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, June 24

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Sun-Times "does it right"

Editor & Publisher has announced its 2005 honor roll of "10 That Do It Right," and it included the Sun-Times among the list of newspapers that offer a model to others. While noting that the paper is an "odd choice" in light of last year's controversies, E&P commends the Sun-Times both for its honesty and for its "aggressive" and "fun" journalism.

The Golden Lit 50

Earlier in the month, Newcity posted their annual list of the top 50 Chicago literati -- some expected (Studs Terkel), some new (Steven Levitt), and, surprisingly, Oprah. Golden Rule Jones did a little analysis of this year's selection, tracking who's in and who's out and who's moved up or down from the previous year. A glaring ommission noted in the comments: Kevin Guilfoile, whose debut Jones calls "definitely the kind of 'mover' the list purports to show."

Where To Catch The Tour In Chicago

The Tour De France is about to get started. The whole world and Sheryl Crow are eager to see if Lance is going to take home his record-setting seventh win. If you want to check out the racing in Chicago, head over to Brasserie Jo, where the chef has created specials particular to the region where each stage is held. Also, everyone's favorite Handlebar will have coverage too.

A Little Taxing

Starting tomorrow, expect to pay a bit more for, well, almost everything in Chicago. The city's new sales tax goes into effect July 1, up a quarter percent to 9% on most purchases. This puts Chicago higher than New York City which is a measly 8.375%. We'll have to wait and see if shoppers flee to the suburbs for their spending.

iPod Tour of Millennium Park

Millennium Park now offers a self-guided audio tour, downloadable to your very own mp3 player. And it's free! If you don't have an iPod or whatnot, you can rent one for $5 from the Chicago Shop at Millennium Park, on the second floor of the Exelon Pavilion at 201 E. Randolph Street. (Alas, the rentable player only comes with the tour — no music.)

Your Formula Life

This Saturday, July 2, local promotional collectives Meiotic and Koncept team up to present the next edition of their excellent, bi-monthly Your Formula Life series at Chicago's Tini Martini. This installment features performances from BMG of Ectomorph fame and a DJ set from Planet E recording artist Common Factor. In the shameless self-promotion department, I'll be opening up the night. More information is available in Slowdown.


Newcity alerts us to the fact that the Second City is starting a new radio program this weekend on WCKG. Called "Second City Radio", the program will run Saturday nights at 10pm for the next 6 weeks, with the eventual hope of syndicating the program. The show's host will be Second City alumnus Jim Zulevic, and will feature a number of former Second City actors and celebrity guests, with (of course) many more surprises in store.

Big cities downsizing

As the Washington Post reports, city of Chicago population decreases are in line with those found in other big cities during the decade so far, with USA Today noting that, should present trends continue, three-quarters of large US cities will fare worse in the aughts than they did in the 90s. Elaborating on the local situation, the Sun-Times points out that, following the boom between 1990 and 2000, this is the fourth straight year of a net loss of residents; in a related story, USAT looks closer and observes that, while Chicago may be losing population, Joliet, Naperville and Aurora are growing by some very healthy percentages.

The MeFi Travel Agency

This seems to happen about once a month: an Ask MetaFilter user has posed the question, "which neighborhoods are worth a visit whilst here on a weekend trip?" Take a gander to contribute or to get ideas for your own exploration. (You might also want to read this entry from April, which focuses on kid-friendly things to do, and this one from May.)

Swing Your Partner

NPR's All Things Considered had an interesting story last night about an influx of suburban squaredancers at Chi-Town Squares dances. The Squares are mostly gay men, the suburbanites are mostly older straight couples. Do-si-doing ensues.

Free Ice Cream Social

Everyone's obsessed about ice cream lately. Surely after reading our article, Starbucks decided to get into the game and is giving the stuff away this afternoon, possibly even right now.

Beanie Baby

I'm not sure where Bent got their inspiration but I'm sure some Chicago socialites would love to have this pram to tote their baby around the Bean. [Hat tip: The Box Factory]

An update on those music festivals

Pitchfork's Intonation Festival is less than a month off, and they're reminding folks that 2-day passes may run out soon. A schedule of the event is now available, meaning you can figure out just how sun-burnt you want to get. As for the following weekend, Lollapalooza has also posted line-ups: day 1, day 2 and a pdf of both. Since it features mutiple stages, Lolla may take some strategy, not to mention negotiation with your friends ("will it be the Walkmen or the Pixies on Saturday at 7:30?," for example), so it's never too early to start planning.

American Environmental Photographs

American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936 is a digital collection of nearly "4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century." The images, which range from ecological settings, individual plants and natural landscapes, are from the Department of Special Collections at the University of Chicago Library. You may search or browse the collections by subject or geographic area. The collection includes more than 700 photos documenting Illinois, and, as is often the case with old photographs, you get the eerie feeling you are looking at natural environments that no longer exist.

Doin' What Chicago Does Best

Maybe this is so last week, but Radar Magazine has weighed in humorously and insightfully on the recent Oprah-Hermes debacle: "But was it a true Crash moment? Itís easy to assume it was, because, letís face it, France is a racist place. The countryís huge African and Muslim underclass is ghettoized on the periphery of Paris, safe from the eyes of tourists, and the publicís support for politicians like Jean-Marie Le Pen shows the lingering dark side of French nationalism. But most likely it wasnít. In fact, it was probably the opposite, because it had nothing to do with the subtle strictures of race and everything to do with a different kind of smashup: celebrity entitlement colliding with traditional French arrogance." [via Agenda]

Trib says it dealt first hand

In media circles, there has been some discussion of the New York Times and its recent addition of a poker column. The Trib wants everyone to know it had the idea first, and, to that end, its managing editor wrote Jim Romenesko and said as much. Steve Rosenbloom has covered the "sport" for the paper for over a year, and James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street and a writing instructor at the School of the Art Institute, apparently used the success of that column as a part of his NYT pitch.

Enough to fill the Grand Canyon

This week in Detour we looked at a few of our favorite places for frozen treats, and readers have been filling in some of the gaps by making additional suggestions in the comments. After all, there are only so many of us, and there is so much of Chicago. Michael McGarry, though, didn't let that sort of thing keep him from delivering judgment on not just the city's, but the region's best ice cream parlors and custard stands in Midwest Scoops. Get a sample of his tasting tips in the Christian Science Monitor.

International Award for Blogging

Or at least researching and writing about it. Ericka Menchen, a Communications graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, won first place in the international competition for the 2005 Carl J. Couch Award for Internet Research. Her title: "Blogger Motivations: Power, Pull, and Positive Feedback". Her subject: college students who blog. Her conclusion: "I came to view blogs as a social interaction of reading and writing." Her prize: $300 and the opportunity to present her paper at the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers.

Radio, Live Transmission

We started Transmission a couple months ago now, and it's been going great. Thanks to the fine folks at Pixies Discs and Jewelboxing, we've been able to bring you new and exclusive music from artists like The Changes, Dolorous Canter, Warmdesk, Alicia Frantz, Mass Shivers, Atomly, and Zelienople. This week, we're happy to feature Chicago's very own Kate Simko. If you wanna see your music on GB, we'll surely give it a listen — simply email us at transmission at gapersblock dot com with a link and some words about why you should be included. Rock on.

DuPage's Real Live RPG. With Instructions.

I'd heard DuPage County was boring, but pretending to be vampires in the COD cafeteria is a new level of sad sad sad I hadn't considered. As one person put it, "it makes me long for the days where these sorts of weirdos just hung out in a basement listening to Led Zeppelin". Too true.

Dude, I'm Totally 21

Chicago.Metroblogging drew our attention to this: The State of Illinois redesigned underage driver's licenses and state IDs at the beginning of the year, and now it's virtually impossible to confuse them with the 21+ versions. For one thing, they're vertical. Check out the specs here (PDF).

Where do you want to go today?

An interesting statistic: Chicago, "the city that works," boasts the second highest number of goal-setters on 43 Things. Life can't be all work and no play, though, so those folks -- and possibly you -- will want to contribute their $.02 on why our city is so great at the just-launched 43 Places. (And, no, neither of these sites have the slightest bit to do with 43 Folders, though that site might give you tips on making the work and travel plans actually happen.)

Map mania -- way cool!

If you're a map geek, the new Google Earth software will blow your mind. Google Maps was cool, but it's nothing like seeing downtown in 3D and having the CTA, Starbucks, and highway maps laid overtop as you turn the city to a 45 degree angle. (Sadly, the Bean isn't in 3D.) Look for the 3D layers in the bottom corner for a truly rad view of downtown. (Windows only, sorry.)

Getting together today

For a change of pace and with so many things happening on the weekends this summer, we're trying something new with the GB Get-Togethers. To try to rouse up some mid-week relief and escape the post-work drudgery or vegging out on the couch with some AC, we're doing these on the last Tuesday of every month. And today's the first one. We're starting earlier, too -- 7pm -- so come out to Green Eye Lounge (right below the Western Blue Line stop) and have a drink with us. See ya later.

Don't Breathe

It's another Air Pollution Advisory Day in Chicagoland today, thanks to high temperatures and humidity. Try not to drive, if possible, and if you've got a yard, don't mow it.

Post-war, pre-suburb

Chicago in the Fifties is all about "remembering life in the Loop and the neighborhoods." Neal Samors and Michael Williams appeared on Eight Forty-Eight this morning, talking about their book, which prompted a strikingly personal response in the Sun-Times and gave the Trib reason to call the authors the "kings of Chicago nostalgia." Hey, look: online photo gallery!


Get ready for another look at Chicago's famous mob scene: Brian De Palma has agreed to direct a prequel to his classic, The Untouchables. The new movie will focus not on the G-men out to stop the mob, but rather on Al Capone's rise to power. No word on who will star, nor on whether it will acually be filmed here. We can only hope.

The Future is Boring and Scantily Clad

Nextfest was boring, it seems. At least one person thought it Nextfest wasn't all that, or, as he put it, the future is boring. Or as this guy puts (pans) it, the people of the future are scantily clad.

Taste of Chicago, Indeed

According to today's Sun Times, almost two dozen people were shot this weekend — and all within the space of just 12 hours. And this is in addition to a recent suicide on the Red Line and the shooting of a UIC professor in Oak Park. Yikes. This is an unofficial tally, so let's hope this isn't a prediction of a trend for what's to come over the rest of the summer.

Subjective, much?

Apparently, somone hates Chicago enough to compile a list of 101 reasons why Chicago sucks. We love you too!

Keeping Going

Local web quarterly Keep Going has released its summer edition, and it looks great. Features include musings on basketball from Word Jazz's Ken Nordine, a fascinating article on the Hindenburg explosion, and a detailed history of one of my first daily online reads, Suck.

Another Drive-In To Close?

Word on the street in McHenry County is the drive-in up in those parts, the McHenry Outdoor Theater, is due to close after the 2005 season. Skeptics claim they say this every year, but so did Demon Dogs and this time they meant it. If sitting in your car and watching a movie is your thing, hurry before the drive-in becomes another housing development.

Make-up Game

Some fans are more dedicated than others. My Fake Season is an account of the 2005-2006 NBA season, focusing on the Chicago Bulls. What's that? The season hasn't started yet? In the mind of Mike Aparicio, it has.


The 36th annual Chicago Pride Parade brought 400,000 people to Boystown yesterday. Pride is always colorful, to say the least, making for plenty of great photo ops. I've created a Flickr group to consolidate photos from the parade, Saturday's PrideFest and Dyke March, and related events. Check it out, and join up if you'd like to share your pictures.

Mandala on display for final day today

A group of Tibetan monks have been creating a sand mandala at the Chicago Cultural Center for the last six days. Today will be the final day of construction of the mandala, as the monks are expected to finish work sometime today and then dismantle the mandala tonight at 5:30 (i.e., they sweep up the sand). If you're going to be downtown for the Taste, why not stop in and be amazed by the intricate and complex design of this piece of artwork that will never be seen again? (The Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington, right on the corner of Michigan and Washington.)

I want my HBTV

Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, owners of Hearty Boys Catering and Boystown's HB cafe, were voted the winners by viewers of The Next Food Network Star last night. (That the show's finale fell on Pride must have been a good omen.) The Boys now get their own Food Network show, to premiere September 18.

Breaking the cycle

Last Sunday, the Tribune ran an article on recidivism and rehabilitation by Rex Huppke on the front page, and it generated letters to the editor throughout the week. The New York Times examines similar terrain this weekend, looking at state and local efforts to assist in prisoner re-entry. Both stories pay special attention to the Sheridan Correctional Center, soon to be the nation's largest drug treatment-oriented prison.

Pamphlets of the French Revolution

Do you love printed ephemera? Then you'll enjoy this digitized collection of "Pamphlets and Periodicals of the French Revolution of 1848," from a collaboration of the Center for Research Libraries, the University of Chicago Libraries and the ARTFL Project. The archive is comprised of more than 100 digitized materials from 1848 to 1851, including this published letter from Louis Napoleon.

A $5 tax per trick

There's been a lot of national coverage of CPD and its online johns' gallery. No analysis, however, has been quite so idiosyncratic as that by Prof. Freakonomics.

Ebert's a star

The 2,288th star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame was dedicated yesterday, and it honors film critic Roger Ebert. The star was the first one given to a film critic (another first for Ebert; in 1975, he became the first critic to win the Pulitzer Prize).

Dill Pickle Dance

The still-nascent West Side Food Co-op is having their first fundraiser event Saturday, the Dill Pickle Dance, in honor of having chosen a name: The Dill Pickle Food Co-op. From 4pm to 6pm at the Spare Room, there will be good food, music, dancing, and a logo designing contest. For more information, check out the mailing list. 2416 W. North Ave. Suggested donation: $5 adults, $10 per family.

Man in the Mural

Yesterday I pointed out a few photos of a mural at Damen and Lake. Reader Daniel X. O'Neil sent some more info. The man's name is Oba Maja (I think I'm qualified to say that is an awesome name) and he's a poet who sells his poetry at the Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection. And if you're interested, apparently you can commission him to write a poem for you. Thanks, Dan.

Shame on Pride

To a lot of Americans Pride parades are events which need to be protested, but it's not just Bible-waving folks that are doing it. There's a group of queer Chicago folk who dislike the commercial, assimilationist, and elitist nature of the Gay Pride parade. They created Shame On Pride as an activist organizing tool to get information to like-minded folks who don't think you can buy your pride. Feel free to join up with the Gay Liberation Network on Sunday at Halsted and Diversey at 11:30 am sharp. As they say, "Be there or be a log cabin republican." And if one protest against the "purchase Pride" isn't enough for you, join up with the Chicago Dyke March on Saturday at 1:30 in Andersonville.

We're Gonna Do A Montage

Here's a neat way to search for images of Chicago: enter a keyword on Montager, and have it build a montage of images for you. Not surprising to see that searching for Cubs has lots of people, while Chicago has lots of objects. And Gapersblock has few pictures of traffic, but lots of Cinnamon. (wink wink)

Phat Camp

Last Sunday marked the first meeting of Phat Camp's Body Image Discussion Group at Mess Hall. Open to those 18 and older, the discussion focuses on negative body, health and beauty messages, finding a community, and honoring inner stregnth and resiliance -- not numerical weight goals. The group meets every Sunday from 10-11:30am at 6932 N. Glenwood Ave. Call 773-465-4033 to get more information.

A Separate Taste

The Trib and the Sun-Times offer all the coverage a person could want about the Taste of Chicago. And, if that's not enough, there's the Too Many Chefs take, too. But what if you just aren't interested? has devised an alternative which doesn't include "a single hot dog, deep dish, or Italian beef sandwich." UPDATE: For vegetarians, VegChicago is also offering a vegan guide to the Taste.

Stockyards Gate a Literary Landmark

The Chicago Tribune has a story on the Union Stockyards Gate, which was declared a literary landmark in a ceremony yesterday. The gate, which is the last surviving reminder of Chicago's notorious stockyards, was so honored because of the role the area played in Upton Sinclair's classic book The Jungle. Some history of the novel is discussed in the article, but little of it will be new to Gapers Block Book Club members who read the novel a couple of months ago.

Huff on 848

If you're interested, you can listen to me babble on Chicago Public Radio's Eight Forty-Eight news magazine this morning. I'll be part of the panel discussing the month in review, which runs between 9:35am and 10am. Listen online (RAM) or at 91.5 FM.

CTA saved! (for now)

Although the situation has remained up in the air, Carole Brown announces "Great news!" in her blog. The RTA has voted to fund the roughly $55m shortfall in the CTA's budget, meaning that it can forgo service cuts, layoffs and fare increases in 2005.

Steppenwolf Discount

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has been nice enough to extend this exclusive offer to Gapers Block readers: two for one tickets to The Pain and the Itch, its next mainstage play. The offer is valid for performances Thurs., June 30 through Sat., July 9th. Call 312/335-1650 and mention code "1503," or buy online. It's subject to availability, and restrictions may apply.

Podcasting the Park

In its announcement of a podcast London tour, Antenna Audio also mentioned its plans for a similar treatment of Millennium Park. Sure enough, after a little rooting around online, I learned it's already available. Just enter an email address, and you're cooking with gas. There are 14 files of varying lengths, and, while the narration makes sure to mention the names of the corporate sponsors, it's actually quite informative and features interviews with Anish Kapoor, Frank Gehry and others. All in all, quite interesting listening, even if you're just sitting at your desk.

In the Hause

From 1-5 PM this Sunday, Foundation Gallery will be holding a closing reception for its current exhibition, Die Kase Hause. Die Kase Hause is an artist collective comrpised of Jeremiah Ketner, David Phillips, Gregory Shirilla, Jeffrey Williams and Aaron Zimmerman. According to a recent release, "It is not philosophy or style that unites [them], but rather a true compulsion to make art. What was once a group of students working closely together in Columbus, Ohio now has become a loose collection of members dispersed nationwide." You can see their work on the gallery's website if you like, but the reception is open to all.

"We don't have a school"

In preparation for tomorrow's release of Bewitched, the RedEye talks to several local witches about their representation on screen. Of them, Heathen Carolyn Reyes offers the most amusing response. Because her belief system is "practical," she doesn't put much faith in the nose-twitching business. Instead, she offers the following love spell: "'Take a shower, brush your teeth.'" Works for me. (I wonder, though, what sort of magic she might offer Nora Ephron for such dismal reviews. Ouch.)

Mural Man

I've seen this mural at the corner of Damen and Lake several times and loved it. The expression on the man's face and the detail I found fascinating. The artist is Jeff Zimmerman, whose mural work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And if that isn't enough reason to make y'all look, Craig Berman saw him on the Damen bus.

Wander Cook County

Not sure if this is the best weekend to point it out, considering the 90°l;-plus weather we're expecting, but the Unofficial Cook County Forest Preserve website offers a selection of "mini trail maps" of bike, canoe and other trails in the county. Not sure what makes them "mini," but they're pretty useful for planning a nice weekend bike ride.

Bionic Man created in Chicago

A Tennessee man touched an electric wire in 2000 and was so badly burned that both of his arms were amputated. He was given prosthetic arms but decided he wanted more. $5 million and 5 years later doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago have created the fanciest prosthetic arms seen this side of a 70's TV show. His nerves are connected to his chest muscles which transmit the signal to his bionic arms which have some sensation. This really expensive development is a long way from helping everyone who is paralyzed or has lost a limb, but it's pretty durn cool.

In which the "media elite" prove otherwise

Gawker throws the smack-down on the Trib this morning, slamming "its ongoing but inexplicable campaign to prove that people in flyover states have no idea what theyíre talking about." Afraid on this one, I can't disagree. The Tempo staff ranked their 50 favorite magazines. They call them the "best," but you put Blender at the top of any list, and you're just asking for air quotes -- especially since they didn't even mention it last year(?). The Tribune piece ran in response to the National Magazine Awards as chosen by the American Society of Magazine Editors, a group the writers call "pooh-bahs." Which is apparently short-hand for "folks who know what's what." [updated: Amy Dickinson was originally credited online; that has since been changed.]

BIke to Work Routes

This is super handy: Bike to Work Routes. Low-fi, direct and sparse, these simple routes to get you around the suburbs come with a one-way distance, an average time, directions and cool ascii maps. What are you waiting for? Ride on!

Chicago-style Poi (not Dog Pondering)

Poi, or the fine art of fire spinning, was on display last night as many people gathered along the lakefront to celebrate the summer solstice. Pictures don't demonstrate the hypnotic effect of the flame spinning around - it's magical.

A hateful crime

This weekend marks the culmination of Pride month in Chicago. A glance at Slowdown gives just a glimpse at the gay old times one can have over the next few days. In the midst of all the fun, though, it's easy to forget that life isn't always so easy. To wit: anti-gay comments led to a fatal stabbing over the weekend, with the alleged killer complaining as he ran from the scene, "I got faggot blood on me." RIP, Antonio "Sydney" Wright.

I went on a scenic boat tour of Chicago and all I got was...

Burlesque Design make some very very nice posters and artwork. They also have a killer store with some of the best intricate silkscreened posters I've seen. But, the best item might just be a t-shirt they have (sadly now sold out) about a certain incident in Chicago involving the Dave Matthews Band — scroll down all the way to the bottom on the right. Here's a detail shot.

The Muffin Lady, now with t-shirts

Many of you will no doubt have seen or heard of The Muffin Lady (Glorious Noise entry). Some of you may have even bought muffins from her. The folks over at 1974 Incorporated (they're also the folks who made our t-shirts) have a "Save the Muffin Lady" t-shirt with all proceeds going to Shirley (The Muffin Lady's real name).

Don't Techno For An Answer

Techno is often synonymous with Detroit, and as such, Chicago tends to be more of a house music city. But tonight, as the excellent SummerDance festival continues, legendary techno DJ Jeff Mills takes the stage in what is sure to be an exciting and historic event. Now a Windy City resident, Mills is one of the genre's most in-demand performers, jetsetting between the continents on what seems like a never-ending tour. Come out and see one of the most inimitable talents in techno play what I assume will be a varied set of classics and personal favorites. Mike Dearborn starts things off at 6 PM in Grant Park.

GPS and Map-Making

Let's say your really into GPS, right, and then by extension you're probably really into maps. Have you ever thought about making your own? Rich Ownings, author of Make Your Own Maps will be speaking at the REI in Niles and Oakbrook Terrace next week, giving a talk on how to use a bike and GPS to make your own maps. Topics covered include topo, 3D, and aerial imagery maps.

Elliott Smith Tribute

I wish I had known more about Elliott Smith before his death, to give him more than just posthumous cred, but for those of you who loved him before and for those who love him now, Last Alley Productions is holding a tribute to the late singer tonight. Featured artists include Dick Prall, Dylan Rice and Wonderful Smith. Doors open at 8pm for the 21+, 8:30pm show at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave. Call 773-296-6024 for more information.

Pictured until proven not guilty

Shaming of would-be johns is all the rage recently; Oakland, CA, for example, began running pictures on billboards in February. And, as the Trib reports, the Chicago Police Department began posting prostitution patron arrests online today. A notable difference between the two campaigns is that, while Oakland only broadcasts the convicted, CPD's website reminds visitors "[t]hese individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." Legal scholars are divided about the effectiveness of public humiliation, but this piece in the San Francisco Chronicle offers some perspective.

Guess what?

According to the Sun-Times, the CTA may still cut service and increase fares on July 17, if Pace officials go ahead with their plan to take a portion of the cash that was meant for the CTA bailout. Gaaaaahhhhh. (tip from CTA Tattler, of course)

Tee for you

Hip hip hip t-shirt company American Apparel has opened its fourth of five planned Chicago stores this week, bringing Armitage into the L.A.-based clothing company's fold. Now you can get your fill of jerseyed goods in Wicker Park, Evanston, Gold Coast, and, come this fall, Lakeview. And hey, if you go to the new store by July 31, you can get 10% off with this here coupon (PDF).

Drawn Out

Our friend Terence Hannum informs us of an interesting art showing entitled Drawn Out at Gallery 400. The opening reception is this Thursday from 5-8pm. It sounds tasty: "Drawn Out explores expanded practices of drawing (for example, drawing as sculpture or drawing as video) with works that are both literally sculptural or time-based and works that remain two dimensional but are no less influenced by the new scope of possibilities in drawing."

Me: Tarzan; You: Jen

So there's a movie filming in town right now. You've probably heard. The Break Up will star Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. And, since each of the leads is a hottie in his or her own way, it only makes sense that we'll be seeing more Missed Connections like this one over the next few weeks. Good luck to ya, Runner with black shirt!

Dolorous Canter has a listening party

Full disclosure: this is shameless self-promotion. This week's Transmission artist, Dolorous Canter also happens to be a band I play in. Our new EP, For What You Thought Was Once Dead (oooh, lengthy title) is now out and we've teamed up with the good folks at Rotofugi to hold a listening party this Friday, June 24th from 8pm till 10:30pm. We're playing the EP twice but also playing the artists and sounds that have influenced us. Free copies of the EP will be given out and beverages will be provided. Consider this sort of a rock lounge happy hour, except later.

What's Next?

It's been hard to avoid the news, but for those that still don't know, Wired Magazine's NextFest is happening this weekend at Navy Pier. In addition to the many technological attractions the event is sure to offer, local arts/cultural publication Flavorpill is hosting a special lounge area at the event, featuring DJ sets from local favorites Kate Simko, Dave Siska, Ken and Karl Meier, Ken Waagner, and Brad Owen. It'll be open from 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and say hello, why dontcha?

The Ballad of Billy Pumpkinhead

Billy Corgan's solo debut, TheFutureEmbrace, hits stores today, and already he's moving on — or backwards, depending on your point of view. He placed a full-page ad in today's Tribune announcing that he plans to re-form the Smashing Pumpkins. Oh, and he plugs his blog. If you're interested, he'll be at the Adler Planetarium tonight from 6:30pm to 10:30pm to celebrate the release; admission is free if you buy the album and bring it with you.

Sparklers could be fading from Chicago

After hearing testimony yesterday from a mother whose child was injured by an accident with sparklers, the Chicago City Council is considering banning sparklers from Chicago, leaving just the following fireworks legal in Illinois: snake/glow worm pellets; smoke devices; trick noisemakers; and plastic or paper caps for toy guns. The ban, if enacted, would go into effect AFTER this year's Fourth of July, so start buying up those sparklers for this year!

My Bike Could Be Your Life

Chicagoan Russ McClintock biked from Seattle to New York City last year, alone, taking pictures all the way. You can see a collection of his photographs from the trip, entitled "North American Roads" online, or go see them in person through July 10th at Country Club Chicago (1100 N Damen Ave.)

James Weinstein, 1926-2005

James Weinstein, founding editor and publisher of In These Times and a Chicago resident for roughly three decades, died last week. Not long before his death, the "Groucho Marxist" was honored by the locally-based Community Media Workshop at their annual Studs Terkel Awards. Obituaries ran in the Tribune, the LA Times, the Guardian, and, of course, the journal that still bears his imprint.

They broke my watch!

The Sun-Times salutes one of the greatest Chicago films, The Blues Brothers, on the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary. All this week they'll be writing about the Chicago locales used in the making of the film, and how things have changed since 1980.

Disco For(n)ever!

Many Gapers Block readers are too young to truthfully comment, but an ISU history professor is asking why disco sucked so bad in the 1970s, as part of research for a book. Help him out if you can.

Square America

The Boat Lullabies, a local blog of found photography, has a really interesting series of photos up, entitled "Square America." They're all by the same photographer, depicting a range of topics. Start here and work your way forward. Really cool.

Scent of a citrus

A recent study at the University of Chicago has determined that the smell of grapefruit on a woman makes her appear considerably younger to men. However, the scent of grapefruit on men does not affect women's perceptions of a man's age.

IDOT Is Watching... And Ticketing

IDOT has gotten a lot more strict about speeding in construction zones. Instead of putting up signs and the occasional police officer, IDOT is positioning vans equipped with cameras to catch speeders in construction zones. At $375 for the first ticket, and $1000 for the second, this is serious. And how long will it be before the hundreds of city cameras do the same? I hate speeding and the carnage of cars, but the proliferation of cameras is sorta spooky. Panopticon, here we come.

Burnin' up for your love

The inevitable Missed Connections from the Dominick's fire are already appearing on Craigslist. "Extra-alarm" blazes: so hot right now!

Dominick's is Burning Down

If you didn't see it on the news, or down the street from your apartment like I did, the Dominick's at 3012 N. Broadway burned down in an "extra-alarm fire" yesterday evening. The store was open for business at the time, but no fatalities occurred and the fire was contained to the one building. No word yet on what started the blaze.

Prepare to start Tasting

The 25th annual Taste of Chicago starts Friday in Grant Park. Eleven days of eating and drinking, featuring food from more than 60 restaurants around Chicago. Live entertainment will be happening throughout the park; see the Taste site for complete information on events. And don't forget, you can purchase Taste food tickets at your local Dominick's, between today and Thursday. And if you don't have a local Dominick's, you can buy tickets online.

Time runs out for Demon Dogs

The CTA finally caught up with Demon Dogs. The long-lived hot dog stand under the Fullerton El stop tracks closed its doors this weekend, and will be demolished as part of the upcoming Brown Line expansion project. However great the new Fullerton station will be, I'm guessing it won't include one great feature of the old station: the smell of cooking French fries wafting up from Demon Dogs.

Speeding gets more expensive

Not only has Construction Season begun. Not only is it slowing everyone down on the freeway, it's creating lots more areas where you can be charged $375 for going over the speed limit. And don't think you can avoid this by looking for cameras and troopers, Illinois Department of Transportation vans will be equipped with cameras and then you'll get one whopper of a ticket in the mail. So slow down a bit.

From Feta To Theater

The Albany Park Theater Group has a very interesting project for this summer's performance: Saffron. It's a play about stories overheard at local Persian restaurant Noon-O-Kebab, or "One big world in one small storefront". They are also offering a Persian cooking class as a benefit for the theater project. (I think this place has the best feta in the city, and it's neat to see feta blossom into youth theater.)

Atomic Aftermath

Writing for the Chicago Daily News (which ran for nearly a century before folding in the mid 1970's) George Weller was the first reporter to arrive in Nagasaki after the August 1945 atomic bombing. His reports of ruin and a mysterious disease afflicting survivors were banned by order of General Douglas MacArthur. Decades later, Weller's son discovered carbon copies of the original articles. Today, they've been made publicly available for the first time.

Museum Cocktail Fun

The Sun-Times' calendar section included a nice wrap-up of all the evening cocktail hours at Chicago museums. Get more info about Tuesdays on the Terrace at the MCA, the Chill at the Adler, Jazzin' at the Shedd, and cocktail hour at the Field.

Theme Park Insider

School's out for summer! Today is the last day of school for Chicago Public School students, which means summer vacation is here, and it's time to hit the theme parks! Theme Park Insider rates and reviews major theme and amusement parks across the country and around the world. View individual ratings for rides, shows and food for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL. For the morbid or curious, the site also maintains an Accident Watch, listing injuries and deaths reported at various parks. The last recorded incident for Six Flags involved a 52-year-old employee who died last year as a result of injuries sustained from an accident involving the Rajun Cajun ride. Stay safe, and check out the list of safety tips from Theme Park Insider writers and readers.

Run, Chicago, run!

Dirty or no, Runner's World has ranked Chicago fourth amongst the 25 Best Running Cities in America. They cite the CARA message boards as fostering a sense of community and, of course, the Lakefront for its uninterrupted footpaths.

From Louis Sullivan to SOM

From Louis Sullivan to SOM: Boston Grads Go to Chicago is an online exhibition from MIT that explores the connections between architects schooled in Boston and Chicago's architectural heritage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibit includes sections on skyscrapers, domestic architecture and the World's Columbian Exposition. And, Louis Sullivan, William LeBaron Jenney and Thomas E. Tallmadge are just some of the architects highlighted.

Carl Everett, Gentleman and Scholar

White Sox DH Carl Everett tells the July issue of Maxim that "I don't believe in gay marriages and I don't believe in being gay." Fair enough, I guess; I don't believe in the designated hitter. Everett also tells Maxim that Wrigley Field should be "imploded," Tiger Woods is not an athlete, and "It's proven that 99 percent of baseball fans have no idea what they're watching." For the record, this is the same guy who told Sports Illustrated five years ago that dinosaurs never existed because they weren't in the Bible.

The dirtiest (and not in a good way)

Seems like only yesterday that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom was here, dreaming of making his city as beautiful as ours. (All right, it was Tuesday.) Nevertheless, according to a new Reader's Digest survey, at least, he may want to think again. Gothamist notes that New York ranks next to last on their chart of Cleanest Cities in America. Coming in last? Yeah. Chicago. Surely a recount is in order. Surely.

Wiki wiki guide book

Meredith Farkas, a local librarian, has developed an unofficial wiki to help out her fellow members of the American Library Association as they hit town later this month for their 2005 Conference. In true wiki fashion, if you've got something to share about the city, all you have to do is click the "edit" link.

Identity Theft Sucks

Poor kid. All 19-year-old Brandon Canales wanted to do was find the guy who stole his identity when he was 10 and make him pay. Unfortunately, he succeeded -- and that got him in trouble with the law, too. Canales found a bank account Augustin Ortega-Luna had opened under his identiry and took $8,000 out of it. Ortega-Luna called the police, who arrested Canales but quickly figured out that Ortega-Luna was an even bigger thief. They're both looking at felony convictions.

Batman and a different Chicago

As we've noted a few times before, the restarted Batman franchise, Batman Begins has extensive shots of Chicago as Gotham. I saw it last night and was amazed at how much of Chicago was actually used. A fun game of spot the bridge, "Which part of Lower Wacker was that?" and "What rooftop building is that?" ensued post-movie. The el however has been replaced by a much slicker monorail system which I doubt the CTA will ever be. Also, I agree with Ebert, this is the Batman I've been waiting for.

GB Flickr Pool update

The Gapers Block Flickr Group has been in a really good swing lately. Lots of great Chicago stuff in there which plays well with Rearview here on the site. To make it easier for those of you considering or are submitting images for Rearview and who use Flickr, what you can do now is submit an image to the GB group and tag it with the additional "gbrearview" tag so we can use it.

Next: music. Next, Nextfest

As part of next weekend's Nextfest exhibition at Navy Pier, WiReD has asked a local musician that you may have heard of, Jeff Tweedy, to put together a live concert. Next Music happens next Wednesday at the Vic, and features music by Joanna Newsom and the Handsome Family. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster and the Vic box office.

Parade of Pet Homes

This summer's Parade of Pet Homes is Saturday, June 18th, in River North. Nineteen area designers took pre-fab dog houses and gave them a makeover, which can be viewed on a walking tour from 10am to 6pm. Afterwards, the dog houses are auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Anti-Cruelty Society.

City Farm sells to the public

City Farm, the organic, sustainable farm next to Cabrini Green, has expanded their land use and growing season this year. Their produce, particularly Heirloom tomatoes, usually goes to local restaurants like Frontera Grill. However, they're now selling to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3pm-6pm, and Saturday 9am-1pm, at the gate on Clyborn just north of Division across from the Starbucks. What's available will change with the growing season, but currently they have chard, sugar snap peas, broccoli, herbs, garlic scapes, collard greens, beets, and lettuce.

Schakowsky on the HuffPo

Last week, Chicagoist ran down the recent blogging forays of several local politicians. Another jumps online today as Rep. Jan Schakowsky makes her debut on the Huffington Post. The entry reads much like one you might find on any other politico's blog -- talking points and statistics -- but let's hope she's just getting her feet wet and that there will be a glimmer of individual personality in Schakowsky's future posts. (The contrast with John Conyers, the other member of Congress currently contributing, is, well, striking.)

Chilling Effect

We told you in April about the Secret Service's visit to the Axis of Evil exhibition at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery. The exhibit included among other pieces a stamp by Chicago artist Michael Hernandez de Luna Al Brandtner depicting President Bush with a gun pointed at his head, with the caption "Patriot Act." In response to the Columbia incident, Jeremy Lassen created a series of photo collages which he titled "Bush and Guns" and posted them to his Flickr account. Last week, Lassen got a Secret Service visit of his own. Correction: While Hernandez de Luna curated the exhibit at Columbia, the piece I mentioned featuring Bush with gun was by Al Brandtner. Apologies for the error.

Local music, out and proud

Northwestern alum and Windy City-based musician Dylan Rice was among the recipients of 2005 Outmusic Awards last weekend. The awards were held at the Chicago Cultural Center, and Rice won Outstanding Debut Recording for his Wandering Eyes. There are several chances to see (and congratulate) Rice this month, including A Tribute to Elliott Smith, Wednesday the 22nd at the Viaduct Theater. Another local winner was Scott Free, who took home song and musician of the year awards. Free's latest album is They Call Me Mr. Free, and he hosts the weekly queer performance series Homolatte at Marrakech ExpressO in Ravenswood.

New RTA Chair: CTA's Got Problems

The Regional Transporation Authority has a new board chairman, James R. Reilly, and he says the problems at the CTA are real. That's a relief. In the meantime, Peter Davidson wonders if turning some lanes on the Kennedy into premium toll lanes might be a way to help fund the El. (Thanks, spindlechuck.)

Go See'em Play

You know attendance is bad when the Wall Street Journal does a front page story about it. The White Sox have averaged about 20,000 fans at home games this season, despite having the best record in baseball. (Do you realize they've won two thirds of their games this season? Crazy!)

Will County Crime Logs

This story of catching bad guys from Will County has all the makings of a bad movie: attempt to escape by rowboat to Peoria (aka Paradise!), spreading gasoline over the pick-up truck, island hopping. A juicy suburban story. (via Pete)

The Chicago Theory

Roger Ebert is pretty predictable in his tastes if you pay attention, but Slashdot member sielwolf has stumbled across an amusing correlation between a movie's proximity to Chicago and Ebert's star rating.

Teaching Islam in Bridgeview

Time magazine has an interesting article about an Islamic K-12 school in Bridgeview, Illinois, near Midway airport. The Universal School teaches about 640 students in the midst one of the largest Arab communities in the country. The article examines everything from the dress codes and personal restrictions required at the school, as well the pressures and restrictions imposed on the school by the world outside its doors. There's also a nice photo essay which makes me think about the similarities and differences to my own high school experiences.

Riding in circles

On Sundays, a few of us get together and visit the Northbrook Velodrome for training and learning the ropes on how to race on the track. This is an exciting year for the velodrome as track racing interest has been high and new riders are coming out to race. Women and Juniors are highly welcome and there has been an increase in numbers for those. Visit the site for more info and learn about it. It's less daunting than you think and a lot of fun from a participant or viewer perspective. Take a look at some photos I took from last weekend's session.

Book TV

If you're uber-geeky and you have cable it's possible that you've watched BookTV on CSPAN on occasion. If so, you'll be delighted to know that Women & Children First will be the location for the filming of Zsa Zsa Gershick as she reads from Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military Thursday night at 6:30 pm. It's the first time BookTV has filmed at Women and Children First, so make Chicago look smart by showing up to the reading and having a packed house.

Inspired shopping

Maybe you need a new rug, vase, picture frame or cool bar of soap? If so, get your shopping list down to CB2 (800 W. North Avenue) tonight from 6:30 to 8pm. For a suggested donation of $10 you'll get a cooking demo, an open bar, and hors d'oeuvres made by Eric Palmer of Mon Ami Gabi. Your donation at the door as well as 10% of sales will be donated to Inspiration Corporation, which helps folks transition out of homelessness.

City's Best Burgers

Ever had a cheeseburger at Rosebud Steakhouse? Me neither; if I'm going there, I'm having a porterhouse. But apparently we're missing out, as Phil Vettel and a 33-person panel declared the Rosebud burger the best in the city. Check out the other top contenders, then compare it to GB readers' own picks in this Fuel thread from last September.

Marshall Field's Culinary Quarterly

Instead of knocking off after work and heading to your fave bar, why not attend a cooking class at Marshall Field's Culinary Studio? Through August, you can take classes such as Field's Favorite Lunch, Great Fish for Summer, and the Weekend Baker. Classes range from $20-70 and are taught by members of the Field's Culinary Council. Get the full schedule.

Be A Hero

This week is Bike To Work Week in Chicago. The CBF has info on how to join the masses who are biking to work. And if you're not sure which way to go, the city has the bike map online, or you can pick up a copy for free at most libraries or Bank One.

Candy returns (but not for you!)

The ALL CANDY EXPO® (slogan: "It's candy time!") returns to Chicago's McCormick Place this week. And once again, this is a trade show only; no members of the general public will be allowed allowed to sample the tasty, delicious candy. And unlike last year's expo, when children were allowed onto the floor for one crummy hour at the very end of the expo, this year the children's hour will not happen, "in order to make Thursday a stronger business day for all". Perhaps next year the expo people will rub it in even more blatantly by holding assemblies at various Chicago public schools, where they gleefully devour fistfuls of jelly beans in front of crying children.

Not Safe for Weblogs

The RedEye ran a story about blogs today. I'm not sure why it was called "Porn on the Blog," since it's not about sexblogs at all -- I keep mentally rhyming it with "corn on the cob," so maybe that's it. Anyway, the reporter goes to a "porn superstore" with Leigh Anne Wilson of the Honeysuckle Shop and One Good Thing, and also talks with Wendy McClure and Justin Kaufmann. UPDATE: Eric Zorn reprinted a Tribune profile of Wilson from last year.

What's New At Garfield Park

This weekend saw a lot of activity at Garfield Park. The Garden City Market is now open for business and selling fresh farmer greens at the West Side market on Saturday mornings. And the Conservatory has a really fascinating exhibit, Reciprocally Prickly, that asks, "What if evolution had taken a different turn?"

Meet the Pritzkers

Ever wondered about the Pritzker family? They own all those hotels and other property, they've got that big charity and the architecture prize -- and they've got lawsuits against each other to get their fair share of the millions. The Trib ran a long profile of the family in yesterday's paper that's worth the time if you're interested in our hometown Ewings.

UAL Buyout?

Crain's is reporting that a buyout of bankrupt United Airlines might be in the works, according to a recent court filing.

Tiki Extravaganza

In just a couple weeks, some serious tiki action will be coming to town. Exotica 2005 ó Luau by the Lake features the best of Hawaiian, Tiki and retro culture, presented by Tiki Quest author Duke Carter and Eddie Angel of Los Straitjackets. It's a weekend-long tiki party, backyard luau and music festival. It runs July 7-10 at Trader Vic's downtown, Hala Kahiki in River Grove and FitzGerald's in Berwyn. Tickets are required; details and ticket info at

From Welfare to Work on the Inside

The NY Times series on class in America concluded with an outstanding article about a Chicagoan. First profiled in 1993 in the Times, this article talks about the struggles her family has been through as they have moved from the projects to the middle class. I can't remember the last time I got goose-bumps from a human-interest story - this one is truly fantastic.

The Ass That Goes Pow

Congratulations to Michelle "Toots" L'Amour of the Lavendar Cabaret won the 2005 Miss Exotic World competition at the Exotic World Burlesque Museum in Helendale, CA. (Thanks, Brenda.)

It Came from the Neo-Futurarium!

The Neo-Futurist theater company has posted its schedule of performances for this summer's "film fest," It Came From The Neo-Futurarium IV: Spawn of The Neo-Futurarium! Once a week for six weeks in July and August, The Neo-Futurists (and other friendly theater companies) will perform live readings/re-creations of various cheezy movies, ranging from sci-fi shockers to trashy potboilers. See the Neo-Futurist website for a complete schedule, which includes such movies as Death Wish 3, Zontar: The Thing From Venus, and Tremors (the edited-for-TV version). These shows have consistently been very funny and entertaining over the past few years, so I would definitely recommend attending.

Baseball organists: Going, going . . .

The LA Times looks at the status of the organist in the major league baseball experience and doesn't see much time left for a custom that started in 1940s Chicago. While Wrigley Field remains dedicated to traditional trappings, the White Sox' organist Nancy Faust doesn't expect to be replaced when she retires. That said, Faust, profiled in depth by the Chicago Maroon in 2003, does still get her moments to shine: one of the Sox' game-day promotions this month (the 22nd) is "Nothing but Nancy." Of course, not to put too fine a point on the future of the ballpark organ, the day is also the one marketed to seniors.

Psychos, windows and rope

Tonight at the Music Box Theatre, they begin a two-week long salute to director Alfred Hitchcock, starting with screenings of Psycho tonight and tomorrow, and continuing with Rear Window, Shadow of A Doubt, Rope, and ending with a week-long screening of a 70mm print of Vertigo. The first four titles will be screening for only a day or two, so film fans will definitely want to check out the Music Box schedule for full details.

Another Book Fair

Maybe you're already going to the Printers Row Bookfair, but are you going to the Other Book Fair? Sponsored by Another Chicago Magazine and New City, it features a wide range of alt publishers as well as panel discussions and readings by local authors. It's at the Hothouse from 3pm to 8pm Sunday; details in Slowdown. And speaking of New City, this week's issue features the annual Lit 50 round-up of local literati.

Wanted: DykeMarch Entertainers

Do you want to perform for the upcoming Chicago DykeMarch? Organizer Kay Barrett is putting out the call for dyke and queer singers, comics, bands, poets, dancers, etc. to enliven the June 25 march. If you're interested, contact Kay Barrett at (773) 814-6503.

Let the craft season begin

Not only is the Renegade Craft Fair and the DIY Trunk Show taking applications, but so is the 2nd Annual Rockwell Crossing Art Walk. And to keep the crafty spirit going year round, Tammy Terwelp of Smashing Cars Creations has opened up Mint Boutique. Or at least she will next Wednesday at 1450 Webster Avenue. She's only selling high quality goods made from local artisans and crafters. And unlike most stores, she'll be open when you're probably not working. So when you need a gift at 8 p.m., check out her store.

Alinea reviewed

It's been an unbelievably long time since we had any news about Alinea, the restaurant that would be king. Today the Sun-Times posted a review, giving Alinea 3-1/2 stars out of four. The half star was taken off because, reviewer Pat Bruno warned, "unless you are really into food ... it can be a bit much." So take that as a warning, all you restaurant patrons who are going to Alinea expecting a regular old meal for your $75-175 investment: it's going to be a bit much! Meanwhile, Phil Vettel of the Tribune was more enthusiastic in an informal review last month: "This is big. Charlie Trotter big. Ducasse-comes-to-America big. Don't miss it."

Read the Reader

One of my biggest complaints about the Reader's website has always been that they don't put their feature stories up online -- if nothing else, I couldn't link to them here. No more complaining from me: you can now get most of Section One in PDF format, complete with accompanying ads for that authentic feel.

One year of tattling

It's hard to believe that The CTA Tattler, the very funny and entertaining blog of all things CTA-related, is only one year old, but it's true. And tonight the Tattler celebrates its anniversary at Rock Bottom Brewery. Details on Slowdown. Happy birthday, Tattler!

Double Door propped open

Yesterday afternoon, Double Door owners reached an agreement with their landlord before the two parties were set to start court proceedings over a dispute on the rent for the building. The concert venue will stay open for at least another nine years.

Bellow, recollected

Long-time Chicago resident Saul Bellow died earlier this year. Had he lived, this would have been his 90th birthday. Bellow's son, Adam, remembers his father's presence, and his absence, in today's New York Times.

A DIY Fairy Tale

Emilie Autumn was recently featured on HGTV's Crafters Coast to Coast where she made a pair of Faerie Wings. Some girls wanted to be a princess, but I wanted to be a fairy because I wanted to be able to fly and be mischevious. Seeing these makes me want to play pretend all over again. Thanks Roni.

Fake Graffiti

A few weeks ago, a graffiti mural appeared on the side of a building on Milwaukee in Wicker Park. It was actually pretty cool, until you realized it was an ad for Axe deoderants. A group calling themselves the "Ad Blasters" (a nod to the city's Graffiti Blasters program) took it upon themselves to paint over it. Local artist Elisa Hawkins photodocumented it; the owner of the building comments at length in her blog.

Some dissembling required

Copy-editing blog A Capital Idea follows up on a recent episode at the Tribune: in a report, political correspondent Mark Silva decided to clean up a presidential malapropism. Turns out he was just following policy. According to a quoted email from public editor Don Wycliff, the paper has a practice of correcting "mispronunciations."

After Andy

Want a hand-painted, three-foot copy of Andy Warhol's Mao? Too late., a Chicago-based art reproduction company, was served with a lawsuit after the Warhol Foundation discovered they were reproducing the artist's works without a license. has taken down the index and the Warhol page of their site, but via the Google cache you can see the many other artists they reproduce -- such as the whole range of Impressionists and Warhol's friend Basquiat.

Oh, the newer feeds

Christian wrote in to tell us our feeds are sort of wonky. They're not really — when we upgraded Movable Type, the feeds changed into several formats depending on which flavor you prefer. Before the upgrade we had made some custom changes to the old feeds which are no longer necessary with the upgrade. The best two you can use are the Atom feed or the RSS 1.0 feed for that full on flavor, in case you were using the lacking RSS 2.0 feed.

The Reg goes massive

The University of Chicago will spend $42m over the next four years to consolidate eight million volumes under the single roof of the Joseph Regenstein Library. That will make the Reg the largest single research library in the country, a title currently held downstate by the main facility of the U. of I. at Urbana-Champaign. Inside Higher Ed runs a story today, as did the Trib earlier this week.

Big Happy Photobloggers

Ron Slattery, GB contributor and tour guide of the Big Happy Funhouse, got written up in a New York Times article about photoblogs today. (If you don't have an NYT subscription, suffer through the 30-second ad on this link.)

Soon to be more majestic than ever

An interesting article (replete with graphics) in today's New York Times chronicles the beginnings of renovation to the LaSalle Bank Theatre, formerly known as the Shubert. The theater will reopen in the fall, and, after the $36m project is complete next spring, the Majestic Building will also feature seventeen stories of Hampton Inn hotel space.

Picture a New Angle

Speaking of American Gothic, "Hello Beautiful!" host Edward Lifson writes to tell us there will soon be "a new way, previously unknown, for you to get closer to this iconic work of art." Find out what it is this Sunday at 10am on Chicago Public Radio. Or wait for the audio to be posted on the show's site next Tuesday.

If I had a pitchfork

The Museum at the Art Institute has some pretty iconic work in its collection. Obviously. Few are more iconic, though, than Grant Wood's application of oil on beaverboard, the 75 year history of which professor Steven Biel has captured in his just-published American Gothic: A Life of America's Most Famous Painting. Get a preview of Biel's book on that symbol of simpler times in the latest Harvard Magazine or today's Slate.

No CTA cuts ... THIS year

The CTA is committed to not making any service cuts this year (gee, thanks, CTA!), but won't make any promises about next year. So tune in next year for another round of dire predictions of service cuts unless the CTA gets funding, etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum.... (Tip from CTA Tattler, who adds "Bring me the head of Frank Kreusi.")

Kubrick's Chicago

In 1949, Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look Magazine when he came to Chicago to work on a story with Irv Kupcinet. He shot 40 rolls, but only 11 pictures ended up in the story. The film was donated to the Library of Congress, and only recently documented and catalogued; the Tribune has a story about Kubrick's visit and a gallery of eight of the unpublished photos. For more, go to the LoC's online photography catalogue.

Google Maps Meets Chicago Bike Shops

Here's a neat example of the power of Google Maps - all of the bike shops in Chicago overlaid onto Google's map of the city.

Everything you ever wanted to know about BBS

You already knew that, back in February 1978, Chicago saw the birth of the world's first BBS. Well, the CBBS is back in the news with the recent release of BBS: The Documentary. The DVD set features eight episodes running five and a half hours, but, honestly, the promotional site is a history lesson in and of itself.

Naked and Really Angry

The SkinnyCorp. empire just continues to grow. Naked and Angry is their latest clothing company built around submitted and voted-on designs; this one features ties to start, but they plan to branch out into other "products and garments created from winning fabric patterns ranging from ties to tops to pillows to belts to socks to sweaters." Submit your fabric design today.

No More Boxes

If you work in the Loop, keep your eye out for old fashioned newspaper boxes on your way home tonight -- it might be the last time you see them. The city is making its final push to eliminate those boxes downtown, having replaced most of them already with multi-bin racks. More industrious folks might even rescue a straggler from certain destruction and reappropriate it for a new use -- an art dispenser, perhaps?

Still Mourning

Eric Zorn, a man who never met Alicia Frantz in person, has written a beautiful column dedicated to her. GB staffer Jes Davis also wrote a moving post as did Shylo Bisnett, Ken Meier, Paul McAleer, Naz Hamid, Jessica, Archie FlorCruz, the Michalik Funeral Home's blog entry, Avoision, Lacey, Bill, Kevin, Cinnamon, annahplanet, klink_klank, Tense Forms, Paul McCann, Andrew Huff, Wendy McClure and many others. If you'd like your link included in this, email it to

Better get to know Jack

As we noted yesterday, WJMK ditched its oldies format over the weekend. Opinions on the change appear somewhat polarized, with various folks at the Trib, for example, sounding off to entirely different ends. Turns out that Infinity Broadcasting made a simultaneous move in New York, and today's Billboard Radio Monitor has a story about the immediate aftermath in both cities. (See also: this morning's discussion about media consolidation on Eight Forty-Eight.)

No hammers and/or sickles here, please

The Empty Bottle was set to host a line-up of Canadian, indie rock all-stars tonight: Caribou, Junior Boys, and the Russian Futurists. However, as Pitchfork has just reported, after their detainment by the US Border Patrol on Sunday, there's no immediate future for the Futurists in Chicago. Bummer.

Cruising the Stain

It was bound to happen, but I didn't expect it to be so skeezy: some guy used Salt Stain Mary (and a lie about a brother who died in Iraq) to hook up with a beautiful Polish immigrant. Then he posted the story on Craig's List. Ick.

Lick the Spoon

Reader Joy points us to The Wooden Spoon in Andersonville, a family-owned gourmet cooking shop. Of special note is the slew of classes they're offering this month. From $45-$125, the classes cover everything from Thai noodles to tapas to healthy summer meals. Yum.

Sub resurfaces

The U-505 German sub that was moved last year from outside the Museum of Science and Industry to a new home inside the museum is now on display again, along with an exhibit of nearly 200 artifacts, including an M4 Enigma encryption machine, video clips of the U-505's capture, and a display of a T5 acoustic torpedo. Sounds excellent. See the MSI's site for details on the new exhibit.

Visitation and Funeral Arrangements for Alicia Frantz

There will be a visitation on Tuesday night from 5-8 pm at Michalik Funeral Home located at 1056 W. Chicago. The funeral will begin Wednesday at 11am. Donations to the Alicia Frantz Memorial Fund will be accepted. More information will be posted on Alicia's website. A memorial bike ride is in the works and there is a collective desire to see the stretch of road near the Kennedy expressway improved. Eric Zorn begins a nice online memorial to her. Rodan was packed last night and it was good to see so many of Alicia's friends getting together. Gapers Block would like to thank the wonderful owners and staff of Rodan for opening up the space to Alicia's friends.

Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie

WJMK, aka Magic 104.3, suddenly switched formats from oldies to the one called "Jack," featuring a huge playlist similar in feel to NineFM, which debuted last year with its "we play anything" edict. Seems like the Nine has a lot of stations on the run -- witness Q101's "shuffle," XRT's recent touting of its deep library, and even The Mix claiming to play "today's hits and whatever we want." Fans of the oldies can still listen to the old 104.3 online... for now.

Now, in the shop: new buttons

The new buttons we mentioned earlier are now available in the shop. Complete your collection!

Membership has its privileges

You CTA commuters who have already invested in a Chicago Card will no doubt be thrilled to learn that the CTA has introduced express lanes for Chicago Card users on 10 bus lines and 8 train stations. See the story for the full list of routes and stations with the new "Go Lane" entrances. (And for those commuters without a Chicago Card, the CTA is waiving the $5 purchase fee for the card through July 31, to encourage people to get cards.)

Calling all crafters

The third annual DIY Trunk Show, happening this November at the Pulaski Park fieldhouse, is now taking applications from vendors. Interested parties should check out the information about the trunk show, particularly the Craftifesto, to see if this would be a suitable place to sell your hand-made items. If it looks good, then fill out the application, start making goods to sell, and we'll see you in about five months at the show.

Chicago on Broadway

The Tony Awards were presented last night in New York, and as usual Chicago made its presence felt on the Broadway scene. Jam Theatricals, the Chicago-based spinoff of Jam Productions, received its first Tonys as co-producers on Best Musical winner Monty Python's Spamalot and Best Revival of a Play winner Glengarry Glen Ross (also the first Tony honor for Chicago's own David Mamet). Spamalot, of course, premiered here in December, and also won for director Mike Nichols, a U of C alumnus and founding member of the Compass Players (precursor to Second City). The Light in the Piazza, which played a pre-Broadway engagement at the Goodman last year, took home six Tonys; Celia Keenan-Bolger, who appeared in Piazza at the Goodman, went on to be nominated as Best Featured Actress for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee against her own replacement in Piazza, but the award went to Spamalot phenom Sara Ramirez. Whew.

Alicia, Rest In Peace

A dear friend of the Gapers Block staff, Alicia Frantz died Friday morning when she fell off her bike on Division Street and was run over by a truck. Words can't express the loss we feel. Our thoughts are with her family and friends; she'll be sorely missed. Funeral and memorial arrangements will be posted here and on Alicia's website. Addendum: A memorial benefit and fundraiser will be held this Sunday, the 5th at Rodan all evening.

We must be up to, like, SPF 1,000,000 by now

Can you believe that people are STILL trying to pass off Trib coumnist Mary Schmich's 1997 "wear sunscreen" column as their speech at graduation ceremonies? The latest person to do so: Springstead High School's principal Susan Duval. The Florida principal said, although she came across the speech on the Internets, she did not see an author to credit for the speech. Note to Principal Duval: it's called "Google search". (tip from Obscure Store)

Art Walk

Tonight is the night for art. In addition to the usual First Friday festivities, the School of the Art Institute's Continuing Studies certificate program is doing a sort of progressive dinner party, but with art instead of food. Start at Gallery X, 280 S. Columbus Dr. at 5pm, then move on to two other SAIC locations to check out works in a variety of media. Free.


Coudal Partners just announced their third "Crash Ballet" film remixing contest. This time around, the trick is re-captioning a 1950s filmstrip. Get yours in by Wednesday for a chance to win a 100 pack o' Jewelboxes.

Luvabulls Auditions!!!

Hey, ladies! Are you willing to shake your teeny, tiny booty on top of a bar? Well, what about in front of thousands of fans at the United Center? You'd make a great Luvabull. Applications for next year's Bulls cheerleader/dance team are due this June 18 with auditions a week later. Go for it!

This is Chaos

Last year, the Chicago Housing Authority came out with a new ad campaign with the tagline, "This is CHAnge," to promote its new Plan for Transformation. The Coalition to Protect Public Housing An anonymous group disagrees with this plan, and recently launched their own counter-campaign, under the tagline, "This is CHAos." (Edited to note: the CPPH has nothing to do with CHAos.)

Four Times for the Double Door

To those who love the small music venue: the Double Door may be in jeopardy. One of my most-frequented music venues in Wicker Park, the Double Door is fighting its landlord in court over a proposed quadrupling of its current rent. If they can't pay, you may well see a Banana Republic where rock and roll used to live. Take some action here. Read about the issue as it developed over the year here and here.

Visual Chicago History

This is pretty neat - WTTW has put their video archives of Chicago history online and they are searchable. I don't know eactly what I'm looking at, but it looks neat.

Pie-addle cysts and all

With Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim now in paperback, David Sedaris will be floating around Chicago's periphery this weekend, reading at Barnes & Noble in Skokie and Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. If you're looking for inspiration to make the trek (and the fact that the events are free isn't enough), New City has an interview as enticement.

Air Guitar Championship

So if you spend several minutes a day rocking out with your invisible guitar while listening to tunes on your iPod then you need to get your hiney down to Joe's Bar tonight at 8pm to participate in the US Air Guitar Championship. If you win tonight, then you'll get to go on to the finals in LA. You'll be judged on Technical Merit, Stage Presence, and "Airness". Who knew there were rules to playing air guitar?

Homer Simpson Day!

In the latest of a series of bulletins to our readers on free food handouts, we'd like to alert you to the fact that Krispy Kreme will be handing out free donuts this Friday, in honor of National Donut Day (a holiday started by the Chicago Salvation Army!). Stop in at a participating Krispy Kreme location near you and request your free donut.

Grant Park Music Festival

Thinking of my favorite outdoor summer places, reminds me that the 2005 schedule for the Grant Park Music Festival is online. Most of this year's concerts will be held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park. According to the website, the Grant Park Music Festival is the country's only remaining free outdoor classical music series. The opening night concert is Wednesday, June 15, at 6:30pm with a performance of Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Manifest 2005

Who doesn't like free outdoor events? Tomorrow, Columbia College puts on their daylong 15 exhibition artwalk and sale called Manifest that celebrates grad students from all of their departments. Music is never afar and Grammy winners Ozomatli (they are good!), hip-hop stud Saul Williams and fronting the jazz beat, Steve Turre take to three stages. Starts at 11am and ends at 9:30pm and, again, admission is free. (Hat tip to Sarah who's got the inside scoop).

Dumb Laws

And now for something entirely random. "Apparently, in Chicago, it is illegal to give a dog whiskey," Brian says. Also, it is legal to protest naked in front of city hall if you have legal permits. And are under seventeen. Because that totally makes sense. Find more dumb laws right here.

True English Cut Comes to Chicago

I've been reading Thomas' English Cut for many months. He's a Savile Row tailor who explains what bespoke is and describes the many fascinating details of exquisitely tailored suits. I've dreamed of flying to England just to get my special guy all dappered up in a handmade suit. But I just found out Thomas is coming to Chicago. So if you've got a coupla G's to plop down on the only suit you'll ever need, meet him up at The Seneca Hotel on the 15th or 16th of June.

Bungaloids in print

The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association got some press in the Washington Post this week, with various Chicagoans talking about how and why they ended up in the Bungalow Belt. If you own one of these classic houses, you might be interested in the Bungalow Association's free seminars on researching the history of your home: there is a meeting tonight and one on Tuesday, the 7th. Or, if you just like old pictures, WTTW has a slide show here.

Third Coast Press Online

Third Coast Press, a progressive publication based in Chicago, has put their former print archives together into a nifty website, They are moving to an online-only format, but we're glad to see them back!

Get In the Party Line

The Futureheads will be playing an accoustic set at the Hard Rock Hotel bar before their show at the Metro June 10, and there are only two ways to get tickets: stop by one of the Swatch stores at Old Orchard, Oakbrook or North Bridge malls, or sign up for the Party Line, Gapers Block's weekly email newsletter. We'll be raffling off a pair of tickets -- along with a GB t-shirt -- to someone on the mailing list Wednesday night. Sponsored by the Swatch Paparazzi.

Can you CAN TV?

Have you always wanted to be a television producer but just never had the chance to learn the skills? Well now is your chance: CAN TV is holding video production orientation sessions over the next few months. All you need is a photo ID and proof that you're working with a nonprofit organization. Once you make it through their orientation class you can then begin taking their classes, which cost between $25 and $200 -- so much more affordable than moving to Hollywood.

Spending for Shakespeare

Last week, Toronto fell in love with our mayor. He'll have to make way, though, for the most recent local darlings of Ontario, David Green and Mary Winton Green, who love the Stratford Festival so much, they've ponied up a million bucks to support it (their story runs in today's Globe and Mail). Though the Canadian press have expressed admiration for Chicago theater in the past, the Greens have been heading north for 35 years now, apparently to escape the "muttering" of method acting. And, while they might go a little less frequently these days, they still make the 450mi drive at least once a year. As they're in their 80s, that's some definite dedication.

The Sun-Times ticker, ticked out

Editor & Publisher reports that the Sun-Times has dropped its traditional stock listings, making it the largest daily in the country to take such a move. Instead, the paper will run abbreviated details and is, after a fashion, redirecting its readers to a revamped portion of its website. In his blog, the Trib's Eric Zorn notes that, though his outfit does not currently have similar plans, he's skeptical this won't eventually be the industry's trend.

Paging Professor Prekop

Chicagoan Sam Prekop is a jack-of-all-media: you probably know him best as a musician, but he's a visual artist, as well. (And, by golly, did one of his photographs make a gorgeous prize at our recent anniversary party!) Post Sea and Cake, he's gone solo, and his latest, Who's Your New Professor, has managed to get props from Pitchfork. Prekop's out on the road right now, touring behind the record, and he'll be in Boston tomorrow. As such, Beantown's Weekly Dig runs this nice little interview in which he discusses his hometown and transcending its influence on his music. (Updated, because I'm totally daft and forgot: we ran this audio interview just last month.)

Bikes On Metra - Today's The Day

Today's the first day you're officially allowed to take your bike on Metra trains. A few tips (since I got kicked off this morning by an ignorant conductor): bring a bungee and schedule or print-out that shows bikes are allowed on the train. Some conductors still think that no rush hour commuting is allowed, which isn't true -- reverse commuting is OK. Also, it helps to have your bike be neat and tidy. The conductors on my line have not been helpful; let's hope it gets better.

Smoke All You Want, But Not Here

Dennis Murphy, owner of Poor Phil's Shell Bar in Oak Park, was one of the loudest opponents of a proposed smoking ban in that town earlier this year. The ban was defeated, and a couple months later, Poor Phil's is now smoke free. Murphy says he thinks the change will have a positive effect on the restaurant -- but he's still against a smoking ban.

Making Media Meta

Community Media Workshop is hosting a large conference today and tomorrow entitled "Making Media Connections". You can still register (follow the link prior) and there are various prices for the different sessions. GB co-founder and editor-in-chief Andrew Huff will be on a panel with Eric Zorn and Barbara Iverson called "Blogging and how it's transforming the media landscape". Now if this isn't all geeky enough for you, read Andrew's post, Eric's post and Barbara's post. Once that's done and it all makes complete sense to you, give yourself a pat on the back and then write a post about it.

Oh wow, it's nature!

While walking to get ice cream last night (yes!), a stunning bus stop billboard caught my eye. The Chicago Botanic Gardens has a campaign called "Just One Look" with the site as the address (it shows a brief glimpse of the poster before redirecting you to their special events page). What they're mysteriously telling you is that this summer (starting tomorrow actually), the gardens will be open till 9pm everyday and at sunset each day, the freshly unveiled Evening Island will be lit up. As one of my favorite places in Illinois, this should be a real treat

A history of violence

Just as the FBI exhumes the body of Emmett Till, the Chicago Historical Society gets ready to show an exhibition that "documents brutal acts of terror from America's past"; Without Sanctuary, a pictorial history of lynching in America, opens Saturday, June 4. The display will be supplemented with drawn renderings of the trial of Till's killers, and it will be accompanied by various lectures, including one discussing his death, "the murder that changed America."

We need your blood

Chicago's blood supply is critically low. If you've never donated blood, or if it's been a while since you last donated, you should definitely think about doing it within the next week or so, especially if your blood type is one of the needed ones (O-, A- or B-). LifeSource has 21 donation centers in Chicago and the 'burbs; one's probably near you.

Theatrical Thrill Killers

Let's say you find yourself in NYC some time during June. You're looking for a taste of home, and you don't mind your show tunes mixed with murder. Well, the York Theatre Company's production of Thrill Me could be just the ticket. It tells the tale of Leopold and Loeb as, remarkably enough, a musical! Although Neil Genzlinger of the Times finds nothing especially new here, still, he says, the show "lands like a well-placed punch, arresting and a bit breathtaking." Which, in this case, at least, is a good thing.



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