Inspired by Fashion Week? 3 Great Fashion Magazines to Download

With a map of New York City on my wall and fashion magazines by my bed, my 16-year-old self would have loved watching the twice-yearly Fashion Week. (The shows! The trends! The fashionista street style!) But as an adult, I sometimes think: Fashion? I've no time for fashion. But here’s the thing. Browsing the occasional […]

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Sara Paretsky and Chicago’s Fiercest Detective, V.I. Warshawski

This post is part of our occasional series Chicago Authors on eBooks, but Sara Paretsky's titles are also available in print, as noted below. Beloved fictional detective V.I. Warshawski emerged during a meeting between Sara Paretsky and a less-than-beloved boss over 35 years ago. As “Fred” droned on and Paretsky censored her “unprintable” thoughts, the […]

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The Black National Anthem and the Multitalented Men Who Wrote It

James Weldon Johnson is often called the Renaissance Man of the Harlem Renaissance—with good reason. The author of the novel The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, he was also a respected poet, newspaper columnist, diplomat and the first black leader of the NAACP. But he is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to the stirring […]

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Beautiful: The Carole King Musical OR How to Write a Hit Song with the Help of a Library Book

Before Carole King’s songs were recorded by Aretha Franklin, The Monkees and Amy Winehouse, before she released her chart-topping, mega-selling album Tapestry, and before she was named a 2015 Kennedy Center honoree, she was a teenage mother in Brooklyn, struggling to make a living in the music business. She was—and remains—brilliant, though at 18 that brilliance had […]

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Great American Playwright Arthur Miller on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth

On the 50th anniversary of Death of A Salesman's Broadway premier, Arthur Miller fans packed a Manhattan bookstore for a rare appearance by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. A teenage girl a few feet from me surveyed the fire-hazard of a crowd and said with awe: It’s like he’s Madonna or something. Although famous for his appearance before the […]

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2015 Recipients of Chicago’s Fifth Star Awards

Inaugurated in 2014, the City of Chicago’s Fifth Star Awards honor artists and cultural organizations for significant contributions to our city’s cultural life. This year’s honorees are WXRT Program Director Norm Winer, author Sandra Cisneros, children’s performer and educator Ella Jenkins, architect Stanley Tigerman and the Joffrey Ballet. You can see the Joffrey Ballet perform at […]

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Summer Camp at the Movies

Summer camp. Whether you loved it, hated it or skipped it, you can experience it vicariously—minus the bad food, insects and latrines—with these three fun movies. My favorite is the exuberant Camp, set at a musical theater camp where self-described “freaks” can be themselves and where sports counselors are without an audience. Campers include a […]

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Happy 100th Birthday, Les Paul! Renaissance Man, Guitar Brand and Radio Host in Chicagoland

Les Paul, born 100 years ago on June 9, was the 20th century’s Ben Franklin—a Renaissance man and inventor—but way cooler. Inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Inventors Hall of Fame, Paul, who died in 2009, was a guitarist fascinated by technology. His experiments with solid-body guitar construction and electric […]

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