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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Red Rover?

A reader sent in a link to a craigslist post about a big fight last night in Wicker Park: anyone else see this? Email us at with details.

Krystle and Alexis Alert!

The Sun-Times reports on the completion of the 2006-07 Broadway in Chicago season. Besides the previously announced Color Purple tour and pre-Broadway Pirate Queen, the offerings range from fantastic (Cherry Jones in the Pulitzer-winning Doubt) to middling (Mamma Mia again? Really?) to frightening (Michael Crawford in concert to rechristen the LaSalle Bank Theatre). But here's the potentially best-worst: Linda Evans and Joan Collins reunite for the "backstage comedy" Legends! (exclamation point theirs). One can only hope for a catfight in the lily pond.

Skilling on Skilling

I've often wondered what super-weatherman Tom Skilling thinks of the scandal his brother Jeffrey got in at Enron. He finally spoke about it in today's Trib.

Ryan and Cryin'

Can't the Dan Ryan Highway Reconstruction Project (which begins tonight) get a little love? Apparently not. "Our long, hot summer starts now," moans the Sun-Times, while the Trib decries cronyism at IDOT, and IDOT itself justs wants you to stay away from 90/94 altogether (especially you, Sox fans).

Party Tonight, Feel Foolish Tomorrow

Some Gapers Block staffers will be hanging out at the Black Beetle tonight after 9pm for our monthly GB Get-Together. Come join us! Oh, and just because it's on a Saturday doesn't mean April Fools won't be observed. Hint, hint.

Callin' 'Em What They Are

Cubs fans have touted their ballpark as old fashioned and advertising-free for years, but that image took a major hit as the Cubs signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch. The bleachers have always had a major presence from Bud Light, but now it's official: they've been named the Bud Light Bleachers.

It's Total Mania

While cold Soldier Field will never host a SuperBowl, and the United Center won't be hosting a Final Four anytime soon, Chicago (more specifically Rosemont) will be hosting a major sporting event this Sunday. OK, technically it's sports-entertainment, but Wrestlemania 22 comes to the All-State Arena. Chuckle all you want at the WWE; tickets are fetching upwards of $1000 from scalpers.

Celebrating the Alternative

Radio Free Chicago offers the details on two entertainment options for fans of old-school alternative tonight: a Morrissey listening party at Delilah's and the cinema debut of Beastie Boys concert doc Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That! (Or, ya know, come see us.)

The Never-Ending Promotion

In an effort to lure displaced Dan Ryan drivers, the CTA has again extended the period during which Chicago Cards are available at no cost. Considering how often they run this promotion, the CTA ought to do away with the fee altogether and just be happy they're making interest on all the balances they hold in escrow. But, until they make it that easy, May 31st is the new deadline for fee-free switching to "the Go Lane." (In more sensible news, the agency's board approved a pilot program to offer passes to convention-goers, starting with the Gay Games in June.)

A City of Neighbors on Watch

FOUND describes this note found at Waveland and Albany as "awfully sweet," but I'm not so sure. It strikes me as slightly desperate. Let's hope the bad things stopped.

Another Good Thing About Chicago

We're number number four in the country in terms of oil crisis preparedness. (Thanks, Matthew!)

Payton Jewels Pawned

One of Walter Payton's Hall of Fame Rings and a replica Super Bowl Ring, stolen from Walter Payton's American Brew Pub, have been recovered at an Aurora Pawn Shop. The two rings were pawned for $150.

Think Pink (Line)

When the CTA asked Chicagoland area schoolchildren to nominate a color for the new West Side elevated train line, they should have known they'd get a pretty kid-friendly color. Pink was the winner, nominated by a K-8 student in an essay contest. The new line will run along the current Cermak branch of the Blue Line east and then connect via a current service track to the Green Line. Pink colored or not, the line change isn't without a little objection from West Side residents who'll lose some direct routes to UIC and to O'Hare.

Drive on in

It's not quite "with the top down" driving weather, but you could grab some friends (and even your dog) and head out the Cascade Drive-In to watch some cozy flicks from the comfort of your own car. The drive-in is located in nearby West Chicago and they show two first-run movies for just $7.50 (that's $3.75 per movie). Most local drive-ins won't be open for weeks, so you can get a leg up at the Cascade starting Friday night. Looking for other drive-ins, past or present, try this cool resource. Just don't get stranded, OK?

Chicago Blog News

EatChicago has redesigned. SharkForum is a group blog featuring some big shots from the Chicago arts and music scene, including Redmoon's Jim Lasko, New City's Ray Pride and Nicholas Tremulis. And holy crap! Sour Bob is back!

Assorted Architecture News, vol #312

More people are moving downtown, and the housing for them is coming too: today sees plans for another very tall building going up downtown. Studio Gang is building an 83-story building east of downtown, not far from the often discussed Fordham Tower (which was approved, btw). The new building's name: Aqua. In other architecture news, if you're wondering what that building is by Old Orchard on the Edens, you can view the website. It's another development by Optima, who develed many of the futuristic looking towers in downtown Evanston.

WLUW Record Fair Seeks a Few More Vendors

Did your boyfriend pull a High Fidelity-style break-up and you've got all his records? Sell them at the WLUW Record Fair taking place April 8th and 9th at Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. Or maybe you're a fantastic zine maker, small publisher, poster maker, t-shirt printer, crafter, or general diy maven with something to sell. If so, call Shawn Campbell at WLUW (773-508-8072) ASAP. There are still a few slots open.

Religion for prisoners & families

Prison Fellowship Ministries has a focus on "fellowshipping with Jesus, visiting prisoners, and welcoming the children of prisoners." Their site is rather extensive and includes campus ministries (which look rather awesome), a pen pal program, and an angel tree. Pretty cool stuff.

Run! Not Just When Chased!

Does the warming weather make you want to strap on those tennies and get moving? You're not alone. There are a ton of folks at the Chicago Area Runners Association who would love to help you become a real runner. There are training sessions for half-marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, and even training for those new to training, and they all get started pretty soon. You really wanted an excuse to buy those funky sweat bands anyway (short shorts optional).

Lectures To Go

Lectures and speeches at The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business are no longer constrained to the classroom. Thanks to VideoBank GSB students can now log-on to a "straightforward Web interface" to view MPEG formatted recordings from twelve classrooms hooked up with cameras.

Northwestern Crew Team Has No Boats

The Northwestern Crew Team was on its way to compete in South Carolina when the trailer flipped and destroyed their fleet. You can read the story and flow them a few dollars to replace their beloved boats.

Conan Tickets

Want to get tickets for the "Late Show with Conan O'Brien" tapings here May 9-12? Here's how.

A 'Hood Losing a 'Hoodie

After less than six months, Brooklyn-based personalized t-shirt slingers Neighborhoodies has closed its Wicker Park store (its first in Chicago). The cryptic word from the biz is that they've put a "pause on the store" because the "store personnel wasn't being very independent[ly] minded" (whatever that means). But, they're not through with us yet! Keep an eye peeled in the future for "chicago part II".

Latitude and Longitude

• 41°54' N, 87°39' W: the latitude and longitude of Chicago.
4187° Chicago Architecture: a beautiful Flash rendering of downtown and several important skyscrapers and buildings, designed by a student at the University of Memphis.

Downtown. Movies. Outside.

While the thought of lying on a blanket watching a movie outside doesn't sound especially appealing today, with the rain and 40-degree temps, August makes for a much more enjoyable experience. The Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park is back for its seventh season. The festival features hits from the '50s and '60s, including Rebel Without a Cause, but ends with '80s fav, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

A Rhetorical War on Iraq

Tomorrow night at Saint Xavier University, conservative author David Horowitz and pacifist professor Peter Kirstein will debate the Iraq War and whether politics politics should be taken out of the classroom. Sparks will likely fly. Details in Slowdown. (Thanks, John!)

The Kiss Off

Chicago's 103.5 (KISS FM) has named an interim Programs Director, following the departure of PD Rod Phillips. KISS FM is accepting applicants for a permanent PD, so R. Kelly and Kelly Clarkson fans, please apply.

AOL Says These Are the Best

AOL City Guide has come out with its annual City's Best list, which dovetails nicely into our overrated /underrated restaurants Fuel questions. Some potentially controversial choices: Moody's and Twisted Spoke under "best burgers," Giordano's and Pizza D.O.C. among "best pizzas" and Frontera Grill is tops for Mexican.

Won't anyone think of the Christians?

If you worry about the plight of the downtrodden, oppressed minority known as, um, Christians, rest assured that somebody is doing something about it. The Washington, DC conference The War on Christians and the Values Voter is addressing the hardship of the American Christian as we speak, and Campus Progress has a pair of undercover bloggers reporting. Turns out one of the speakers at a panel brilliantly titled "The Gay Agenda: America Won't Be Happy" is Peter Labarbera of our old friends at the Illinois Family Institute. Our old drinking buddy Alan Keyes is there, too, so you just know the crazy dial is turned up all the way.

The Trib/Trial Tumult

On the day the judge will decide whether George Ryan has experienced a mistrial, Eric Zorn offers a defense of the Tribune in the matter of its late revelations about the jury. Despite the rather easy conspiracy theories, Zorn claims the discovery was accidental and not the result of a leak; thus, he argues, the timing, while unfortunate, was unavoidable. The paper has published an account of the developments, as well.

Edible Books & Tea

It may be on April 1, but it's no fooling: Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts holds its 7th annual Edible Book Show and Tea this Saturday. Come check out books so good you could eat them up — and then do so! RSVP required; details in Slowdown. Bad at Sports has a preview in this week's podcast (mp3).

Daily Herald Publisher Tops

Suburbanites are well-served by their newspaper, at least according to Editor and Publisher, which has named Doug Ray of the Daily Herald its Publisher of the Year. E&P cites the "overstaffed" newsroom (it has 60 more employees than the Sun-Times) and "coverage that reflects a Chicago suburbia increasingly populated by recent immigrants from Mexico, Poland, India, China, and other nations."

An Event Apart

Web geeks, get ready. You don't have long to convince your bosses that An Event Apart is an important educational conference that the company should send you to. Because it is.

Battle of the Signs, Round Two

Another brouhaha over a sign. This time, it's Tulip, an adult toy store on Northalsted in Boystown, whose window display featured the word "masturbate" and an anatomically correct male nude. A 7-year-old read the word, and her mom got upset and complained. The nude is now gone, but the masturbate sign stays ...for now.

City of Awesome Skylines

Luigi Di Serio's web site lists the Top 15 Skylines in the world. Not shockingly, Chicago clocks in at number two on the list just behind Hong Kong. Anyone who remembers their first drive down Lakeshore Drive at dusk can surely attest to our ranking here.

Underpass Mary travels west

Almost a year after Underpass Mary, reports come from Moline, IL of another sighting of the Virgin Mary under a bridge on I-74. Northwest IL blog The Inside Dope provides a small picture. (tip from Amy C)

Thou Shalt Not...

The Tattler's Ten Commandments for CTA riders.

Local Rents Look to Rise

If the housing market is cooling for sellers, the rental market appears to be heating up for lessors. As condo conversions cut into apartment inventory, the Sun-Times reports that local landlords plan to hike rents by the highest percentages in several years when leases come up for renewal in the next few months.

New And Notable Chicagobloggers

New And Notable on Euchre Universe, a blog about playing cards that features an obsession with a rubber chicken; Shrinktalk, a site that encourages readers to share their experiences with psychiatrists.

Disco Ghost (Sad)

This is totally awesome--some most excellent paintings by local blogger joedevivre.

CTA For Sale (Old Signs Anyway)

The CTA has donated a lot of their outdated signage to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. They're selling them to help raise money to fund this nifty museum in Union. This from the "Chicago" station seems cool, as do some of the system maps. (via ...pickhits...)

Jane Doe Sues Walgreens

Somewhere in Posen, IL is a 14-year-old girl on birth control pills. The lawsuit claims that a pharmacy technician found out that one of her daughter's classmates was taking "the pill" and told her daughter. Her daughter, being the typical middle schooler, is accused of telling some friends who told some other friends, and you know how it goes. However the harrassment was so bad that the girl has had to change schools and is suing Walgreens, the pharmacy technician, and the technician's daughter. The lawsuit even asks if Walgreen really is "The Pharmacy America Trusts."
This story came out two days ago. I've been waiting for a more in-depth follow-up from somewhere else, but I haven't been able to find it. If you know of one, send a link to

CC the Talking Cat

I hope you This American Life fans were listening to this morning's pledge drive over at Chicago Public Radio, because they were offering a really sweet limited-edition premium: a coffee mug celebrating the first 100 years of TAL (sure, it's early by 90 years, but how many programs ever get to celebrate their 100th anniversary?). A picture of the artwork has been posted over at the Chicago Public Radio pledge blog, where you can see that the host for TAL's 100th year will be WarTron 3000. (If they haven't run out yet, you might be able to pick up the 100-year anniversary mug, along with the 10-year anniversary mug, during This American Life tonight at 7:00 PM.)

Gas Hike-a, No Like-a

It's getting warmer, which means you may be traveling more, which means, you can already see an increase in gas prices. Word on the street is that the price of gasoline is already up 13% in Chicagoland, and you can expect it to only go higher as we near the "busy summer travel season". Better tune up the bike and the CTA card now, folks.

Alinea's Dinnerware

If you've followed the coverage of Alinea, you've probably heard about the unusual plateware Grant Achatz commissioned for his inventive dishes. Well, Crucial Detail created them, and at least some of the items are available for sale.

Keep Going to Nigeria

The latest issue of Keep Going is up, and there's a useful how-to on getting a postcard from Nigeria. Better than an email from Nigeria, I suppose.


Thanks to a typo on signs posted along the Dan Ryan, people who called a phone number looking for IDOT information on pending construction were redirected to a $2.99/minute adult chat line. The mistake was noticed and corrected yesterday.

Oh Brad! Oh Janet!

Columbia! Magenta! Thank God it's time for everyone's favorite transsexual at the Music Box. Yes, 30 years later, Rocky Horror Picture Show is still playing.

Train Station Announcements

Micro Bits, a website dedicated to subway stations around the world, has a great page titled "Voices in the Deep," which compares station announcements in subways in dozens of international cities. According to the list, "in Kyoto, the subway plays beautiful guzheng (sort of an Asian violin) compositions for its door-closing tones," while Lisbon, Portugal, subway riders hear a "buzzing before the doors close." And in Chicago? "A very friendly, pre-recorded male voice is somewhat verbose and talks almost permanently to the passengers." Some city descriptions even include audio files. Check it out.

Chicago Writers Association

The Chicago Writers Association is a community of writers from around the Chicago area that meet and communicate to network, share resources and support each others' writing goals. Now they have a new website,, which was launched just days ago. Read an interview with Lake Claremont Press founder Sharon Woodhouse, or check out the growing list of members. Then, find out how to join. Membership is free, but active participation in the group is strongly encouraged.

Where to Park

Who needs a Google map when you've got something as nice as this. Not sure where the nearest parking is? The Chicago Parking Network has you covered.

Harold's Chicken for the Hipster Set

Wicker Park (1361 N. Milwaukee, to be exact) will house the only northside outpost of the venerable Harold's Chicken, beginning April 2. In an effort to "have a store that fits with the neighborhood," bulletproof glass will be nowhere to be found, and--stop the presses--whole wheat bread will be available. (Thanks, Andy!)

Our Latest Invader

First rabbits, now geese: Grant Park is being overrun by Canadian geese, and park officials are weighing their options on how to fix the problem. Shrubbery and dogs have been brought up, but shooting them is not an option ...yet. (848 did a story on this awhile back; download the mp3 here.)

Chicago on a roll

Chicago magazine keeps racking 'em up, adding to last week's National Magazine Award nomination with four nominations today in the City and Regional Magazine Association's national awards, including General Excellence (competition: Los Angeles magazine and Texas Monthly. We can so take them).

ReadyMade Chicago

If you pick up the latest issue of ReadyMade magazine, (No. 22) you'll see some familiar, and some possibly new Chicago faces. A profile on indy print shops starts with a stop at the bird machine and chat with our favorite (poster) boy Jay Ryan, following that, is a piece on local Music Box Theatre organist Mark Noller who loves the grand movie theater so much he built a scaled down replica of it in his garage. Also featured: Instructions for some do it yourself (that's DIY, for those in the know) Dan Flavin fluorescent light installations (just like the ones at the MCA last summer).


Via an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, meet, a transit service that gives Greyhound a run for its money by charging a buck a seat from Chicago to several Midwest destinations. The shuttles start running in a few weeks; with prices so low, how long they can keep running is anyone's guess.

Make It Work!

Project Runway is in town at the W Hotel Lakeshore tomorrow for its Season 3 casting call. Tim Gunn, Nick Verreos and Lilah Shechner will be judging who's in and who's out from 8am to 5pm, so fill out the app[PDF], load up your garment bags and sketchbooks and get there early. And don't say we didn't warn you!

Chicago Crime 2.0 just got even better: It now maps articles from the Chicago Journal's police blotter.

Finger Foods

Already in place at Cub stores, Jewel's recently introduced Pay By Touch option takes self-checkout to a whole new level.

Chicago Gets Another Friend

We're already David Schwimmer's home away from Hollywood, but the celebrity gossip rags are reporting that another "Friends" alum is moving to Chicago: Jennifer Aniston. She's donating Brad Pitt's old clothes and moving here, where her current beau Vince Vaughn lives.

Live-Blogging The Elections

Eric Zorn of the Trib is doing a pretty decent job of live-blogging the primaries, if you want a wide-view. (And the turnout is SO LOW! They speculated at my precinct that 15% came out to vote, a lot of suburban items have less than a few hundred votes. Amazing.)

So You Think You Can . . .

Fox's other hit competition show, "So You Think You Can Dance," is holding open auditions in a number of US cities for season number two. Producers will be on hand at The Chicago Theater this Friday, March 24 to check out the talent.

In the Year Two-Thousand ...Six

"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" will be coming to Chicago to tape four episodes in May, reports Maureen Ryan. Tune in March 28 to find out how to get tickets.

So you voted, right?

Or at least you will, right? If so then you (have noticed) will notice new machines at your polling place. Not that anyone should expect problems, but if you do, The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project would love to hear about it. You can check out their site for possible problems. If you notice them in Chicago, send an email to: If you're in suburban Cook County, then send an email to: Update: The Chicago Board of Elections email box is full. You'll have to place a call to: 312/269-7870, instead.Thanks, Roni.

Cheat Sheet

If you still need a bit of help fulfilling your civic duty today, the Sun-Times and the Tribune have thoughtfully compiled their endorsements, for what they're worth. (State law allows you to print the lists and bring them into the voting booth, if you're into that.)

More Bikey Goodness

Here's another way to get your kicks on Route 66: a bike trail that extends from Chicago to St. Louis along the route of the historic highway. A lot of thought and planning went into this as it includes lodging, Amtrak stops, and places to eat.

Support Your Daily News

The Chi-Town Daily News needs your help. Think of it as a pledge drive: donate at X level and receive one of these wonderful gifts as a token of their gratitude.

65 Stories by Spring '09

Even as ground has yet to be broken, Fordham Spire development plans are old news. Especially now that there's the Mandarin Oriental Tower to talk about.

Voting Season Begins: The Primaries Are Tomorrow

Don't forget that tomorrow is the day to vote in primary elections. The website has handy info, including a sample ballot by party. And if you don't know who to pick from all those judges, can lend a hand, including a link to, which will tell you which judicial circuit you're in.

Threadless's 10 buckeroos sale

T-shirt mavens Threadless have their pretty-often $10 sale going on now. Act fast!

Bike Season Begins

Since it's spring: if your bicycle is feeling lonely from a winter of neglect, get motivated to ride by attending this weekend's Chicago Bike Show at Navy Pier. And if that isn't enough, don't forget to visit the list of Illinois Bike Rides in 2006.

Bookstore Blogging

Paper Mustache is on a mission: "to visit every single independent bookstore in the Chicago-land-area and tell you about it."

Not the Most Flattering Picture

Today's Los Angeles Times runs a lengthy story on how Chicago Schools Offer L.A. a Cautionary Tale as its mayor contemplates taking charge of the public education system. Summed up, "Daley's early victories in Chicago gave way to a much murkier, and less clearly successful, effort to make widespread improvements in teaching and student performance."

Spring Has Sprung!

(Though you wouldn't know it by the weather forecast.) Tom Skilling says the south suburbs might see a bit of the white stuff tonight, which definitely makes one want to crawl back under the covers. But, while you're still bundled up to your nose, you can try that old balancing the egg thing, since the vernal equinox occurs this afternoon at 12:26 p.m.

Turning $5 into $50

Apparently counterfeiting is on the rise in Chicagoland, and local gangs may be involved. But who knew it was so expensive? A common technique is to bleach $5 bills and print higher denominations on them.

Mag Mile March

Did you make it to the Anti-War March on Saturday? If not, here are some photos. has a coverage round-up, and here's a play-by-play from Indymedia. And here's a column from Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy Martin describing the event.

Marching Down Michigan

Be warned: Tomorrow isn't the best day to shop the Magnificent Mile. At least not during the Anti-War Coalition's march against the US occupation in Iraq. It is, however, a good time to take pictures; you may even wish to participate in one of the "feeder marches" taking place around the city.

Volunteer, See Coldplay for Free is a great site for information about free-trade issues in Chicago and worldwide. And if you follow this link, you can find out if you volunteer with OxFam at the Coldplay concert you can get in for free.

The St. Patrick's Day Scene

Couldn't make it to John Barleycorn's for awesome St. Patrick's Day action? No sweat -- Chicago-Scene Magazine has you covered. Some stand out photos here, here and here. And if you ask me why I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, well, here's why. And Mike, seriously, you need to tone down the Levitra.

Virtually Jewish

Send a Virtual Jewish Chicago postcard. Photos all courtesy of Chicago Jewish News.

Chicago Chefs Nominated for Beard Awards

(...and I'm not talking about this.) The James Beard Foundation for culinary excellence announced nominees for their 2006 awards yesterday, and Chicago did just fine, thank you. Graham Eliot Bowles from Avenues was nominated in Rising Star Chef category, and fancy northside spot Alinea is in the running for Best New Restaurant. HungryMag's got the details, and a couple of interviews.

One Word: Ouch

Chicago Police on the status of an assault suspect as they attempted to apprehend him: "About 10 feet from the front porch, right on the sidewalk, was his penis." That was after he cut it off and threw it at them. You know, as one does...

The Economist Says: Success!

In its staid, conservative way, the Economist gushes about Chicago: "Appearances often deceive, but, in one respect at least, the visitor's first impression of Chicago is likely to be correct: this is a city buzzing with life, humming with prosperity, sparkling with new buildings, new sculptures, new parks, and generally exuding vitality."

Jamming Before G-d

He may be more up your kid brother's alley than yours, but if you couldn't find a ticket to last week's sold-out Matisyahu show, Q101 is all about helping you out by streaming the concert in its entirety. If, however, it's the real deal you want, just wait a few months: the newly ubiquitous Hasidic reggae artist was one of the acts announced this morning for Lollapalooza.

Best Burger Available

A minor league baseball team in Sauget, IL is adding a special burger to their list of concessions. Gateway Grizzlies fans will be able to enjoy "Baseball's Best Burger:" a beef patty with cheddar cheese and bacon between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. According to urban legend reports, these are the same ingredients that make up the "Luther Burger," a burger named for Luther Vandross.

The Barefoot Contessa at the Fox

If you're a fan of Ina Garten (of Food TV's Barefoot Contessa fame) like I am, then you might be interested to know that she's appearing today at Fox and Obel downtown at 401 E. Illinois from 4-6pm for a reception where she'll show off some of her stuff and her new line of products. [Thanks Jen!]

CTA on 7" Tape

Any fans of the band Chicago that could help a fella out? (yes, we are Chicago heavy on GB this week). This gentleman found some old reel-to-reel tapes of the band, back when they were called CTA, from a show at Wine and Roses, circa 1968. Could they be thee Chicago? Maybe you hardcore Chicago fans know.

Lolla Lineup Loves Chicago

Hey, the Lollapalooza lineup is up, and it includes some fine local acts like Manishevitz as well as some killers from back in the day. Big names include Red Hot Chili Peppers and (also local boys) Wilco, Kanye West and Common (no word from Smashing Pumpkins...yet). Tickets are on sale, and the current price for a 3-day pass is $130 (it will go up, so buy now). That's a buck a band, when all's said and done.

Sensational Bites

With all the cupcake mania that seems to be ending up in the gullets of people nationwide, I thought I'd point out the extremely good cupcakes available at Sensational Bites, a cafe and bakery along the Southport corridor. They have a particularly good Boston Cream Pie cupcake — vanilla cake with a custard filling topped with chocolate. Cupcakes aren't all they do and their cakes are fantastic. A recent 11-layer Death by Chocolate cake that was roughly 8 inches tall was quite an endeavor — at $5 a slice that lasted you for 3 days or perfect for two, it's quite the deal.

Bombs over Chicagoland

Let's say you didn't follow up on our mention of opportunities to help out with the Louder Than a Bomb festival. Not to can hear the finalists, all the same.

Fantastic Food for the Midday Masses

Having recently eaten at Hannah's Bretzel, I can wholeheartedly concur with its inclusion in the Loop Lunch Roundup, "a list for people who need to get something good to eat and get back to work." Yum. [Previously: Lunch in the Loop]

"Flowing Out of Cook into the Fringes"

Despite the "new urbanism," Census data released today show people leaving cities and suburbs for further-flung exurbs, a trend that's especially apparent locally. Analysis by USA Today ranks Cook County as the decade's biggest loser: its population has decreased by 70,000 since 2000, the most significant drop in the US. Where are the people going? Surely it's not a coincidence that Kendall County, 50 miles outside Chicago, saw the nation's third largest increase.

Chicago Magazine is just tryin' ta matter, y'all

Chicago magazine received a National Magazine Award nomination today for General Excellence in its circulation bracket (100,000 to 250,000), putting it up against Foreign Policy, Harper's, Town & Country Travel, and the Harvard Business Review. The mag has been a finalist eight times before in various categories; it won for General Excellence in 2004, as we told you then.

Cook County goes smoke-free

The Cook County board passed a smoking ordinance today that's tougher than the one that went into effect in Chicago in January. The county banned smoking in all enclosed and semi-enclosed buildings; there's an exemption for nursing homes, but none for bars and restaurants, and the ban goes into effect within a year. It applies only to suburbs that don't already have a municipal smoking ordinance, though, and doesn't trump Chicago's. So I guess now we can expect suburban smokers flocking to bars just inside the city limits until July 2008.

Tell Us Something We Don't Know

The Tribune gives an early report on Thursday's Economist which cites Chicago as a model for other American cities with shifting economies. Our "natural assets," hospitals, research institutions, entertainment and culture have earned us the title, despite speculation that the end of the Daley era will create the kind of political unrest the city has risen from. But for now we're the best. (Not that we needed anyone to tell us that.)

Stroger Suffers Stroke

Yesterday, we let you know that Cook County Board Prez John Stroger had been hospitalized. Turns out, the 76-year-old diabetic, a survivor of both a quadruple bypass and testicular cancer, had suffered a major stroke. Stroger is resting at Rush and as of now, is still in the race for re-election against challenger Forrest Claypool.

The Shooting of the Green

It's Saint Patrick's Week at Whateverland. So far we've seen the River, the Queen and the King.

The Obama '08 Drumbeat Gets Louder

After last weekend's performance, Maureen Dowd jumps on board the Barack bandwagon: "In the capital's version of Dancing With the Stars," she writes, "Senator Obama won" [TimesSelect required]. As for competitions with higher stakes, only time will tell... [ETA: If you're not a TS subscriber, Editor & Publisher has published a few more choice quotes.]

XXX, but SFW

Surely there are some Chicago fans out there? (Chicago the band, I mean.) The long-lived band releases its 30th album (cleverly titled XXX) in one week, but you can hear it right now, thanks to those right neighborly folks at Clear Channel. Will the liner notes include an In Memoriam notice for Demon Dogs? Find out next Tuesday....

Mystery Book Lover Weekend

Mystery lovers are excited about this weekend's book sale at the Newberry Library, which always promises many treasures. If you can't wait that long, then don't forget about Centuries and Sleuths, a bookstore in Forest Park that specializes in mysteries. The setting is so much more noir than shopping mall, and that makes it an even better place to buy books.

Take Back The Streets

If leisurely cycling down Lake Shore Drive (that's the expressway, not the path) is your idea of a good time, registration for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's Bike The Drive (May 28) is currently open. (Check out some pictures of past years on Flickr.)

Stroger Hospitalized

Cook County Commissioner John Stroger was hospitalized this morning with pain in his legs. Despite having a hospital named after him, he was taken to Advocate Trinity, which is nearer to his home.

Another Day, Another Podcast

Two, actually. The Third Coast International Audio Festival offers "Re:sound" and "Featurecast"; both are available here.

Set your alarms

Keeping up with the city's major summer music festivals is becoming a full-time job—not that we're complaining. No, we're here to help, so if you missed out on yet another presale yesterday (those $25 Intonation passes are gone, baby), let us remind you to cancel all your appointments for Thursday. That's when the Lollapalooza lineup will be announced (130 bands!) and regular tickets go on sale.

We've Got Tickets for You

Hey, how'd you like to see the Guillemots at Schubas this Sunday for free, courtesy of Vice Records? We've got a pair of guest list spots reserved for the first person to email telling us what a guillemot is and a link to a photo of one. UPDATE: It pays to get up early sometimes. Reader Serandip wins!

Your Daily Dose of Comedy

Hey! Schadenfreude redesigned!

Studs & Stuart

If you couldn't make it through I Sailed with Magellan in time for the GB Book Club discussion tonight, you can always fill your evening with a visit to the Harold Washington Library to hear Stuart Dybek speak with Studs Terkel. And if you've got nothing for tomorrow, Terkel will be at Borders Michigan Ave. for a discussion on spirituality with Cathleen Falsani. More on the Book Club authors over in Slowdown.


In another instance of local folks reppin' the 312 in Austin, we hear that some of our friends at Chicago Public Radio are down that way, and, you guessed it, they're keeping a blog.

What Ever Happened at Haymarket?

The true story of the "Haymarket Affair" is one we'll probably never know, but Caleb Crain does a good job chronicling the apparent facts and fiction surrounding it in his review of the historical literature. Crain's impetus is James Green's Death in Haymarket, a book that bears the pithy but evocative subtitle "A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America."

[Where'd I put my] Glass Slipper

Oh c'mon, I know you have some formal gowns hanging in the back of your closet that you would *love* to give to The Glass Slipper Project this year. They are collecting donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry and other prom-garb until March 24. Check out this list for donation locations (and also, check out Slowdown).

Yet Another Ticket Race

Intonation Music Festival tickets go on sale at noon today, and the two-day pass will be available for just $25 (as opposed to $35). How long do you think it'll take for those to sell out?

Barack On a Roll

Barack Obama slayed the crowd at the annual Gridiron Club Roast. It was an invite-only affair, but fortunately Lynne Sweet covered the hilarity (or was it Hillary-ity? Ha!). But Obama's comic and musical stylings were only part of his broad repertoire, according to Claire Zulkey.

Home in Chicago, Home in Durango

Weekend Edition aired an extended story this weekend that followed 19-year-old Lizandra Nevarez from her home in Chicago to her family's home of origin in Durango, Mexico, and chronicled the struggles Nevarez faced as she juggled competing identities of insider and outsider. The story was produced in conjunction with the OchoTEEN project, which is catching up on the lives of a local class of Mexican-American fourth graders as they enter adulthood.

Chicago by Southwest

Friends of GB Jim Coudal and Jason Fried opened SXSW Interactive yesterday -- hear their remarks. Also, our own Andrew Huff is also there; naturally, he's reporting back.

Flower, garden, and Mac

The 2006 Flower and Garden Show opened this weekend at Navy Pier and runs through next Sunday. If you can't make it to the exhibition to see the 50,000 different types of plants and flowers on display, enjoy this Flickr group of photos of exhibits, one of which includes a novel use for a Macintosh SE. (found at the very worthwhile Moleskinerie)

Protest Snarls Loop

There was a huge protest in the Loop this afternoon as 100,000 people marched opposition a proposed law that would send illegal immigrants to jail. Photos on Flickr here. (Thanks, Anne!)

Building Explodes on South Side

Breaking: that smoke over the Stevenson Expressway? A building at 3411 S. Wood Street was leveled by an explosion. The Trib reports that employees of Peoples Gas had been investigating a natural gas leak. Hmm.

Help Fight Childhood Cancer

Friend of GB and prominent Chicago-area lit blogger Pete Anderson is shaving has shaved his head to help fight childhood cancer. Be nice and donate a few dollars to a great, great cause.

Selling One's Soul for Good

In yesterday's WSJ, the story of an atheist who sold his soul on eBay and ended up critiquing local church services.

Hanalei All The Way

This week's featured Transmission artist, Hanalei, will be releasing their latest CD Parts and Accessories (of which two tracks are available for download) on March 14th. To commemorate the release, they'll be having a CD release party on Saturday, March 11th at the Beat Kitchen. Support local music and make a point of attending if you can.

Rain delay for the CTA

As the CTA Tattler points out, this week Mother Nature did what aldermen and citizens could not -- temporarily put off Brown Line closings for this weekend only, due to rain in the forecast. The Kimball and Francisco Brown Line stops will stay open this weekend. Enjoy!

Week of the Story

Columbia College's StoryWeek rolls around once again, wielding some pretty big names in tow. This year's week-long literary festival -- Fighting Words: Stories of Risk and Rebellion -- features such acts as Studs Terkel, Edward P. Jones and Audrey Niffenegger. Go here for a full schedule of events, starting March 11, but check back with Slowdown for highlights during the week.

For the Artist in You

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has announced its May workshops and summer session courses for adults. Learn to paint, bind books, or make collages. Haven’t you been meaning to do something like this long enough?

Yet Another Festival

They said it couldn't be done without the 'Fork, but it seems the Intonation Music Festival will go on, after all. Set to take place in Union Park the last weekend in June, the Streets and Bloc Party have been announced as headliners. They're keeping the "curated by" terminology; this time it's Vice Records, partnered up with KEXP. Advance two-day passes go on sale Monday at noon for $25. This may be the summer the indie rockers get a tan.

Seven Blunders of Chicago

The Tribune is following up on their "Seven Wonders of Chicago" series with the "Seven Blunders of Chicago." Today's Tempo section announced the first nominee: Nov. 3, 1948 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman."

Get Yourself Some Culture—Cheap!

So you’d like to take in more events, but ticket prices put too big a dent in your wallet. We’ve already told you about See Chicago Dance, which is a great source for discounts. And you probably know about Hot Tix (for cut-rate theater), with its downtown, Skokie, and Tower Records locations. Good deals are also available via the League of Chicago Theatres’ Theater Thursday series. But you really should get yourself on the GoldStar Events mailing list if you want to maximize your half-price ticket access. (It’s free.)

Money for Nonprofits

The Illinois Humanities Council is accepting applications for mini (up to $2,000, due 15 April) and major (up to $10,000, due 15 July) grants in support of humanities projects sponsored by nonprofit organizations. IHC is especially interested in funding projects that target new or historically neglected audiences. For more information, call 312-422-5580 or email ihc[at]prairie[dot]org. Applications are available here.

Gitmo Life 101

Chicago Public Radio's stellar program This American Life does a special show this weekend: the entire program will be devoted to interviews with two former Guantanamo Bay detainees about their experiences there. Tune in tomorrow night at 7:00 PM, or Saturday at 1:00 PM, for what's sure to be an hour-long driveway moment.

Wired While You Eat

According to this week's Dish column, the new restaurant State, 935 W. Webster, is thoroughly up on the latest tech. "We have 40 Internet terminals here and 20 laptops for use anywhere in the restaurant," says owner Kosta Giannoulias. And if you can't find your server, you can just IM the bar.

More Ways to Occupy Your Free Time

If Slowdown just isn't enough for you, Matt Maldre has created Chicago Bean, a site which has nothing to do with the sculpture in Millennium Park. Instead, it's a calendar of eclectic events around town, such as today's lunchtime lecture on "recycling bikes for social change." Or, for those planning ahead, the WWE Bacon, Bagels & Biceps Brunch.

Make Like Warhol and Print

In conjunction with the upcoming Supernova exhibit, which opens March 18, MCA is offering a course in printmaking techniques called “Warhol’s Method.” Bonus: three of the eight sessions will be held at Chicago Printmakers’ Collaborative.

Make it Work, Chicago

Tonight may have been the end of Project Runway's second season, but the program is already gearing up for round 3. If you're interested in being the next Chloe or Daniel V. (or you just want to meet Tim Gunn), mark your calendars for March 23, when the show hosts an open casting for next year's designers -- details are here.

Books to Your Corners!

The Tournament of Books is here and books, judges and brackets have all been set. Pitting 16 highly lauded books against each other, not in search of the best book of the year, but because they really, really like books, The Morning News will award the Rooster to the tome that's left standing at the end. Locals and past GB authors discussion panelists Kevin Guilfoile and Jessa Crispin act as commissioner and judge, respectively. The tournament officially starts on March 20, so if you want to keep up you have your reading cut out for you.

Don't Let The Bed Bugs....YOW!

An evening's stay in a Ellenville, New York hotel may turn into a financial windfall for a Chicago-area woman. Leslie Fox, a 54-year-old booking agent, is suing the Nevele Hotel for a paltry $20 million dollars, which seems quite reasonable if you lived on another planet. Yes, bug bites are traumatic. Just ask my five-year-old daughter. She only sued me for use of the X-Box for one day.

St. Patty's Lenten Option

There's an optional memorial for St. Patrick on March 17. If you're fasting for Lent, Chicago Cardinal Francis George gave a general dispensation reminding Catholics that they can choose not to abstain from meat on that special Friday. That means that if you're already fasting for Lent and you choose this option, you will need to choose another form of penance for that day.

Gay Rowing Allowed on Crystal Lake

In a reversal of its early decision, Crystal Lake now says the Gay Games regatta can take place at the spot organizers indicated as their preferred venue. As Brian noted, don't expect the controversy to evaporate: the Tribune quotes local pastor Joel Anderson as describing the situation as an opportunity for ministry -- "We'd wrap the truth in love," he says. And we all know what that means. [An aside: interesting to see the Sun-Times allows quotes containing epithets like "queer."]

Prophecy Fulfilled: Staples Taking Over

We told you it might happen in our Top 10 headlines we'd like to see in 2006, and now it's starting to come true. Staples Inc. is adding to its already quite visible Chicago presence, while Itasca-based OfficeMax is having some hard times at keeping its stores open. What will come true next: more funding for public schools? One can only hope.

Gordon Parks Dies at 93

Photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks, who began his photography career in a darkroom in Chicago's South Side Art Community Art Center, passed away in his New York home today.

Coyotes Among Us

More from Smithsonian Magazine about the coyotes living in Chicago and other big cities. [via]

Sports Ahoy!

It a big season for sports: the Cubs and Sox are in Spring training, March Madness is on the verge, and the Bulls... well, at least we have baseball to look forward to. Read all about it in this week's gigantic Sports in Five.

A Moholy Styled Skyline

If, sometime in the next few months, you find yourself in London and hankering for a taste of home, a stop in at the Tate Modern might be just the cure for what ails you. The museum will open an exhibition later this week that focuses on the Bauhaus aesthetic and its place in "the New World." And, as Mark Hudson writes in the Telegraph, if the Bauhaus took root anywhere in America, it was in Chicago.

Are We Really Ads?

Despite their Jenny Holzer/Barbara Kruger-like quality, those new CTA turnstile wrappers were placed as ads, not art. I'd been curious, so I asked John Blunda of CBS Outdoor -- turns out they're promoting the soon-to-open McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.

Your Daly Art Fix

Mat Daly, whose art can be found on gig posters as well as in galleries, has a new site up, full of beautiful Daly-made stuff you can buy. You might recognize Daly's work from the Renegade Craft Fair posters with their sly owl and simply elegant color designs, or you might know his work with The Bird Machine. Any way you look at it, his work is lovely.

Transit Union Votes to Strike

In a developing story, members of the CTA's union local voted last night in favor of striking by an overwhelming majority: 1,029 to 11. The union's president will meet with the CTA's management on Friday; things are already not looking good as Frank Kruesi disputes the union's right to call for a walk-out. The Tribune notes the CTA hasn't experienced a strike since March 1979 -- whether another will happen in 2006 remains to be seen.

Judge for yourself

There's a primary election happening in two weeks, and as the Chicago Reader pointed out a few years ago, not too many people participate in them, even though they include one important category that directly affects the voters: the judicial candidates for vacancies on the Illinois Appellate Court and the county Circuit Court. For evaluations of the candidates from a number of Illinois bar associations, check out, a non-partisan group set up to get this information out to voters like you. And for more information on what's going to be on the ballot this year, check out (which also has the extremely handy "find your polling place" form).

Kirby Puckett, RIP

Kirby Puckett, Hall-of-Fame center fielder for the Minnesota Twins who grew up in a Chicago housing project, died of a stroke yesterday at age 45. UPDATE: More from the Tribune and Sun-Times.

Chicago Design Archive

Created by the Society of Typographic Arts (founded here in Chicago in 1927) the Chicago Design Archive, is a massive catalog of more than a century of work from hundreds of Chicago area designers.

On The Block

Thought you'd heard the last of the Berghoff? Not quite. Hungry Magazine has a rather thoughtful requiem for the physical space, accompanied by a slideshow of photos from the memorabilia auction.

Pitchfork Tickets: Get'em While They're Hot

One- and two-day passes for the Pitchfork Music Festival are on sale now.

Booters Booted

How's this for just desserts? Three officials connected to the city's booting program for ticket scofflaws have been booted themselves.

Miss Celie's a-comin

Considering that the new Broadway musical version of The Color Purple is directed by Chicago's own Gary Griffin (as first reported here three years ago), and the lead producer is named Oprah Winfrey, it's only natural that the show's national tour should start in Chicago, as the producers announced this weekend. The show will play a six-month run at the Cadillac Palace starting in April 2007 before taking off for other major cities, but as Chris Jones reports in the Trib, if sales are good it could leave an open-ended run here á la Wicked.

2006 Flower And Garden Show

Will all and snow and fog, here's something to get you thinking about spring instead: next weekend is the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. And if you can't wait that long, the Garfield Park Conservatory has their Spring Flower Show on now, and it's open late on Thursday.

Representing the Third Coast

Sure, we've got Pitchfork and Lollapalooza to look forward to later this year, but if you're heading to Austin for South by Southwest, be sure to check in on the numerous Chicago-based acts. (Even if you won't be in Texas, the site has loads of MP3s and streams to prep you for the bands' gigs once they come home.)

Giving the Devil Its Due

Did you see that great profile (PDF) of Devil's Due Publishing in the Reader?

Condos Move In, Jazz Moves On

The Velvet Lounge will meet a wrecking ball shortly, as the club is paved in preparation for new housing developments. Friends of the lounge have raised enough funds to move the historic site one quarter of a mile away to 67 E Cermak Road.

Home on the Hotspot

What with all the talk about the city getting in the Wi-Fi game, yesterday's Times offers a reminder about many people's source of free internet: their neighbors. If you happen to live near one Beth Freeman, best be warned; she sounds like too savvy a "piggybacker" to be playing "the dumb card" ingenuously. Another Chicagoan, Elaine Ball, is another story -- her network is wide open as a combination of neighborly hospitality and anti-corporate activism.

Private Midway?

There's been some activity down in Springfield that points to Midway Airport being privatized by the city, much like the Skyway privatization in 2004. Does Dubai Ports World run airports?

Crystal Lake: Latest Battlefield In The Culture Wars

Far Northwest suburb Crystal Lake has been having a crisis of conscience: the Gay Games has asked the Crystal Lake Park District to use the namesake lake for the rowing competition. After a 2-2 vote, it's up for vote again on Tuesday. The opinion section of the local paper Northwest Herald has exploded with letters for and against. (zero, one, two, three, four, five, six) This won't be the last controversy about this event. Sadly.

State Street, Streamed

Block 37 webcam -- you know it's live, as it's currently under a blanket of snow. [via]

Live-Blogging the Oscars

Watching the Academy Awards tonight? Follow along on as Edward Champion and a vast and varied cast of characters live-blog the pseudo-event on the Oscar 2006 Blog.

New And Notable On Chicagobloggers

Nifty new-ish blog: To Whom It May Concern, a blog of letters written but never sent. Great humor.

Mamet Mania

The Goodman Theatre launches its David Mamet Festival tonight with the opening of A Life in the Theatre, which runs through 9 April. The Festival also features Mamet’s Romance, coming on 17 March, three programs of one-acts, a children’s play, and—not least—a Mamet write-alike contest. Prizes include free theater tickets, so Mamet-loving playwrights should get busy…the deadline is 10 March.

Michigan Ave. Ball Sculptures, Annotated

So maybe you don’t find anything curious about the current contents of the planting beds lining the Magnificent Mile. But if, like me, you’ve been hungry for some kind of explanation, check out this page, which describes them as “lit orb sculptures, hand-painted by local artists to add drama to the streets landscape” and provides a list of installations (with occasionally illuminating titles).

Exactly what are you paying attention to, Rod?

Gov. Blagojevich is getting national attention for another one of his missteps—appointing an aide of Louis Farrakhan to the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes. Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad is the chief of protocol and director of community outreach for the Nation of Islam; she was appointed in August but caused no controversy until she invited the other commissioners to a Farrakhan speech last weekend, where Farrakhan made reference to "Hollywood Jews" promoting homosexuality and "other filth." Blago says he didn't realize Muhammad was associated with the Nation of Islam; presumably the same staffers charged with not telling him The Daily Show was satire are in trouble again.

Egg head, meet bed head.

Sure, Dr. Phyllis Zee has both a PhD and an MD, became a NIH fellow in Neurobiology and Physiology, and now heads the Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University. But what really makes her stand out is her appearance on the Today Show this morning, during which she sported pink jammies in bed next to Katie Couric.

A Tromatic Experience

Lloyd Kaufman, the man behind Troma Films (The Toxic Avenger, Tromeo & Juliet and Class of Nuke'em High may ring bells), will be appearing at South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union St., tonight at 10pm as part of the Movieside Film Festival. He'll be showing some TromaDance short films as well as clips from Troma's Poultrygeist and his own Make Your Own Damn Movie. Admission is $7. (Thanks, Alan!)

Tickets? I love tickets!

So you've been saving up money to pay for all of those music festivals this summer, right? Well, if you weren't one of the lucky 3000 to get cheap Lollapalooza tickets yesterday, perhaps you can get some still-cheaper Pitchfork music tickets on Monday. They've announced 6 of the 36 bands, and it's looking like a strong lineup so far.

Listen Up

LISSENUP6, the sixth installment of Julie Shapiro's periodic presentation of audio pieces from around the world (often culled from Third Coast Audio Festival submissions), moves to the Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery space, 1120 N. Ashland, 2nd floor, this Sunday from 11am to 1pm. It's free. More details here.

Blogging Live Music

The succinctly named Live Music Blog is the web baby of northside Chicagoan Justin Ward. A venue (ha!) for his widely varying tastes in music, the blog is one part podcast, one part news thread and one part discussion group. The topics range from guesstimates on upcoming festival lineups, to music you should be listening to, to the news of a newly re-re-named local venue. (First titled the "World Music Center", then "Tweeter Center" now you can call it the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater. Whatever you call it, you still have to drive out to Tinley Park.) [Thanks, Dan!]

"You'll Suck (But There's Also a Bar)"

It typically takes the Olympics for Americans to think of curling, and GB is no different: Cinnamon gave a shout for the Chicago Curling Club a couple weeks ago. If you missed the open house she mentioned, Chris Sprow of the Chicago Sports Review went as your proxy, and, well, it doesn't sound like it was pretty.

Bad Hair Days

People watching in Rosemont should be extra interesting this weekend. The Chicago Midwest Beauty Show is happening at the convention center this weekend. Brian's tip for best bad hair spotting: go to the RAM in Rosemont. (Sadly, the nail competition entries aren't online.) UPDATE: The Fangoria Convention is happening this weekend in Rosemont too. This just keeps getting better.

Wolf gonna be okay, Uncle Lar'?

Too bad WLS isn't running Animal Stories anymore, because this would be the top headline on that show: one of the wolves at Brookfield Zoo lost a leg this week, and zoo officials don't know how it happened. After doctors operated on the wolf, it seems to have recovered okay, and can now stand up on its remaining three legs.

A List Styled after Yahoo, circa 1995

Today's Tribune compiles a list of the "50 Best Web Sites"; Trib internet blogger Steve Johnson has put it online. I doubt more than, say, five of these will be new to our readers (sample inclusions: Defamer, Metacritic, The Onion), but your grandparents may find it a good place to get started on "that internet thing." That said, the paper is taking reader suggestions, so if you've got a favorite, plug it.

GB To-Do List:

1. Pay hosting bill
2. Check papers and sites for things to post
3. Buy Getting Real

Reporting Live from the Bar Down the Street

Steve Rhodes, former media critic and investigative reporter for Chicago Magazine, has launched the Beachwood Reporter, a blog covering Chicago media and whatever else crosses his mind. The site is apparently named after a certain Wicker Park bar.

Local Food Goodness

A little early, but we'll remind you again: March 10th and 11th the Cultural Center is having a two-day expo devoted to locally grown produce. The site with the information,, also contains links to lots of local growers if you want to learn more.

Speaking of Architecture...

The Chicago Architecture Club announces the finalists its 2006 Burnham Prize competition, "Learning from North Lawndale," tonight at the Homan Square Community Center, 3517 W. Arthington, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. It's free.

Lolla for Less Dollahs

Just announced: Cheap Lollapalooza 3-day pass tickets are available online for $45 (plus $8 in fees). This is a bit of a blind commitment, because the lineup isn't going to be officially announced until March 16. But, if you're willing to make a bet, it's a cheap one. They're going to go fast, and there's only 3,000 available, so hop to it. Update: Sold out in 34 minutes!

Preserving the City's Architecture

The Illinois Landmarks Council announced its annual 10 Most Endangered Historical Places list, and there are three Chicago locations on it: the Pickford Theater Building, the religious structures of Douglas Boulevard and Westinghouse High School — the recently burned Pilgrim Baptist Church was made a special 11th pick to highlight the need for reconstruction. And there's good news and bad news from Preservation Chicago's 2006 "Chicago Seven" most threatened buildings list: the Pilsen neighborhood has received state historical landmark status, while the Hayes-Healy Center (PDF) at DePaul succumbed to the CTA's Brown Line expansion project.

Shorts on parade

And speaking of Oscar, if you're interested in checking out the Oscar-nominated short films, this weekend the Gene Siskel Film Center continues its annual tradition of screening the nominated films in the short subject categories. The films will be divided up into two separate shows: one will feature the documentary shorts, and one will feature the animated and live-action shorts. See the Film Center Website for a schedule of the programs, which will be screening through March 9.

Oscar-Nominated Radio

Tune in to Sound Opinions this Saturday at 7pm, when Greg Kot and Jim DiRogatis talk with Roger Ebert about the best and worst music movies ever made.

On a Scale of 0 to 1

Although the official NTSB report won't be released for months, USA Today's analysis claims the condition of the runway involved in December's Midway crash was "poor," describing it as "so slippery that it would have been difficult for people to walk on" and asserting that pilots would have experienced minimal traction when attempting to slow down. On the night of the accident, airport officials were reporting the runway's status as "good"; their judgment was based on federal standards for measuring conditions, standards the accident has called into question.

Le Diner to the Pool

On the heels of the anagrammed Metra map, one for the CTA. Or should we say the CAT?

DuSable recognized offically

Most of us know that Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable is Chicago's first non-native settler and is credited with founding our city. According to this article he's about to be "officially" recognized for this (I'm shocked he hasn't been already). And did you know that he is also credited with the city's first recorded marriage and his grandaughter's birth was Chicago's first recorded birth? Very cool.

This City is Our Home

If the 826 team can do more to promote creativity opportunities for kids, I don't know what that is. Through March 31, 826CHI is hosting "This City is Our Home: Photographs, Essays and Paintings by Homeless Youth in Chicago." The exhibition, which is the result of Blue Sky Inn volunteers' weekly visits to homeless youths, is viewable during tutoring hours, Monday-Thursday 3-5:30pm. Call 773-710-7346 to find out how you can offer your time.


Let's role-play a little. Imagine going to a party when you're 16, passing out from drinking too much, waking up naked with stuff written all over your body. Then imagine finding out that four of the guys at the party allegedly raped you or helped film it. Four years later you're testifying at another trial when the defendant's lawyer pulls up a television and expects you to watch that videotape in a room full of strangers and answer questions. Sounds like cause for a bit of a breakdown. Now imagine that the judge tells you to either watch it and answer the questions or the defendant goes free and you go to jail for contempt. Thankfully victims' rights advocates got Judge Kerry Kennedy to change his mind today.(UPDATE: Lots of commentary on Eric Zorn's blog.) correction: Judge Kennedy is presiding in Bridgeview, IL, not Naperville. Thanks, Mark.

Off the Runway, Into the Museum

If you have the sort of schedule that allows for midday visits to the Art Institute, the Chic Reflections lunchtime lecture series on "fashion & modernity" sure sounds fascinating. (The 411: starts next Friday, runs weekly for a month; features scholars from the Chicago Historical Society, the AIC and its school; single tickets also available; call 312/443-3680 for more.)

Headline! Someone At the U of C Has Sex!

Not known for their work in the erotic arts, U of C students have put together a magazine of erotica named VITA EXCOLATUR. It's in its 2nd year and is out now for a measly $2. Since there are few things hotter than Latin-titled erotica, I'm sure this stuff is smokin' hot. Better than O-Chem, anyway.

Yet Another Google Map, Readers' Edition

There are dozens of libraries in Chicago. Need to know which is closest to you?

Update: Archana Siriam, stupid Hummers and other oddities

We've posted before about Archana Siriam and her unfortunate encounter with a Hummer. I recently discovered that I knew her peripherally and found out that she is recovering well and in good spirits but is unlikely to walk or get on a bike for about three months. Here are photos from one of her friends at the CBF news conference and an uplifting photo at the end of a bruised ndd beat up but smiling Archana. The driver of the Hummer is still unidentified and being sought after.


Time for another horror movie convention/festival in Chicago. This one is the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, put together by the horror movie fan magazine. If the idea of meeting Lloyd Kaufman (director of Toxic Avenger), Kelly Stables (played Samara in the Ring movies), and George Romero & Tom Savini (together again!), then you'd better get yourself to the Wyndham Chicago O'Hare Hotel this Saturday and Sunday. See the convention's Website for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.



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