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TODAY

Wednesday, June 28

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Merge

Double dose of Tweedy

If you've been looking wistfully at this Friday's sold-out Jeff Tweedy solo show, take heart: a second show at the Vic has been added Saturday. Tickets go on sale 10am Wednesday through MusicToday and 12pm the same day through Ticketmaster—phone and internet sales only for this one, so don't go camping out in front of the Vic Tuesday night. (Thanks, Angie.)

Oprah Week and Other Fun Laws

Crain's Chicago Business published a brief but fascinating roundup of new laws up for consideration downstate. My favorites: HJR1, which would designate the first week in February as Oprah Winfrey Week; and HB1472, which would require movie listings to show start times for movies as well as trailers. Oprah Week: catch it!

No Boondocks today

If you want to read the Boondocks strip that was dropped from today's Tribune (and several other papers) for its mention of President Bush and drugs, it is archived here.

Pedway Love

The Tribune ran a story about the pedway yesterday, which included a nice map of the various public passageways throughout the Loop. Our resident librarian Alice Maggio gave a guided tour (part one, part two) of the main burrow almost exactly a year ago. (Oh, and here's another pedway map, for those who want to explore.)

More Meaty Art

The 7th Annual SPAM Sculpture Contest was this weekend, and it was quite a success. The winners -- The SPAM Circle of Life, the John Spamcock, and Spam-henge -- all went home with fabulous medals. Channel 2 also took some pictures and video (see link at bottom of page), and the first set of pictures are in.

Dog show!

Anyone remember that skit from SNL with Will Farrell? I always sing that little drummed theme song when I think of a dog show. Speaking of which, Benhuh has posted some funny, interesting and oh-so-cute photos of our fellow canine friends at the recent 2005 IKC Dog Show, which recently took place at McCormick Place. This one kills me!

Not If But This Weekend

We're big fans of photographer Brian Ulrich, so we were happy to hear that not one but two exhibits of his work are opening this weekend: He has a solo show at the MCA, and another at Exit Art in New York. If that's not enough for you, you can also check out his feature in the February issue of Paper Brigade webzine, or catch one of the two gallery shows his work is included in: "Manufactured Self" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography closes this Friday, and "Persona" at Peter Miller Gallery runs through March 12.

Printers Ball

The 1st Annual Printers Ball is being held this Thursday at HotHouse. The event was created to celebrate the fabulous selection of Chicago based printed matter. It "offers readers and writers a unique chance to sample publications and meet with editors and designers". The event is being hosted by Poetry magazine with support from the Poetry Center of Chicago, The Bird Machine, Venus, Found, Stop Smiling, Punk Planet...among many others! The festivities will take place from 6-9pm and it's all free! Be sure to keep an eye out for the little postcards around town, they'll score you a free bag of printed goodies!

GB T-shirts, now cheaper

Because we'd like to fund some upcoming projects and the bigger and better than ever annual Gapers Block party, we've dropped t-shirt prices to a scant $12 inclusive of shipping! You deserve one, so snap one up.

Let's Knife!

Hard to believe that the Osaka, Japan band Shonen Knife have been together for nearly 25 years now. Tonight you can see if they've still got the chops, as SK takes the stage at the Bottom Lounge. See Slowdown for show details. And fans of all-female Japanese rock bands are advise to mark March 20 on their calendars, when the Japanese record label Benten presents Japan Girls Nite US Tour (featuring rockin' ukulele duo Petty Booka), also at the Bottom Lounge.

Macy Field's

One of the quintessential Chicago landmarks is the State Street Marshall Field's department store. Yet the store (and the Marshall Field's store chain) hasn't been locally owned for a long time. It's recently been owned by the St.-Louis-based May Department Stores Company, and now May has been bought up by Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores Inc., owner of the Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores. The business experts quoted in the above Tribune story seem equally divided between the possibility that Marshall Field's stores will be converted to Macy's stores, and the possibility that the Marshall Field's name will be kept due to its historic value. Marshall Field must be spinning in his grave.

Tonight in Wicker Park

Looking for something interesting to do after the Oscars? Well, artists from German record label Traum hit Subterranean tonight; expect a relaxed evening of experimental electronic sounds. Label owner Riley Reinhold headlines, with support from Ontario's Jesse Somfay, Kate Simko of Detalles, and Dave Siska of Clinically Inclined. More information is available in Slowdown, or on the Interrupt Media Group website.

February Critical Mass

Some neat pictures of this month's Critical Mass in black and white.

Chicago Rocks

And it raps and it breakdances and Molemen Inc. has two days to bring folks from all over the city together to listen to the best hip-hop the city has to offer. The line-up begins tonight at Metro and tomorrow it moves to The Abbey Pub. And just because it's all hip-hop, don't think there's no variety. You'll be able to see street philosophers like Qualo and Earatik Statik, jazzy acts like Typical Cats, gritty rappers like JUICE and Vakill, and culture critics like All Natural. Tickets range from $10-$15 per night depending on whether you get them before the show or at the show, but at prices like this, the beats are a deal.

Somebody Else's Music Festival

WLUW takes over Fitzgerald's this Sunday for a day-long Winter Music Festival, hosted by Tom Jackson and the Somebody Else's Troubles crew. Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel, Corky Siegel, Nick Tremulis, Jon Langford and many more will perform in a nearly non-stop parade of music from 1:30-10pm. Doors open at 1pm; check out Slowdown for more info. (Incidentally, today is the last day of WLUW's pledge drive -- donate if you can!)

Every Morning, Every Day, Every Night

Just in case you didn't already have enough reasons for a little trip to Milwaukee this weekend (like a visit to the beautiful Calatrava designed MAM, seeing Modest Mouse, sipping on a tiki love bowl at At Random, or maybe you're participating in the frozen snot century). There's yet another something good to see. Local Chicago artist, Jeremiah Ketner, will be celebrating the opening of his second solo show at Hotcakes Gallery from 6-9 on Saturday. Last time he showed work, on the gallery's opening night, 462 people attended!

Nutshell of Unexplained Death

One of the coolest exhibits of dioramas since the Joseph Cornell boxes at the Art Institute, the Glessner House features tiny crime scenes made by none other than Frances Glessner Lee, the daughter of the notable Chicago family. The exhibit, titled The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death contains scenes, replicated in 1:12th scale, complete with tiny shell casings, bloodstains, and real movable parts. Intended for instruction on forensics and proper investigation techniques, these were no morbid fascination, but instead were a valuable teaching tool for 1940s and 1950s police. More information in Slowdown.

Air America: The Return?

Give them 90 days, and Air America Radio may just be back on the airwaves in Chicago. The network's new CEO, Danny Goldberg (of Artemis Records fame), wants to make a return to Chi-town a priority. Hopefully, all parties involved can avoid that nasty billing dispute that happened last time. For now, you can always stream it online.

Where Blogging Comes to Die

In their usual practice of sucking the fun out of everything, University of Chicago professors are jumping on the blogging bandwagon. While not necessarily kept for professional reasons, most keep students in mind when posting to their sites. Because reading up on my prof's inner thoughts is totally what I wanted to do in my down time.

Today in Bicycle News

A few bicycle items of interest. As usual on the last Friday of the month, today is the Chicago Critical Mass ride. Gather at 5:30 in front of the Picasso. Bikers today will have a small victory to celebrate, as HB467 - Lt. Gov Quinn's initiative to require Metra to allow bicycles on trains at least during non-rush periods - passed unaminously and moves to the Senate. And finally, if you have any cute pictures of yourself as a youngster on a bicycle, the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation wants 'em! They're looking for pictures of you on your first bike.

New CTA buses are driving around town

Pay attention the next time you board a CTA bus. Does the seating arrangement look different? The CTA is currently testing buses with aisle-facing seats, to make passenger boarding easier, on two downtown routes. The new buses are based on a redesign that was originally for the L trains, but the CTA is also testing the seat configuration on buses, to see if that improves passengers' bus-riding experience.

Cubs fans: get on the wristbandwagon

Tickets for Cubs games go on sale tomorrow morning at 8:00, and all you fans know what that means: time to get your wristbands! Yep, you've gotta get a wristband if you want the privilege of standing in line to buy tickets. They'll be handing out wristbands at Wrigley Field today until 10pm, or until the wristband supply runs out. (You'll also be able to purchase tickets online, but that doesn't start until 10.) See the Cubs site for full details on the ticket purchase system.

A New Chicago Sound

If you're looking for some nice music to get you through the afternoon, check out the pleasant sounds of Chicago musician Allison Bazarko, which I only found because her site is the only result for a search for pictures of the Golden Angel diner on Google. But her acoustical tunes are good and worth a listen.

Trump May Trump Sears

The Tribune reports that at least one revised plan for the new Trump Tower would make the building slightly taller than the Sears Tower. The question lies in the design of an ornamental spire, and how tall it would be. However, the spire would only make Trump's tower taller than the Sears' main body -- the antennae topping the current city's tallest building aren't included in its official height.

Spontaneous Combustion?

If you were inconvenienced this morning taking the Green line east into downtown, be glad you weren't on the train that caught on fire. The conductor managed to get everyone off the train and then park the train away from a station so no one was hurt.

Pint-sized Champion

11-year-old Khaled Almousa could kick your ass. The Southwest Side boxer just won the Silver Gloves, a national title, in the 10-11/80lbs. Division.

D is for Dumb

Dude, how dumb can you get? On 103.5's Drex in the Morning show, a man called in to boast about an $81,000 bank robbery. Someone working at that bank was listening to the show and called the cops who were able to get a phone number from the radio station. The caller and another man were charged for the crime which had gone unsolved, with no leads, for five months. Way to go Braggy McBrags-a-lot.

Invasion of the Bank Branches

Notice a lot more banks in your neighborhood? There's a reason: 488 new bank branches opened in Chicago last year, more than anywhere else in the country. The Wall Street Journal has a story today on the backlash against bank branch proliferation, and, coincidentally, Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin bemoans the plague of bland bank design, with an accompanying slideshow.

Young Feminists

If you've considered attending the Young Feminist Bookclub at Women & Children First but haven't made it, I've got an incentive. The book choice for March 21st (7:30 pm to 9 pm) is Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future. The kicker is that instead of sitting in a circle and just talking about the book with other young feminists, you'll get to talk about this book and their new book Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism with the authors themselves. Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner will hang out and discuss feminsm and activism and other cool things. You get 10% off either of these two books if you mention you'll be at the book club, you have a month to read at least one of them, so what are you waiting for?

Get Photographed by Dawn

Those of you in the audience who are planning a wedding this year, take note: Dawn Mikulich, the photographer behind ChicagoUncommon, is now available for photo shoots (not just of weddings, but also portraiture and corporate events) through Dawn M Photography.

Gates Photography Copyright Issues

Poor New York was feeling left out of the whole trademarking of public art debate. So, thanks to The Gates, it seems Chicago isn't the only city having copyright issues with photography of its public art. Jeanne-Claude and Christo tell Newsday photographers in no uncertain terms that pictures of The Gates are trademarked and cannot be sold.

Douglas P. King

As the caretaker to two cats, I'm quite alright when you write about cats on your site. Last night though, it broke my heart a little (as it has in recent months with fellow friends with felines) to read about the passing of Douglas P. King, the friend, feline and companion to Chicago designer Patric King (infamous in recent months for the Gawker Empire's spread). Start here and read back and forth.

Looped

Tonight, Andrew Winston will make an appearance at 57th St. Books, 1301 E. 57th St., to read from his debut novel Looped. From the website: "Looped tells the separate stories of a diverse group of Chicagoans - black, brown, and white, gay, straight, and bi - as their lives unfold in diverging and (occasionally) converging ways over the course of the year 2000." The book is getting some good press, so I'd head out early to the 7pm event to get good seats.

Your daily Jessica Simpson update

Jessica Simpson was in town for an Oprah taping, when she felt sick (or "dehydrated," as the report says). She was taken to the hospital, treated and released. And... well, that's about it. Except to say: JESSICA + NICK 4 EVA!!! W000000!!!!!!!!!11

Schakowsky and Social Security

If you're ready to make your voice heard, just want to talk to your Congresswoman face-to-face, or want to see what your neighbors have to say about the proposed changes to Social Security, now's your chance. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is returning home, and several town hall-style meetings have been organized, thanks to MoveOn.org and folks like you. Find a meeting near you in the coming week (starting tonight), and make sure you get your $.02 in about where your $.02 should go.

Republiteens Blog

"It's morning again in America!" That's the slogan of the new ReaganReview, a new conservative weblog run by teens 18 and under -- well, other than the state senator and state representative who contribute columns.

Cereality store closer to reality

As mentioned previously on GB, Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe is planning to open a location in Chicago, where customers can enjoy 30 kinds of cereal and 30 toppings. The AP reports that Cereality has found a location for its store: 100 South Wacker at Monroe. The cafe's opening in the late spring, according to Cereality. Also reported: the Cereality company HQ will be moving to Chicago from Boulder, CO.

More Canine Puns

The Chicago Park District is developing another dog park, this time at the south end of Grant Park. The "Grant Bark Park" is being touted as "the best in show for dog parks." Here's a map of what it'll look like.

More Ibsen for all!

The Neofuturists' current prime-time show, The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen, has been extended two more weeks. It's running Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at the Neo-Futurarium through March 19, and it's really funny and entertaining. You should go see it. (No knowledge of Ibsen is required to enjoy the show.) See the Neo-Futurist site for full details and to purchase tickets.

Essence of ball

After claiming that they were going to turn the dreaded Steve Bartman baseball into a "curse ending" spaghetti sauce, Harry Caray's restaurant started serving "Foul Ball Spaghetti" yesterday. Instead of including actual pieces of the baseball, the restaurant boiled bits of the ball with water, Budwiser (Harry's beer of choice), vodka and herbs, and put the liquid (without the ball) into the sauce. So you don't actually get to eat bits of the baseball, but instead you get "the essence of the ball". Uh huh.

Hemon in the New Yorker

Local auothor Aleksandar Hemon has a short story titled "The Conductor" in the new issue of the New Yorker. Hemon teaches writing in the Masters of Creative Writing program at Northwestern University and is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Nowhere Man, and a collection of short stories, The Question of Bruno.

Real-Time Pace Bus Times

Pace, the suburban bus transit system, has implemented a real-time system named WebWatch were you can check to see when the next bus on your route is going to appear. The schedules on the site are updated with information from the bus as it is traveling, so if the bus will be early or late, you'll easily be able to check. Supposedly a similar system is in the works for the CTA...

Wal-Mart breaks ground in Chicago

After a long battle to get a foothold in Chicago, and amid protests from local businesses and community leaders, Wal-Mart officially broke ground yesterday for a store on the West Side. Look for the store to be open early next year.

Free Music on DVD

Tonight at the Empty Bottle, local conceptual glam pop rockers P1xel & The Chronic Network debut their new concert DVD (here's a Quicktime preview). The doors open at 9:30pm, with Blesses/Curses and The Fancy Lads opening. Best of all, it's free!

Smart Urban Vehicle

Bicycle owners protested at the Chicago Auto Show on Saturday. Of course there are pictures online. (found via Metafilter)

Version>05 Deadline

You have exactly one week (till Feb. 28) to submit your proposal for Version>05, the annual festival/conference/arts fair/online project and "drunken boat on a river whose flow has been reversed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers." Get cracking.

Shopping Wright

The New York Times' "Samurai Shopper" visited Chicago recently for an auction of modern design at Wright, 1140 W. Fulton. Nice stuff, but what I want to know is who derides Chicago as "a pompous Milwaukee." Never heard that one before. (Thanks, Matthew.) UPDATE: Reader Matt W. writes that the "pompous Milwaukee" quote is from Leonard L. Levinson. Thanks!

Bachelors @ Cans

Looking for some cheap pseudo-celebrity action this evening? Head over to Cans, 1640 N. Damen, and watch "The Bachelorette" with three of the former bachelors: Wendell, Ryan and one of the final two (either Jerry or Jean Paul). They'll be there between 7pm and 10pm for photo opps and the broadcast of the "Men Tell All" episode airing tonight. Yeah.

Never A City So Real

I read Alex Kotlowitz's new book Never A City So Real. It struck me that most every story (except for one about the Cook County Courthouse) either was about food or had food as a central theme. But his simple writing style and deep connections throughout the city exposes corners of our burgh you wouldn't see. Well worth the short amount of time it takes to read, almost like reading "This American Life".
And I can say with certainty that he was spot on about GT's, the restaurant mentioned in the feature about Albany Park. I dine there from time to time since it's cheap and around the corner from my house, and it's four tiny booths are every bit as lively as he describes them.

Cover of the Rolling Stone

See? Pop matters. Why else would the Chicago Public Library hold an exhibition on the multitudinous covers of Rolling Stone magazine? From signifying success to launching trends, the magazine has earned its place in American pop history and amongst the shelves of the CPL. It's also helped the occasional student with her undergrad thesis research. The exhibit runs through March 31.

Surgeon Live at Logan

Although some people seem upset about the packed lineup, most Chicago electronic music fans are rallying around Saturday's DJ Surgeon show at the Logan Square Auditorium. For those of you unfamiliar with the music of Anthony Child, expect a dense mix of pseudo-industrial club tracks presented in an inimitable, forward-thinking fashion. Local DJs Gabe Palomo of Zuvuya and Frankie Vega of Blueline open the night. More info is, as always, available in Slowdown.

Dance the Night Away

On any given night, someone is dancing in the city -- and you can join in. Chicago Dance News collects info on dance events around Chicagoland, and has links to all the local dancing newsletters, from Ballroom to Polka.

Please Take a Look at Our Daily Specials

ChicagoSpecials.com offers up daily lists of specials at various bars on the North Side. Now you never have to wonder where to get cheap wings on a Friday night in Lakeview -- if that's a burning question for you, that is.

911 Is *NOT* a Joke

The city is raising the fines and getting more aggessive about prosecuting prank calls to 911. More than 50,000 prank calls from about 500 phone numbers have been made since last August, including 3,800 from two numbers at the same address.

Lakefront Tutus

Friend of GB and Milwaukee resident mz shows us Milwaukee's response to the Gates exhibit in New York. No word yet on a Chicago corollary.

Fifteen Minutes Starting...Now!

So I'm watching my Must See TV and I see a banner scrolling across the top, advertising an open casting call for The Apprentice 4 on Saturday. Really? Fourth season? People not only still watch this show, but they actually want to be on it? Hey, I guess there could be worse ways of getting your fifteen minutes of fame. Slowdown has all the info.

The Trouble Boy

The Virtual Book Tour makes its rounds this week with Tom Dolby's The Trouble Boy as its focus. The tour, which consists of an author making stops at websites and blogs much like they would at bookstores except, you know, online, stopped on Tuesday at Zulkey.com. (No, not that Tom Dolby. This one.)

The $15 El Ride

Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that the CTA is about to open bids on a new "premium" express train line from the Loop to O'Hare and Midway. Premium is right -- it'll cost an estimated $15 one way. But you'll get from here to there in about 20 minutes, and at that price there probably won't be too many vagrants sleeping in the seats.

Blogging in the House (Theatre)

Pop-theatre critical darlings The House Theatre of Chicago have started their own blog, where artistic director Nate Allen and company hope to interact with the company's fans. Among the revelations so far: 1930's Chicago, as depicted in the online comic book we told you about last year, will be the setting for the final installment of the Valentine Trilogy next year. Meanwhile the middle piece of the triptych, Curse of the Crying Heart, runs through March 12.

New headlines at the Tribune

Recently redesigned Newsdesigner (a brilliant site about the design of what else, newspapers) talks about the Chicago Tribune's print edition and its new cleaner headline type. Looking sharp (pun intended). On a side note, you can also see today's front pages (for the Sun-Times and Tribune) everyday at Newsdesigner.

Bean Photo Rules Further Explained

OK, hopefully this is the last time around for this story: Chicagoist contributor Andrew Peerless spoke to a city representative about the rules against photgraphing Cloud Gate and came away with a policy that actually does kind of make sense. It's not just a copyright issue, it's also one of permits.

More Comedy Than I Can Process

Tickets to Cher's Farewell Tour go on sale this Monday at 10am. Opening for Cher will be--wait for it--The Village People. For the love of God, will she actually say Farewell this time? (Oh, and while you're checking out Cher's website, be sure click on Postcards and send a friend a Cher e-card to show how much you care.)

Frozen Snot Century

Next weekend, a rabble of cyclists will roll into Chicago from Milwaukee to join us Chicagoans for the monthly Critical Mass ride. Some Chicago cyclists will join our northern friends back to Milwaukee on Saturday morning for a 100 mile ride. On Sunday the Chicagoans ride back home. What is this insanity you may ask? The Frozen Snot Century.

We Beat Columbus!

Every year, Popular Science releases a list of its Top Tech Cities. The good news is that Chicago is sixth on the list, just edging out the techno hub of... Columbus? Criteria include but aren't limited to: transportation, WiFi, cell phone use, and HDTV deployment. And arguably, our smart looks count for something.

Nice guy? or Not so nice guy?

As soon as he turned himself in for driving over a cab driver, Mike Jackson has been described by many people he worked with and who knew him as being a "nice guy" and how they're really "shocked" that he could act the way he did. The Windy City Times has found people who saw a very different side of Jackson, who apparently said he could use his connections to shut down bars that asked him to leave and stores which asked him to pay bills. And in the "it's about time" category, Ann Jackson of AIDS Legal Council of Chicago has suggested having a fundraiser for Haroon Paryani's family.

A Letter About Art

Art Letter is pretty much what it sounds like: Former gallery owner Paul Klein "asked the 67 galleries in Chicago I like the best to send me information and images about forthcoming exhibits. If I can embrace an exhibit I will send an email to you letting you know and encourage you to see it." There's also an online archive of the letters, so you can check in without cluttering your inbox.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Now that I've got an eensy-teensy backyard I plan on participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Amateur ornithologists all over the country are going to be logging in reporting what types and numbers of birds they've seen, right in their own backyard. It takes place from the 18th-21st and you can participate even if you don't have a window. Go to a local park, look out your window, or visit a friend and look in their backyard.

La Casa del Pueblo-Busted

Chicago Business reports that La Casa del Pueblo, a small independent grocery store in Pilsen, has been busted by the National Labor and Relations Board for threatening to fire workers, have them deported, or close the store if employees continued with their efforts to organize and join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Store owners are accused of firing employees, cutting hours, and forcing employees to take unpaid vacations. The Chicago Journal reports that the grocer also worked with a Franklin Park union in attempts to unionize the store with them. It's illegal for an owner to take part in the formation of a union.

Chicago: City in Art

Chicago: The City in Art is a collaborative effort between The Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools designed to educate both students and teachers about the Depression-era and Works Progress Administration murals in their own schools. The site includes images of the restored murals, along with lesson plans, glossary and more.

Steel Museum In Our Future

The closed Acme Coke Plant on the city's far Southeast Side has taken another step toward becoming a museum dedicated to the region's steel industry. The Calumet Heritage Project has purchased the plant, which has been closed since 19. (Check out this great series of photos of the factory and grounds at Chicago Snapshot.)

Another reason to quit

Gov. Blagojevich's new budget, coming later today, calls for a 75-cent-per-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax. This would bring the total per-pack tax in the city to $3.28, and total prices close to eight dollars a pack. The tax increase is needed to help close a $1.1 billion budget gap.

Jonny Cycles Custom Frames

Jonny Cycles, located in Madison Wisconsin (just around the corner from us Chicago folk), is crafting some amazing custom lugged steel framesets. Each frame is made to order and Jon (Mr. Jonny Cycles) works with each customer from start to finish to create the perfect ride. See for yourself...check out the gallery of beautiful bikes on his site! He also happens to be a mechanic at one of the best bike shops in the midwest, Yellow Jersey. Get your name on the list fast!

Last Steve Bartman story ever, part 3

You've got to be kidding me: Harry Caray's restaurant to make a "curse-ending" spaghetti sauce made with bits of the Steve Bartman baseball?! PLEASE let this be the last that we see of the infamous baseball!

Museum Pass Choices

The Chicago CityPass, a card that lets you into many of the city's cultural institutions over a period of time for one fixed rate, will soon have some competition, the Tribune reports. A Chicago edition of the Power Pass is soon to debut, along with the Go Chicago Card, which arrives in May. Good news for people looking for ways to entertain out-of-town visitors this summer.

You vs. Ebert!

Got an opinion on what films are going to win Oscars this year? You can test your predictive powers in the Sun-Times' annual Outguess Ebert contest. If you enter and correctly pick more Oscar winners than The Big E, you could win valuable prizes. See the Sun-Times site for details. But hurry; you only have until February 25th to enter.

Another Lakeview Taxi Incident

What's with Lakeview and cabs lately? Over the weekend, a man was dragged 50 feet by a cab after getting in a fight with the driver and passengers. This time, one of the passengers opened a cab door into the guy's car, and after an argument, the door ended up shut on the guy's jacket. The cabbie stopped after he noticed what was happening, but then sped off after ordering the passengers out. At least this time it was an accident.

This is Only a Tribute

Our very own JMA is a featured artist on a new CD, "The Shari Elf Tribute Album," a must-have for outsider music afficianados. He performs "My Automobile" on the disc, which is available through CD Baby.

Brown Line renovation project meeting

Thanks to CTA Tattler for pointing out that the CTA is holding a public meeting tomorrow night at 7:00 to discuss the Brown Line renovation project, focusing on the work planned for the Belmont and Fullerton train stops. If you're going to be affected by the closures, this might be a good time to make your opinions on the subject heard. See the CTA site for full details.

Maya Keyes, out in the open

Local blogs were abuzz last fall with the rumors that erstwhile Senate candidate Alan Keyes' daughter, Maya, was gay, based on a Xanga blog that seemed to belong to her. Coming after Daddy had called Vice President Cheney's daughter Mary a "selfish hedonist" for being gay, this was an interesting development. Today Maya makes her first public appearance as a gay activist at a rally for Equality Maryland; she told the Washington Post that her parents threw her out and cut her off last month.

Make Out on Valentine's Day

Impress your dearest with a poem tonight: Make Magazine, an upcoming "Chicago literary magazine with a focus on publishing new area talent, as well as exploring Chicago traditions," has a poetry booth at "The Tainted Love Make-Out Party." tonight at Gunther Murphy's, 1638 W. Belmont. Originaly poems will be created on the spot, based on information offered by the customer, and the new poem will then be delivered aloud to the purchaser's beloved by an improv actor. There'll also be a kissing booth, DJs and three bands: Belfrie, Coupleskate and Pearly Sweets. All this for only $5! Doors open at 8pm, 21 and over. A little more info here.

Got $4.5 million?

Buy Sammy Sosa's condo! 6,600 square feet, 5½ bathrooms and 7 bedrooms "if you count the theater", according to the sales agent handling the sale.

Neil Steinberg New York

Sun-Times Watch points to the first NY Daily News column by Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg. And what wisdom does Steinberg have to share with New Yorkers? "I don't belong in Chicago; I belong in New York."

DOT: Better Living Without Amtrak, Part II

According to my sources, DOT Secretary Mineta was late today for his meeting to discuss the end of Amtrak... because he was stuck in traffic. And why is no more Amtrak is going to be good for us? Well those silly Amtrak trains won't get in the way of the commuter trains of course! Mind you he didn't actually meet with the public, he just met behind closed doors and ignored the 100 or so protesters, according to my sources who were there.

Trekkies, Unite!

Fans of the television show "Enterprise" will be rallying to protest its cancellation in a night of music, fun and solidarity at the Logan Square Auditorium this Friday starting at 9pm. At 10:30pm, a webcast of the attendees cheering the show will be recorded and sent to Paramount executives and advertisers. $10 gets you in the door. Check out trekunited.com for more information.

V-Day, Every Day

For many people, Valentine's Day has transformed from a "Hallmark Holiday" to a time for raising the awareness of women in crisis. Eve Ensler (who's in town tomorrow night) started this movement with her groundbreaking work, "The Vagina Monologues," which continues to be performed across the country, and the world. The Monologues work to educate the public about ending violence against women, and performances are usually fundraisers to aid the cause. There are many different organizations who have planned readings and performances for V-Day, many of which will take place well into March this year. Check out the V-Day website and find one near you today.

Live Aid, Farm Aid, and now ... Lakes Aid!

A board member of Great Lakes United, a group dedicated to preserving and restoring the Great Lakes ecosystem, has proposed a series of benefit concerts, in the model of Live Aid and Farm Aid, to raise money for upkeep of beaches and other Great Lakes sites. The first concert is tentatively planned for Chicago in 2006, with Soldier Field as a possible venue and veteran benefit concert headliners The Beach Boys mentioned as a headlining act.

DOT: Better Living Without Amtrak

Word on the street is that Dept. of Transportation Secretary Mineta is going to be at Union Station tomorrow at 10am to explain how eliminating Amtrak is going to be great, just totally great.

Cribs: Ebert Edition

"Topic he adores but won't discuss at a party: Darwinism. I really believe Darwin and his followers more or less have accounted for much of what we see when we open our eyes each day. I think that is miraculous, but my wife says I bore people with it." 28 Questions with Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. [via Kottke]

Hot for Teacher

From yesterday's Tribune: "A Morgan Park High School teacher has been suspended after police said they found her 'half naked' in a car with a 17-year-old student." Why has this been happening so much recently? Absolutely gross.

Curling

If you've been thinking that you need to start doing some exercise but you're just not a traditional sports kinda player, then maybe curling is for you. Sure it's an esoteric sport here in the states, but it dates back to the 1500's in Scotland. The Chicago Curling Club is having their final open house this weekend where you can come find out more about the sport. You may be a natural in which case you could work your way up to the U.S. Olympic Team.

Zine reading doubles as unofficial GB get-together

Tomorrow night at MoJoe's Cafe Lounge in Roscoe Village, there's going to be a zine reading featuring many authors from the local zine community ... including GB's very own Andrew Huff! See the Slowdown entry for the full details. There are sure to be plenty of GB staffers in attendance, so don't forget to look for the cool kids wearing their GB T-shirts...

Build the City, Mail the City

Build Your Own Chicago is a set of incredible miniature building model kits created by Wurlington Brothers Press. The models come printed on postcards, which you could mail to friends using the Chicago buildings from the USPS's new set of architecture-themed stamps. Or you could print out one of the free ones available online. [via Unbeige]

Pick of the Litter

Thinking about getting a new pet? Consider heading to Chicago Animal Care & Control's "Meet Your Match" adoption drive this weekend. Dogs and cats will be waiting for you to fall in love with them all St. Valentine's Weekend at the organization's shelter at 2741 S. Western Ave.

Suicide by El Train

The CTA Tattler has an eye-witness account of a suicide at the Loyola Red Line stop last night. Chilling.

Takashi Murakami

Tonight Gen Art and Museum Works are opening the Museum Works Galleries Chicago and will be showing a limited edition of Takashi Murakami lithographs. "Takashi who?" you say. You know those colored Louis Vuitton patterns? He designed those. The exhibition is free and open to the public through February 18. Tonight's event will last from 5:30pm-8:30pm at 3 East Huron St., 3rd Floor. Call 312-229-1701 for more information. (I'll be there, too.)

But are pictures of the Park Grill illegal?

As if you didn't have enough to worry about with Millennium Park concerning the whole "you can't take photographs" affair, the Sun-Times reports today that the city is forcing the operators of the park's cafe, the Park Grill, to renegotiate its contract with the Park District, after the Sun-Times discovered that the owner got a 20-year lease to run the restaurant, has not had to pay property taxes on the site, and gets free water, gas and garbage pickup at the cost of taxpayers. What's more, the businessman who was awarded the lease, Matthew A. O'Malley, apparently got a top Park District official pregnant during negotiations. So it was those kind of negotiations....

No Going AWOL

State Representative Patricia Bellock has introduced a bill to outlaw the sale of "alcohol without liquid," or "AWOL," machines in Illinois. AWOL machines turn alcohol into an inhalable vapor, allowing people to get drunk really quickly, supposedly without hangovers. They're already illegal in Colorado, and other states are considering bans. Even liquor company Diageo is against them.

Millennium Park copyright explained!

After a considerable amount of speculation on the Web about the copyright on Millennium Park, the Reader's Ben Joravsky offers some explanation in this week's paper as to why security guards are targeting photographers snapping pictures of the Bean and other sculptures in the Park.
The city has a license agreement with the artists to be the sole authorized seller of merchandise with Millennium Park images, and that's why they've been targeting professional photographers in the park and stores trying to sell notecards with Bean images on them. The business about the security guards claiming that the whole park was copyrighted? Apparently it's a result of some overly zealous legal language given to security guards to hand out to commercial photographers who want to sell Millennium Park images. (BTW, even though the park was paid for by private funds, Ben Joravsky notes that the private donors then gave the artwork to the city, so the park is now owned by the public. How can the city claim copyright on publicly owned statues in a publicly owned park? Oh, I'm sure they'll find some way...)

Update: In response to BoingBoing's query about why the press director is saying that the sculptures' artists still own the copyright, Joravsky says this is true, but that the artists aren't getting any money from the permits that the city is trying to sell to photographers. A representative for one of the artists is quoted as saying, "If security guards give the impression that they are protecting artists' rights, it's probably a lack of understanding." Then whose rights are the city protecting? Apparently, its own right to sell Millennium Park postcards, as city official Ed Uhlir explains in the article: "We're going to have postcards in production, and we intend to sell them where postcards are sold [good plan! -ed.] ... If someone's in direct competition, we'll go after them."

So, to sum up: the city wants to make money off of images of the park (which is completely public property), so they're harrassing photographers in the park who look like professionals (i.e., they use a tripod) and scaring them into buying photography permits by saying that only the artists own the copyrights to the sculptures.... but the artists aren't seeing any money from the city from these permits.

Read a scanned copy of the Reader article here: Part 1, Part 2.

Music at Fireside Bowl tonight!!!

After the news last August that there would be no more shows at the venerable Fireside Bowl, you probably thought they meant it. Think again, Clappy! The Reader tips us off that Thursday nights at the Fireside are music nights once again. Tonight's show: the Watchers and the Eternals. Only bad thing about the shows: they're 21+ now. Sorry, little punk rock kids! (And while we're on the subject of the Fireside, check out the new, corporate-friendly Fireside Website. Isn't that Jimmy Fallon on the Office Parties page?)

Got an iPod but no time or are lazy?

Here's an interesting idea: For those with iPods and no time (or are too lazy) to rip your music collection from CDs, there's an answer for you. Local company RipItDigital will rip a CD for a buck and then load it onto your iPod or MP3 player for $10 (sale price, regularly $20). They'll even pick up and deliver or tutor you on how to use your newfangled thingmajig music player. Calling all chads and trixies!

Rare 18th century violin recovered

Did you know that a rare 18th century violin worth more than $280,000 was stolen last week from its owner, a music teacher in suburban Lisle? If you did, you'll be glad to hear that it was recovered on Wednesday. And if you didn't know, well, don't try going for it now; the owner's planning to get some more security measures to prevent future theft.

More INXS

Last Sunday, Schuba's held auditions for the new CBS reality show on the search for a new INXS frontman, replacing the deceased Michael Hutchence. Metromix reporter Karen Budell made it to the auditions and relates her experience forgetting the words to "Devil Inside."

Northerly Island Amphitheater

Northerly Island may not get the various amenities suggested in the years since Daley had Miggs Field bulldozed, but it's probably getting something completely unexpected: a 10,000-seat amphitheater, to be run by Clear Channel. Understandably, lots of people are upset, including JAM Productions, the local concert promoter that claims to have originated the idea, only to have it handed to their biggest competitor.

Bibliophilia in Review

If you've ever harbored the notion of becoming a book critic, Claire Zulkey at MBToolBox lets you know that it's not as difficult as you think. She talked to several literary reviewers, including Bookslut's Jessa Crispin, on breaking into the book reviewing business. Guess what their biggest piece of advice is? Read. A lot. Oh, and you might want to start a blog, too. (Hey, I did.)

Cars As Far As the Eye Can See

The Chicago Auto Show is only a couple days away, and the articles are starting to come out. You can even follow along as AutoBlog blogs the whole thing.

CTA news: More riders, fewer services

The CTA reported an increase in ridership in 2004. There were a total of 444.5 million rides last year, up slightly from 2003. This increase in ridership, of course, hasn't deterred the CTA from their plans to close Brown Line stations during construction or to prepare an emergency plan that calls for massive service cuts and fare increases, if they finally get the long-promised funding from the Illinois General Assembly. Oh, and starting Friday, Red Line riders won't be able to get out at the Lake Street station on weeknights or weekends; it's being closed for construction.

Where You Live

CityNews Chicago bills itself as a "community information technology and neighborhood early warning system" on housing in the city. Type in an address and get property info for it, or search for property statistics on the neighborhood or zipcode of your choice. For extra fun, head to Google's new Maps beta and find the place you searched for on their map.

WNBA slam-dunks in Chicago

Even though Da Bulls are improving lately, Chicago hasn't had a women's basketball team to rally around. That's all changing finally, in May 2006, cause Chicago is getting an official WNBA franchise. Season tickets went on sale yesterday, but I bet there are still a few left, so now is your chance to get in on the ground floor. (Thanks, Roni.)

"The Donald" gets "The Check" for "The Building"

Donald Trump closed on the $640 million loan yesterday that will allow him to build a 90-story hotel/condo tower on the site of the old Sun-Times building. Oh, good.

Music or wildlife?

Clear Channel Entertainment wants to build a temporary concert venue on Northerly Island (the place formerly known as Meigs Field), promising a considerable amount of income generated for the Park District. Environmental groups are worried that the concert plans are going to be a little more permanent; the venue could remain in place for up to 4 years and cut into plans to establish a fish and wildlife preserve on the island.

UofC Priest Resigns Amid Sex Scandal

Rev. Michael Yakaitis resigned from his post as the Roman Catholic chaplain of the University of Chicago's Calvert House today after admitting that he was sexually involved with an 18 year old seminary student 15 years ago. Rev. Yakaitis had been living at the U of C's Catholic center for three years. The former seminary student who came forward with the allegations of sex abuse also revealed that the diocese knew about Yakaitis's history and placed him in a college ministry anyway.

It's that time of the month again:

The superhuge and superfantastic February edition of the Chicago-based Bookslut is up, and with it comes interviews with Dennis Cooper, Brian Evenson and Bill Knott; a profile of the poetry mag 32 Poems; a Valentine's Day-themed installment of Sharon Adarlo's "Judging a Book by Its Cover" a new, extra-long installment of "Stripped Books" on Stephen Mitchell's new version of the Gilgamesh epic (by me); lucid reviews; snarky columns; and much much more. Read it.

SMITTEN WITH KNITTIN'

I have to say, I know way more people into knitting than I ever thought I would at this age. And while most of them are crafty ladies, apparently dudes are getting into it, too. Way to go Chicago.

Modsquare Netlabel Launch

Attention electronic musicians: here is your chance to connect with local artists, chat about gear, and share demos. Join the folks from Modsquare tonight at Sonotheque for an evening of networking and IDM, featuring performances from Miles Tilmann, Justin McGrath, and Liz Revision. Bring at least 10 copies of your CDR to share, and you’ll get in for free. More information is available on the subVariant website.

...But Were Afraid to Ask

Wild and Unwise is a surprisingly complete biography of Liz Phair, cobbled together from published interviews and other sources, all the way up to the making of her most recent, eponymous album. (It being a Geocities site, the pages may disappear briefly. Have patience and reload.) [via del.icio.us]

February 8, 2000

Today in Chicago History: It seems like only yesterday to long-time fans, but today marks the fifth anniversary of the untimely and tragic death of popular WGN-AM radio personality, Bob Collins. He died when the small plane he piloted collided with another plane near the Waukegan Regional Airport. Over a million listeners tuned into his morning show every day.

Shred EVERYTHING: identity theft up in Chicago

Identity theft increased 15 percent in Chicago last year, primarily credit card fraud. It might be a good time to get a copy of your credit report (info on this at the Federal Trade Commission site) and check it for stuff you don't remember doing.

Gay Chicago Bloggers Bash

Thursday, February 24 at Roscoe's is the first-ever Gay Chicago Bloggers Bash, co-hosted by me, GB staffer Kris Vire, and Aaron Bailey of 601am and Chicagoist. Expect it to be a casual gathering not unlike our monthly GB Get-Togethers. All are welcome: GLBT or straight, blogger or non-blogger. Details, as usual, in Slowdown.

Chicago Drivers, Beware

We all know what people say about Chicago drivers. Well, those ever-industrious gents over at SkinnyCorp have a new meme / business venture / public service they'd like to share. I Park Like An Idiot provides bumper stickers that you are NOT supposed to put on offending vehicles. No, really. [via YH]

Which would you prefer: cellphone reception, or better CTA service?

The Tribune's transportation reporter, Jon Hilkevitch, published a righteous rant today about the CTA's continued pouring of money into a project to provide cellphone reception for train riders underground, at a time when CTA officials are talking of serious cash shortfalls and closing train stations during Brown Line construction. (Thanks to CTA Tattler for the tip.)

City Employee Charged in Cabbie Death

You recall that cabbie who was killed by a passenger who ran him over with his own taxi? The alleged culprit turned himself in. It was a city employee: Michael L. Jackson, who worked in the STD, HIV and AIDS division of the Chicago Department of Public Health. UPDATE: Blogger "Duff" at GirlReaction was a witness to the murder, and tells her story here, with more commentary here.

O'Hare in 2004: not so good

O'Hare ended up with the worst record for on-time arrivals and departures in 2004, when compared to the nation's 31 busiest airports. 30 percent of arrivals and 73 precent of departures were late into/out of O'Hare. There is hope, though; the FAA is making O'Hare cut flights back on peak arrival times, in the hopes of easing congestion. The reductions went into effect last November, and December did see a bit of an improvement (66 percent of flights were on time, up from 60 percent in December 2003). And in case you were wondering about Chicago's other airport, Midway fared a bit better in the rankings; it was ranked 17th, with only 21 percent of its inbound flights and 22 percent of its outbound flights delayed. Something to keep in mind next time you're booking a flight.

Baseball blogs

Chicago writer Stuart Shea, author of Wrigley Field: The Unauthorized Biography, has started a blog, Baseball and Real Life, where he covers the Cubs and the Sox alongside rock n' roll, politics and more. With pitchers and catchers for both teams reporting next Wednesday, it's a good one to add to your bookmarks alongside other excellent baseball blogs like Most Valuable Network's White Sox-oriented Exile in Wrigleyville and Cubs-focused Behind the Ivy.

Public Art Actually Not That Public

It's one of those stories that has been making the rounds: a friend tries to snap a picture of Kapoor's Cloud Gate at Millenium Park, only to be hassled by security. Well, it seems this is actually true; no photography is allowed on the grounds since the supposedly public space falls completely under copyright. How ridiculous is that? Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing refers to this as "the vilest display of human venality I've heard of all day." The Reader recently ran a related piece entitled The Bean Police [Read pages 1, 2, 3]. Obviously, a lot of people are simply ignoring the rule.

GB in the news (sorta)

There's a new art installation in the front plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Called "Short Cut", it's supposed to look like a traffic accident, and is part of the museum's new show "Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist's Eye," which begins Feb. 12. The Chicago Tribune wrote a short blurb about the artwork, with the headline "How to create a gapers' block." So of course we GOTTA link to it.

Too Much INXS

Remember that movie with Marky Mark where his dream came true when he got the chance to become the new frontman for his favorite band? (I saw it on VH-1, okay?) Mix that with The Apprentice and you've got the format for a new CBS reality show looking to replace the late, great Michael Hutchence of INXS. Think you have what it takes to give us what we need? Auditions take place on Sunday at Schubas (more in Slowdown). Oh yeah. It's classy.

Lakeview Voted Friendliest Neighborhood

From the Chicago Tribune: "A quarrel over a fare early this morning on Chicago's North Side led to the death of a cab driver when a man allegedly beat the cabbie and then ran him over with his own taxi." Somehow, Lakeview is becoming less of a destination neighborhood for me these days. I wonder why.

Become a Porn Star!

Local lady-owned sex shop Early to Bed is currently casting its very first sexually explicit video. They're looking for lesbian couples or "play partners" to star in a high-quality porn movie with an all-female crew. You'll get $150 plus lube and toys -- and a whole lot of exposure. Interested? Call Searah at 773-271-1219 or e-mail moviesearlytobedcom.

Begin Transmission

Are you a local musician? Do you enjoy sharing your work online? Gapers Block is launching a new section — entitled Transmission — to highlight up-and-coming Chicago talent. Every week, we'll feature an mp3 from an artist, band or label along with some background info and a link to their website. All you have to do is contact us at transmission@gapersblock.com with a link to your stuff and some words about the music. If we like what we hear, we'll post the track for a week under a CC Music Sharing License. So, go on, get in touch!

Chicago Free Wireless

Chicago FreeFi is an ever-growing compendium of free wireless "hot spots" in the city and suburbs. They've also got a map of free wifi locations within the city. Worth checking out if you're looking for a place to hang out with your computer.

Sunrise, Sunset

The Siskel Film Center is going to be running a very cool double-bill for the next week: Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. If you missed one (or both) of these films when they originally ran in the theaters, here's your chance to see their story in one long afternoon or evening. Check the Film Center's calendar for showtimes. And if romance isn't your cup of cinematic tea, just wait a couple of weeks when the Film Center repeats this double-bill idea with Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films.

No Smoking in OP?

Oak Park is the latest Chicago suburb considering an all-out public smoking ban for restaurants and bars. But there's a bit of a twist here: restaurant owners opposed to the ban are saying it should be a state issue and not a local one. The Village Board approved having a public hearing on the issue. No word whether the location of the hearing will be smoke-free or not.

eBay fun

A little late for local needs, but maybe our readers out East will be interested in purchasing an "Official Chicago Winter Parking Space Placeholder" on eBay. "Endorsed by the Honorable Mayor Daley!!" (Thanks, Nik.)

OMG, Buy a T-Shirt

The first t-shirts from OMG Clothing (part of the skinnyCorp empire) are now on sale. I'm digging the "My mom likes Maiden" design.

Deer, 10 Points

A 10-point buck hit by an SUV caused a whole lot of angst out in Des Plaines recently. The guy who hit it didn't want it. One guy, a police officer, only wanted the head, while another guy, a hunter and iron worker, felt it was unethical to not take the whole thing. In the end, the Des Plaines PD got a deer carcass thrown at its door and the iron worker was charged with littering. At least no one woke up with a bloody deer head in their bed.

Moto Origato

The New York Times has an article on Homaro Cantu, executive chef of Moto, and his use of an inkjet printer to create culinary curiosities. Printed sushi -- yum?

Clown Around Town

Clown Around Town, a new program from The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, celebrates the circus arts all weekend long with acrobatic workshops, clown performances, and a circus museum exhibit. Today's events include a circus exhibition all day at the Museum of Science and Industry, "Silliness 101" at the Chicago Children's Museum, and an Astro Beat Circus Dance Party from 7-9 pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. Check out Slowdown for highlights of events happening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well.

Roger Ebert: a star and a silver circle

Congratulations to Roger Ebert, who's getting (according to Feder's column) a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Silver Circle of the Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. What's his next move? Well, he likes taking pictures, so why not a submission to Rearview? (Thanks to none other than Rich "Svengoolie" Koz for the tip!)

Chef Bubala, the "anti-steakhouse chef"

Have you ever dined at Thyme, or its casual counterpart, Thyme Cafe? If so, you've experienced Chef Bubala's creations. A recent visit to Princeton University prompted a nice article about Bubala and his philosophies; he works with small, local farmers to find the freshest products. Chef Bubala visited Princeton as part of the Department of Dining Services' Great Chefs of Chicago series. The program offers both students and staff the opportunity to sample different kinds of cuisine and cooking styles from some of the most renowned chefs in the country.

Blog to Book is the New Black

Yet another Chicago blogger has landed a book deal: Jennsylvania's memoir, Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self Centered Smartass, Or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, will be published next spring by Penguin. A quick synopsis is available here. (Thanks to another blogger-author {blauthor?}, Wendy.)

Trail of Tears

Jim and the folks at Coudal Partners are about to begin another one of their web contests, this time ominously titled the Trail of Tears. It seems treacherous, mysterious, and all-together intense. It also features prizes from Powell's, Pixies Discs, Veer and Rotofugi, among others. So, perhaps the ends will justify the means. Sign up for more information here — if you think you're up for it. But, don't say we didn't warn you.

Chicago groundhogs' predictions differ

"Windy City Woodie," the woodchuck that's the weather predictor for the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, did not see his shadow this morning, predicting the coming of spring. However, Brookfield Zoo's groundhogs, "Cloudy" and "Stormy," saw their shadows (or at least their representative, "Maddy Skunk," did), which means six more weeks of winter.

Chicago's media elite, named

Crain's has a five part piece about Chicago's media elite, profiling the people who are "best at what they do." The list is heavy on editors and reporters, with a few philanthropists and local business owners thrown in.

Outsourcing Time

If you've ever been in a federal office, you've probably seen a Chicago Lighthouse clock. The 99-year-old company employs blind and vision-impaired people in Chicago to make clocks and, more recently, wall planners, thermometers and printer ribbons. The Wall Street Journal reports how Chicago Lighthouse is changing practices to fight the pressure from Chinese imports.

Patrick Fitzgerald, Badass Prosecutor

The Washington Post yesterday ran a profile of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, whose solid work in Chicago have earned him a national reputation. "I thought, 'He is the original Untouchable,' " Peter Fitzgerald says. "You could just see it in his eyes that he was a straight shooter." (Thanks, Matt.)

Somebody's gonna Lotto... unless they don't

You didn't happen to buy an Illinois Lotto ticket in south suburban Frankfort last year with the numbers 14, 23, 24, 36, 37 and 50, did you? 'Cause if you did, you just lost $14 million.

Rogerspark.com

When I first moved to Chicago, I lived in Rogers Park. A good three years went by before I moved closer to downtown for work but I look back fondly on the neighborhood. A remarkably diverse and sometimes misunderstood neighborhood, I wished there was better information about it. RogersPark.com fills that need with various community-building events, contests, resources and more. Good stuff.

Then & Now: William Perry

Just in time for the Superbowl, CNN.com runs an update on William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Watch for a new commercial with Perry, Da Coach and the Punky QB during the Superbowl this Sunday. He's a grandfather now, as well as father to a strapping 6 feet, 260 pound, 12 year old son; another possible football star in that family. Perry enjoys his retirement and loves meeting fans. He also likes to talk to kids at local schools with a positive message: stay in school, work hard, listen to and respect your elders.

Yet Another T-Shirt Company

[Im]perfect Articles offers hand-dyed, hand-screened t-shirts by local artists. They were written up in the Tribune yesterday. (Thanks, Christian.)

Influence Just Got Lazier

Since April 2004, this unique Chicago monthly has given local DJs and producers an outlet for their alternative musical interests. Disallowing traditional mixing, INFLUENCE. encourages guests to span multiple artists and genres, and demonstrate the variety of styles that have inspired them artistically. Tonight features performances from some of the city's most dedicated and knowledgeable promoters, such as Erick Material and Rob Hamilton of the famed Lazy FM collective. Zachary Lubin opens. More information is available in Slowdown.

Car Show Alternatives

Even though Chicago's Auto Show is quite popular, it ain't got nothin' on Detroit. While there are many activists here who intend to protest the Auto Show in Chicago, Detroit's anti-auto activities, err, other auto activities, include an art exhibition showing some of the negative effects of cars on society.

Is Pilsen any Place for an American Girl?

The newest doll in the line of American Girl Place dolls is Marisol, a Mexican-American girl from the Pilsen neighborhood whose family moves to suburban Des Plaines because, as Marisol explains in her background story, Pilsen is "dangerous, and there was no place for me to play." Not too surprisingly, Pilsen leaders aren't too happy with the characterization of Pilsen as dangerous, while the mayor of Des Plaines points out that his city's Hispanic population is 17 percent. Meanwhile, local area American Girl Place customers can learn more about the new doll by joining a book club devoted to Marisol, "the girl who was born to dance."

 

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