As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, December 18

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Merge

Bop-a-lu Pre-bop

Podbop: it's like Upcoming, only with a soundtrack.

DIY TML: do it!

Just heard from the Neo-Futurists: there are still a few slots available for their fundraising event, in which a group of participants get to put on their own version of the theater company's long-running show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. If you feel like turning the events of your own life into a play, and performing that play in front of your family and friends (for one night only), please see the DIY TML page on the Neo-Futurists' Website. But hurry, because the playwriting course starts a week from tonight!

Wiki Comes Home

Chicago Living Arts has launched Chicago Wiki Arts: A Collaborative Site for Writing on Chicago Culture. In wiki fashion, registered users can log-in to create and edit pages in categories including literature, art, architecture and dance.

Explosives undetected! Story overreported!

In case you missed out on the latest crisis in the local-news culture of fear, a CBS-2/Sun-Times investigation has determined that security dogs at Metra stations might not detect suicide bombers, assuming those suicide bombers behave under the exact circumstances as the CBS-2/Sun-Times fake ones did. And we all know what a juicy target for suicide bombers Metra is. Both Metra and Securitas, the contractor that provides the dogs and their handlers, say the dogs aren't meant to work that way. The Sun-Times and CBS respond, "Boo! See, made you jump. What if we'd been a suicide bomber? Huh?"

Temps Abstracted

This sure is pretty: a visualization of monthly average highest and lowest temperatures recorded for Chicago from 1975 through 2004.

Berghoff: Now or Never

OK, this is it. The Berghoff closes today. If you haven't made your peace, better do it today. Then share your memories at the Berghoff Memorial Blog, and check out the ad (PDF) the Berghoffs took out in today's Trib thanking everyone for "the incredible outpouring of emotion" they've seen.

Historic List

The neighborhood of Pilsen (also called Heart of Chicago) has been approved as a historic district by the National Park Service. Nearly 90% of building owners will be eligible to become a part of the historic district. The district of Pilsen is home to the largest number of eligible properties nationwide.

Yet Another Google Map, Apocalypse Edition

Ever wonder what a high-yield atomic bomb would do to the city? You can find out with this handy mapper from Eric Meyer; Chicago is in the drop-down menu. (Thanks, Dan!)

New And Notable On Chicagobloggers

A few new and notable blogs on chicagobloggers.com: Today's Chicago Blues, a well-done blog covering the blues scene in Chicago. The author will also be publishing a book about the topic with friend of GB Lake Claremont Press. Also, Overheard in Chicago, a new blog attempting to do what New York's already done. Still interesting.

"Silver Line" Loses its Luster

Remember the Silver Line? Well, don't get to attached to it -- the name, that is. We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that its color might change, and, sure enough, the CTA has announced a Name the Line contest for local K-8 students. Children are invited to submit a color and an essay explaining their choice; the winner will receive a $1000 savings bond.

Saving Franks and Beans in NOLA

In the midst of Mardi Gras coverage, you might need reminding of the devastation that Katrina left in New Orleans. Take a look at this amazing tale, complete with pictures, of a Chicago man, Ned, and his friend Brian "Gordo" Gordon, who drove into New Orleans after Katrina to save Gordo's cats Franks and Beans. This morning, there are reports that many aid groups are running out of Katrina relief funds. Please give where you can. [Thanks, Julia!]

"Inside Black America" podcasts

The Chicago Defender has several podcasts available for download including a speech by Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. calling black Chicagoans to "raise their 'low expectations' and demand that they receive economic and political parity from their elected officials."

Hurtful Name-calling

So, Sox GM Kenny Williams and former Sox DH Frank Thomas have been having words. Frank feels disrespected, and over the weekend Kenny called him an idiot. The Sun-Times' Roman Modrowski thinks both of them need to move past the "6th grade level." (Wisely, Ozzie Guillen is staying out of it.)

German food in Wrigleyville

As the Berghoff closes this week, the Sun-Times reports on another German restaurant that will be opening this April in the middle of the sports-bar-clogged stretch of Clark Street near Wrigley Field. Uberstein is being started by the owners of Crobar and Blu, will be in the space that the Heaven on Seven restaurant is now, and will feature beer and beer glasses imported from the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Will Cubs fans go for a German restaurant? Since they're planning to serve beer, I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes.

Likes to Hear Other Sounds

London sound artist Peter Cusack is visiting Chicago in mid-March to work on his upcoming album, Your Favourite Chicago Sounds, which will feature, well, exactly what it sounds like it'd feature. Jesse Seay of the podcast Likes to Do Other Things is assisting Cusack by collecting people's favorite city sounds, and we're giving a hand, too; email her at likestodootherthings@gmail.com or list it in Fuel.

Only In Chicago

Oh, the Trib isn't saying anything, but a little muckraking has resulted in the revelation that Hilary's Urban Eatery, Alderman Manny Flores's pick on Check, Please! a few weeks back, is something of a financial contributor. (Good thing they're going to be laying low for a while.)

It's Getting Harder to be Green

Any number of unusual websites pop up on the "chicago" tag on del.icio.us, but among the more unusual of late is the Calling Frog Survey sponsored by the Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project. Unusual, yes, but interesting and important, as well. While most of the winter workshops have already taken place, volunteers are still needed to help organize this annual effort to preserve the local amphibian population. Check the site for more details.

Pooh-poohing the Berghoff Boo-hooing

Yes, the Berghoff is closing next week. Yes, there has been much weeping and wailing about it. In the midst of the sentimentality, however, EatChicago.net pipes up, stating an opinion I suspect many wish they could discount: "This once-venerable icon of historic Chicago has been serving below-average German fare for quite a while." The upside? "This city has too much good food for us to cry over a restaurant that gave up on quality years ago."

Looking for A Good Slam (poetry judge)

Here's an opportunity to be a judge and "no experience is needed. All you have to be interested in hearing the stories and poems of young people." The Young Chicago Authors organization is looking for around 180 people to be judges in its upcoming Louder Than a Bomb Teen Poetry Festival at HotHouse and Columbia College Chicago, March 3-6. If you're interested, check out Slowdown, then call Kevin Coval at 773-278-2716.

"Where the Nicest People Meet & Eat"

Reader Mike alerts us to another long-time Chicago institution's passing: tomorrow is the last day for the Uptown Snack Shop, 4668 N. Broadway. The Sun-Times has the story.

Knit for less.

Knitting is fun, but yarn can be expensive. It's going to be slightly less expensive this weekend at the Knitting Workshop, 2218 N. Lincoln. Their Winter sale is running through Sunday, which means all winter yarns are 40-50% off. Hey, it's not going to get warm for another 3 months, so you may as well stock up and get to it.

_________ of Chicago

I'd like to point out the Signs of Chicago, the Doors of Chicago and the Windows of Chicago. They are the eyes, ears and mouth of this fine city.

Christine vs. Tammy: Round 2006

Unless you've been studiously avoiding all forms of media you probably have an inkling of who Christine Cegelis and Tammy Duckworth are. This story has gone from being a "local only" candidacy and has now become a national campaign.
Kathy Pollit says "Go Chirstine! hasn't decided Alex Cockburn shares his $.02 In These Times weighs in

Too excited to wait?

In case you know exactly how you want to vote and just can't wait until March 21st to cast your ballot, here's some good news. Beginning February 27th (that's Monday) through March 16th you can vote. There aren't as many polling places, but you don't need an excuse. And just in case you need a little extra cash, David Orr is looking for 2000 electoral judges.

A Story Made for This Blog

Using the left-hand entrance ramps on the Kennedy downtown scares the bejeezus out of me. I'm always afraid someone's not going to be paying attention and nail me as I merge into fast lane traffic. It'll be a bit easier in the future, though: roadwork on that stretch of highway begins Monday, and the Monroe ramps — the shortest of the lot — will be closing for good.

Dangerous Birds

If you're like me, the Morton Arboretum is one of those wonderfully nature-filled spots in Chicagoland that you haven't been to in years. Like the Chicago Botanic Gardens, it's beautiful, affordable, and a great escape from the city. The Arboretum, however, won't be so calm this weekend as it features hawks and other birds of prey.

Psst...

While northside ticketseekers are currently lined up outside Wrigley or glued to their computer screens, single-game tickets to see the World Champion Chicago White Sox are readily available. They might be the better investment: tickets to the Sox opener are commanding a higher price than those of the Cubs.

Outguess Ebert

You Oscar prognosticator, you.

Fun With Google Maps, Oenophile Edition

Oh no! You've got a hot date tonight, and s/he asked you to bring the wine. You're looking to impress, so a bottle from Jewel just won't do. What now? Dr. Vino to the rescue. His new Chicago Wine Shop Map will point you to the closest wine shop, where a professional will set you up with the perfect bottle.

Is that legit?

In the aftermath of his recent hee-larious appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Gov. Blagojevich said in an interview published today that he didn't realize The Daily Show was a comedy program. Note to the Gov: hire a staffer with cable TV. Perhaps tonight's guest from Chicago, Roger Ebert, will fare better. (tip from Metroblogging)

Stop, Look, and Listen

Did you know that more than 160 bicyclists and pedestrians are killed in the Chicago metropolitan area every year? To find ways to combat hit-and-runs the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is teaming up with the Evanston Bicycle Club to have a news conference tomorrow morning at 8:30 am at the intersection of Sherman and Lake Street in Evanston (1450 Sherman Ave). Not only will there be "bigger picture" discussions related to traffic calming and tips on getting info on hit-and-runs to give to authorities, but there will also be requests to help track down a yellow Hummer H2 which seriously injured Archana Sriram at the intersection on February 16th.

I've ate thine huge

Inspired by London, Toronto and Amsterdam mass transit riders who have made up alternate maps of their cities' subway stops, local blogger Pete Anderson made up a map for two Metra lines where the station names are anagrams for the original names. This probably can't be done with the CTA map; what's an anagram for "63rd"?

Take me out to the wristband

Cubs fans, it's time once again to get your wristbands! You have until 10:00 tonight to stop by Wrigley Field and pick up a wristband that will determine your place in line tomorrow morning at 6:00, when the starting number is called for the head of the line. If you were planning on sitting this season's ticket sale out, you might reconsider; according to the Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue, the lines haven't been as long for this year's wristbands, which means fewer people in line for tickets tomorrow morning.

Radio Conspiracy Redux

Our post about WBEZ potentially using WLUW for its northern repeater frequency drew swift response from WBEZ and WLUW's program director, Shawn Campbell (whom we interviewed awhile back), as well as a reader. The short answer? "No way." Much, much more after the jump...
From WBEZ: "As Chicago Public Radio prepares to launch a new broadcast service in 2007, WLUW is not being considered part of the plan for locating a signal to extend coverage to the Northwest Chicagoland area. We respect WLUW's long-standing relationship with its audience members, and we will help WLUW in their efforts to continue providing quality radio programming to the community."

From Shawn Campbell: "There's absolutely no truth to this rumor, believe me! The WLUW signal is only 100 watts, and gets Chicago Public Radio nowhere near the coverage they need to extend north (they need to get up to Lake County, up the north shore, etc. Our reach gets to Skokie and Evanston, and not too far beyond). We've had discussions with them about this, because we've been aware of the fact that they are looking for a signal to the north, and we talked to them about the issue so we could reassure our staff. Further, any such move would be a violation of the agreement between Loyola and Chicago Public Radio. Third, the question of CPR "buying" WLUW, which is also mentioned in the post, was never an issue -- it wasn't for sale."

And this from GB reader Michael: "The website www.radio-locator.com is a fantastic resource for things like this. Among its many features, it generates maps of the predicted coverage area of every radio station in the country. Here's WLUW's. As you can see, WBEZ's music service would be abandoning much of suburban Cook County and almost the entirety of Lake and McHenry County if it were to carry out the plan outlined in the WLUW Watch blog. They may have a plan to boost signal. So far as I understand them, FCC rules force broadcasters with overlapping coverage to be at frequencies that are at least second adjacent, i.e. WLUW has to avoid conflict with existing broadcasts from 88.3 to 89.1. That could bring them into conflict with Lake Forest College's station, WMXM, and W206AI, a repeater for religious station KAWZ. WBEZ could, of course, purchase another station in the northern suburbs. I doubt that they would abandon such a wealthy part of their service area entirely."

Following the links on the WLUW Watch page, it appears it's connected in some way to a former WLUW DJ who was fired a couple years ago. Take that bit of information, and his description of the circumstances, as you wish.

So there you have it. Conspiracy squashed. Incidentally, WLUW is currently holding its funding drive right now — contribute if you can!

More Fun with GoogleMaps

Chicagoist took a tip from its parent and tracked down the "Google Center" of the city — the point you see if you type "Chicago IL" into GoogleMaps and zoom all the way in. Some other city centers after the jump.

• geographic center of the Loop: the Chase Tower
• "Number One City Datum Mark," the point from which the heights of all city buildings are measured: Northern Trust headquarters, 50 S. LaSalle
• And the "zero point," the center of the city's grid, is at State & Madison, of course.

Really Quick Restaurant Review: Choppers

You might have seen Choppers while driving down Ashland. They tout themselves as "The Home of the Choppak" which intrigued me for years. The retro exterior is a throwback to the 50's. I visited it finally to sate my curiosity this past weekend and had a choppak. It's a value meal of a double cheeseburger (order the quadruple if you wish), steak cut fries and coleslaw. On the side, I had what they also tout as "Chicago's Best Milkshake". The Choppak was pretty decent: good greasy type food. But the milkshake. It's less than $3, you can mix and match flavours and it's thick enough to give Mickey D's a run for their money in that department. Takes forever to finish, if you can at all. I had the banana (fresh!) and my dining partner had the Oreo Cookie. Need I say more?

Low-End Of The Dial Conspiracy

This entry on the blog WLUW Watch gives voice to what many of us have been thinking. WBEZ has been discussing swtiching to a split music and talk format, and the missing piece for this is a radio station with a coverage area that extends North. Which is just what WLUW happens to be. And since WLUW is in the red... (Thanks, Craig)

Keepin' It Steady on Southport

On the subject of Jason Molina (of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. fame) and his Monday night gigs at Schubas throughout February, Pitchfork says "the month-long residency format is perfect for an artist like Molina." Which suggests to me that maybe you don't want to miss the residency's last installment next week. Heck, it's only six bucks and the only tickets left for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig would involve crossing your fingers and queuing up with 14-year-olds. In other words, what's to lose?

In Defense of Blogs

A day after the Tribune's snide editorial about the "indefinite" future of blogs, columnist Eric Zorn demurs, calling the paper itself "a veritable Blogoslovakia" with a growing presence online. Mind you, Zorn could have gone farther: he fails mention that the Tribune has taken to printing web log content among its editorials, and he's gracious enough not to point out that you just can't get more tired than Al Gore/Internet jokes.

Hilary's Urban Eatery to Close

Woe unto the Wicker Park dining scene; first Leo's Lunchroom, now this. Not a month off of their appearance on Check, Please!, Hilary's Urban Eatery announces they're closing at the end of the day on February 27. (That's Monday!) Don't worry, they'll be reopening at a new space on Division sometime in the future.

Kelly Green Named Queen

The queen of this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been selected by a team of 30 judges. The appropriately named Kelly Green, 24, beat out about 100 other hopefuls vying to be parade queen by displaying "the qualities of grace, sincerity, beauty, sense of humor, poise, personality and wit" (!).

District 6, After Hyde

Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth is profiled in today's Monitor for two reasons: 1. She's one of several Iraq veterans entering the political arena this year. And, 2. Duckworth is a Democrat running in the Chicago suburbs, an area experts say is no longer the Republican stronghold it once was.

Another Reason to Hate Hummers

Seen a yellow Hummer with damage to the front corner? If you do, flick them off, then call the cops: on Monday morning, Northwestern student Archana Sriram was hit while riding her bike to school by a yellow H2 that ran the light at Sherman and Lake in Evanston. The driver took off, while Sriram ended up in the hospital with a broken jaw, hip and leg. (Thanks, Mike)

One book, one Chicago, one Moscow

The spring 2006 title in the One Book, One Chicago program is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In an interesting addition to the city-wide book club program, Chicago will join with Moscow to create an international book club to discuss this title. (The book marks the first selection for One Book, One Moscow.)

Feist-y Opinions

If you hadn't heard "Mushaboom" before, now that the Postal Service remix has shown up among Waxy.org's links, it'll likely be unavoidable on the interweb for the next few days. Hear more as Feist appears on Sound Opinions this weekend (7pm, Saturday, on Chicago Public Radio).

8-month Chicago winters pay off in Turin

Some of the area's recent Winter Olympics medalists: Benjamin Agosto (ice dancing) and, for the second time, Shani Davis (speed skating). More on Davis here.

Happy (almost) Ayyam'i'Ha!

Baha'is of the world start their 19-day fast on March 2. Before that, though, they party for about four days as heartily as non-drinking folks can in a holiday called Ayyam-i-Ha. Come celebrate it with them at the stunning Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. More in Slowdown. (Info on regular activities here).

On the Road to No-prah

Pity those poor old ladies who put their trust in a scheming DC-area travel agent to get them to Chicago to see Oprah... Terrance M. Hawkins was indicted today on 17 counts of theft after charging unsuspecting clients $500 each for a cross-country bus tour and tickets to see Winfrey tape her show. Alas, it was all a grift. [via]

Blogger Meetup: Copyright & Fair Use

The monthly Blogger Meet-up hosted by Columbia College's Barbara Iverson tonight features Matthew J. Sag, a law professor and author of the paper "God in the Machine: A New Structural Analysis of Copyright's Fair Use Doctrine." He'll be talking about how copyright and fair use come into play in blogging. Head to the second-floor "Mini Auditorium" at 33 E. Congress at 6:45pm to join in the free discussion.

CGBB 2, Electric Boogaloo

Back by semi-popular demand, next Thursday I'm hosting the second annual Chicago Gay Bloggers Bash, a shindig for Chicago's LGBT bloggers and their friends, families, and fans, straight and gay alike, to meet, greet, booze and cruise. It's totally casual, not unlike our monthly GB Get-Togethers (this Friday with no fries, chips!) and all GB readers are welcome to show up at Crew Bar + Grill. See my site or Slowdown for the deets.

Gasoline Pepsi

First there was Crystal Pepsi, then Crystal Clear Gasoline, and now the least desirable of the three, chemical-smelling Pepsi. Area Jewel-Osco stores are pulling 24-packs of Pepsi from their shelves after multiple customers complained of a chemical smell.

Craig's List Speaks

Reader Carrie points us to the official response from craigslist, from CEO Jim Buckmaster, to the Fair Housing Act lawsuit filed by the CLCCRUL we told you about here and here. Related: Chicagoist's interview with Michael Pensack, the executive director of the Illinois Tenants Union.

Hair For Sale

Are you that creep who keeps locks of your ex's hair in an envelope? Do you have a "thing" for famous people? If so, or even if you're normal, you might enjoy an upcoming event by an auction house in Willowbrook. They're auctioning off the hair of celebrities like Mickey Mantle and Elizabeth Taylor.

Berghoff history up for auction

If you aren't able to make it into the Berghoff for a final meal before it closes at the end of the month, you still have a chance of getting a piece of the restaurant's history: the restaurant will be auctioning off Berghoff memorabilia, from an original menu from 1939 to commemorative items for the Berghoff's 100-year anniversary, which was in 1998. The auction starts at noon on March 4, so start collecting your pennies. For pictures of the items up for auction, check out the auctioner's Website.

Oh My Wi-Fi

Chicago's citywide Wi-Fi initiative may not seem like much on the surface but here are some numbers to put things in perspective: The San Fransico bay area's wi-fi system covers 35 square miles. Philly's nearly-completed wi-fi system will cover 135 square miles. Chicago's proposed system would cover 228 square miles making it the largest in the nation. What this means is that I'll now have a place to sit and drink my coffee when I go to Borders.

Where There's Smoke

...there's a group of disgruntled office workers sneaking Parliaments in an alley. The Trib gets to the bottom of where all the smokers have gone now that they can't be within 15 feet of an entranceway. (Don't miss the accompanying, appropriately gritty multimedia slideshow titled "A Smoker's Poem.)"

Drinking for the Kids

mmmChicago lives up to its name this morning with the details of 826CHI's upcoming Wine & Dumplings fundraiser. The event takes place Thursday night and will feature wine writer Bill Daley and food writer Monica Eng, as well as -- you guessed it -- all manner of wine and dumplings.

"Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator"

Fresh Air celebrated Presidents' Day with a review of the recent Criterion Collection release of 1939's Young Mr. Lincoln.

Valentine Victorious, broken

The House Theatre, currently in the middle of staging Valentine Victorious (the third play in a time-travelling trilogy), suffered a setback this weekend when the writer and star of the show, Nathan Allen, broke his hand during Friday's show. He finished out the weekend, but it remains to be seen whether he'll need surgery or can finish out the run. Valentine Victorious runs at the Viaduct Theater through March 11; go and see for yourself whether Nathan is victorious!

Getting To Milwaukee

Handy link for to keep around when the weather gets better: the route map from Chicago to Milwaukee by bicycle. Of course, taking Amtrak isn't bad either, and is even better since they added a stop at the Milwaukee airport.

Coyotus in horto

Chicago can add another number one to its list: coyote population.

Force of Habit

I think it's going to be a while before anyone really figures out Shani Davis (check out the Trib's article about his erratic mood swings). Let us know if you do; a good place to begin research would be Davis's website, where it's revealed that his favorite comedian is Tom Green, and that he poured soup in a nun's pocket when he was two years old. [Thanks, Adam!]

This Orchid Life

Ira Glass may not understand why Chicagoans are upset about This American Life leaving for New York, but maybe that's because he doesn't realize just how rabid his fanbase is. I mean, stud orchids have been named after him.

Book Club Redux

Four years ago Women and Children First launched the Young Feminist Book Club. Tonight the book club members decided to expand the name to be the Inter-Generational Feminist Book Club. Feminists from the third wave are happy to share great books with second wavers and fourth-wavers. Oh and boys can totally be feminists, too, you know.

steppenwolf.blog

Looks like the Steppenwolf has jumped on the blogging bandwagon.

Movie Cliche Come True

A small plane crash-landed on the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway Sunday. The plane had just taken off from nearby Schaumburg Regional Airport when it had engine trouble.

Foreskin in the Balance

Just the way everyone wants to become famous: a precedent-setting dispute between divorced parents over their conflicting wishes regarding their 8-year-old son's circumcision. The presiding Cook County judge is requiring the parties to, ahem, maintain the status quo until the "best interests of the child" can be sorted out. Until then, he's not even allowed to hear about the case.

"I Think Skating's Awesome"

In recognition of Black History Month, today's Sun-Times runs a list of Chicago's Top 10 Black Sports Heroes. Those included range from Air Jordan to boxer Jack Johnson. But, the next iteration of this list may well need to make room for speed skater and South Sider Shani Davis, who yesterday became the first African-American to win individual gold in the Winter Games.

Anti-Semitic Vandalism Countered With Spiritual Gathering

One week ago, the Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation synagogue (5029 N. Kenmore in Uptown) was defaced with anti-semitic graffiti. Today, Sunday, to counter this act of violence, they are holding an anti-hate rally at the site -- religious leaders from all religions from all over the city will be in attendance as well as members of the Interfaith Youth Core. The graffitti, also, will be painted over at this event. See slowdown for more details.

Zulkey vs. Dybek

Claire Zulkey has around 20 questions for Stuart Dybek, who happens to be author of this month's Gapers Block Book Club book.

Friday Cultural Conundrum

Crap. There are too can't-miss events going on tonight. How does one choose between SAIC alumna and Ugly Ducking Presse author Jen Bervin reading at an incomplete map of everything (weekend #3), Sketchcore's Urban Legends show and the AREA:Chicago Art/Education/Activism issue launch? Would it best to throw one's culture loving hands in the air and spend the night downing $1 apple pucker and jell-o shots at Big City tap?

Sounds Around Town

Audio blog The Square Tracks is an interesting mix of self-produced stuff and shared mp3s. The most recent post is a set of field recordings made around the city, including a number of street performers you're likely to recognize.

Chris Saathof Benefit tonight

The 2nd anniversary of Chris Saathof's passing was this past Tuesday. A benefit will be held tonight at The Beat Kitchen (10PM, $10, 18+), featuring The Hot Machines whose member Miss Alex White was Saathof's old musical partner. [Thanks Jennifer!]

How Now Brown Line?

Monday marks not only Presidents' Day, but also the start of the Brown Line expansion project. The CTA will be closing various stops for a varying (and sometimes unknown) amount of time over the next year, starting with Kedzie and Rockwell. Riders will have to walk to the closest open stop or make other arrangements. Think riding the Red Line will keep you safe? Because of switching and track upgrades, riders will see an increase in delays at Fullerton and Belmont throughout the year (and probably until the project is completed in 2009). Raise your hand if you're super psyched!

Wi-Chi

The Trib reports that, beginning in the spring, Chicago will actively solicit proposals for the creation a citywide wireless network (as Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia have already done). Meanwhile, the tech-savvy shake their heads at the prospect of installing 7,500 wireless repeaters instead of waiting a year for WiMAX.

Historical Googling

If you haven't downloaded Google Earth and looked at downtown Chicago in 3D, you should. But Chicagoans are extending and improving the system too--local blogger Atul has created a bunch of interesting overlays based on historical data on his site at Toolness. Internal GB testing revealed a little wonkiness on the Mac but generally postive results. (If you know any others like this, let us know!)

Cow Parading Elsewhere

On Valentines Day, thieves made off with Ogden Elementary's cow statue. The Gold Coast school's prized piece of the city's famous "Cows on Parade" was painted by its students.

RNC in '08? No, IOC in '16

Chicago was asked on Wednesday to submit a bid for hosting the next Republican National Convention in 2008. But today the city said it's not interested, preferring instead to focus on a bid for the 2016 summer Olympics.

Skilling Factoid

Here's a wild tidbit from everyone's favorite Chicago meteorologist: fewer than 1% of all Chicago thunderstorms since 1970 have occurred in February.

Rod And Hair

I am absolutely obsessed with Rod's hair. It's always perfect and rivals Donald Trump's hair for yucks. So imagine how surprised I was when I found he sometimes dyes it. And that our governor is pals with Spongebob, too.

No More Wolf With Fox

Love him or hate him, zany sports guy Bruce Wolf is a staple in Chicago sports journalism. Having worked at FOX Chicago for 18 years, Wolf was fired this week with no explanation given by either party. Sadly, like so much else, the Trib speculates it was about money.

Local Patents

Here's something I had no idea existed: Crain's compiles a list of patents awarded to local businesses and independent inventors. If that tickles your fancy, you'd probably also like Patently-O, a patent law blog.

Ride the Silver Bullet

No, not Coor's. The CTA has unveiled plans to turn the Cermak branch of the Blue Line into the Silver Line, though the color may change. The plans call for a new section of line called the Paulina Connector, which will run the new line up to the Green Line tracks. Here's the press release.

Fireside Chat

The latest product of FoGB 37Signals: Campfire, a group chat program for business ...and probably other groups, too.

I Go, You Go, We all Go with I Go

You brag proudly about how you love not having a car. As your friends complain about scraping their car windows in the morning, you wave your transit card at them. But occasionally you want to go to the burbs or you just want to make a massive run on a grocery store. I-Go has been in Chicago for a while, but now they have a blog called Chicago Car Sharing. It's a great place to keep up on chicago transportation issues while keeping your carless pride. edited 2/16: I-Go doesn't permit pets unless they're in a carrier. Good news for the pet allergic, bad news for those with a Fluffy or Fido.

The Raptor of Live Music

The League of Chicago Music Venues is throwing a music festival this weekend, and you're invited. This Friday through Sunday, The Hawk Winter Music Festival will feature acts of all sorts, from blues to indie to children's, at the group's 11 member clubs. And on Sunday, a $20 wristband gets you into as many shows as you can stand. Worth checking out.

Vid-Podcast? Pod-Vlog?

The hype about podcasts seems to be waning, but that doesn't mean there's no innovation going on. ChiHookah.com offers not only a podcast about Chicago food, beer and music (and, um, hookahs), but also video of said podcasts.

Tales Of Suburban Silliness!

“After five years of looking for something romantic to do on Valentine’s Day, I thought this would be fun and different,” Dockery said. Her reaction: "You're kidding, right?" Why the negativity? Yes, he took her to White Castle. Even worse: IT WAS PACKED. (Thanks, Stacey!)

Firespinning Class This Weekend

If you're interesting in learning how to practice poi, the art of fire-spinning, you're in luck. Local group SPUNN is offering a workshop this Saturday for users of all levels to improve your fire skills. If you think it looks cool, you're correct -- it's even better to hear the sound of flame whooshing past your head.

What's in a name when it comes to food?

Fluky's changes its name to U Lucky Dawg (generic and ugh - hat tip: Paul). Meanwhile, let us breathe a sigh of relief that Booby's in Niles isn't changing its name.

Unique Reading Series Launches

Join the Guild Complex and Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame tonight for the launch of PALABRA PURA, a bilingual reading series. Mike Puican, Guild board member, says, "With the third largest Latino population in the United States, we want to create ongoing dialogue between the sponsoring organizations, the artists involved, and the community at large."
Paul Martinez Pompa and Jorge Frisancho will feature tonight, and open mic slots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Vroom

For the Sunday drivers stuck at their desks: comprehensive Chicago Auto Show coverage from hometown boys Autoblog.com. (Check out the podcast and desktop wallpaper gallery.)

Task Unmanaged

The Mac nerds are all over this CTA Tattler post with its shots of the new Jackson station signage gone, well, off the rails, really. That Windows XP -- if it knows anything, it knows you need anti-virus software and/or a firewall. One or the other.

Chicago Architecture Tours: spring schedule

Add this to your to-do list for 50 degree or above weather (like, say, today): Chicago Architecture Tours. Bike, bus, on foot, in English, French, and sometimes Italian. Neighborhood tours also available. Check it out [PDF].

Chiditarod

A coastal phenomenon comes to Chicago: The Urban Iditarod, dubbed here the "Chiditarod". The premise is simple: steal a shopping cart, dress up like a "team", and run through the streets. As usual, it's important to drink heavily while participating. Sign up now, the race is in two weeks.

Really Quick Review: Kouk's Cafe (Norwood Park)

The strangest thing about Kouk's Cafe (5653 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park) is that this same idea wasn't done sooner. A very warm and cozy cafe (with good tea and wi-fi), it also has an attached resale shop that is affordable and filled with doo-dads. (We got some great retro postcards.) In the summer there's an outdoor garden where you can take your tea and conversation. Recommended, certainly.

HB4907 AKA The Boub Bill

If you're involved with local Chicago cycling happenings, you may well be aware of Boub vs. Wayne and the disincentive that the Chicago Bicycle Federation and other parties have been trying to elminate. The good news is that the bill passed 6-4 in the Local Government committee but is now facing tough opposition from the City of Chicago (which started on the 9th of this month). While it may be a little late, it can't hurt to voice your concerns to the Mayor. See what you can do.

Roll Out The Albany Park Welcome Wagon

Say you're new to the area and you'd like some pointers about your new 'hood, Albany Park. Who better to ask than the folks at ask.metafilter? If you happen to know of the cool little undiscovered places or things to do in 60625, stop on over and share them.

Three Minutes of Awesome

Felix Jung has taken a photo nearly every day since July 2002. Which gave him just enough material to make 3 Years 3 Minutes, a presentation of three years' worth of photos shown in rapid succession on three "screens," set to music. If you watch no other video today, watch this one.

Crime On Your Desktop

For those of you with Macs, there's a new Dashboard widget that gives you a Chicagocrime.org feed for whichever block you choose.

Pontiac says OK GO

Just in case you were considering playing hooky this Friday to go see the Chicago Auto Show, here's an incentive. OK GO is playing a free concert at the Pontiac Garage sponsored by Pontiac and Q101, who happen to be giving away free tickets. Flash animation warning.

AsianMack free mixes

While the mix mp3 project Out of 5 might return in the near future, Jamie and the folks at AsianMack are releasing completely free mp3 mixes each month that come with printable AsianMack cover artwork. Look to the northeast.

More Lolla to Love

The details are slowly oozing out about the return of Lollapalooza to Chicago this summer. Latest in the pipeline is that the festival will be more than twice as big with a jump from 60 to 130 acts, will feature not 4 but 8 stages, and will stretch from Hutchinson Field to the Petrillo Music Shell over the now 3-days of music, August 4-6. Will any of the lineup be recycled from the other summer music fests in the works? Are any of those acts Smashing Pumpkins? We're still waiting to hear.

Crash Monday

On a day that has seen more than the usual amount of car crashes, IDOT has released its most recent list of dangerous intersections. Recent data shows the intersection of Higgins and Roselle in Hoffman Estates saw more crashes than anywhere else in the state in 2004. It seems malls and tollways are to blame.

School Renamed for Till

On February 24, James McCosh Elementary in Woodlawn will be renamed Emmett Louis Till Math & Science Academy. Till was killed prior to starting 8th grade at McCosh. Since announcement of the name change, ten eighth graders have formed an Emmett Till Club.

RedEye of the 'burbs

Last May we told you about the Daily Herald's youth-oriented blog site, Beep. Last week Beep relaunched as BeepCentral.com, with a richer mix of blogs, feature stories, and entertainment listings, plus a note that a print tabloid version is on its way. (Thanks, Aimee!)

What's for Lunch?

Not sure what the place around the corner offers? Check out MenuPages, which lists the menus of more than 2200 Chicago restaurants. Yum!

So Fast, So Furious

Lake Shore Drive can be pretty dangerous, especially that cool curvy bit by Oak Street. The Trib's column about it (eerily timed on a morning with a pretty big crash on LSD at Irving Park Road) comes with a cool graphic [PDF] though. (Thanks, Dan!)

Obama Time

Time magazine devotes much coverage to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this week, examining the "exquisite dilemma" of the various expectations he faces and offering a Q&A in which he quips that, following his Grammy win, he's looking next for an Emmy, this time as "Best Actor in a Drama Involving John McCain."

Publisher by the Lake

Nice profile of friends of GB Lake Claremont Press in today's Sun-Times.

Chicagoans @ Torino

Forgive me if you've heard this already, but there's gotta be some Chicago in Torino, right? Enter: ice hockey player Chris Chelios, ski jumper Georgi Zharkov and speed skater Shani Davis. Good luck, you guys!

Personally, I Go for the PB&J...

Next time you end up at Potbelly's, surrounded by hollering staff and patrons, you can think to yourself, "Well, if it's good enough for Grant..." That's right, in a Best Life magazine feature about famous chefs' favorite downmarket indulgences, Alinea wunderkind Grant Achatz gushes over the Wreck's meat, cheese, toppings and "tasty bun." (A four dollar sandwich is probably about as close as you're going to get to Achatz's dining out routine -- when asked about his upmarket favorite, he lists some restaurant in Spain with a 35-course tasting menu. Good luck getting there and back on your lunch hour.)

New And Notable Chicago Blogs

A few new additions to Chicagobloggers worth examining: Cella Bellum, the humorous rantings of a law student; I Want To Be Donna Reed, offers the other side of attorney-ness, as a lawyer who stayed home to be with her child; and EmptyFree.com, a blog devoted to mp3s. I was just listening to song that combined Ukrainian accordians with hip-hop. A few more ways to while away time while it snows....

Map of 1874 Fire

The "Ask the Librarian" column on Gapers Block this week discusses Chicago's Second Great Fire of 1874. As an addendum to the column, check out this illustration of the damage from the 1874 fire. Thanks to The Newberry Library Genealogy News for tracking it down.

Society No More

The Chicago Historical Society was renamed yesterday. Gary Johnson, the president of the society, says the name Chicago History Museum more adequately represents the city's oldest cultural institution.

Governor Smith vs. the Drug Teases

Brian mentioned it on this week's "Party Line," and here it is: the governor on The Daily Show.

Rebutting Cindy

Remember that bizarre column lambasting Chicago in the NY Post we linked to on Monday? Richard Roeper wrote a rebuttal in the Sun-Times a couple days ago. Tequila Red's was a bit snarkier, though.

MDRN Transmission Pt. 2

If you missed this week's Transmission act, the Modern Temper, at their Hideout gig on Wednesday because of the GRAMMYs, the snow or Project Runway, they've been added to tonight's Beat Kitchen bill. Doors are at 7; admission is $8.

Don't Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain

Former WLUW DJ Mike (sans partner Lyssa) interviews Ed Menacho, founder of local label Brilliante Records on his podcast 15 Minutes (the step-child of their longer show 75 Minutes, a GB fav). Hear about how the label got started, and the changing indie record scene, as well as music by local Brilliante artist The M's.

Onward and Upward

Architecture critic Blair Kamin marks the emergence of the Trump Tower on the banks of the River and offers a bit of background on why it won't be finished for another few years. Meanwhile, the Tribune helps you to check out the slow but steady progress with a webcam that looks out on to the construction site.

Rearview for Your Wall

Here's an opportunity to pick up prints by two of the photographers regularly featured in Rearview: Yu Kizawa and Patrick Spence will be among the artists featured at "Love-A-Palooza pre-Valentine's Day Art Show" today from 3pm to 9pm at the home of Brook Costello, 5809 N. Winthrop Ave. Apt. 3N. More info here.

Not Everyone Loves Harry

Unlike legions of Cubs and old school Sox fans, Milo Hamilton doesn't like Harry Caray...at all. Hamilton, the long-time broadcaster of the Houston Astros & former Cubs announcer, calls Caray a "miserable human being" in his recently published memoirs.

Trapped in the Courtroom

Nothin' going on this morning? Unrequited Narcissism suggests heading down to 26th and California for the next round of the R. Kelly media circus. Just don't, ya know, bring the kids.

Help Wanted at the Trib (Maybe)

The Trib's losing its public editor next month, and John Cook wonders when and if he'll be replaced. The ombud position isn't the only one that'll be vacant; Cook reminds us that there's been no editorial cartoonist for 2,049 days, no Tempo columnist for 1,241 days, no book critic for...well, you get the picture.

What was that about Torino?

The XXth Olympics start tomorrow night (opposite the last four episodes of Arrested Development, harumph). You can set up your TiVos for the next 16 days by consulting the vast broadcast schedule of all the events on the "networks of NBC". Watch video of local Olympic athletes on NBC5's Olympics site.

Closing the Book of Daniel

Wynne Delacoma of the Sun-Times outlines the CSO's post-Barenboim strategy, which we can summarize for you: guest conductors, guest conductors and more guest conductors. What might come after the 2006/07 season, no one's saying, but it seems likely that one of those guests may eventually settle in for good.

Requiem for a Thud

It's official: bucket boys are no more, at least on the stretch of Michigan Avenue between Delaware and Superior. 0.24 miles of the city just got a whole lot quieter.

Visit the Show from Your Desk

Chicago Auto Show Webcams (to be online after 3pm).

More Oprah Available SOon

XM Satellite Radio has signed a 3-year deal with Oprah to launch the channel "Oprah & Friends" in September. Oprah's signature channel will feature a weekly show with Oprah and her BFF Gayle King and be broadcast from a new XM studio at Harpo Studios.

Illinois' Grammy-winning Senator

Congratulations to Sen. Barack Obama, who won a Grammy last night for the audiobook recording of his book Dreams From My Father.

All Things Chicago

Two items about Chicago crackdowns on this afternoon's All Things Considered: the crime camera controversy and the silence of the buskers.

Majestic Views Hidden in Shubert

The former Shubert Theater, the smallest (and formerly dingiest) of the downtown theaters, had been closed and remodeled for a fall reopening as the LaSalle Bank Theatre. Now the open is set for May, and builders are finding hidden treasures throughout, including a second level to the lobby.

CLCCRUL v. CL Redux

Two days later, here's some more background from the Tribune on that Craig's List lawsuit filed by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. (Here's a PDF of their original press release.)

Where The Action Is

If you'd like to be part of the Windy City Rollers but, for some reason, can't join a team (ie, Y chromosome), here's your chance. The WCR is seeking referee applicants, and the only prerequisites are an age of 21+, "a love of sports and strong women," and some free time. Contact Mob Hit Molly for more information (and read up on the nuances of the game here).

Eye Candy Roundup

Some sight-seeing for the middle of the week:
ghostco. - gorgeous illustration
Spike Press - currently on display @ Gold Star
K. Judge - scratchboard and charcoal
NOTIFBUTWHEN - new work at an old favorite

Around the Coyote Winter Preview

Chicago Living Arts provides us with video, images and audio previews of the upcoming Around the Coyote Winter Arts Festival 2006.

Still More Beer

Still more beer: it seems that someone has self-published a history of Chicagoland brewing. A few samples are available online (of the text, not the beer).

And speaking of special talents...

As reader steve_sleeve points out, today's Fuel question ties in quite nicely with Mrs. Meow's Talenza Bonanza talent show, this Friday at Phyllis' Musical Inn. Maybe some of you can take your talents out for a test drive. More info in Slowdown.

Come On, Feel The Noise! Please?

Oh, this again: the Trib reports that the City Council will vote Wednesday on restrictions against downtown street performers. As usual, the real vitriol is reserved for the fabulous Bucket Boys.

Yet Another Google Map, Six Pack Edition

Jumping into the city's already crowded booze map field is beer.chicago.com.

Laski, But Not Leastly

City Clerk James Laski officially resigned today after getting caught on wiretaps soliciting bribes--a scandal that folds nicely into the Hired Truck Scandal. Mayor Daley has the power to appoint his successor, which he will likely do by the end of the month.

Macy's Makes a Move

Macy's has hired Chicago advertising agency JWT to work on the company's national brand launch. As early as Fall, 350 new Macy's will open in stores acquired from May Co., raising the total number of Macy's in America to over 800. No telling if this love Macy's has thrown towards the city will make Chicagoans not feel like this.

Art is for lovers

Valentine's Day occurs one week from today, and since Tuesday is the free day at the Art Institute, why not take the "Loves Me, Loves Me Not" self-guided tour (PDF link) through the museum's collection, for a look at the true ingredients of romance in art: "passion, devotion, treachery, tears." Also happening at the Art Institute this week: a new exhibit opening on Saturday titled "Girodet: Romantic Rebel" featuring more than 100 works by the 18th century French painter; and a prix-fixe menu at the museum's Garden Restaurant in honor of the romantic holiday.

Quit Grinning

Nice profile of Stop Smiling in the Sun-Times today, with a headline that makes it sound like the magazine is in dire straits (it's doing just fine, actually).

Like Chicago for chocolate

The Washington Post takes a look at the status of candy and chocolate companies in Chicago. Some (Blommer Chocolate Company, Margie's Candies) are doing well in the city, while other companies (Primrose Candy Company, Brach's, Ferrara Pan Candy Co.) are moving some or all of their manufacturing out of the US, to take advantage of the lower cost of sugar outside this country. Still, there are new companies sprouting up (Blue Cat Candy Company, Chicago Chocolate Company) to feed Chicagoans' need for sweets, so the Chicago/candy connection is still alive. (See also the Art of Chocolate event tomorrow night in Slowdown.)

Perhaps it is the Cat Scratch Fever?

Citing "health reasons" Matador records has announced that the delightfully unpredictable Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) has cancelled most of her U.S. tour, including her stop in Chicago originally planned for The Vic later this month. If you're desperate for some Cat Power, she's still planning to play Bonnaroo and Coachella Music Festivals...for now. Check the Matador site for updates on refunds.

Nothing To Get Angry About

This week's Transmission artist, The Modern Temper, will blow their stack this Wednesday, February 8th at The Hideout (w/Devin Davis). Get over the "Hump Day" blues and head over to one of the hottest venues in Chicago. Show some love for a local up-and-coming band.

The Last Weinerschnitzel

Chicago blog Serenade In Green has posted a blow by blow account of their last dinner at the Berghoff. "Once off the train, we were greeted by a line of like-minded Berghoff pilgrims that stretched all the way down the block," they write. You have until the end of February to enjoy this Chicago institution.

Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser

Mercy for Animals is holding a Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser at Framing Mode, a south loop art gallery on Saturday the 11th. There'll be catered food, spirits (all you can drink!), a DJ and "Best Dressed in Red" wins some fab prizes — all for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. See Slowdown for more details. Love your animals!

CLCCRUL v. CL

A local legal group, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, filed a federal lawsuit today against Craig's List for publishing apartment rental listings that violate the equal housing laws. According to the CLCCRUL, "from July 2005 through the present, craigslist published over 200 such ads from metropolitan Chicago, with language such as 'no minorities,' 'African Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me so that won't work out,' 'Ladies please rent from me,' 'Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male,' 'Will allow only single occupancy,' and 'No children.'"

Game on and on

If you missed last year's videogame exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, you've got one more turn to play. Game On 2.0 opened last Friday at the MSI, and will be at the museum through the end of April. To draw crowds to the exhibit, which includes over 100 games on many game platforms, the museum is giving away one Sony PSP every day to a visitor of the exhibit. Fire away!

XXX-Rated Chicago

Demon Dogs maybe be gone, but Chicago (the band) is back. The band's 30th album, imaginitively titled Chicago XXX, comes out next Tuesday, and they'll be touring this summer with none other than Huey Lewis & The News.

Chicago Underground Library Project

The Chicago Underground Library (CUL) has announced its first community meeting. CUL's goals include creating an online archive of independently published and small press works in Chicago. Chicago's sexiest librarians, Nell Taylor & Emerson Dameron, hope to see you Saturday, February 11, 3pm, at East Village's newest coffee shop: Mercury Cafe, for an informational and organizational meeting for CUL and the independent publishing community.

Ravings of a Mad Woman

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams must've run out of material: her latest screed is a baffling, cliché-filled rant (bugmenot) about how second-rate the Second City is, keyed off a vague claim that Chicago was recently called "the Number One City in America" in an unnamed newspaper. (Thanks, Nadim!)

starbucks is love

Looking for love, coffee lovers? This ValDay, head on over to the Piper's Alley and Roscoe Village Starbucks. From 7-9 p.m., the folks from Yahoo! Personals will help you create an online personal, take a professional snap of you, and hand you a $10 coffee card. Hey, where else can you (maybe) find the love of your life -- and a week's worth of joe? Via TOC.

Cherry Tree Lane, Chicago

Last fall, Tammy Green began spotting Mary Poppins graffiti around her neighborhood. She briefly speculated that they were related to the Music Box's sing-along screening of the film, but, while that's come and gone, the images persist and, it seems, multiply. Like any good netizen, she's posted photographic evidence on Flickr, wondering "what the heck is up" with the stencilled, umbrella-borne nanny. If you've got the scoop, let us know, too.

"The city's informal festival of anxiety"

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood checked in on Chicago last weekend, visiting the Goodman, Steppenwolf, and... the House Theatre? It's official, kids: you've arrived.

Reinventing the Family Name

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a bit about New York Times correspondents' profiles of various US cities, including our own. At the time, I conjectured that Jodi Wilgoren had been accidentally miscredited -- there was no one in the paper's archives with the surname Rudoren, and Wilgoren is (was?) the local bureau chief. It only made sense. Happily, turns out I was wrong: on the occasion of their recent marriage, Jodi Rudoren (née Wilgoren) and her new husband (né Ruderman) combined their names, albeit to the bafflement of Cook County judge Sophia H. Hall.

Marina City Revealed

"Everything you always wanted to know about 300 N. State Street, Chicago, IL, but didn't know whom to ask." [via]

South Side High School Evacuated

This afternoon, students from Chicago Vocational Career Academy were evacuated after a large fight broke out inside the building. The students have since returned to the school through metal detectors.

Holy Kauai!

Update on the plan to revive Trader Vic's in Chicago: on Tuesday, February 7th Harry Caray's Restaurant will go Polynesian, serving food from the Trader Vic's restaurant menu only for that day. The occasion: the Trader Vic's president is flying to Chicago to pass the torch (figuratively and literally) to Harry Caray's, which will be overseeing the opening of the new Trader Vic's Chicago location sometime next year. Along with the torch, Harry Caray's will also get the Trader Vic's Mai Tai recipe, which will be served in all three Harry Caray restaurant locations at least until Trader Vic's opens. (thanx to Robert for the tip)

The Mafia Shares Its Profits

Why wait till the last minute to pick out a gift for your Valentine? Get it done early at the Chicago Craft Mafia's 2nd annual St. Valentine's Day MassCraftsacre. Pick out a one-of-a-kind piece ("It's an original, honey. Just like you.") from 13 different Mafia members and "friends of the family," get some handmade chocolates, and help 826CHI raise some much needed cash — 20% of the proceeds from all sales as well as funds raised in a raffle will be used to finish building "The Boring Store."

Commercial Memories

Apropos of the current Fuel question, here are some classic commercials from local TV: EagleMan, Victory Auto Wreckers and Bud Man (first two via Coudal). Let us know if you find any more.

Where the Weather Watchers go

If you're down with Tom Skilling like I am (as in, he's the person I go to for the weather), you might be curious where he likes to hang out. Or for that matter Tammie Souza and Phil Schwarz.

U of C Press Blog

The University of Chicago Press gets online with the debut of their "The Chicago Blog" (a less mundane title might help them in the long run though). In their words: "Publicity news from the University of Chicago Press including news tips, press releases, reviews, and intelligent commentary." But thus far, there seem to be a few reviews and some opinion on books as well — actual content! Should be worth keeping an eye on.

"Playful Irony & Poetic Metaphor"

If you love irony & metaphor, or you just like wood carvings, the Chicago Cultural Center is featuring the work of Los Carpinteros. The Cuban threesome was dubbed as so because they primarily work with wood, but the exhibit features drawings, prints, etc. and the price is right...free.

Chicago Shorts

Are you a filmmaker? Do you want to be? The City of Chicago Film Office is looking for locally produced short films (10 minutes or less) to run during the Outdoor Film Festival this summer. Deadline for submission is April 1; click the "Call for Shorts" link on the Film Office website (damn the city's expiring relative links) for more info.

Put a Stamp on It

V-day is fast approaching, and unless you want to hit the rack at the 7-11 night of, here are just a few local artists and their original Valentines all set for the mailing. Funny? Try Mr. Pickles. Witty? Check Girl Metro. Elegant? Snow & Graham has beautiful blank notes. Shop in person for these and others at local stationers like Greer Chicago, Paper Boy and Fly Paper.

TAL NYC redux

This week's Chicago Reader includes a story about the move to New York by the This American Life team, and includes a couple paragraphs on the discussion about the show that was on GB last week. One detail in the Reader story that was omitted from the original Robert Feder column: the NY move is apparently may only be a temporary one while the staff works on the upcoming TV version of the show. TAL could be back in Chicago next winter, moving to new studio space in WBEZ's building.

Battle of the 'Hogs

Seems our local hairy weatherman, the Brookfield Zoo's Cloudy Groundhog, has failed to see his shadow today, while the more "famous" predictor, Punxsutawney Phil has indeed, seen his, and predicted six more weeks of winter. Can we get a consultation from Tom Skilling, or a marmot or something?

Word! Discount Spoken Word

Chicago Poetry gives you the hook-up for discount tickets to the Marc Bamuthi Joseph spoken word show Feb. 2-4 at the MCA. Just mention Chicago Poetry at the box office to get $10 off the $22 tickets!

Rollin', Rollin'

Can't make it to the Windy City Rollers' recruitment party at Delilah's tonight? You can still find out all you need to be a bone-crushing hellcat on wheels. Just email info[at]windycityrollers.com to receive the info that you missed. Oh, no boys allowed, though.

Toy Cameras! And the photos they produce

The Toy Camera Show opens at Damen Studio on Saturday the 4th with a reception. Featuring work from Rearview contributors Sarah Hadley and Bill Vaccaro amongst others, you can take a look at the mysterious allure and amazing photographs that come out of little cheap plastic cameras.

Pizzeria Uno East. Faaaar East.

Next time you find yourself in, say, Shanghai, and you're looking for a, say, taste of home, maybe give CJ Chicago a try? Holy cow, indeed.

The first Chicago Ghost Bike

The Ghost Bike Project started last year as reminders and memorials to cyclists who had lost their lives tragically to drivers. The first Chicago Ghost Bike has been set up in memoriam of Isai Medina. Photos of the bike have appeared on Flickr taken by April Jacobs (here and here) and by Payton Chung, here. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide in mid-January. More photos from around the country of ghost bikes can be seen here.

Golden Apples

30 Chicago-area teachers are finalists for the 2006 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Of the finalists, 9 are Chicago public-school teachers from Burley, Chicago Academy, Jahn, Marquette, Murphy, Nicholson, Otis, Piccolo, and Pierce schools. Help Golden Apple to support local education: purchase an education license plate designed by a 5th grader from Grace McWayne School.

Bottleneck and Neck

We tied with Los Angeles in the rankings of most expensive cities, but we've got them beat (narrowly) with only five of the nation's worst traffic bottlenecks (LA had six). Our worst: the Circle Interchange.

Mo' Money Mo' Money

Remember that $100 dollars People's Gas owes all of us? The gas company had agreed to refund $100 to customers for overbilling the past four years. If the Illinois Commerce Commission gets its way, they'll be refunding another $240 on top of that.

Chicagoans with Precision, Not Pretension

Regardless of whether or not it's even genuine, this Craigslist ad is more than a "call to writers" -- it's a full-on manifesto.

Does Not Play Well With Others

One distinction the White Sox would probably be happy without: catcher A.J. Pierzynski's spot on GQ's list of 10 Most Hated Athletes. (Sure enough, as the authors claim, plug it into Google, and Pierzynski shows up as the no. 1 "clubhouse cancer" result.)

Name That Book

Writer Arnie Bernstein is penning a new history of film in Chicago as a follow-up to his Hollywood on Lake Michigan, which was published in 1998. To promote the new book, Bernstein and local publisher Lake Claremont Press are holding a contest to name the new book. Read the full rules and details on the publisher's weblog.

"A Whole Bunch of Presbyterians and Lutherans proudly present 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!'"

All donations will benefit The Night Ministry, which provides food and medical services to the homeless in Lakeview and Uptown. Click "more" for showtimes...
Showtimes: Friday, Feb 10, 7 pm: St Gertrude's, 1420 W Granville, Chicago; Saturday, Feb 11, 7 pm: Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2515 Central Park Ave, Evanston; Sunday, Feb 12, 3 pm: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 W Elmdale, Chicago; Sunday, Feb 12, 7 pm: Trinity Lutheran Church, 3637 Golf Road, Evanston

I Love the Quizzes!

Are you a master of pop culture trivia? Do you have two friends who complement your areas of expertise? Then here's your early warning: VH1 is coming to Chicago March 11 and 12 to audition three-person teams for the World Series of Pop Culture. (Thanks, Mitchell!)

Summer of Music

Now that it's semi-official that Lollapalooza is returing to Grant Park August 4-6, music fans are looking at a very busy summer. Intonation is scheduled for June 24-25 and the new Pitchfork Music Festival is July 29-30 (both at Union Park) — throw in the city-sponsored Gospel, Blues, Country and Jazz Festivals (not to mention neighborhood fests) and there's a major music fest pretty much every other weekend from June till September.

"Off the Beaten Path" Posters, Free!

We like free stuff (for the most part), but these "Off the Beaten Path" posters are wicked cool. Brought to you from Enjoy Illinois, go get one. [Thanks Atul!]

 

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