We Embrace Old-School Holdouts

Phyllis’ Musical Inn

We lost Bozo’s Circus and Ray Rayner. Comiskey Park is now just souvenir rock fragments on basement shelves, and Marshall Field’s and the Magikist signs are singing with the commercial choir invisible. But there’s still a verdant patch of real, old-time Chicago at 1800 West Division Street: Phyllis’ Musical Inn. Bought by accordionist Phyllis Jaskot … Read more

Men in Shorts in January

Illustration by Stephen William Schudlich

To be a Chicagoan is to step outside on a frigid winter day and see a man in shorts. He may be walking his dog or grabbing something from his car. He may be a college student strolling to class. Silly boys. I scoff at them, but silently, I also salute them. Their hardiness borders … Read more

The Perfect Neighborhood Spot

Le Bouchon

If you focus your critical faculties too hard on Le Bouchon, the nearly 30-year-old Bucktown spot, you may see its flaws. The roast duck for two can be tough, and the specials too busy. The glassware is clunky, and some chairs wobble. So don’t focus. Instead, appreciate the blur of its rose-colored (or more accurately, … Read more

Views From All Directions

18th Street Bridge

On any given day, you can find a spot that will stun you with its beauty, connect you to the past, and remind you that you’re part of something larger and more complicated than any individual. These are my top four: 18th Street Bridge: Refurbished in 2015, the bridge spanning the South Branch of the … Read more

Our City Photographs Well

Barry Butler

Barry Butler’s arresting visual love poems capture a shimmering metropolis flexing its muscles in its best light. (You will find five of his striking photographs in this feature.) Butler started shooting Chicago’s skyline and cityscapes as practice for trips to Europe and out west. People responded so well to his social media posts that he was … Read more