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TODAY

Wednesday, April 26

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Merge

Songs about reuniting

Okay, so the next-to-last ever Sleater-Kinney show isn't getting you excited? (They've since added a show at home a week later.) How about a Big Black reunion? Touch and Go Records will be celebrating their 25th anniversary at the Hideout Block Party September 8-10, and they officially announced this week what had been rumored about days before: the influential 1980s noise rock band started by one Mr. Steve Albini will be reuniting to play "a couple songs" at the party. And according to the Touch & Go site, there's more surprises in store for the party. Tickets for the Hideout Block Party are available for purchase online.

A Happy Get-Together

If you're not doing anything tonight, perhaps you'd consider joining a few GB staffers at our monthly Get-Together? We'll be at Happy Village from 9pm on -- look for us out back.

Free Book Rentals for Hipsters

After much construction, the brand new Bucktown-Wicker Park branch of the Chicago Public Library will open on July 10th at 1701 N. Milwaukee Ave. The 15,500 square foot location is two stories and has free internet stations and free wi-fi throughout. No more excuses to not check Gapers 5 times a day. Oh, and it also has books...lots of them.

10 Years of GayCo

Think the DaVinci Code is funny? Excited about the Gay Games? 10 Year Old GayCo is presenting its 'best of' show, The DaVinci GayCode. The show, which they call "homolarious", will run from July 13th through the 23rd at the Theatre Building Chicago on Belmont. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.

Not another lousy podcast

At last night's kick-off of the Neo-Futurists' film fest, they mentioned that former Neo and solo performer David Kodeski is currently working on an online project related to his stage play (and radio story) "Another Lousy Day", the story of a single working woman living on the South Side in the 1960s told through her diaries. Mr. Kodeski is recording female voices reading entries of the diaries that inspired his show and posting the sound files on his True Life Tales Website in podcast form. The project, which has been going on since January, is expected to total 730 audio files, one for each entry in the diaries. If you are interested in recording one of the entries, you may contact Mr. Kodeski at david [at] truelifetales [dot] com.

Carpool with the Roller Girls!

The Windy City Rollers are offerering you quick and direct access to the bout in Cicero and after-party at Liars Club. For a measly $5, you don't have to spend money on gas, get mildly frustrated with other drivers or worry about finding that primo parking spot. Meet up at Liars Club at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 9th, and then head over to the bout at 4 p.m. Then hop on board for the after-party! Buy tickets now.

Behind the Buildings: David Woodhouse

David Woodhouse Architects has a spiffy new site detailing many of the architectural projects that have come out of the studio. Based in Chicago, they're the creatives behind quite a few of the Chicago Institutions you enjoy today. Take a look at the site, meander the buildings and find out the inspiration behind each.

Tragedy at Northwestern

Last night, tragedy befell the Northwestern University family as football coach Randy Walker died of an apparent heart attack. Walker was only 52 years old and was about to enter his eighth season at NU. He had recently been granted a contract extension through 2011 for his stellar work in leading NU to 14-10 conference record over the past three years. No information on services or donations to the family has been noted.

While You're in Hyde Park...

Since you're heading to the Hyde Park Art Center to check out all of their cool exhibits, why not make a day of it? After taking in Africa Speaks, an exhibit of African art and artifacts at the DuSable Museum, cross the quads and grab a latte at the Smart Museum's sleek cafe. If you like contemporary art, a side trip to the Renaissance Society might be nice. Otherwise, a stop at 57th Street Books for some leisurely browsing, and lunch at neighboring Medici, will refresh you in between museum visits.

Hyde Park Arts Center

Have you been to the recently redone Hyde Park Arts Center yet? If not, you should really check out all the awesome exhibits they're hosting -- including a photographic look at the rockabilly subculture by Jennifer Greenburg, and interactive digital exhibits. it's located at 5020 S. Cornell and is open seven days a week. Oh, let's all go together!

Really Quick Restaurant Review: Deleece

On the northern tip of the Southport Corridor, at Irving Park, sits Deleece, a stunningly low-priced quality American contemporary restaurant. While they were in the news a few months back when one of the chefs left to start Sola (also very, very good), their fare hasn't suffered one bit. In fact, they've done the opposite and ramped things up a bit, with new dishes that work really well. One of my favorite things about Deleece is their Monday and Tuesday $20 for three-course prix fixe special, which is one of the best values for food in this city. A recent meal included a ham avocado bruschetta, a carmelized on the outside and tender and pink on the inside flank steak prepared with a mole sauce and for dessert, a chocolate mousse that was divine. I'd have easily paid $50-60 for a meal like that. Go!

Hark, Reader! A Blog!

The Reader has launched its first blog, the Daily Harold, by longtime staffwriter Harold Henderson. Henderson claims to be "the World's First Blogger," conveniently leaving out of the Wikipedia definition the part about a blog being on the Web. Good luck with that.

Legislating Nasty Food?

Alderman Edward Burke doesn't think the recent ban on foie gras is enough legislation of food for one year. He has now brought to the table a proposal to ban all trans fats in Chicago. The proposal has been ridiculed by Mayor Daley and the President of Illinois Restaurant Association. While the proposal would be difficult to implement, Burke noted that he just wants to start up a conversation and get expert opinion on the matter.

Fans Against Mariotti

No one can support the recent language chosen by Sox' Manager Ozzie Guillen to describe Sun-Times columnist Jay Marriotti. A lot of Chicagoans, however, can and do support the sentiment. Jaythejoke.com's purpose is to expose Marriotti as a fraud and unite Cubs' and Sox' fans in mutual dislike for the controversial columnist. The new-ish blog was featured in a recent Tribune column.

SCOTUS Ruling Opinion

Reader Chad D. writes, "This morning, in a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that President Bush's decision to try alleged al Qaeda combatant Salim Ahmed Hamdan for conspiracy before a military commission was illegal under U.S. and international law. The opinion, written by native Chicagoan, U. of C. and Northwestern alumnus John Paul Stephens, also expressed concern that 'conspiracy,' as a stand-alone offense, 'is not a recognized violation of the law of war.' Relief may be in order."

No Thanks for the Blog!

While I'm not entirely convinced the promotion of personal blogs by complete strangers is an epidemic problem in real life -- seems more confined to willy-nilly "friend" requests on MySpace at this point -- in today's Sun-Times, Andy Ihnatko offers an amusing checklist for smacking that would-be internet superstar down.

Switching Sides

The success of the White Sox and the dismal collapse of the Cubs have had effects far beyond the MLB standings: in some cases, it's turning family members against each other as the South Siders draw not-so-die-hard Cubs fans into their fold. In Richard Roeper's new book, Sox and the City, he has a word for them: biSoxual. Watch this page for an mp3 of Roeper's appearance on 848 this morning discussing the potential sea change in the Sox' fandom fortunes. (Thanks, Roni)

Not So Bad At Sports After All

Remember when you played kickball in gym and the artsy kids and the nerds always got picked last? Well, so do ThreeWalls Gallery, StopSmiling Magazine and Bad at Sports, and they're gonna show you what you missed out on this Saturday, July 1, from noon till 6pm at the Wicker Park kickball field. Four teams (The Mullets, the West Town Banditos, Record Players and the West Loop Flyers) will compete for the ArtLeague Kickball championship trophy. Afterparty and awards ceremony at Smoke Daddy. More details in Slowdown.

Time's almost up to be a renegade crafter

July 1 marks the application deadline for the Renegade Craft Fair. Organizers Sue and Kathleen got back recently from their second show in Brooklyn and now they're ready to devote their time to making the Chicago show awesome. They may have gotten the local craft scene kicked in the pants, but they're not the only ones in the game. The DIY Trunk Show is accepting applications through July 15th. The Rockwell Art Crossing is taking applications through June 30th. The Artzilla Craftzuki show at Schuba's on June 3rd was enough of a success that there will be another every month beginning on August 27th. And to give proper credit to the woman who started monthly craft shows, The Handmade Market at The Empty Bottle has been gaining in popularity since last year.

World Cup in Five

The US is out of the World Cup running, and our Fire in Five columnist is back stateside with some reflections on the national team and its surprisingly vocal fans. Read about it in Sports in Five.

Break Out Your Fry Daddy

One thing you probably won't find at the Taste this year are Deep Fried Brats. But you could make your own.

Phoning It In On the Mag Mile

Business Week takes a look at the new Nokia flagship store on Michigan Avenue over the weekend. Probably the coolest thing about it is you can buy any phone totally unlocked, so it can be used with whichever cellular carrier you want. The downside is there's no carrier subsidy, so you're going to pay full price for that 8801. (Incidentally, those interested in Motorola's new Q have but a short walk to check it out.)

Cook County Board To Citizens: Nanna-Nanna-Poo-Poo

The excellent Beachwood Reporter has a run-down of all the comings and goings now that John Stroger is planning on stepping down. This whole Cook County Board mess is so disgusting and so shows how little the board cares about democratic process; instead of merit, we get nepotism. So instead of editorials and moaning and complaining, I ask you: what's to be done? Protests? Letter writing campaign? Vote Republican? Email our inbox with your idea.

Beckett on the Lake

If you missed seeing the short works of Beckett performed in various nooks and crannies of the MCA last January, or Curious Theater Branch's continued celebration of Beckett this spring, you've got one more chance to catch Eh Joe, Play, Text for Nothing and other short plays when they are remounted this week at Theater on the Lake. See Slowdown for more details.

City to Stick You for $75 Now or $115 Later

Just a reminder to drivers (or, more accurately, parkers): if you haven't purchased your 2007 Chicago vehicle sticker, you've got but three days until the old one's expired and you become an outlaw-although you probably won't get ticketed until after July 15, the end of the official renewal period.

Not what you want

Just in case you were trying to decide whether or not to go to Lollapalooza this year, here's an incentive to attend: Sleater-Kinney is breaking up, and their scheduled performance at the festival in Grant Park will be their last.

Cartopia 2006 photos

You know those cars with the crazy springs or dolls glued all over them? Well, reader Lotta writes in about her heading out to Cartopia 2006, held in Berwyn, last week where she took photos of all kinds of cars just like that.

Saga of the good life and hard times

So a 21-year-old mentally ill woman argued with a CTA employee and got arrested for trespassing. Despite pleas to the Chicago police from her parents, Christina Eilman, who lives in West Hollywood, California, was released by the police in the Wentworth neighborhood which she was unfamiliar with. Shortly thereafter she fell from a 7th floor window wearing only her underwear. A man who was allegedly the last person to see her before she fell surrendered to police. He denies he did anything illegal, but his request for bail was denied as the police investigate the possibility that she was sexually assaulted and then was either thrown from the window or jumped. Since Christina is now paralyzed, the city has decided to drop the misdemeanor charge of trespassing that started this whole thing. Her parents are suing the city for not keeping Christina in jail until one of them could arrive in Chicago. It's a sad story, but an interesting one that still isn't over.

In-Toe-Nation

Reader Jennifer noticed an interesting phenomenon at the Intonation Festival last weekend: "I looked around at one point during a set, and realized that just about everyone in my 10 foot radius was wearing the same footwear as their neighbor." Check it out in this Flickr photoset.

The Tattler Redesigns

The CTA Tattler, Chicago's number one source for transit scuttlebut, has redesigned.

Sneak Out for Free Coffee

The Devil Wears Prada is sponsoring some sort of National Coffee Break Day today, and it must just be a coincidence that the film opens this weekend. Anyway, there are four spots in Chicago where you can snag a free "coffee beverage" from 2-4pm, all in and around the Loop. Gawker has the details.

Couch on Doing the Right Thing

AfterElton.com runs an interview with Greg Couch today in which he describes himself as "disgusted" by the way the press and others have turned the 'Ozzie Guillen said something he shouldn't have' issue into a 'Jay Marriotti brought it on himself' issue. Couch was one of few reporters to call foul on the Sox manager for using "fag" as a slur; he says, "I'm just doing what I'm supposed to."

3 Penny Cinema Can't Make a Buck

Lincoln Park's 3 Penny Cinema owes $100,000 to the City of Chicago in back taxes, and the city has now closed the movie house as a result. Sadly, this is the second closing of an independant movie theater on the same block of Lincoln Avenue. In 2004, the historic Biograph ceased to operate as a movie house, but plans to reopen as a live theatre venue. Hopefully, a similar, non-condo fate awates the 3 Penny. [Thanks, Mac!]

Photos from Go Skateboarding Day

I don't follow up on skateboarding like I used to so it was a pleasant surprise to hear about last week's Go Skateboarding Day. You can live vicariously through these Flickr photo sets: here and here.

Revue in Review

Last week Illinois-native Jami Attenberg put on a great show at the Hideout with fellow local authors Hana Schank, Emily Flake, Wendy McClure and Claire Zulkey. Over at her journal, Jami recounts the show, complete with pictures of the lovely ladies, and later gives a nice little shout-out to the Book Cellar.

It Got Built; No One's Come

"That such a vast and reasonably priced wireless network has attracted so few users in an otherwise tech-hungry metropolis should give pause to civic leaders in Chicago, Philadelphia and dozens of other American cities that are building wireless networks of their own": The New York Times on on Taipei's wi-fi hopes and its wi-fi reality.

The imminence of the Taste

The city has blocked off the streets near Grant Park in preparation for the 2006 Taste of Chicago, which starts this Friday and runs through Sunday, July 9. Check out the Taste Website for a list of participating restaurants that'll be selling food during the event, a map of the vendors (PDF link), and a roundup of the performers that you'll be able to see during the Taste's 10-day run. And if you know you'll be checking out loads of vendors, you might want to get your food tickets in advance at your local Dominick's because you'll get a discount if you have a Dominick's Fresh Values card.

As of Today, Think Pink!

Recent changes on the CTA have the chicago_el LiveJournal community hopping with discussion: new announcements (including the initially jarring addition of the cross-street to some stations; no more "This is Grand," for example); new maps (subway lines are no longer indicated; rush period lines are); new phone service (yes, US Cellular now works underground); and, not new, but a useful reminder: no bikes on trains on July 3 (when the system carries its highest daily passenger load of the year). [More: today's "Pop Goes The World" picks five favorite films that feature the 'L'.]

Physical, Funny, and Slightly Dangerous

Chicago supports a dynamic community of theater companies who specialize in physical theater. What's that? Well, have a look for yourself: click here to see a clip of Plasticene's Palmer Raids, and here to see an exceprt from sprung theatre's capsize. If you like what you see, check out 500 Clown, The Building Stage, Kapoot, Lucky Plush, and Local Infinities, or sign up for a class at the Actor's Gymnasium.

Regenstein Re-sell

Ever wanted to have an academic library of your own? This is your chance to start cheap as the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library sells hundreds of their old volumes for mere bucks a piece. From history to political science to South Asian studies and god knows what else, the sale runs through the entire summer so you'll have plenty of chances to pick up another copy of Marx. (The U of C-inclined can never have too much Marx.) Monday-Friday, 9am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-4:45pm.

Tower Toppling Mostly Talk

A few days on, and further details have emerged about the "plot" to explode the Sears Tower. Which is to say, despite the alarm of initial reports, it's become clear that there was barely a plot at all. The Independent on Sunday describes it as "little more than wishful thinking," but also points out it could be a harbinger of future US worries: "when home-grown terrorists, not foreign-born Islamic radicals, pose the threat." Indeed, alleged ringleader Prince Manna (born Narseal Batiste) is as home-grown as it gets -- he was born and raised in Chicago; his father declares him "definitely out of his mind."

Chicagoans Want 2016 Olympics

That is, at least, according to a survey compiled by the firm that completed Mayor Daley's political polling. The survey shows that nearly 80% of Cook County residents want Chicago to host the games. With the need for a stadium larger than Soldier Field to host, the idea of a collapsible stadium has gained steam. As to what a collapsible stadium really is? That's anyone's guess.

Everybody's Got Their Guidebook

As its Intonation Fest approaches and out-of-towners descend, Vice takes its own brand of "wit" to the Windy City with a Guide to Chicago. Like you might expect, it includes features on neighborhoods ("Wrigleyville: Do not -- we repeat, do not -- come near here on a Chicago Cubs game day. Or ever.") and shopping ("Tangerine: This is where the girls who work at Penelope's used to work."), as well as a romp around town with Chloe Sevigny bonus track. Do or don't. You decide.

4 Star All the Way

On the Reader this week and online too: an excellent feature article on 4 Star Courier, a messengering service comprised of messengers who own, run and do business like it should be done. If you have any say in what company delivers your documents on time, consider 4 Star. They do excellent work.

No more misses, connect

You may read our Public Notice column about Craigslist's Missed Connections. If you're absolutely addicted to them, you might be interested in delving deeper behind the scenes. GB staffer Jason Maslanka created a website with audio and video (including an interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark) called Connect to try to figure it all out.

Big Wheels (Little and Small) In Beverly

July is going to see lots of great bike activity in Beverly. First, there will be big-wheel race for kids of 100 yards, adorably titled the "Longwood 100". Then the pros take over and race in the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, where the average speed is 32 mph. Yowsers! This happens on Friday July 7th; on Sunday the 9th you can sign-up for a fun ride around the neighborhood, the Tour De Beverly where you can see the historic features of the neighborhood on two wheels. (Sorry, no big wheels on that one.)

"People Have Gotten up to a Lot of Nonsense in Chicago"

The hottest brother-sister pair in indie rock, the Fiery Furnaces, hail from Oak Park, and their last album was about their grandmother's experience growing up in the area. Earlier this week, Eight Forty-Eight aired an interview with the songwriting half of the duo, Matthew Friedberger, about that record and his connection to the city; listen to it here [mp3]. The band will perform at the Metro tomorrow night.

Sears Tower Targeted

In an incredibly frightening story, seven men were arrested in Miami for their involvement in a plot to attack the Sears Tower. The indictment states that this attack was supposed to be bigger than 9/11. It appears that the plans were in the beginning stages.

Selig Schools Ozzie

The White Sox thought Ozzie Guillen's apology for "the slur" was enough. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig disagreed. He fined Guillen an undisclosed amount and ordered the Sox' manager to sensitivity training.

For Visitors And Locals Alike

The Chicagoist Guide to Chicago [PDF] offers a handy way to take the site's signature third-person self-referentiality (and hit-or-miss copy editing) with you.

Cafeteria Ps & Qs

In small ways, Mazzone's, local purveyors of Italian ice, do their part to make the world a better place. To wit: spotted somewhere in New Jersey, the company's admonition to "Always Be Nice To Your School Lunch Lady."

Intonation On Us

Hey, quick contest! First person to email inbox@gapersblock.com with the names of three bands they want to see at Intonation Music Festival this weekend gets a two-day VIP pass! UPDATE: Holy crap, that was fast: Dave Reidy is our winner!

The Splat Flats

Wicker Park has a relatively new (well, new to me anyway) studio space with 28 resident artists: The Splat Flats. If you're curious about the space or would like to check out some of the work being produced, get down there this Saturday, June 24th from 4-9pm when The Splat Flats have an open house show called LumbArt.

Plan Your Lolla Weekend

We're not even through this weekend's Intonation Music Festival, which will mark the start of Chicago's three big alterna-music fests this year, but you can already plan out how you're going to spend every half hour of the first weekend in August. Lollapalooza promoters have released the schedule of performances and you can even customize your own and share it with friends. Even with three days to play with, there are going to be some hard choices to make: Queens of the Stone Age or Wilco? Kanye or Manu Chao? Calexico or Lyrics Born? Ah, decisions, decisions.

Fat Chicago: What's a Government to Do?

A well-researched look at the problem of obesity in Chicago that asks the question: when advocacy fails, what role should policy take? Is it ok to outlaw junk food, or change zoning requirements to encourage more people to walk? Is reducing car traffic not just an environmental issue, but also one of public health? (via Payton)
And there are a few pieces of fascinating trivia too: Los Angeles as a city has a higher percentage of obese people than Chicago, and the city has acquired more parkland since 1998 than in the previous 50 years.

Emerald ash borer redux

Update on the emerald ash borer infestation in Illinois: the good news is that investigators have not yet found any signs of the tree-killing insect outside of a three-mile radius of the original place where the insects were found, a good sign that the insect has not traveled far in Illinois. The bad news is that all ash trees within a half mile of the infestation sites will still have to be destroyed to contain the insect.

Stop the Pervy Perp

A CTA Tattler reader has called for a sort of neighborhood watch on North Side Red Line runs, describing a public masturbator she and her roommate have encountered repeatedly. "If we all take care of each other," she says, "we can catch this guy and stop him before his exposure fails to excite him anymore and he has to go to further extremes."

"I'm Still Waiting for Jay"

Dear "Those People," I wasn't talking about you when I used an anti-gay epithet earlier this week to describe someone I don't like. I was just using it to question his courage and manliness; you know how it is. So, yeah, we cool? -- Ozzie

Hitting the Streets

Reader Jacob sent us a link to photos from the Go Skateboarding Day festivities downtown yesterday. More from reader Jim, and the Trib has a Flash presentation of their own pix. (Anyone else? Email inbox@gapersblock.com.)

Mickeys Go Down

The DEA and Chicago police raided the stronghold of the Mickey Cobras gang in connection to the fentanyl-laced heroin that's killed hundreds in Chicago and other cities. Time will tell whether the gang is the sole source of the deadly mix.

Radioheadlines

If you didn't make it to Radiohead's two-night-stand at the Auditorium Theatre this week, Jim DeRogatis (he of the fantastic neck wattle) gives you a highly complimentary, detailed review in today's Sun Times.

This Life Now in MP3

It appears that This American Life has switched to a slightly more open format to publish their older episodes, streaming mp3. This allowed some people to link to the site and create an unofficial podcast of the show. WBEZ didn't dig this. While they won points for being polite and nicely asking for the offending bits to be taken down, more than one TAL fan (one, two) was asked to stop linking to the feeds. We're happy with the new format, but still want it on our iPods. Shouldn't subscribers be able to do that without paying $4 an episode?

Chicago Sister Cities Program Turns 50

If you've been to O'Hare (and even if you haven't), you probably know that Chicago has a slew of sister cities: 25--to be exact--from Accra, Ghana, to Warsaw, Poland (click here for list). To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Sister Cities program, Gallery 37 is showing international films on its roof every Wednesday evening through August 30. See Slowdown for details of individual screenings, or click here for a complete schedule.

Ozzie Guillen, Homophobe?

What does it mean for the White Sox manager, speaking in a relatively official capacity, to call a reporter a "fag"? While the organization's VP of communications calls it "insensitive," Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch seems more apt to call it inexcusable.

Skate on State

On the train to downtown this morning I saw a couple people carrying skateboards but didn't think much about it. Then I found out that today is Wild in the Streets, an annual global skating event. Today in Chicago, a large group of skateboarders will be meeting at Buckingham Fountain to skate through downtown Chicago to thank the city for planning to build a new skating area in Millennium Park. The event begins at the fountain at 2:00 PM, all skaters are welcome, and to try and draw a huge crowd the organizers of the event will be bringing some members of Emerica's skate team. So if names like Andrew Reynolds and Ed Templeton get you all excited, you know where you gotta be today.

Radiohead on the Radio

Another place to catch Radiohead is on Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio this weekend. They scored an interview with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood this week, complete with some songs played on the studio piano. Catch it at 7pm Saturday or online later.

If Only It Had Happened in the Park...

Chances are good you didn't get tickets for Radiohead this week, but never mind. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can pretend you were there and see a clip of a new track, "All I Need." [via]

Hooray T-shirts and Beer!

Friend of GB Cody Hudson drops word of iWANT iT LiKE THiS, a party/live screenprinting event where you can customize your own shirt and get one done live right at the party by LA crew, Hit&Run. The shindig is sponsored by Red Stripe, whose commercials are cracking me up these days. The party goes down this Friday, details here. Hooray!

Wikiguide To Chicago, The World

The latest Google Maps mashup, Wikimapia, needs your help: the current oh-so-clever entry for Wicker Park is: "A favorite Chicago-area hangout for Hipsters and males that wear way too much make-up. Recomend (sic) avoiding at all costs." Cute. (Learn more about wikis here.)

Moonlight Canoe & Kayak

In addition to family kayaking excursions, the Park District is also offering moonlit canoe dinner trips. For just $18 each, you and a date can paddle up the Chicago River from Clark Park to River Park and then enjoy a boxed dinner. To register for the July 7, August 11, or October 7 cruises, call the Park District at 312-742-5039.

MCA 2006-07 Performance Season

The MCA recently announced their 2006-07 performance season. Highlights include Martha Graham Dance Company, in a rare Chicago appearance, and Blast Theory: Can You See Me Now?, an interactive chase game. Blast Theory runners on Chicago streets use GPS and cell phone technology to track players down.

1920s El Posters

There's a stunning set of poster ads commisioned by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company from the 1920s that aimed to encourage people to use public transport over at Chicago "L".org. Those were the days. [Hat tip: April]

Greg Hall Interview

Speaking of Goose Island, Chicagoist has an interview with brewmaster Greg Hall, about the brewery's recent business dealings and their latest brews.

On Local Language

Detritus compiles a few Chicago regionalisms, including those crazy gapers and their blocks. (Do people actually say "soup to nuts"? I swear I've never heard it.)

Quick Review: Goose Island's Matilda

If you haven't yet tried Goose Island's version of Belgian abbey-style beer, Matilda, you should. It's the refreshing, feel-good hit of the summer: full-bodied and fruity, with flavors of apples and apricots, with a nice long finish. Don't just take my word for it -- it's got a 93/100 rating on RateBeer.com. Just one quibble: Goose Island used the wrong six-pointed stars on the label.

Canoe Trips on the River

Take your family, a date, or a group of pals on the Chicago River with the Park District this summer. You'll see turtles, ducks and herons while you paddle -- all for just $10 per "family." Friends of the Chicago River provides all the equipment and instruction. Register ASAP via mail. Get the form by calling the Nature Oasis hotline at 312-742-5039.

Bye-bye, Barenboim, Pt. 2

It's not just the Times that marked Barenboim's departure, but London's Telegraph, as well. Both reviews remark on the balancing of the brass with the sound of rest of the orchestra -- in other words, a departure from the sounds of Solti -- but only one notes the maestro's other reason to celebrate the weekend: Argentina's routing of Serbia-Montenegro in the World Cup. He may have spent 15 years in Chicago, but "'when it comes to football, there are no divided loyalties.'" What's next for the CSO remains unclear. As the Post puts it, the orchestra faces an "interregnum." Which only serves to underscore Barenboim's tenure as that of something like a king.

The New Book Club Homepage

The Gapers Block Book Club has a new permanent home on the GB website. Now you can find out what we're currently reading and see all the latest book club news in one place. Plus, the new book club homepage also features a new weblog dedicated to the local literary scene, which will include news, events, reviews, profiles and more. So, go visit the new home of the GB Book Club and check back often.

Drinking and Reading

Alpana Singh, master sommelier and host of "Check Please!," emcees an unusual event at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, tomorrow night: Wine and Words: a Benefit for 826CHI. Listen to three authors -- Charles Blackstone, Gina Frangello and Cris Mazza -- read from their latest books while you enjoy South American artisinal wines chosen by Singh. Starting at 7pm, all for a suggested donation of $20! You'll probably want to make a reservation: 773-465-8005.

MOBFest 2006

While it's not SXSW, since 1997 Chicago MOBFest has been trying to get the music industry to sit up and take notice of the bands that our humble midwestern city has to offer (along with some underserved national acts). They'll be bringing a slew of panelists from major labels to teach those who want to know how to break into the music biz. For $90, your laminated pass will get you into a ton of music showcases, panel discussions and seminars (as well as a free compilation CD) this weekend. If you're not into the panels, the shows are open to the public, and we have a few suggestions from the huge offering here, here, here and here.

Finnish Fashion Comes To Chicago

If you want a break from the usual routine of museums, head down to IIT to visit their new exhibition about... fashion. "Marimekko--Fabrics Fashion Architecture" is about a Finnish designer who boldly took color where it hadn't gone before in fashion and created lifestyle brands (think Martha Stewart's lines of coordinated towels, sheets, curtains, etc. etc.) The patterns are wonderful and exhibition is free. (Part of the nifty festival I hadn't heard of, Silk Road Chicago.)

Everything You Wanted to Know About Police Torture

The Reader has put up a convenient new section on the police torture case, collecting all of reporter John Conroy's 15 years of coverage, including a who's-who and a profile of the man behind the muscle, John Burge.

From Punk Band to Papa to Podcast

Former Allister bandmember, now fulltime proud parent Eric in Aurora has turned his love of rockin' into a pretty darn interesting music blog called Can You See the Sunset from the Southside. He also has started podcasting on a sister site, Can You Hear the Podcast from the Southside. Podcast number three is fresh for your listening.

Hubwear: ORD > ?

Friend of GB, George Aye has just unleashed his latest idea which I find frickin' cool. It's called Hubwear. Hubwear are t-shirts with airport codes printed on them: the front is first part of the trip while the back is your return leg of the journey.

Playing at Potbellys

If you like music with your sandwiches or wish to play MTV's crappiest hits for those indulging in their lunchtime subs, you might be surprised to hear (or play) a tune or two the next time you're at a Potbellys. The Beachwood Reporter has a piece about the local Potbellys and how they stack up musically. And on a side note: local musician Jef Sarver will attempt to break the world record for the longest guitar marathon ever at a Potbellys on June 21-23.

Bottom of the Ninth

Conductor Daniel Barenboim said goodbye to the CSO and Chicago this weekend, and he did it in characteristically over-the-top fashion, according to the New York Times.

New And Notable Chicagobloggers

A few new cool entries on Chicagobloggers.com: Mom-O-Matic, a great site about being a mom and still having a sense of adventure and humor; Porcini Chronicles, a woman in Milan by way of Berwyn who posts delightful Italian recipes and pictures of her adventures; and SariSariShots, a photoblog/documentary about the Chicago Filipino experience that's as beautiful as it is fascinating to take a peek into a slice of a different world from your own.

Rod About Town

Scoopsville: many Lincoln Square residents were surprised to see the governor running all by his lonesome on Lincoln Avenue this morning. Despite running at a good clip and definitely breaking a sweat, I have to say, his hair looked FABULOUS. The same is certainly not true of Judy T, whose hair mystifies more than impresses.

"Everyone wants him. He's lightning."

Today's Washington Post launches the latest volley in the Obama '08 recruitment game.

Channeling Proust at Steppenwolf

About Face Theater announced today that their production of Mary Zimmerman's M. Proust will extend through July 16. The play is told from the privileged perspective of Celeste Albaret, Proust's housekeeper, sick nurse, and surrogate mother (creepy!). For more information, visit the website or read my full review.

Free Jens & Ham (And Then Some)

Don't say Pitchfork never gave you anything: at emusic, download a free sampler of bands who'll appear next month at the site's Union Park festival.

WLUW seeks donations

You like independent music. You like independent radio. But maybe you're a little broke and wish you had money to support something like WLUW but you don't. But you do have a great t-shirt signed by The Pogues that you don't want anymore. Or maybe you make bags suitable for carrying your records home from the record store in. If you've got something of value that you're willing to donate to WLUW so they can auction it off on eBay to raise money during the first week of July, send a description of the item as well as the expected value to Nicole Burnham.

It Takes Two to Tiki

DvA Gallery turns two this weekend, and they're celebrating with a tiki party tomorrow starting at 4pm. There'll be surf music by the Cocktail Preachers, hula dancers, free cocktails and apps and more. The party doubles as the opening for a show of tiki art that'll run through July 9.

No Bean? You're Outta Here

Hear about Sox coach Ozzie Guillen sending a rookie pitcher back to the minors for not hitting a batter? Not surprisingly, it's causing a bit of a stir in Chicago and elsewhere.

Break Up Art Burglarized

Having art featured in the movie The Break-Up has been a mixed blessing for Francine Turk. On one hand, she's gotten more interest from art patrons. On the other, she's gotten more interest from thieves, who stole 10 paintings worth $35,000 from her South Loop gallery.

Really Quick Review: David Burke's Primehouse

Another downtown steakhouse? Well, yes, but damn, is this place ever good. With a menu dedicated to seafood and dry-aged steaks (Chef Burke commissioned a salt cave for aging underneath the restaurant), Primehouse lends some substance to the stylish new James Hotel. Shellfish from the raw bar, served on a lazy susan of lemons and crushed ice, was impeccibly fresh, although the lobster was perhaps a touch limp. Gazpacho with crab was spicy, refreshing, wonderful. The steaks? Par excellence, and they will rival the best you'll eat in your life. (Forget the syrupy bottled sauces that arrive with your steaks; what is this, Ponderosa?) Cocktails are innovative, maybe gimmicky (leather-infused Maker's Manhattan?), but they work. Not cheap.

Kama Sew-tra

Currently at the Carl Hammer Gallery on N. Wells, Orly Cogan's embroidered exploration of female sexuality (images kinda NSFW in a porn-toonish way). [via]

Let Me Count The Ways

If only for a day, Eric Zorn wants to be your whipping boy.

The Eternal Return of the Soundbite

Funny meta-coverage of the Tribune Co. boardroom breakdown focusing on one Charles K. Bobrinskoy, a capital management executive whose firm owns a chunk of the controversy in question. Bobrinskoy, it seems, deserves a spot in the Bush Administration: this man does not veer from the talking points (of which there are but two). He's such an on-message broken record that encountering his quotes in the steady stream of these stories is apt, as the CJR Daily puts it, to drive readers "quietly insane."

Chicagoan Racing Across America

Local ultracyclist Bryce Walsh is competing in the grueling Race Across America (RAAM) and doing pretty well. He's in fifth place as he crosses the Rocky Mountains. (How grueling? "Riders consume 6,000-8,000 calories a day of food and take in [3.1 - 4 gallons of fluid]..." and "serious solo contenders planned to average of 90-120 minutes sleep in each 24-hour period during their ride." Whoa.)

The Trib Fills Your Magazine Rack

Is it wrong for the Tribune to include its own Chicago Magazine in its list of the 50 best? I'm not sure, but at least it's only number 41.

Crafters, start your engines: DIY Trunk Show accepting applications

The much-loved DIY Trunk Show is officially accepting applications from local crafters who want to sell their wares at the event in November (Saturday, November 18; mark your calendar!). See the Trunk Show site for full information, and check out photos of previous Trunk Shows on Flickr.

The worst movies on stage

The Neo-Futurist theater company have announced the lineup for what has become a hugely entertaining annual summer series: on-stage readings of bad film scripts (aka "It Came From The Neo-Futurarium!"). Highlights of this year's "films": a recreation of the 1978 classic "KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park"; a sci-fi double feature performed by the sketch comedy troupe Schadenfreude; and a tribute to the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan debacle. See the full schedule and purchase tickets at the Neo-Futurists' Website. But hurry, because the film fest starts in just 2 weeks.

SummerDance Update

Chicago SummerDance continues this year (15 June through 27 August) with free one-hour dance lessons followed by two hours of dancing to live music in Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden Thursday through Saturday evenings (6 PM to 9:30 PM) and Sunday afternoons (4 PM to 7 PM), but the popular DJ series turns nomadic, with venues ranging from Daley Plaza to the Taste of Chicago Taste Stage. And a bit sporadic: held some weeks on Monday, other weeks on Wednesday, and sometimes also Thursday or Friday. Individual Nomadic DJ Series events are listed in Slowdown; click here for a complete schedule.

Fast Forward Again

Have an itch to make a short film? Overnight? That's right, it's time for another Fast Forward Film Festival. This time there's a sci-fi theme: "Three Minutes Into the Future," sponsored by geek webstore Woot.com. Go to Atomix Cafe, 1967 W. Chicago Ave., tomorrow, June 16, to register and get more instructions, then get to work. For the rest of us, there's a show of all the finished films Saturday night. More in this week's TimeOut Chicago.

From the Back to the Front and Around Again

Turns out native Chicagoans have a regional accent, and it's not marked by the rough consonants of the SNL "Superfans." Rather, according to a study by McGill PhD candidate Corrine McCarthy, it's the pronunciation of certain vowels that's unique to the area; scholars call it "the Northern Cities Shift." Get the abbreviated version from NewCity, or go crazy with IPA notation and footnotes at McCarthy's website.

File Under: Never Going to Happen

"Quiet cars" on the CTA. And I mean never.

Whither Tribune Co.?

The ongoing drama about the future of the Tribune Company took another turn today, as its second-largest shareholder, the Chandler family, called for its breakup and, potentially, its sale. Tribune Co. CEO Dennis FitzSimmons recently announced plans for cost cutting, stock buy-backs and sales of a few non-core holdings, but opponents say that's not enough. One contentious spot is the Cubs franchise: Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander isn't the only one clamoring for its divestiture. For its part, the Tribune's flagship paper is running Bloomberg News coverage of this latest development, coverage that notably concludes with the line "Not all investors back a split of the company." (Meantime, a scathing critique of the editorship of Ann Marie Lipinski in today's Beachwood Reporter.)

Gay News, Good and Bad

Even as Illinoisans state their opposition to constitutionally banning same-sex couples from marriage, vandals set fire to the LGBT section of a Boystown-area branch of the Chicago Public Library. Um, Happy Pride month?

CIFF fetes Spielberg

Steven Spielberg will be the honoree at this year's Chicago International Film Festival summer gala, hosted by Bill Kurtis and featuring film highlights and "tributes by colleagues and friends." Ooh! Harrison? Hanks? Henry Thomas? Maybe you can ask Stevey why Jurassic Park IV is happening, or when we'll finally get Animaniacs on DVD. Tickets start at $315 for Cinema/Chicago members or if you're feeling generous, buy a table for ten of your friends for only $3500. If you haven't just won the Mega Millions, this Friday's evening with David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) at the Future Filmmakers Festival might be more your speed.

Hotties Behind the Bar

AOL Cityguide is running a beauty contest in a bunch of cities right now: Hottest Bartenders. Cast your votes for the local man and woman of libations. In the meantime, Playboy is looking for the country's hottest bartending ladies for a decidedly less safe-for-work pictorial.

Hemon Blogs the World Cup

Franklin Foer, author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, is blogging the World Cup for the New Republic online. And, he's getting a little help from his friends, including critically acclaimed Chicago author--and football fan--Aleksandar Hemon.

City Sounds

The Chicago Sound Museum is a new online collection of city field recordings, audio collages and interviews with Chicagoans from all walks of life. CSM co-founder Eric Markowitz talked about the project on 848 yesterday (mp3).

Bye, Hi-Lite

After a last-minute effort to save Aurora's Hi-Lite Drive In, the city council voted yesterday to close the theater and move forward on a proposal to build a subdivision on the land. The main reason for closing down the Hi-Lite, which was Illinois' oldest operating drive-in, was that nobody appeared willing to pony up the $830,000 needed to renovate the place.

Podcast as Docent

An interesting addition to the MCA's new Wolfgang Tillmans photography exhibit is a series of podcasts you can download (and bring with you) to use while viewing the exhibit. Rather than renting one of those extra long phone dohickies, you can get the skinny on each piece from the artist himself in an interview conducted in the exhibit space. Scroll down here for all the information.

Splash Your Wine

Tomorrow night at Webster's Wine Bar, friend of GB Christine Blumer is throwing her WineDiva Summer Splash, a "celebration of women in wine" benefitting Appetite Theatre. Tickets are still available, and are cheaper in advance; details in Slowdown.

Meet your new insect enemy

It's been a couple of years since we've had to worry about Asian longhorned beetles, but unfortunately Illinois just got another new insect resident: the emerald ash borer, blamed for killing millions of ash trees in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and just recently found in a rural subdivision about 40 miles west of Chicago. The Sun-Times reports that the state will be working over the next few weeks to determine the size of the infestation and to establish a quarantine around affected areas. In the meantime, homeowners can visit emeraldashborer.info, which has loads of pictures of the insect and infestation indicators to look for in your ash trees.

Face of Death

Legendary bank robber John Dillinger: Public Enemy Number One, patron of the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park, and now, in death, must-have mantelpiece tchotchke.

Ware Tickles the Keys

Fans of Chris Ware know he's a big fan of ragtime music, but did you know he can also play it?

This is my DVD and it freaks me out

Today is a momentous date for cult film fans: the official DVD release date for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Roger Ebert, co-author of the screenplay with film director Russ Meyer, offers some thoughts on the production.

From the Lakefront to the Stars

Charles and Ray Eames' Powers of Ten has been posted on YouTube. The iconic film shows what you'd see if you started at a one-meter view and then zoomed out one power at a time, then zoomed in the same way. The starting point is a man at a picnic near Soldier Field -- as near as I can tell, this is the exact spot on GoogleMaps. [via]

Retire Wrigley's Scoreboard?

Despite the cute-the-first-time-you-heard-it radio ad touting its charm and benefits, Eric Benderoff thinks it's time for Wrigley Field's human-run scoreboard to go. Helpfully, the owners have asked for your opinion.

Portage Theatre: Alive and Kicking

While watching a beautiful documentary about the historic Uptown Theatre, I was lucky enough to enjoy another one of Chicago's movie houses that has been restored. The Portage Theatre in Portage Park (near Irving and Milwaukee) is a huge movie house originally built in 1920 which seats 1,350 people. Recently re-reopened with a gala opening ceremony, it's been adopted for the two Silent Film Festivals, and it will also be showing some great classic and foreign films in the coming weeks. Call (773) 736-4050 for schedules (website coming).

Tinhorse at Joe's Bar This Thursday

Feel like rockin' out to some country? Friends of GB Kevin and Joe are both members of Tinhorse, and are gigging this Thursday at Joe's Bar on Weed St. (And if you want to listen before you decide to head down there, you can download some of their tunes from their website.) Yee-hah!

Book Club Meeting Tonight

The 14th meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club takes place tonight at The Book Cellar bookshop in Lincoln Square, where we will be talking about Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. See Slowdown for details!

Joffrey Turns 50, Invites Chicago to Dance

Commemorating its 50th anniversary, tomorrow the Joffrey Ballet kicks off a busy week of performances, dance instruction, workout sessions and other events, "Come Dance with Us." High points include free ballet and modern dance programs at the Harris Theater and Pritzker Pavillion, a late-night SummerDance session on the Chase Promenade, and numerous performances throughout Millennium Park by students associated with the Joffrey. Individual events are listed in Slowdown; click here for a complete schedule.

It's Curtains for Chicago Plays

Chicago Plays, the theatre handbill published by the League of Chicago Theatres, will cease publication this August, leaving 190 theaters without a guide.

Anti-DRM Protest at Apple

A large group of people opposed to DRM (Digital Rights Management by the true believers, Digital Restrictions Management by the skeptical) got together to protest for digital freedom at the Apple Store on Saturday. Wearing Hazmat suits, they handed out flyers for Defective By Design, a grassroots digital freedom campaign. And of course, they took photos of the action...

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Madonna?

It's later this week that Madonna and her mirrored disco-cross will touch down at the United Center. Jim DeRogatis provides a rather skeptical preview of the production -- surely the only word for it -- in today's Sun-Times. The bottom line: it's not a show for rockists. Then again, who that's going to see Ms. Ciccone is expecting otherwise?

Motinea on Megnut

Meg Hourihan liked Moto, but loved Alinea. (So did hubby Jason Kottke, who said of chef Grant Achatz, "'He's out-Kellered Keller!'")

Saul Bellow Returns to UofC

Recent Gapers Block Book Club author, Saul Bellow, died last year, and many wondered if his notebooks and manuscripts would be scattered to the winds. Fortunately for everyone, they'll have a safe home, all in one place -- the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. It's good to see him back.

Really Quick Review: Dorado Restaurant

Incredible. This is not Arturo's, it's a delightful mix of Mexican and French cuisine located in a very neighborhood location. We are still remembering the great great meal we had three weeks ago--the corn chowder soup and nachos were absolutely amazing. Great place for a good meal with friends. BYOB, veg-friendly, and great service, if perhaps a little loud when crowded. Dorado Restaurant. 2301 W. Foster. (773) 561-3780.

Happy Hour Booze Crooz

If you work downtown and like wine, then sign up for a riverboat wine tasting/architecture tour with Wendella Boats. All the wine will be provided by local shop Kafka Wine. Tasting, tour and hors d' oeuvres for two hours are included in the $50 price tag. Check out Wendella's site for details.

Dry Runs on the Metra

I only recently learned that it's allowed (and depending on your traveling companions, encouraged) to drink alcohol on Metra trains. But it's worth noting, as my conductor did this morning, that Metra restricts carrying alcohol and/or glass bottles at night and on weekends during the big downtown festivals, including this weekend's Blues Fest. Here's the calendar of blackout dates (pun intended).

Hotel helps guests kick the CrackBerry habit

Guests staying at the Sheraton Chicago who find themselves leaning a little too heavily on their BlackBerries or other similar wireless devices now have a solution to their addiction: the hotel now offers to lock up guests' devices, so they can concentrate on trying to get some work done. Brilliant!

PBR CHI ASAP

Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (which won five medals at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, wouldn't you know it) is pulling up stakes in San Antonio and moving to suburban Woodridge. Apparently, Illinois is Pabst's largest market (I'd be willing to bet that the intersection of Damen and Division is the eye of that particular storm).

One City, One Fashion Capital

Mayor Daley has announced the establishment of a Fashion Advisory Council, with the goal of persuading local designers not to leave Chicago for the east or west coast.

Load Up on Books One Last Time

Reader Greg writes, "After 48 years, Skokie's annual Brandeis Book Sale is pulling up its tent stakes. The organizers say there are few new volunteers to replace the current graying crop. The final sale kicks off Saturday in the Old Orchard parking lot (northwest corner). Opening night is $5, where you can jostle with buyers who've had chairs holding their places in line for a week. Admission is free the rest of the week, including the final Bargain Weekend, when everything's 50 cents."

Green Furniture at DWR

Go to everyone's favorite furniture lust spot, Design Within Reach at 10 East Ohio, to check out the latest in green design. A dude from Herman Miller's Design for Environment Program will present and SAIC students will show their latest green design projects. Oh, yeah, and there's snacks and beverages! RSVP at tree[at]dwr.com by June 9. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. on June 12.

First, Foie Gras, Then French Fries?

Fran Spielman reports on Alderman Edward M. Burke's musing aloud yesterday on how Chicago might ultimately regulate the sort of oil in which restaurants can fry their food. First, though, he wants to tackle sales of carbon monoxide-treated meat. Meantime, a sidebar accompanying the article reads like something out of The Onion. Pick your favorite Ridiculous Nanny State Proposal To Come Out of the City Council! Requiring diapers on horses pulling carriages may be mine.

AIC's Blue Period

Starting tonight, the Art Institute offers live music as well as free admission on Thursday and Friday evenings. If you're heading to the Blues Festival, you might want to stop at AIC first to get in the mood. The museum is hosting multiple blues bands and offering blue-themed gallery tours. Slowdown has details.

Misty Chocolate-Covered Memories

Once upon a time, Milk Duds were produced in Chicago (they're now made downstate in Robinson). Daniel Pinkwater reminisces about the allure of working next door.

To listen to on your next coffee break

Local indie-pop outfit Office, last month's Practice Space residents at Schubas, have this week's free single on iTunes with "Wound Up". They play the Bottle next Friday; see Slowdown.

Keeping the McPark Tradition Alive

Just in time for Bike To Work Week next week, the Millenium Park Bike Station has been renamed the McDonald's Cycle Center. That doesn't mean the facility is any less handy than previously, but seriously, McDonald's?

Teen Charged for Making Threats on MySpace

A student at Bednarcik Junior High School in southwest suburban Oswego has been charged with felony harassment for threatening a school official on MySpace.

Fish Hotel Returns

On your way to the new Bridgehouse Museum, take a look into the river. You'll notice that the Friends of the Chicago River's Fish Hotel is back. Can't wait till they install cameras so we can see what the fish are doing down there...

Chicago's smallest museum?

Almost exactly two months after opening the Freedom Museum, the Tribune is opening another museum: the McCormick Tribune Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, which will be housed in a bridge-tender tower on the southwest corner of the Michigan Avenue bridge. According to the Associated Press, the building has only 1600 square feet of floor space, and will only be able to accommodate 34 visitors at a time. The museum officially opens on Saturday, and admission will be a suggested donation of $3.

North Park Village City Wilds Festival

While no one has ever said to me "Nice dandelions. We should make a salad," it's comforting to know that some of the growing things in Chicago forests are edible. North Park Nature Center (near Pulaski and Peterson) is hosting its City Wilds Festival this weekend, with a native plant sale and a crash course on native plants that are edible. Also includes live animals, composting, children's music and probably a grand old time.

25 for $25

Mon Ami Gabi, the Lettuce Entertain You "French steakhouse" is holding a weather-permitting event in their outdoor cafe at the Chicago location called "25 for $25 — A Tour de France Through Wine at Mon Ami Gabi". What do diners and drinkers get? 25 wines to taste and a sampling of the restaurant's bistro fare (hors d' oeuvres). Sounds like a good deal. The event happens July 11 from 6-8pm and reservations can be made by calling 773-348-8886.

Call the Jazz Police

Sometimes when you're on your honeymoon vacation, you find out something about your own town that is worth sharing. Like how there's a very bare-bones (but cool) site that lists the specifics about jazz events in a few cities (New Orleans, Chicago, Bay Area, New York, LA, Twin Cities, and more.) And the best part? They're the Jazz Police you cool cat, you! Rat-a-tat-tat-cha!

Reading in the Field

Planning your vacation yet? You might want to keep an eye on Coudal Partners' Field Tested Books feature. Slowly doled out over the next few days will be dozens of book reviews by writers, designers, bloggers and more from Chicago and beyond. You might even want to purchase the PDF book (or the commemorative poster) to help guide your summer reading list.

Thax v. Photobloggers (Cont'd.)

Last month, we noted Thax Douglas's opposition to flash photography at shows. His campaign continues.

Taking the West Side for a Ride

CTA Chair Carole Brown talks up soon-to-come enhancements to West Side transit options and shares a photo of the winners of the contest that will, in a matter of weeks, give us the Pink Line. More information, including a Polish language run-down of coming attractions, available at the CTA site.

Failing upward

If you haven't seen the House Theatre's acclaimed show The Boy Detective Fails yet, here are a couple of enticements to persuade you to check it out: the Wes-Anderson-style film prologue that's shown before the start of the play; and news of an upcoming talkback with Chicago author Joe Meno, whose forthcoming novel is the basis of the play (details of the talkback event are in Slowdown).

Making Media Connections

The Community Media Workshop here in Chicago is holding a conference tomorrow and Thursday called "Making Media Connections". As they put it: "Join community leaders, nonprofit communicators and board members, mainstream and independent journalists, publishers, media experts and the general public to discuss getting our communities' important stories told." GB staffer and ChicagoBloggers curator, Brian Sobolak and myself will be joining Steve Rhodes of The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday from 1:45-245pm on Thursday, the only day left for registration at the door. We'll be discussing "Emerging Online News Outlets" but there are plenty of other events and discussions going on to pique your interest.

These Girls are Real Hot (100)

A while back you might remember an online search for women who are smart, work for change, and speak their minds called the Real Hot 100. It's an effort to battle the stereotypes that magazines like Maxim put out into the media. Well, I'm happy to share that GB's own Cinnamon Cooper has been chosen as one of the 100! Joining her are other Chicago ladies including Anne Elizabeth Moore, Searah Deysach and Jenni Grover Prokopy. Check out the full list of the Real Hot 100, with full profiles coming June 15.

Really Quick Review

Let's say you're riding east on Granville toward the lake, and you're ready for a break. Park your bike outside Cafe du Monde, at the corner of N. Broadway. No beignets (yet), but the coffee and tea are excellent and the sweets behind the glass case are tempting. Bonus 1: classical music is piped outdoors, which helps turn the charming patio into a refuge, in spite of proximity to traffic. Bonus 2: if you happen to be traveling with your laptop, Cafe du Monde offers free wireless.

Just Say No to Damian

Anecdotally, at least, local maternity wards and birthing centers will be awfully quiet today.

Online Public Records 2.0

In an interview with the Online Journalism Review, programmer-journalist Adrian Holovaty mentions that he's "been collecting various public-record data in Chicago in preparation for the launch of [his] 'sequel' to chicagocrime.org." Sounds interesting, eh? Watch this space for more as we learn it.

Chicago Memorized

Chicago Public Radio has partnered with organizations like the Illinois Humanities Council, Nextbook, and the Field Museum to store recordings of lectures, readings, and panel discussions online at Chicago Amplified. For example, if you missed Studs Terkel and Stuart Dybek at the Harold Washington Library last March, you can download the audio here.

Download This

According to the New York Times, Chicago Public Radio's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me podcast is "among the Top 20 most popular downloads ranked by iTunes."

Tourism and a T-Rex

We told you back in February about the chance to get some free copies of those retro Illinois tourism posters, and I hope you listened, cause now you'll have to pay. The folks at EnjoyIllinois.com have opened up a Cafepress store where you can buy images of Jane the T-Rex, the Collinsville catsup bottle, and Metropolis' Superman on mugs, shirts, totes, and (yup) posters. No word on why the car kabob isn't among the ranks, but we've got our fingers crossed. [Thanks, Katherine]

Bands All Booked

You might have spent many a lunch hour in the past week mashing up bands and book titles (or bands and movie titles). Coudal Partners has posted its favorites, and the three lucky winners.

A Fine Time for Wine

Epicurious has a lovely guide to wines to enjoy in June, written by Chicago master sommelier (and our favorite tv show host) Alpana Singh.

A Hard Cell

Speaking of airports, designated "cell phone lots" opened at both Midway and O'Hare today. The idea is to ease congestion at the arrival gates by allowing drivers a free place to wait for a call once passengers have retrieved their luggage (whether this will work is anybody's guess).

Honey, United Switched the Kid

Friday at O'Hare, United neglected to wake up an unaccompanied minor who was napping while he waited for his connection to South Bend; his seat was taken by a 10-year-old bound for Taiwan.

Chris Ware Again

A writer for The Chicago Maroon, the student newspaper of the University of Chicago, talks about how "the exhibition of the works of Chris Ware, running at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) until August 27, reflects the current confusion in the debate over comics' place in the art world — as well as why such a debate is worth having."

Goat Island's Final Performance

The performance group Goat Island announced today that the show that they are currently creating will be their last. Members of the internationally renowned theater company, which has been creating work locally for 20 years, made the announcement at a work in progress showing of their yet to be named performance, which takes as its inspiration the Hagia Sophia, and other buildings which have served both secular and religious purposes over the course of their histories.

Next GB Book Club Meeting Approaches

The June meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club is one week away. This month we are meeting to discuss Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. If you missed Veronica's review of the memoir, you can read it here. Then join us next Monday, June 12, for wine, food and discussion at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square at 4736-8 N. Lincoln Ave. The meeting will begin at 7:30pm, and new members are always welcome. And, it's not too late to post your own encyclopedia entry on the book club forum.

Mr. & Mrs. Huffencooper

It seems our own Andrew Huff and Cinnamon Cooper got themselves hitched down in New Orleans yesterday. How awesome is that?!

You Built It; They're Coming

The Times on Millennium Park and the East Loop renaissance.

We're Happy for "Unhappy Hour"

GB friend Wendy McClure has a story coming out this Sunday in the New York Times Magazine. But since you're on the web right now and all, you can read it today right here.

Sweet on The Swede

Yesterday's baldie; today's hottie. [via]

Hello, I Have Your Hard Drive

Scary tale of an Ohio couple's hard drive, supposedly "destroyed" by Best Buy, ending up in a Chicago flea market totally intact.

Embracing Gore's 'Truth'

The most important, scary, and inspirational documentary you are likely to see this year is An Inconvenient Truth. Essentially an expanded version of a presentation that former-Vice President Al Gore has been giving since the late 1980s on the visible perils of global warming, the film also incorporates archival footage of the-man-who-should-be-President's political life gathering support and enlightening citizens around the world on what should be a non-partisan issue. It's not a lecture, but that doesn't stop it from being a must-see eye-opener. The film opens today at the Landmark Century Center Cinema, the AMC River East theatre and at the Evanston Century theatre. (Thanks, Steve)

Cask Strength

Because Friday is drinky Friday to some, why not get in on some really good scotch? Andrew has posted a very interesting idea and plan that may intrigue some of you. Have a look, oh scotch connoisseur.

Friends of GB at Printer's Row

In case you needed any more reasons to go, a few friends of the Gapers Block Book Club are also participating in this year's Printer's Row Book Fair. First, stop by and say 'hello' to the folks at The Book Cellar at Booth FF3 on Polk Street. Then visit everyone from the Poetry Center of Chicago at area 138 on the sidewalk along Dearborn Avenue. Finally, don't miss local publisher Lake Claremont Press at Booth CC1 because they have a full line-up of authors appearing at their tent during the book fair. For the complete schedule of writers stopping by the LCP booth, click "More" to keep reading.

Lake Claremont Press Author Signing/Q&A Schedule

Saturday, June 3

10-Noon: Ted Okuda, co-author of The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television
10-Noon: Joseph Schwieterman, co-author of The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago
Noon-2pm: Arnie Bernstein, author of Hollywood on Lake Michigan and The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections
Noon-2pm: Libby Hill, author of The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History 2-4pm: Kathie Bergquist, co-author of the forthcoming Lake Claremont Press book A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago
2-4pm: Robert McDonald, co-author of the forthcoming Lake Claremont Press book A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago 4-6pm: Charles Billington, author of Wrigley Field's Last World Series: The Wartime Chicago Cubs and the Pennant of 1945 4-6pm: Christopher Lynch, author of Chicago's Midway Airport

Sunday, June 4

10-Noon: Dana Caspall, co-author of The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago
10-Noon: Carolyn Eastwood, author of Near West Side Stories: Struggles for Community in Chicago's Maxwell Street Neighborhood
Noon-2pm: Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts and Graveyards of Chicago
Noon-2pm: Dennis Foley, author of The Streets & San Man's Guide to Chicago Eats
2-4pm: Jack Mulqueen, co-author of The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television

Also, Rick Kogan, author of the forthcoming Lake Claremont Press title A Chicago Tavern: a Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream will be stopping by the LCP booth to chat with visitors.

Book Club Authors at Printer's Row

Yes, in case you haven't heard it enough yet, the Printer's Row Book Fair takes place this weekend. And, if you've been participating in the Gapers Block Book Club this past year, you're in luck because many of the authors the book club has featured this past year will be appearing at the fair. So, if you've never met them or heard them speak before, this is your weekend. Keep reading after the break for the schedule of book club authors appearing at Printer's Row. Or, visit the official Printer's Row website for complete fair information.

Saturday

Studs Terkel
Noon at the Harold Washington Library/Auditorium

Wendy McClure
4pm at the Heartland Stage

Sunday

Carolyn Eastwood
10am at the Lake Claremont Press booth

Stuart Dybek
2pm at the Harold Washington Library/Multi-Purpose Room

Aleksandar Hemon
2pm at the Harold Washington Library/Multi-Purpose Room

Joe Meno
3:30pm at the University Center/River Room

Lots of Shadows Cast

Author Kevin Guilfoile is everywhere at the moment. He'll be reading with Rick Kogan and James McManus at the Printers Row Book Fair this Saturday at 2:30 in Grace Place, doing a book signing for the paperback edition of Cast of Shadows next Thursday, June 8, at the Webster Place Barnes & Noble, and he got mentioned in New City's Lit 50 list this week. And he contributed a playlist on the musicblog Large Hearted Boy.

Who *doesn't* love beach volleyball?

I know where I'll be every Sunday this summer--making a fool out of myself at beach volleyball! But if you are more serious and want to join a league, you can do it here. There are even co-ed teams if you want to, y'know, meet people.

Memo to B&N: Start Recycling

A writer for the student newspaper at DePaul University, The DePaulia, takes Barnes and Noble to task for the store's policy of discarding books that cannot be resold rather than recycling them. Barnes and Noble manages the DePaul University Bookstore.

Daley vs. "The Swede"

In the midst of his repeated assertions yesterday that allegations of unequal traffic treatment were "silly" (seriously, did you hear Lisa Labuz playing the press conference clips this morning?!), the mayor revealed himself -- to use John Kass's word -- as a "baldophobe."

Chicago Gets Slammed

If you're into slam poetry and want to see a champ at work, you must hit up the Holiday Club tonight at 8pm. More details are in Slowdown, but "Best Individual" national slam champ Anis Mojgani will be there. Highly recommended!

Syrian Cinema 101

If you read Lawrence Wright's recent New Yorker article about Syrian filmmakers, you know that Syria is a country with six movie theaters, and state censorship sometimes permits movies to be made but not shown. Starting tomorrow, you can check out a few of those movies, as the Gene Siskel Film Center kicks off a program of Syrian cinema, part of a traveling exhibition organized by ArteEast.

Manhattan 60600

What if Manhattan was an island off the coast of Chicago?

"They Put Up the Faceless New"

Interesting meditation on the politics of architecture in the American Daily, a conservative weblog. (Apparently the Democrats are to blame for artless design.)

R. Kelly: Not 'Wilson'

Looks like the Pied Piper spoke too soon when he boasted that guests at his parties "don't have to worry about complainin'-ass neighbors, 'cuz your boy is sitting on some acres." The mayor of Olympia Fields is taking issue with Kelly's superfluous zoning requests and late-night parties with guests wearing "various levels of clothing."

Ebert battles cancer, writes books

Robert Feder reports that Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert is to undergo surgery again to have a cancerous growth removed from his salivary gland. Ebert says that the cancer is not life-threatening, and expects to make a full recovery. Good luck, Roger! Elsewhere in Ebert news, he's listed at #16 on Newcity's annual Lit 50 list of the most influential people in Chicago's literary world.

 

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