Festival of Books
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Ray Schalk
Nelson Algren's legacy ebbs
Nelson Algren's legacy ebbs

The Steppenwolf Theatre feels like a womb. It's warm, dark, soporific, full of voices barely loud enough to be distinguished, a setting beyond time. Outside, the streets of Old Town are laced with spring afternoon snowflakes; on the South Side, at U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park), opening day has been postponed. The fact that Comiskey is no longer called Comiskey is a sign of how Chicago has changed, and not for the better. But then, the old Comiskey had a date with the wrecking ball almost two decades ago. The new park -- bland, lifeless, another corporate sellout -- is the kind of ersatz place marketers and con men try to pass off as authentic in a world that no longer...