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. 


Saturday, July 13

Gapers Block

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Recycled Bikes

"People Powered adopts consumer culture's aesthetic forms to distribute information about sustainable living practices such as community composting, recycling, and free public transportation." Cutting through the crap, check out the new Blue Bike program at the MCA.

Rise of the 100cc Machines

Ride a scooter? Or love someone who does? You best be headed to Slaughterhouse this weekend, then. The 12th annual running of the Vespas (and other scooters) is this Saturday, while a pre-party gets the ball rolling tonight at Liar's Club; details in Slowdown.

Kumbaya, My Zorn, Kumbaya

Wow, Eric Zorn sure is passionate about "Kumbaya," my lord.

Girl Talks some more

Want some more Girl Talk? Today's interviewee at Transmission was also interviewed yesterday at Pitchfork's Website.

A Little Architecture Break

Dayna Bateman, who took the photo you see in Rearview today, took a class with Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin this summer. Her photos from the field are lovely.

Transmission Feature: Talking Girl Talk

Hey, it's Thursday, which means a brand new feature over at our music blog, Transmission. Check it out!

Logan Square Baristas, Unite!

Workers at the Logan Square Starbucks have announced they're unionizing, demanding a living wage, guaranteed hours and reinstatement of baristas fired for organizing activity. The store is the first outside New York to join the IWW Starbucks Workers Union. (Thanks, Patrick!)

Macy's on State Avenue

It's not quite that egregious, but reader Mike noticed today that the new Macy's information maps installed inside the erstwhile Marshall Field's show Wabash Street, Washington Avenue and Randolph Avenue. That'll make a Chicagoan used to Wabash Avenue and Washington and Randolph Streets twitch. Not exactly getting off on the right foot, Macy's.

Evacuation Drill Details Announced

Daley's given us a date for the previously announced evacuation drill in the Loop: September 7. The Sun-Times has details, including Daley's reasoning for, um, not sharing many details.

Critic responds to her critics

Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss, lambasted by the Dramatists Guild for reviewing (poorly) the Stages 2006 musical theater workshop at Theatre Building Chicago, gave her side of the story in a letter posted late yesterday on Romenesko. Weiss says she was expressly invited as a reviewer and given extensive press materials including photos for publication; she also says that both the Sun-Times and Tribune have reviewed Stages in the past, and suggests that trouble arose only because her review this year was negative and the Tribune's critic was on vacation. Meanwhile another Romenesko reader thinks that if the workshops were worth the "prime-ticket ticket pricing" of $85, they were worth being reviewed.

Play Date on Friday

Just a reminder (and a heads up for our RSS readers): The next GB Get-Together is this Friday at Black Rock, and we're breaking out the boardgames at the suggestion of someone in last week's Fuel thread. Details in Slowdown.

Chicago's living history

Flickr geotaggers and those viewing one recent post may have noticed that Chicago's historic neighborhoods like Little Hell and Shantytown are alive on the Internet. Other interesting locations include the Berkeley Cottages and Packingtown.

Foie Gras Back in the News Already

The foie gras ban has sort of claimed its first victim: Block 44 in Lincoln Square. Chef Rick Spiros served some duck liver as a special over the weekend -- to finish off his stock rather than throw it out, he says -- and someone bothered to call 311. Spiros has gotten a warning from the City not to "finish off" any more.

Bikes+Metra ≠ Bikes+South Shore Line

A Lincoln Park high school teacher has a lesson for you: Metra's bicycle regulations are more permissive than the South Shore Line's. He has a $150 taxi ride from South Bend to Lincoln Park to prove it.

What you should read next

The new One Book, One Chicago pick: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. You can find copies of the book at all Chicago Public Library branches.

Newberry Fall Registration Open

If one of your new year's resolutions was to read Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow, you're in luck: the Newberry Library is offering courses in each of these notoriously difficult masterpieces. Also offered are courses in Louis Sullivan, Friedrich Nietzsche, history, genealogy, and writing (including a one-day novel workshop). Click here to see if there's a course for you. Seminars begin next month.

Chicago: Gay Student Central

Five Chicago-area colleges and universities were recognized this month as being among the 100 best in the nation for GLBT students. Columbia College, DePaul, Northwestern, UIC, and Northern Illinois are all profiled in The Advocate College Guide For LGBT Students, which scores the 100 gay-friendliest campuses based on school policies and student surveys. U of I Urbana-Champaign campus and western Illinois's Knox College also make the cut.

On a Personal Note

Former head of the Chicago Reader's personals department, Michael Beaumier, has published a memoir -- I Know You're out There: Private Longings, Public Humiliations, and Other Tales from the Personals. Yes, in the days of yore -- not so long ago, before the paradox called online dating came about, souls relied on the personal ads to find their match. No e-mail, photos or IM -- just 25 words or less. Sounds poetic, doesn't it?

Hockey in Five?

Anybody out there a hockey fan? Gapers Block is looking for a columnist to write Blackhawks (and possibly Wolves) in Five for our popular Sports in Five column. Email your application with a couple sample items to

Hedy Weiss in Hot Water

On August 16 Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss published a piece reviewing the eight new musicals at Theatre Building Chicago's Stages 2006 festival. Trouble is, the musicals at Stages are presented in workshop, in the early stages (get it?) of development, and they're not meant to be reviewed as final products (TBC says Weiss was explicitly reminded of this). What's more, Weiss stated up front that she didn't see any of the new works in full. The review's ignited a firestorm of criticism in the national theater community, culminating in an open letter to the Sun-Times from the president of the Dramatists Guild demanding an apology, with supporting comments from a score of major playwrights.

Yet Another Reason the Sox Are Better:

Do the Cubs have their own cartoon, with the team as pirates?

Goings-On At Pledge Central

It's Pledge Drive time again at Chicago Public Radio, and while no one likes having their Morning Edition interrupted, you've got to admire the good humor and energy of the staff. Ever wonder what that call center (and the donated, oft-referenced breakfast pastry) looks like? Check out the Pledge Blog.

Loop Evacuation Drill Planned

Work in the Loop? You might want to keep an eye on this.

Tag, You're It

As Flickr and Upcoming announce new features today, geotagging looks like it's about to blow up. As of this posting, there were 150 photos displayed on a broadly defined Chicago map; expect that number to be significantly higher in a day or two, especially as previously tagged photos are imported. (And, for kicks, I tried the Upcoming event-tagging, using Lollapalooza as a test case. Sure enough, it worked! So neato.)

Pitchfork in Wired

Just posted on Wired's site, a profile of Pitchfork from the magazine's current issue.

10 Sci-Fi Diamonds in the Rough

The Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum picks 10 neglected science fiction movies for

Writing Out Loud

Starting today, our Slowdown partner Eight Forty-Eight will begin airing "Writers' Block Party," a monthly "multimedia variety show." Hosted by author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the radio- and web-based program will feature words, music, audio, video, art from various contributors. If the show were an animal, we understand it'd be a baby penguin, and who doesn't love a baby penguin? (Speaking of Chicago Public Radio, Wendy Turner is blogging the pledge drive. The station's fiscal year ends this week; help 'em out, yeah?)

Learn Japanese

Kanjii alive is "a searchable, web-based tool to help beginning and intermediate level Japanese language learners read and write kanji." It is a free program that was developed by folks at the University of Chicago, and it is definitely worth checking out, even if you have no specific interest in learning the language. QuickTime 6.0 or higher is required to use Kanjii alive.

Trib Reporter Arrested, Charged with Espionage

Days after a New York Times researcher was convicted in China for carrying out his work, a Tribune reporter, twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, has been charged as a spy in Sudan. The paper's website carries extensive coverage of Paul Salopek's situation and reprints his award-winning coverage of both the Human Genome Diversity Project and political turmoil in Congo. Salopek was in Africa working on a project for National Geographic, which has issued its own statement.

Fly Like an Eagle into Where?

It may not be Meigs Field, but Howell-New Lenox Airport is the most recent casualty in the battle between development and area airports.

Corn Sheets and Soy Gels

You've seen the photos; you've read the press. Now, with the help of these recipes, you can Be Like Grant and try recreating Alinea at home.

See Red on the Red? Say So

Sandra Gray is a master's student in urban planning and public administration at UIC. Her thesis project discusses CTA customer service, particularly on the Red Line. If you're a regular rider and have something to say (who doesn't?), she sure could use your help. Take her survey here.

Hideout Block Party schedule announced

Yesterday the official line-up of The Hideout's 10th annual block party was announced. The event, which will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of Touch and Go Records, will feature over 30 bands performing over a long weekend in September. Among the bands: Quasi (featuring ex-Sleater-Kinney member Janet Weiss on drums); local favorites the Didjits in their original lineup; and as reported previously a reunited Big Black, who will be playing only "a couple of songs." The full line-up is at Transmission.

Meet the new Steve Bartman

At last night's White Sox/Twins game, an unidentified man in a White Sox jersey deflected a White Sox ball at the end of the game, resulting in a fan interference call and giving the game (and the AL wild-card lead) to the Twins. So if you see someone you don't know in a White Sox shirt, that's probably the guy!

Lucha Libre, Gratis!

Tomorrow night at 6pm, the Congress Theater is hosting a Lucha Libre wrestling match featuring La Parka and Super Astro versus Blue Panther and Tarzan Boy. For free! How can you pass it up? Check out the Congress website to sign up for free tickets.

State Street Not So Great

First Field's, now this: Carson Pirie Scott will be closing its historic State Street store after the holiday season due to poor sales and operating losses.


Check out what's going on at Gapers Block: Transmission for a chance at free stuff!

Volunteer for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation

The CBF is looking for volunteers to help out with the 18th annual Boulevard Lakefront Tour on Sunday, September 10, 2006. You can help guide riders along the route, ride as a safety ambassador or feed hungry riders at our rest stops. Sign up today.

Panic! at the Darkroom

Who's in the mood for a little brit pop? Then put on your moddest dancing shoes and head to Darkroom at 2210 W. Chicago for Panic! Fom 9pm to 2am, you can sway to the best of the brits and maybe win tix to the upcoming Pet Shop Boys show at the Chicago Theatre. Send your song requests to panic [ at ] gmail-dot-com.

The Mouth that Goes Pow

It's been a few weeks since Michelle L'amour showed up on television as a talent show semi-finalist. She didn't win, but, she figures, that's because the judges didn't get what she's about. After all, L'amour tells Newcity, at least one of the three (ahem, Brandy, ahem) is "'horrible and stupid.'"

Discounted Back To School Shopping

If you want some furniture but would prefer it free from umlauts (ie, IKEA), then you might want to try the Marshall Field's Furniture Outlet at Diversey and Pulaski. They're only open on the weekend, but you have a couple of huge floors to look through their nice stuff that might have a knick or a scratch. And unlike most furniture shopping, you can get it on short notice, not the typical 6-8 weeks most new furniture requires.

The Not-So-Prodigal Son

I somehow missed it amongst the year-end pledge campaign, but today Morning Edition visited Kenya, which was preparing for the visit of Sen. Barack Obama. Obama's father -- he of the dreams -- was born in the African country, and, we learn, both relatives and strangers have high hopes for his son's "return."

Bubba the Super Grouper, RIP

Speaking of fish, Bubba, the "super grouper" at the Shedd Aquarium who in 2002 became the first fish ever to undergo chemotherapy for cancer, died earlier this week. He was 24, and was a she (groupers are hermaphroditic) when found in a bucket on the front steps of the aquarium in 1987.

A Fish By Any Other Name...

The Patagonian toothfish found its popularity rose dramatically after it was renamed Chilean sea bass, and now chefs lead the fight to save it. Experts in Illinois are now proposing that, instead of using electric barriers, if we would rename the Asian carp, say "silver cod", it would be what's for dinner tonight.

What the City Can Do for You

The first of three late-summer City Services Fairs is being held on the far South Side this Saturday. (In September there are two more.) You can get free health screenings, find out about assistance for seniors, or get help with your taxes. Details are in Slowdown.

A Newer, Larger Punk Planet

Taking another step away from scissors, glue, and late night photocopying sessions, our city's very own Punk Planet has redesigned and expanded its website. Of particular note is the addition of user blogs.

Greener Home Improvements

If you're concerned about the super nasty chemicals that are typically used for home renovations, you should stop by Chicago's Greenmaker on Pulaski near Fullerton. They offer products for people who are chemically sensitive as well as those wishing to use environmentally-friendly products, such as natural wool carpets, sustainably-harvested wood floors, eco-friendly household cleaners and much more. (We purchased a corn-based paint stripper and loved it.)

Make Chicagoans Laugh

We usually just let you know when the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is actively making people laugh, but check this out: the 2007 Festival is currently accepting applications for sketch group participation.

Guide to the Gangsters' Homes

The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest has an interesting tour for you mob aficianados: "Welcome to the Neighbor Hood," a trolley tour of gangster homes in the two suburbs. On Sept. 24 and Oct. 8, see the former homes of Sam Giancana, Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo and Paul "The Waiter" Ricca. Combine it with an "Untouchables" gangster tour and you've got yourself a day you can't refuse.

Pay-to-Play Along

Chicago-opoly: The City That Cheats, a new game from the Beachwood Reporter. Not to be confused with the Chicago Monopoly.

C. T. Art

CitizenShay's 'L' sign artwork -- details available at his website -- seems like it'd make a great gift for a transit enthusiast. Or for someone who just likes this fair city. (If the onscreen images aren't enough, see the work in person at Sacred Art, 2040 W. Roscoe Ave. Or at the Renegade Craft Fair next month. Options. So many options.)

Working Girls

Kudos to local gal Hipster Pit for speaking truth to power / sticking it to The Man / subverting the dominant paradigm: in response to a feature on marrying a woman with a career (gone, but not forgotten), Ms. Pit composed a satire of the slideshow that accompanied the article we'll remember fondly as "Justifications for Being a Single Misogynist" (Gawker gives you a CliffsNotes version of the original). [Update: The text is back online, now with an officially published rebuttal.]

Buzz Buzz Buzz

Do you remember the great cicada invasion of 1990? That was the last time 17-year cicadas came out of their underground burrows in Chicagoland, and the Lake County Forest Preserve is collecting stories about it in anticipation of next year's resurfacing. Eric Zorn reprints a column from '90 about the 1973 invasion in his blog.

Like a REALLY Bad Episode of Friends

The jokes about Mardin Azad Amin's story -- you know, the one with the guy who had a penis pump he didn't want his mom to know about so he told TSA personnel that it was a bomb, landing him in court (possibly jail) and broadcasting his embarrassing situation to not only his mother, but the entire world -- well, the jokes pretty much write themselves, don't they?

Game the Travel Market

Farecast finally has predictions for ticket prices departing from O'Hare and Midway to major destinations around the country. The beta service predicts whether ticket prices are likely to rise or fall, and makes recommendations on whether to buy now or hold off on that round-trip to San Francisco.

Modern Love as Modern Art

With so much Four Eyed Monsters material online in the form of video podcasts, MySpace pages and the like, it's hard to know what'll be left to show on the screen. Still, you and your art school friends can get ideas on how to conduct courtships solely through mixed media (no talking!) as Susan Buice & Arin Crumley's labor of love plays at the Gene Siskel Film Center every Thursday next month. [via]

The El station not on any CTA map

Today the Sun-Times checks up on the Chicago History Museum's exhibit of the first Chicago train car built for public transit (previously mentioned on GB in January, when the museum was moving the car from Skokie to its building). In addition to the car, built in 1892 for the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Co., the museum will also have on display a replica of a late 19th century El train platform. The exhibit will be part of the museum's "City on the Make" exhibition, which will be seen by the public when the museum, completing a $27 million renovation, reopens on September 30.

Queen of Disco Performs in Chicago

Gloria Gaynor performs in Chicago on Thursday as part of KC's Boogie Blast, a tribute to the 70's tour led by KC and the Sunshine Band, along with Tavares and Sister Sledge. Gaynor's smash hit song, "I Will Survive" (1979) continues to be embraced as an anthem of emancipation, especially in Europe, where the singer enjoys a revived career. Still an icon to women and the gay community around the world, Gaynor holds rank as the undisputed queen of disco.

KTB To Change Line-Up

In a very heartfelt letter to fans, locals The Katie Todd Band announced that their guitarist is moving to Portland. This means you have now until the rest of the summer to catch them in their current line-up, including a gig Wednesday at The Double Door with Hoosier rockers Margot and The Nuclear So-Sos. After that, Katie's going to hole up in her apartment and write new music, so we'll see what the spring will bring for KTB.

Bon Foie-age

Today's your last day to eat foie gras legally in the city of Chicago. (Although the law goes into effect today, enforcement begins tomorrow.) Term it protest or publicity-hungry pandering, some restaurants that don't usually serve foie have added it to their menus tonight. Mayor Daley, for his part, thinks the ban is "silly," but when asked if he'd be having a nosh of the stuff today, responded, "No, I'll have soup."

Psychedelia Never Died... just got reinvigorated in the hands of the Delicious Design League.

What HappensThere Shows Up Here

For those who've never heard of Craigslist, there's always the old-school option: flyering Wicker Park cars looking for a girl you once met -- well, okay, kinda met -- in Las Vegas.

Walter A. Jagiello, 1930-2006

Li'l Wally, the Polka King, has died; he was 76. Today's Sun-Times runs an obituary; for photos of Wally's later years, see Jolly James's Typepad gallery. Born Walter A. Jagiello, he tore up W. Division in the '40s and '50s; the area was then known as "Polish Broadway." Jagiello was one of the first inductees into the Polka Music Hall of Fame, which is located at 4608 S. Archer. These days, his work is perhaps best known thanks to the White Sox, whose fight song he co-wrote in 1959.

Get In Real Fast

Hey, 37signals is holding a workshop on Getting Real October 9; it's about half-way sold out, so get your boss to approve it quick!

Late Night Eats

As I post this, it's 12:47am. If I were hungry, I'd be glad to have GopherNow at the ready: It shows which places are still open and whether they're delivering. (Then again, I'll be even happier when it's not dominated by Domino's Pizza and Burger King.)

More Wolfman, less Lawnmower Man

I admit it: I'm a Svengoolie fan. But I haven't kept up with his show as his movies have strayed away from classic horror/sci-fi and gone more towards, say, Witchouse 2: Blood Coven. That's why I was pleased to see today's announcement, posted in the Video section of WCIU's revamped Website, that Sven will start showing some classic horror films this fall. Get ready to see the classic versions of Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman and The Bride of Frankenstein starting in October.


You've been writing that article about wine and trust and deception for a few weeks now, but it's missing that certain something. Could it be a quote from a local expert?

Chicago-style, photographed and documented

Ever wonder who eats the chili at the Golden Angel? Or has dared the Italian Beef at every place I know of that offers it? is a nifty site that takes photos of greasy food and rates the experience for all to see. And I love his comment on the lost art of the gyro: "With the Spit's demise, homemade gyros are virtually extinct in the town that invented them. Since taste differences are minor, most variables come down to presentation and garnish. Sexy, yes. Spiritually rewarding, no."

New Meaning to "Home Theater"

The Music Box Theatre, which recently got a shiny new website, is known, among other things, for its old-timey organ. As for the man behind that organ, Mark Noller, he's apt to be known for taking his work home with him: the Reader treks out to Noller's house in Manteno (south of Peotone, if that helps) and finds his double-wide doubling for, well, the Music Box.

South by Midwest

What does it take to revive the '60s soul music of The Birmingham Sound? A concert at the Hideout a few weeks back. Birmingham Weekly reports on how Ralph "Soul" Jackson, Roscoe Robinson and other Magic City musicians got their groove back.

Devon on Page One

Comparing the assimilation of Pakistani immigrants in the UK and the US, the Times put Devon on its front page today.

Rockin' Good Food, Man

Michael Nagrant parlayed his awesome Hungry Magazine food blog/podcast into a podcasting series for Chicago Magazine -- check out his first "Chefs on the Grill" interview with del Toro's Andrew Zimmerman, who used to be a musician.

Public Art Star

You know our current Rearview subject, the immediately iconic Cloud Gate. But, should you find yourself in New York in the next couple months, you may want to meet its conceptual cousin, Sky Mirror. Today's Times looks at sculptor Anish Kapoor's burgeoning public art career, one driven by work that viewers see as "a kind of populist gift." (The story is accompanied by a slideshow of some of Kapoor's gallery-bound work.)

The Craft Racket

If you're the owner of a small business, crafty or not, who has been looking to meet other small business owners to share advice, information, and commiseration, but you don't like stuffy and boring networking events, the mafia is on your side. The Chicago Craft Mafia that is. The Craft Racket premiers Wednesday August 30th at Uncommon Ground with the hopes of uniting all those crafty business owners in-the-know with all those folks who need-to-know. It's a free event and more info is in Slowdown.

The City in a Monitor

Chicago, modeled from dawn to dusk.

New Business In Town

Chicago's got a great new start-up, Bob Fuller's Roadside Memorials. (via hnk)

Off the CUFF

The Chicago Underground Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Music Box. Don't know how that escaped our calendar.

Things To Do

Looking for something to do tonight or tomorrow? Here's the plan. Tonight at 8pm, head to Gallery Cabaret for Schadenfreude's rent party -- this month featuring winners of this year's Rhyme Spitters contest and Schad's own Hogbutchers. Tomorrow at 7pm, visit the new boutique Koi 8 for its grand opening party and show opening for graffiti artist Revise CMW.

Get Off at Bemont...

The CTA needs to hire a proofreader. When they updated the in-train maps of the system to reflect the Pink Line, lots of mistakes crept in. Such as the wrong phone number for the CTA help line, and typos like Bemont.

Meet FRIDA: Feminist Response in Disability Activism

Women with disabilities face a barrage of challenges, but FRIDA (Feminist Response in Disability Activism) aims to break down barriers. Join organizers at a meeting this Monday, Aug. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Access Living, 614 W. Roosevelt Road. An ASL interpreter will be present. Call Access Living at 312-253-7000 to learn more about FRIDA and accessibility issues in Chicago.

Ebert redux

Wondering when Roger Ebert will be back on the job? Well, it might be a while: the latest gossip is that Ebert had to have at least part of his jaw removed, and that recovery could take months. Spokespeople remain confident that Ebert will return to work at some point. Update: an email from Roger confirming the surgery details.

Heat Wave Author Stays Hot

After he published Heat Wave in 2002, sociologist Eric Klinenberg became a lot of people's go-to guy on the subject (the GB Book Club read the book last year). So much so that he was called to give testimony to the California State Senate about prevention of heat-related disaster earlier this month. Although he'd like to speak to the Chicago City Council, given his critique of the local response to the heat wave of 1995, Klinenberg says, "I doubt Mayor Daley's going to have me over for tea any time soon." [via]

Chicago Vox Populi

Vox, a new blogging service from SixApart, just released a Chicago skyline skin, which you can see on my silly little test blog. Obviously done from memory, since the east-facing view of the Loop prominently features the CNE building (which can't be seen from the other side of the Loop) and only a few recognizable buildings (Sears Tower, Hancock, Prudential and Aon). At least they tried. (If you'd like a Vox invite, let me know -- we've got four to give away.)

Really Quick Restaurant Review: Marigold

Indian restaurant Marigold recently sprouted in Uptown, and like the flower from which it takes its name, it has loveliness somewhat marred by ostentatiousness. The restaurant calls itself "modern," which translates roughly as "not Devon." That's both good and bad. The attention to ambience and presentation is welcome, and the drinks menu is extensive. However, service, while apparently good-intentioned, is stiff; given the cuisine, vegetarian options are limited; and prices are steep, especially for the neighborhood. As for the food, it was lackluster, with only one dish of several my friend and I tried standing out. These may be growing pains, but if modernity means burnt naan, maybe tradition isn't such a bad thing.

"Conspicuous" Families More Common

Today's Times profiles several multiracial families knitted together with the help of local adoption agency The Cradle. The organization offers counseling to would-be adopters about the cultural issues that surround parenting children of ethnic backgrounds different than their own. The goal, says one counselor, herself a white woman with black children, is "'creat[ing] color aware families, not colorblind families.'"

We're Not Number 1 After All

All those stories recently about Chicago having the highest gas prices in the country were dead wrong -- Aspen has us beat hands down.

Station Open

Like any event these days, the reopening of two CTA stations couldn't go unFlickred, and indeed it hasn't: Phineas Jones covers Rockwell, and Tammy Green's got Kedzie.

Chicago: Green Fashion Capital of the U.S.?

The city's recent appointment of Melissa Turner as Chicago's fashion czarina brought a challenge from treehugger: become the green fashion capital of the U.S. Designers, will you embrace the challenge?

Two Kinds of Mexican Food

The Toronto Star's food critic, Jessica Bain, takes a look at two sides of Mexican food in Chicago: a visit to Rick Bayless' Topolobampo/Frontera Grill and a tour of neighborhood restaurants with LTHForum's David Hammond. She also gives us a recipe for birria -- goat stew.

Compost Bins Available, CHEAP!

Do you compost? You should, if you have any outdoor space at home. All day Saturday, the University of Illinois Extension is selling compost bins worth $80 for only $25 to Chicago city residents (bring proof of address with you) at the Garfield Park Conservatory visitor parking lot. Why compost? Besides creating stuff that makes for really good garden soil, it's a simple and environmentally sound way to divert yard waste and vegetarian kitchen scraps from garbage dumps and sewage. Slowdown has the details on this virtual giveaway. UPDATE: Bins will also be available at the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences at 3807 W. 111th St. and the North Park Village Nature Center at 5801 N. Pulaski. (Thanks, Amber!)

Fire in Chicago

This terrific movie, a love story between married women, caused a huge controversy in India when it was released there in 1998. You can see it tonight on the roof of Gallery 37. Slowdown has the details.

Talk About Real Estate

YoChicago launched a massive forums section yesterday, covering every nook and cranny of the city and many suburbs. Get in on the ground floor.

Find a Spot to Park maps all the private parking lots and garages downtown (from 1100 North to 2300 South). The Java is a bit clunky, but boy is it comprehensive.

West Side Chi-master Cycle

Ben Husmann saw this "thingy" on the platform of the Oak Park Green Line stop. No telling what it is, but he's right: it sure looks like a Matthew Barney sculpture.

In the Absence of a Wireless iPod

Take your FreeFi with you: sign up for a wiPod account, and download a database of no-cost hotspots.

We're Older, More Educated, and More Hispanic

Today, the Census Bureau released new data from its American Community Survey. The Sun-Times gives a quick summary.


Now you can check out your vanity license plate ideas through the Secretary of State's Cyberdrive Illinois site. Just head on over to the "Pick A Plate" section, type in a prospective plate, and see if it's taken.

Block 37 Changes Hands Again

Architecture critic Lynn Becker runs down the latest exchange of Block 37 development rights on his excellent blog.

Chicago returns to the Fringe

It's time for the New York International Fringe Festival, and as usual Chicago theater is well-represented in the 16-day festival. There are nine plays being performed in the Fringe festival by Chicago theater groups, from the well-established Neo-Futurists (whose founder, Greg Allen, is presenting his revue of lost Samuel Beckett works) to relatively young upstarts Don't Spit The Water. Alert your NYC hipster friends that they need to check out Chicago's finest in the festival, which runs through August 27.

Be Charitable: Shop Bloomies Aug 30

Love to shop? Feeling generous? The Lupus Foundation of America, Illinois Chapter (LFAI) and Bloomingdale's are teaming up to raise some cash. Purchase $10 tickets to The Shopping Benefit, and LFAI gets every penny; turn your ticket in at one of Bloomingdale's four Chicagoland locations on August 30 and the store will donate an additional $5 to the cause.

The Red Line High Club

Who needs an airplane lavatory when there's space between train cars? Today's CTA Tattler recounts a reader's almost-impossible to believe story of sex on the 'L'.

Kup of the Hand

Is Irv Kupcinet's statue trying to tell us something?

Real Hot Chronic Babe in Webland

Fellow Real Hot babe Jenni Prokopy got a fantastic write-up in Crain's Chicago Business about her fantastic website Chronic Babe and how she's spreading her babe-liciousness to other women with chronic illnesses. (For full disclosure, Gapers Block is also happy to welcome her as a new staff member.)

The Wheels on His Bus Went Nowhere

Several months ago, a Maryland man was indicted for his scheme to cheat would-be attendees of Oprah tapings into paying him to get them there and get them in. Today, to avoid a possible prison sentence of seven years, he has pleaded guilty and promised to reimburse the 60 people he scammed. In its report, the AP helpfully reminds readers that tickets to the show are free. As for the deluded fans, many of whom are seniors, their best hope now seems to be that Winfrey will hear of their plight, assume the mantle of Our Lady of the Con Victims and take pity.

An "A" in Kuchnia Polska

Looking for more Polish food than you can get at the ballpark? Not to worry: you can cheat off Gridskipper's homework. We won't tell. (Mind you, they did omit a GB favorite, Staropolska, so that's another option. And, if you're looking for extra credit after eating, head south on Milwaukee and pay a visit to the Polish Museum of America.)

City by the Bay to Match the City by the Lake

When it comes to urban planning and forward-thinking, San Francisco is turning to Chicago for inspiration. "When you walk the streets of Chicago, it enlivens the spirit," said SF Mayor Gavin Newsom. San Francisco environmental and architectural groups are touring the city to emulate everything from the "greening" of our rooftops to our wrought-iron gates. The two cities seem to have a give-and-take approach to architecture: a June Sun-Times story described the redesign of the North Ave. bridge as a "mini-Golden Gate."

Fighting for Day Laborers' Rights

Last week, the AFL-CIO announced it was teaming up with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network to help protect the rights of day laborers. MR Zine provides a local case in point for why this battle is so important.

Better Luck Next Year

Speaking of undesirable rankings, the Chicago Sky set the WNBA record for highest number of losses in a season over the weekend at 29. The franchise wrapped up its first year yesterday with a win, one of only five the team managed this season.

We're #1! (But not in a good way)

A Lundberg Survey completed last week shows that U.S. gas prices rose a penny, giving us a national average up $1.06 since July 21. While the cheapest place to get your tank topped off in the country is in Charleston, S.C., the most expensive place is, you guessed it, right here in Chicago at an average whopping $3.29 per gallon. The good news? It's so nice out, let's all go ride a bike.

A Bastion of Comedy

The Bastion came to town earlier this summer (it's related to New York's Apiary) to cover the comedy and improv scene, and they're doing a heck of a job (and not in the GW Bush sense).

Windy City Choppers

Just over thirty years ago, Danny Lyon joined the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club and took pictures of the experience. He compiled the photographs in The Bikeriders, released in 1968. See excerpts at Slate. [via]

Green, Red and Orange Hen

Using "White Hen" as a convenience store reference won't be a Chicagoism much longer. So speculates the Tribune, anyway. After all that effort to rebrand by removing "Pantry" from their signage, franchisees look to replace the chain's name altogether with that of its new owner, 7-Eleven.

Wild on Lake Michigan

How to win friends and influence clubbing this summer? Buy a boat. That's the Chicago Scene way, at least. And don't worry about the government, either: none other than police officer Daniel Lombard tells the Sunday Times the CPD and Coast Guard "'kind of turn a blind eye' to some of what goes on in the Playpen, including overfilled boats and recreational drug use, 'because, well, this is Chicago.'" Party on, Dan!

Today in Chicago History: August 12, 1833

On August 12, 1833, Chicago was incorporated. The population of the town at the time was about 350 people. According to the Chicago timeline from the Chicago Public Library website, the original boundaries of the city were "Kinzie, Desplaines, Madison, and State streets, which included an area of about three-eighths of a square mile." Happy 173rd Birthday, Chicago!

No, Jane, Denver is the Capital of the United States

Becoming a social studies or history teacher just got considerably easier in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Education lowered the passing grade on their test to 57%. That's right: you can fail and still pass.

Not Quite in the Black

Circulation fraud uncovered a few years ago continues to trouble the Sun-Times's business; its parent company lost nearly $14M last quarter. On the upside, says CJR Daily, at least these days they're being honest.

Study Architecture at IIT for $5

The Mies van der Rohe Society is offering inexpensive architecture tours at IIT, highlighting not only Mies' work (e.g., Crown Hall and the Carr Memorial Chapel), but also the grounds (designed by Alfred Caldwell), the campus center (designed by Rem Koolhaas), and the new student residence (designed by Helmut Jahn). Click here for details about self-guided and docent-led tours.

Shh, It's a Secret

What's Chicago Public Radio's secret radio project? Can't tell you, but there's a nice big hint in this week's issue of Time Out.

Running On Time

If it's seemed like CTA trains have been slow this summer, the good news is you're not imagining things. The bad news is, not only are you not imagining things, it's actually going to get worse. (If you've got something to say about these recent developments, Carole Brown's blog entry is probably a good place to do it.)

Fuel for Foodies, the local food chat website, has just announced the latest round of Great Neighborhood Restaurant award-winners--23 destinations for gastronomic adventures, throughout the Chicago area.

Already fed up with Macy's?

Apparently Marshall Field's loyalists are disgruntled over the current transition from Fields to Macy's already taking place at the flagship store at 111 State Street. An article in today's Sun-Times discusses the skeptical response to Macy's merchandise, now rolling into the store. Commentary, in which Macy's clothing is criticized as "tacky" and "geared towards a younger crowd," is finding a voice in a blog, created by fans of the 138-year-old establishment. In an effort to retain the Marshall Field's customer base, Macy's is constructing a Frango kitchen (where you can view Frango chocolates being hand-dipped) on the 7th floor next to the Frango cafe, and they are also building a private entranceway for the exclusive women's couture 28 shop. The official switchover, in which the Marshall Field's name will bite the dust forever, is to be completed on September 9.

Closing Soon: Southwestern Ceramics @ AIC

The Art Institute's Casas Grandes ceramic exhibit is worth checking out (you can stop in free tonight and tomorrow after work) before it closes Sunday. Native American ceramic objects between a few hundred and over a thousand years old are displayed and what's striking (aside from their amazingly good condition) is how modern they are: you wouldn't be surprised to see some of these designs at a local arts and crafts fair. Click here for details.

Chicago Samba @ The Hot House

Enjoy a steamy Brazilian night tonight at the Hothouse (31 E. Balbo) with a performance led by the 7-piece band, Chicago Samba, which blends up a cocktail of samba, bossa nova, batucada and other spirited dance rhythms. Seasoned Brazilian dance professional Edilson Lima provides samba lessons during intermission. Tickets are $10 -- both in advance and at the door. The show starts at 10pm.

Blog Out

I haven't bothered with Time Out Chicago's website much after it launched, since it hid almost everything behind a subscription wall. But sometime a few months ago, they made most of the content public and launched a blog. Worth taking a look.

Windy City Wine Festival

For the second year in a row, Binny's is hosting a HUGE wine tasting festival in downtown's Grant Park. $25 gets you ten tastings plus access to cooking demonstrations and some live tunes.

Picking up the Check

Not only is Chicago becoming noted for its restaurants, but its restaurant review program "Check, Please!" is also a hot property. The Sun-Times reports that "Check, Please! Bay Area" has already started (sample show at Google Video), and versions are also in the works for LA, Seattle/Vancouver, New York, and even Hawaii. Back in Chicago, "Check, Please" junkies will have to wait a few more weeks to get new programs, as the 6th season of the program is currently being taped for broadcast in October.

Top TEN for Education

The Teaching Excellence Network is "an online professional community for teachers across subject areas, grade levels and school type, from urban, suburban and rural areas all over the state and country." If you or someone you know is a teacher, this is the place for you.

The Terra Museum (Virtually) Lives!

Those of us who miss the Terra Museum (formerly at 666 N Michigan, now the home of the temporary Motorola store) can now visit our favorite paintings online. The site also includes information about where the collection can be seen in person--part of it is still in Chicago, at the Art Institute.

More Than Your Typical Gapers

Two semis apparently collided on the Northwest Tollway this morning, resulting in one overturned truck and a three-mile back-up during rush hour. Jon at the Reverse Commuter snapped some photos of the accident scene from his car in the midst of it all.

Oasis: Going, Going, Almost Gone

An unusual installation at the Chicago Cultural Center is closing Sunday: a lush tropical landscape created from discarded clothes (mostly socks, as far as I can tell) and background music. The effect is irresistibly smile-inducing--certainly worth a visit before it disappears, especially if you've had a hard week and are short on smiles. Click here for details.

Steaks On A Train

I'm not sure, but this parody of SoaP sure does look like the Brown Line. Yes, that is Steaks On A Train....

Bicycle Film Festival Pre-Party Tomorrow!

You know how you can never walk two-across on Milwaukee Avenue by Rodan because of all the bikes locked to everything? Well, tomorrow night, blame us: GB's sponsoring the official Pre-Party for the Bicycle Film Festival, which kicks off on Friday. Details in Slowdown; BYO cycling cap.

Start Gathering Your Toxics

Sure, it's hot, but with a household hazardous waste drop-off day coming this Saturday, now's the time to make a pile of your old oil-based paint cans, that broken TV in the basement, and that clunky laptop you replaced a year ago. You know this is stuff that shouldn't just go in the trash, right? Right. Carve out some time Saturday to haul your pile to the drop-off (see Slowdown for details) and get a year's supply of blue bags for your trouble.

Upcoming Book Club Picks

Thanks to suggestions from mailing list subscribers and other book club members, the Gapers Block Book Club has just revealed the updated list of books the club will be reading through March 2007. Vist the book club blog for the complete list, which includes selections from Sandra Cisneros, Mike Royko, Kevin Guilfoile and Elizabeth Crane. Plus, don't forget the August book club meeting is this Monday, August 14. We will be discussing Coffee WIll Make You Black by April Sinclair. See Slowdown for details.


The Illinois Bureau of Tourism has created a great site cataloging all the films shot in the state, with location listings for some of the top flicks in each region and a map of every major motion picture made in Illinois.

I bet they've never heard so much Cher

Sure, there's the old stalwart Baton, or Boystown's Kit Kat Lounge. But what if you find yourself jonesing for female impersonators, say, an hour south of the city on I-57? The Tribune reports on the unlikely success of a monthly drag show at a blues club in Kankakee.

From Snakes to Snap

Tomorrow night, you can hit the first in a series of fundraisers for the independent feature film, Snap, at the Double Door. The headlining band, Baldwin Brothers, is featured on the upcoming Samuel L. Jackson movie soundtrack for Snakes on a Plane (um, you might have heard something about it), for which they produced a remix of the All American Rejects song "Can't Take It." For more details, check Transmission.

Drink on a Boat

This summer, Kafka Wine and Wendella Boats have been getting together for a series of Wine Tasting Cruises, which pair vino with architectural tour on Wednesdays each month. The next one is August 23 at 5:45pm. Tickets are $50 and reservations are required. [via]

The Adventures Continue

Now that Lollapalooza, Pitchfork and Intonation have come and gone, what's the adventurous concert-goer making plans for next? Probably next month's annual Adventures in Modern Music festival (September 20-24), sponsored by the Empty Bottle and the UK music mag The Wire. Two acts not to miss at this year's festival: the highly enigmatic Jandek (who was supposed to show up for last year's festival but had to cancel due to hurricane evacuation); and influential hiphop remixer Steinski. Tickets are already on sale at Ticketweb, so you'd better hop to it!

Mountainous Chicago

I've never thought of Chicago as an obstacle course, but this article in Dirt Rag describing a trip through the city with Chicago Freeride sort of makes me wish I had big nobby tires on my bike.

Best Name for a GLBT Scooter Gang Ever:

Hell's Fairies.

500 Corpses

An Exquisite Corpse, the locally based collaborative art project site created by friend of GB Phineas X. Jones (and run on a CMS by GB MVP Jim Allenspach), posted the 500th corpse since its relaunch today. (It's technically the 627th corpse if you count from the beginning of the site, but why do that?)


I'm not entirely convinced that there's anyone writing better restaurant reviews than Dominic Armato of Skilletdoux. His treatment of dinner at Alinea was dead-on; a perfect mix of sophistication and accessiblity. Dominic's latest post, running down a meal at Wicker Park's Schwa, is pure gastroporn.

Know where the #20 Madison buses are at all times!

The CTA has rolled out a new Website for tracking buses called, not too surprisingly, CTA Bus Tracker. It only tracks the #20 Madison bus right now, but you can watch a street map updated in real time with the locations of various buses along the route. The Sun-Times reports that if this pilot program goes well, all other bus routes will get the same tracking ability in a few years.

Coming In Bronze

Crain's takes a look at how Chicago stacks up against its American competition for the 2016 Olympics and finds us falling short compared to rivals LA and San Francisco.

Millennium Park--Cheap for the Price

Haven't heard that one before? In today's Times review of Timothy J. Gilfoyle's new history of Millennium Park, critic Michael J. Lewis favorably compares its cost and speed of execution to New York's efforts to erect a memorial at Ground Zero. "Starting from scratch, Chicago has turned a wasteland into America's most dazzling urban park."

The Journey is the Destination

If you're yearning for some travel (video), check out YouTube user Srovetz's atmospheric videos documenting his train and car travel throughout the country. There are too many Chicago related videos to post here, but some train segments include Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to New Orleans, and Chicago to New York.

Craigslist of One's Own

Some time in the very recent past -- quite possibly today -- Craigslist split its local listings into five regional categories: City of Chicago, North Chicagoland, West Chicagoland, South Chicagoland, and, reaching a bit further, Northwest Indiana. Which means, of course, you'll never have to read about a Missed Connection in Palatine or rental ad for an apartment in Northbrook again.

OK Go Shoot Your Own Video

By now you've probably seen the new super-choreographed video for OK Go's "Here It Goes Again." But what you may not have known about is the dance contest they're running: contestants replicate the moves from OK Go's previous viral video, "A Million Ways," post it on YouTube, and the band judges. The winners will dance with the band on stage at an upcoming concert. You've got until August 30 to enter.

Gold at the End of the Rainbow

In the end and despite all the hullabaloo preceding them, the Gay Games were evidently successful: Crain's reports that attendance exceeded expectations by 40%, and event chair Kevin Boyer tells Pink News that "Chicagoans made up the largest number of the spectators."

Bicycle Film Festival is Go!

If you've got Merge tunnel vision, and thus haven't noticed the fancy ad to the right, or the mentions in Slowdown, allow me: the international Bicycle Film Festival hits Columbia College's Film Row Cinema next weekend, and GB's in cahoots. We're sponsoring a kickoff party next Thursday night; details will be announced early next week. In the meantime, check out the listings and trailers, and grab tickets here before they sell out.

Scholars Wanted

Know any academics? The Illinois Humanities Council is seeking candidates for its Road Scholars speakers bureau, which presents experts in fields ranging from ancient literature to wildlife biology to audiences of ordinary folks throughout the state. While scholars in all fields are welcome, themes emphasized this year include genetic engineering, U.S. roots music, and Abraham Lincoln. Click here for details and an application. The deadline is September 15.

Your Moment of Mapping Zen

"Community areas in Chicago, isolated from context."

Learning about Louis Sullivan

If you love old Chicago buildings, then you probably know this year marks Louis Sullivan's 150th birthday. In honor of this important sesquicentennial, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is offering a four-session course on botanical motifs in Sullivan's work in September. Click here for more information on this and other Sullivan programs coming soon.

Oh, Good

It's the news you've either been waiting for or dreading: US Cellular customers can now use their phones on CTA trains travelling in subway tunnels. An added bonus for Verizon and Sprint customers: 911 calls for those companies' customers will also work underground.

It's First Friday, With Even Less Clothing

Put away those stiletto boots and that too-hot-for-August ultrasuede miniskirt: the MCA presents a water-themed First Friday. Featuring a bathing suit fashion show and "skinny dip" martinis, the event was inspired by WaterShed, an interactive sculpture designed by students at the Art Institute that flashes and emits ambient sounds when you ask it for some agua. See Slowdown for details.

Public Radio As Chosen by the Public

As it plans to replace music with more news and documentary shows, WBEZ has been the subject of some controversy. Which may be why it's soliciting opinions of a very specific sort: if you could act as Chicago Public Radio programming director, what would you put on the weekday schedule? And when? Throw in your $.02 with the Build Your Own Program Guide.

Outlaws Dine Again

Baed on the enthusiastic response to his first Outlaw Dinner, 676 Restaurant's executive chef Robert Gadsby is holding another one on Monday, August 21, the day before the foie gras ban goes into effect. Chicagoans will yet again be treated to another menu featuring several barely legal foods at the center of controversies across the nation, including the aforementioned foie, absinthe, hemp seed, imported raw milk cheeses, morels and sous vide preparation. The seven course, prix fixe meal is $95 per person, with seatings between 7pm and 10pm; call 312-944-7676 for a reservation.

A Lyrical Sway of the Hips

Know how to belly dance? The Lyric Opera wants you audition for a role in an upcoming performance of Salome.

We're #1!

The Sporting News has named Chicago "America's top sporting city" in their annual poll thanks, in part, to the Sox's World Series win and the postseasons of the Bears and the Bulls. Boston, Mass was the winner for the past two years.

Rock 'n' Roll Deathmatch

So many bands, so little time. As you know, this weekend sees the last of this summer's major multi-day rock festivals as Lollapalooza sprouts up all over Grant Park. Today, GB's Transmission runs down the scheduled match-ups to help steer you from stage to stage. For those not attending, AT&T is webcasting the event, promising to bring you "live performances as they happen." And, if you're like Andrew and torn between Wilco & QOTSA, never fear: the site will also feature archived footage post-show, so, almost like TiVo for real life, you may be able to timeshift the sets. God bless the internet, eh?

Techies Meet Here

Looking for a technology group to meet with? Let Tech Social be your guide.

Toots Got Talent

Last fall, Shylo profiled "the ass that goes POW," otherwise known as local burlesque performer Michelle "Toots" L'Amour. After starting out with a cast of, well, lots, she's now a semi-finalist on NBC's America's Got Talent, vying to win some prize or the other. Check out last night's performance (although maybe not at work?), and vote to send her on to the finals here.

Where to Turn for Short Films

TurnHere is a site that collects short video guides about cities around the world. The Chicago section features some nice clips, including trips through Bronzeville, Wicker Park, Rogers Park, Pilsen and other neighborhoods.

Why I Go to School: Free Tickets!

In a move to boost Chicago Public Schools' attendance rates, the district has partnered with sports teams, radio stations, and even Southwest Airlines for the Back to School Sports Challenge. While some prizes will be handed out just for attendance, essayists can win a trip to Disney World or a chance to be a DJ on Power 92. So, kids, see how rewarding staying in school can be?

Centerstage Becomes STNG's Metromix

In a local marriage of old and new media, the Sun-Times recently bought Centerstage. And, sure enough, the paper's already showing off its newfangled trophy wife right there on its homepage.

File Under EEK!

The Explorer's Club is a 102-year-old organization (with chapters around the world, including Chicago) of adventurous souls devoted to going where no man or woman has gone before and bringing back hard data. So what is our Chicago chapter planning? With the sponsorship of Redwood Creek, a walk around the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, followed by a wine and wildlife tasting. Yes, you read that right. Participants will sample reds and whites as they nibble on North American Cricket, worm pretzels, and pigeon pate. Reservations are closed at this writing, but you can check directly with Redwood Creek through the day to see if any places have opened up. (That is, if you're just dying to try Roasted Ant Tarts with a good cabernet.)

Drink up on the CTA

For the duration of the current heat wave, the CTA is now officially allowing passengers to carry and drink cold beverages on its buses and trains. (Not that the law was stopping people from drinking on the CTA, of course, but at least now it's permissible.) The heat wave is expected to end this evening, so do your drinking sometime today!

Tea Time Suggestions

In such hot weather, tea's not really been on my mind, but come winter these recommendations of tea-oriented cafes will be quite useful.

Cinema/Chicago Offers Teachers Some Pointers

Do you teach? Curious about how to incorporate documentaries into your classroom activities? Need more ideas for improving your students' media literacy? How about applying hip-hop in the K-12 setting? Cinema/Chicago is presenting a three-day Teacher's Institute from 15 through 17 August, to be held down at Columbia College. It's cheap ($25 a session; $150 for the whole shebang--cheaper if you're a Cinema/Chicago member), promises to be enlightening, and the registration deadline has been extended till this Friday. Click here for details.


The city of Chicago and public utilities doesn't just recommend that people conserve electricity. They're also hoping to get people to conserve water by buying a rain barrel to catch run off from your home to use for watering your lawn and garden. To make that easier to accomplish, they're offering barrels for $20 to city residents. My tomato plants wish I'd heard of this a few months ago.

Or There's the No. 155 Bus...

Ever walk through O'Hare and wonder what it's like to be on one of those planes bound for India instead of Indianapolis? The destination is surely more interesting, but do the ends justify the means? Ben Mutzabaugh of USA Today decided to find out, and he liveblogged the 15+ hours it takes for American Airlines Flight 292 to get from Chicago to Dehli.

All I Want for Xmas is GPS

This year, the Magnificent Mile seems to be getting made over into a High-Tech Alley. Following the lead of Nokia and Motorola, navigational gear group Garmin has announced plans for a Michigan Avenue flagship, its first foray into retail. Conveniently, or perhaps temptingly, the store should be open in time for holiday shopping.

BlogHer Here Next Year

Mark your calendars: BlogHer, an annual conference for women bloggers, is coming to Chicago next year.

Feed Me

Hey, you know we have RSS feeds for every section of Gapers Block, right? And as of today, "every" includes the Book Club and Transmission. Go sign up!

Hop from Point A to Point B

This could come in handy, especially when you want to minimize your waiting-in-the-heat time: HopStop helps find the quickest route between one address and another on public transportation. [via] (Thanks, Jenni!) [Matt updates to add: Chicagoist isn't impressed, but it mapped my trip from home to work just fine. In other words: it's new; results may vary.]

"Brash and Nonchalant At Once"

Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle ran a travel article that describes Chicago as "the one American city where architecture lovers can indulge ourselves with abandon and never feel jaded." The text is fine, and even locals might find the the run-down of ten important structures useful for planning a leisurely Saturday afternoon. But, to tour without leaving your desk, there's a multimedia slideshow that, after taking in Millennium Park etc., peeks inside some of the buildings you may no longer notice as you rush to get to work on time.



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