Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.
This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 39 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy and breezy with a low around 36 and wind gusts as high as 40 mph. Tomorrow will be cloudy with showers likely in the afternoon and a high near 51.
A trip through Black Chicago
Over the last century, some of the most prominent Black figures in the country, if not the world, have resided in Chicago.
The Obamas still live in Kenwood. Muhammad Ali had a mansion there. Astronaut Mae Jemison grew up in Morgan Park. There are many others, most of them gone. But the places they called home often remain.
Here’s a look at some of them.
Lorraine Hansberry, the first Black woman to write a play performed on Broadway, was a Chicago native. That play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” was inspired by her life at 6140 S. Rhodes Ave.
Hansberry was among many writers calling the city home during Chicago’s Black Renaissance, an early 20th Century literary movement to highlight the plight of African Americans in a racist society.
That included Richard Wright. From 1929 to 1932, Wright and his family lived in a second-floor apartment at 4831 S. Vincennes Ave.
Carrying on the renaissance was Illinois’ poet laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks. Brooks called Chicago home for 80 years. She and her husband bought the gray and white cottage at 7428 S. Evans Ave. on Sept. 14, 1953. The Pulitzer Prize winner lived there until 1994.
Other legendary Black figures brought music to the city.
The trumpeter Louis Armstrong lived and played in Chicago during the 1920s. It’s also where he met his second wife, Lil Hardin; the two moved to 421 E. 44th St. in Bronzeville in 1925.
Also living in Bronzeville was Nat “King” Cole. The singer and jazz pianist was born in Alabama, but his family moved to Chicago and Cole grew up at 4023 S. Vincennes Ave. The three-story building is still there, with an iron fence, a small porch — and a marker detailing the life of the man who once lived inside.
Cheyanne M. Daniels has more on the former homes of these icons and others here.
More news you need
- A man has been charged with starting a shootout with a security guard who fired back and fatally struck a grandmother near Chicago police headquarters earlier this month. The 47-year-old faces a count of aggravated battery for his role in the exchange of gunfire Feb. 2, Chicago police announced today.
- A 23-year-old Chicago man admitted in federal court today that he used his Facebook account to set off rioting and looting in the city in August 2020. In one instance, he allegedly sent private Facebook messages to 40 people on Aug. 9, 2020, telling them to meet at 6300 S. Racine Ave. to go downtown together.
- A federal judge today sentenced Bruce Lee — a prolific ticket broker convicted of a lucrative yearslong scam involving the Chicago White Sox — to a year-and-a-half in prison. A January 2020 indictment charged Lee with wire fraud and money laundering, and a jury found Lee guilty last fall of several counts of wire fraud.
- Raising potential roadblocks to casino proposals involving McCormick Place property, the convention center’s CEO said today that changes in state law may be needed before its sites can accommodate gambling. Any plan to convert parts of the convention campus for gambling could hurt operations and push some shows out of town, Larita Clark told the board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
A bright one
‘Blues in the Night’: Porchlight’s cast captivates with the music of saints and sinners
From red hot to icy cool, Porchlight Music Theatre’s thrilling “Blues in the Night” travels the complete spectrum of its titular genre. Long story short: If you are a human who experiences emotions, you will revel in director-choreographer Kenny Ingram’s production, writes Catey Sullivan in her four-star review of the production.
On the one hand, the revue of some two dozen blues numbers offers “low-down stanky, funky” scorchers like “Take Me for a Buggy Ride,” in which a growling, hip-swerving Felicia P. Fields makes it unabashedly clear that she’s not singing about a horse-drawn vehicle. On the other hand, “Blues in the Night” goes slinky and chill with “Lush Life/I’m Just a Lucky So and So,” delivered by Donica Lynn and Evan Tyrone Martin, smooth and glossy as water over glass.
Both ends of the blues’ spectrum are equally mesmerizing onstage, with Ingram’s five-person cast and a four-piece onstage band pulsing through numbers popularized by Bessie Smith, Billy Strayhorn and Alberta Hunter, among others. It’s music powerful enough to completely banish whatever blues are lurking in real life outside the theater, at least for the roughly two-hour duration of Ingram’s robust staging.
The storytelling in the Tony-nominated show conceived by Sheldon Epps begins before the first note is sung. It’s 1938, and we’re in a once-grand hotel on the South Side of Chicago, a place of beauty and memories. There are three guests: The Lady from the Road (Fields) is poring over an ancient scrapbook, remembering her days on vaudeville’s Chitlin Circuit. The Woman of the World (Lynn) has loved and lost, both greatly. And The Girl with a Date (Clare Kennedy) is fresh-off-the-bus, starry-eyed and looking for love.
Lynn and Fields are storied figures in the land of musical theater, and for good reason. Having both in the same cast? To revert to a sports analogy, it’s kind of like having two Simone Bileses on the same gymnastics team. It’s historic, and not something that should be missed.
Read Sullivan’s full review of the production here.
From the press box
- The Cubs’ TV broadcast team of play-by-play voice Jon “Boog” Sciambi and analyst Jim Deshaies will be sticking around for at least a few more years. The two broadcasters have agreed to multiyear contract extensions, Marquee Sports Network announced today.
- While there’s still more than a month until the NHL’s unusually late March 21 trade deadline, the mounting buzz has been increasingly difficult for the Blackhawks to ignore, Ben Pope writes.
- As part of this week’s City/Suburban Hoops Report, Joe Henricksen looked at the monster season of Timothy Christian’s Ben VanderWal, who’s averaging more than 26 points per game.
- Matthew Stafford forced a trade then won a Super Bowl. Patrick Finley wonders which NFL star will be next to pull off the same combo.
Your daily question ☕
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Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday we asked you: Who would you like to see perform in a future Super Bowl halftime show?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Missy Elliott, Timberland and Magoo.” — Moni Jackson
“Only one answer for that — Metallica.” — Micheal John Ross
“Janet Jackson deserves a redo!” — Patrice Robinson
“I would like to see some country singers Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs and a few others. I know there are a lot of fans out there who like football and country singers.” — Marion Kucharzyk-Callese
“Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and John Legend.” — Lissette Herrera
“No Doubt with Pink and Alanis Morissette. Now that would be a cool collaboration. I absolutely loved last night’s show.” — Daniel Enoch Barker
“Fantasia, Jazmine Sullivan, Toni Braxton, Chance the Rapper and Ariana Grande.” — Ebony Reddick
“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” — Michael Raftery
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