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. 


Sunday, May 19

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Bulls Turkey Burger?

Did the Bulls open a hamburger restaurant in Turkey? NBA Fanhouse thinks not officially. Naturally, there's a Michael Jordan burger, named in honor of the "basketball wizard" himself.

NY Times Gives Props to Chicago Thespians

"Props," as in "kudos," rather than "theatrical set pieces." The Times has been fawning over Chicago's vibrant theater scene in recent years. Today's article reinforces to New Yorkers that culture indeed exists outside of gotham (and in fact, it's much better here), and it focuses on the cutting edge House Theater's production of "The Sparrow."

Whither Krusei?

Crain's is reporting that Frank Krusei may be skating on thin ice over at the CTA.

The Jackson Three

The super-perky and ambitious Sandi Jackson reminds one of Reese Witherspoon's character from the movie "Election." Her perkiness is warranted, seeing as how she's in the middle of Chicago's hottest new dynasty -- comprising of father in law, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and husband, the U.S. Rep from the 2nd District of Illinois, Jesse Jackson Jr. Sandi easily unseated incumbent Darcel Beavers in the city's 7th ward.

Robocop is Watching You

The Chicago Police have a new weapon in their arsenel: the automated license plate reader, capable of scanning thousands of plates an hour and checking them against stolen vehicle reports. And, one would imagine, expired plates.

Get Your Cook On

If you're looking for a class or three to get you through the winter doldrums, our friends at The Chopping Block can oblige. Check out their March schedule, which includes cheesemaking, Philipino cooking, and stout pairings.

Santo Snubbed...Again

Ron Santo is to the Hall of Fame as Martin Scorsese is to the Academy Awards. Wait. That one doesn't quite work anymore. But you get the point. While the Academy righted its wrong with Scorsese the other night, yesterday the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee denied Chicago baseball legend Ron Santo his deserved spot in Cooperstown. It'll be two "maybe next year"s until Santo gets another shot at bronze bust immortality.

They'll Need a Crane

If you were walking past State Street this morning and wondered what all the hubbub was about... Apparently, a man climbed a construction crane near the Chicago Theater and said he'd jump. Police say the would-be sidewalk diver has done this before. Update: Happily, he did not become the man who fell to earth.

Pink Flamingos Invade Downtown

If you looked at Grant Park today (as well as other parts of downtown), you'll notice that it has been invaded by 10,000 pink flamingos. While I was hoping for an elaborate turf war between SAIC and Columbia College, in fact it's... a promotion. AirTran Airways is now flying more routes to Florida.

Tech Kind of Town, Chicago Is

Participate Media CEO Alan Warms has some thoughts about the benefits of being a tech start-up in Chicago.

Keep an Eye on the Election

You voted today, right? Keep an eye on the results for your ward and others on the Board of Elections site, and/or tune in to WBEZ, who'll be running special election night coverage tonight, including a live visit to Ald. Ed Bus' campaign headquarters.

Leroy Jenkins, R.I.P.

Innovative, Chicago-born free jazz violinist Leroy Jenkins has just passed away. Mr. Jenkins is not to be confused with bizarre Internet meme figure/WoW figure of scorn Leeeeeeroy Jenkins (explanatory video here).

Quick, Book a Flight

Are you headed to SXSW? Or are you a big enough fan of the Metro and Chicago music to fly to Austin for a great concert? Then we've got a contest over in Transmission that's just for you.

Uh, No, He's in Cambodia

Prospect Heights-based Alibi Network will construct elaborate lies on their clients' behalf. Given the copious amounts of stock photography and late 1990s web design, I thought this company was a hoax until I found their massive media archive.

The Language of Carnivale

Ever wanted to learn Portuguese? Casa de Cultura Brasileira has you covered. Opened in January, the school and Brazilian cultural center offers classes from beginners up to advanced levels, and the next round starts in March.

Our Aldermanic Felons

When at the polls today, don't forget that votes for wannabe Aldermen Virgil Jones or Ambrosio Medrano will not count.

Jane: Abortion and the Underground

Written by Paula Kamen and directed by Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald, this play examines Chicago's legendary underground feminist abortion service, based on original interviews with women who ran and used it. The production runs until March 24 at the 20% Theatre Company.

What We're Reading

A Nobel Prize winner, a presidential hopeful, one of Chicago's most celebrated journalists, a graphic novelist and a late science-fiction writer whose works have been adapted for several major Hollywood films. What do all these people have in common? They are all authors of our upcoming books in the Gapers Block Book Club. Can you guess who they are? Visit the book club blog to see our new 2007 booklist.

Yell "Stop the Presses!" Too, If You Like

Hey all you would-be Clark Kents and Lois Lanes! Don't forget that the Chicago Reader is looking to post your "offbeat tales" and photos of tomorrow's elections to their blog, Clout City.

Transmission Contest: See and Hear

We're doing a little DVD giveaway over in Transmission. Wanna win?


Hoffman Estates-based EA Chicago is coming out with a new video game called Def Jam: Icon. In it you can pick your favorite real life rapper and stomp the crap out of your least favorite real life rapper. Fun. As far as I can tell, it seems sort of like Hood 2 Hood and Don Diva combined in video game form. An additional venue in which, to paraphrase Chuck D from a recent documentary, Black death is being pimped by corporations.

Public Art In Joliet

PeteLit has a great link to some of the neat public art available in Joliet, which is expanding beyond murals into "identity columns", a trend I think municipalities should encourage. (And while you're at his site, you might want to donate some dough to help him fight childhood cancer!)

That's A Lotta Gas

Monitoring the PR Newswire so you don't have to: Dateline, Houston. Marion Banowski of Chicago won $10,000 in free Shell gasoline at the Auto Show. "Each finalist drew a Shell gas card and then inserted it into the credit card reader of the display gas pump in hopes it would activate the pump. Banowski was the eleventh finalist to insert his card into the reader so the excitement in the air was palpable."

A City Paved with Wood

Chicago once had 481 miles of wood-paved streets; only two small stretches remain today. YoChicago has a video of one of them: Wooden Alley, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. [via]

Tomorrow: Vote Early and Often

(Does that fine Chicago joke ever get old?) Don't forget to vote tomorrow in Chicago's municipal public election. (you can check your registration status and verify your polling place here.) The Board of Election Commissioners is promising several improvements (including an optional stylus for touchscreen machines) to help the election go off smoothly.

Is There a Janis Joplin in the House?

If Jennifer Hudson can do it, so can you. "Crazy Neighbors From Hell" is going to be HUGE. Prospective Big Tonies, Uncle Kavorkians, and Black Elvis/James Browns are especially needed. Have acceptance speech ready.

Haven't You Always Wanted a Monkey?

Well, think twice. "Imagine how agile a cat is and multiply that by a squirrel. This little thing bites. You name it — bitten: bite your hand, bite your ear."

Congrats, Jennifer Hudson

Chicago native Jennifer Hudson won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Just a Flesh Wound

The city's oldest registered voter just passed away at the age of 109. Not that that will stop her from voting on Tuesday, of course.

City Life in the Ozarks

Here's a story about gangs in Springfield, MO that references an influx of GDs from Chicago. Apparently the principles of supply & demand work in the Ozarks as well: "Police say dealers can also sell drugs and charge more than they can in major cities like Kansas City, St. Louis and even Chicago."

Three Decades of Opinions

Now that the locally produced General Social Survey completed its 26th run, the New York Times published a sneak peek of the 2006 results. Some interesting findings include a precipitous drop in the percentage of those who have a "great deal of confidence" in the military since 2004, as well as a 50% decline in daily newspaper readership since 1972.

Presidential (Hopeful) Portrait

Big fans of Barack Obama may be interested in bidding on Southern folk artist Panhandle Slim's portrait of the senator and presidential candidate.

Johnny "Red" Kerr: Broadcaster of the Week

There's a great story on about Bulls legend Johnny "Red" Kerr. He recounts their early days as an expansion team, sheds light on the origins of the Michael Jordan ritual of clapping resin in Kerr's face before each game, and list his top 5 Bulls moments (with links to video).


Awesome story at CTA Tattler of someone kicking three drunk, obnoxious guys off the Brown Line.

What About 06776?

Calling all Cubs fans: if you've got a wristband for single ticket sales, the Cubs announced this morning that "Wrigley Field is currently servicing wristband numbers between 06779 and 09000." If your wristband is between these numbers you should report to Gate K on Waveland Avenue immediately. You've got until 5 PM. If you've got 06777 (06778 was not distributed), call WGN-- Old Style wants to reward you for losing and give you a ticket to the home opener.

Dominick's is Their Wonderwall

Or at least an oasis in the midst of a "Food Desert"! Researcher Mari Gallagher finds that the planned closings of 3 Dominick's would create food desert conditions (where fast-food restaurants are plentiful and grocery stores are scarce) for 75 city blocks that over 18,000 Chicagoans inhabit.

County Budget Passes

Cook County Commissioners voted 13-4 to pass Todd Stroger's county budget at 2:30 am. The budget closes a $500 million deficit by cutting 1,000 jobs in the Department of Health and the Cook County Sheriff's office. The revised budget added some management level positions to that list of cuts.

Granddad the Wii Master

Welcome to a world wherein grandparents in Lake County teach their grandchildren how to play video games.

Discrimination Against Germs

If there's any political organization that's lethal, it's the soap lobby. The Illinois House approved a bill that would make school kids wash the germs off their hands with anti-bacterial soap before they eat. What other sanitary activities that occur in the bathroom, specifically in the stall, will government legislate next? Because I've been slacking lately.

Chicago's Second "O"

Staying true to his base, Obama's current "O" logo was designed by locals Sender LLC. They got the job through an interesting chain that includes Chicago firms AKP Message & Media and mo/de.

Chicago2016 - A Done Deal?

A sports business insider says the 2016 Olympics are Chicago's to lose. Take that, Los Angeles! We have Pat Ryan!

New Ol' Lonely

Repeat after me: "I'm the loneliest man in town." Sad, huh? Well, it could be your ticket to Tony-the-Tiger-esque fame as the newest incarnation of the Maytag Man. You may have missed your chance here in Chicago, but it's not too late to hop a plane to New York and give it a shot. You, yes you, could be the next Gordon Jump!

Transmission Feature: Chicago Classics

Today's Thursday feature in Transmission (our music-obsessed side) takes a gander at two CD/DVD combo releases from Chicago blues and jazz label Delmark. Legend Jimmy Burns gets the fire stoked hot at B.L.U.E.S. while the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble grooves out in their loft with some rather interesting production details. Keep a sharp eye out today in Transmission and you might just have some new music to hear (and watch) for free.

Oscars with Musical Accompaniment

Speaking of the Oscars, here's one of the more novel tie-ins I've heard of: The Delafields will be playing at Simon's Tavern, 5210 N. Clark st. -- but only during the commercials and "boring parts," allowing you to catch the awards and a concert.They'll also have an Oscar pool, with prizes like a massage and tax consultation -- from members of the band! How's that for service?

I Am A Patient Boy; e-Wait, e-Wait, e-Wait

Single-game tickets for the Cubs 2007 season go on sale Friday morning, and if you didn't get a wristband today, you might as well prepare to dedicate a browser tab for the Virtual Waiting Room and see what's left when your number comes up. (Alternately, you could buy single-game Sox tickets right now.)

Track 35th Ward Aldermanic Race w/ Yahoo!

The Logan Square Yahoo! Group has long been a lively venue for venom and information of all kinds. From now until the election, you can track the charges of sign-stealing, anonymous mailers, record-distortions, and other wild and wacky hi-jinx near your favorite Chicago boulevard.

Be a VIP at MIP

I could care less about sitting in a posh back room at some fancy bar, but this is one VIP pass I would gladly accept. TimeOut Chicago gives you the chance to win one year of free entrance, exclusive invitations, behind the scenes access and more to all 10 museums that make up Museums In the Park. Enter on their website before Feb 28.

Blues Brothers Statue Coming To Joliet

Perhaps inspired by Chicago's Bob Newhart statue, Joliet plans to build a statue of their most famous fictional residents, Jake and Elwood Blues. The statue is part of the city's plans to boost Joliet tourism. There are also plans to build a Route 66 welcome center to entice drivers that are travelling the historic highway that originates in Chicago.

Preview of Act One

This American Life, the TV Show, debuts in a month (March 22, specifically) on Showtime. Check out the trailer here. (Still tickets available for the live performance at the Chicago Theatre March 1, btw.)

So Long, Chief

Tonight's the night for Chief Illiniwek's last performance, during the halftime at the Illinois-Michigan game. After the Chief is retired, the Illini logo featuring the chief will eventually also be retired, although the State Journal-Register reports that the school is trying to develop a phase-out plan to make sure the logo doesn't fall into disuse and enter the public domain, allowing any old manufacturer to use it on their products. In the meantime, the Illini gear with the chief logo is flying off the shelves at the school's store.

Hands Off the Cast Iron Frieze, Lady

Today is the last day the landmark Carson Pirie Scott store on One South State Street will be open for business. If you want one final memory of purchasing something within the elegant Louis Sullivan designed confines of the store, best pop in today.

Book Club: Unabridged Bookstore

A good independent bookstore is difficult to find, especially when you're trying to shave some bucks off your literary expenditure sheet. This week the GB Book Club page introduces you to a nice little store, settled right in the middle of Lakeview, that offers not only the latest publications, but also a good number of discounted reads. Click on over the Book Club to learn more about Unabridged.

Cedar Court Threatened

The keystone building of a unique five house crescent development is currently threatened by demolition in Park Ridge. The houses are significant for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they were designed by Barry Byrne, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's disciples, and the sculptor Alfonso Iannelli. UPDATE: More photos are now available.

West Side Story

Is Wal-Mart playing nicey-nice? Whatever your opinion, execs see the West Side Chicago store as a success, and are citing it as one reason for further expansion into areas with high unemployment.

Cicero Soldier Killed in Action in Iraq

Army Sgt. Pedro J. Colon, 25, of Cicero, Ill., was killed yesterday in Baghdad. See all Illinois service members who died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom here on Faces of the Fallen.

Block 37

With cranes and earth moving equipment working on Block 37, Chicago Magazine has a nice summary of current events. After you read up on the block, view what's going on now from the comfort of your computer.

CTA Bother You? Call Blago.

The Tribune's Kyra Kyles recommends that instead of pissing and moaning about CTA problems, you call write and email Governor Blagojevich and tell him to support the RTA's budget requests. Here are his numbers: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121. You could take it a step further by looking up your local, state and federal reps at Civic Footprint and bugging all of them. (Thanks, Will!)

Swap Music With Rockstars

Got a kick-ass Stephin Merritt CD mix that you're dying to share with the Chicago music community? Head on over to Radio Free Chicago's latest Bandwidth concert Thursday night at Subterranean, and participate in a CD mix swap with some of the bands from previous Bandwidth shows, as well as RFC staffers. Details on Bandwidth at Slowdown.

Penn & Sagal

Friend of GB Greg writes, "Peter Sagal of Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me was a lively guest on the Penn Jillette radio show yesterday, talking about the foie gras ban, Jack & Jeri Ryan, his own show, and other things of Chicago interest. For those who missed it, it's now up on the podcast."

Get Your Paczki On

Today is the Tuesday before Lent begins, so you know what that means -- it's Paczki Day in Chicago! Stop by an old-school bakery -- like Dinkel's, Ann Sather, Alliance or anything in the Polish parts of town -- and get some deep-fried jelly donut goodness. Because starting tomorrow, it's all about the deprivation, my friend.

This Godless Communism

It's 1961 and the communists have overthrown the government of the United States of America. Prepare yourself for the U.S.S.A.! What is the communists' first step? Move the government to Merchandise Mart! As J. Edgar Hoover says, read this comic now in order to "help us recognize and detect communists as they attempt to infiltrate the various segments of our society."

Local Paper Does Good

Congrats to the Lakefront Outlook, an 11,000-copy free weekly covering Bronzeville, on winning a George Polk Award for outstanding journalism. Last month The Reader's Hot Type column covered the paper's investigative report on Dorothy Tillman and the blind intern who helped write it. UPDATE: The award-winning article in PDF format. (Thanks, Whet!)

Red Eye Rage

The Tribune is suing Fox News over the network's use of the name "Red Eye" for its late-night talk show — which is currently called "Gary Gutfield's Show" on Fox News' website, although the URL hasn't changed.

French Chefs Eyeing Chicago

The Sun-Times reports that French chef Alain Ducasse, the only chef to hold the top Michelin rating for three restaurants in three different countries, was in Chicago last December at Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel. Does this mean that Ducasse was scouting for a Chicago location? No plans have been made public by Ducasse, although another acclaimed French chef, Joel Robuchon, recently confirmed that he will open a Chicago restaurant by the end of next year.

Sports Bar, Gay Bar

Crew, "Chicago's premier gay sports bar + grill" has been voted the city's best sports bar, flat-out, by readers of AOL City Guide.

Hot Doug: Served!

Doug Sohn, owner and proprietor of the world-renowned Hot Doug's, is the first person to be formally cited for flouting Chicago's foie gras ban.

Through the Lookingglass to NYC

Lookingglass Theatre's signature work, the circus-inspired Lookingglass Alice, is playing in New York as part of an East Coast tour before returning to Chicago this summer. The Times likes it, mostly. Watch the video preview here.

Young Nun!

Julie Vieira is a Chicago-based nun in the order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. She works at Loyola Press and chronicles her life as a modern, 35-year-old nun at her blog, A Nun's Life. Julie was also a guest of PRI's "Fair Game." Listen to the MP3 here.

Designing Rearview

Wondering what those things are in today's Rearview photo? It's called "Pinch," a salt cellar and pepper shaker designed by GB alum Craig Berman. Pinch was awarded an honorable mention last night in Design Within Reach's Modern + Design + Function: Chicago Furniture Now competition.

Scion of the Times

The Scion PR folks continue their quest to make the brand "cool" by hosting activities at FOUR in Wicker Park. Most days you can paint your own little ceramic Scions while listening to DJs and enjoying refreshments but there are a few movie premieres and other events too. Details on the website.

Peace to the Chief

Chief Illiniwek will no longer perform at University of Illinois events.

Don't Park Here

A sign of the times: A collection of parking space barricades, at

Think Spring! Think Ultimate Spring

Registration for spaces in Ultimate Chicago's Spring League opens tomorrow. It'll be a month before Spring League play begins, but registering early will give you something to look forward to!

Illinois Poverty on the Rise

The Heartland Alliance released [pdf] their "2007 Report on Illinois Poverty" yesterday. Key findings include 1.5 million people live in poverty in Illinois, and the poverty rate increased in 85% of Illinois counties, including Cook and its suburbs.

You Don't Want to Know the Wind Chill

Chilly? Could be worse. Temperatures are about to drop to within billionths of a degree above absolute zero at U of C's Gordon Center for Integrative Science. Assistant Professor Cheng Chin intends to lower the temperature within a two-foot cylindrical vacuum chamber to -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit in order to study the Big Bang. One hopes Dr. Chin remembers to wear a hat and scarf.

Write That Down

Add another to the canon of Daley quotes, as appeared in Fran Spielman's article tonight on snow removal: "Snow has defeated candidates in the city. I've had snow in every one of my elections. I just want to tell you. Write that down. It snows in Chicago in November, December, January, February and sometimes in March. And it does get cold."

Cub's Hot Tub Flub

Continuing the tradition of baseball players finding novel ways of injuring themselves, Cubs reliever Kerry Wood hurt himself getting out of his hot tub! Cubs fans worry not, he'll be back on the mound in a few days.

Lemme Hear Ya

ah one....ah two....ah three.......Cub Fans and Bud Men from Liechtenstein to Malaysia are participating in a worldwide drink-a-thon in honor of Harry Caray. Ground zero is Harry Caray's Restaurant downtown, of course. Broadcast live right now.

I Got Your Hurricane Contract Right Here

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced yesterday that it will expand its weather derivatives product line with a scheduled launch of CME-Carvill Hurricane Index futures and options on futures contracts. Research before you buy.

While You're In the Pedway ...

Check out photos and memorabilia from the WPA-funded South Side Community Art Center on view through March in the Pedway Display Cases below the Richard J. Daley Center and Plaza. The exhibition includes historic photos, posters and recent artwork created at the center. Here's a link to our own tour of the Pedway.

Sports Dad Strikes Again

An Aurora man was caught on home video Sunday picking up his son's 11-year-old wrestling opponent and tossing the kid out of the ring, before charging the cameraman—the kid's father. NBC5 has a slideshow with scenes from the video.

Reading Now: The Hummingbird's Daughter

This month the Gapers Block Book Club is reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. It is the fictionalized biography of Teresita, a healer who lived in late 19th century Mexico who many people declared a saint. She was also Urrea's real-life great-aunt. Read more about the book at the book club blog, then join us next month to talk about it at The Book Cellar.

Peoples Energy Sure Is Keeping U Warm

As the temperature keeps falling and the winds keep howling, nothing keeps u warmer than a gauzy, customer-friendly website from a gigantic utility company.

Olympic Sized Donor Pool

Chicago 2016, the campaign to bring the Olympics here, is throwing its first public fundraiser March 1, and it already has $6 million in ticket sales.

Camo Spandex

The outfield walls of Wrigley Field will be sporting ads for Under Armour this year. Maybe it'll help the Cubs work on doing this.

Transmission Feature: Bobby Conn

Today in Transmission, besides the best Chicago music news and events coverage, we've got a review of Chicago's own wild entertainer Bobby Conn's latest album King for a Day. Make sure you keep an eye over there today for your chance to get a little somfin' somfin' from your buddies here at Gapers Block.

The City That Works

University of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt (via the Freakonomics blog) directs us to some further reading about "the time that the Gangster Disciples, the biggest gang in Chicago, ran a candidate for alderman."

Budget Wars: Family and Friends, Beware.

Not satisfied with frontline budget cuts in areas like health and public safety, county commissioners today proposed an alternative budget. Board President Todd Stroger wants to cut the meat, commissioners want to cut the fat. They're targeting bureaucratic, patronage, administrative level jobs.

Don't Mess With Suffrage

City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman will hold a press conference today at 2:00 pm to announce criminal charges brought against a City of Chicago employee for improper political activity, and to make other announcements relating to the municipal election on February 27. Ooh! We wonder who it will be!
UPDATE: Lester Cioch, a supervisor in the City's Water Department, was arrested for violating the election laws. Allegedly, he solicited signatures on nominating petitions for Mayor Daley's campaign while on City time at his City worksite. All-around illegal.

"High" Court's Daughter Gets DUI

Ann Scalia Banaszewski, the daughter of right-wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was arrested in Wheaton Monday night on drunken driving charges. She had her three children in the car.

You're the Man Now, Barack

It seems the freshman senator from Illinois is a strange source of inspiration for the members of (SFW, but LOUD)

Chicago Hearts Nyandiwa

Famed economist Jeffrey Sachs spoke at the University of Chicago on Monday in support of CHICAGO PROMISE a city-wide effort to raise money for a Milleninum Village in Africa (specifically Nyandiwa, Kenya) and to raise awareness about extreme poverty in Africa.

Know Thy Physician

A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, which highlights the part religion and morality play in options physicians choose to present, has been making waves nationally. The results show effects are not confined to controversial cases, but can also crop up in discussions about legal procedures that don't vibe with a doctor's personal views.

Enso in the News

We've mentioned the software Enso before. This week the Tribune offers their take on the people behind the program. (Disclosure: I'm NOT their PR guy, and I think it's cool too.)

What?! No Emoticons?

Apparently, every month the editors of the Chicago Manual of Style get to sound off about our collective grammatical shortcomings in the Q&A section of their website. Harper's Magazine reprinted some of their amusingly snarky responses in this month's issue, and the blog of the U of C Press couldn't help but pat itself on the back. "Delicious irony." Jeez.

Chicago author Paula Kamen will speak on women and pain care

As part of an ongoing lecture series on "Understanding Pain" sponsored by the International Museum of Surgical Science and the Hektoen Institute of Medicine, Chicago author Paula Kamen will speak this Tuesday, Feb., 20, on "Not All In My Head: Reflections on Women's Treatment with Pain Care." Paula's own experience with chronic daily headache is chronicled in her highly lauded book, All In My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache. More info on the event in Slowdown.

Keep Watching the Skies

Most Chicagoans may not be aware that J. Allen Hynek was a UFOlogist whose Center for UFO Studies remains active in Chicago. Those who find Mr. Hynek's ideas a little out there are advised not to stop by the web site of alleged contactee Billy Meier.

Real Estate Resources

Blockshopper is a relatively new site that calls itself a "real estate news service for ... the residents themselves." However, in practice, it's more for the residents neighbors, not so much for the subject of the site's news briefs, which are written apparently without actually contacting the people involved. Speaking of checking on the neighbors, ever wonder how your rent compares to the rest of neighborhood? Check it on the Rentometer.

Planet Palehose Draws Its Heroes

With less than 50 days to go before opening day, you can start getting ready for baseball on the southside by checking out cartoonist Carl Skanberg's Palehose 7. It's a more modern look for our heroes who were last seen sailing the south (side) seas in search of (more) baseball championship treasure.

Winter Fun on Craig's List

Stuck inside? Left work early? Well, if you're feeling a little bored, the horndogs hanging out at Craig's List can provide company. Check out this search query for all kinds of XXX snow-related fun. Totally hilarious -- and NSFW.

Close Encounters of the Third Coast

Even if you've never pointed a bent coat hanger at Stonehenge, you have to admit strange things were afoot at O'Hare last November. So in case you were curious, Chicago Mag has compiled a few of the more compelling UFO reports.

Great Red Hope?

Oxymorons: Tragic Comedy, Jumbo Shrimp, Cook County Republican. Is it a "safe bet" Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman can lead Cook's GOP out of oblivion? Well, there's "real potential."

Matinee Monkeys

Barrel of Monkeys, the theater company that conducts writing workshops with Chicago Public Schools kids and performs their work for adoring audiences of all ages, is adding some extra afternoon performances to its long-running show. Now if you don't feel like trekking to the theater on Monday nights, you can catch That's Weird, Grandma for the next six Saturday afternoons, Feb. 17 - March 24, at 2 p.m. at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. Ten bucks for adults, five bucks for kids. Fun for the whole family!

Competencia de la PelĂ­cula

What could be better than being at home, watching a movie on a snowy day? Why, being in the office and trying to outpredict Roger Ebert's Oscar guesses to win a trip to Mexico!

Buy Art, Save Lung

Artist and friend of GB Phineas Jones caught pneumonia over the holidays, and ended up with fluid in one of his lungs. As you'd expect, he has some big medical bills, but he's uninsured, so he's selling art on his site, No Commercial Potential, to cover the costs of "lung reclamation." Help him out and get some beautiful art in the bargain.

Best Headline of the Year

It's only February, but the Daily Southtown has already given cause for celebration (or is that panic?): "Snowmageddon has arrived!" Bonus points awarded for their photo of kids ramping their sled off of a folding table.

A-Rod? Axelrod!

Alternet's profile of Obama political advisor (and U of C grad) David Axelrod reads like a history of Chicago politics. Prior to working with Obama, Axelrod worked with Chicago Mayors Daley & Washington and developed a reputation for being able "to help black politicians convince white voters to support them."

Experience Everything But Taste

As if you need another reason to head into the tropical climes of the Lincoln Park Conservatory, you have until the end of the month to check out Shawn Decker's "Chorus," playing in the oh-so-warm Fern Room.

Chicago Plucks Greenbuild Expo From LA

This just in: After some scheduling shenanigans, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) has ditched LA as the site of their annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in favor of, you guessed it, Chicago. The three-day event will take place in November and is expected to attract more than 12,000 people. Chicago vs. LA score update: 1-Zip. All the Olympics boosters in town are now hoping the USOC follows suit.

In TOD We Trust

Transit-Oriented Development, or TOD, for those of us on a first name basis with the New Urbanist buzz-concept, is garnering some extra attention as of late. In November, Chicago hosted the annual Rail-Volution conference, which focused on transit's role in smart urban development. The latest issue of Conscious Choice features this article on TOD. And TOD also happens to be a centerpiece of the RTA's Moving Beyond Congestion long term strategic plan for the region. What a popular dude. Definitely more so than another Todd we've come to know recently.

Chicago Web History

Through the magic of, WindyBits takes a look at early version of Chicago media Websites, including the Tribune and Sun-Times, the Reader, Crain's Chicago Business, and even Gapers Block.

Drive-Thru Now Open

We're pleased to announce the launch of Gapers Block's newest section, Drive-Thru, devoted to the city's vibrant food scene. We'll be covering everything from restaurants and bars to businesses like Kraft and McDonald's to recipes to where to find some random ingredient. Oh, and foodporn, lots of foodporn. Be sure to check out this week's Detour feature, too, by one of the Drive-Thru contributors.

If that weren't enough, we've also redesigned the Gapers Block Book Club page, which has been quietly morphing into a blog on the Chicago literary scene.

The City's 26th Sibling

Let's give a big family welcome to Lahore, Pakistan, the latest of Chicago's sister cities.

Chicago Adolescence

This month's Chicago Magazine contains a funny little feature providing high school portraits of area notables like Dave Eggers, Liz Phair, Harold Ramis and Donald Rumsfeld.

DEA Targets Chicago (in a museum-y sort of way)

Navy Pier is the home of "Target Chicago," a display of "Chicago-specific content from the DEA Museum's 'Target America' national touring exhibit." A quick search of the museum website yields no exhibits about crack in Los Angeles. Go figure.

Longer Living Through Chemistry

Former Walgreens CEO (and son of the company's founder) Charles Rudolph Walgreen, Jr. died last night. He was 100. Fun fact: Walgreen first went to the South Pole at age 67; he tried to go again at 91 and made it all the way to Chile, but the pilot refused to fly him the last leg of the journey.

Chicago 2106

Remember the "City of the Future" competition? The entry from local architecture and design firm UrbanLab won! One summary video is posted, and another is to be posted shortly.

The Anti-Valentine Store

Feeling not-so down with Cupid? Chicagoist and Apartment Therapy point us to a pop-up store from Altoids in Lincoln Park aiming to provide "the lovesick, lovelorn and Cupid-wary of Chicago ... a sanctuary from all the romantic overtures." Stop in between now and Valentine's Day and get free chocolate-dipped Altoids, coffee and cupcakes from Angel Food Bakery, anti-Valentine's cards and more. Yes, all for free. Open noon to 10pm at 912 W. Armitage Ave.

Unabomber/ Stock Spammer Wannabe in Northwest Suburbs?

A person wishing to influence the performance of certain stocks is allegedly mailing bombs to financial institutions from Rolling Meadows, IL. Here's a poster from the USPS on how to handle suspicious mail.

It's Official: Obama '08

Barack Obama's presidential candidacy speech.

Would Have Been Better If He Hadn't Offered That Bribe

David Hoffman, the Chicago Inspector General, announced the arrest of a City Water Dept. employee today for bribery. The Sun-Times' Fran Spielman does her usual thorough job in covering the story, including a detailed explanation of the tool used to turn water service on and off (it "looks like an elongated fish hook"). Trib story here. Bonus document: the actual complaint (PDF, 3.8MB), published on the IG's website.

Did DDB Rip Off The Whitest Kids?

Remember the Bud Light Super Bowl ad in which the fist bump is replaced by the face slap as "the new thing?" NYC sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U'Know cried foul, claiming a remarkable similarity between the commercial and a sketch of theirs titled, um, "The New Thing" that had been submitted to Bud.TV. Commenters at NYC comedy blog the Apiary figured out that Bud's ad agency, DDB Chicago, also runs Bud.TV; yesterday the Apiary's Chicago sister site the Bastion posted a purported statement from DDB denying any connection. View the videos side by side at Gawker and draw your own conclusion.

Chicagoans: Little Debbie Doesn't Have a Snack for You

Little Debbie Nutty Bars: Now with metal shavings "enrobed in fudge"! Mmmm-boy!

Bored? Join a Board!

Do you have a love of local theater, some spare time, and mad fundraising or networking skills? The Neo-Futurists are looking for a few good board members who are "ready to rock, albeit in a prudent and fiscally sound way while keeping constant sight of your fiduciary responsibilities." Send a note to development director Ian Belknap (development-at-neofuturists-dot-org) to request an application.

Photoshop for Alderman

Speaking of Sandi Jackson, there's something fishy going on with the photo on one of her campaign billboards. (Thanks, Martha!)

Secret Benefactor

RIP Herb Linneweh, the frugal, mild-mannered retired janitor who stashed $700,000 away in envelopes around his house, to be given to seven charities after his death. Your feel-good story of the day.

ABC Brings World News to Chicago

Further evidence that Todd Stroger's hirings/firings are making national news, ABC will broadcast World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson from Chicago next Monday and Tuesday. Actually, as Rosenthal writes in the Tribune, Evanston native Gibson is in town for other reasons. Oh yeah, and there's that Senator Whatsisname announcing his presidential bid this weekend.

Completely Avoidable

We can only hope this morning's tragic story of a man being killed by a red line train after slipping on ice will serve as a wake up call for the CTA to make platforms as safe as possible. In the meantime be extra careful.

Are the Jacksons Preparing to be the Next Daleys?

The resurgence of "local politics as family business" seems to be continuing on the South Side, as Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s wife Sandi Jackson campaigns to be the Alderman for the 7th Ward. For more on the Aldermanic races, you should read Revenge of the Second City.

Yet Another Googlemap, Night Food Edition

Chicago Restaurants at Night, courtesy of Urbanspoon.

Official Blog Site of the Chicago Police Department

Yeah, you read that right-- Official Blog Site of the Chicago Police Department. Hosted on TypePad, loaded up with kudos, cautionary tales, and a welcome from the Superintendent. Accepting (moderated) comments on some posts. Tagline: "What You Want to Know... From Those in the Know." It really is 2007, isn't it?

Aching Hearts, Troubled Minds

Of all the hardships visited on the Iraqi people in the last three years, one of the most frustrating and sad has to be Washington's neglect of those Iraqis who chose to help US forces. The 848 team produced a great story about a suburban Chicago family directly affected.

The Happy Homemaker

Matthew McClintock welcomes you to his Oak Park home, which he has kindly photographed and uploaded to the Web--from the contents of his refrigerator to his underwear drawer.

Chicago's Architectural Prestige

The AIA recently surveyed 1,800 Americans about their favorite architecture and released the top 150 as a web feature. Chicago did well in the polls, with the third largest collection of "favorite" buildings in the country, behind New York and D.C. Some obvious Chicago favorites like Wrigley Field, the Tribune Tower and the Sears Tower are listed, but other buildings such as the United Airlines Terminal and the Harold Washington Library also made the cut.

A Bet's A Bet

Scott Wiese of Decatur signed a pledge before the Super Bowl that if the Bears lost, he would change his name to Peyton Manning. A man of his word, Wiese went to the Macon County courthouse on Tuesday and filed the name change paperwork.

Transmission Feature: Love for Vinyl

A week of sub-zero temps got you stir crazy yet? Check out this week's Transmission feature on two more of our favorite local record stores for some inspiration to get out from under the covers and get outside.

From Buildings to Papers?

The latest news about the Tribune's potential sale: Billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell is said to be interested in buying the company.

Old Skool 815?

The Illinois Commerce Commission is launching the 779 area code for northern Illinois on Feb. 17 as an "overlay" to 815. Overlaying is all the rage for utility commission types, apparently, since it allows people to keep existing numbers. No word yet on how the business card industry feels about that. Crain's also reports fair warning for 773ers: 872 is on the way for 2009.

Somewhere Rex is King

While only one team wins the Super Bowl, the NFL prepares for either outcome by printing championship apparel for both teams. The NYT reports that the losing team's apparel is donated to the remotest parts of the world through World Vision. So, somewhere someone believes that the Bears won the championship, and has a shirt to prove it!

No Divestment for U of C

Citing the 1967 Kalven Report [pdf], the University of Chicago will not divest from companies involved with Sudanese business. It is the first top-tier university to make such a statement.

No Need to Finish the Bottle

As of January 1, it became legal in Illinois to take home your leftover wine from a restaurant, provided the bottle is inside a clear, tamper-proof bag. Unfortunately, a Chicago ordinance contradicted the new law, keeping it illegal in the city. As of today, however, that ordinance's days are numbered, reports the Winediva.

Tune Your TiVo to 11

Tonight's episode of "Chicago Tonight" will feature Chicagoist's Rachelle Bowden, CTA Tattler's Kevin O'Neil and Gapers Block's own, uh, me talking with Phil Ponce about news blogs. I can't promise it'll be riveting television, but tune in between 7 and 8pm tonight anyway.

ZAPping the Chicago Auto Show

ZAP!, a company that specializes in designing alternative and fuel-efficient automotive systems, will release its electric XEBRA car at the Chicago Auto Show. Priced at $10,000 with an operating cost of one cent per mile, it could certainly be a high-value commuter car.

Oh, Crap: No Dave Matthews Concert at Wrigley

GB reported in December that the Dave Matthews Band was slated for a pair of concerts at Wrigley Field on the Fourth of July weekend. Well, today the Sun-Times reports that Matthews will not be at the concerts, since his wife is due to have a baby in early July. Even though there's no act scheduled, Alderman Tom Tunney is still planning to authorize the concerts, so don't worry: there WILL be music at Wrigley Field this Fourth of July.

It's Cold, Let's Talk about Global Warming

Mayor Daley announced that 80 designer globes will line part of Lake Shore Drive this summer to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming. The project entitled "Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet" will feature designs by noted artists and will (eventually) be auctioned off to raise funds to support conservation clubs in the Chicago Public Schools.

Single in the City

How far are you willing to go for a date? Chicago magazine is looking for people to profile in their annual singles feature.

Local Band in NYT

The New York Times writes about Chicago musician Ted Atkatz, who left a tenured post at the CSO to devote his time to local rock band NYCO.

The Dynasty Continues

While Mayor Daley prepares for another term in office, his late father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, lives on at the Prop Theater -- through the medium of actor/writer Neil Giuntoli. Hizzoner, the award winning play about the "Boss" is extending its run until May 13th of this year.

All in the Family

Cook County's #1 family business, a.k.a Cook County government, has a new Chief Financial Officer. County Board President Todd Stroger promoted his first cousin Donna Dunning to the post -- amidst the cries of "nepotism" from several county commissioners.

1,158 = More Than a Few Arts Organizations

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation just completed its Chicago Region Arts Scan, a major research report surveying all non-profit arts organizations in the Chicago region in 2006. In addition to being a comprehensive directory, the report provides especially fascinating information pertaining to the growth, location, composition and funding of these organizations.

The Beastmaster

Clarence "Bernie" Hoffmann, founder of World Famous Animal Kingdom Pet Shop on Milwaukee Ave and donor of the highly belligerent Chelveston the duck on the Ray Rayner Show, has passed away at the age of 92.

No Need To Show Up

Not too surprisingly, today's planned homecoming celebration at Daley Plaza for the Chicago Bears has been cancelled at the team's request. Wait till next year.

Murder Castle Finds a Production Home?

After being dropped by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's production company, Paramount has picked up the film rights to Eric Larson's The Devil in the White City. One hopes that Cruise will still consider playing the part of Victorian serial murderer H.H. Holmes, as the thought of the toothy Scientologist in a handlebar mustache is irresistible.

Rocky Horror CSO Show

The Chicago Symphony Orcehstra (CSO) has been working hard to bring a more diverse audience to its performances and the results are showing. This Friday brings "Friday Night at the Movies", when the orchestra will play well-known classics featured in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rocky Horror Picture Show. I doubt the CSO has sweet transvestites (midi) however, so if want the real show head up to the Music Box and see the real Rocky Horror Picture Show at their midnight showing.

GreenBean Adds Submission Form and Flickr Photos

GreenBean, the site devoted to "built, in-progress and unbuilt green buildings in Chicago," has just launched two new features. Developers can submit projects they'd like GreenBean to cover and amateur photographers can upload and tag photos of posted projects to Flickr so that they are displayed on the site. GreenBean is authored by Erik Olsen, the Green Projects Administrator for the Chicago Department of Construction and Permit, where he manages the Green Permit Program. Readers of the site have grown accustomed to his well-written, intensely documented essays that shine light on the broad green building movement here, from private residences to SROs, social services providers and government buildings.

Mau's Massive Move

Bruce Mau, Toronto's star designer, is moving to Chicago. He was apparently wooed by the warm reception he received in connection with "Massive Change," the show he curated at the MCA last year. (Thanks, Craig.)

Bird Flu vs Chicken Little

It might sound like "the sky is falling" but the lessons learned in 1918 taught us that bird flu should be taken seriously. It's a good thing then that a UChicago law professor is passionate about chickens, and is headed to Geneva to tell the WHO.

Brownish Greens

D+ and C+. The University of Chicago and Northwestern University, respectively, as graded by the College Sustainability Report Card released last week. Faulty. Find out how your mater fared, and read up on the issue.

Another Step Towards the Great Midwestern Megalopolis

Now that Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee are seriously considering feeding into Metra, a Milwaukee historian has summarized the interesting transportation history we have with our neighbors to the north.

Hello, Hannah's

Finally! The new Hannah's Bretzel in the Illinois Center opened today. So if you're near Mich and Wacker and you have a jones for a big sammitch, Vosges chocolates and biodegradable utensils, then hit 'em up.

You Trendsetter, You

Denizens of Lincoln Park and frequenters of Escape: Your days as Best Buy lab rats are over. Bye bye, "hip hang-out."

Whittman Hart & MarchFIRST Founder Bob Bernard is Dead

Crain's is reporting the death of local tech entrepreneur Bob Bernard. Among his successful ventures, including the current incarnation of Whittman-Hart, Bernard founded MarchFIRST, the Chicago-based Internet consulting firm that crashed spectacularly in the dot-com boom. Bernard died of an apparent heart attack on Friday.

Not Cheese at All

As Altria (formerly Philip Morris) prepares to spin-off suburban food giant Kraft, Crain's Chicago Business asks "What is 'Real Kraft Cheese'?" There's a hint in our title.

30th Anniversary of CTA Crash

On February 4, 1977 there was a terrible crash between two CTA trains in the Loop. Eleven people were killed and at least 250 passengers were injured when the trains crashed near the train track curve at Wabash and Lake. The CTA Tattler has the roundup on the terrible day in CTA history.

Auto Show Shutdown

The Chicago Auto Show is back in town again from Feb. 9 until Feb. 18. On Saturday Feb. 10, however, the Critical Mass folks are planning an Auto Show Shutdown. The website set up was actually sent a "cease and desist letter" from the actual Chicago Auto Show. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet advocacy organization is supporting the Critical Massers and issued this press release on their behalf.

Help for Greening Schools

Trying to make your school (or your kid's) greener? The Chicago Center for Green Technology is making an expert available for five hours on 3 March to answer your questions about getting funding, choosing appropriate technologies, and which step comes first for school building and renovation projects. Free, but you need to reserve time in advance: call 312-746-4678 and tell them what you have in mind.

Capping Our Bears Coverage For Now

You've probably had enough of the Bears for the time being, so we'll lay off until Sunday. Besides, the Beachwood Reporter has collected more than enough Bears-related links to last you the next couple days.

Beau Brummel Banditry

Police are on the lookout for a man who has rooked a number of suburban Chicago and Wisconsin spas out of thousands of dollars worth of manicures, pedicures, facials, hair cuts, and sea salt body polishings. If you happen to see any six-foot, 300-pound fops with small pores and impeccable nails, please alert the police.

Travelling On

Another long-standing Chicago business is closing. This time it's The Savvy Traveller, the Michigan Avenue bookstore and gift shop that specializes in items for travellers. According to signs in the store's window, the business has lost its lease and is closing down after 22 years of business. If you find yourself near the corner of Michigan and Jackson sometime soon, don't forget to stop in for one last browse through the guide books, luggage, neck pillows and travel games.

Are You Wearing Red Today?

Today is the American Heart Association's "Wear Red Day," when millions of men and woman across the country will wear red to raise awarness of heart disease - the number one killer of women in the U.S. Visit the AHA web site to make a donation, and get your red on!

Durbin's $750/mo Bachelor Pad (With Three Roomies)

How's this for an unusual look into the lives of our senior senator and his three high-powered roommates! Juicy tidbits include Durbin killing mice with his bare hands and his insistence on having a big screen television.

UCHICAGO Understands Black Youth

Or, at least has an intellectual understanding of their attitudes, thanks to the recently completed Black Youth Project. The findings claim to reveal "an unexpected duality in the attitudes of black youth in America," and indicate (among other things) that the majority of black youth would prefer it "if mainstream rappers cleaned up their acts."


In a heart-warming comedy, two unlikely governors meet and embark on a road trip in search of their long-lost mother. Actually, Conan the Barbarian and Rod The Reformer (uh, yeah) joined forces today to announce a $500 million grant for energy research to be split between Berkely and U of I.

For the Low Low Price of Free

I like free. That's precisely the cost of admission to the Art Institute all day, every day, from the moment you register this sentence through February 21st. For free events, check out the AIC's calendar.


Free stuff to be had over in Transmission.

Aqua Teen Hunger (Terrorist) Force

The Aqua Teen Hunger Force advertisements that caused serious problems in Boston have been in Chicago for weeks. After all of the hubbub in Boston, most of ours were collected last night. [If you happened to snap a photo of the Chicago Ignignokts/Errs, please post it to our flickr pool for all to enjoy.]

Robuchon Comes to Chicago

Chicago magazine's Dish reports that the rumors are true: Joël Robuchon will open an outpost here in 2008. Foodies, prepare your palates and start saving now.

Transmission Feature: Eternals and Skybox

Start your February off with a dose of Transmission! Today's feature's got not one, but two Chicago bands you should check out as soon as possible, The Eternals and Skybox. (And if you keep a sharp eye out today, we might just be able to hook you up.)

Cable Access Guy Gets No Respect

Ever make a promise in the heat of the moment, like "I'll go to church every Sunday," or "I would love you 'til the end of time," and then think better of it? Fortunately for you and Bears safety Chris Harris, these aren't legal contracts, according to Fox Chicago. Harris promised the cable access guy that, if it went down that way, he'd follow the Bears to the Super Bowl, but reneged on the promise. (Fortunately for the Guy, a local ticket broker is hooking him up.)

TV Version of Radio, Live On Stage

This American Life embarks on a short cross-country live show tour in a few weeks, and they've included a stop at the Chicago Theatre in their schedule. The show will be their first Chicago show in 4 years, and will include a screening of behind-the-scenes footage from their upcoming TV show. Tickets go on sale tomorrow; full details on the event are in Slowdown.

Snacks for Your iPod

AudioSnacks is a local company that produces audio tours for places around the world, downloadable to your mp3 player. They've got a handful for Chicago, including one narrated by Jewish hip-hop poet Kevin Coval.



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