Confession of a Sports Non-Lover

I admit it. I don’t carry my weight in the company of men. I don’t discuss sports. For most men, talking sports is as basic and natural a transaction as watching TV, tossing back beer or going to the toilet. It’s a universally understood way for strangers to structure interactions, for friends and family to […]

Southeast Sider Art

Railroad bridges over the Calumet River, with the Chicago Skyway in the background.

Chicago’s Southeast Side easily looks like a wasteland to drivers taking the Chicago Skyway as the shortest, though most expensive, path to get from the city to Michigan. But of course there are glimpses of a more interesting reality. The most obvious are the dramatic railroad bridges you see as you cross the Calumet River […]

Book Review: Envisioning Howard Finster

Envisioning Howard Finster: The Religion and Art of a Stranger from Another World, by Norman J. Girardot, University of California Press, 304 pages, 16 color plates and 20 b/w illustrations, 2015. ISBN 978-0520261105. Paperback, $29.95 The prolific southern visionary Howard Finster was something of an enigma. How much of his colorful output was a matter […]

Tour the Lakefront Stone Carvings: Oct. 11

Chicago is home to the greatest collection of outdoor stone carvings in urban America. Generations of beach-going carvers whiling away the hours left their marks on huge limestone blocks installed during the Depression to improve and protect the city’s park-lined lakefront. Many of these anonymous carvings have been destroyed as part of more recent anti-erosion projects. […]