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Special Issue | September 22, 2006

THIS HAS HAPPENED to every Chicagoan who’s ever left town: you tell someone where you’re from and they bring up the pizza. Or the winter. Or Al Capone—still with the Al Capone! Come on, you want to say, Chicago’s so much more than that. Sure it’s the Sox and the Sears Tower, but it’s also rattlesnake hot dogs and Del Close’s skull. It’s the Mayors Daley and the Jesses Jackson and, hello, future president Barack Obama. It’s Algren and Addams and Alinsky—and Steve Albini and Grant Achatz, and maybe the only place those two would ever end up in a sentence together. And in addition to being ground zero for experimental American cuisine and home to the most active independent music scene in the country, it’s a world-famous incubator of comedic talent and fertile ground for emerging artists of all kinks and persuasions. There’s so much to do and see and learn that list making can’t do it justice.

But journalists have a saying: “Show, don’t tell.” And if an out-of-towner drops by someday, you’ve got an easy way to show them what Chicago is all about: it’s called the Reader.

Founded in 1971 by handful of college friends who believed the best way to sell a newspaper was to give it away for free, the Reader is today a model for alternative papers across the country—and one of the few big-city weeklies that’s still locally owned, locally published, and locally focused. Our comprehensive, user-friendly listings (in print and online) reach far and wide to tell you what’s going on every week, and our nationally and internationally respected critics help guide you through the mindboggling array of choices.

But while we love all the good stuff the city has to offer, we’re not afraid to cry foul when something’s gone awry. Our writers uncover how the city really works and how its citizens really live, breaking ground on big issues from police torture to TIFs (if you don’t know what they are yet, you’re going to be really surprised by next year’s rent increase) and covering real people with the zeal usually reserved for celebrities.

This issue is our user’s guide to the city we know and love. Enjoy.


Photo: Carlos J. Ortiz | Skyline collage: Damon Locks

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