Previews of upcoming arts events

Winter Pandemograms 


The Beverly Area Art Alliance (The Alliance) hosts. Winter Pandemograms, a new series of public art projects displayed at local businesses. Fostering the connection between artists and community members, the Pandemograms also support small businesses. 

Look for these new Pandemogramsnow in the process of being installed  

Western Avenue: “Stay Active,” a yarn bomb by fiber artist Linda Beierle Bullen, Sports & Ortho; “Psychedelic Solstice” window painting by Cathy Sorich, Horse Thief Hollow; “This Too Shall Pass” by street artist Won Kim, Bookies,; painting by Matthew Dicks, Running Excels; and murals by  Paul Branton, Phil Cottom and  Brendan McAlinden, Nicky’s on 105th.  

99th and Walden Parkway: “Daisy,” mixed media installation by Dan McCabe, Tranquility;  “Where Attention Goes, Energy Flows” and “Circles of Life” wreath art installation by Robin Power, Turkey; paintings by Judie Anderson, Oak & Bloom; and “We’re All Connected- Love To Keep Me Warm,” collaborative installation led by Dawn LiddicoattColor Me Beauty Bar 

Info: Facebook, Instagram @bev_artalliance and 

New Neighbors Enter the Art Scene

By Kristin Boza 

Dance and art are passions of new neighbors Megan Wright and Nate Otto.  

Wright grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and built a dance and art career on the foundation she learned at the Beverly Arts Center.  

Otto, who grew up between Deerfield and Michigan, is a talented artist seeking to leave his mark in Beverly/Morgan Park. Along with their toddler son, Oscar, and pup, Rizby, the Otto/Wright family is excited to explore and create in our community. 

The family moved to their new home from Ukrainian Village in March — right at the start of the global pandemic. Subsequent shelter-in-place orders definitely put a damper on the couple’s enjoying the restaurants and shops. However, they have spent a lot of time biking and exploring in and around the Dan Ryan Woods, and they’re looking forward to attending as many community events as possible in 2021.  

“We like to go on bike rides to explore the neighborhood; it really is a beautiful place. It’s nice to have a house and a yard during these strange times,” Otto said. As an artist, Otto enjoys working from home in his basement studio, although he still plans to resume work at his Wicker Park studio in the future. 

Wright grew up here and moved back to be closer to her parents; the large lots satisfied her longing for a yard, and she appreciates the neighborhood’s diversity, architecture and beautiful trees. She is currently on the faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts, Ballet Chicago and the Beverly Arts Center, and independently offers classes for adults via Remote Ballet. Wright holds a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University, and danced professionally after high school.  

“The Beverly Arts Center gave me my start and I’ve loved coming full circle to teach there. It’s such a gem of a place. We held our wedding reception there in 2012, and it feels nice to give back. I feel great knowing that a lot of my students moved on to teach at the BAC; it’s been a huge part of their lives and many others,” Wright said. 

Otto has been an artist his entire life, turning it into a full-time career eight years ago and selling his pieces through galleries or directly to customers via Instagram @ottonate. A graduate of Columbia College, Otto is known for drawing and painting in his own unique style. His latest passion is creating murals, having completed approximately 40 over the last five years in offices and various outdoor spaces. He hopes to create a mural in Beverly/Morgan Park. 

“Since we moved here at such a strange time, we haven’t engaged as much with the neighborhood as we would in normal times. This is the first time in my adult life living in a place where you know the neighbors. I’m used to being somewhat anonymous,” Otto said. “We are probably mysterious to our neighbors, but hopefully someday the world will return to normal and we will get to know the people on our block.” 

“We’re looking forward to really being a part of a new community, but also keeping our roots and friends in our previous community,” Wright said. “Coming back here is familiar, but also brand new in a lot of ways. Beverly seems to be growing in diversity and small businesses, and we can’t wait to explore them all soon.” 


One Man’s Quest for the Best Hot Dogs in Chicago 

By Kristin Boza 

Once again, local author Dennis Foley has expertly combined his love of Chicago and food to deliver a book full of “snap.” In “No Ketchup: Chicago’s Top 50 Hot Dogs and the Stories Behind Them,” Foley created a hot dog bible meant to live in the glove box so travelers are never more than 15 minutes away from a superior hot dog.  

Foley is a lifelong Chicagoan who found success and joy in careers ranging from bouncer to attorney to teacher to writer and Streets and Sanitation worker. His first book, “The Street’s and San Man’s Guide to Chicago Eats,” won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association Book Awards first place for humor. He went on to publish “The Drunkard’s Son,” a memoir about growing up amidst family and neighborhood turmoil in 1960s Chicago.  

“I originally set out to write a novel set in the early 1900s Chicago, and I had what I thought was a pretty good first chapter. But nothing else was coming to me . . . I kicked it to the side because I found myself being pulled toward writing about one of my favorite foods — hot dogs,” Foley said. “The Chicago dog has been written and blogged about a bunch, but in this book, I made sure to give a good deal of focus and props to the mom-and-pop owners. Sitting down with some of Chicago’s most iconic dog stand owners was what made the book special for me. Their stories are Chicago stories through and through; stories that we can all relate to.” 

One such iconic story is that of Fat Tommy’s, 3031 W. 111th St., and owner Dan Coogan. Foley awarded Fat Tommy’s his top rating: four mustard bottles, translating to “Excellent.” According to “No Ketchup,” Coogan aims to make Fat Tommy’s not only a hot dog destination, but a happy place for families to find fun in tandem with “heart and soul.”  

Foley was especially impressed with Coogan’s substitution in his Chicago-style hot dog. Instead of a dill pickle, a fresh slice of cucumber is added to the usual Chicago dog mix. “The condiments are fresh and the dog has plenty of snap,” Foley wrote in the book. “Snap” is among Foley’s highest compliments for a hot dog.  

Coogan humbly stated why Fat Tommy’s is the tops. “The best answer to that question I ever heard was ‘I don’t know if we are the best, but whoever is the best, we make ‘em awfully nervous.’ It’s a great honor and very humbling to be in Dennis’ book. He’s a great guy with good stories and an excellent writer,” Coogan said. “Whave been in business for 29 years and take it one day at a time. It’s always nice to be recognized.” 

Foley spent 50 days researching his book – that’s one hot dog per day. “But I ended up eating far more than that. I ate at many of these dog stands before, but I went back for another go ‘round to my favorite places and then took some tips from some of my trusted foodie friends,” he said.  

The meat of the book is really focused on the personal and oh-so-Chicago stories of the hot dog stand owners, many of whom have been neighborhood staples for decades.  

“Some of these owners overcame a great deal after emigrating to the U.S., some struggled to keep their business going over the years, and some have great stories about how they came to open their business or name their stand,” Foley said. 

Research for the book took Foley all over the city, but some of his favorites are right here in Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood. “I’m a big fan of Fat Tommy’s, Janson’s, and Joey’s Red Hots. A great Western Avenue event would be the Pub and Dog crawl. You can’t go wrong knocking off some good dogs in the area and downing some quality craft beer at places like Open Outcry Brewing and Horse Thief Hollow.” 


Find Dennis Foley’s “No Ketchup” at Bookie’s, 10324 S. Western. Be on the lookout for Foley’s next project with his son, Matt, as they co-write a screenplay, and be sure to check out his film “Not a Stranger, which was filmed in Beverly/Morgan Park in 2015 and received three stars from film critic Richard Roeper, now available on Amazon Prime. 




Alt Walk and Pandemograms: How The Alliance is Transforming Art Appreciation in a Pandemic 

By Kristin Boza 

Everyone is feeling the pinch in this pandemic, but artists, musicians, and service industry workers have seen every avenue to promote their livelihood eliminated in recent months. Festivals are cancelled, music venues and art galleries are closed, and restaurants and bars — the ‘day job’ of many professionals in the arts community — have limited operations or reduced hours.  

The Beverly Area Arts Alliance (The Alliance) is using their creative power to provide artists and musicians with opportunities to showcase their work outside of the now-cancelled Beverly Art Walk and Uprising Market events to ensure they can continue to earn a living.  

“So many things have been cancelled for artists and musicians; it’s been devastating for them to lose opportunities to exhibit and sell work,” said Monica Wilczak, co-creator of The Alliance. “When we first started the Art Walk, it was all about how to use art as a means of economic development in the neighborhood. Many businesses who participated noted that the Art Walk day was often their best sales day of the year. We are proud of that, and are seeking alternative ways to ensure both the arts community and our neighborhood businesses, both of which are struggling, can be supported.” 

The Alliance launched a backyard concert series, selling a very limited number of tickets to ensure they remain at the 50-person cap outlined by the State of Illinois in this stage of pandemic reopening. “We are planning a couple more in September, and we’re thinking through the process of what Art Walk can look like since we can’t have groups of people coming together or have businesses at full capacity,” Wilczak said.  

Hence, the birth of Pandemograms in partnership with the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association. This public art project fosters connection between artists and community members, and activates small business hubs to support the local economy. The Alliance commissions local artists to create displays for select business windows and create sites where artists and community members can creatively bridge separation. Window Walks to see the Pandemograms are encouraged.  

Four Pandemograms installations can already be found, including: 

Dorothy Straughter’s “Homage To Humanity” quilt at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St. (Dorothy creates extraordinary quilts that delve into history; as she says, it’s not just African American history, it’s American History,” said Sal Campbell,  Alliance co-creator); Tim Anderson’s paintings at Two Mile Coffee Bar, 9907 S. Walden Pkwy.TC English-Dumont’s paintings and Robin Power’s ceramics at The Blossom Boys, 1810 W. 103rd St.; and patio murals by Katherine Kampf, Phil Cotton, Matthew Dicks, Brendan McAlinden, Jay Williams, and Jeremy Craig Michael at Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western Ave. 

Numerous other local businesses will have installations in the coming weeks. In place of the Beverly Art Walk, the Alt Walk will be a Pandemograms explosion throughout the neighborhood. “We will put out a map of all locations so people can go on self-guided tours,” Wilczak said. “We also hope to have a dedicated space curated by The Alliance that works with local artists to showcase their work. This would be a space where the community is invited to be interactive and share their feelings about what’s gong on. It will be a safe space to use arts and music to deal with all that we’re dealing with and reflect and respond to it in a creative way.” 

Since the Alt Walk won’t be limited to one day, Campbell said there will be QR codes for the installations so people can learn more, connect with the artist, and purchase the art. “This way, people can access art on their own time; it really opens it up and makes Art Walk a 24/7 event,” Campbell said. “We hope people will set aside an evening when everything will be lit up and they can bike, walk, or scooter around the neighborhood and check it all out. We’re adapting and doing the best we can to support local businesses, artists, and each other.”  

Stay connected to The Alliance, Pandemograms,  and the Alt Walk by following them on Facebook, Instagram @bev_artalliance, and Donate to the Arts for Illinois relief fund through 

September at Beverly Arts Center 


Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., welcomes art and film audiences, and students of all arts media to visit in September.  

Women’s Work, a group exhibit of works by ceramics artists Widad Albassam, Lori Bartman, Malika Jackson, Christine Liz LaRue, Dawn Liddicoatt, Charlotte Mays, Mary Cat Tepper, Tran Tran and Cheryl Williamson, has been extended to Sept. 20. On Fri., Sept. 25, 6 to 8 p.m., Remnants & Remains, an exhibit of works by Elaine Miller, opens and continues through Nov. 8. Both exhibits are in the Simmerlng Gallery; hours are Mon. through Fri., 12 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.  

BACinema will screen “Central Standard,” Fri., Sept. 25, 7 p.m., in the Baffes Theatre. The film compares the education experiences of five Chicago area 8th grade students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. As a lens to consider educational issues facing the nation at large, the drama for this film turns on admission to Chicago Public Schools’ 10 selective-enrollment high schools. Tickets $8, $7 for BAC members.  

BAC is hosting a Film Study Workshop featuring weekly movies and lectures in four themed sessions for ages 18 and up. Screenings will be in the BAC Studio Theater, Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 16. Movies range from “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930) to “Dances With Wolves” (1990) to “The Hurt Locker” (2009). Persons not enrolled in the workshop can drop in to see movies for $10 per film.  

The BAC’s 11-week School of Fine Arts fall session begins Sept. 14. Both in-person and virtual options are available for classes across a variety of visual and performance arts. Visit for a complete list of courses and online registration. 

For information on all programs, exhibits and classes. Call 773-445-3838 or visit 

Musicians Jazz Up Friday Night Porch Concert  

By Kristin Boza 

Dakarai Barclay only moved to Beverly/Morgan Park a few months ago but the young musician already has many local fans.  

Barclay brought his musical talents to BAPA’s Friday Night Live Porch Concert series in July with his equally talented friends, performing together as the Dakarai Barclay Quartet. They were a big hit with the small, socially distant, audience that gathered in the large yard of the Longwood Drive home where they performed, as well as the large audience of neighbors who watched the live streamed concert on Facebook.  

A 2013 graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School and 2017 graduate from Morehouse College as a math major, Barclay’s jazz journey began in high school. He started playing the trumpet with classical instruction, and later joined the jazz ensembles Whitney Young offered.  

“I later participated in the After School Matters affiliate, Gallery 37, during my senior year under the direction of Jarrard Harris, and I continued to play in college,” Barclay said. “Most recently, I performed at the 2019 Chicago Jazz Festival and had an opportunity to play a trumpet previously owned by Miles Davis before it went to auction in October 2019.”  

The Chicago Jazz Festival designates a few spots in its lineup for up-and-coming musicians on the NextGen Stage. Barclay was noticed at the Jazz Fest by someone who was working on the Miles Davis trumpet auction, who asked Barclay to play the famed trumpet for a local press feature and live at a pre-auction dinner for prospective buyers.  

The Miles Davis performance was so fun; as a trumpet player, I’ve always looked up to him as an innovator and as a musician,” Barclay said. “It was fun to step into his shoes for a night. Also, his trumpet was the best trumpet I’ve ever played on, so it was fun to window shop/test out a horn of that caliber.” For both the Jazz Fest and Miles Davis performances, Barclay played with 2014 Morgan Park High School (MPHS) alum and recent Roosevelt University graduate Nick Davis on bass. 

The Dakarai Barclay Quartet that played for the BAPA concert included Nick Davis on bass; MPHS alum and current University of Louisville sophomore, Frank Morrison, on drums; and Elio Wijiya, a DePaul University music student from Indonesia, on piano.  

“The Friday Night Live Porch Concert was the first time this group of friends played together — ever! I love what each member brings to the table and I plan to have a few more outdoor shows with them, either in Morgan Park or elsewhere in the city,” Barclay said. 

BAPA plans to host the quartet at a porch concert in August.  

Stay up to date on Barclay and the Dakarai Barclay Quartet by following him on Instagram @b_rcl_y, along with bandmates Elio Wijaya (@elioadrianow), Frank Morrison (@fmdrums), and Nick Davis (@nick_fmbs). 

Words and Music at Beverly Arts Center 

Experience the art of the story and the beauty of music this month at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  

On Fri., Aug. 7 beginning at 7:30 p.m., people from the LGBTQ community tell their personal stories for OUTspoken Hosted by Chicago comedian Elizabeth Gomez, virtual event features storytellers Nancy Burkholder, Sydni Chiles, Steve English, Kim L. Hunt, Archy Jamjun and Murphy Row. OUTspoken is a Chicago collaborative celebrating the art of storytelling to share authentic stories, with each teller identifying as part of the LGBTQ community or an ally. The group is committed to inclusion, recognizing people’s commonalities while celebrating their differences. Tickets: $15 ($13 for BAC members).  

Music Mondays live concerts in the BAC courtyard continues with a line-up of local favorites: 

Return2Soul performs R&B and soul music, Aug. 3; classic rock duo The Blend plays Aug. 10 and 31; Steve Haberichter and Friends offer an evening of folk and bluegrass Aus. 17; and Caliente Old School plays soulful sounds with a Latin groove Aug. 24.  

The suggested donation for Music Mondays is $5. Bring lawn chairs; masks required for bar service.  

For more information on these and other BAC offerings, visit or call 773-445-3838.  


Bishop Named BAC Artistic Director 

Carly Bishop has been names the new Artistic Director at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC). Bishop started at the BAC in 2012 as teaching artist, and has worked as Director of Summer Arts Camp and the Director of Outreach.  

As Director of Outreach and Interim Director of Education, the BAC’s in-school and community outreach program has expanded into over 40 schools serving more thanr 12,500 children and adults in Chicagoland.  

Ed Laginess, BAC Board President said, “Carly has served the BAC wonderfully for many years. Starting as a teaching artist, her passion and energy to support the arts and each student who steps foot through our doors is remarkable. That drive has helped her promote positive change in the organization and we are thrilled to have her help lead our artistic vision.” 

A professional actor, playwright and director/choreographer, Bishop holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Illinois. She has worked at theatres across the country including the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Grand Ole’ Opry, McCarter Theatre Center at Princeton University, John F. Kennedy Center and the National Theatre.  

Bishop’s original plays have been produced at the Altarena Playhouse in San Francisco, the National Theatre in Washington DC, Raven Theatre in Chicago, and Limelight Theatre in Saint Augustine, Fla. She also worked as the resident choreographer at Moraine Valley Community College.  

‘Real’ American Girls of the Ridge 

 By Carol Flynn 

The Ridge Historical Society (RHS) is wasting no time putting to use the five American Girl dolls recently donated by Beverly/Morgan Park resident Joan O’Connor. Beginning Mar. 1, just in time for Women’s History Month, they will form the nucleus of a new exhibit, “Real American Girls of the Ridge.” 

The award-winning line of 18-inch dolls was started in 1986 by Pleasant Thiele Rowland. The original dolls represent girls about 10 years old from various periods in American historyAccompanied by books that tell stories from the girls’ perspective, the goal was to encourage reading and an interest in history through age-appropriate play. The dolls became enormously popular and Rowland sold the company to Mattel in 1998. 

In the RHS exhibit, the dolls will be paired with “real” American girls, actual women connected to the Ridge from the same time period  

Addy, the African-American U.S. Civil War-era doll, will be paired with Cornelia Reeves. “Mother Reeves,” as she was known, was an ex-slave who moved to the Ridge with her children and their families in the late 1880s. As a young girl in Virginia, her family was separated and sold, and she never knew what happened to her parents and siblings. According to the Chicago Defender newspaper in 1936, Mother Reeves and her descendants were the first African Americans to settle in Morgan Park. They were very active with the Beth Eden Baptist Church. RHS Historian Linda Lamberty is researching this family and looking for descendants who are still in the area. 

Samantha, the doll from the late Victorian/Edwardian era, the early 1900s, will be paired with Margaret Gear Lawrence, whose family moved to the Ridge when she was three years old. Lawrence was involved in many activities and organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Morgan Park Baptist Church,  and served as the RHS presidentHer involvement with the new Girl Scouts organization that began in 1912 will be explored in the exhibitRHS has memorabilia, including her uniform, from her many years as a local Scouts leader. RHS Secretary Carol Macola, very active in scouting, is working on this exhibit. 

Molly, the World War II-era doll, is being paired with a living “real” American girl, RHS President Elaine Spencer. Born in 1932, Spencer grew up on the Ridge during the war years, attending Barnard and Clissold Schooland later Morgan Park High School. She has many stories to share, including listening to the radio with her parents and brothers in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the country about the bombing of Pearl Harbor right as the Christmas season was beginning.  

Said Spencer, who now lives in Smith Village retirement community, “I don’t remember feeling afraid, but the adults seemed worried. We were hearing reports about the war in Germany, and it was terrible because most of our grandparents came from Europe. Because of Pearl Harbor, it appeared inevitable that America would have no choice but to get involved in the war. 

The exhibit will also feature information on Pleasant Thiele Rowland who lived in West Beverly as a youngster from 1947 to 1951. For at least four decades, her paternal grandparents, Edward and Maude Thiele, lived in Beverly/Morgan ParkRowland used to go antique hunting with her grandmother and credited this for her interest in history. 

The grand opening reception for “Real American Girls of the Ridge,” free and open to the public, will be Sun., Mar. 1, 2 to 5 p.m., at RHS, 10621 S. Seeley Ave. Info: 773/881-1675 or ridgehistory@hotmail.comFollow RHS on Facebook.  

March Arts & Entertainment

American Girls of the Ridge: Sun., Mar. 1, 2-5 p.m.  An opening reception for an exhibit of original American Girl dolls and accessories, and stories about three women from the Ridge whose lives paralleled the fictional stories of Addy and Samantha, Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave. Free.  773-881-1675 or 

BACinema. “Dark Lies the Island,” Weds., Mar. 4, 7:30 p.m. Based on short stories by Kevin Barry, the film painstakingly showcases the realities of life in small-town Ireland with dark humor and beauty; not rated. “Extra Ordinary,” Weds., Mar. 18, 7:30 p.m. An exciting and quirky new release from Ireland, this horror comedy follows a rural driving instructor with supernatural powers who just wants to lead a normal life; rated R. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $6/$5 BAC members. or 773-445-3838.  

An Evening of Irish Music with Liz Carroll and Special GuestsFri., Mar. 6, 8 p.m. Just in time for St. Pat’s, world-renowned fiddler Liz Carroll performs with Maeve Gilchrist, Nic Gareiss and Open the Door for Threeplaying tunes that will transport you to the grassy fields and blue skies of Ireland. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $28/ $25 BAC members. or 773-445-3838. 

5th Annual South Side Irish Parade Film FestSat., Mar. 7. Family Matinee, 3 p.m., “The Secret of the Kells,” a young boy is beckoned to adventure when a master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers; $6/ $5 BAC members. Feature, 7 p.m., “Odd Man Out,” stars James Mason as a wounded Irish nationalist leader who attempts to evade police following a failed robbery in Belfast. The short film, “The Space Between Us,” will be screened before the feature. A reception precedes the screening at 6 p.m., and a post screening party featuring A Week Back follows. Tickets $18/ $16 BAC members (includes after-party)Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. or 773-445-3838. 

Féile Music Fest, Sat., Mar. 7, 2 p.m. – 3 a.m., and Sun., Mar. 8, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Celebrate Irish culture and heritage with music, dance, food and drink, and Beverly/Morgan Park’s tradition. Barney Callaghan’s Pub, 10618 S. Western. or773-233-6829. 

BAC Star Productions: Theatre students perform in Romeo & Juliet.” Thurs., Mar. 12, Fri., Mar. 13and Sat., Mar. 14, 7 p.m., and “The Wizard of Oz,” Fri., Mar. 20, 7 p.m., Sat., Mar. 21, 12 and 6 p.m., and Sun., Mar. 22, 3 p.m.  Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $12/ $10 BAC members. or 773-445-3838. 

Women’s Work” exhibit opening, Fri., Mar. 13, 6to 8 p.m., featuring pieces from nine female artists; exhibit continues through Apr. 26. Beverly Arts Center,  Simmerling Gallery, 2407 W. 111th St. Free. or 773-445-3838. 

The New Deal, Sat., Mar. 14, 7 p.m. The Concerts at the Castle series hosts a Gypsy jazz concert, Givins Beverly Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. Proceeds fund restoration of the historic Castle. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Wine, cheese and r refreshments available at intermission.  $27.50 suggested donation. or 773-466-9339. 

Open Mic Night, Thurs., Mar. 19, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Givins Beverly Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. The acoustic open mic is every third Thursday of the month; sign up to perform music, poetry, stand up, storytelling and more. Free. 773-466-9339. 

Heartache Tonight, Sat., Mar. 28, 8 p.m. A tribute experience for Eagles fans featuring the timeless classic songs from all eras and incarnations of the American rock powerhouse. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $30/ $27 BAC members or 773-445-3838.