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

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


What's the worst building in your neighborhood?

Following the Tribune's list of ugly Loop buildings, the Chicago Journal is asking for nominations for the worst buildings in your neighborhood. There's only one nomination so far, so let the archislaying begin.

Third-Floor "Walk"-Up

The annual Pilsen Artists' Open House (otherwise known as "the Art Walk") is taking place this weekend, and, as usual, the work runs the gamut. Put another way, there's something for everyone. Gallery no. 23 is hidden from view at the top of a rather foreboding set of stairs, but Jeremy Ehly and Kate Dougherty both display interesting and, at times, amusing points of view. Dougherty illustrates her photos with cartoonish embellishment, while Ehly's series elucidate the patterns in architectural elements like corners and cornices and tease out the humor of real estate marketing with tounge-in-cheek titles for images of residential monoliths. In other words, three flights up won't kill you.

Another Reason to Look Up

Early Friday morning, two people BASE jumped from a downtown crane. This is the second noted jump in as many weeks.

Stripping for the Lord

Via Coudal, the website of a woman whose autobiography's title only tells part of the story: Kellie Everts: I Strip for God. Not safe for work, obviously, and I only post it here because of a lengthy book exerpt of her experiences at the Chicago Playboy Club in 1978.

Bungalow Exhibition This Weekend

This weekend is the Chicago Bungalow Exhibition and Green Housing Fair. Expect to learn about historical fixtures and interiors for your bungalow, financing a house, city services, as well as how to improve your house's environmental footprint. Interested in solar energy? Or sustainable insulation? This free expo has the goods to get your started on improving your abode.

Transmission Contest: Branches and the Beat

Over at Transmision, we've got a lil' contest going. Who wants some free tickets and a CD?

You Too Can Go-Go Dance

If you made it to the Bitch Magazine 10th Anniversary Party at the Hideout last night, you know how cool The Janes go-go dance troupe is. And even if you didn't, haven't you always wanted to learn how to dance like that? Well, you can: classes are Mondays and Tuesdays at the Flamenco Arts Center. $12 a class or six for $60; white boots not included.

Return of the artistic dead

Missed the Body Worlds exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry last year? Don't fret; Body Worlds 2 will show up at the MSI next January. The new exhibit will contain 20 plastinated human bodies, along with "200 human parts". Tickets go on sale October 2.

It was a Bad Day

Capping off a day of North Side disruptions on the CTA, a woman was struck and killed by a Brown Line train at Wellington. Amid this morning's slow-moving chaos, a bemused customer offered the Trib a joking translation for the transit agency's acronym: "Certainly Takes Awhile."

Lunching In The Loop

We mentioned this last year, but a little reminder never hurt anybody: Tired of bickering about where to go, or having a long series of conversations about "Maybe Thai. Or Italian. Or Chipotle."? Friends, help takes the form of Lunch In the Loop, which has a lunch roulette wheel that'll just tell you where to go. If you have a short list of places you like, it can use that for places to choose from. (Not to mention that they also have categories if you want to choose that way, too.)

CCM is tomorrow!

Bikes are fun! Find out exactly how fun they can be at tomorrow's Critical Mass Bicycle ride. It's free, and gets underway at 5:30 at Daley Plaza. The theme is likely to be "Oktoberfest", so lederhosen are highly encouraged!

Really Quick Review: Hannah's Bretzel

Need something for breakfast, but tired of the bagel or doughnut routine? Pop over to Hannah's Bretzel, the little nest of German goodness in the Loop at Washington And Well's. All organic, and the bretzels are just like I remember in Germany. (The coffee is not, and that's fine by me--it's really good too.) Highly recommended, for breakfast, lunch, or a mid-day snack sometime in the middle.

Surgery? Remove That Belly Ring

Crain's Chicago Business writes this week about the increasing problem of patients not removing body piercings pre-surgery. Many don't consider them "jewelry" or simply forget to remove the, um, more private piercings. Hidden piercings can cause injury during surgery, so if you're headed to the hospital, get rid of 'em - or hope your doc has a removal kit like those sold by MedPierce Inc.

Obama, Obama, Obama!

A bit quiet of late, the "Run, Barack, Run!" cheerleaders are back with renewed vigor, featuring the outspoken Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Daley, Halle Berry, and--hey, hey!--State Comptroller Dan Hynes. (See also: recent coverage of the juggernaut that wasn't. Or was?)

The Chicago Manual of Style is Now Online

We (mostly) follow AP style here at GB, but it's nice to know it's there when we need it. Alas, like many good things, it's not free.

Transmission Feature: Record Store Favorites

The Thursday feature in Transmission is just the beginning of our new monthly series of Chicago record store reviews. Check out our staff picks for some of the best local places to buy music. This week: Gramaphone Records and Laurie's Planet of Sound.

The best for this year

Newcity's Best of Chicago 2006 issue is out on the streets and online. Categories range from Best Local TV Weatherman (Tom Skilling) to Best Reason For Chicago To Host The Summer Olympics (international recognition of the South Side). Websites chosen for the list include Art or Idiocy (Best Chicago Art News Blog) and Avoid The Ryan (Best Thing About the Dan Ryan Construction Project).

Chicago History Museum Debuts

The Chicago History Museum (formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society) reopens this this weekend after an extensive renovation, and it's celebrating with free admission, performances by dance troupes, the Jesse White Tumblers and other acts, and more. This will be your first chance to see the first El train car, and Federated and Target just donated Norman Rockwell's painting of the Marshall Field's Clock to the museum, so you can see that too. Big crowds are expected, so you might want to make a reservation.

It's a Crazy Dance Week in Chicago

You'd be a darn fool not to check out one of world-class dance performances in Chicago this weekend: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presents the Chicago premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a multimedia docu-dance about genetics; UK-based choreographer Sue Davies collaborated with a linguist, a cardiothoracic surgeon, a landscape designer, and an architect on a new performance In Plain Clothes at the Dance Center; finally, catch Hubbard Street before they head off on tour: don't miss their fall season Global Tapestry at the Harris. See Slowdown for details on all three of these shows.

I Can Smell You Acting

The Side Project describes their 43-seat theater in Rogers Park as "hyper intimate;" when I went to see The Cure at Troy there last Friday I was literally inches away from the actors. It was exhilarating. The play, an adaptation of Sophocles' Philoctetes by Seamus "I made Beowulf fun again" Heaney is about a guy with a smelly, gangrenous foot who gets duped out of his magic bow by Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. After realizing that he'd have to be a giant asshole to trick a crippled warrior out of a bow used to hunt food, Neoptolemus starts to feel really bummed out. But he takes it anyway. See Slowdown for details.

Girls with Guitars, Turntables and What-have-you

Estrojam, the festival that mixes women's art and activism, starts this evening with a film showcase, but it kicks into rock gear tomorrow, as queercore legends Team Dresch headline a night of music at the Abbey Pub. Events continue throughout the weekend and include a b-girl battle, a zine-writing workshop and concerts featuring Lesbians on Ecstasy. Sound fun and/or empowering? Check the schedule for the full scoop.

Are They Smiling Yet?

Is Stop Smiling's "lack of pretension" due to having its base in Chicago? Slate's Jack Shafer isn't sure, but, boy, does he love it. (For a dose of "intellectual legibility" and "graphic soundness," currently on newsstands: Ode to the Midwest, featuring interviews with Dave Eggers and the founders of Steppenwolf; currently online: an interview with local author Joe Meno.)

Del Taco Coming To Chi Cago

Diners who don't recognize food as being Mexican unless it's pressed into a tortilla discus, rejoice: California's Del Taco chain is expanding into the Chicago region. (Hey, want to work there?) It's not In-N-Out, but the place does seem to have something of a following, and, really, how bad can fish tacos available 'round-the-clock be?

Worst Music Video Ever, part 2

My hero for the day is the person who posted this video excerpt of one of the strangest shows on CAN TV, "Beauty of Fashion with Malia".

Wal-Mart Round-Up

With 10,000 applicants whittled down to 480 hires, the Wal-Mart at 4650 W North Ave is open for business today, and people seem to be overwhelmingly glad to have it there.

More lit in Andersonville tonight

If a Bitchfest isn't your cup of tea, how about Bookslut? Just a couple blocks south of the Bitch celebration will be the monthly Bookslut reading event at Hopleaf. Sadly, both events happen at the same time, so you can't go to both, but if you want to see Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of A Funny Story), Brian Evenson (The Open Curtain) or Cristina Henriquez (Come Together, Fall Apart), you know where you gotta be. See Slowdown for details.

Worst Music Video Ever?

While Chicago has put out some good videos in recent years (see: OK Go), this video from Jan Terri from 1993 is the exact opposite. I'm not really sure what to think: that it's actually from 1993 but looks like it's from the 80's or how cheesy Chicago looks. However, I have that chorus stuck in my head! [via Jennifer]

"Tokyo Rose" Dies

Often when I'm walking past J. Toguri Mercantile on Belmont, I'm reminded of a story that the only American accused of being "Tokyo Rose" lives there, above the store owned by her family. But yesterday, Iva Toguri D'Aquino, who was convicted and later pardoned of being World War II propagandist "Tokyo Rose," died at the age of 90.

Get Your Bitch On

You've got not one, but two opportunities to help Bitch Magazine celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Come by Women & Children First tonight as Bitch's editors and founders discuss Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine. And on Thursday, come to the Hideout for an all out, GB and Northwest Suburban NOW sponsored party. It's a great week to be a Bitch. (As always, Slowdown's got you covered.)

Book Club: Interpreter of Maladies

Sure, Mayor Daley says you should read it, but are you still hesistant to pick it up? Perhaps today's Book Club feature can provide some motivation as we review Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, the 11th tome chosen to be a part of One Book, One Chicago. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it.

A Short Tour for Short Films

The Chicago Short Film Brigade rises from the ashes of the late lamented Prime Shorts Film Festival to "present a wide variety of local and international short films to the public in non-academic, non-festival environments." Screenings start in January and will be quarterly (they're looking for submissions, btw). Andrew Bird is on the Brigade's board, and he's doing a quartet of shows to benefit it. Unfortunately, those shows will be in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis and Madison -- but what a great excuse for a road trip!

Undateable Chicagoan Profiled

Unable to make a love connection via existing dating websites, plucky Brian Wolf has taken matters into his own hands with and scored the cover of today's Red Eye in the process.

Make Tallgrass, Not Bombs

Nice article about the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, an effort in southwest suburban Midewin to return a former military arsenal to the tallgrass prairie it was prior to the 1800s.

Murderers in Your Extended Network

Killers have moved into MySpace. The social networking juggernaut removed a profile for Laurie Dann, who shot six kids in a Winnetka school in 1988, over the weekend. Profiles of serial killers John Wayne Gacey, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are still up, for now.

Moving Beyond Congestion

The RTA (CTA, Pace, Metra) have announced a new effort to improve the lot of the region's commuters. Their new site, Moving Beyond Congestion, lays out the case for why additional transit is needed and what their plan is to make that happen.

Econobloggers on Municipal Minimum Wage

While the big-box issue may currently be at an impasse, living wage concerns will not soon go away. We've asked your opinion in the past; today, the Wall Street Journal's Econoblog solicits the competing counsel of two experts.

Double Whammy

Lightning may not strike twice in the same place, but thieves apparently do. Yesterday, the 205 W. Monroe Bank of America was robbed two times in the span of several hours by different men. Each fled; neither has been apprehended. Redesigned

The Sun-Times launched a redesigned website Monday night; it looks swell, but they also changed the way their URLs are built, so any links to articles that worked yesterday are now completely useless. [Matt adds: I'm not sure how swell it looks, but it's not just the links that are obsolete -- the old RSS feeds are, as well, so you'll apparently need to resubscribe. Beyond that, here's the site tooting its own horn.] (Thanks, Mike.)

Eat A Roach, Jump In Line

This Halloween, you can spare yourself the tedium of standing in line at Six Flags Great America, simply by consuming one Madagascar hissing cockroach per spot in line. PETA ain't happy.

The Science of Free Tickets

Want a free pair of tickets to a preview screening of The Science of Sleep this Wednesday at 8pm? Be one of the first to email and they're yours. UPDATE: We have our winners! Congrats, Nadia and Nicole!

Barack Star

Another week, another starstruck, will-he-won't-he profile of Barack Obama (this week it's New York magazine).

Chicago in HDR

Trey Ratcliff, CEO of a videogame company, has a fondness for high dynamic range (HDR) photography, and he's captured a number of stunning photos of our fair city.

The Crying of Lot Wi-Fi-Net

Late last week, the Chicago Wireless Internet Zone initiative published the final RFP soliciting bids to deliver citywide Wi-Fi. Esme Vos of MuniWireless offers analysis, including a run-down of the desired business model. Put simply, she says, "this RFP strongly discourages funding models that require any financial input from the City"; financial input from users, however, is fair game.

Pilsen in Pictures

Ranging from parades to street art to "Gringos out of Pilsen" agitprop and spanning several years, Flickr user Pedro Juan's photoset takes the pulse of a neighborhood.

What's in a Delay?

On Friday, Thrown for a Loop was hoping for an easy flight home. Because of bad weather at O'Hare, that didn't happen. Alas, nor did the alternatives...

Asshand and Other Stories

Learn the legend of Asshand, read a recounting of a visit to Lebanon, and other stories in the latest issue of Keep Going.

Washington Park Hockey Fields?

Sure, why not? The Sun-Times and the Tribune have details and commentary, respectively, regarding Chicago's developing plans for courting the 2016 Olympics.

How and Where to Eat Bo Nuong

If you've ever wondered about the proper way to eat foods like thali, bo nuong and injera, a Tribune video story has you covered. Watch the video and then check out the restaurants they recommend.

Make Room for Tulips

It's hard to imagine the lush and dense Lurie Garden has room for 60,000 additional tulips, daffodils, and ornamental onions, but that's how many bulbs are going to be planted there between today and Wednesday. Here's a discussion of bulb expert Jacqueline van der Kloet's design strategy. Lots of color to look forward to next spring!

Tales of an Axman

One of the most popular figures from Fuel now has his own column in which to tell his sad story: Tales of Blagg the Axman makes its debut in Airbags today, where it will appear every other Saturday. He's asked that interested parties send him questions from which to draw inspiration -- his email's at the end of the column.

Free Jet Show for MySpacers

Good news if you've got a MySpace account: This Sunday, Jet will be playing a free show at Schubas -- you can get in (if there's space) only ifyou bring a printout of your profile with "MySpace Secret Shows" among your top eight friends. (Thanks, Mike!)

Brad Lynch's Real Chicago

Lee Bey -- former Sun-Times architecture critic, frequent Rearview contributor and one-time Audible City interviewee -- talks with architect Brad Lynch of Brininstool + Lynch about Chicago architecture and his favorite places in the city in the October issue of Dwell. (Thanks, Dayna!)

CTA Closures Cancelled

If you'd planned your weekend around the CTA's scheduled closures of Brown Line stops at Kedzie and Rockwell, well, make other (other) plans. Due to forecasted heavy rains, the CTA's betting it won't be able to get its excavation work done at those stops this weekend. The stations will be open, and as a result, the free shuttle that was going to take passengers from Western to Kimball has also been cancelled.

Chicago Science Frenzy

Today, Chicago Science Expedition launches a two-week program of events calculated to make Chicagoans more science-literate, bringing physiologists, conservationists, and others to neighborhood Starbucks and Borders cafes to discuss their work and displaying the world's largest periodic table of elements on the south side of the Daley Center. Some highlights, which include presentations on the science of Millennium Park and the physics of the curveball, are listed in Slowdown, but click here to review the entire schedule and make plans to raise your science IQ.

CTA Sucks in So Many Ways

On a day that saw part of the Red Line shut down by an electical fire in the middle of rush hour, the Beachwood Reporter summarizes the city's general dissatisfaction with the CTA, line by line.

Transmission Contest: Bound Stems

Wanna hear our featured artist tonight for free? Someone's getting lucky. Details in Transmission.

One Smitten Briton

My goodness, it's not every day that one reads a Missed Connection that invokes "the beauty of the plains of Kenya at sunset, the peaceful radiance of Annecy surrounded by snow capped Alps and the glorious treasures of Florence" and then proceeds to say they're nothing compared to That Girl on the Pink Line, is it?

Intro to Chicago

In Section 1 of this week's Chicago Reader you will find a wide-ranging introduction to Chicago living: everything from how local politics works to an overview of music venues to what happens when you get arrested. GB gets name-checked in the guide's alternative media section, along with a host of other worthy sites and publications that should give you a good picture of current-day Chicago life.

Music Most Modern

The Chicago Sinfonietta will soon kick off its 20th season, and it's doing so in rather unusual fashion: asking audience members to turn on their mobile devices. As part of a concert set to feature more traditional fare like Liszt, the group will give the world premiere of David Baker's sonic metaphor for order and chaos, "Concertino for Cell Phones and Orchestra."

Walk, Bike, Ride, Go! - It's World Carfree Day

Who needs a car when you have public transport, a bike or a fine pair of working legs? Today is World Carfree Day. Folks in more than 600 cities across the globe will participate in getting where they need to be, without getting behind the wheel. Give it a try!

Chicago Movie Magic

We all know that the Art Institute was a location for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but did you know that Gerri's Palm Tavern was a location for The Sixth Sense? MovieMappr knows, and it will show you where Gerri's was.

Internships at 826CHI

Are you a college students or a recent grad? 826CHI needs you to assist with day-to-day operations of the writing center. If you've got 10-15 hours per week, then send your resume and a cover letter to Leah Guenther at leah [at] 826chi [dot] org.

Cabbie Killer Sentenced

Update on an old story: The AIDS activist and former city health department official who ran over a cab driver with his own cab last year has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

FBI Raids County Building

The FBI paid a visit to the Cook County Bureau of Human Resources at the county building at 118 N. Clark St. today and reportedly confiscated boxes of records. According to the bureau's website, and as the name implies, the Bureau of Human Resources "directs and coordinates all human resource activities for departments under the jurisdiction of the President of the Cook County Board." The Chicago Tribune has more on the FBI search.

Dinner Theater

Improv Kitchen's new season starts today; reviews have been mixed in the past, but hopefully the new show irons out some of the kinks. UPDATE: The new "flagship" show, "The Unfinishe... Project," doesn't premier until Oct. 4.

Transmisssion Feature: Bound Stems

Gapers Block: Transmission has your local music fix. This week we interviewed Chicago's Bound Stems and talked all about how this great city has influenced their music on their very first full-length album, out now.

A Double Dose of Pollitt

Nation columnist Katha Pollitt is in town this week, riffing on feminism and her latest collection of essays, Virginity or Death!, and you've got two chances to hear her: tonight in Logan Square at the offices of In These Times (details in Slowdown) or tomorrow in Andersonville at Women & Children First (details at the store's site).

Just What is the Coudal Partners Site About, Anyway?

The short answer is "a little of this, a little of that." The long answer, though, offers an eclectic greatest hits. Which is to say, a nice way to waste some time at work this morning.

World (Music) Crisis in Chicago

World music fans have a problem tonight. Check out the US premiere (in Millennium Park) of "Nu Art Claiming Earth," an amalgam of Basque, West-Indian, and African influences, performed by an orchestra supplemented by 10 Bordeaux musicians, 20 Chicago jazz artists, and 20 Chicago students? Or dive into the Cultural Center's one-night showcase?

Coffee Pop

Local foodblog Tastebud offers tips on DIY coffee roasting. They suggest starting with the Home Coffee Roasting guide and a popcorn popper.

More rousting about

Roustabout, the current prime-time show being presented by the Neo-Futurists, has had its run extended through October 14. Recommended by the Reader, Newcity and the Sun-Times, Roustabout takes as its basis a circus train wreck that occurred in Hammond, Indiana in 1914, and speculates on the lives of the performers that were killed in the wreck (with a dash of the self-aware commentary that Neo-Futurist productions are known for). Reservations are available through the Neo-Futurist Website.

A Falafel with Hot Sauce, a Side Order...

Loop lunchers (and party girls), rejoice! After some difficulties at the jewelry mall, Oasis Cafe has relocated and reopened just down the street at 17 S. Wabash.

About, With and For Design

IIT's Institute of Design hosts its annual About, With & For conference October 6-7, and it's shaping up to be a good one. A few seats are left; bug your boss to get you in.

Alinea on Top

Alinea is the number one restaurant in the country, according to Gourmet magazine, while Charlie Trotter's has dropped to 13th. Expect reservation waits to expand and contract accordingly.

A Review of Hudson Lake

This week in the Book Club, we have a review of Hudson Lake, the third novel by local author Laura Mazzuca Toops. Hudson Lake takes the reader back to the summer of 1926 and shows the ways the lives of the characters at a rural Indiana resort are changed forever. Read the full review on the Book Club blog.

GLONO turns 5, celebrates in style

Glorious Noise unveiled a new redesign this week, and also posted details on their 5th anniversary celebration next month, which will feature plenty of live music (Riviera, Quasar Wut-Wut, and Healthy White Baby) and many more surprises.

NU Prof Among 2006 MacArthur Fellows

Jennifer Richeson, social psychologist and associate professor, Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, is one of 25 "geniuses" to receive a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship. Recipients get $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over five years. The awards are "a special opportunity to celebrate the creative individual in our midst," says MacArthur Foundation President Johnathan Fanton. Cheers!

Cold Steel on Ice Tonight

The Blackhawks play their first preseason game tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Not up on your Hawks? Get a preview in the debut Pucks in Five column.

How's Your Pirate-Speak These Days?

Ahoy Matey! It's time to tap into your swashbuckling side! What do you mean, you aren't hard-wired to say, "argh!", at any given moment? Well, today you get to practice it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Of course, I've been told they prefer to be called "Buccaneer-Americans".

Not Exactly Flying Wallenda

Right now (at 9am) Mario Wallenda is attempting to cross the Chicago River on a high wire near the Merchandise Mart. A member of the famous Flying Wallendas circus troupe, Mario was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident in 1972, so he's crossing in a specially made motorized wheelchair. It's all a stunt for The Loop's Brandemeier show. UPDATE: Felix Jung has lots of photos and commentary from the behind the scenes.

Walking in Chicago

With all of this walking around Chicago, why not take an idiosyncratic video stroll through the city?

Shimer College, Welcome to Chicago!

On October 8, the Shimer College Convocation and Reception will take place somewhere new: IIT's main campus. The Great Books college will still have some operations in Waukegan, but most activity will be in Chicago.

Bungalow Resources

If you're the proud owner of one of these traditional Chicago homes (like I am!) then you've got to check out the Historical Chicago Bungalow Association. The HCBA connects homeowners with funds, ideas and vendors to help you make your home even more awesome. Check out October's free seminar on practical interior design solultions at the Woodson or Sulzer libraries. Register now.

George Ryan Joins the Nigerians

You've got to hand it to Nigerian scammers: they're on top of current affairs. The May Report published an email scam using the George Ryan corruption case as its set-up. [via]

Bridge Imitates Wrigley Field

Large chunks of limestone fell off of the Michigan Avenue bridge this morning, injuring an employee of Wendella Boats (sounds like he's going to be fine).

Review: Massive Change At the MCA

The inventive Museum of Contemporary Art has opened a new exhibition, Massive Change, questioning the role of design in understanding (and mitigating) our use of the earth's resouces. I was glad I went, and was fascinated by what I saw as a presentation of data and design as art (such as the nifty Twike and earthquake piece). But I felt disappointed when the exhibit didn't question the elements of design that mattered, and overall found the show slightly shallow.

The MCA deserves a lot of credit for redefining "Contemporary Art" -- this exhibit contains none of the typical objects that make up "art" as there are no sculptures, paintings, or artsy photographs in the gallery. What unfolds as you explore the different rooms is the consistent exploration of uses of design to improve sustainability or understand sustainability. And that was something I found difficult, as each new gallery had only a slight connection to the next and there was little unity in the overall presentation. Also, the exhibit feels corporate at times, with nice promos for HP and Patagonia for their use of printers that compost or using recyled materials, without necessarily questioning how their previous bad designs have contributed to toxic e-waste or unrecyclable plastics.

My favorite area -- the data visualization gallery -- demonstrated what thinking beyond Powerpoint could do to understand significant problems: a pulsating earth does a much better job of demonstrating earthquakes than a Richter scale, and the map of Canada's air traffic had my attention for a long time. Ultimately, I think the exhibit might have bitten off more than it could chew, and covered a very broad area without getting deep in any specific one. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Can an MRI be beautiful without understanding what it tells you? Yes -- the role or intersection of data in art is field worth exploring, and that's the level this exhibit heads towards. I would have liked more depth, but it got off to the right start.

Illinois Not Safe From Bad Spinach

An elderly woman in LaSalle County was counted as Illinois' first casualty in a nation-wide problem with contaminated spinach. Over 100 people in 21 states have been made ill due to E. coli on spinach leaves. The FDA is warning consumers not to eat any fresh spinach for the time being.

TECH Cocktail, the Sequel

TECH Cocktail, a social occasion for the Chicago tech scene, has announced its next event: pencil it in for October 12 at The Gramercy. RSVP here.

6 Degrees of Bob Dylan

How well do you know your Dylan trivia? Well enough to connect, say, Sid Vicious to Robert Zimmerman in six steps or less? Find out with Coudal Partners' latest diversion and you could win some cool stuff.

Politically Incorrect with U of C Students

The Maroon, U of C's student newspaper, got edgy in their orientation issue this week with a series of "politically incorrect" restaurant reviews. Read'em here: Hyde Park A-M, N-Z and downtown.

Picture of a Renegade (Craft Fair)

Did you snap some pictures of this past weekend's Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park? If you were a shopper or a vendor who braved the nice (then kinda bad) weather, you should add to the photos going up on Flickr in the Renegade Craft Fair group. I'm hoping someone got a pic of that dude in leopard shorts on the skateboard. Update: Yeah, someone did.

What's Wrong is Nothing New

Its post-Mancow marketing campaign suggested that Q101 was going to fix "what's wrong in Chicago." Never mind endless corruption, a Red Line that barely moves or other social ills; by their estimation, the biggest challenge we face as a city is that morning radio stinks. Like Katie Couric's recent CBS debut, today was to be the day that everything changed. Well, maybe. Color Metblogs unconvinced.

Barack, or Not Barack?

Last week, State Comptroller Dan Hynes made news by holding a press conference to support a presidential candidate who is not, so far as anyone knows, a presidential candidate. That small detail apparently didn't matter much over the weekend, either: the Times reports on Barack Obama's reception at Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry, and whether or not it was a campaign stop doesn't seem to have kept it from being a successful one.

Bionic Woman, Courtesy of Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Claudia Mitchell is the world's first woman to receive a bionic arm, created by the Rehabilitation Insitute of Chicago. Using RIC's Bionic Arm technology, nerves located in Mitchell's shoulder were re-routed and connected to healthy muscle in her chest, allowing the re-routed nerves to grow into the chest muscle and direct signals they once sent to the amputated arm instead to the robotic arm. The result: When Mitchell thinks about moving her arm, it happens, and she's able to complete essential tasks with ease. And this is just a first step; in the future, researchers hope to create advanced bionic arms that provide recipients with full sensation.

Admiring the Greenery

Speaking of green architecture, new blog Green Bean tracks ecologically friendly buildings in and around the city. It's written by Erik Olsen, who's the Green Projects administrator for the Chicago Department of Construction and Permits.

Reporter or Press Secretary? Pt. 2

A few days ago, it was Fran Spielman serving as the voice of the establishment; today, it's Sun-Times business reporter Sandra Guy, with her breathless account of an Osco to CVS makeover. The article is so full of marketing department talking points that CJR Daily hardly has to do any work: it savages the piece by merely pulling quotes.

Weekend Warriors

The New York Times spends another 36 Hours in Chicago, this time hitting the Oriental Institute, Orange, and the Hopleaf among other attractions.

Chicago Politics, Theater Edition

With the nominations for the Jeff Awards announced last week, the Tribune's Chris Jones today addresses the elephant in the room—or perhaps, the lack of elephant: how did Steppenwolf, which spent its 30th anniversary season producing a slate of new plays by major authors ("more world premieres than any major theater in America last season," says Jones), come away with only one Jeff nomination?

Get a Green Roof Grant

Got a roof? Green it up with cash from the city. When you plant on your roof, you help the heat-island effect and decrease water runoff. Interested? Attend an info session on the grant's requirements at the Center for Green Technology on Sept. 19 or 26 from 6-7 pm. Download an application today.

'Fork it over

Idolator, the music industry blog portion of Gawker Media's online empire, introduces a new Friday feature today: Pick of the 'Fork, a challenge for readers to try and identify the tortuously worded sentence that was not used in a Pitchfork review. (Previous stellar example of Pitchfork-mocking: David Cross' essay on fake CDs for real Pitchfork reviews.)

I'll Take Drinking for Nothin', Alex

Chicagoist brings news of potent potables of the complimentary sort, as opens a local outpost.

Garfield Park To Host County Fair

Speaking of gardens, Garfield Park is hosting a County Fair (pdf) this weekend. While there won't be any demolition derby, there will be free music, a farmer's market, crafts, carnival, petting zoo, and plenty of other activities.

Garden Walks And Home Tours This Weekend

If you feel like sampling some of the city's history, both Old Irving Park (NW Side) and Edgewater Glen (N Side) are hosting garden walks and house tours this weekend. For a small chunk of change you can tour the beautiful gardens and old Victorian houses of Chicago. Old Irving is Saturday, and Edgewater is Sunday. To get more details, keep reading.
The info for Old Irving Park tour is not on the website, but the dry cleaners on the 4200 block of W Irving Park has tickets and details. Tickets are $20 at the door and I do not believe reservations are required. Edgewater tours are on Sunday at 1307 W Granville, and available between noon and three. Their website has more detail.

On the Ten-Year Plan

What to make of schools like Northeastern Illinois and Chicago State, where graduation rates are among the country's lowest? That question's raised in today's Times, following on a report issued last spring. Since then, debate has swirled, but no one, it seems, can agree on an answer.

A Quick Plug: Gazooly

We're in the midst of the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, and I just want draw your attention to Gazooly, which stars a good friend of mine. Opens tonight at 9:30pm at the Prop Theater, 3502-04 N. Elston.

Media Central on the North Shore

Don't be surprised if one of the Gawker editors picks up and leaves New York: Jim Romenesko's Evanston condo is for sale.

Hate is alive in Illinois

I like to think of Chicago as a liberal and accepting city. So imagine my surprise when I looked at a map of hate groups created by the Southern Poverty Law Center and was shocked to see the large cluster of hate groups on the Chicago area. Around these here parts we often snidely comment on those down-staters and their ways. Seems like it might be time to look a little closer.

Billy Joel Goes to Wrigley

Kinda, at least: to the tune of that ode on Boomer-dom, it's "Dusty Baker, You Must Get Fired."

The Last Picture Show

Tonight's your last chance to catch a movie at the Esquire Theater on Oak Street. The '30s-era cinema is closing and will be demolished to make way for a planned retail-hotel complex -- because that neighborhood needs another one. The Reader has visitation hours -er, showtimes.

Around the World Market

Interested in the wide variety of ethnic foods available in the city, but not sure where to go to get the best? You might be interested in the Ethnic Grocery Tours offered by Evelyn Thompson.

Little Village Pub Crawl

This is an idea I'd had for awhile but didn't have the time to implement: a Little Village pub crawl. If you're tired of pub crawls that traverse the same North Side haunts, this one is certainly off the beaten path. The fun gets started at Trevino's (31st and Karlov) at 4pm on Friday. Be sure to bring lots of cash and shoes, especially if you'd like to pick up a t-shirt. For more info, check the mailing list archives at the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society.
The route was described roughly as follows: Trevinos (31st & Karlov) to M&Ms (30th & Karlov) to Encanto Michoacano (26th & Kildare) to Miska's Bar (26th & Kedvale) to La Justicia (26th & Springfield) to El Rayo (26th & Avers) to La Jacaranda (31st & Central Park).

Transmission Feature: Smog Veil Records

Click over to the Gapers Block: Transmission page for our Thursday feature on Chicago's Smog Veil Records. Read about Ohio's punk roots transplanted, their green dream and a man named THOR.

How do you fit in?

I love stats. That journalism degree is still providing me use. So when I saw that I could get a lot of stats about my zip code and compare them with others in the city I had to find time to check it out.

World Music Fans, Take a Deep Breath...

The 8th annual Chicago World Music Festival begins tomorrow and will stage dozens of concerts around the city, by artists from a gazillion countries. We've highlighted many of them in Slowdown (mostly the free ones), but you can find a complete schedule here.

Ruckus over Reggae

Tonight, if there's commotion outside the House of Blues, it's because Buju Banton is in, well, the house. The Gay Liberation Network will be protesting the dancehall artist in response to lyrics that graphically portray and advocate the killing of gay men (there are, for instance, Uzis involved). The controversy's no surprise: over the years, a number of Banton's concerts, especially those scheduled in the UK, have been either cancelled or banned due to concerns over hate speech and incitement to violence. [via]

Street Art Exhibition in Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park gallery Reversible Eye is unveiling a mural created inside the gallery to celebrate street art. If you look carefully at street lights and viaducts, you might recognize many of the artists' works. It's one of many events at the gallery as part of its Chicago Artists month.

Nobody Likes Him, but the Worms are All Right

Talking to Chicago Magazine, Sun-Times firebrand Jay Mariotti says hating the player just makes his game more famous.

Do not pass (Chica)go

Got some room on your game shelf next to the Chicago Monopoly, the Chicago Bears Monopoly, and the White Sox Monopoly? Then you'll be needing Monopoly: Here and Now Edition, which includes among its contemporary properties to purchase two Chicago landmarks: Wrigley Field ($3 million to purchase, but a mere $260,000 to rent); and O'Hare Airport (the board game designers, in updating the game to the present day, have replaced the original game's railroads with airports). Monopoly: Here and Now, which has on its board the most popular US properties as voted on by Monopoly fans, goes on sale tomorrow.

Newly Noted Chicago Blogs

Notable blogs from recent submissions on totally awesome George Michael fansite, which is absolutely a delightful guilty pleasure; filled with random delights, had me laughing out loud with Hulk Hogan humor and stories of misleading showers; and "things we hate" which is short and witty and worth a brief visit.

Book Club: The House on Mango Street

The GB Book Club's October selection is Sandra Cisneros's acclaimed novel The House on Mango Street. You can read the introduction on the Book Club page now and join us on Monday, October 9 at the Book Cellar to participate in the discussion.

At Transmission: What a Deal

Wanna see a great show at a cheap price tonight? Head on over to Transmission for the skinny.

Chicago's Climate Exchange

With global warming getting a lot of press recently, it's interesting to note that Chicago hosts North America's first market for trading contracts for CO2 emissions at the Chicago Climate Exchange.

Where's the Designer Beef?

According to this Associated Press article -- which, for some reason, is full of fashion references -- the answer is Chicago. The "hip new food trend" of choosing a meaty entree based on its diet or its lineage is gaining popularity in our steakhouse-lovin' city. And, as Executive Chef Jason Miller of David Burke's Primehouse said, "There aren't very many small people walking around Chicago." Er...

Bet on the Bears, Win Furniture

The Bears gave Brett Favre his first shut-out on Sunday, and by doing so they won free furniture for dozens of customers at World Furniture Mall in south suburban Plano. Owner Randy Gonigam was insured to pay out up to $300,000 worth of furniture, but he never expected it to happen.

Most Newsworthy T-shirt Company

A wee bit late to the party, the Trib has a long article all about this Threadless t-shirt phenomenon we've heard so much about lately.

Ride Your Bike, Get a Friend in Free

Starting Saturday and running through the end of the year, a few simple ways to get 2-for-1 admission to the MCA: drop off your cell phone or batteries for recycling or show your bike helmet. The occasion? The museum's new exhibit, Massive Change, which examines "the future of global design" and calls for responsibility and sustainability in that design. Of course, Tuesdays are always free, but consider this an added bonus for doing what you oughtta.

Trib and Sun-Times ♥ Macy's?

The Columbia Journalism Review Daily takes the city's mainstream media to task for its "uncritical coverage" of the losses of Field's and Carson's. CJR thinks the press could use a little more healthy skepticism about the evolution of State Street; instead, they say, "the coverage has been strangely uncritical, bordering even on the boosterish." What's more, in the stories about the department stores' handovers, the opposing quotes have come largely from the superannuated. Given the strong opinions proffered here in Fuel and the many younger faces at Saturday's anti-Macy's demonstration, I wonder if the dailies really weren't trying hard enough.

Community Murals Destroyed

Speaking of Chicago Street Art, on September 7, the Higher Gliffs murals at the Metra underpass at 47th Street and Lake Park were mistakenly painted over. Among those who worked on the murals are former Art Institute Instructor Mario Gonzalez; founder of the University of Hip Hop, Lavie Raven; and youth organizer Sam Mulberry.

Hang out with Rusty Brown

For the Chris Ware fans in the audience: an eBay auction to get your likeness in a Chris Ware comic sometime in the next two years. Chris will also send you a signed copy of the strip, but only if the winner "doesn't get mad or otherwise grow to despise me if their likeness is construed as satirical, incorrect, unflattering or in any way unliterary."

Chicago Street Art

That's the name of the best darn online repository of the best in Chicago Street Art. Check out this Flickr stream to get regularly updated shots of art, comments by the artists and general inspiration.

Logan Square Good Times

Hey, have you checked out the Paseo Prairie Garden in Logan Square? It's across from the CTA Blue Line. The Garden's looking awesome and it's all thanks to Archi-Treasures, a non-profit that brings art, architecture, environment and community groups together. You can help support the Garden by volunteering on Saturdays or by kicking Archi-Treasures a few bucks. Do it!

Reporter or Press Secretary?

Ostensibly, at least, Fran Spielman is a reporter. But sometimes, by golly, she sounds like she's got a point of view to get across. Check today's lead, for example: "Five months ago, the City Council opened itself up to ridicule by banning foie gras, a controversial delicacy that most Chicagoans have never tasted and cannot afford." Never mind that the entire state of California has taken such a step, so far as I can tell by reading the article, the only people still focused on this "ridicule" are those folk who didn't get their way the first time around. Compared to the Trib's 'just-the-facts' approach, the framing of this piece sure sounds like Foie Gras Follies to me.

Seeing Red at 15 MPH

The last line of John Hilkevitch's column on the misery that is the Red Line these days is nothing if not an indictment of CTA management: "It was assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the CTA learned during its clumsily executed overhaul of the Green Line more than a decade ago that poor service begins the death spiral of plummeting ridership."

Block Party Pix

Photos are still getting posted to flickr from three long days of rocking West Wabansia this weekend. Check the tags HideoutBlockParty, TouchAndGo and Hideout, for starters.

"Big-Box" Boxed?

Back in July, we asked your opinion of the proposed "big-box" ordinance. Today, Mayor Daley has what may be the final say, announcing his veto of the measure. Ald. Joe Moore plans for an override vote later this week, but, with Ald. Manny Flores out of town, the mayor needs only convince one former supporter to switch sides.

A day with Lemony Snicket

If you are interested in Merge stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other post. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of Lemony Snicket's series of books detailing the misadventures of three very unfortunate children, and would like information on Mr. Snicket's forthcoming appearance in the Chicago suburbs (accompanied by a Mr. Stephin Merritt), then please read on.
Lemony Snicket will be embarking on a book tour this October and November, in order to warn people not to read his latest book titled The End, the awful conclusion to his series of books about the Baudelaire children. He will be apprearing at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove on Saturday, November 4 in a several-hours-long event featuring readings, a screening of the Series of Unfortunate Events feature film, music performed by Mr. Snicket and Mr. Merritt, and a book signing (a copy of The End is included in the ticket price). The tickets for this mid-morning and early afternoon of unfortunate events are only $20, and can only be purchased, starting today, from one of the two Anderson's Bookshop locations, in Downers Grove and Naperville. It is my sad duty to record this event, but there is nothing stopping you from skipping this show and attending something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

So I Guess Indy Cars aren't Street Legal

Does anyone know why there was an Indy racecar pulled over on Damen the other night?

September, National Preparedness Month

Fran Maher was General Counsel for United Airlines when the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred; today, she heads the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. With that background, she talked to All Things Considered about the importance of being prepared for disasters. Maher's organization is holding classes this month with that objective: "Get Ready Days" training has already taken place in downtown Chicago, but additional sessions are scheduled next week in Arlington Heights.

The wearing of the green

Some pictures from today's protest of the Marshall Field's name change. I wonder what the protestors thought of this guy's (NSFW) sign, which is only funny if you know who Fred Phelps is.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Spotted in Austin, a bathroom wall tribute to Andrew Bird. Chicago, it seems, "hearts" him. And, speaking of Mr. Bird, is it too soon to start making plans to escape your family and spend some of Thanksgiving weekend with him at Logan Square Auditorium? Of course not! Tickets are available through the Empty Bottle.

Money for Nonprofits

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

The Graft Machine

Slate's "Explainer" asks the $100,000 question: Why is Chicago so corrupt?


In town next month, C4: Chicago Mac Developer Conference.

Block Party Full; No Tickets Left

If you've not bought tickets to the Touch & Go Festival yet, don't bother heading to the Hideout this weekend: there's no more room at the inn. Don't fret, though -- Slowdown has some good alternatives.

Freedom of the Press

Tribune reporter Paul Salopek, jailed in Sudan last month under charges of espionage, will be set free tomorrow, his paper reports. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, in Africa with Salopek's wife, Linda Lynch, and Trib publisher Ann Marie Lipinski, negotiated the release.

"Truthseeking" Journalist Stunned

Christopher Bollyn, a right-wing "truthseeker" and journalist for the American Free Press, was arrested last weekend and shot with a Taser gun. He says it's because of his claims that the Israelis were behind the 9/11 attacks; the cops say they thought he was trying to go get a weapon. We report, you decide.

The Edens is the new Dan Ryan

Starting tonight, Edens Expressway users will now get a taste of what the Dan Ryan commuters have been going through, as work begins this evening on a concrete patching project on the Edens from Lawrence Avenue to Lake-Cook Road. The project, which will cause a series of weekend and overnight closures on the Edens, runs through mid-November, so start getting used to having only one lane open on the Edens on the weekend. (As a reprieve for Northwestern football fans, the closures will not be in effect when NU plays some home games in the next couple of months.)

Notes from the festival

The Toronto International Film Festival started this week, and with Roger Ebert still recuperating from surgery, Jim Emerson (editor-in-chief of Roger's Website) is attenting the festival and writing up dispatches for his Sun-Times blog. If you're missing Ebert's regular commentary on film fest happenings, try checking those out. And speaking of Roger Ebert and film fests, don't forget that the Music Box is showing a series of films taken from Ebert's "Great Movies" columns. This weekend the Great Movie is Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble In Paradise.

Cupcake Crawl

I never really had the constitution for pub crawls. Mixing drinks has always been a personal cocktail for disaster. But a cupcake crawl? Holy buttercream frosting! And in case you are arriving late, you can get location updates for the crawl on your cell phone. Chicago Bites asks you to RSVP for a map. More info Slowdown, of course.

What the City Can Do for You (Redux)

The second of three late-summer City Services Fairs is being held on the West Side this Saturday. (The last one will be held on the South Side next Thursday.) You can get free health screenings, find out about assistance for seniors, or get help with your taxes. Details are in Slowdown.

Threadless Television

You know your business has made it when you're on CNN. Local t-shirt design competition gurus Jake and Jacob of Skinny Corp and Threadless fame were on Anderson Cooper 360 this week. I bet it was Zach Braff who tipped Cooper about it. [via Coudal]

Free Plants for You or Your Community

Next Friday (15 September) is the registration deadline for participating in the Great Perennial Divide, an event that supports community and other shared gardens by distributing free perennials. Individual gardeners can also participate, if they donate plants at the Chicago Center for Green Technology on 23 September. Click here (pdf) for details.

Riding the Rails

When I think of trains, I think of the El, Metra, and Amtrak. But those aren't the only train-lines in town. Freight lines aren't commonly thought of for commuting travel and hoboes are something that kids might dress up like for Halloween, but local writer Stephanie Zinger is trying to change that with her website and upcoming book called Halfway to Hobo. Got a story about hopping lines, avoiding rail goons, or surviving a boxcar scare? She'd love to hear them.

Transmission Feature: Time to Hideout

Already got your tickets to the Hideout Block Party this weekend? Still wavering? If you need a lil' push, or just an idea of how to spend your time, read up on some of our highlights for the weekend's entertainment over at Transmission.

Watch that Scene

An oldie, but a goodie that I don't see that we've ever mentioned on GB: Steve Delahoyde's "238 Miles" or "I Drove for Five Hours, from Chicago to Iowa City, and Listened to ABBA's 'Dancing Queen' the Entire Way."

What to see this weekend

Hey, did you know Mike Judge's new film Idiocracy is now playing in Chicago? Local writer guy Nathan Rabin, afraid that the movie will be under-marketed like Judge's classic film Office Space, clues you in to what you're missing.

The Underwhelming Answer

Spotted the taxi ads asking What's Wrong With Chicago? Turns out it's Q101 doing the asking, and their answer is there's no good morning radio show. That the radio station would present their replacement for Mancow as the answer to all the city's ills is mildly disheartening, especially when the audio clips provided, ostensibly as previews, are the same tired song parodies and flaming-Lance-Bass jokes found on every morning show in America. The show premieres Monday the 18th.

Name that Lemon and Lime

Local purveyor of cute pickle-and-meat-themed cuddlers Mr. Pickles is sponsoring a contest to name two of its characters: the Scurvy Friends. Declaring September as Scurvy Prevention Month, they've got their new calendar ready for download, along with the details for the contest on their website. (Also look for their table at next week's Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park.)

Evacuation Drill to Go Incredibly Smoothly

What could possibly go wrong during tomorrow's evacuation drill in the Loop? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the Trib's got information about closes streets and rerouted buses. CTA customers are optimistically requested to "allow extra travel time" for their Thursday evening commute.

Is it Payday Yet?

For all the accountants, corporate controllers, payroll personnel and the people who love them, it's officially National Payroll Week! Whether you take that direct-deposit for granted or you feel payroll is the most important department in your company, join in on the financial fun! To raise awareness, Citibank is hosting a series of financial workshops at Columbia College Chicago.

Reconstruction Room:Remix and Release

The Reconstruction Room, the bi-weekly reading series at the Black Rock, celebrates the release of its first CD, rec poetica, tonight with a reading of "Rec Room remixes" curated by Dave Snyder. The (free) show starts at 8pm, the CD is $7 and the Black Rock is on Damen just north of Addison.

Sorry, Grandma

Perhaps emboldened by the record number of bank robberies this year, a 79-year-old woman attempted to rob a downtown Bank of America yesterday with a toy gun. When the teller didn't comply with her demands, the woman left the bank, but was apprehended by police shortly thereafter.

The Politics of Braiding

In 2001, braiders, twisters and lockticians came under the purview of the state Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Prior to that, they'd just done their thing; suddenly, they were required to go to cosmetology school and be licensed in techniques they had no interest in practicing. This week, the Reader profiles, among others, Taalib-Din Uqdah, who calls himself a "modern-day abolitionist," and Amazon Smiley, the local "queen of the braiders," as they seek to emancipate themselves from the Illinois Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics and Nail Technology Act.

Book Club: Sons of the Rapture

Welcome to the Book Club's new weekly feature, where we'll offer more than just introductions to our latest selections. Today we present a review of Todd Dills's debut novel, Sons of the Rapture. Check back every Wednesday for something new in the Chicago literary scene.

For His Next Trick, Prince Todd Needs a Volunteer

Candidate Stroger announces, if elected, he'd establish "an inspector general's office that is independent of politics and free to investigate any claims of corruption filed against any county official." Since, you know, there are so many Cook Co. jobs independent of politics. (By way of comparison, the current inspector general, whom he couldn't name but whose position Stroger says he'll make "'tougher, more independent,'" donated over $3,000 to Stroger's father's campaign.)

Getting Weird in Chicago

Over at Metroblogging Chicago, contributor Artemis gives a thumbs up to Weird Chicago Tours, a 3-4 hour citywide tour of Chicago's most unusual locations, from the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to Underpass Mary. The tours started this past weekend, and run Friday and Saturday nights through November, in case you need some weird inspiration in the Halloween season.

The Best of What You're Not Clicking

Congrats to Chicago blogs (and FoGB) Bookslut and Coudal Partners who were chosen by PCmagazine as part of their list of the Top 99 Websites You Don't Know About. Of course, we know, and we love.

Field's Fans Unite One Last Time

Fans of Marshall Field's have one last chance to demonstrate their anger with the department stores' conversion to Macy's. At 9:30am on September 9, the day of the official switch-over, FieldsFansChicago is holding a protest in front of the State Street store.

Chicago: Present at the Creation

NPR's Present at the Creation provides unique insight to some Chicago-related icons. Our fair city pops up in some obvious place like Animal House, A Raisin in the Sun , and Nighthawks, but it's also there for Cracker Jacks!

Not to Scale

Here's a nice gift for the archiecture and/or Frank Lloyd Wright fan in your life: the desktop Mile High skyscraper.

More Red Eyes

Apparently we can't get enough of the Red Eye. The Tribune is predicting its free weekdaily tabloid will be profitable this year, and is upping the circulation 50 percent to 150,000 and adding more boxes around the city.

Happy Birthday, Louie!

Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Louis Sullivan (sesquicentennial, for big-word lovers), and groups all over Chicago are celebrating with free and ticketed tours, discussions, films, classes, and other events for the next six weeks. We highlight a lot of the good stuff in Slowdown, but click here for every last detail.

Where Do You Click When Love Dies?

Among other things, dating in the MySpace era is complicated by having to announce one's "status" clearly. James Kenler, who owns Chicago's Flameshovel Records, learned that the hard way earlier this year when a friend informed him his now ex-girlfriend switched her profile to "single" after a row; Kenler, on the other hand, thought they were still talking things through. Emblems of modern romance, the two of them told their tale to the Sunday Times. (And, ladies, James followed suit: he's single, too.)

Nifty Headline Of The Week Award

Cool headline of the week award goes to The Chicago Journal for their lead article, Geezerpalooza. (Oh, and they're going from a broadsheet to a tabloid format too, so look for the new layout.)

Lech Would Be Proud

Taste of Polonia has much more than just pierogis. Yes, they have Polish Elvis. Yes, they have polka. Yes, they have Funky Polak, a Polish hip-hop artist. More tribute bands than a bad suburban nightclub (ARRA or Think Floyd anyone?). And if that wasn't enough, Autograf is playing Greatest Polish Hits of the 80s. Head out to Jefferson Park to catch this totally fun street festival.

Vote for the Best

Time once again to vote in Newcity's Best of Chicago survey. You have two weeks to cast your ballot, and then the Best of Chicago issue shows up on September 28.

Humanities Festival Head Start

Tickets don't go on sale till the 5th (if you're a member) or the 18th (if you're not) but you can start browsing the program (pdf) for the Chicago Humanities Festival (this year's theme: Peace and War) now. So as soon as registration opens you'll be set take your pick (of events like a Joan Baez concert; presentations by documentarian Errol Morris, novelist Louise Erdrich, historian Taylor Branch, and cartoonist Garry Trudeau; conversations with Laura Kipnis, Jonathan Schell, and Scott Simon...) before the stampede.

"He just wanted his glasses repaired"

The prosecution of Benny the Bull, the Chicago Bulls mascot who took a swing at a police officer at the Taste of Chicago in July (because, lest we forget, the officer was trying to get Benny to stop riding around on a small motorcycle at the Taste), came to an end today as prosecutors dropped charges after Benny paid $200 to have the officer's glasses repaired.

OUT: Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

IN: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
(Read the news release.)

Last Free Friday Evening @ AIC

After Labor Day, the Art Institute's schedule changes, so this is your last chance to check out the museum's collection (and live jazz) on a Friday night. (At least until AIC next changes its schedule.) AIC will continue to be open (and free) Thursday evenings.

The Superfan to Beat All Superfans

You may think you are the Bears' biggest fan. But you pale in comparison to this guy.



GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15