Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, July 22

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Chicago's Crazy for the Crafty

Seriously! There are a craftload of shows and sales this weekend. So, um, why are you going to the mall? Local First Chicago might be able to tell you exactly why buying local is buying better.

Transmission Contest: For a Lucky Baker's Dozen

Check out our local music blog Transmission for your chance at a free pack of autographed CDs, (plus more!) from our featured band, Utah Carol!

More Help for CPS Students

Following last month's announcement from Roosevelt University, IIT is offering Chicago Public Schools students a full ride, provided they meet admissions and financial criteria.

Unaccompanied Minors, Accompanied by TAL Host

Unaccompanied Minors, a feature film based on a This American Life episode, makes its Chicago premier Sunday, 12/3 at 1pm at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. TAL host Ira Glass will be on hand to talk about how radio translates to the big screen, and director Paul Feig will do a Q&A. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for kids 12 and under. More info and ticket purchasing at Chicago Public Radio.

Unspin Your City

Amazon just unveiled Unspun, a new ranking site where users rank such things as the best small live music venues in Chicago, best websites about the city, best coffee houses... lots here, and lots to do to clean up duplicates and typos. (It runs on Ruby on Rails, but this isn't the rumored Amazon-37signals collaboration.)

In December, Winter Parking Rules

Don't forget that as of 3am on December 1 (tonight), Chicago's Winter Parking rules go into effect. Some streets sport the complete ban on parking from 3am–7am Dec. 1–April 1, regardless of snowfall. Other streets let you park as long as there's less than 2 inches of snow on the ground, but if it snows enough, you can get in trouble any time of the day. Take care, check the snow-filled weather forecast, and move your sweet ride before the city does it for you.

Transmission Feature: Utah Carol

A "Utah Carol" is: A: The nickname for a gal from one of the western states. B: A song about a cowboy who dies in a stampede. C: A snappy singer-songwriter duo that you're not listening to (yet). D: All of the above. Get the answer now in Transmission's Thursday feature.

Sing, Sing a Song

You've been hearing about live band karaoke for years, but you've never tried it. Well, now that the holidays are here, there's no excuse: get up there and belt out "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" or "Jingle Bell Rock" to break the ice. You can blame it on the egg nog if you bomb.

Get Drunk With Santa(s)

The Annual Santa Rampage/Get Drunk With Santa event is happening on Saturday, Dec 16th. (The bike community is hosting their rampage on the same day, but the details haven't been announced yet.)

"What's Your Fantasy?" Obama 2008!

As fellow Illinois senator Dick Durbin drummed up support for Barack Obama's possible presidential bid, Obama met with Ludacris earlier today. "We talked about empowering the youth," the rapper said. No word on whether Pepsi was served.

No, not Ebert, Roeper, Take Roeper

Part of our ongoing "we-wish-Roeper-would-just-go-away" coverage, Rob Federer reports in his Sun Times column today that NPR host Peter Sagal will be filling in for Roger Ebert this week on "Ebert and Roeper At The Movies". A disappointment -- Ebert and Sagal would be a much more entertaining combo than the current setup.

Charlie Trotter II

It's going to be a while, but Charlie Trotter is planning on opening a new restaurant in the Elysian Hotel. Yum!

Holla Back, Chitown

The Trib has an article about online sites where victims of street harassment can vent and call out their attackers. A small sidebar to the piece fails to mentions the Chicago version of the original NYC site, called HollaBack Chicago. There, you can read and submit experiences with unwelcome advances, leerings, gropings, and the like, and even send in pictures if you happen to snap one.

Keep Yer Movie Away from My Manger

There's room at the Christkindlmarket for a nativity scene (as well as Islamic and Jewish holiday symbols), but not for The Nativity Story. The movie was dropped as a sponsor because the City thought the marketing was "too aggressive."

It's Time to Get Crafty, Depart-ment Style

It's that time of year again when our pocket books decrease and our closets get filled with gifts for giving. So, why not this year steer clear of big guys in brand names, and head for the individual artisan, and you can find them all under a single roof at the DEPART-ment. It's one-stop shopping — the crafty way. Items such as clothing, wallets, art and more are for sale, and are displayed on familiar racks and wall-hangings so you can still sift through the mad-holiday rush. Note to shoppers: this is cash only joint, so put the plastic away this time. If you forget your green, ATMs are located inside the building. Crafty shopping commences Dec. 1st.

Book Club: Reading Under the Influence

If you think drinking goes well with writing, just imagine how beautifuly it goes with reading. Get out your drink of choice, pour yourself a shot and prepare to get interactive with your reading. This week's Book Club feature reviews RUI: Reading Under the Influence, a monthly reading series that caters not just to serious drinkers, but serious readers, too.

A Good Offense

To say that comedian Lisa Lampanelli is "politically incorrect" is like saying Michael Richards "ruffled a few feathers." The difference is that Lampanelli does it on purpose, and she's actually funny. Lampanelli gained notoriety from her appearances on several Comedy Central roasts, particularly that of Pam Anderson (the YouTube clip is here, but even with the bleeping it's still not work-safe). She was later invited for a couple of clean-but-still-dirty visits to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and now she's headlining her own tour. Lampanelli does two shows at the Vic this weekend, and they're both 18 and up for good reason. Details and Ticketmaster links in Slowdown.

Red Line Power Troubles

Attention there, Loop commuters. As of 3:51pm this afternoon, the CTA is alerting customers to a rather sticky problem with the northbound Red Line at the Jackson station which is rippling north. Northbound Red Line trains are (as of this posting) being rerouted onto the elevated structure between Roosevelt and Fullerton, with no additional shuttles running. The current Loop stops are as follows: Roosevelt, all stations along Wabash and Lake, Merchandise Mart, then trains will run express to Fullerton to resume regular northbound routing to Howard. Southbound Red Line service is not affected. [UPDATE: As of 5:24pm, Red Line Northbound service is running normally, but still expect some delays.]

Populated Street Photography

Photographer Lee Balterman shot Chicago in the '50s and '60s, and unlike many of his street photography compatriots, he included people -- lots of people. [via]

You're such a slouch!

That is, if you follow the advice of research reported in today's Chicago Tribune, promoting sitting back in your chair at a 135-degree angle as a healthier alternative to sitting up straight. So if you're leaning forward right now to read this on your monitor, pump up the font size and lean back!

Wither the Rhino-topped Choco-apple?

Praytell where one might find this bizarre confection? It's in the Chicago Cuisine flickr pool, so it must be local. Shoot an email to inbox @ gapersblock if you can enlighten us. UPDATE: It's available somewhere in the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Center. (Thanks, Mary and Laura!)

Electric Train to Peotone

Should the proposed Peotone airport ever get built, Metra is ready to provide service.

Santa seats

Some shots of this year's CTA Holiday Train, courtesy of the Chicago blog Looper. Keep your eye on the "holidaytrain" tag on Flickr for more shots, and your other eye on the CTA's Holiday Train schedule to see when to catch the train.

It's No "I'd Rather Be Fishing"

But Chicago vehicle stickers are mandatory, so it's nice that you can have some say on what will adorn your windshield. "Green Scene Chicago" is the theme of Chicago's 2007-2008 sticker, and you can vote for your favorite of the student-designed contenders between 9 AM and 5 PM today at the City Clerk's web site.

Say "Thank You"

The Metblogs network is getting into the holiday spirit by having its local bureaus list "seven gifts their cities share with the world." The first Chicago entry is improvisational comedy; initial entries for other cities run the gamut, from Flickr to the Montreal Protocol.

Anti-Social Goes To Vegas

There are two columnists in Chicago I absolutely can't stand, Richard Roeper and Liz Armstrong. Fortunately, within a few weeks, that list is going to be down to one: Liz Armstrong (of the Reader's "Anti-Social" column) is moving to Vegas. Hopefully, what goes to Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Try Out A Sake Tasting And Workshop

Do you like sake? I mean, do you really like sake? Andersonville wine eporium In Fine Spirits is having a sake tasting on Wednesday at their store. In addition to tasting sake, you'll learn about how it is made, as well as its history. The class requires a $25 deposit, which is good towards sake purchased after the event. This happens on Wednesday, call 773-506-WINE to reserve a spot.

A Big Guide to the Web

Big Fat Blog, a fat acceptance blog written by GB alum Paul McAleer, recently launched the Big Fat Index, a guide to FA websites and other resources.

In The Black

Happy Black Friday, "the busiest shopping day of the year." The Tribune and Sun-Times both assure readers that Chicagoans are, believe it or not, out shopping. If you're just waking from a tryptophan coma, you've probably missed out on PS3s and $474 52" HD TVs, so shop smarter, not harder. (You don't even have to leave your desk.)

Thanksgiving Help

If you're scrambling for Thanksgiving dinner options and ideas, allow us to point you to last week's Detour feature, "Taking Care of Turkey Day," as well as One Good Meal this week and last -- and, for that matter, last year and the year before too! Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow: Indo-Jew Bowl VII

Forget Miami v. Detroit. For the seventh straight year, Skokie shows the world how it's done by pitting Semite against Sikh on the gridiron, all in the name of collecting canned food. Details are in Slowdown.

A Few Open Spots

Need high visibility, a great audience, intelligent readers and the kind of people you like to flock to your show/product/service? Well, we have just a few spots open in the upcoming week on our new Text Ads system. Come get one!

Lupe Breaks Out

Lupe Fiasco's star just keeps rising: GQ named him the Breakout Man of the Year, and he'll be on "the Late Show with David Letterman" tonight. Check Transmission to find out how to see him free at the Park West Friday night.

Really Quick Review: Stocks And Blondes

Super friendly owner, good food, over 10 different beers on tap at reasonable prices, Wheel Of Fortune, Christmas lights above the bar--in a word, Stocks And Blondes is after-work bar perfection. Still not enough? Take a trip to the bathroom, find a card for the other Stocks and Blondes business, The Stocks And Blondes Shoppe. Highly recommended. Stocks And Blondes, 36 N Wells.

Reader Blogs Up

The Reader has added two more blogs to its growing stable: The Food Chain covers restaurants, while On Film covers -- well, you can probably guess.

An American Home

Over at YoChicago, they posted a photo of a $1.45 million Lakeview home with an American flag engraved on the address plate ...and all hell broke loose in the comments.

Walt's Favorite Multiplex

Did you know Walt Disney grew up in Chicago?

Drink, Post, and Be Merry

Local foodie message board has a new section dedicated solely to beverages.

Listen To The Wild Life of Chicago May

A great counterpoint to the well-known Devil In The White City is the story of Chicago May, a prolific thief who robbed men worldwide but earned her name here in Chicago. The wonderful Wisconsin radio program "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" interviews the author of a new partially-fictional account of her life.

Plan B at Planned Parenthood

In case you find your self in an unhappy position, kinda like the one Brienne imagined, you should know you can receive Plan B at any of the 10 Planned Parenthood locations in the Chicago area, as well as at the Chicago Women's Health Center. And Shasta MacNasty and her readers did some legwork and sharing about this pill and how to get it.

Breakfast -- It's What's for Lunch

Since a new Cereality opened a block from where I work in Evanston (although you wouldn't know it online, since their site hasn't been updated *ahem*) I decided to snag a coupla co-workers to eat with me. The verdict? It's better than we thought. $4 will get you two scoops of either hot or cold cereal (real oatmeal, people!), and your choice of milk (although soy milk does cost 50 cents extra), along with one topping of your choice. And even though it's a slick chain, and even though it's gimmicky, and even though you can buy a box of cereal for a little more than you get in one of their bowls, it was fun and I'm likely going back. And they use decent cinnamon on the oatmeal. I oughta know, you know.

Catch a Chick Flick Tonight

Tonight's your first chance to catch the new improved Thax Douglas, Rock Star™. His band, Chicken and the Chick Flicks, performs at the Beat Kitchen tonight at 5:30pm (ahead of Pat McCurdy's regular Monday night gig.)

Holiday Treats

The cartoonist Chris Ware must not have much spare time: he's drawn four separate covers for this week's New Yorker, each designed around the theme of Thanksgiving. Plus, there's a companion strip on the inside of the mag, and the New Yorker site has some interview audio of Ware talking about the series.

Get Your Competitive Design Out DWR-style

Design Within Reach North Avenue is holding their third annual furniture competition, MODERN + DESIGN + FUNCTION: Chicago Furniture Now. So, if you think your Mid-Century Modern idealism is top notch and you have found a new way to turn heads with that sway-back chair you made, this contest is for you! Up-and-comers will be judged by a panel of 25 local Chicago architecture, art, design and fashion experts. The deadline in January, 12.

Where not to go

The Sun-Times gives you a list of the 12 Chicago restaurants with the most health code violations. If you're interested in finding out if your favorite hangout has any major health code violations on record, you can find violations of Chicago restaurants posted online at the Department of Public Health Website.

Version 2.0

Chicagoist gets a makeover, and a fine one, at that.

Gathered in the Agora

Edward Lifson, host of WBEZ's "Hello Beautiful," offers a wonderful play-by-play of the dedication of Magdalena Abakanovicz's Agora public sculpture in Grant Park.

Bars Raise a Red (or Blue, or Yellow) Flag

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chicago has more than its fair share of college alumni bars, and hypothesizes that it's because (sorry, Northwestern) we lack a local football powerhouse to root for.

Help Locate A Missing Chicagoan

The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR-Chicago) has asked everyone for help in locating Chicagoan Irfan Vora; if you have any information you can contact the people listed on the press release.

New And Notable Chicagobloggers

A few new blogs on worth mentioning: an entertaining real estate blog by "Real Estate Ninja" explains how underpriced the new $300 realtor parking pass is (i.e., two weeks of tickets), a fruitcake blog, mousebacon shows us the craziest house in Chicago, and very well-written blog Bella Rossa caught my attention with this post title: "Gabriel Garcia Marquez Shoots Reese Witherspoon, and I Can't Walk in These Heels." All worth your time.

Johnny Five, Alive!

A number of robots will soon see action in Chicago. Oh, and one of them is named "Frank."

What It Is

By way of again plugging the Crispin Glover movie and appearance at the Music Box this weekend, allow me to point you to an interview with the auteur on 848 this morning, and a review of the film by our very own Steve at the Movies.

Still A-Spiring

In case you've been wondering, that Calatrava-designed "spire" building proposed for the lake shore is still in development, but the name has been changed from Fordham to Chicago after the original developer bowed out. Here's the whole team as it stands now. Still no start date for construction, though.

The Whitewater of Hyde Park

It had to happen at some point: the Barack Obama's bum real estate deal ended up in the national media today, as Morning Edition broadcast a story describing the arrangement's shady appearance as a mar to the senator's sunny image.

Not Quite Switzerland

If you're looking to leave the city for (heaven forbid) the suburbs, BusinessWeek recommends the Village of Lake Zurich as an "affordable" option. Sure, it's forty miles away, but median home price is "only" $400,000. Happy househunting!

The Virtual Quad

Since college kids don't have enough online personae to manage, what with MySpace pages, Facebook profiles and Xanga blogs, UIC is exploring the possibility of a school-wide implementation of LiveJournal. The goal? Building community via an informal mode of student, faculty and staff interaction.

Milton Friedman Dead at 94

Milton Friedman, University of Chicago Nobel laureate in economics, passed away today.

Hot Tix Online

Everyone's favorite discount ticket outlet, Hot Tix, is going online! Right now, they're just offering online tix for a few shows, but they're adding more in the next few months. Let the impulse buying begin!

Imagine how big his desk drawer is

The world's largest rubber-band ball is coming to town. Eugene, Oregon resident Steve Milton created a ball 5 1/2 feet high and weighting over 4,000 pounds. To celebrate his achievement, Office Max is flying him and his ball to town, where he will officially be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records next Tuesday. I expect to see plenty of photos of this event on Flickr.

Local Economy Flagging?

Jill Jaracz attended the City of Chicago's Sharing It Banner Auction, and notes that this year's bids were far lower than last year's.

Bigots Rejoice! Craigslist is OK!

Follow-up from February: A federal judge ruled that Craigslist was not liable for running housing ads that discriminated against particular groups of people. The ruling stated that CL is a service, not a publisher, and therefore is protected under the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Swap 'Til You Drop

Swap Simple is on at the Hopleaf tonight from 7 pm until midnight. Just bring your unwanted books, DVDs and video games and swap 'em for stuff other people bring. Drop your stuff at the door and get tickets in return. Then "purchase" your new stuff with these tickets. And plus there's all that yummy, yummy beer for sale at the delightful Hopleaf bar. For questions, contact [at] swapsimple [dot] com.

NY imitates CHI

Foie gras-wise, anyway. Activists are beseeching a state judge to shut down farms that produce the fattened duck liver, with a new angle: the conditions in which they live have made the birds "diseased" and unfit for consumption.

Transmission Feature: 5 for Review

Today, get a quintuple dose of music news you can use at Transmission. Two writers tackle five of the best new jazz and blues releases from two solid Chicago music labels. What longtime, now lost, South Side bar was the home to one of the best blues recordings? What prolific local jazz saxophonist is still churning out winners at an amazing rate? Check it out at your stop for Chicago music, Transmission.

Hoosier Mama Pie Benefit

The Hoosier Mama Pie Company, in addition to offering very tempting pies for order online, is having a benefit. Stop by Kitchen Chicago at 4664 N Manor on Saturday--$5 gets you a slice of pie and a cup of joe from Metropolis. All of the proceeds will go to the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository and the pie goes to your belly -- it's good practice for Thanksgiving.

Mascara Runs on Grand Scale

Downtown ad agency Leo Burnett is behind a weather-sensitive billboard for cosmetics that's got the internet going nuts.

Blink and You'll Miss Him

Jay-Z will be swinging through Chicago for half an hour on Saturday as part of a seven-airport tour of the country in support of his new album, Kingdom Come. Anybody know exactly where he'll perform? Or even which airport he'll be at? Email us at inbox[at]

Make Rolly Fingers Proud

Ever want to grow a mustache, but afraid that people will ridicule you? Well, here's your opportunity: register to participate in Mustaches for Kids and when someone makes fun of your 'stache, you can say, I'm growing it for charity."

Slow CTA trains: get used to it

The Sun-times reports that the CTA can't afford to fix the problems that create the slow spots on its train lines. CTA president Frank Kreusi puts the figure at fixing all of the problems at $500 million; as a comparison, the amount of money in next year's CTA budget for fixing some Red and Blue Line slow spots is a mere $35.7 million. So expect delays for several years.

"I work in a eats house"

Found in a 1913 book: sketches by an unknown Chicagoan who apparently worked as a waiter. In the comments of this blog post, some speculate it's the work of Chicago cartoonist and animator Andy Hettinger.

Reeling Dealt a Blow

Chicago Filmmakers and Reeling, the gay and lesbian film festival, were robbed last night. The thieves got away with cash and with unprocessed credit card slips; if you used a credit card to buy tickets at the door for any Reeling screening at Chicago Filmmakers or at the Music Box, you're encouraged to keep an eye on your account and report any unauthorized purchases to Reeling (and, of course, to your financial institution).

Yes, Our Cabbies are That Good

One might think that 5,700 complaints against Chicago cab drivers would be a record high, but it's a 17% drop.

Pitchfork on Ritscher

Pitchfork has a long, thoughtful obit for Malachi Ritscher. Worth reading. (Thanks, Jen.)

We Warned Them

The CEO of Federated Department Stores tells the Trib that the switch from Marshall Field's to Macy's has been tougher than expected. Duh. However, the former Field's stores helped Federated report its best months ever in September and October.


Set your alarm clock: tomorrow morning at 8:00, complimentary tickets will be available for the annual LaSalle Bank Do-It-Yourself Messiah. This is the 31st year for the event, which allows an audience of amateur singers to perform the chorus parts of Handel's Messiah at the Civic Opera House. Check the LaSalle Bank Website for details on the event, tips on preparing for the performance, and times and dates for the event.

Busy Theater Schedule

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote 365 short works in one year and starting, er, yesterday, 52 theater companies are going to perform them all -- each is performing seven of the plays over the course of a week. Andersonville's Dog and Pony Theatre is first in line; check here for the full schedule. And, for more on the genesis of the project, there's this recent profile of Parks from the New Yorker.

Here! Hooks You Up

Gay TV network here! came to town this summer on a quest for "Love & Sex." From the resulting video, we learn, among other things, that the city is leather-centric, home as it is to the Leather Archives in Rogers Park. Crew, in Uptown, gets recognized as one of the world's greatest gay sports bars (not quite the title claimed by its URL, but close...) But, lest the impression be too one-track, keep in mind that "Chicago has a lot more to offer than just one-night stands and sugar daddies." There's, like, history and stuff!

That's a Lot of Campers

Recent Detour subjects 37signals hit a big milestone today: a million users of its Basecamp software.

Sexual Assault in Logan Square

An unfortunate call for extra caution when traveling alone, a woman was attacked as she walked home late Sunday night from the Logan Square blue line stop. The crime occurred at the 2700 block of North Albany Avenue, and the assailant was described as a Hispanic male wearing a white turtleneck and blue jeans. If you have any information, please call Grand Central Area detectives at (312) 746-8282.

Another Bid Bites the Dust

Today, San Francisco officially dropped out of the contest to become the U.S. nominee for Olympic host in 2016. The city lost serious face last week when the 49ers decided to move the team's stadium to Silicon Valley, effectively dissing San Francisco in the eyes of the Olympic Committee. Chicago will now compete head-to-head with Los Angeles, in an effort to get the USOC to like them best.

Cut Down Too Soon

The Bears may have won, but Chicago's bid for rock-paper-scissors supremecy was cut short this weekend. Local teacher Jason Kieronski lost in the first round of the world RPS championship in Toronto.

Support Supportive Housing

Alderman Rey Colon will be meeting with Logan Square residents tonight at 7pm at the Armitage Baptist Church, 2451 N. Kedzie, to discuss a proposal to turn the building at 2800 N. Milwaukee into a supportive housing residence -- permanent affordable housing and social services for people who have been homeless and/or have disabilities. More info at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association's site. (Thanks, Jen!)

NEA to NPR: Don't Dump Music

Just in time for the impending format overhaul at WBEZ, the National Endowment of the Arts has issued a harsh rebuke of National Public Radio. With their growing tendency to sideline music programming, a report by the agency charges, NPR stations are effectively shrugging off their cultural mission.

Claim Your Spot

We're full up this week but in the next two weeks (and beyond), we have spots open in our new Text Ads calendar. Text ads? Yep, those, right up top there, on every page on the site.

Do I Say "Buy 'em" or "Sold"?

As the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange prepare to merge, trading floor culture may become an issue.

An Evening of Dance

Fancy an evening of dance, anyone? The Dance Chicago Festival, which runs through December 3rd, showcases more than 26 innovative performances from some of the city's best dancers and choreographers. The New Moves Festival, one of the 10 programs of the festival, is something to see. I especially enjoyed the Gus Giordano breakdancers, who stole Friday night's show. The Director's Choice program, which features the best performances from the New Moves Festival, takes place on November 17th and 18th.

What is it? Find out next weekend

We were at the Music Box this weekend and noticed that the theater has added a third night to next weekend's screening of Crispin Glover's bizarre film What Is It? Mr. Glover himself will be at the theater to present the film (along with an accompanying slide show dubbed "The Big Slide Show"); if that sounds like your idea of a good time, check out Slowdown for Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Goodbye Gunther's

The Bastion comedy blog reports that Gunther Murphy's has been sold and will be closing December 1 for remodeling. That means Tuesday night's Chicago Underground Comedy showcase will be finding a new home. No word on what the news means for live music at Gunther's, but considering that ChUC cast member Mike Bridenstine says the bar's being turned into a "Lincoln Park-style Trixie bar", it doesn't look good.

BO, no A/C

Apparently the power to the CTA Red Line was shut off this morning, a move prompted by a defective Red Line train that had damaged about 100 feet of the third rail. The CTA Tattler has an eye-witness account that should give you some idea of what to be prepared for in the event of a shut-down train.

Apartment Therapy's Top Choices

Apartment Therapy Chicago is putting together a best-of list with your help -- over the next few weeks, add your two cents for bests in a variety of categories; your first being shops for modern gifts.

Urban Renewal and Ugly Ducklings for Humboldt Park

Remember the ugly duckling tale? Well it looks like there is a new beauty swimming in the pond of urban renewal. Though the process took over 10 years to come to fruition (ahem), The Harold Washington Housing Co-op in Humboldt Park was developed by Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and local builders. Fannie Mae Foundation thinks the new site is brightening up the neighborhood too, and have named the co-op 2006's "most impressive overall housing benefit" in the country. [via]

Base Camp Best Buy

Console Camp, a new, Chicago-based game console blog, carries news and will provide details about the best camping spots for the Wii and the PS3. And in the spirit of democratic media, you can even post to it via email!

Redevelopment Goes Both Ways

As a sort of companion piece to the NYTimes article about our city being overrun with condos, here's a story in the Wall Street Journal about the successful conversion of the old Montgomery Ward warehouse into the flourishing 600 West Chicago.

Chicago vs. LA for 2016?

Chicago's Olympic hopes may have gotten a boost this week, as San Francisco appears to be taking itself out of the running after the 49ers nixed plans for a new stadium there.


For its Chicago Fame 150, Newcity determined celebrity the 21st century way: it compiled a list of Google hits. Winning by a landslide, Oprah. No surprise there. The methodology does lead to some odd results: surely more people know who Hugh Hefner (19) is than Rod Blagojevich (17)? Still, there are amusing comparisons to be made. Jim DeRogatis (93) handily beats out Greg Kot (136), while Crede (77) slides in one spot above Iguchi (78).

See Bill Gates On Us!

Chopin Theatre is in the midst of I-Fest, its annual international solo theatre series. As a special offer to GB readers, the first 10 people to call or email and include the message "Gapers Block has me covered" will get a pair of tickets to this Sunday's performance of Windows, or Must We Imagine Bill Gates Happy? for free! (If you speak German, you might also be interested in Clemons Schick's performance Saturday in his native language.)

Check Your Labels

A manufacturer of acetaminophen (you might call it Tylenol, but this concerns the generic pain reliever) has recalled over 11 million bottles of its product after finding small metal fragments in a portion of a batch. If you bought 500mg acetaminophen at any of these retailers, the FDA has released a list of affected batch numbers which can be checked on your bottle. If you have questions, you can call Perrigo, the manufacturer, at (877) 546-0454.

Transmission Feature: Joe Pernice

Today on Transmission, and tonight at Schubas, check out Joe Pernice and his band, the Pernice Brothers. Plus, time to get something for nothing, just check Transmission for details.

New On GB

There's a new feature in Slowdown: We've teamed up with local startup Planypus to allow you to quickly and easily make plans with friends to go to any event on our calendar. It's sort of a mix of Upcoming and Evite; we hope you like it. Also, we've launched text ads -- see the top of the page? -- as an affordable way to advertise concerts, plays, shops, etc. Learn more here.

Independent News In Training

A group of graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism recently founded The Methods Reporter to share their unpublished work. The stories have a broad range, and they have particularly interesting coverage of community-based arts.

They Like Him. They Really Like Him.

As a barometer of his popularity, Barack Obama could do worse than refer to his book sales. The senator's The Audacity of Hope, currently ranked 5th among books on Amazon and set to be no. 1 on the Times non-fiction list Sunday, has become nothing short of a best-seller. In less than a month, it has sold 182,000 copies and is in its seventh printing. By way of comparison, Trent Lott's latest has moved a mere 11,000 units since its publication in August 2005; Jesse Helms has fared even worse at 3,000.

Bell's Update -- And A Way To Still Get It has some more detail about the Bell's beer situation (and general lack thereof in Illinois) and a sensible explanation of the whole brewer-distributor-retail legal situation. Also, like the lovely beer dorks they are, they offer a way to get it shipped from a liquor store in Iowa.

No More Street Sweeping Tickets

An organization called Smarter Government aims to fix the city's ills -- but first they might want to fix their website. Only two pages are available right now, but one is a pretty darn useful to cityfolk with cars: sign up here and get an email alert letting you know when the street sweepers are coming by, so you don't forget to move your car. (Thanks, Atul!)

But Where Has Dale Rivera Gone?

Each month, I look forward to another 30 minutes of CTA propaganda in the form of Connections. I say "propaganda," but that's tongue-in-cheek: the show has actually taught me a lot. It runs nightly on several municipal channels, but if you don't have cable or you want to watch it "on the move," download or stream it from [via]

Martyred for Peace?

Malachi Ritscher, a local musician and peace activist, apparently set himself on fire on the side of the Kennedy last week as a protest against the Iraq War. I recall hearing a mention of this as a suicide on traffic reports, but never the political side of it. UPDATE: Peter Margasak has much more information on Post No Bills.

Getting Sexy This Fall

While we begin shiver season, the Star and Garter Burlesque crew takes it off and yukks it up. Check out their striptease act, featuring "America's Got Talent" semi-finalist Michelle L'Amour, plus some of the funniest stand-ups in Chicago. Star and Garter is putting on their show every Thursday in November at Fizz. It's just $10. Get tix here.

Book Club: Featherproof Light Reading Series

Featherproof Books is more than a publisher of full-length novels -- they also feature individual short stories for free download. To learn more about their Light Reading Series, head on over to this week's Book Club feature.

The Sausage Vat Murderer vs. H. H. Holmes

How much do you know about bizarre Chicagoland murders? Take this short quiz and find out!

Committees, Cardinals and Consumer Protection

Given yesterday's election results, Crain's "what if" article about House Democratic committee positions deserves a closer read.

How Much is that Rugger in the Window?

Officer Gleason of Metblogs notes the latest local shop window controversy. Following on a complaint from a passer-by who apparently forgot she was in Boystown, Borderline Music has obscured its display of the latest Dieux du Stade calendar, the cover of which is PG-13ish. And, goodness knows, nothing no one on North Halsted hasn't seen before.

Where was August in November?

I read recently that, in the future, search engines will be able to reveal people's whereabouts at a given time, simply by the electronic footprints they've left. For now, though, that information is mostly captured voluntarily, making it largely the provenance of blogs. So it is that, if ever asked where screenwriter John August was when he started a play in late 2006, you can boldly answer "Chicago" -- qualified, as he notes for posterity, "technically, Evanston." [via]

Thanksgiving Temptation

Vegans (and the people who feed them): miss the pumpkin pie of the Thanksgivings of your youth? Not to worry, the Chicago Soy Dairy has you covered! Submit an order for their dairy-free version now, and pick one up just in time for the holiday. (And, for more ideas about local options for Thanksgiving -- vegan or otherwise -- check next week's Detour.)

Safe as ... Condos?

The Times on the city-wide condo conversion epidemic: "Fiercely proud of both its architecture and its distinct neighborhoods, Chicago is losing entire tracts of older buildings." [via]

Going Negative 101

Regardless of who wins, tomorrow will bring some sense of relief when we finally see an end to the televised blitzkrieg of political attack ads. A couple of years ago, political science professor John G. Geer published a book in which he argued that such negative ads were actually good for the democratic process. Fair enough, as one of Geer's colleagues has recently demonstrated, provided you don't mind wearing the target.

Early Voting Problems?

Television news reports this morning showed a problem with an electronic voting machine in Lincoln Park. The Tribune ran a story on washing your hands before voting. With the mess that is bound to ensue on this election day, all voters should know that they can request a paper ballot if uncomfortable with the electronic technology. Also, report issues or fraud associated with voting if you unfortunately encounter it.

Early and Often

Y'all are voting today, right?

The Underground Economy ... In Person!

If you enjoyed Sudhir Venkatesh's article in the Boston Globe, you may want to check out his talk on Thursday. Details in Slowdown.

Transmission: Found Tapes

Lovers of cassettes, divers of dumpsters, lend us your ears! Starting today, and running every few weeks on Mondays, the Transmission blog will feature tapes found in and around Chicago by RJ Porter. Check out the inaugural Transmission blog's Found Tapes feature right now. (Got a cool tape to share? email us at transmission {at} gapersblock {dot} com.)

Local News

What if both the Tribune and the Sun-Times were up for sale, and nobody local wanted to buy them? Unlike in other areas (L.A., Boston, et al.) where the major dailies may be on the block, that seems to be the case in Chicago. Crain's speculates that "today's civic saviors" may "spring into action only when the threat of out-of-town control ... becomes more grave." For now, though, the city that staged an uproar over the renaming of a department store is keeping awfully quiet. [via]

Following the Money Underground

The "underground economy" of the South Side is the subject of this great article in the Boston Globe.

I got a rock

As the Bears stumble on their way to the Super Bowl, it's good to know that other Chicagoans are representing the city in other sporting events. The Sun-Times reports that local gym teacher Jason Kieronski is heading to Toronto to take part in this year's international world championship of Rock Paper Scissors. Best of luck, Jason!

Touring the Dead

Dan Kelly and friends made a day of visiting South Side cemeteries recently, and they came across many graves of famous folk, from politicians to bluesmen.

Hear the City

Hey, remember when we talked about our favorite sounds in the city? Well, those and many others have been recorded and shared with the world at Your Favorite Chicago Sounds. A sampling of what's they've collected is up on the site, including a great recording of the Lincoln Park Zoo's wolf pack howling along with a passing ambulance.

Project Gridiron

Our friends at Coudal have been awfully busy shipping Sixteen Straight tees. It's only natural folks would want to show them off.

Food on the Run

Get LTHForum's Great Neighborhood Restaurants to go: the Fall '06 guide is now available as a pocket-sized PDF. [via]

D&D, Dude!

Metblogs not only reminds you that tomorrow is Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day, it's also kind enough to provide a list of places to play.

Interview With The Captain

Sadly, downtown is losing a lovely place for draught beer and generally a great place to hang out. The Sea Of Happiness closes next week because the lease is ending. Time-Out Chicago has a quick interview with the owner, Captain George, that highlights the warmth of the place. Go check it out for yourself before it's finally gone: 640 N Wabash before Nov 7th.

Display Receipt on Dashboard

Here's a downside to those parking meter kiosks that are popping up around the city: Where do motorcyclists affix their receipt to prove they paid?

Homegrown Hats for Sale

Though I'm not a big hat person, I just love it that we have a Milliners Guild in Chicago. Its existence makes me want to be a big hat person, as if wearing beautiful hats could transport me to the same era that the phrase "Milliners Guild" conjures up. I guess you don't know until you try. And tonight is a good time to try, as the Guild is showing off its merchandise. Details in Slowdown.

Oprah's Pizza Club?

Oprah may do for pizza what she's done for so many novels, with a little help from Chicago Magazine food writers Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby: on yesterday's show, her friend Gayle King began a quest for the best pies in the country, based on Pollack and Ruby's book, Everybody Loves Pizza. (Read our review and interview with the authors here.)

Saint Style

St. Alfred, the sneaker mecca in Wicker Park, is also responsible for some of the fresher Chicago-centric T-shirts around. Hypebeast has a preview of their newest line (I'm especially liking Skateboard C).

An Autumn Bloom

After a long wait, a new issue of Metroblossom has arrived.

25th Reeling Festival starts tonight

Reeling: the 25th Chicago gay and lesbian film festival kicks off tonight at the Music Box Theater with Eating Out 2, a film being billed as "the world's first ever gay sequel". The festival runs through November 12 at various film venues in the city; see the festival's Website for a complete schedule.

Transmission Feature: Record Stores 2

Which Chicago record stores do we love? Where can you buy records at 2a.m.? What store installed a drive-up window? More importantly, which one thinks they have the best looking employees? Read this week's feature in Transmission to find out.

Get Unhitched with the CPL

Each month, the Chicago Public Library presents a Law At the Library, a free series on important legal issues. And this month's topic is ... D-I-V-O-R-C-E! Sure, it's not fun, but it's best to do it right with help from The Chicago Bar Association. Catch a presentation and Q & A. Get location info and upcoming topics here.

70 Years of SOM

2006 marks pioneering architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's 70th year of designing for Chicago and the rest of the world. Slate takes a look back.

Early voting ends tomorrow

If you wanted to take advantage of early voting in Illinois, you'd better get on the ball, because according to the County Clerk's Website early voting concludes tomorrow. After that, of course, you'll have to wait until Election Day, November 7th, to cast your ballot.

Heads Up for Dance Fans

Dance Chicago -- a month-long festival celebrating Chicago's dance companies -- kicks off this weekend at the Athenaeum Theatre in Lakeview. Tickets are typically $20 or less and the shows (every weekend in November and some weeknights) offer a unique opportunity to survey a broad swath of the local dance scene for cheap. Some performances are highlighted in Slowdown, but click here for the complete schedule.

Go to work in pajamas

Cereality, the cafe specializing in serving up breakfast cereals in new and novel combinations, is apparently opening up a second Chicago-area location in Evanston's Sherman Plaza this month. There will be a job fair for the new location this weekend; see the details at the Cereality site if you're interested in working for the Chicago-based chain.

Newsies on the Block

The Tribune isn't the only local paper that might be for sale: the Wall Street Journal reports that some Sun-Times Media Group investors are calling for that paper to be sold too.

The Audacity of Endorsement

Oh, dear. Barack Obama and Dick Durbin have aligned themselves with the monarchy. The senators from Illinois will appear at a rally for Todd Stroger on Monday, touting the candidate's "'experience to usher the county into an era of progress'" -- and serving as little more than cogs in The Machine. [via]

Talk of the City

Starting in January, local listeners will finally get to hear the Talk of the Nation as Chicago Public Radio adds the NPR call-in show to its daily line-up. Evenings will be spent encoring programs possibly missed during the day -- Eight Forty-Eight and Fresh Air, for example -- while late nights will be dedicated to news from around the globe: national radio from Australia, Poland, China and elsewhere, alongside the venerable World Service. See the new schedule here, and consider supporting the fall membership campaign while you're at it.

Getting Off To A Good Start

The Bulls certainly did just that in their 108-66 destruction of the defending champs. It was the worst performance ever by a defending champ on opening night. Chicagoans better have room in their diet to be excited about both the Bears and Bulls. Bulls in Five will return this Monday for its sophomore season.

Update: Wrigleyville Assault

A set of lost keys led to the arrest of the man who assaulted a woman leaving the Addison Red Line stop early Saturday morning.



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