Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, July 22

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Assault Reported

As previously reported here, a woman was sexually assaulted on Racine near Armitage on Sunday night. The Tribune reported the assault today, after police issued a notice to area residents. Police do say that the victim reported that her assailant "sounded Caucasian," which led police to not link this attacker with a previously reported rapist still at large. Take care when walking alone, however, no matter what neighborhood you live in.

Seeing Double

The current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography features the work of acclaimed photojournalist, Mary Ellen Mark. On view are photos taken from her series "Twins" and "Falkland Road." Also included in the exhibition is "Ditto," work by 14 photographers focused on duplication and repetition. The show will be up until October 5.

Listen, no looking

Speaking of Hello Beautiful, host Edward Lifson writes in about a recent post on the Block with some audio links about Chicago photographer Patty Caroll's posters (listen here) and about Chicago Modern 1893-1945 (listen here).

everybody scream for the 303

Acid house enthusiasts (the music, not the drug or the book) should get down to Smartbar tonight where the lineup is all acid house, all night long. DJ Pierre, the man who discovered that tweaking the bass of the TB-303 drum machine produces the unique squelchy sound that came to be known as acid, is headlining. Adonis, Mike Dearborn, and Tim Baker are also on the lineup. 3730 N. Clark, 21+, 10 p.m., $10.


Friend of GB, photographer Melissa Weimer was recently featured on Chicago Public Radio's 848. The feature focuses on her current project, Lake.Sky.Vans described as "three sympathetic elements of the Chicago aesthetic.” It's a great little feature as Weimer and host Steve Edwards chat humorously whilst on Western Avenue as vans pass them by. Listen in directly here (Real player or Real Alternative required). But if you're into the real thing, radio that is, you can listen to a re-broadcast of her feature on Sunday's "Hello Beautiful" show at 10am.

Four Stars of a Different Sort

The city's top three hotels -- the Four Seasons, the Peninsula and the Ritz Carlton, according to Zagat -- are assessed in North Shore Magazine. Verdict? Read for yourself.

The Old Navy Preaching Guy

In the rankings of Chicago's popular eccentrics, this guy holds a spot surpassed only by The Walking Dude and a few others. You've all seen him on his pulpit -- the southeast corner of where State meets Washington, outside Old Navy -- preaching to passersby through his portable speaker system on the word of God. In today's Trib, as part of their excellent, week-long feature on The Loop, they've got an interesting profile of Preaching Guy, though you can call him Samuel Chambers.

Negro League Cafe

Both the Trib and the Sun-Times have stories today on the Negro League Cafe, 301 E. 43rd St. in Bronzeville. The restaurant serves soul food as well as Latin and Caribbean cuisine (menu here), and is selling Negro and Latin League merchandise.

Illinois death penalty doc on NBC tonight

Deadline, the documentary that examines Illinois Governor George Ryan's decision to grant blanket clemency to all Death Row inmates in Illinois, airs tonight on "Dateline NBC" at 7:00. The film's Website has a list of follow-up programs that will run on MSNBC and NBC, discussing the issues behind the film and offering viewers to respond to the movie.

Batman Begins again

The Sun-Times reports that filming on the next Batman film ("which is tentatively titled The Intimidation Game but will be known as Batman Begins when it hits theaters") continues in Chicago. The film-makers apparently love Lower Wacker Drive so much that they rewrote the script to have more screen time devoted to Batman traversing its twisty depths (something that John Landis did 24 years ago). Chicago will be featured prominently in several other upcoming films, including Ocean's 12, a remake of The Amityville Horror (I'm scared already), and the next Harold Ramis movie, Ice Harvest.

Xanadu in the Windy City

One of the most technically innovative and influential films ever, Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane is in town for the next week, to the Music Box’s Weekend Matinee Series (Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1, at 11:30 am) as well as 600 N. Michigan’s Loews Classic Film Series (Thurdsay, August 5, at 7:00 pm). See what all the fuss is about the way it was meant to be seen: with movie theater popcorn.

Get Your Museum On

Looking for something cultural this weekend? Chicago's stunning array of museums currently feature amazing exhibits. Try the MCA's Skin Tight: The Exploration of Fashion and Flesh or Dan Peterman: Plastic Economies. And if you're not willing to brave the crowds at the Art Institute's Seurat exhibit, try Dark and Deadly: Photographs and Digital Movie Posters by Patty Carroll. Catch Terra Museum's last exhibit, Chicago Modern, 1893–1945. Check the Reader's galleries and museums listings for more.

Can't go to Vermont? See the Movie

Just as we reported a few months ago, Phish aired its first show of the current tour (at Coney Island last month) at many Regal Cinemas. Due to the positive response and high demand, the band decided to air its final two shows at the theatres as well. Tickets went on sale today, and the Regal up in Lincolnshire is the choice again. Both shows cost $20, with admission beginning at 4:30pm CST. Be a part of history, click on over to pick up your tickets.

Sock Monkey Makes Homewtown Proud!

As reported here earlier, Rockford's 7-foot-tall sock monkey named Nelson has been hitting the Big Apple. Christina Magee held up Nelson today during an interview on the Today Show with weatherman Tony Perkins. And just to prove that blogging has gone mainstream, that monkey has his own online diary.

Dinner and a show

Centerstage has a neat "dinner and a play" feature up pairing current shows to see with worthwhile restaurants near the theatres. (One of them is, ahem, my current show.) The Latino Theater Festival and the Artistic Home's "Street Scene" both ended last week, but all of the other shows listed can still be seen, and of course the resturant reviews stand.

Jack Ryan out of the race

It's official: Jack Ryan is out of the Senate race. It only took him 5 weeks to file the papers to have his name removed from the ballot. This means that the Republican Party can now move forward with their plans for a replacement candidate, who will be officially announced on Tuesday. Current front runners: Jim Oberweis and John Borling, who were initial primary contenders; Cook County Commissioner Liz Dooty Gorman; and possibly agri-business reporter Orion Samuelson, who appaprently has significant name recognition downstate.


Do we have horror movie fans in the house? Then you'll definitely want to check out Flashback Weekend (aka Horro'Rama Drive-In and Convention), which happens this weekend at the Holiday Inn O'Hare in Rosemont. Loads of horror movie celebrities of varying degrees of fame, plenty of memorabilia dealers and activities, and my favorite part: an actual drive-in screen (or "walk-in," as it won't be in a parking lot) set up outside the hotel, which will be showing buckets of horror movies late into the evenings. The convention starts Friday night, and runs through Sunday night; check the Website for a full schedule and complete information.

Eric Schlosser talks at the GCM

Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, is giving a free talk at the Green City Market next Wednesday, August 4. 9:30 a.m., 1750 N. Clark. Check it out, and then shop for some of the season's best organic and sustainable produce.

Farnsworth House in Pictures

Jason at 37 Signals recently visited the Farnsworth House (not to be confused with this other historic Farnsworth House), and posted some great photos over at Signal Vs. Noise.

Chicago '68

Seeing as how it's Democratic Convention time, I thought it'd be good to look back at the infamous 1968 convention, held right here in Chicago. This site has a good, quick overview of the events of that fateful week, as well as a good list of links. Paul Sequiera took photos of the riots, and of course the CPL has a whole presentation for you -- in their "disasters" section.

Third Ring

The Saturnine Detractor debuts its third issue today, featuring coverage of Civil War reenactments, pulp fiction reviews and Robert Downey, Jr.'s theory of a tripartite god. It's enough to keep you up nights.

Wanted Black Panther as Toronto Librarian

According to Canada's Globe and Mail: "Mr. Pannell, police in Chicago say, is a former member of the Black Panther Party wanted for attempted murder in the shooting of a police officer four times at point-blank range in 1969 at the height of the radical group's notoriety."

O'Hare flight numbers to be cut

As previously mentioned, O'Hare has been processing record numbers of flights and passengers in recent years. Unfortunately, they've also been having record numbers of delayed flights (14,500 delayed flights in the month of May alone!), and obviously those delayed flights can cause further delays in other airports. So the FAA wants O'Hare to reduce its number of flights, and will come up with some flight reduction numbers by Monday. Does this mean that O'Hare will lose the World's Busiest Airport title to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International? We shall see.

Near-North Sexual Assault

Today I heard about a sexual assault that occurred around midnight on Sunday night on Racine near Armitage. To verify the story, I called the 18th District police headquarters, who then passed me on to the neighborhood CAPS office. I spoke with an Officer Wong there, who verified the story. The woman was allegedly dragged into an alley off Racine and assaulted by a man with a knife. There has been no community alert issued, however, since, according to the officer I spoke with, this was a single occurrence, and no description of the attacker is available from the victim. I encourage everyone to be aware of the dangers of walking alone at night, to keep in touch with your neighborhood Police Department, and to even take a self-defense class, like this one at Chimera or this one at Impact, or any that comply with these guidelines.

Nytimes on touring Chicago

NY Times piece on places to go in Chicago. What's interesting to me is that they recommend places to tourists that wouldn't have been on the map five years ago: Wicker Park, Uptown, Ukrainian Village, Garfield Park. Best part: no mention of Sears Tower or Al Capone. We're moving up!

Maxwell Street Bust

A favorite destination of many, the Maxwell Street Market is Chicago's oldest outdoor market. While the City of Chicago website touts it as a "family affair", where bargaining is the universal language, it seems the city contractor in charge of running the market has found himself in a bit of trouble. Citing mismanagement and alleged drug use, the contractor and an employee have been suspended. It appears the city may have a disgruntled employee to blame for the allegations, which leads to a suspicious vibe to the whole story.

Tall Buildings

MoMA has launched a new exhibition site called Tall Buildings. It's not quite what you'd expect — the Sears Tower and Hancock have no mention, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia is absent. Rather, the site explores buildings from across the world but more importantly, buildings that have yet to been built or were proposed but not built. From a set of criteria, weighing in at number one out of 25 buildings in the exhibition, is the Chicago building that wasn't, at 7 S. Dearborn (more info here) which would have been the world's tallest building.

2004 Election Guide

The NY Times has published an interactive graphic of their 2004 Election Guide (using Flash). It breaks down the country by state and by electoral votes primarily then further sections off states by things such as The Swing States, or The Nader Factor (scary). I am pleased to see that Illinois is one of a small number of states that are Strongly Democratic. The Election Guide will be online and updated all the way till election time. Excellent.

Bartenders Throw Down!

Tomorrow night, at Vision Nightclub, 630 N. Dearborn, teams from 26 of the city's bars and nightclubs will compete in the most difficult event of their lives: Chicago Bar Wars 2004. They will compete in five events: Bouncer boxing, jello wrestling, sumo wrestling, flair bartending (think Cocktail) and the Hottest Bartender Pageant. And you can watch it all for just $20! Tickets are available here or at the door. May the best bar win!

Obama and Political Blogs

Miss the Obama speech the whole world is raving about? You can check it out on his blog. It also has a link to the video of his speech and the text too. (I'm still waiting for the political blog with pictures of someone's cat. Who reads these when they are so sanitized?)

Green Line Station Additions?

Craig of Fueled By Coffee has posted a "Diagrammatic Suggestion for Green Line Station Addition". In layman's terms, a rather cool suggestion (and image) of additional stations that would make sense on the Green Line. That's putting it too simply but read his thoughts on why these stations would make sense on existing infrastructure.


Wonder where to buy orchids in Chicago (not including the isles of your favorite megastore)? You can swing by Hausermann's Orchids, Oak Hill Gardens, Klehm Growers, EFG Orchids, Fox Valley Orchids, and Natt's Orchids all on the web, or in person. Or you can plan your orchid attack by using the Chicagoland Orchid Growers Association map. There are eight orchid growers in the area, all waiting for you to visit and ask them about this simply elegant (and not that hard to grow) plant.

Smile, It's a Red Light

In case you've ever wondered just where those fancy red light cameras are at intersections around town, now you can track them down on the web. Photo Enforced lets you look for intersections across the country that have installed cameras that photograph and then ticket drivers (by mail) heading through red lights. Chicago has quite a few listed, and the database is growing. You can also join a discussion about red light cameras, or compare ticket prices for other big cities. Chicago's ticket prices are similar to New York City's, but less than a third of what you'll pay in San Diego.

Loop Trivia

The Tribune asks: how well do you know the Loop? Take their quiz, then browse the comments from readers about the places they miss and what they love/hate about downtown. It's part of this week's ongoing special report on the Loop; yesterday was history, today is "curiosities" -- check back each day through Friday for another facet of the city's center.

S. Clark Street closing for construction

A section of Clark Street, from Polk to 15th Street, will be closed for construction starting next week, and remain closed at least through June 2005. The main plan is to lower the road, so it passes underneath Roosevelt Road, and to widen the street to allow more traffic. One of the reasons that this project is under way: a new Target store is opening on the intersection's northwest corner in October. So... perhaps they should have started already?

Millionaires maybe, but billionaires? No.

Everyone knows that Chicago is a town for Democrats, but would you believe that Iowa has a Billionaires for Bush chapter and Illinois doesn't? This aggression will not stand!

Would You Like to Fly... my beautiful, my beautiful, buh-llooooon!? Well, you can. There are two balloonports within an hour's drive of Chicago: Windy City BalloonPort in Fox River Grove and Sky Ride Balloons in Plainfield. With tickets starting at $175, it's not a cheap date, but well worth the memories.

Big Chicks Bar Saved

In the end of a saga that has been followed by Gapers Block over the past few months, Big Chicks bar at 5024 N. Sheridan Rd. has been saved from closure thanks to a bill recently signed by the Guv which will allow any bars in big cities, located near houses of worship, to remain open as long as neighbors haven't complained. Read the rest in the Trib.

Lower Wacker Drive Gets Batty

A film crew shooting scenes for the new Batman movie arrived yesterday, and shooting begins this weekend on Lower Wacker Drive. An office worker in the West Loop passed this email on to, detailing when to catch the filming -- be prepared to stay up late or get up early. Really early.

Get the net!

The inspection for falling chunks of concrete at Wrigley Field continues this week, and with a home game scheduled on Friday, the Cubs don't want to take any chances. So they've ordered a safety net to protect fans from falling debris from the upper deck. Meanwhile, Alderman Bernie Stone has a solution for the falling debris problem: close Wrigley Field.

Obama in the spotlight

Barack Obama gets another glowing profile, this one in the New York Times, on the eve of his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. Sadly, the keynote speech is one of many convention highlights the networks have elected not to cover, so you'll have to turn to PBS or cable tomorrow night to see how Obama fares on the national stage.

The Collective Unconsciousness Project

Speaking of sending your dreams out there, frequent visitor and once-and-future resident of Chicago, Simon King produced TCUP: The Collective Unconsciousness Project a while ago. It's got a click interface and is wonderful to explore. It's pretty simple: "1) Create a Dreamer account. 2) Log a dream. 3) Explore the collective." It's nifty to see how your dream relates to the dreams of others and who else shares similar dream thematics.

Forbidden Love: Scandal!

Australia is abuzz about Norma Khouri's best-selling book, Forbidden Love, and not in a good way. The tale of an "honor killing" in Jordan when a muslim father finds his daughter has fallen in love with a Christian was revealed to be a fraud and pulled from shelves; it seems Khouri lived in Chicago in the 1990s, not in Jordan as she claimed. Her ex-roommate tells the Sydney Morning Herald, "Norma left Chicago on the Labor Day weekend in [August] 1999. I had been her best friend for five years. We were inseparable."

Unconventional coverage

West Chicago-based Kirk Johnson of American Amnesia is one of the few dozen bloggers covering the Democratic Convention this week. He tells The Wall Street Journal that his coverage will be different from that of the 13,000 traditional journalists: "News viewers have to cut through a lot of lard before getting to the guts of an issue, which gets old pretty fast." He's accepting contributions to help pay the way.

Smells like an art project

Found this one on CL this morning: the Dream Machine. Call 773.486.9035 and leave a recording of a dream you had last night; if you leave a phone number, they'll call you back with someone else's dream.

Tip: Today's Tempo

Today's Tempo (in the Trib) has a lot of neat features about the Loop. Shops we miss, 10 worst calamities (which should include the smell in the tunnel btwn the Blue and Red lines) - decent stuff. The print version has building advertisements for places that are long gone; that alone makes it worth the 50 cents.

Sock Monkey, That Funky Monkey!

Those wonderfully, freaky creations made from red-toed socks can be found anywhere, but did you know they originated in Rockford, Illinois? Probably not, which is why Joan Sage wants to get some publicity for the second largest city in Illinois. She's taking her seven-foot-tall sock monkey to New York to try and get on the David Letterman show (who she's been hounding for months), Good Morning America, the Today show, and Central Park. To cinch her chances of getting on Letterman, she'll be visiting Rupert at Hello Deli to give him a sock monkey as well. The odd thing is that she's using her own money to get to New York for four days. If you have a sock monkey story you want to share with Rockford's museum you can email it to Sage.

Get Your Kicks

Alan Jacobson, who wrote a feature on local musicians for us awhile back, has set up a mini webzine of sorts called Modern Kicks. Check it out.

Sushi-eating contest anyone?

My love for Japenese and sushi is unbridled. As I've stated many times before, I could eat Japanese for the rest of my life. Thus, a sushi-eating contest is right up my alley. The launch party for the Flying Fish Lounge at Ra Sushi kicks off with such a contest, in promotion of this weekly service industry event that features warm sake for $1, their signature Tootsie rolls for $3.75 (8 pieces) and more specials. Oh, and the top three winners for the sushi-eating contest take home $50-$100, though really all I care about is the free sushi.

Help the Coudal

Our friends at Coudal need a little help: "We need a bit o’ help at the CP/Jewelboxing World Headquarters in Chicago for the balance of the summer and into the fall. Call it a paid internship. We need a smart, talented, motivated person to help us with administration and distribution for Jewelboxing and to do occasional work on other Coudal Partners stuff too. You’ll have to do a bit of lifting and packing, etc. for Jewelboxing. It would be a nice part-time gig (3 days a week or so) for someone in school, and it may or may not lead to other things. Writing skills would be a plus, so show them off by emailing Michele Seiler (go to the site for e-mail address) if you’re interested."

Naked Pranksters Take On Mac and Cheese

A great story about a very naked and (we assume anyway) raw protest against GMO food on the lakefront. Would you too rather run naked than eat biotech? If so, you should go to the Masks and Thongs party tonight to benefit T.H.O.N.G. Chicago. No, not Trixies Hunt Out New Guys. Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics. (Ps to the One True Trixie: come back! We miss you! )

Finger food

From gyros to Italian Beef and from hot dogs to banh mi, our city's contributions to sandwichdom are legendary. Monica Eng added to the canon last year when she introduced readers to the jibarito, a Puerto Rican sandwich invented at Humboldt Park's Borinquen that stuffs meat and other fillings between two twice-fried flattened plantains. A recent visit by this chowhound confirms her findings: Fried plantains are the best thing since sliced bread.

Jays victorious!

Following up on this week's Lay's vs. Jays controversy, the Sun-Times reports that a federal judge ordered Frito-Lay to remove a billboard that claimed that Chicagoans preferred the taste of Lay's over Jays, and told the company to stop using this claim in their advertising. Frito-Lay conducted taste tests late last year at malls in Joliet, Niles and Elgin, in which 55% voted for Lay's chips.

Joie De Vine

Is Joie de Vine, the new Andersonville wine bar, really as good as Daily Candy Chicago suggests? A taste test during the storms last night confirmed that indeed, Joie de Vine rocks. Pleasant music, fabulous decor, nice outdoor seating (when it isn't raining that is) and lots and lots and lots of luscious wines to choose from. Try the Cooper's Creek Sauv Blanc and call it an evening. (Tip: Dig the martini list too if you're not feeling grapey.)

RS100 @ CPL

John at Seaworthy Southeast Thesaurus was curious how many of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Ever Made" were available at the Chicago Public Library. So he cross-referenced the top 100 with the CPL's holdings, and came up with some surprising (in a good way) results.

John Dillinger died for you

Today's the 70th anniversary of John Dillinger being shot in front of Chicago's Biograph theater, and if you feel like celebrating the death of 1934's Public Enemy #1, then you'll want to head on over to the Red Lion Pub at 2446 N. Lincoln (across the street from the Biograph), for tonight's celebration of Dillinger Day. They'll be screening movies and newsreels on Dillinger at 8:00, Michael Flores of the Psychotronic Film Society will give a talk on Dillinger, and then at 10:00 a procession of bagpipes will retrace Dillinger's final steps from the Biograph to the nearby alley where he died.

DIY Trunk Show II: Electric Craftaloo

Back, bigger and better than last year, Cinnamon Cooper and Amy Carlton are doing the DIY Trunk Show for the second year. With a new site (by yours truly), they're making an open call to artisans, craftmakers, musicians, anyone with anything home and handmade to showcase, sell and present to the public. The show will again be at the Pulaski Park Auditorium, recently used for the WLUW Record Fair, and will have three large spaces, almost triple the size of last year's Trunk Show. Despite the grander venture, cost for a table still remain cheap and completely affordable. For more details, take a look at the site or if you're interested in joining, please step right up.

Independent Bookstores in Illinois, the online portal to "alternatives in print & media," has an index to indie bookshops across the country. Check out their list of Illinois bookstores, most of which are located in and around Chicago. Although not comprehensive, you will find some old favorites here and maybe a few stores you didn't know about.

Wicker Park Music

Pitchfork has the soundtrack listing for the new movie "Wicker Park," and there's not a single Wicker Park band on it. Although you're likely to hear The Shins, Deathcab for Cutie, Postal Service or Mogwai blasting out of just about any apartment, coffeeshop or bar in the neighborhood, it would've been nice of them to throw a local act in there somewhere. (Thanks, Craig)

Honey Harvest at Garfield Park

Love honey? If so, check out the Honey Harvest at Garfield Park Conservatory this Saturday, where you can learn about honey while helping to harvest it. Fresh honey from one of the conservatory's eight productive hives will be available for purchase. July 24, 10-4, $3 entrance fee, 300 N. Central Park.

"Interactive" Showgirls

If by interactive, you mean throwing a fake wad of cash at a screen while people are stripping on a giant screen, then I'm there. Or you can 'dress up' as your favorite character and win prizes. The cult and campy favorite, Showgirls will be playing at one of the city's finest independent film venues, the Landmark Century for one night only, Tuesday July 27. The one-time screening is to celebrate the release of the DVD 'VIP Edition' (comes with such highlights as "Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl" game with pasties and blindfold, Showgirls party games and a lap-dance tutorial featuring the world-famous girls of Scores) and tickets are free — download them at

Metropolis Coffee Co.

The site's not much, but the actual place is excellent. Metropolis Coffee Co. at Granville and Kenmore is the kind of independent father-and-son owned coffee house that a diverse neighbourhood like Edgewater deserves. Heck, any neighbourhood really, instead of a Starbucks. If you sign up for their mailing list, in person or send an e-mail to, you'll get e-mail reminders about what's going on that week. Usually, there's a live jazz night, a movie night and the good 'ol open mic/poetry slam. Recent films include Dogtown and Z-Boyz and Kurosawa's Dreams. Oh, they're also from Seattle, so they know good coffee.

Bored in the Armitage/Kedzie corridor?

Michael Hogan writes in: " neighbors have a really good jazz place called 3030, located in an old church on the border of L. Square and Humboldt Park. Every Thurs. and Fri., they usually have something that probably just wouldn't fit in at any other venue. It's not always jazz, hell, it's not always music, but for a anyone living in the attention-starved Armitage/Kedzie Corridor, it's definitely something to check out. Their web address is:, they're located at 3030 W. Armitage." That's tomorrow and Friday folks.

Dun at Danny's

Danny's Reading Series is mixing it up a bit tonight with a "Comedy/Monologue Night" instead of the standard poetry and short stories. Come see the improv stylings of Bare (Fuzzy Gerdes and Shaun Himmerick), the confusing words of Mike Olson and the bizarre characters of Liz Poirier. Fun! Excitement! Air conditioning! Starting at 7:30pm sharp. It's free, but you have to be 21 to get in. (Thanks, Jessa.)

Art of Cupcakes

Ever wonder how they make those delicious cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B's? The head baker gives a sneak peak at the process she goes through each day to craft upwards of 1,000 mini cakes for all the sweet tooths in Chicago. At the end of the article, you'll find a shortened recipe to create your own version of the "Happy Snack". Check out Metromix for a roundup of more lovely bakeries around town.

The Skinny

One of our regular stops on the design bookmark list, Veer's The Skinny is a nice warm place. We'd like to thank them for the props. They're doing forward thinking stuff with the whole stock files thing, and a good example to show you would be Lightboxing where the inaugural match featured none other than The Big C, Jim Coudal in a heated battle with Don't Mess with Vit, Armin Vit of Speak Up, dubbed no less, "The Thrillois in Illinois."

Soldier Field no longer a landmark?

The National Park Service issued a report yesterday that recommended that Soldier Field should lose its National Historic Landmark status, because the recent renovations to the statium has destroyed its historic character. The recommendation doesn't take effect right away; the status will be voted upon by the Advisory Board Landmarks Committee in September, which will then send its recommendation to the full board, which will forward its recommendation to the US Secretary of the Interior, etc., etc., etc. In short, this issue will drag out for several months, which should give Bears fans one more thing to worry about this fall.

On your marks

Runners considering October's Chicago Marathon but who haven't registered yet should do so soon: The field of 40,000 is expected to fill in just a few weeks.

Live theater at the Biograph?

One of Chicago's most famous landmarks, the Biograph Theatre, is going to be purchased by Victory Gardens Theatre and converted to a live theater complex, according to the Tribune. The interior of the building will be renovated and turned into a 299-seat mainstage that would serve as the primary production home for Victory Gardens. Hey, at least it's not getting turned into condos, right?

Friends of Fran Benefit

On June 19, Francesca Opre, one of the bartenders at Delilah's, was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Western Ave. Tomorrow night, the "Friends of Fran" stage a benefit show at the Double Door, featuring Beer Nuts, The Peelers, Dummy, Vortis and The 8th Grade. Doors open at 8pm, show at 9pm. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will go to the Fran Opre Memorial Fund. You can also help by downloading a flyer (in English or Spanish) looking for information about the accident.

Cubs fans, watch out for falling concrete!

The Sun-Times reports that concrete appears to be falling from Wrigley Field's upper decks. There have been two incidents in the last 5 weeks, so the Cubs have hired a structural engineer to perform a top-to-bottom inspection of the ballpark. Inspections are usually done annually for off-season maintenance, but the piece of the upper deck that fell on Friday (and was displayed on the news this weekend) spurred the Cubs into taking action.

My Movies Are Better Than Yours

Odd Obsession is a new, soon-to-open video store/gallery "by cinephiles for cinephiles," specializing in hard-to-find films for rent -- similar to Facets, but perhaps a little more obscure. They're currently asking for recommendations of what to stock, as well as soliciting artists interested in showing works in the store. Contact info's on the site. (Thanks, Kelly.)

Street Art for the Soul

Chicago has some fine, fine graffiti adorning its walls and in spaces and places you can't reach. The Artistic Bombing Crew (ABC) is an old school crew with some nice stuff. HipHopCity has some Chicago graf. An oldie but goodie: Jes's gallery. Nice to see that DePaul is teaching the finer points of a tag (take a look at the student projects) and head on over to the Graffiti Shop for all your supplies. Not that I'm like condoning it or anything.

Free Bike Valet

If you were planning to bike down to the Chicago Outdoor Film Fest tonight to see "The Birds", you don't have to worry about finding a safe place to park your bike. Bank One is offering free, secure bike valet parking, at the NW corner of Lake Shore Drive and Monroe, every night of the film fest. Safety checks and basic repairs will be provided on-site by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

Jays vs. Lay's

Local potato chip manufacturer Jays is feeling the heat of a Chicago ad campaign by Frito-Lay that claims Chicago prefers the taste of Lay's over Jays. Jays filed a federal lawsuit yesterday, claiming the advertising is false and misleading, and asked to see Frito-Lay's research backing the claim. (Frito-Lay isn't revealing its sources, of course.)

The Peregrines of Uptown

Did you know that for the past four years a family of peregrine falcons has made the Uptown Theatre their home? Check out these great photo galleries of the falcons, taken by local photographer Kanae Hirabayashi.

Chicago's largest bowling alley closing

Chicago's largest bowling alley, Marzano's Miami Bowl, is closing due to slow business. The 80-lane bowling complex has been open for 49 years, but the current manager, Dan Marzano, says the business had been in a decline since 9/11. GB readers may recall that earlier this year, the Marigold Bowl also closed up after 60-plus years of service to the Wrigleyville area. It's a bad time to be in the bowling business, apparently. (Thanks to Big Happy Funhouse for the tip.)

Millennium Park burnout, anyone?

Are you sick of hearing about Millennium Park yet? I know, me too! Seriously, it's terrific that it's there and it's open, nothing but civic pride here, but can we stop talking about it now? Until we can all agree on that, you might as well take a look at the New York Times' take, which includes a nice slideshow with quotes from the designers.

Hema's Kitchen II: Electric Vindaloo

Good news for fans of the popular Indian restaurant Hema's Kitchen who are put off by the huge wait times to get into the place; Hema has recently opened up a second location in Lincoln Park (2411 N. Clark, near Clark & Fullerton) with the same menu. We went for dinner this weekend, and found the food as great as the original location, and the serving times to be markedly better. Hema's Kitchen II has only been open a couple of weeks, so its existence is not well-known around town yet; you'd better go now before people suddenly wake up and realize the best Indian food in Chicago (according to WTTW's "Check, Please!") is now available at two locations.

Skin Tight and Peterman at the MCA

The current exhibits on the 2nd floor of the MCA are some of the more compelling that I've seen in awhile. While the two exhibits (Skin Tight and Peterman) deal with apparently very different materials and subjects, I found the theme that united them - fear - to be very powerful.
The exhibitions couldn't be more different in how they are staged or in the materials used. Skin Tight, a show that examines the relationship of the body as art as well as asking how much our everday clothing should be considered art, offers a haunting experience for the visitor. The first piece, a series of clothes made from tough, drab fabric, are drapped on humanoid shapes and hanging from the ceiling. This eerie effect is accented by the other pieces - the cloven-foot shoes or the body-as-canvas video series. Peterman's exhibit was quite a contrast to Skin Tight. Whereas Skin Tight looked carefully at how the body and art interact, Dan Peterman examines the traces humans leave behind in their environment as the starting point for his pieces. What was so refreshing about this exhibit was its affront to the senses: instead of pieces that one looks at and then moves on, this is art that you can touch, smell, and hear. The odd combination of crisp sound and earthy scents in greenhouse or the fresh apples next to the smashed aluminum "kiosk" allow a viscercal connection to the artist's work - quite an achievement compared to so many other purely visual exhibitions. What surprised me the most however, was the complex relationship between the two. Situated across the hall from one another, the contrasts are easy to spot: Skin Tight works with the human as the subject, while in Peterman's work humans are hinted at but never explicitly seen; only their traces are examined. The force uniting the two pieces, the one you'll never read in the description, is fear. Both exhibits dwell on fear: the power of fashion to invoke it (cloven-hoofed shoes, KKK and infidah style clothing) and the fate of our planet from the mess humans leave behind. As I walked out into the sunshine, I was left with an eerie feeling. I was slightly scared, actually. Ultimately, the art had power over me, and I loved it. I can't wait to head back.

Computer problems delay morning news

GB wasn't the only Chicago news outlet that was working on its computers this morning! The Tribune's regular Monday morning delivery was delayed by four hours by computer problems related to some upgrades yesterday. Today's paper will be smaller than normal by about 20 pages, and not all home subscribers will get their paper. According to WBEZ, the Trib will credit all subscribers who don't receive today's issue.

It's alive! But I'm dead. Tired.

We've worked all through the night (the site just went live one minute ago at 7:12am) and are in need of some sleep, delirious does not look good on me. However, we hope you like the new digs and take the time to explore around the site. There are a few unfinished sections that will go live this week and some rough around the edges corners, but we're all about growing up in public. More announcements to come.

Bookslut <20 Questions

Claire Zulkey interviews local book maven Jessa Crispin of Bookslut about Chicago's amazing poetry reading scene, blogging, favorite critics and the potential for a Bookslut Magazine in her most recent edition of Just Under Twenty Questions.

Best Online Read!

Thanks to Chicago Magazine for naming Gapers Block the Best Online Read in their "Best of Chicago 2004" list for the August issue. They refer to GB's "witty reporting by young volunteers who are delightfully skeptical of the man." Isn't it "The Man," with capital letters? Anyway, thanks for the honor, Chicago Magazine. We promise we won't let you down.

Art Chicago trashed in NYT

The New York Times has a story today on the decline of Art Chicago that seems determined to drive the final nail in the coffin. As an aside, the piece also mentions the opening of Millennium Park.

Atari Video Game Summit

Attention Atari lovers, the official Atari Video Club Video Game Summit is happening tomorrow at the Fairfield Inn in Lombard, IL. Be prepared to go head-to-head in the Frogger tournament and check out vendors and exhibitors specializing in classic gaming. So dust off that 2600 and go. Admission is free. The Atari Video Club is based in Westchester, IL. Check out their website for more information.

Busiest airport: O'Hare or Hartsfield?

Which is the busiest airport in the world: Chicago's O'Hare, or Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International? Depends on how you define "busiest," according to the FAA. O'Hare has handled the most number of flights in the first half of 2004 (nearly a half-million), but Hartsfield-Jackson is handling the most number of passengers (12 million in the first 4 months of 2004). Either way, that's still a huge amount of traffic flowing through the two airports. We'll have to check back with this story near the end of the year, to see which airport will win the coveted title of World's Busiest Airport. (I think there might be a trophy of some sort awarded to the winner.)

A quieter, gentler GB on Sunday

A quick note: The site will be mildly unaccessible on Sunday evening sometime as the redesign is implemented, uploaded and brought live for your pleasure. There are quite a few goodies in store and we hope it's been worth the wait. Thanks to all for their comments, suggestions and feedback.

Alternative bike routes

The lakefront path is popular for bikers in the summer and sometimes, a little too popular. If you'd care to avoid the bladers, the joggers, the walkers and the kids whose parents don't seem to hold on to when walking the path, always refer to the Chicago Bike Map for various routes around the city. Dan Hosek has a brief list of routes with descriptions going east-west and north-south. It gives you an idea of what a proposed bike route might be like.

Organ Donation Approved

Illinois became the first state to approve the donation of HIV-infected organs between patients suffering from the disease. This means that those who are already living longer due to advances in treatment for HIV now can receive transplants, and enjoy a better quality of life. This won't happen overnight, however, as there is still a lot of work to do while the state coordinates screening and safety efforts with UNOS and the federal government.

Fast forward film festival registration

Today begins registration for the fifteenth Fast Forward Film Festival, for which teams are given a topic and twenty-one hours to make a three-minute movie. The films will be shown Saturday, August 14. Entry into the festival is limited to 24 teams, with a registration fee of $20. Register at Atomix, 1957 W. Chicago.

Get Your Styx Fix

Ah, the Illinois State Fair is just under a month away. Can you wait? This year's grandstand features headliners like American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, Clint Black, Styx and Kansas, Average White Band, and Hall & Oates. And that's in addition to horse racing, tractor pulls, and destruction derbies. Let's carpool!


New City Chicago takes a look at the best and worst of Millennium Park. Among the best? The bean, the bike station. The worst? The price and the name.

Work the DNC

Maggie over at is in Boston right now, working for John Kerry's campaign and helping to run the Democratic National Convention. She's looking for 100 good volunteers who can get themselves to Boston and commit to working every day from July 24-30, as well as attend mandatory training in Boston this Saturday or Sunday (short notice, I know). If you're a Dem with some time and airmiles on your hands, and are looking for a way to do your part in the campaign, this is a golden opportunity!

The Swim Report

Wondering if your neighborhood beach will be open for swimming today? Check out the Swim Report, provided by the Chicago Park District. It gives you the daily conditions at North Avenue Beach and information on any swim bans that may be in effect. You can also scope out the amenities at other nearby beaches along Lake Michigan.

Sausage is not an acceptable crust

Marisa's Pizza in Northbrook has a "lo-carb pizza" where they replace the crust with sausage. Atomly has a rant about it.

City sticker shock

Today's the deadline for getting your Chicago city sticker purchased and stuck to your windshield. (Although you can still buy them after today, you have to pay $40 extra, and if you're caught without one after today, it's a $120 fine. Amusingly enough, some cops have already started giving out tickets.) If you haven't bought one yet (or if you did buy one and had it stolen), then get yourself to the City Clerk's office (or buy it online). And if you DID buy one, but it hasn't arrived in the mail yet, then you might wish to check out the list of undeliverable stickers that were returned to the city by the post office.

Farmers' Markets

'Tis the season for farmers' markets. Chicago is home to many markets over the summer, which were mentioned earlier on Gapers Block, but if you're outside the city, you can get a complete listing of community and roadside markets in the state from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Just search by county to find a market near you.

Derrick Carter at Millennium Park

This Friday kicks off the opening (finally) of Millennium Park with performances by the Redmoon Theater, Grant Park Orchestra, and way too many acts to list. Also, morning tai chi and yoga. But those who have been attending the total get-down that is Summerdance with DJs on Wednesdays should be at the Promenade Stage Friday night at 10:30, when Derrick Carter takes the stage with Steve "Silk" Hurley to drop house jams for the city that birthed the genre.

Ditka won't run

Mike Ditka said yesterday that he won't be the Republican candidate for the US Senate seat being vacated by Peter Fitzgerald.

Designer Toys

Fans of designer toys finally have a local store just for them here in the city: Rotofugi is now open at 1953 W. Chicago. Stop in for a cool vinyl figure, or wait till the Monkey Show and grand opening party July 30. Yay!

Free Electronics Recycling

HP and Office Depot have teamed up to offer free in-store electronics recycling between July 18 and Labor Day. Just bring your old computer/printer/monitor/what-have-you (any make) to an Office Depot store (limited to one computer system or other device per customer per day) and they will take care of the rest (word to the wise: wipe that hard drive first!). Dell is offering a similar service, free for people who buy one of their systems online, and at a small per-unit fee for those not buying new computers.

Poetic Art? Artistic Poetry?

Whichever it is, it's beautiful. The Poetry Center of Chicago has a collection of limited edition "broadsides" featuring works by local and national poets. You may be interested in one of the 100 Billy Corgan prints, or one of the 50 of an Andrei Codrescu piece. (That is, assuming there are any left, and you can afford it -- you have to call for prices and availability.)

Obama to deliver keynote speech at DNC

Just posted on John Kerry's blog: Illinois state senator and US Senate candidate Barack Obama will be delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston on Tuesday, July 27th.

Vive la revolution

The new young theatre company Les Sansculottes are hosting, appropriately enough, a Bastille Day show tonight at the Hideout. Sansculottes and Electrorange present Rock the Bastille, featuring Menthol, The Wes Hollywood Show and the Specs. Proceeds go to Sansculottes' fall production.

Silva looks better than gold

Your Wednesday morning eye candy — Chris Silva. Lots of work, a strong style and just real nice to look at. The street installations are killer and the murals vast and beautiful: the proposed California station mural (Douglas Blue Line) will be nice to see live and he's even done a cow.

Terkel watch

Studs Terkel is recuperating in an unnamed hospital after "a little spill," according to his son Dan. He is expected to be released by Saturday. Get well, Studs!

I-GO Car Sharing Expands

Good news for the transportationally challenged: I-GO Car Sharing will expand its fleet to Millennium Park this month and Lincoln Square in August, bringing the number of Chicago locations to 13, including two cars installed in Lakeview in June. They simplified their pricing plan and are offering a $50 discount on membership, so now's the time to get yourself some eco-friendly wheels (no hybrids yet, but they're on the way).

UPDATE: Honda Civic Hybrids will arrive at the Millennium Park location on July 20. Sweet!


WWE may get the TV coverage, but there are small, local pro wrestling federations all across the country. Chicago has several, but Windy City Pro Wrestling's website seems to be working at the moment. In the meantime, you can get news on all the local clubs direct from (There's also the Chicago Pro Wrestling Club, a gay wrestling group that meets at Touché, but they don't seem to get much coverage.)


The Sun-Times reports that one of Mayor Daley's long-term projects, that of bringing a movie studio to Chicago, may be coming to fruition. Eleven acres of land on the West Side will be sold to Central Studios LLC, which is planning to construct stage and office space on the property.

Wake up for the mountain stage

Craving some large-screen Tour de France action and willing to get up early for it? A Lincolnshire theater will be showing live race coverage on a movie screen at 6 a.m. on Saturday. There's a $25 registration fee, but it seems to include breakfast.

Outsider Art A-go-go

The guy behind BigHappyFunHouse has started a new site for all the outsider art he comes across: Outsider Art Fair. Brand new, so there's not much there, but expect masterpieces in the future.

Happy Birthday Pablo!

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Just published is the collection of new translations titled "The Essential Neruda" which you can pick up in order to celebrate, or you can always rent "Il Postino". If you can wait until Wednesday, there's a bilingual group celebration and workshop of Neruda's poetry at the Chopin Theater sponsored by the Guild Complex.

Chicago has a Galway Hooker

...and she's hanging out by the docks at Montrose Harbor. But Saint Barbara's namesake isn't what you'd expect—she's a replica of a wooden fishing sailboat native to the west coast of Ireland, and the first-ever Galway Hooker to be built in the United States. Until she makes her historic journey to Eire next summer, you can see this gorgeous hand-crafted boat at Montrose Harbor (docked on the north wall) and at the Milwaukee Irish Fest, August 19-22.

Progressive Radio in Chicago

Since the demise of Air America in Chicago, outlets for Progressive radio have been slim. PopUpThePlanet is on now at 10:30 PM Thursdays WSBC 1240 AM & WCFJ 1470 AM. If you want to get involved in helping them with programming, join them at the meet-up this Sunday at Marcello's Pizza. Details at their site.

See Sedaris in Hawaii

Love David Sedaris? Love Hawaii or would like to go? Chicago Public Radio is combining the two together as the grand prize (125 in all) if you pledge by Aug 31. Support the airwaves!

You Are / I Am Postcards

The good folks behind You Are Beautiful are at it again. The You Are / I Am Postcards are their latest project — "As the cards are filled out & collected, the line of distinction between 'You Are' and 'I Am' blurs." Get your own, and then send 'em back by 05.01.05 — they'll be displayed in the the same named books for public consumption next summer and eventually compiled and printed in a black and white book.

They can call it 'Big Yellow'

Researchers at UIUC are developing a new chewing gum that, unlike current gums on the market that are made out of synthetic bases, is made out of a natural ingredient that Illinois has plenty of -- corn! Currently their cinnamon-flavored corn gum isn't doing so well in taste tests, but they remain optimistic that they can improve the product and possibly open up a new huge market for the state's corn industry.

Disco Destruction

It wasn't exactly the proudest moment in Chicago's history, but it sure got plenty of attention focused on Chicago DJ Steve Dahl. On July 12, 1979, in the middle of a White Sox-Tigers double header, Dahl held his infamous Disco Demolition, in which a number of disco records were blown up in the outfield of Comiskey Park. The event triggered a riot in the park, and caused the Sox to forfeit the second game. Considered the worst on-field event in baseball history, Disco Demolition is remembered with a mixture of fondness and horror by Chicago residents. Tonight at 8pm, Channel 11 will present a one-hour special commmemorating the event, with never-before-seen footage of the evening. WCKG is also hosting an anniversary celebration at Harry Caray's, 33 W. Kinzie, from 8pm to 10pm, where you can meet the disco demolition man himself!

Cafe Opening in Lincoln Square

Despite the unrelenting assault of Starbucks on, well, just about everything, some independent coffeeshops are popping up, too. Monday sees the opening of a new cafe in Lincoln Square, the Grind Company. In addition to joe, they'll have food, juice, and "free wi-fi with purchase." The Tribune also runs a profile of a place that's caught my eye near Milwaukee and Central -- a vintage store and cafe named Kouks Vintage Cafe. That's the best idea since they put bars in bowling alleys.
Eric writes in to also recommend Beans and Bagels, a coffeeshop devoted to the Brown Line. In addition to the Montrose store, they've recently opened another shop near the Rockwell stop. Well worth the trip.

Chicken Vesuvio, Our Hometown Dish

Sure, we've got Chicago-style hot dogs and deep dish pizza, but did you know chicken vesuvio was invented here, too? Eat Chicago points us to an article in Chicago's Dining Guide that places the origin of the dish at the original Giannotti's in Forest Park sometime in the 1960s.

Ditka Round Up

So there's quite a bit of groundswell support for getting "Iron Mike" on the Republican ticket for, well, something. I'm sure "Not So Iron Mike" (as we like to call him at my house thanks to his many Levitra commercials) will make a great candidate. Nothing like a good huddle in the Senate, eh? (Note: I really think this picture belongs in this post, but I just can't find a way to work it in.)

Bring Back Jack!

The Chicago Report points us to the Young Republican Professionals' effort to get Jack Ryan back on the November ballot. Care to sign a petition?

Geektronica, Etcetera

Looking for the latest in IDM? Curious about the electronica scene 'round these parts? Look no further than, your local online zine for experimental electronic music.

Get with the FizzieFuzzie

Friend of GB, Jim Liu launches a brand new version (with brand new goods) of FizzieFuzzie. "fizziefuzzie is a collection of characters based on the real personalities of the people that we know or sort of know -- personalities that are a bit wacky and a bit off(beat). they are definitely not your typical whitebreaded character line." There's even some extras: a themesong and even a WAP site for you wap-enabled PDA and phone users. "GET WITH THE FIZZIE! AND ON WITH THE FUZZIE!"

Ditka's Everywhere

While the Republicans mull asking Mike Ditka to run for senate against Barack Obama, Da Coach is also launching a clothing line. The Mike Ditka Hall of Fame Collection will make its debut in early August at Chicago Men's Wear Collective at the Merchandise Mart.

Cost of War

By the time you read this, the cost of the war in Iraq may be up to $1 billion for the city of Chicago. (Click on Illinois and then Chicago in the drop-down menus.) Boy howdy, that's a lotta dough!

Sock Puppet Showgirls!

My god! How did we let this slip past us?! Harvey Finklestein's masterpiece, Sock Puppet Showgirls, has returned for a one-month run at the Theatre Building! And tickets are only $10! Here's the trailer!

Animal Images Contest

Do you use your pet as an artist's model? Well, the Anti-Cruelty Society is currently sponsoring their 4th annual Animal Images competition, and the deadline has just been extended to July 29. Each applicant may submit slides or photographs representing up to three pieces of art which can be in many forms from acrylic to photograph to sculpture. The competition is open to artists whose work benefits the genre by depicting or representing animals in art. You can get more information, and download an application form at their website.


Speaking of production companies with the word "light" in their names, Coudal Partners is hosting the weblog of Scott Smith, one of the three finalists in Project Greenlight, the screenwriting/directing contest started by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Smith flies out to Hollywood tomorrow, and he's taking us along for the ride.

Lead Trio Signs On for Spamalot

As reported previously, the Monty Python-themed play, Spamalot, will begin its pre-Broadway tryout at the Chicago Shubert Theatre Dec. 21. The lead trio was just announced, including David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria. Just yesterday, we reported that Chicago is in top form regarding the theatre circuit; this further proves Chicago is on the rise for debuting top talent.

Home of the Hot Dog

If you just can't get enough of the encased meats, then you'll like Chicago: Home of the Hot Dog. There's reviews amongst other things but my favorite is the FAQ. A sample question — Can love of Hot Dogs prove fatal?. Find out, though I really want to ask Takeru Kobayashi. [ via GB alumni Paul McCann ]

New issue of Subsystence

The new issue of Subsystence is out today (despite the ad's premature presence above Airbags all week), and worth the wait. Containing insightful articles, artwork, poems, photography, and original music downloads, Subsystence's second issue makes the webzine/ club night/ radio show/ ongoing experiment in expression worth checking out, and contributing to.

DePaul Launches Indie Film Studio

DePaul University believes its students can learn best through direct experience. So it launched an independent film studio, Bluelight Productions, to give students in its new Digital Cinema Program a playground in which to create. Bluelight's first production, a 30-minute film called "Last Call," is shooting now in Chicago, Long Grove and Elk Grove Village. [via]

Theatre capital of America? Sweet.

Last month, the Guardian's longtime theatre critic Michael Billington spent a week here, seeing eight shows at several Chicago theatres (as documented in Hedy Weiss's Sun-Times column). His report upon returning to London names us "the current theatre capital of America." "While New York, with its suffocating commercialism, seems increasingly hidebound, it is to Chicago that the true theatregoer now avidly looks," he wrote, noting the city's 156 primarily non-profit theatre companies spread through every neighborhood. "It's a city that embraces the classics as well as contemporary work, that regards theatre as a source of delight rather than an instrument of profit and that has a midwestern openness to new experience."

Chicagoans go to Lebowskifest

The 3rd annual tribute to the Coen Brothers, Lebowskifest went down a little while ago in Louisville, KY. Chicago was representing with our own Brian Sobolak who took photos and Halo+Horns was there, too, also with photos. Can we get enough of The Dude? Apparently not.

Another Chicago Groupblog

Perhaps inspired by Gothamist's expansion into other cities, the guys behind Blogging.LA have started Metroblogging. Naturally, Chicago.Metroblogging is one of the first cities to launch. (Looks like we need to get moving on NY Block and Gapers.LA, just to keep up.)

From 'Block to 'Block

The Chopping Block, the popular cooking school/market, is looking for the best holiday cookies around. They don't specify which holiday, or what definition of "cookie" they're using, so the field's wide open. Prizes include one of them fancy 30" Wolf wall ovens, a 7-piece Mauviel copper cookware set and gift certificates for classes at the C.B. Deadline for entries is August 30.


The folks at are funny. Like in this article, "Patriot Missle". If you really need some encouragement to go read that, it's worth seeing the photo of a girl with a firecracker in her ahem, behind. However, if you're more into less juvenile endeavours, you might really like this interview with Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine.

Millenium Park UK Tidbits

The Guardian has a brief analysis of the elements surrounding the new Millennium Park project, set to unveil in a few weeks. The quotes from those not as impressed with the project are very candid, and the article builds in a bit of the city's recent attempt to recapture the great architectural past of our city.

Hot Doug's, coming soon (again)

For those people who have been missing their fix of smoked pheasant and truffle hot dogs, (not to mention the veggie dogs), there's good news: Hot Doug's will be re-opening soon. Eat Chicago talked to Doug Sohn and found out that the Roscoe Village hot dog hot spot that was closed in April after a fire will open again in mid-August, in the same location.

Daley's Green Crusade

Architecture, art and design magazine behemoth Metropolis has an excellent article titled, "Mayor Daley's Green Crusade". The article starts off with his bulldozing of Meigs Field and delves deeper into what Da Mare has in plan for our fair city — “My belief is that environmental initiatives should not just be out on the West Coast, in Alaska, or by the ocean, but in cities. If we don’t do this, the expansion will be overwhelming: more cars, more concrete, more pollution in the air and water. They won’t have any environment left out there, and no one will want to live here either.”

More Fun with Hot Dogs

The latest sushi concept not sweeping the city: the Chicago Roll. *shudder*

More Wal-Mart in Chicago

"The debate over Wal-Mart here in Chicago has raised a lot of questions and opened a lot of eyes. I don't think this story is over yet - far from it." A bit late to the game, but the New York Times offers an article about the debate of putting two Wal-Marts in Chicago. Forget Wal-Mart. When are they finally going to put a Cracker Barrel in River North?

Frankie and Johnny and Austin

Spotted last night: actor Austin Pendleton at Sidetrack. The Steppenwolf ensemble member is directing their highly anticipated mainstage—oops, sorry, "Downstairs"—production of "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" with Laurie Metcalf, opening this Friday.

Delivery and late-night dining

GrubHub is a site that lists Chicago restaurants that deliver (and cater). Some neighborhoods are more heavily populated with delivery options than others, but it seems to be a good start. Via LTH. To tie-in with the Fuel thread, this somewhat outdated list of 24 hour greasy spoons is also a good resource.

Are you an Airhead?

Airhead is a site created by the Chicago-based Center For Neighborhood Technology. Use the emissions calculator to determine how much you contribute to air pollution, or search for the pollution data for common household products like dishwashers or televisions. [via theboxfactory]

Barrington Beer Fest

July is American Beer Month. I know you've already found myriad ways to celebrate this event (usually involving numbers like 6, 12 or 30), but here's one more: Barrington, a neat and tony suburb in northwest Cook County, is having a Microbrew fest on July 10. $25 before the event gets you a T-shirt, tasting glass, some other shwag and all the beer you can drink. Lots of regional brewers will be there, so hop on Metra and sample the wares.

Electronic Music Festivals

Couple of cool electronic music events that breezed into my inbox this morning: Blueshift, a 3-day camping/electronic music festival in Somewhere, WI with proceeds to go to not-for-profits; and The Caveman Experience, a similar event that takes place in Southern Illinois in a cave. To get a sense of the event, check out last year's "Experience". Blueshift happens Aug 6-8; Caveman Experience is July 16-18.

Semi-Disposable Swedish Bolingbrook

It looks like the second Chicagoland IKEA will be in Bolingbrook. The cheap-yet-stylish furniture mecca plans to open the new store sometime late next year.

Chicago Film: Summer School

It's never to late to get an education and the previously noted has summer school for budding and aspiring filmmakers. While the sessions have already started, there are quite a few workshops and courses left to go before summer's out: The Chicago Filmmakers Coop Series and indie film center Facets' own Film School. Also of note is the Michigan Ave Apple Store's FREE Digital Movies presentations during the week in the theater and their paid Studio Series.

Books to Women in Prison Project

Got some paperback books you aren't interested in keeping? They might be suitable for donating to the Books to Women in Prison Project. A handful of women created this organization when they realized how minimal the educational opportunities are for women in prison. Believing that prison is supposed to help women rehabilitate themselves, and finding it difficult for that to happen without education, they created this project that collects donated paperback books and sends them off to Illinois women's prisons. $10 lets them send of 4 packages of donated books, so every little bit helps. Imagine how disappointing your life would be without access to books. Personally, I think I'd go crazy.

Killing Cousins

Two cousins were arrested over the weekend, accused of killing four people in a murder spree across the South Side. Angel Ford Wright and Caroline Peoples allegedly killed their victims after robbing them, netting between $30 and $200 from each victim.

Lance a lot

Cycling fans will be waking at dawn this month to watch live coverage of the Tour de France. If they can wait 12 hours, French restaurant Brasserie Joe will show each day's racing at 6 p.m. with food and drink specials tied to that day's region of the tour, and the Outdoor Life Network is teaming with three Lincoln Park bars to show delayed coverage of some of the stages. On July 17, the Tyler Hamilton Foundation will raise funds with a breakfast viewing in Lincolnshire.

Hi Bob!

Furthering the tradition of littering the Boule Mich with pop culture, TV Land is erecting a statue of Bob Newhart outside 430 N. Michigan, the setting of the popular '70s sitcom that bore his name, at the end of this month. Perhaps in a few years we'll get statues of Bozo and Dr. Mark Greene, too. [Thanks, Dee]

July Indies

The latest show at Gallery Augusta, July Indies, is opening tonight. The group show features work from Chris Ware, Archer Prewitt, Pamela Jorden, Pascal St. Clair, Gene Booth and Krista Babbitt. The opening reception will be held from 6-10. Saturday night there's a dance party featuring guest djs: Sam Prekop, Bundy K. Brown, Dave Bramble and J.P. Chill. The dance party is from 10pm-1am. The show will be up until the 25th. Call Gallery Augusta for more information, 773.278.4159. The gallery is located at 1000 N California.

Stiff Competition

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has had it in for Tribune basketball writer Sam Smith for awhile. Now's he's upset that Smith called Mavericks draftee Pavel Podkolzine a "stiff" and issues the following challenge: "I will donate $10,000 to the charity of your choice if you can prove that you have ever seen Pavel play in person or on tape ... If you lose, you change your business card title and Tribune byline to 'Sports Gossip Columnist.' I will even pay for the cards."

More Hot Dog News

On the heels of yesterday's announcement that the Chicago-style hotdog would be invading the West Coast, Vienna Beef unveiled the world's longest weiner yesterday at the Taste. Measuring a whopping 37 feet, two inches (although Vienna claimed it was 38 feet), the dog was delivered in a 35-foot poppy seed bun, with all the standard toppings. Unfortunately, no one gets to eat this meal -- but Vienna donated an equivalent amount of hot dogs to charity. [Thanks, Pete]

Homicide In Chicago 1870-1930

The Chicago Historical Homicide Project began with the discovery a handwritten log of more than 11,000 homicides "maintained consistently and without interruption by the Chicago Police Department over the course of 60 years, from 1870 to 1930." Now these handwritten documents have been transformed into a searchable database providing a unique view into the history of Chicago during this period. The website also hightlights some of the most well-known crimes of the period including the trial of Leopold and Leob, the race riots of 1919, and the Haymarket Affair. This is really an incredible resource so go check it out.

Remnants of the White City

The Chicago Tribune has a story today that leads you on a guided tour of some of the remains of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 that took place right here in Chicago. Visit Jackson Park, see the replica of the Statue of the Republic, and find the location of the infamous hotel built by serial killer H.H. Holmes.

Godzilla vs. The Three Stooges

It's quite a banner year for film history. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the original Godzilla movie, but it's also the 70th anniversary of the Three Stooges starting as a solo act (following their apprenticeship to vaudevillian Ted Healy). Both of these important dates in film history have celebratory film openings tonight. The original unedited version of Godzilla starts playing tonight at the Music Box, and a Three Stooges "70th Annivoisary" program starts at the Siskel Film Center. Fine cinematic fare for the kid in us all.

Chemo cap

Don't put away those needles! (I'm talking knitting, not hypodermic.) Just 'cause it's hot out, and just 'cause you don't have air conditioning doesn't mean you should just put away your needles and not make anything until it gets cold again. There're tons of places with A/C in this city where you can sit and knit and have a refreshing iced beverage and make a cool hat for a chemotherapy or burn patient. Headhuggers has free patterns and they need lightweight, cotton hats for adults and cool hats for kids.

UIC is full!

When UIC sent out acceptance letters for this fall's freshman class, they were expecting some of the notified students to be going elsewhere. It didn't quite work out that way, and now there are 335 UIC students waiting to get in. About half of the "accepted, but wait-listed" students have been placed, but they still have some left to go. UIC is advising the remaining students to look at other schools, including U of I-Springfield and the ever-popular community colleges.

Freeeee Biiiirrrrd!

Dude, we totally have to head out to the Naperville Ribfest tomorrow! Why? Skynyrd, man! Lynyrd Skynyrd! For five bucks! (Here's the rest of the schedule.)
[Thanks, Heather]

Bank None

Chicago's Bank One is officially no more today, having been purchased by JP Morgan Chase. Look for the Bank One name to be replaced by Chase, JP Morgan's retail banking arm.

Urban Indians

In the 1950s, the federal government moved thousands of Native Americans off reservations and into urban areas; Chicago is still home to more than 30,000 "urban Indians." WTTW has some background on the urban Indian project, and you can learn more by visiting the American Indian Center of Chicago at 1630 W. Wilson Ave.

The Great Return

The long-awaited grand opening of the Regenstein Center for African Apes (RCAA) at Lincoln Park Zoo takes place today at noon. Chicago welcomes back two gorilla groups and two chimpanzee groups, including a new baby gorilla "Azizi" who was born while they were away. The new habitat, built at a cost of $26M and covering 29,000 square feet, is a vast improvement over the previous Great Apes building at LPZ. It provides outdoor space for the animals as well as improved indoor exhibits, including hidden "devices" for cognitive enrichment that also allow the apes to interact with visitors. Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open to the public 365 days a year.

Hold the Ketchup

"The world's largest hot dog chain," Weinerschnitzel, is bringing the Chicago-style hot dog to the West. Their press release lists that as "'sensory taste explosion' featuring a seven inch all-beef hot dog topped with mustard, emerald green relish, chopped onions, tomato, a pickle spear and sport peppers. The bun is sprinkled with poppy seeds." The chain's marketing director notes that the bright-green relish is a trademark of our home-town dog; someone should tell him that the relish most of stands here these days is dye free.

Cubs rooftop arguments heat up again

Three months after all the agreements between Wrigley Field and local rooftop clubs were hammered out, a new club at 950 W. Addison has sprung up, and the Cubs are planning to block its view of the field.



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