running in my direction at It would take years to recoup from the full speed. damage and find a healthy balance, but as stark as things might seem, there I’m running. I know someone is closing were positives. I learned how powerful in behind me but I don’t know how to online and virtual connections could be. look yet. I try to go faster, and in a sud- I channeled inspiration from different den break of silence, I look down to find games like Eve Online, Mass Effect and a large sickle going through my body. Final Fantasy into my work as a design- As my eyes track along a lengthy metal er and software engineer to craft award- chain, I see it attached to the bloodied winning apps and websites. It showed arm of my pursuer and everything loses me that large-scale collaboration is pos- color and shifts to black-and-white. sible, where I’d guide teams of up to one-hundred players to achieve a single I was hooked. goal, and those skills translated to me It was 2004 and that defining memory as a mentor and leader. It taught me to was the beginning of a journey that be understanding of the limits of an in- would open a universe of experience, ternet connection, and be patient with while systemically destroying every- the unnatural pauses of latency. When thing that was part of my physical life. I reflect on those times, the memories The place was World of Warcraft, the of the places and achievements are as now-infamous multiplayer online role- solid as any I’ve had in real life, or IRL, playing game that occupies more than as we would say. one-hundred-million players across 24

The pandemic has thrust the times, I would be with as many SUMMER 2020 entire world into a virtual one. as forty people all battling a It underscores the dramatic common enemy, carefully co- JUNE 2020 Newcity shortcomings of available ordinated through practice tools to maintain a human and voice chat. Other times, I connection and a function- would simply take a walk with ing society. For most people a close friend along the moun- I know, the consensus is tains of Azeroth, where we that online interaction is not would share our deepest se- enough, and that it can never crets or just observe the compare to things the physical breathtaking scenery. world has to offer— romance, concerts, workplace interac- As Chicago cancels summer tions, drinks with friends or events, I am saddened that we dancing. I agree that technol- won’t have the usual festivals, ogy cannot entirely replicate concerts and bars to attend. our experiences in the real I would long for anything to world, but my years of gaming temporarily replicate these sta- taught me that we can certain- ples of life, and I can see game ly do better. mechanics making it possible. Fortnite, another online multi- The advent of online gaming, player game, recently hosted a which took off in the early Travis Scott virtual concert. It 2000s, has moved well be- attracted more than twen- yond video and chat to en- ty-seven million people. Partic- able immersive, engaging and ipants emerged into a new expansive experiences. The world. One where players same technology that powers could follow Travis as his one- our social networks can ex- hundred-foot avatar traversed ceed “liking” a video, sending different scenes. Each person an Animoji or giving us virtual becoming part of what re- backgrounds. Many games minded me of a psychedelic allow you to use senses of music video. And I could see sight, hearing and touch to get myself doing that, too. Going closer to the content. When to a virtual Lollapalooza, start- you deconstruct the problem ing the day at the south stage, that gaming solved, it makes it and eventually making my easier to apply its core princi- way to see the Strokes, joined ples into other areas of our on- by my partner and close line lives. Simply put, gaming friends as we dance to our fa- can allow us to come together vorite songs. in a virtual space, in solidarity, to collaborate or create mean- I am by no means advocating ingful interactions. that we should all move online or that virtual experiences can Like most of us who have replace what we have in real used Zoom, I have struggled life. But in moments where we to connect with friends and are forced to isolate at home, family. I feel trapped—limited online gaming technology can to the same screen, with all certainly offer us what I once voices at the same volume, had—whether you’re having a without being able to repli- drink with a friend, consulting cate our usual interactions. with your doctor through tele- Each time I sit in front of a medicine, or engaging a class- webcam to catch up with room full of students. Over the someone, I miss what games years, although far from per- once offered me. That feeling fect, gaming has excelled at of being able to enter a bringing people together by space—truly occupy it—and making experiences more en- have the freedom to move in gaging. It is my hope that cur- and out of different conversa- rent social media and collabo- tions. In World of Warcraft, ration platforms take this as an I would spend hours with opportunity to rethink the way friends in infinite caverns. At we can interact online. 25

Sonnet for the Ages Self-Portrait Lined -from \"Pandemic Ode\" by Adam Zagajewski (a Pindaric Ode, in eleven parts) by Simone Muench + Jackie K. White by Ed Roberson Try to praise the mutilated world, by the way I found this little stash mangled with politicians and effigies, of hash when I unpacked the furniture that marvelous with its blueberries and boats I pulled out of storage from when I sold the house petal-plucked amid our pouting. in New Jersey in the back of my manuscript Praise the serrated blade that cuts closet the cabinet with the music sheet tomatoes and duct tape, praise clock stave layered shelves from the 19th century towers, bee keepers and bricklayers, I bought in the 20th here in the 21st unpacked the smell of hyacinth and sea salt, on 32nd Street now in Chicago the locations memorializing our loss. it’s all there. Today the lying asshole Praise that loss, the lip-biting rawness of a president slyly blameless lethal dealer singed from this choked singing. said the pandemic he denied and missed Then praise the train-tracks, trinkets, preparing for is not like 13th century Europe — creeping vines, even the plastic planets all the people going to die are like me — strung across the high school gymnasium. the shit is still there dried out remember the 60’s Praise the dance floor ablaze with star- spangled dresses; praise the sadnesses Ed Roberson, 80 scrunched into pocketbooks and cleavage, ashlights, south loop as later, you'll try to praise middle-aged nostalgia, yellowed scrapbooks, photos, by Rachel DeWoskin bundles of de-scented love notes. Praise never spoke never sat never sipped no needles and their delivery, skin jarred with gesture connected strangers past maybe the bus journey. Eggshells, antlers, and amulets, praise stopping for several neighbors waiting, so them, and campfires' soot and flames that burn this sudden isolation constellation staggers us— and warm. This life that turns and transforms. Newcity JUNE 2020 thousands flashing starlight out windows each night at eight. we wait for eight in our high-rise bubble, four of us a little giddy for that first flash of tonight’s bright conversation, from another human, and another, more, more, more wild glittering landscape of flashing. voices, too, singing, calling to each other: we see you, see you, see you. 26

THE ADULT SUMMER 2020 oPfLkEidAdSieUpRooElSs by Kelly Roark A few years ago in the There’s a larger JUNE 2020 Newcity store, I found an inflata- wading pool that ble pool that was just a few has firm sides inches longer than my body and and holds may- hatched a most brilliant idea. Inflated, and be two feet of filled with about a foot of water out of the hose, water (litter not it just fit my raft. I lay upon it in my bikini, a modern, chubby recommended) Cleopatra with sunglasses the size of two teacup saucers and if you were really an even larger hat, in deepest contentment, giving, as they pressing the lim- say, zero fucks. My reverie was disturbed by the gu aw of its. With an ap- a neighbor who barked, “WHAT are you DOING?” proximate diame- ter of two seven- That answer was obvious, and didn’t deserve a reply, but year-olds, it gives lifting the corner of my enormous hat to impart an insouciant children the mistaken gaze, I saw her cock her head to the side and fall deep in impression that they could thought, clearly recognizing the genius that lived mere feet actually swim in this thing. The away for perhaps the first time. walls are likely to collapse in or out, creating a magnificent waterfall. Not many kids can resist pulling the edge down into My cat leapt on the inflated edge of the pool and began to the water for the simple pleasure of watching it flow out again, wobble around the edge with daring agility, also giving zero soaking the grass. fucks. “You’d better not extend one claw,” I told the cat. “Or These days there’s a physics-defying pool that has an inflat- we’ll both be sorry.” able ring at the top that rises as you fill it with water, resembling nothing more than a bloated blue sack sagging in the yard, but Growing up in the Midwest, and not always within spitting who cares? That’s three good feet of dubious water and room distance of Lake Michigan, I’m no stranger to the temporary, for everyone in the family to float their cares away. You could aboveground pool. There’s a charming picture of my mom confidently fill it with two or three giant rainbow unicorn float- and me, as a baby, sitting in several inches of water in one of ies, excellent for both relaxing and instagramming. those plastic-molded pools that had a built-in slide. Those pools are great until one’s brother comes gallivanting through As we head into an uncertain summer and a paradigm of so- the yard with Godzilla feet to smash a crack that no amount cial distancing, who knows whether our Chicago beaches will of duct tape will repair. be open from one week to another? I’ll take a pool over a body of natural water any day, as it lends itself toward serene rafting My mom keeps one of those types of pools in her basement and cocktails. If you’re lucky enough to have a small patch of in Indiana as a giant litter box so she “doesn’t have to clean ground, get yourself a pool—any kind will do. it as often.” Her cats wade across it like the Sahara, looking for the perfect place to take a dump. Is my mom an unparalleled genius for coming up with this system? Maybe. She only has to deal with cat shit once a year instead of dig- ging up turds every other day. 27

SUMMER 2020 THE YEAR WITHOUT (RAaafStsepUruMtinMa)ER by Craig Bechtel Newcity JUNE 2020 I saac Newton had completed his B.A. to stay indoors—although some of her com- Benjamin Franklin’s lightning experiments at Trinity College, Cambridge in August panions wrote interesting vampire stories and Freemasons (a 2020 episode of “Doc- 1665, after a relatively undistinguished as well, setting the table for “Dracula.” tor Who” blamed one of the Cybermen), academic career. But before he could re- until later the fault for 1816 having no sum- turn for postgraduate work, Trinity closed Also notable were the thousands who mer was more accurately attributed to the its campus over concerns about the bu- perished from starvation and cholera. As volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in In- bonic plague. Newton continued his stud- the song points out, scapegoats included ies on his own at home, and when he re- turned to Cambridge two years later, he had developed his own theories on calcu- lus, optic(k)s and that apple incident—hav- ing discovered gravity (or, to be more pre- cise, the law of gravitation). The cello-driven trio Rasputina began its 2007 album “Oh Perilous World” with a composition entitled “1816, The Year With- out a Summer.” Singer, writer and head cel- list Melora Creager describes “an era of un- predictable weather” that began in 1815 and didn’t lift until 1851, and pinpoints what should have been the summer of 1816 as a pivotal moment within this “little ice age.” In June of that year, she sings, a “sudden snowstorm blankets all the countryside / So Mary Shelley had to stay inside / And she wrote Frankenstein.” Just as with New- ton’s apple encounter, the reality is more complex, but it is true that foul weather during a vacation to Geneva, Switzerland in 1816 forced Shelley and her travel mates to stay indoors and embark on a “ghost story” writing contest; which makes sense when your traveling companions include your husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Mary’s short story, penned when she was only nineteen and later expanded into a full-length novel with her husband’s en- couragement and input, was the most no- table result of this weather-driven mandate 28

Frontispiece illustration from the first edition of “Frankenstein” donesia in 1815. It’s instructive to If they had known that Geneva Writing for Summer, JUNE 2020 Newcity remember that climate science would have been cold and wet all in an Uncertain Spring and modern meteorology are summer, Mary Shelley and com- twentieth-century innovations, pany might have stayed in London by Lizzie Bourne so weather forecasting was still and foregone their holiday; but a pipe dream in 1816. would the Modern Prometheus I'll have squeezed myself open to the sun have been unbound? If Newton Behind curtains had been allowed to return to Pottered barefoot Cambridge and not been left to Cool wood; hot coffee, his own devices for two years, Then I will be called out, to feel: would he have had the time to Tarmac spit watch the apples in his garden fall Skin unfurl from their trees? Forehead burn And yellow grass Could a similar forced seques- And warmth and new and warmth and tration lead to similar achieve- To feel, behind sunglasses ments of brilliance this year? Mu- With headphones dulling my remaining sense, sicians are forced to forgo their To feel relief enter through my pores usual concert tours and festival To retreat to shade, safety, sangria. appearances and are even barred Summer will be in my head and in the sky (by necessity) from rehearsing to- In the shouts of children I'll both hear and imagine gether, so most are hunkering In glasses that will clink and laughter that will beam down and focusing on writing, Into my pores reading, listening and viewing and Splashes and tan lines maybe recording home demos Slip ups and sweat here and there. The ubiquity of Beading my upper lip streaming video has inspired many to perform online for their Sat turning pages in the shadows audiences, an outlet to share live Just behind the night music in this stay-at-home envi- The dusk when, other summers, I've been full with sensation: ronment. What other innovations Buoyant, rinsed out, touched might arise? Will I still feel this, the gentle rushing blood, this restless leg? The sun, the ice, the perspiration: will it have brought relief Could 2020, the year without a Or will I still be living proper summer, usher in a similar Just behind myself? pent-up renaissance, that in a few years will produce results as mo- With tulips catching raindrops outside my window mentous as a major advance in I put my hand on the warmth of my coffee cup. physics or entirely new literary I only know genres? Two hundred years from That now, when we recall these months When summer calls me out of plague, will we remember light- I'll go ning-rod conspiracy theories (Chi- Barefoot nese laboratories, the “deep state” and the Illuminati), or will we re- 29 member this summer-without- a-summer for imaginative leaps that were prompted by having to stay inside with only our creative juices to keep us company? Nothing will offset the tragedy of the lives lost, not to mention the economic costs and artistic setbacks prompted by the pan- demic. But the black cloud over our houses isn’t so different from the one that hung over Newton and Shelley. If 2020 is in fact another 1665 or 1815, today’s breakdown could birth tomor- row’s breakthroughs.

SUMMER 2020 pCoRrnOWD by Jack Helbig I dream about crowds. Large crowds. And tra ic. Heavy I get a thrill watching these crowds. I watch then with inten- tra ic. That slow, clumsy, noisy tra ic we get here in sum- sity I never did before #StaytheFuckHome; I save the images mer, sluggishly moving south on Ashland near Chicago. in my head to savor later. I am in my old neighborhood. Ukrainian Village. The tra ic is worse than usual. And it is always bad. I got the same vicarious thrill when I saw the images of the protesters in Michigan, storming the statehouse, armed to the There is a street festival going on. Side streets are blocked hilt, but unprotected by masks or gloves, or social distancing. o . Tents are set up on the sidewalks. And up ahead I can see a big barrier across Chicago Avenue. The street west of Ash- I mean, I was appalled from a medical point of view. I would land is blocked by a stage, with lots of people standing around, never go out like that, standing so close to so many people, close to each other, talking, sipping beer, watching a local many shouting, chanting, filling the air with tiny respiratory band shredding a tune I don’t recognize. droplets, not knowing who in the group might be an asymp- tomatic carrier. There are so many people the sidewalk can’t contain them, the street can’t contain them, they jaywalk, slip between cars, But the sight of the protestors was also crowd porn. The jaywalk, cross against the light. I watch all this in my dream same with the photos of protestors at Huntington Beach in and I can’t stop grinning. I just can’t stop grinning. California. So many people. Daring to do what I would not do. What I would never do. More crowd porn. I have been having these dreams a lot. Dreams of busy plac- The rational part of my brain knows a certain number of es, packed with people, jostling each other, blissfully unaware those people have the virus and don’t know it. And others in they are not social distancing. I dream about crowds so often that crowd will be infected, and will take that virus home to I will sometimes say to myself in my dream, “You are having their family, their friends, their community. But the danger the crowd dream again.” and implicit taboo breaking: that’s what makes it porn and not just pictures of the crowd behaving badly. I watch TV di erently during shelter-in-place. I anticipate crowd scenes. I eagerly await them. I pick shows knowing Watching the images—of protests, of packed illegal house they will have a crowd scene or two or more. parties, of staged crowd scenes in movies and series—I find myself asking the same questions: Did we ever live like that? A packed restaurant perks me up. The climax of “Mrs. Doubt- Were we ever so casual about crowds, about brushing up fire” has a nicely packed restaurant scene. Robin Williams against people, about the quick, hugged hellos and goodbyes runs back and forth across a busy room to the men’s room in crowded places? to change in to and out of (and back in to) drag. There are a Then I think about Nick’s friend Jordan Baker in “The Great lot of crowded restaurant scenes in “The Mindy Project.” Gatsby,” when she says “I like large parties. They’re so inti- mate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” I am a sucker, too, for shots of people just hanging out in parks and on beaches and in front of o ice buildings at lunch. I have never felt particularly comfortable in crowds. But I, Like the transition scenes in “Kim’s Convenience,” random like Jordan Baker, like the anonymity of crowds. I like to peo- shots of Toronto on a typical. busy pre-pandemic day. ple watch, standing o to the side, watching it all from a safe distance. These days there doesn’t seem to be such a thing I adore a chaotic club scene. A crazy, trippy, rave-like party, as a safe distance, unless you are watching it all on a screen, dance floor packed, bodies moving together to a pounding unless you are watching crowd porn. techno beat. Lots of scenes like that on Netflix, Hulu, HBO. It’s crowd porn. I admit it. Crowd porn, pure and simple. Newcity JUNE 2020 30

Kiki in the Commons Online Culture In celebration of Pride Month, a conversation about drag and its relationship to art history, design and pop culture. MCA Chicago, June 19, 6pm & Irregular Girl. /Photo: AdamrOuahmane.tCourtesy of thesartist.

EXHIBITIONS THE ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO GRAHAM FOUNDATION 201 East Ontario Street 4 W. Burton Place 312 787 3997 312 787 4071 [email protected] / [email protected] / Tues–Fri 11-6, Sat 11-3 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Through July 25 Poured Architecture: Sergio Prego Viewing available online @artsclubchicago or Through September 26 Jennie C. Jones: Constant Structure on Miguel Fisac June–September Garden Project | Marissa Lee Benedict, GRAY David Rueter, Daniel de Paula: Repose Richard Gray Gallery, Hancock: 875 N. Michigan Avenue, 38th Floor THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART Mon–Fri 10-5:30, Sat by appointment (subject to change due to COVID-19) At Northwestern University 312 642 8877 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL [email protected] / 847 491 4000 [email protected] / Gray Online Viewing Room Join us as we #MuseumFromHome on social at @nublockmuseum May 6–June 6 Evelyn Statsinger: Forest Rhythms and KAVI GUPTA GALLERY CARL HAMMER GALLERY Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd., 835 W. Washington Boulevard 740 N. Wells Street Tues–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) 312 266 8512 [email protected] / Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., 219 N. Elizabeth Street Tues–Sat 11-5:30 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Thurs–Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Through Summer CJ Pyle: Corona Traveler - New Drawings 312 432 0708 on Vintage LP Album Covers [email protected] / View online at Visit online at Tony Tasset: The Weight (Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St.) DEPAUL ART MUSEUM Roger Brown: Hyperframe (Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd.) At DePaul University LOGAN CENTER EXHIBITIONS 935 W. Fullerton Avenue 773 325 7506 At the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts [email protected] / 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 Museum closed until further notice. 773 702 2787 [email protected] / Please visit our website to sign up for our email newsletter Tues–Sat 9-9, Sun 11-9, Mon closed and follow @DePaulArtMuseum and #DigitalDPAM (subject to change due to COVID-19) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates, Please contact gallery for more information. digital events, and more.

MONIQUE MELOCHE GALLERY THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY 451 N. Paulina Street At the University of Chicago 312 243 2129 5811 S. Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall, 4th Floor [email protected] / 773 702 8670 Visit online at [email protected] / and Tues–Wed, Fri 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Sat–Sun 12-5 Through June 27 Nate Young: The Transcendence of Time (subject to change due to COVID-19) July/August Chase Hall and February James April 18–June 28 Miho Dohi MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY RHONA HOFFMAN GALLERY PHOTOGRAPHY 1711 W. Chicago Avenue At Columbia College Chicago 312 455 1990 600 S. Michigan Avenue [email protected] / 312 663 5554 Tues–Fri 10-5:30, Sat 11-5:30 (subject to change due to COVID-19) [email protected] / Please contact gallery for more information. Mon–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) SMART MUSEUM OF ART Upcoming Exhibition Temporal: Puerto Rican Resistance Visit for more information. At the University of Chicago 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue THE NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM 773 702 0200 FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY [email protected] / Tues–Wed 10-5, Thurs 10-8, Fri–Sun 10-5 At the University of Chicago (subject to change due to COVID-19) 5701 South Woodlawn Avenue Please contact Smart Museum of Art for more information. 773 795 2329 [email protected] / WRIGHTWOOD 659 Gallery closed until further notice. March 12–August 21 Apsáalooke Women and Warriors 659 W. Wrightwood Avenue 773 437 6601 POETRY FOUNDATION [email protected] / Temporarily closed due to COVID-19, until this fall. 61 W. Superior Street Post-COVID quarantine exhibition schedule will be announced 312 787 7070 at Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for [email protected] / reopening information. Check for updates on our current exhibition and hours. ZHOU B ART CENTER 1029 W. 35th Street 773 523 0200 [email protected] / Mon–Sat 10-5 (subject to change due to COVID-19) Please contact gallery for more information.

Art Members of For the People Artists Collective Hardest Hit “I find that generally, just trying to have multiple different streams of revenue is helpful, but it’s Pandemic Lays Bare Art Worker Precarity hard when so much of it is contingent on being physically present in places,” she says. By Kerry Cardoza Artists or workers who make most of their income from creative endeavors are, more Newcity JUNE 2020 Unemployment insurance claims shattered Wisconsin in 2019, three visiting artist gigs, likely than not, used to cobbling together records in March and April, bringing the total two exhibitions and two classes she was funding from multiple sources. The National number of claims filed to more than thirty scheduled to teach have been canceled since Endowment for the Arts website notes that at million. While folks all across industries have the pandemic hit. least one-third of artists in a range of been affected by the pandemic, artists and occupations are self-employed, compared to cultural workers may be one of the hardest hit “That was where most of my income was nine percent of all U.S. workers. More than half communities. coming from this spring,” she says. “That was of all visual artists report being self-employed, the plan.” only seventy-nine percent of whom had health According to late April survey results from insurance coverage, leaving many at risk Americans for the Arts, sixty-two percent of Campbell is a cartoonist and artist, known for during this health crisis. artists or creative workers are fully unemployed her sometimes poignant, sometimes irreverent because of COVID-19, and more than carpet paintings. In Chicago, she was teaching Aside from stimulus checks, there is some ninety-five percent have experienced income classes at DePaul University and the School government assistance available for freelanc- loss. For artist Jessica Campbell, who of the Art Institute of Chicago, to be supple- ers or self-employed artists who don’t relocated from Chicago to Green Bay, mented by art sales or other gigs. traditionally qualify for unemployment, through the CARES Act. This unemployment assis- 34

ART TOP 5 tance will be available for those out of work they had received in 2019 from the Field 1 The Quarantine Times. Public Media Institute. This through 2020. The additional pandemic Foundation to instead offer emergency project, from the folks behind Lumpen and Co-Prosperity Sphere, features compensation, an extra $600 a week, for micro-grants to artists of color. interviews, musing, audio dispatches and art projects from creative those out of work explicitly due to the people—from performance artist coronavirus, is slated to be available through “Our community has always shown up for us, Darling Shear to painter Lise Haller July 13, 2020. While these programs provide especially other black artists and artists of Baggesen—staying connected color, so we really wanted to show up for during isolation. Ongoing benefits for many who are often ineligible for them, and offer these emergency mi- 2 Art-in-Place. Terrain unemployment insurance, there are gaps. Exhibitions and CNL Projects. cro-grants for up to $500 for those whose For this monthlong collective action, artists publicly display works, either Artists like Bethany Dillon, a painter, crafter and income has been affected by the pandemic,” in windows or outside their homes; writer based in Missouri, is one of many who says FTP member Monica Trinidad. the pieces will also go up on the project website, with a portion of have slipped through those cracks of all proceeds going to the Arts for government assistance. As a disabled person, The collective had a maximum of $10,000 to Illinois Relief Fund.Through June 20 give; they received sixty-four applications in she is considered a dependent, so didn’t 3 Common Field Convening. qualify for a stimulus check. “I guess the new the first four hours. “That was so overwhelm- Common Field. The sixth ing,” Trinidad says. “We knew it was going to iteration of the conference for artists stimulus program doesn’t really include my and organizers was online this year, be overwhelming but we didn't think it was videos of which are now online. We community,” she says. recommend \"Matching Minorities,\" going to be so fast.” where Chicagoans Lisa Lee and Jen Delos Reyes discuss institutionalized Amid other essential supply shortages, Dillon racism. Ongoing is even finding it difficult to obtain art supplies. The first round of funds was dispersed, with “I was going through the stores—if you can get priority given to folks who are undocumented, 4 TSA_PDF. Tiger Strikes there—all the aisles are wiped out,” she says. disabled, chronically ill, or single parents or Asteroid. TSA is releasing “It’s really hard to even get the stuff online. A lot caretakers. Each applicant got some biweekly printable group exhibitions, percentage of the funding requested. That available for a donation, with of it’s sold out.” Sixty-five percent of the proceeds split between the artists first round awarded $10,369 to forty-nine and Artist Relief. Ongoing Americans for the Arts survey respondents Chicago artists. Thanks to donations and 5 Woman's Club. Roman also reported an inability to get access to Susan. An ongoing collaboration additional funding, FTP reopened applica- between Roman Susan and supplies or other resources. Cuckoo's Theater raises a ceremonial tions in late April. They received 114 artist-made flag to mark changes of seasons. On June 20, Liz Weinstein's Emergency funding is available from public applications in one day, totaling close to banner will be replaced with one by Canadian multimedia artist Kandis and private sources, mostly intended to work $50,000 in requests, which demonstrates the Friesen. Ongoing dire financial need. as a stopgap for longer-term assistance. A coalition of national arts grant-making foundations have formed Artist Relief, which is “It's important for there to be immediate relief, but we know this is going to be a longer-term offering $5,000 emergency grants. In its first funding cycle, more than 55,000 applications issue,” Trinidad says. “This isn't a sprint, this is a marathon so we have to pace ourselves. were submitted, although there was only We just have to keep hearing from our enough funding to benefit 200 artists. The communities and see what the need is.” effort will raise funds for at least one more cycle of grants. While these efforts are commendable and More locally, the Chicago government and much needed, they won’t come close to filling Governor JB Pritzker launched the Arts for every need, particularly as pandemic-related Illinois Relief Fund to provide financial closures extend. We don’t know what the assistance to artists, artisans and cultural future will look like, or how COVID-19 may organizations affected by the virus. Adminis- continue to affect art institutions and art tered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with workers. Will museums limit the number of admissions? Will gallery openings end, if and 3Arts and Arts Work Fund, more than $4 million has been committed to the campaign. when galleries reopen? In an email, Lawrence & Clark wrote that the shelter-in-place order According to an Arts Alliance Illinois survey, makes its future uncertain. Regardless of what statewide respondents “estimated that their organizations will lose more than $84 million in the future holds, most experts report that even revenue due to a suspension of public-facing when businesses do reopen, the economic programs or exhibitions until the end of April.” impact will extend far into the future. Closures were reported to affect more than For supporters of the arts, there must be a JUNE 2020 Newcity 3,500 full-time jobs and 13,000 part-time or commitment to reimagining what the future of contract jobs. art production and consumption looks like, Grassroots efforts to quickly help cultural where free or underpaid labor and free workers are also underway. For The People consumption is no longer the norm. We must Artists Collective, a radical group of black advocate for policies that don’t leave large artists and artists of color in Chicago, saw swaths of the population with little to no the financial need in their community and economic or health protections, or we risk responded. FTP reconfigured grant funding living in a permanently darkened world. 35

Dance Adaptability and Resilience Pivot Arts Festival and Mandala Makers Festival Make the Move Online By Sharon Hoyer Anna Martine Whitehead is amongst nine performers who will present solo dance videos as part of Pivot Arts Festival. Photo: William Frederking. Newcity JUNE 2020 June in Chicago is the start of festival were about to hire a marketing manager and include a discussion between creator season, when long stretches of warm days send out a press release. March and April is Damon Locks, a civil rights attorney, and signal a bloom of dance, music and theater when we’re getting print materials and artists and activists affected by long-term on stages both indoors and out. The summer advertising ready,” Ehre says. “The timing of prison sentencing. of 2020 will be different and, we pray, a Covid was such that I just hit the brakes on once-in-a-lifetime anomaly. Chicago infection everything. I worked with the board and cut “The Long Term” will be followed by a stream and mortality rates continue to rise and a the budget in half.” of three short films from the In/Motion timeline for reopening the city is unknown. International Dance Film Festival. In/Motion One thing is certain: the Pritzker bandshell, By eliminating all print materials, space rental executive director Amy Wilkinson curated the Grant Park, and venues large and small will and travel costs, festival funding went to program for what felt appropriate in a time of wait a season before throngs return for paying artists and a small staff, including a isolation, selecting films that have a mix of concerts, plays and performances. videographer and web designer to move gentleness and humor. Wilkinson, while performances online. Some parts of the grieving the absence of community created But a few small, nimble organizations have program shifted readily to the format, and by an in-person festival, sees silver linings to found creative ways to shift online and hold address social justice issues that have been a virtual festival. “Art, on a whole, doesn’t modified, virtual versions of the live festivals made clearer. The Prison and Neighborhood exist in a vacuum, so the very fact the festival that ware planned for June. Arts Project will present “The Long Term,” an exists and allows people to share is an animated video using personal narratives to absolute necessity right now. It’s an outlet for Edgewater-based Pivot Arts Festival was describe the impact of long-term prison people to share and create and have scheduled to present dance, film, theater sentencing. “Again, another tragedy made something to focus on,” she says. “We’re so and multidisciplinary performances in small worse,” Ehre says. “The arts program cannot fortunate to live in an era with this technolo- venues across the far North Side. When the happen in the prison right now. Those gy—people have tools they’ve never had stay-at-home order was announced in artists—and we refer to them as artists, not before to get creative with. Unique and fun mid-March, director Julieanne Ehre consid- inmates—are endangered more as the virus and experimental things happening. That’s ered what an online festival would mean. “We runs rampant in prisons.” The stream will what art-making is all about. Creativity has 36

Unable to perform live, Ameya Performing Arts, who had to cancel their performance, will share rehearsal video as ONE part of Mandala Makers Festival. Photo: Shawn Kinney. RECOMMENDATION the tendency to explode in times of scarcity like I need to have a few more conversa- Chicago Dance because there’s no other option.” tions to know who is interested in sharing History Project that. It’s a day-to-day thing. I want to Of course, not every artist is keen to pull respect people’s needs and space.” For the last five years the JUNE 2020 Newcity digital technology into their practice, making Chicago Dance History Project creating and sharing work under quarantine Flexibility and adaptability are the pliant has amassed an archive of difficult-to-impossible for some. Ashwaty foundations upon which these small festivals interviews, performance Chennat, curator of Mandala Makers Festival, are being constructed. None are presenting videos, photographs and presented by Mandala South Asian Perform- what was originally planned the way they written materials from Chica- ing Arts, wants the virtual edition of the planned to do it. Two dance companies go-based choreographers, festival to provide space for these artists to slated for Pivot program will present video dancers, documentarians, share their struggles as well. Like Pivot Arts, excerpts of work to be performed live patrons, administrators and Mandala decided early to move festival later—a documentary about an L.A.-based collaborators with a self-de- programming online even as the ground was writer-performer will temporarily stand in scribed sense of priority. shifting rapidly under everyone’s feet. “In the for his planned appearance; an immersive Shelter-in-place instilled new first week of shelter-in-place, I reached out to live play by Seth Bockley will be transformed urgency for CDHP to move the artists to see who might be interested in into an interactive video game—but the the archive online; CDHP doing this virtually. We were all candid about capacity to rethink performance art in a conducted more than 130 how we were unsure how to recreate the virtual space is a testament to the resiliency video interviews and conversa- experience with the limited resources we of these small organizations. “The big tions and has over 120 edited have at home,” Chennat says. “After talking festivals don’t have the luxury of an clips available on their website. to all the artists, individually and together, I organization of our size that’s already doing Materials are organized by decided to open up the festival to whatever adventurous programming,” Ehre says. collection or searchable by the artists want to share at the time. If they “For now we’re better positioned than big name, genre or category. It's a just want to share that they can’t create at festivals that have to have thousands of treasure trove of reflections this time, I think it’s important to hear how people show up to pay their artists.” from Chicago's extensive and this time is [affecting] artists. These are diverse dance community. people making life so much richer and more Luxury isn’t a word we hear these days, vibrant. Artists feed our souls and I want to especially in the context of small arts draw awareness to how they are dealing with organizations. “It’s a hard time psychological- this situation.” ly, and it’s a hard time to do all the logistics,” Wilkinson says near the end of our interview. The Mandala Makers Festival is slated to “Being able to work while isolated or, for many include mini-performances, live music, people, taking on the roles of care-taking for visual art, storytelling, rehearsal video children and other people in their lives. For footage and demonstration lectures by over those artists and presenters to continue to a dozen South Asian artists, but much of do work and put it out there, it’s inspiring. the programming is to be determined. “I’ve I’m really grateful to be included in it.” become so open in terms of what we’re presenting,” Chennat says. “A few of us will Pivot Arts Festival takes place June 5 - 30. be on a livestream in a conversation about Mandala Makers Festival opens June 13. our artistic processes and how they’ve All events are online and free, donate what changed or paused or been frozen. I feel you can. 37

Design Collective Vision Stay Home with the Chicago Humanities Festival By Kaycie Surrell Newcity JUNE 2020 Chicago Humanities Festival, Tori Amos/Photo: Des Willie Things look different this year as Spring Fest celebrated its thirtieth anniver- programming public events to a digital festival Chicago festivals and outdoor events sary last year and brought in speakers like platform. respond to stay-at-home orders and social Stacey Abrams, Jennifer Egan and Bill distancing. Spring festivals like the Chicago McKibben for programming concurrent with The digital events have included a livestream Humanities Festival (CHF) would already have the theme, “Year of Power.” This year’s chat with comedian and author Cameron live and in-person events at venues across theme for year-round programming is Esposito regarding her memoir, \"Save the city with impressive guest speakers and “Vision” and invites people to ask themselves Yourself,\" which is centered on the importance live audiences in an ordinary year. This year, what it means to have vision for oneself, the of queer visibility. A livestream with WBEZ they’ve had to make changes. world, or the future. Nerdette podcast host Greta Johnsen and \"Divergent\" series author Veronica Roth detailed What began in November 1990 as a The theme was decided well before the her latest book, a dystopian novel set in Chica- one-day affair with a keynote address pandemic derailed scheduled programming in go, \"Chosen Ones.\" delivered by Arthur Miller to an audience local venues but it's more poignant than ever, of 3,500 has since expanded to nearly given current circumstances. Alison Cuddy— “Right at the start we asked CHF audiences if 150 programs over two seasonal festivals Chicago Humanities Festival’s Marilynn Thoma they’d be up for this—they came back with a attracting a combined audience of over Artistic Director—along with the dedicated resounding yes—and what kind of content 50,000. The Chicago Humanities Festival’s CHF team, quickly made the transition from they were thirsty for,” says Cuddy. “We feel 38

Photo: Chicago Humanities Festival, Veronica Roth Event Screenshot DESIGN TOP 5 lucky to have an audience willing to go along Spring Fest programming, Mayor Lightfoot’s 1 NeoConnect. NeoCon’s JUNE 2020 Newcity on this experiment with us. They've shown up Sunday Arts Takeovers on Instagram, or even digital hub keeps the design and really engaged with presenters during the DJ D-Nice’s Live Quarantine Dance Parties— community connected with live events.” plenty of people are working to instill a sense resources, programming, events of community. and panels online. June 2020 Celebrated singer-songwriter Tori Amos is known for facing controversial topics Recognizing how overwhelming things are 2 Bauhaus at the IIT Institute head-on through her music. Her forthcoming now and that people have more free time than of Design. Illinois Institute of memoir, \"Resistance,\" addresses everything usual, the Chicago Humanities Festival team Technology. Two online exhibitions, from sexual assault in “Me and a Gun” from put together helpful videos, Q&As, reading lists, \"50 Years Bauhaus, 1969\" and her debut studio album \"Little Earthquakes\" round-ups and presenter recommendations. \"Founding an American Bauhaus,\" and her latest album \"Native Invader,\" which “Round-up: How are we using the humanities dive into the design movement’s explores political and environmental issues. to make sense of the pandemic” is an history. Ongoing Amos joined A.V. Club senior writer Katie Rife impressive collection of what to watch, listen in early May for a livestream conversation to and read if you want to hear from and 3 Classic Chicago: The Art of about the album and how music can propel support Chicago creatives. Architecture. Elmhurst Art us through uncertainty. Museum. A 360-degree virtual tour of There’s even a video conversation between late-nineteenth-to-early-twenti- The digital fest isn’t limited to livestream Alison Cuddy and Rachel Maddow on how to eth-century Chicago via large-scale conversations. Opportunities to chat with make the perfect classic martini. Hint: it’s graphite drawings by Jack Nixon. some of the most influential creatives in their stirred, not shaken. In coming weeks, CHF will Through August 2 fields is one way CHF is keeping the festival release more live digital programs and fresh spirit alive and thriving. With a thirty-year web content to keep folks coming back. The 4 Bauhaus Chicago: Design record of producing well-attended and Festival has always been committed to in the City. Art Institute of celebrated gatherings, the CHF team is used connecting people and inspiring fresh ideas. Chicago. Contemplate Bauhaus’ to creative problem solving. Current circumstances offer CHF another influence in the city of Chicago at the opportunity to find innovative ways to do that. German school’s centenary. “Everyone, not just CHF, was on a steep Through Fall 2020 learning curve those first weeks and now “We’ll continue to encourage participation and look at how many of us have adapted to exchange as a way to make sense of it all, to 5 Kiki in the Commons. MCA interacting via Zoom or Twitch or YouTube illuminate the impact but also show how Chicago. A conversation about live platforms,” says Cuddy. “Even though we people are gathering their collective strength drag and its relationship to art history, plan the hell out of our events they’re still live and wisdom to figure out how we want to live design and pop culture in celebration and direct, we’re used to turning on a dime, on the other side of this,” says Cuddy. “The of Pride Month. June 19, 6pm and that experience and spirit has definitely line between ideas and action feels direct and helped move us through potential hurdles.” immediate right now and so it is ever more important that we gather in whatever way It's a cliché to say that social distancing possible to help foster those transformations. doesn’t mean social isolation, but thanks to We will continue to evolve how this looks via events meant to bring people together, like new digital formats—so stay tuned!” 39

&DrDininkiinngg Trevor Teich's potato salad, Tommy Van Lente's mom's maple/mustard/brown sugar ribs, The Posey's tomato tart (from David's Danish mom, Gunde), Kevin Hickey's grandma's cucumber salad, and Lamar Moore's grandma's buttermilk cornbread with honey butter(which literally stands four inches tall!)/ Photo: Monica Kass Rogers Summer Comforts Everything Made with Love and Butter Cucumber Salad, Chefs Share Their Home-Cooked Sunny Day Favorites Chef Kevin Hickey, The Duck Inn Kevin Hickey grew up on the same street and By Monica Kass Rogers about a block down from where he operates the Duck Inn in Bridgeport. “My mother grew Newcity JUNE 2020 Like a Damn Handful of Money Duke’s mayonnaise and some salt and up about two blocks south, and dad, six Tomato and Mayo Sandwich, pepper, makes a sandwich people go on and blocks west,” says Hickey. “So, we were all Chef Erick Williams, Virtue on about. “The elders in my neighborhood very close.” Erick Williams had hoped for a warm and talk about a tomato sandwich like they’re sunny spring, “Because I love strawberries talking about a damn handful of money,” Throughout his childhood, Hickey’s grand- and if you don’t get a hot spring, you don’t Williams says, laughing. mother was a good cook, who “always had get those good strawberries,” he says. something going on the stove. She had a big “My mother grew tomatoes,” he says. “There sign on the side of that stove that explains, Well, the hot spring didn’t happen. So now were always some in the windowsill during “Everything here is made with love and butter,” Williams is hoping for a hot summer. “Why? the summer. Warm and sweet, with just and, we’re sure, some homespun ingenuity. Because I love a good, sweet, vine-ripened enough girth to them that there’s a snap when “When grandmother made spaetzle, she would tomato,” he says. “And for that, you’ve gotta you bite into the skin. First memories like that, get a large empty can and punch some holes have a lot of sun.” they just sear nostalgia into your brain.” in it, and then my grandfather would take a Williams grew up eating tomatoes on Wonder clothes hanger and twist it around to make a In Mississippi, where many in Williams’ bread. Today he likes them best stacked on handle,” Hickey remembers. “I can still see neighborhood used to live, hot summers slices of a brioche Pullman loaf. “So the bread her pouring the spaetzle dough into the can, pretty much guarantee homegrown tomatoes stands up like Wonder bread, but has the where it would drip down into a simmering of this kind, and putting those beauties extra richness of the egg yolk in the dough. pot of hot water.” between two slices of white bread, with a little The mayonnaise? It still has to be Duke’s.” Talking summer comfort foods, Hickey flashes on his grandmother’s cucumber salad. “Grow- 40

Homegrown tomato and Dukes mayonnaise sandwich on brioche Pullman bread/ Photo: Monica Kass Rogers ing up, we always had Sunday dinner at “We make the mayonnaise fresh, with DINING & DRINKING grandmother’s house. No matter what the roasted garlic and sherry vinegar,” Anna TOP 5 main course was, there would always be an adds. “And top it with herbs from our patio ice-cold, crunchy, cucumber salad on the garden. Just last week, we planted anise 1 Sworkshops. Online. JUNE 2020 Newcity table. Sliced cucumbers, onion, vinegar and hyssop, a couple kinds of basil, nasturtiums, Chance the Rapper’s youth salt. And she used to absolutely bathe it in mint and wood sorrel.” empowerment charity, Sworkshops sour cream.” provide free seminars on music and For Anna, who loved playing at her other subjects, including cooking, For his version of the summer refresher, grandmother’s old farmhouse in Red Granite, including Alicia Miller’s “Nutrition Hickey uses Persian cukes, or the hothouse Wisconsin during the summer, memories of Bites with Chacha.” Ongoing English variety. “And I don’t peel mine. I the little red apples that came ripe in the simply slice them, put them in a bowl with summer make her summer favorite roasted 2 VahChef. YouTube. Sanjay salt, pepper, onions and a vinaigrette made fruit. “She had three or four apple trees, and Thumma, former owner of with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic or the one dessert my grandmother would Sizzle India on Devon, leads short champagne vinegar, a tiny bit of garlic, a make was from those summer apples, and information-packed courses on good amount of lemon juice, sometimes a cored, filled with butter cinnamon and sugar preparing Indian food. Ongoing little shaved fennel, and whatever the best and baked until they were really custardy. I onion is at the time.” Instead of the bath of loved them.” 3 Chicago Food Truck Festival. sour cream, Hickey tops his salad with a big South Loop. Fresh air, sunlight scoop of full-fat, no-sugar Greek yogurt. Served with a pour of fresh cream or scoop and social distancing at the annual “But a spoon of crème fraiche, any sort of of ice cream, they also remind Anna of a festival of food trucks. June 20-21 fresh farmers cheese, or labna would be dessert Gunde liked to make: “It’s called great with it—even a chunk of fresh feta,” he Rødgrød Med Fløde, just fresh berries or 4 Hard Seltzer Fest. Shore says. To keep the salad from going soggy, apples, cooked with a little sugar and Club, North Avenue Beach. “This really is something you want to make cornstarch until jammy and then served with Oh, why the hell not?. June 19 right before you serve it, ice cold.” light cream. Gunde made it for us the last time we were in California, and for me it was 5 Vegandale Festival. Lincoln Tart Sweet an instant sentimental flash to the custardy Square. Whether you’re vegan Tomato Tart and Roasted Apples, baked apples of my childhood.” or vegan-curious, Vegandale Festival Chefs David and Anna Posey, Elske brings non-animal foods and goods David Posey’s mom Gunde came to the Some Like it Hot together to make a better, tastier United States from Denmark and brought Chicken Biryani and Grilled Tri-Tip, world. June 20 with her a talent for cooking fresh vegetables Chefs Vinod Kalathil and and fruits. Growing up in Pasadena, Margaret Pak, Thattu California just north of of Los Angeles, David “Grilled tri-tip steak to me is like, 'Ahhh!' remembers Gunde going to the farmers Family time, summertime, a feeling of market for the fresh, multicolored tomatoes celebration, and my childhood home,” says she would make into a summery tart topped Margaret Pak, who grew up on California’s with a freshly torn salad of basil leaves, central coast in the small farm town of herbs or lettuces. Santa Maria. “We lived on the outskirts, across the street from cattle ranches. The “Basically, it was just a simple pate brisee air smelled of rich dirt, cows and fields of dough, either in a tart pan, or freeform like a produce—cabbage, broccoli, strawberries. galette, spread with a little mayonnaise, We used to play in around the eucalyptus topped with a sprinkling of cheddar or some trees at the winery down the street, and other salty cheese, then the fresh tomatoes there was a llama farm nearby too. Making shingled over the top and baked,” says the tri-tip takes me back. It was something David. “When Anna and I make it, we lightly first my mom, then my dad, and then I cook the tomatoes, to dry them out so would make, on the charcoal grill, set up in they’re not so wet when you bake the tart.\" the backyard patio.” 41

Newcity JUNE 2020 Simply rubbed in a spice blend she still gets “She was always in the kitchen, and always “One of the key signs of a perfectly cooked from hometown purveyor Susie Q's, Pak asked me to help. Unlike cabbage kimchi, schnitzel is that the outer coating will marinates the tri-tip in the spices with a little which we made in such large batches the tub soufflé—or puff up. We all learned how to lime juice overnight, then sears it and lets it was the size of a kiddie pool, for cucumber make them,” he says. “They’re a little slow cook on the grill. kimchi, we’d just stand at the counter,” he time-intensive, so it helped take the burden recalls. “She’d slice the cucumbers really thin, off my mom.” For Vinod Kalathil, growing up in Kerala, put them in a bowl and then add a kimchi India, favorite summertime comfort dishes paste of Korean red pepper flakes, garlic, During the summer, Teich’s mom made are hot and spicy, so hot summer months ginger, fish sauce and soy sauce. Then she’d potato salads with traditional Midwestern here get the same treatment. add vinegar and sugar. I watched her doing stylings. “Mayo, mustard, some chives and this hundreds of times and use the same spring onion, that sort of thing. But I person- “When it’s hot, you eat the spiciest things method. You don’t have to let it sit long, just ally prefer a potato salad with more texture, you can, along with hot drinks, because a couple hours in the fridge to make sure it’s tang and no mayo.” those are the things that actually cool you,” nice and cold. And when I serve it, I put fried says Vinod. shallots on top.” To make his, Teich cooks up a batch of fingerlings, or some other tiny potato, and One of Kalathil’s favorites? The extra-special Tiny Clouds adds a whole lot of texture and tartness: chicken biryani which brings him back to his Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi, tiny pickled pearl onions, a small jar of earliest food memory. Chef Dario Monni, Tortello Pasta whole-grain mustard, thin-sliced celery, Ask Dario Monni about his favorite summer red onion, scallions and parsley. For “When I was in kindergarten, a teacher who comfort food, and he immediately thinks richness, there is cooked and crumbled lived near our house was home sick one back to Venice and the tiny light-green bacon, plus hard-cooked eggs, sliced into day,” says Kalathil. “That day at school, the spinach and ricotta gnocchi his mother quarters. Pulling it all together, he tosses other teachers were having some kind of would make. the salad in a vinaigrette of olive and celebration, including chicken biryani. Now peanut oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, you have to understand where I was as a “When I was a child in the summer, I would sherry vinegar—and, for a little salty spike? child, even though my parents were both wake up and see her, covered in flour, A splash of fish sauce. doctors and well off, chicken was very hard holding these beautiful red eggs to make to get, and was considered a delicacy. pasta,” says Monni. “I liked watching her Mile-High rolling each of the tiny dumplings in her Buttermilk Country Cornbread, “So as I was getting on the school bus to go hands, seeing the little balls come up like Chef Lamar Moore home at the end of the day, one of the mini-soldiers lined up in rows. She would Growing up on Chicago’s West Side, Lamar teachers came out with a packet of the make hundreds of them.” Moore spent a lot of time with his grandpar- biryani for me to deliver to the teacher who ents. Afternoons, while his grandfather made had missed the party,” Kalathil recalls. “So, Monni’s mom bought her ricotta from a a one-pot goulash of chicken neckbones there I was, sitting on the bus, holding in my small town near Venice. Mixed with with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, “and hands this incredibly fragrant packet of Parmigiano Reggiano, and spinach that had any herbs he could find,” Lamar says his beautiful biryani.” been cooked, blotted and cooled, she grandmother would busy herself making added salt and pepper and just a tiny bit of cornbread to go alongside. Every block of the journey, the fragrance flour, to be shaped, steamed and served in got more and more tantalizing, and finally a a light butter sauce. “It was simply white cornmeal, eggs, decision was made: “I went straight home, dried-evaporated milk powder and lard,” says and said to my parents, 'Look what the “Those colors—that taste and texture, mean Moore. “Sometimes, she’d get busy doing teachers gave me! This beautiful biryani.' summer to me. It’s funny, if you say something else in the kitchen, and the We ate and enjoyed it, and that poor 'gnocchi' here, people think 'heavy,' but cornbread would get burnt on the edges. teacher had none. When she returned to these were nothing like that! They were light, When that happened, she’d crumble it into classes, and was asked, 'Did you enjoy tiny little clouds. She made them so often, bowls, pour some buttermilk and sugar on it, the biryani?' She had no idea what they she knew just the right proportions without and my brother and I would eat it with were talking about, and the truth came ever having a recipe written down. I keep spoons.” out,” Kalathil says, laughing. “I wasn’t practicing, but it takes a lot of time and trial punished—everyone just thought it was to get it perfect. I hope one day to make The flavor was so good, Moore says, that he hilarious.” them like my mother did.” patterned his restaurant’s Burnt Buttermilk Cake on it. But at home, Moore likes to make Kimchi is Comfort ‘Tatoe Tales cornbread he’s perfected to include Cucumber Quick Pickle, Tangy Textured Potato Salad, buttermilk in the batter, serving it with Chef David Choi, Seoul Tacos Chef Trevor Teich whipped honey butter. “Comfort to me is kimchi. Approaching the With a mom of Irish heritage and an summer, I’ve been pickling stuff here, Austrian dad, Trevor Teich says, “If there “You have to bake it in a cast-iron skillet that things that will last well, because you want wasn’t some kind of potato going on the you’ve heated with a little fat in the bottom— to limit the number of times you go to the table, it wasn’t a meal.” that makes the crust crisp up when it hits the store,” says Choi. “I’m making a lot of this pan,” says Moore. The stiff, rich batter cucumber kimchi, which I learned from my Fried, mashed, baked or boiled, potatoes includes a choice of butter or shortening, grandmother. There is really no right or went with everything—especially good with with both flour and white cornmeal, butter- wrong way to do it, how sweet or spicy or the family’s special occasion favorite: milk and a splash of molasses in the mix. It funky you want it to be is up to you. Wienerschnitzel. As a kid, Teich enjoyed bakes up into a corncake that’s a full four using the meat mallet to pound chicken, or inches tall, with crispy outside edges and a “I probably started making this when I was pork, or veal flat enough to fry up a good tender, inside texture. in college in Springfield, Missouri,” says schnitzel. Dipped in seasoned eggs and Choi. “There was absolutely nowhere to breadcrumbs, the schnitzel then went into a “I learned a good portion of my recipes from get kimchi there, so any downtime I had I pan of hot fat. “You laid it in there, shook my grandmother, and my version of this one would go to my grandma’s to make it. the pan, and then flipped it,” Teich says. is a summer favorite,” says Moore. 42

Film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” Seances Past “The last film I watched in the Gene Siskel Film Center Theater 1 was the Croatian comedy Chicago Exhibitors’ Last Movie On A Big Screen ‘Comic Sans,’ our opening-night film [in March] of the twenty-third Annual Chicago European By Ray Pride Union Film Festival,” Siskel director of prog- ramming Barbara Scharres says. “I had Christopher Nolan was intent in mid-May The last film for Julian Antos, executive previewed it on video more than once to on a July 17 big-biggest screen release for his director of the Chicago Film Society was select it, but this was my first time seeing it projected in the theater. I really got a kick out palindromic “Tenet.” Warner Bros. was intent School of the Art Institute graduate Apichat- of and was relieved to hear the audience laugh in all the right places—and keep laughing. on making this potentially civic event happen, pong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee They weren’t being polite, they were having fun! As a programmer, this is the payoff, the but how? Even the Los Angeles County Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” “on 35mm, thing you don’t get at home. It’s experiencing the audience connecting with the actors and stay-at-home order extends past that date. of course!” the director’s vision right there in front of you. It’s where the whole process comes together, The dark side of the moon? A pop-up past from the production to the projection, and the movie lives as a real thing in real space.” dusk on the edge of Lincoln Park, drive-ins? “I miss running a test reel alone in the auditori- Siskel executive director Jean de St. Aubin um before the audience arrives to make sure saw two European Union films on March 15, Germany’s “All About Me” and Poland’s “The Drive-ins, including the McHenry Outdoor everything is just right,” he says. “Checking Last Witness.” “The first is a quirky, lovely film JUNE 2020 Newcity about being your true self and using humor Theater, the most publicized in the Chicago the focus with binoculars to make sure the to get you through the toughest things in life. The second is a retelling of the massacre of area, are open, showing “The Flintstones” grain is nice and sharp. I miss cleaning the thousands of Poles toward the end of World War II by the Russians. I miss the audience and “Jurassic Park.” Drive-ins have opened projectors before the film. I miss seeing so much! After each film we chatted with everyone and hung out in the gallery cafe. in Alaska, too; at least until the midnight sun the audience after the film and eavesdropping drives darkness into a tiny well of night. Looking on what they thought. I miss the many people back into the dark rather than anticipating the who show up half an hour, or earlier, to our light that may yet be far ahead of us, we asked shows to talk with their friends.” And extend- Chicago exhibitor-cinephiles to share the last ing social graces: “I miss going to Traspasada movie they saw on their own big screen. [in Avondale] after the show.” 43

FILM TOP 5 I knew that would be our last day for a while, relatives on video calls, but cross to the other but it wasn’t public yet, so I only let the staff side of the street if a stranger is sharing Five ways forward to “virtual” and a few loyal audience members know. After the sidewalk. The joys of urban life—public moviegoing at your fingertips. the last film, we all sat around and had a glass transportation, shops and restaurants, of wine and talked about seeing each other a flâneur’s afternoon stroll—are marked with 1 The Music Box. Local again mid-April. How wrong we were! It was suspicion and fear. The very things that art-houses continue stellar sad because we had to close in the middle denoted a successful night for Chicago Film bookings via distributor partner- of the Chicago European Union Film Festival, Society—a large crowd made of people who’d ships, including Raul Ruiz’s original so many great films not to be seen on the never met before, some of whom had driven six-hour miniseries “Mysteries of big screen. But still, what I miss the most are across state lines to see a rare film—now feel Lisbon” in June, but the extras on those conversations after the films, such a deeply irresponsible. We have to keep each Southport are Friday and Saturday smart movie-loving audience, their insights other safe, but we can’t let our idea of society night “Music Box To-Go” offerings, and knowledge of film always astound me.” and culture be diminished in the interim.” with samplings from concessions and the Lounge, including “The “I do not remember the last film I saw, but the “The last movie I saw was Friday night on Room”-themed “The Tommy,” last that comes to mind Is ‘West Side Story’ my couch with the family, Spike Lee’s with miniatures of Malört, jumbo in 70mm at our festival at the Music Box,” ‘BlacKkKlansman,’” says Anthony Kaufman, popcorn, a six-pack of PBR and says William Schopf, the theater’s owner. senior programmer at the Chicago Internation- a selection of plastic spoons. “I love sharing the excitement of the dancing, al Film Festival and Doc10. “Everyone liked singing and emotion on the big screen with it, and we debated the multiple endings. But 2 The Gene Siskel Film an audience that loves it as much as I do. the thing that I most miss is the cavernous Center. Dubbed “Film The richness of 70mm makes you feel like space and big screen of a movie theater, to Center From Your Sofa,” the you are on the streets of 1960 New York City be totally enveloped. I don’t know if I miss Siskel continues weekly attractions, as well. And a glass of good wine completes other people, maybe subconsciously, but I including June showings of one the experience!” do miss that surrounding sound and image.” of Hong Sang-soo’s latest worldly miniatures, “Yourself and Yours,” The power of the image is what lingers for A champion of sound and image who is and Josephine Decker’s Elisabeth Moss–starring Shirley Jackson Marty Rubin, associate director of program- unknown to the general public is Steve Kraus, biography, “Shirley.” ming at Siskel. “The last movie I saw on screen owner and operator of the private Lake Street 3 Facets. Facet’s overlapping Screening room. “Although the screening bookings include more at the Film Center—I had to look it up—was lovingly unearthed offerings than Anthony Mann’s ‘Winchester ’73.’ Universal’s room sits there and is presumably devoid of its customary two-per-week. any active virus after almost two months, I’ve new 4K restoration was so sharp it almost 4 MoMA Film. “The Greatest looked like 3-D. The power of images like that not felt like watching anything there. I stop Films You’ve Never Seen.” to overwhelm you are what I miss the most.” by to pick up mail, and I have the ability to Maybe the best composite listing connect remotely, to power up the projector of streaming services, large and small, far and wide. Chicago Film Society director of operations periodically as experts suggest to keep it from 5 NFB (The National Rebecca Hall also remembers that last show losing its security certificate. I have a video Film Board of Canada). of “Uncle Boonmee,” on March 4 at the NEIU projector at home and once in a while I will A repository of the eighty-one-year give something the big-screen treatment. inventory of the Canadian institution, auditorium. “I was running the box office. particularly strong on animation, In honor of ‘Star Wars’ Day, I watched the short work and documentary. I remember being happy that the audience Available as a free streaming app. ‘despecialized’ edition off a laptop. was a nice mix of new people and regulars. 44 We already felt what was over on the horizon, “But the very last thing I viewed via projection,” so I was surprised that attendance was so good. What do I miss? I miss box office chitchat Kraus says, “was an actual film print, a and getting people talking to each other. Watch- beat-up, highly faded 16mm ‘Scope print ing a movie for the first time at the same time of the drawing room comedy ‘The Grass Is as the audience. The fifty seconds of darkness Greener,’ with Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and between the short and the feature, when Julian Robert Mitchum. It’s one of only a couple would be switching between 16mm and 35mm of 16mm prints I have, and it was mostly just in the projection booth and I’d feel the audience to play with an old projector.” get restless for a second and then relax as the feature started rolling. The structure that “I projected ‘Lifeforce’ and ‘Khartoum’ a few days before we closed,” says Rebecca Lyon, having a weekly film series gave my life and being part of the structure for other people.” assistant technical director of the Music Box. “It was March 15 and I was feeling pretty “The last CFS presentation I saw was a despondent, as I knew we would have to close 35mm screening of Otto Preminger’s ‘Angel very soon, but bewildered at the amount of Face’ at NEIU,” says Chicago Film Society people still coming out to see films that week. programmer Kyle Westphal, “a devastatingly great film that’s not streaming anywhere and “What do I miss?” Lyon asks. “The popcorn smell, the squeak of the curtain going up, the long out-of-print on DVD. But the last film way I can slouch down real low in those seats I saw in any theater was Tobe Hooper’s ‘Lifeforce’ at the Music Box 70mm Film Festival, and block everything else out for a few hours. Newcity JUNE 2020 Finding the most polite moment to crack my a movie about sexy space aliens, but much beer. The fact that I’m forced to not look at my of the dialogue is about infection rates, phone. Knowing that even if I go to the movies an exponential growth curve and unfathom- alone, I’ll inevitably see someone I know in the able public suffering. I have been staying lobby afterward that I’ll want to talk to. Putting at home ever since.” my choices in the hands of talented program- Still, Westphal says, starkly, “I miss the very mers rather than having to scroll endlessly idea of public life. Our lives are made much through streaming services. And I miss real narrower by all this. We see colleagues and film, big, bright and thick on the screen.”

Lit On the Streets of Chicago A Conversation with Tracy Clark about her Award-Winning Cass Raines Series By L.D. Barnes Tracy Clark is a member of Mystery I don’t think I ever made a formal decision to me five dollars. I held onto that check for years. JUNE 2020 Newcity Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and become a writer. I think I always was one. I’m figuring now, “Huh. That wasn’t so hard. Crime Writers of Color. She is a Chicago As far back as I remember, I would write little If I can write a short story that someone writer who, like Sara Paretsky, puts her stories in a notebook or on paper. I remember wanted to publish, how hard could writing female detective on the streets of Chicago. holding the yellow number-two pencil in little an entire book be?” (HAHAHAHA.) Yeah. The Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series has fat fingers, and to this day have a callous on It took another thirty years. been winning awards since its debut novel my left middle finger where I pressed down “Broken Places.” New York City hosts the too hard for too long. No one ever saw those Talk about your new book. national conference of Mystery Writers of stories, of course, not even my mother. I wrote America in late March, complete with a them just for me, just because. All through “What You Don’t See” is book three in the banquet to announce the Edgar Award school, writing essays and term papers were Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series. Cass is Winners. It is the Academy Awards of mystery the easiest things I had to do. I could knock between cases and her ex-partner, Detective writing. This year, Covid-19 forced Clark to out a book report like nobody’s business. Ben Mickerson, asks her to work with him to hear about “Borrowed Time” winning the I was the LeBron James of book reports. act as security for a local celebrity, Vonda Allen, Sue Grafton Memorial Award via Twitter and The decision to write a book came much, the prima donna publisher of her own vanity consequently, she posted her acceptance much later when the voices showed up and magazine. Allen’s been receiving threatening speech on YouTube. wouldn’t leave. They were characters begging letters and anonymous flowers, which she’s for an outlet, so I gave them one. I decided chosen to ignore. Allen won’t involve the police, Clark works by day in the newspaper industry to take a shot at writing a short story about and Cass quickly suspects that Allen knows as an editor, and writes mysteries at night. a kidnapped dog. The notebook was long who’s threatening her, but the great lady gone by this time, but I managed to tap out refuses to divulge her secrets, though she When did you decide to become a writer a complete story. I even sold it to a mystery does want someone to watch her back. When and why? magazine right out of the gate. They paid people around Allen die violently, Cass and 45

Newcity JUNE 2020 LIT EVENTS Ben’s simple bodyguarding work turns group of diverse writers called Crime Writers dangerously serious. When one of the attacks of Color. There are more than a hundred of us With the postponement of Printers Row Lit strikes too close to home, Cass hunts the city now, and we’re a close-knit family of writers Fest and bookstores still working to stay afloat solo for a craven killer, the clock ticking, before who offer each other support, encouragement, while offering curbside pick-up and shipping the next body falls. (Cue ominous music.) LOL. fraternity. We write everything—cozies, crime, books to customers, there aren’t many virtual, Vonda Allen’s a real pill, but I think everyone historical fiction, sci-fi—you name it, we’re let alone in-person events on calendars. has encountered one or two Vondas in their writing it. And we’re good. We’re award- But a few events are already in motion. time. I know I have, which is why she’s on the nominated, award-winning. We’re legit. This page in all her haughty glory. Takeaway from is an exciting time for us. We still have a way C Pam Zhang. American Writers that? Never piss off a writer. to go opening up more seats at the table, but Museum. C Pam Zhang talks we’re coming. Seriously, I don’t understand about her debut novel “How Much Why did you pick the Chicago Police the resistance. A good book is a good book of These Hills is Gold” as part of Department as your protagonists’ whether it has been written by a writer with the “My America” series. June 4 former employer? a black or brown face or by one with a white face. To borrow from Shakespeare, the play’s Pain Studies by Lisa Olstein. I knew at the start I wanted to write crime the thing. A writer is a writer. A good book is Women & Children First. Lisa fiction. I knew my main character would be a good book. Everything else is nonsense Olstein discusses her nonfiction female. I knew she would be African American. and not worth the time or energy. book on pain with Eula Biss. I knew my African-American female would Women & Children has other virtual work in Chicago, and I knew I wanted her to Do writers change the world or do they events planned for June, including ultimately be a PI because I’m a great fan simply report on it? authors Porochista Khakpour, of that subgenre. There are a few avenues Kate Brown, Kate Milliken, to becoming a working PI. Cop was one of A similar question was asked of television back Christina Clancy, and Paul Lisicky them, so I went for that. I wanted Cass Raines in the day. Whether TV created what we saw with Garth Greenwell. June 18 to have some expertise, some heft. I didn’t played out in society or simply reflected what want her to be an amateur sleuth or an was already there, then fed it back to us as VIRTUAL STORYTIMES accidental crime solver. I wanted her to know entertainment. I think both things could be true exactly what she was doing. I wanted her to about television. I also think the same could If you are a parent, you may want to know exactly how to handle herself. And I hold for writers. As a crime writer, I certainly check out some of the bookstores offering wanted her to move through her world with use what’s out there in the world to elicit a Virtual Storytimes for younger readers: a cockiness and an assuredness that comes reaction from readers, help them identify. I with having her professional experience and want them to say, “Hey, I know that feeling!” Open Books Ltd. on YouTube. history. Cass thinks like a cop, walks like a or “Hey, I know that place!” or “Yep, that’s A host of readers share kid- cop, follows leads like a cop. She has that how it is, isn’t it?” I want each character to friendly stories which are cop stare. She is legitimate, no joke; she feel and sound real, because they kind of are, archived on the bookstore’s doesn’t own a cat. There are usually dirty at least in my head. You can’t write crime YouTube channel. dishes in her sink, she rarely uses her stove, fiction without lasering in on what’s going on and if she has to, she’ll chase a killer to the around you. In that sense, I’m reflecting, but Madison Street Books. ends of the earth and back. I’m adding a whole lot of other stuff too. Miss Dawn-Marie hosts the Having said that, there are some wonderful Virtual Toddler Jam every Why is she named Cassandra Raines? writers out there who have certainly impacted Wednesday at 10am through the world with things they’ve written. Take the Mad Street Books Raines I pulled out of the air. I wanted Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” or James Facebook page. something strong, simple, one syllable, Baldwin’s “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” These something that offered a quick punch. Also, are works so clean, so precise, so deep, that Volumes Bookcafe. I liked that Raines put me in mind of reins, they couldn’t help but inform readers, alter Miss Kimberly hosts Virtual which, I hope, Cass keeps close grips on their perspectives, open their eyes to injustice, Storytime on Wednesdays as she works her cases. Cass? Personal educate, make them feel. Enlightenment, and Saturdays at 10:30am selection there. I was searching for a name empathy, understanding, walking around in via the Volumes Bookcafe and scrolled down my Pandora playlist a character’s shoes for a time, can change on Facebook Live. stopping at Mama Cass Elliott. From the the world because it changes the reader. It start, Cass was always Cass, not Cassie. changes the writer too, incrementally, often 46 Her name’s formally Cassandra just because one book at a time. Change doesn’t often most people have a formal name, but it’s happen in grand sweeps of upheaval; change Cass. Interestingly, going back to that first is small, slow, deliberate, personal, inevitable. short story I wrote way back in the day, the main character was an early version of Cass Which bookstore is your favorite? in a lot of respects, only her name was Eve. I changed the name when I discovered Nora Honestly, I’ve never met a bookstore I couldn’t Roberts’ “In Death” series. Roberts got there stay in for an entire day. Same holds true for first, and well, I began looking for an alternative libraries. I’m good in any place that has a that fit my character. Now I can’t imagine book in it. Chicago, thank goodness, has Cass being named anything else. It’s strange some wonderfully delightful indie bookstores. how characters take on a life of their own. I’m glad for them. I haven’t ventured out of my city yet for any book events, but I have my Where do you see black mystery writers first one set for late June (pandemic willing) at in the future? Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis. I’ve heard great things about it and can’t wait to see it. Everywhere!! We’re here already. We’re in the I’ll bring a blanket and snacks to sustain me. game, at the party out on the dance floor, right smack-dab in the middle of everything. Go to for an extended version I’m honored to be a member of a wonderful of the interview.

Music Ganradnhdisfather Pink Cadillac Alex Dixon Recalls— and Records— Blues Legend Willie Dixon By Dave Hoekstra Everything was in place for Alex Dixon. Dixon and his wife Melissa had formed their label, Dixon Landing Music. Alex Dixon has the legacy currency of his grandfather, the Chess Records architect, bass player and bandleader Willie Dixon. The Chicago Blues Festival had scheduled a seventieth-anniversary tribute to Chess Records, but the annual celebration was canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19. Alex Dixon’s album “The Real McCoy” was released on March 24. By that date, there were 52,976 cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 704 Americans had died. Life was turned upside down and there was no soft landing for Dixon. Live music tours are a key ingredient in any 7600 block of South Throop Street. Alex house. My grandfather told me stories about JUNE 2020 Newcity musician’s strategy to promote a new product. followed his grandparents when they moved meeting Bo Diddley and his boxing days.” According to an early April survey by the to Glendale, California in 1984. Willie Dixon nonprofit Americans for the Arts, the economic died in 1992 at the age of seventy-six. Marie Willie Dixon was a winner of the Illinois State impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. arts and Dixon died in 2016 at the age of seventy-nine. Golden Gloves heavyweight championship culture industry was a $4.5 billion loss. “We Their daughter Jackie Dixon is president and (novice division) in 1937. He was a sparring had a lot of overseas gigs and a lot of those CEO of Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Founda- partner to heavyweight champion Joe Louis festivals have been canceled,” Alex said in a tion at Chess Records, located at 2120 South in the basement of Eddie Nichols’ gym at 15th March 19 interview while sheltering-in-place Michigan. Alex Dixon’s mother is Patricia Dixon, and Indiana. I visited Willie in 1989 in Glendale. in his home in the East Bay town of Dublin, who is Jackie’s oldest sister. “We did play We talked about the parallels of counterpoint- California. “We had summer shows here. music together quite a bit,” Dixon says. “We ing in boxing and music. “I learned to time [He was not scheduled to come to Chicago.] had a lot of fun. We all grew up together in the things pretty well in boxing,” Willie said. “That It’s going to be very hard for me and my friends. I’m cooped up in my house playing my bass and piano and writing new songs for when this whole thing is over.” So for now, here’s some blues heritage- in-place for you. Alex Dixon, forty-five, was born in Chicago and raised by his grandparents Willie and Marie Dixon. His earliest memories include Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines and Johnny Winter coming to their two-story house in the 47

MUSIC TOP 5 was great for counterpointing in music. I timed fancy fins and pointed taillights. The car was a guy’s licks the same way. I would counter- previously owned by Muhammad Ali and before Lockdown—self-isolating—sheltering in punch”—counterpunching being a punch that, actor Lincoln Andrew Perry, whose stage place—whatever you call it, it goes a whole thrown in response to an opponent’s lead. name was Stepin Fetchit. In Dixon’s autobiogra- lot easier with these outstanding album phy, “I Am The Blues (The Willie Dixon Story),” releases by stellar Chicago artists. This begins to explain the declared rhythm Dixon wrote that he had the Cadillac remodeled Willie Dixon put into the blues and rock ’n’ roll. in a car shop at 22nd and Wabash. 1 Ohmme. “Fantasize Your Alex follows his grandfather’s lead on “The Ghost.” Singer-songwriters Real McCoy.” Backed by a crack band that Ali hired Perry as a consultant for his rematch Sima Cunningham and Macie includes former Chicago blues guitarist Melvin with Sonny Liston in 1965 because Perry had Stewart’s much-anticipated second Taylor and harmonica player Sugar Blue, he known boxer Jack Johnson. Ali was living in album is hard-edged, high-gloss, covers four lesser-known Willie Dixon songs a third floor apartment in the 7000 block of lyrically complex indie pop; their on the record: “Groaning The Blues” (recorded South Cregier Avenue in 1964. Willie Dixon specialty is a paradoxically urgent by Otis Rush for Cobra Records in 1957 and wrote, “I used to book Stepin Fetchit different languor. Available June 5 later covered by Eric Clapton); “Spider in My Stew” (a hit for Buster Benton in 2 Flow. “This From That.” Supreme Records in 1973); “When I The second album by guitarist Make Love” (first covered in 1973 by Alejandro Urzagaste’s jazz quartet Margie Evans on Willie Dixon’s Yambo is a highly sophisticated, dazzlingly Records); and “Howlin’ For My Darlin,’” virtuosic set featuring original works written with Howlin’ Wolf and cut by and two standards made famous by Howlin’ Wolf himself in 1959 for Chess). Peggy Lee. Available Now “I was trying to go for something 3 Origin of Animal and the Chicago Composers different,” Dixon says. “I had covered Orchestra. “Chaos/Composed.” Documenting an exhilarating ‘Spoonful’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ exchange between the adventurous rock-jazz big band and the new before. Even though I picked obscure music ensemble, which took place at Ganz Hall in January, featuring songs, I knew the artist. I got to talk music by Chicago composers. to Otis Rush quite a bit when I was Available Now younger. I put ‘When I Make Love’ on 4 Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood. “Gigantosaur.” This self- there because that was an important professed glam-punk band are so ready for an arena, you want to build day in our family, when our grandfather one for them. They throw down the full range of power-genre tropes, had Koko Taylor sing at the Grammys including some impressive Queen- for the first time (in 1987 with Dr. John, Junior places and he was down in Kentucky during style harmonies. Available Now the time Ali was getting ready for his fight with Wells and Ry Cooder). We were so happy. 5 Black Friars Social Club. Sonny Liston.” Dixon wrote that the car was “Black Friars Social Club.” He was finally getting some recognition. The alt-folk band, fronted by singer- One of my favorite artists is Howlin’ Wolf and Ali’s first Cadillac. songwriter Mark Panick, displays an impressive range, from sweetly the singer we feature, his favorite artist was shaggy ballads and gorgeously Howlin’ Wolf. That’s how the project started.” Dixon recalls the process of writing songs with gloomy dirges, to seventies-style his legendary grandfather. “We would come up swamp rock and high-gloss lounge pop. Available Now Lewis “Big Lew” Powell is the album’s lead with a story; he said blues were the facts of life. 48 singer. Dixon met Powell at the 2015 Chicago He always watched the news. He loved to read the newspaper. We’d come up with ideas Blues Festival, when the birth centennials from current events and write a song. I would of his grandfather and Muddy Waters were figure out something on the piano.” Dixon has celebrated. Powell was appearing with vocalist Nellie Travis, a protégé of Koko Taylor. a co-writer credit on “Study War No More,” from “Hidden Charms,” his grandfather’s final “The Real McCoy” also features guitarist recording. “Hidden Charms” won a 1989 Joey Delgado from the East Los Angeles Grammy for best traditional blues recording, Latin blues band the Delgado Brothers. the only Grammy of Willie Dixon’s career. Dixon’s daughter Leila makes her vocal debut Dixon says he spends a lot of time in Chicago. singing background on the mannish-boy When in town he helps out at Blues Heaven styled single “Nothing New Under the Sun.” “She’s thirteen and she wanted to be part of the and Chess studios. “I was there last summer when me and Jackie talked to the Rolling project,” Dixon says. “It reminds me when Stones,” he says. “I was reminiscing with Mick I was her age and I was writing songs with Jagger about when they came to our house my grandfather on his last album.” on Throop Street in 1981 (on the “Tattoo You” Dixon’s first memories of seeing blues royalty tour), they had tour buses and limousines. We were laughing because my grandmother told was at the South Throop house in Chicago. them to ‘Get outta here with all that noise.’” Willie Dixon ran a small studio he named “The Blues Factory” around the corner at 7711 The move to Southern California paid off for Newcity JUNE 2020 South Racine. Chess and Curtis Mayfield Willie Dixon and his family. “We were trying guitarist Phil Upchurch helped set up the studio. “That’s where he came up with Blues to get his name out there,” his grandson says. “He started to make a name for himself again.” in the Schools and started making up the And now, against some mighty odds in the ideas of Blues Heaven,” Dixon says. “I summer of 2020, Alex Dixon is moving forward remember the family meetings of what the in those footsteps. foundation would be about.” No one in the Throop Street neighborhood will Go to for an extended forget Willie Dixon’s 1959 pink Cadillac with the version of this interview.

Stage Aura CuriAtlas members Dan Plehal and Mickey Lonsdale in “DREAM LOGIC” For the Sake of the Public Good Chicago Theater Artists Respond to COVID-19 By Ben Kaye What is the responsibility of a theater much of the country on a halt for the past tion, theirs is not a work that can be readily artist during a crisis? few months, theaters across the United States adapted to a podcast or replicated by a are scrambling to figure out how to stay reading over Zoom. The tools of physical No one has an answer. The answer. I certainly sustainable and—in many cases—how to theater just aren’t a one-to-one fit with the don’t. This isn’t an article about what we remain active in the public consciousness. digital medium. should be doing. Nor is it about whether we In Chicago, larger houses are finding some should or should not make art or what the success in releasing archival, professionally “The company was founded for the creative “right” thing to do is. This is an article about shot footage of previous productions. Some partnership, the energy and inspiration that the resilient artists of the Chicago theater have created podcasts with artists discussing fuel each other when our core members are community who are facing these times. the ins-and-outs of the theatrical field. in a room together, feeding off each other’s ideas and enthusiasm,” Plehal says. “That I spoke to theater artists in Chicago about how But what if you’re a theater that doesn’t have is something that can’t be replicated in a JUNE 2020 Newcity to navigate theater-making during a pandemic. archival footage? Or you haven’t got the digital format.” One thing was overwhelmingly clear: the itch resources to coordinate a podcast recording is still there. To create, to perform, to fully exist for an audience that might not even exist? Plehal doesn’t see this as a reason to stop, as a live artist. But what does that look like? And moving back a few steps: is there even but rather as a chance for artists to recharge a need to create right now? their batteries and use this time to refocus Theater artists thrive on being in rooms their craft. together and having their voices heard. In the Dan Plehal, co-artistic director of Aura midst of shelter-in-place orders, the former CuriAtlas Physical Theatre, is torn. The co- “Designers might spend time improving has been stripped away forcing the latter into leader of a physical theater company the art their rendering skills, getting to know a new an existential crisis. As the pandemic has put of which is created through contact improvisa- software or practicing designing for spaces 49

or budgets they don’t normally get hired for,” he says. “For actors, there is text work, voice work, movement work and even audition practice. This is our time to do the homework we never have time for, while being patient for when we can put that practice to the test where theater is meant to be: in a room with an audience, not on a screen. Once folks can go out again, we will all be craving the exchange of energy only found in the theater. I think, right now, we can wait our turn.” STAGE TOP 5 “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations,” an adage often attributed to 1 Pivot Arts Festival. Now in Orson Welles, is one of the things keeping its eighth edition, the celebrated Andrew Cutler, associate artistic director multidisciplinary performance festival of First Floor Theater, afloat and moving. pivots its presentation to online Right now, the limitations are the absence: in the ongoing performing arts absence of space, of audience, of fellow shakeup. June 5-30 performers, of anything but the walls of your home. So if there is a desire to create, 2 To Master the Art. share and live as an artist, what do you do? TimeLine Theatre Company. Newcity JUNE 2020 The adventure and romance of the If you’re First Floor Theater, you commission Andrew Cutler in a still image from First Floor Theater’s journey of discovery in Paris by a play from playwright Beth Hyland, created digital production of “always nothing else”/ Julia and Paul Child during the specifically for this moment. Hyland—who Design: Sid Branca 1950s streams into your home with also penned the devised work “All One! the online revival of this celebrated The Dr. Bronner’s Play” for the Passage of normalcy arrives, how can our art function production. Through June 7 Theatre, which produced a live reading for as community building? At supporting each streaming—wrote “always nothing else,” other? What if we worked to make 3 Crucial Connections. a romantic comedy directed by FFT artistic our art essential? Collaboraction, Zoom. director Hutch Pimentel, told through the A highly interactive online show device of the Marco Polo app. The couple These are questions that Katrina Dion, that is “hyperlocal thinking global,” at the center of the play, Cutler and FFT director of education at Free Street Theater, radically inclusive yet entertaining managing director Amanda Fink, use is asking head-on, as FST makes the transition while reflecting on life in a post- short-form videos to share connection of their youth ensemble show into a digital coronavirus world and the reshaping and romance in the form of a live-streamed play that will be available in June. “WASTED” of the human experience. Thursdays, “conversation” between the characters. tackles themes of environmental justice and 8pm through June 11 racism and how these issues are specifically Streamed to Twitch, where audiences could affecting the Little Village neighborhood. 4 My Bodies Image, comment alongside the action of the play, (FST’s community partner is the Little Village Delayed. Theatre Y, YouTube. “always nothing else” joined the ranks of many Environmental Justice Organization.) With A meditation on introspection, live-streamed readings, concerts and sources of FST’s ensemble of teenage performers self-interrogation and refracted artistic distraction and enrichment, although its eager for connection and artistic expression, identity, this weekly retrospective of creative use of streaming provided some Dion knows that the outlet is much needed. András Visky texts will be performed distinction. (Much of the ingenious media by ensemble members and feature design and coordination was handled by FFT “Theater helps us practice the world we experiments with text and mirrors. company member Sid Branca.) want to live in, lift important stories and build community,” says Dion. Fridays, 7pm, through July 24 Cutler is fully aware that we’ve lost a lot of what makes theater “theater” by not having How does this manifest in a world where 5 Pride in Place. Pride Films access to the liveness of the medium. we’re separated? “What I hope to see is us & Plays, Zoom. Live online However, he is equally excited by the innovating new ways of creating an audience, readings of LGBTQ-themed plays opportunities for theater artists to try out of creating community, maybe even in socially allows the organization to continue new tools of artistic expression. distant ways outside of the screen,” she its mission for patrons from their says. “I hope to see work that reflects our own home. Ongoing “I think it’s a chance for us to experiment whole city. Now that our work isn’t centered in ways that we previously would not have,” geographically, how can we be better at 50 says Cutler. “To interrogate the meaning of inclusion and accessibility?” the medium and make a lot of stuff that we might never have thought to make otherwise.” Everyone I spoke to had a shared impulse: breathe. “I hope to see us take a breath, For those who would argue that art isn’t to rest, to unlearn grind culture, to seek to necessary, that it sits at the end of Maslow’s be with each other in meaningful ways and Hierarchy of Needs, perhaps there’s something not self-serving ones,” Dion says. “I hope to in the link between art and self-actualization see theater mutual support.” on one end of the spectrum and physiological needs on the other. A piece of theater will not feed you or provide a place to live or air to breathe. But this gap could be be interro- gated instead of dismissed. After some kind

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