Art

The New Art Examiner Re-examined

By Derek Guthrie

I came to Chicago from London just a few months after the ’68 riots to take a position as an art instructor at Chicago State College. The 60’s were in full swing. American life seemed dynamic and exciting, a roller coaster ride from the troughs of racism and anti-war sentiment to the heights of Utopian thinking, and art in America reflected all the twists and turns of this fast-paced culture. MORE...

Holden Caulfield, Move Over: 60 Years After Catcher in the Rye

By Bruce Jacobs

In this 60th anniversary year of the quintessential New York teen angst novel “Catcher in the Rye”, Jesse Browner’s new novel Everything Happens Today not only updates Holden Caulfield, but – dare I say it – bests Salinger with a funnier, kinder and wiser novel. MORE...

BOOKS: One Good Read

By Bruce Jacobs

Before everyone crafted a new life on the internet – whether an evolving profile on Facebook, a portfolio of pithy tweets, an avatar on Second Life, a Tumblr blog or Flickr gallery; some people created an alternate persona in paper diaries and scrapbooks. In her newest novel, Stone Arabia, National Book Award nominee (Eat the Document) Dana Spiotta focuses on two siblings in their late forties whose facsimile lives (“chronicles” as both call them) make school girl diaries look like…well, school girl diaries. MORE...

BOOKS: Bottom of The 33rd

By Bruce Jacobs

My baseball book of the year is not just a baseball book; but then, no baseball book is just about baseball. Baseball contains all there is of our lives – our hopes, our dreams, our disappointments, our errors, our ennui, our strike outs (both swinging and looking) and our occasional hits…all played out under an eternal clock where “theoretically, just one at bat could last forever, with foul ball after foul ball spinning into infinity, like a never-ending decimal measure of pi.” MORE...

BOOKS: A New Old Western

By Bruce Jacobs

If you think the historical Western disappeared with Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, think again. Michigan crime writers Elmore Leonard and Loren Estleman have been writing them for years. Ron Hansen’s early novels told the stories of the Dalton and James gangs in Kansas. And then there is the 800 pound gorilla in the genre: Larry McMurtry’s sweeping Lonesome Dove, a novel so good and so rich in character that it won a Pulitzer and became a four part TV mini-series. No Western has quite measured up since – until Mary Doria Russell’s new novel Doc. MORE...

BOOKS: My Korean Deli

By Bruce Jacobs

According to last week’s New York Times, Koreans own 70% of the city’s greengrocer delis, but their numbers are rapidly falling – from 2500 to 2000 over the last decade. “In ten years there will be no more Korean mom-and-pop stores,” said Chong Sik Lee of the Korean-American Grocers Association. MORE...

BOOKS: Three Stages of Amazement

By Bruce Jacobs

We’ve all been to San Francisco at least once, or seen it in the movies. You know the scenery – the Bridge, the Bay, the Hills, the Rock, the Haight, Chinatown, Tim Lincecum…and all that money. MORE...

Letter from Mexico City: Religion and Revolution

By Bruce Jacobs

If you want to see Mexico City, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time underground. Walking the crowded and buckling sidewalks takes forever. Taxis and buses of every size and condition sit endlessly in traffic honking their horns. With 20 million people, Mexico City is the world’s ninth largest metropolitan area sprawling across a Valley of Mexico basin surrounded by volcanic mountains.

What began in the 14th century on an island in Lake Texcoco as the capital of the Aztec Empire has grown to encompass 571 square miles. The lake was long ago drained and the center of the city today sits on water soaked silt and volcanic clay. MORE...

BOOKS: Ward Just’s Chicago

By Bruce Jacobs

As a new mayor sweeps into Chicago’s City Hall and Detective Jarek Wysocki teams up with Police Superintendent Teresa Colvin to expose and unseat a corrupt alderman in “The Chicago Code,” veteran novelist Ward Just returns to Chicago for his latest atmospheric story of intrinsically good people trying to navigate the thin veneer of a civilization ruled by politics, money, violence, and art. MORE...

POETRY: Body and Soul

By B. H. Fairchild

“They say, we’re one man short, but can we use this boy,
he’s only fifteen years old, and at least he’ll make a game.” MORE...