Dreamy Designs

That 2,000-foot-tall spire we were promised a decade ago? Well, it's still just a big hole in the ground. Chicago asks six architects how they'd reroute the bankrupt construction program.

Resonant Retrospective

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians—a coalition formed by jazz musicians to fuel the genre during a bleak period in the '60s—turns 50 this year, and will celebrate with an exhibit at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The Trib takes a tour with AACM founder Phil Cohran.

Unconventional Photography

Local photographer Yvette Marie Dostatni is currently raising funds for a book of photos taken at niche conventions over the past 10 years. Dubbed The Conventioneers, her project features everything from clowns to bikers to Abraham Lincolns to Furries, most of them captured right here in Chicago. Slate has 10 previews from the artist.

Fond Farewell

This week on Splitsider's Second City Archives—an exclusive video series featuring old sets by now-famous Second City alumni—the gang digs up Stephen Colbert's final performance at Piper's Alley (1994, just after his 30th birthday). Spoiler: It's a song.

New Classics

As opera audiences age and winnow nationwide, the Lyric's new "Lyric Unlimited" program aims to bring fresh faces to the age-old art form. Reuters tracks the 61-year-old company's campaign of self-preservation

Review Revue

Critics are all-in on The Apple Family Plays: That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry, Richard Nelson's interconnected riffs on the Obama years currently running at TimeLine. Starring in both plays is Mike Nussbaum, who, remember, can do more pushups than you.

Chicago Tribune: "It's one thing to watch a play about, say, Lyndon Johnson and remember where you were and what you were thinking in 1968 (if you were even alive). It's entirely another to sit in a theater, ponder the night of Nov. 6, 2012, and recall your life on that night."

Chicago Sun-Times: "…it is well worth seeing both plays if only to observe the way [Mike] Nussbaum captures the devastating changes in Ben that occur over a two-year period. Nussbaum (91 in real life, though that number is meaningless in his case) remains at the very peak of his powers and gives a performance, remarkable on a mind-blogging number of levels, that generates both tears and laughter, and is a model of bravura timing."

Chicago Reader: "In Louis Contey's perceptive staging, the script is matched in intelligence and feeling by an excellent cast that includes Janet Ulrich Brooks as the stalwart eldest sister and Mike Nussbaum as poor, muddled Benjamin."