The Third Annual Big Onion Awards
by Ted Allen and Marc Spiegler

Once again it’s time to pay homage to those bureaucrats, politicians, and other public bumblers whose deeds gave off a pungent odor. From the imprisoned to the inept to the simply irritating, it’s a bumper crop this year.

The Searcher
by Geoffrey Johnson
Critic and historian Gary Wills has written 19 books and a slew of articles about public figures. Now, in his 20th book, he goes full gallop on John Wayne, Westerns, and the American way of mythmaking.

Collision Course
by Jonathan Eig
State Farm Insurance is suing what it says is a car insurance fraud ring that has generated big payouts for a few doctors and lawyers. The defendants argue that the real issue is one of racial bias: All drivers and passengers named in the complaints are black.

Works of Heart
by Kerosene Halo, Thirst, Oman, and Chris Ware
It’s hard to agree on where to find it, how it presents itself, what it looks like. This Valentine’s Day, four artists show us their surprising interpretations of love.

The End of the Line
by Richard Younker
For more than half a century, John “Junnie” Putman has worked on the Mississippi and may be the last commercial fisherman on this stretch of the river, a tough old guy committed to a hard life on the water.




The Goods
by Jennifer Epstein
She’s making the run of her life on the slopes of fond hopes.

Power Lines
by Marc Spiegler
Senator Carol Mosseley-Braun’s stumbing comeback; fighting times at the Merc.

Stage & Screen
by Penelope Mesic
A scrappy young theatre company hooks a Gen X audience.

Real Lives
by Marcia Froelke Coburn
This extra man about town goes everywhere all the time.

by Joel Reese
Former Bull Craig Hodges is suing the NBA, saying his beliefs kept him benched.

Spinning Jenny

by Shane Tritsch
Last summer’s It girl, former South Sider Jenny McCarthy, refuses to go away.

Dining Out
by Dennis Ray Wheaton
With winter no time for fussy food, two new spots emphasize no-frills Italian.

by Philip Berger
That Great Street gets a makeover that makes a difference.

Sullivan’s Travels
by Terry Sullivan
Oy to the world: A new exhibition explores Jewish humor from the borscht belt to Seinfeld.