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Sunday, July 27

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Il Ritorno d'Uliss in Patria

The final installment of the Chicago Opera Theater's Claudio Monteverdi series, The Return of Ulysses, is earning strong reviews, including accolades for Rafael Viñoly's minimal set design. There are three performances remaining, so get hoppin'.

Block 37 on Fire

Hungry Mag's Michael Nagrant alerted us that there's smoke rising from the Block 37 construction site. He sent in a photo; there's nothing showing up on the live webcam, although it doesn't show the area Michael photographed. We'll keep you posted if/as we learn more. UPDATE: More photos on Chicago Carless, and here's a story in the Trib.

Hey, Smartypants

If you want to be a Mensa member or just hang out with them, Chicago Area Mensa is where it's at. Learn about the official Mensa test, get recipes (yeah, recipes for food), and find brainteasers.

Neighborhood Focus

The Reader kicked off a new project focusing its attention on the city one neighborhood at a time. First up is Uptown. It seems to be the idea of the moment; we've been contemplating doing something similar, and YoChicago has been devoting days to specific neighborhood lately: today is Ravenswood Manor Day.

Your Name in Lights

Good fun for a Friday: the Chicago Theater marquee generator. UPDATE: Dubi Kaufmann, the site's owner, has been asked by the theater's owner to take down the image.

Oh, Yeah, That's the One

It's always a pleasure to see a news organization pick just the right stock image for a Downers Grove mob hit story.

How to Get from Chicago to London

As explained by Google Maps. Step 20 is a doozy.

Neko in Town

They might be a distant second, but if you didn't manage to get tickets to see Chicago's adopted daughter Neko Case this week, photos and videos of the shows are popping up on the web.

Coffee Time

Including a discussion with roasters from Metropolis and Intelligentsia, a perfect moniker for Starbucks and a list of quality coffee shops around town, the article about coffee in this week's Reader is required material for us go juice addicts.

We're #3 for #1

Chalk up another strong showing for Chicago -- this time in the category of Icky and/or Clever Names for Local Makers of Portable Toilets. According to a list compiled by New York Magazine, of the top twenty names in the industry, nationwide, Chicago is home to three: LepreCAN (#12), Oui Oui Enterprises (#5) and UrinBiz.com (#3). New Orleans claims the top spot with... Doodie Calls.

Cricket: More Than Just Wearing All White (Apparently)

With the 2007 Cricket World Cup currently taking place in the Caribbean and the Clue-esque intrigue surrounding the murder of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, cricket has been getting a lot of press lately. If all the cricket noise has inspired you to learn about the game, pull a Jerry Seinfeld American Express commercial ("That was a wicked googly"), or check out a match in-person, GB has you covered. Or, more specifically, is able to guide you to the website of the Greater Chicago Cricket Association.

Fan of Foie Gras Fined

Yup, it's official. Hot Doug was on trial, and Hot Doug lost. But, he's only out the minimum fine of $250 for illegally selling foie gras (encased, of course) under a 7-month old City of Chicago ban.

GB Around Town

Join Gapers Block editor Andrew Huff (me) and contributor Daniel Tucker (also of AREA) as well as people from Optional Events, the New World Resource Center and Polvo, tonight for a talk about event calendars and listservs at A+D Gallery tonight at 6pm; more info in Slowdown. Also, for those with drinkin' on their mind, we'd love to see you at the Black Rock tomorrow night for our monthly GB Get-Together. We'll be in the back room from 9pm on; see you there!

Fawn Over Flora

Did last week's warm weather leave you with a foliage jones? Then you'd better get to Macy's Flower and Garden Show. Located on the first floor of the flagship location, this year's show features species from all over Africa, as well as African art and more. It's open through April 7.

Our Kind of Town

The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation today presented eight recipients with the Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a monetary prize for non-profits that have excelled at their task. Chicago-based Kartemquin Educational Films, producer of the award winning film Hoop Dreams, is at top of the list. My shoulders feel a little bit bigger today.

Transmission Feature: Arbouretum

Don't check the spelling, check the rock in our Thursday feature over at Transmission: Baltimore's Arbouretum. (Then check them out at the Empty Bottle tonight!)

Chicago Office Gives Gonzales What-For

Seems the meeting in Chicago between Attorney General Gonzales and his team here in the Chicago office was more aggressive than awkward. The New York Times reports that about six Chicago prosecutors "complained that the dismissals had undermined morale and expressed broader grievances about his leadership". Both the local papers got a bit scooped on this detail. The private meeting was the lead headline in the NYT and wasn't even mentioned in the local stories, which focused on the AG bolting out of a press conference prematurely.

Tilty's Take

Now that our hometown airline, United, isn't so far in the red, it's time for all the execs to take their cut. CEO Glenn Tilton got a cool $23.8 million, CFO Jake Brace got $10.4, COO Pete McDonald got $13.2 and so on. The head of the Association of Flight Attendants said that her stews got $40. Each. For the year. It gets complicated when you consider the contracts each party struck with the company, but man! Tilty's got this round.

MegaBus Expands Cheap Midwest Travel

A great reminder of the possibilities of regional travel at an affordable rate, Megabus.com recently announced that starting on April 2 you can go to 5 additional cities in the region. The company known for its sliding scale and often very cheap tickets will now take Chicagoans to and from the cities of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky. and Pittsburgh. This makes 13 total regional cities accessible via the express bus line, joining the previously serviced cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Toledo, Ohio.

Places For Athletic Supporters

You may now know how to hit Chicago like a jock, but you still throw like a girl.

Love Your Library

The Chicago Public Library just released its list of April events. There's a talk by Julia Alvarez, a series of educational seminars on home buying and financial planning, children's story time and ton more great events. Oh, and don't you have some books to return?

A-Hem

Would you like to be snarked at by Nina Garcia and Michael Kors? Cool. Then you should totally try out for Bravo's Project Runway. Auditions will be held at the Westin Hotel next Tuesday.

Wasted Away Again In Wrigleyville

The folks at Deadspin (Gawker's sports blog) just posted their season preview for [announcer voice] your revamped 2007 Chicago Cubs.

Chikka Boom Is My Favorite

A meandering video exposé on Chicago boat names. Oddly therapeutic.

Don't Forget Yer Milk

Ever get the jones for school lunch? If you're hankering for childhood delicacies such as mini corn dogs, crappy pizza and ham and cheese pinwheels, compare and contrast these school lunch menus from the Francis Parker School, Arlington Heights school district, Morgan Park Academy, and Saukview Elementary.

Jackass of the Week

College newspapers may not be known as paragons of journalism, but some local schools have some trailblazing pieces online, such as Columbia Chronicle's Jackass of the Week column. Other recent college paper wackiness comes from an article about Microsoft vernacular, an apology from a paper that got it all wrong and a pseudo op-ed arguing for a "Star Trek Defense" system against illegal aliens.

Tribune ownership staying in Chicago?

Bloomberg News is quoting sources close to the Tribune Co. auction as saying Tribune will probably accept the $8 billion takeover offer from native Chicagoan Sam Zell by the end of the week.

Low Cost Sneakers (No Word on Headbands)

Chicago Bulls center Ben Wallace is joining the affordable sneaker movement with his new shoe "the Big Ben" expected to be available in the fall and to retail for $15. The shoes look to have all the popular features of today's modern athletic footwear sans the markup.

No Longer Building Solo

Solo Cup officially abandoned its new factory plans and will sell its portion of the former U.S. Steel South Works site. The new owner, Southworks Development LLC will fold the new property into its existing holdings and create a multi-use development. To put the project into context, the development area, including adjoining parkland, is bigger than the Loop.

Speaking of the Bears and eBay...

Reader Zach informs us that some of those Bears SuperBowl XLI Champions shirts that got sent to Africa have found their way to eBay. A must-have for the ultimate superfan.

Awkward Moment?

Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is scheduled to make a stop in Chicago today to tout the "Project Safe Childhood" campaign. He'll share the lectern with Chicago-based U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was recently dubbed "not distinguished" by a former aide to Gonzales.

This Week in Commercial Real Estate

Lowe's is building a second store in Chicago -- this time on a 50-acre former steel plant site at 83rd and Stewart, just off the Dan Ryan Expressway. The Burlington Free Press reports that local fav Burton Snowboards is opening a store here. Lastly, keep tabs on 108 North State here at the live Block 37 cam.

Today's eBay Find

A commemorative wristwatch from the 1940 NFL championship, where the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins 73-0. The watch, originally given to Bears fullback Gary Famiglietti, recently turned up in the personal effects of a northwest suburban man who died in November. The Sun-Times reports that one interested buyer is of course the Chicago Bears, who would love to have this piece of team history.

It's American Diabetes Alert Day: Get Tested!

Today is American Diabetes Alert Day, a perfect day to take a few moments to get tested. According to the American Diabetes Association about one-third of the nearly 21 million Americans living with the disease are undiagnosed. Take a quick risk test, and if you score high, no cookie for you - it's time to schedule an appointment with your doc for further testing.

Vote for the Worst

Who knew that Vote For the Worst, the subversive element in the American Idol universe, has a Chicago connection?

"Final" Chicago Spire Design Unveiled

While Calatrava claims he will "keep on working on the shape of the building to the very end," Crain's is calling the latest Chicago Spire design the "final plans." Of course, no one knows if the building will actually get built, but design advances and political maneuvering continue.

Add Gourmand to that List

With the whole Filter/Swank Franks story heating up, Gourmand, the South Loop coffee shop and former sister shop of Filter, looks to be closing down as well, according to a conversation with a now former employee is closed. Though Bob Berger has nothing to do with this one, if anyone wants to hear an interview with him by Chicago Public Radio's Steve Edwards, check this out. It was a couple years ago when Berger was doing his whole video-cameras-in-the-Flat-Iron-Building venture, and it shows what kind of answer-evading weirdo the guy really is. It is under the August 7, 2001 program near the bottom of the page.

Yacht Rock 2.0

Some dude at The New York Sun just said that the Chicago music scene is the "capital of the budding New Mellow." Whatever that means.

Starting Up on the Cheap

Top story in today's Trib Business section, about the sinking costs of starting your own business using web-based software, features two local success stories. On the vendor side, it mentions 37 Signals, makers of Basecamp and the new contact manager Highrise. On the client side, they talk to local start-up Tappity, a new user-driven tool for finding, rating and collecting links to mobile-friendly websites.

That's Mest Up

Anthony Lovato, former lead singer of the suburban punk ensemble Mest, is being held in an LA jail on $1 million bond for allegedly stabbing a guy to death in a parking garage.

Celebrity Play Club 2007

Victory Gardens Theater announced this morning this year's celebrity playwrights for its annual Chicago Stories benefit. Sun-Times entertainment columnist Bill Zwecker, retired Tribune theater critic Richard Christiansen (also author of A Theater of Our Own, the definitive history of Chicago theater), and the husband and wife team of Attorney General Lisa Madigan and New Yorker cartoonist Pat Byrnes (writing a musical, no less!) will each author a ten-minute play to be directed by VGT artistic director Dennis Zacek. This year's class joins such illustrious (and often first-time) playwrights as John Mahoney, Phil Jackson, Mike Royko, Carol Mosely-Braun and Jesse Jackson—last year's writers were Rick Bayless, Alpana Singh, and Tribune columnist Rick Kogan. The benefit is May 4; see Slowdown for details.

The Blues Line

Speaking of the NYT, the Grey Lady turned her attention to our glorious transit system this weekend, and noted its "precarious" funding situation and crumbling condition.

Crack of the Skull

In 2005, Adam Greenberg was called up to the Chicago Cubs from a farm team in Tennessee. During his first-ever MLB at-bat, he was struck in the head by a 90 MPH fastball. This week's New York Times Magazine looks at what he's doing now.

Building a Piano (Wing)

The Art Institute recently installed a construction camera so we can put a face in our dreams of more modern and contemporary art. The camera produces a new image every 15 minutes.

DeRo and Kot at SXSW

If you're looking for more SXSW news (besides what you're finding on Transmission here), "Sound Opinions" aired its SXSW wrap-up show this weekend. Check out the episode, which features some Chicago bands and a drunk-ish sounding Greg Kot waxing super-poetic about music.

You Got Feminism in My Porn!

Pornography and feminism: two great tastes that taste great together! Tonight you can watch the documentary, "Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography," a look at how women are changing the industry from behind the camera. The screening is followed by a Q&A with director Becky Goldberg, a panel discussion with some local filmmakers, and some naughty raffle prizes from Early to Bed and others. All this empowered sauciness takes place tonight at 7:30 at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview. There's a $5 suggested donation, and of course you have to be 18.

See Ira for Cheap

The fine frugal folks at Make Love, Not Debt tell of how they used their savvy powers of negotiation to watch the new "This American Life" television show for cheap. Find out how they added Showtime to their cable plan for just $2 a month.

Goodbye Filter/Swank Franks, Thanks Bob

According to this week's Chicago Journal article There goes the neighborhood, long time Wicker Park hipster hangouts Filter and Swank Franks will be no more by late this year or early next. The owner of the Flat Iron Building, which the two businesses are located in, is Bob Berger, a big time Chicago real estate mogul who also owns the landmark Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue. The article explains that yet another Bank of America will fill the void left by the two departures. Berger is also the reason why South Loop residents don't have Rain Dog Cafe anymore.

2nd Annual Day of Action Against Street Harassment

Join the Rogers Park Young Women's Action Team this may in their 2nd Annual Day of Action Against Street Harassment and supporting women and girls' safety in Chicago. The group defines "taking action" broadly and encourages groups and individuals to work together on that day in creative street actions, conventional protests, and advocacy work of a wide variety. For more information and to get involved, email rpywat@hotmail.com.

Get Your Ghet On

Hey, did you hear? Oakland's Ghetto Gourmet is in town for a couple underground dining dates over the next couple days. More details -- and later this weekend, a report from the first dinner -- in Drive-Thru.

Heads, Maori Win

The Field Museum of Natural History will return the skulls of 14 Maori (which were acquired sometime in the mid-19th Century) to their New Zealand homeland and, specifically, the Te Papa national museum.

Kronos Posters For Everyone!

I know it's caught your eye while waiting for the bus...those ridiculous pictures of a hot chick eating a giant greasy gyros, usually in a tank top. Would you like one of those posters for your very own? Yes, Kronos is selling them.

I Can Fly Twice As High

Reading Rainbow is still at it, LeVar Burton is still the host, and they're having a contest...with prizes! WTTW is calling for storybook submissions for the Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest. Kindergarteners through third graders have all the fun.

Yet Another Guy Gets Indicted

Former Streets and San Chief Al Sanchez committed a big oops when he got caught funneling jobs to political cronies, strong-arming employees out of time or cash for campaigns, and even making workers shovel his snow. He is the 48th person to be indicted in the Hired Truck scandal.

We've Got It Under Control ... Like Iraq

Congressperson Tim Walberg (R-MI), recently noted most of Iraq is "reasonably under control." Well, you know, "at least as well as Detroit or Chicago ... or Harvey, Illinois."

Through Rain, Sleet or... Slowly

Chicago's postal service is the worst in the nation, according to a recent survey, and the Southwest Herald's Ray Hanania wants to hear your horror stories. You can even send them by mail, if you dare.

For Once, It's Not About The TV Show

This American Life debuts a site redesign.

R.A.T.M. Coming to Chicago

Well not quite, but it looks as if Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine will be in town Saturday April 14 at Federal Plaza to protest McDonalds of all things. It's still unclear whether the two of them will play music or what time they will be around, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Small Is Cool

Apartment Therapy: Chicago wants to see someone local win the 2007 Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest. If you think your tiny pad has what it takes to beat all comers, enter by April 6.

They Built This City

Feel like some hometown exploration? The American Institute of Architects just released their list of 150 Illinois Great Places. The list includes must-sees like FLW's Robie House but also the Sofitel, bungalows in general, the van der Rohe-designed IIT campus and, well, 146 more.

Still Time To Sign Up For Art Mini-Golf

Two mid-Southside arts organizations, Material Exchange and Experimental Station, are sponsoring the "First Annual Putt-Putt Green Design Competition" and are opening a temporary public mini-golf course from March 29th to April 3rd. There are still spots to play, so sign up soon.

Chicago 101

Gridskipper got it right when they called it "the Beginner's Guide to Chicago;" not many surprises on this list (though the shout-out to UIC's bowling alley is refreshing.) And hey, we're "twice as smart and half as nice as the folks in St. Louis and Minneapolis" here in the "capital of the Midwest." Great.

Your Help Needed

The family of David Cornbleet, the dermatologist killed in his office on Michigan Avenue last year, have updated their myspace page with new surveillance video from the Home Depot in Lincoln Park of a man purchasing an item that may be linked to the scene. They're asking for the city's help in identifying him.

Plan Your Bus Trip

The RTA actually listened to a customer, reports the CTA Tattler: you can now choose "buses only" on the RTA Trip Planner. (Meanwhile, the RedEye now has a CTA blog of its own.)

Interactive Labor Trail

The Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies presents the Interactive Labor Trail, a map of 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago and Illinois.

Transmission Feature: 5 Reviews for You

Today we've got a fistful of new music by some of the best Chicago (adopted or native) artists around. Click on over to our favorite lil' music page, Transmission, and head on out to your favorite local music store to get in on all the fun between your ears.

SSSSSttttteeeeelllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaa!

There was a Stella Yelling Contest, and Phil Wackerfuss won it.

To Protect and Serve...Or Else.

One of "Chicago's (very large) Finest" was caught on video beating a female bartender after getting cut off. For some reason a Salt Lake City CBS affiliate is the only site hosting the clip. It may be brutal and sensational, but if it moves just one person caught in a similar situation to do more than the guy in the white cap, then it's worth it. UPDATE: The Tribune story now has accompanying video. (Thanks, Suzy.)

Button Up!

Hey, Busy Beaver is having a design contest for its next So&So button set! You could be famous in one-inch increments!

Cook County Cold Case Squad Kaput?

More county budget cut fallout. Sneed is reporting that the Cook County state's attorney's office is doing away with its Cold Case squad (scroll down past Conrad Black's wife calling a reporter "a slut"). These are the people who solved the Brown's Chicken Murders w/ saliva and an ex-girlfriend.

"Excuse Me? Which Way to Fort Dearborn?"

The Map Room site (no relation to the bar of the same name), currently featured links to U of C Library pages featuring gorgeous old maps of the city that you can "zoomify." Zoomify? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

"This American Life" Viewing Party

The first episode of everyone's fave public radio-based storytelling hour airs tomorrow night on Showtime. But if you don't have SHO, what are you gonna do? Write in and tell us if you know of any public viewing parties, 'kay?

Geese Breach Peace

Beastly geese must cease increase. "Nest police, please decrease, bring surcease to geese eggs," park district pleads. Geese eggs to be beat or greased without caprice. Honk.

Another Reason to Shop Locally

That huge Borders in Uptown that was supposed to save the neighborhood three years ago by bringing retail and luxury condos to the area? Yeah, it's probably gonna close, along with the one on Clark & Diversey, one on North Ave., and one in Hyde Park. Because once The Man starts losing money, he no longer cares for your precious "community." Or so I've heard.

First Slice: Offering hope to Chicago's hungriest

Check out First Slice, Chef Mary Ellen Diaz's project to help feed Chicago families in need. A subscription brings home-cooked meals to your door, and sends healthy and delicious meals to a Chicago family who would otherwise go without. Or, volunteer at the community kitchen. Either way, it's a tasty way to help others.

Pretend You're in Third Grade...

...and go on a factory tour!

They Say It's the First Thing to Go

Researchers at Northwestern have discovered a possible -- and very odd -- link between vasectomies and Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of dementia. So, ladies, even though experts are not discouraging men from getting their tube tied, be prepared to hear yet another reason why you should be solely responsible for contraception.

New Group Taking On Controversial Juvenile Detention Center

Critical Resistance Chicago who are known for their "abolitionist" stance towards prison, have just announced their "No Child Left Behind Bars" campaign which will launch with a Public Forum on Saturday, March 31, 2007 From 2:00 to 5:00pm at The Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (Northeastern University), 700 East Oakwood Blvd.
The meeting will have three primary goals: - to provide a space for youth and their families to share their experiences with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) - to build membership in the No Child Left Behind Bars coalition - to build momentum for the coalition's next meeting, focusing on alternatives to the detention center. For more information get in touch with Yusufu L. Mosley, Project Coordinator Yusufu@criticalresistance.org, Office Phone: (312) 281-1463 or with the Cell: 1-773-443-4077

Jimmy Corrigan makes a TV show

Can you feel the excitement? The TV version of This American Life debuts Thursday night on Showtime. Can't wait? Check out some Chris Ware animation (Flash video player link) from the show.

Testing, Testing, One, Two...Four?

Have you ever walked out of a test sure to your core that it was rigged? Illinois elementary school kids had good reason this year.

Chopping Block Offers Class Tonight on Gluten-Free Living

Folks with celiac disease (or who dine often with folks with celiac disease) can learn all about living well gluten-free tonight, at "Enlightened Cooking with Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner." Brought to you by the Chopping Block, the event takes place at the Merchandise Mart, 6-8:30pm. Register here.

Highrise Launches

Highrise, the shared contact manager and task list from Chicago-based 37Signals, just launched this morning.

Look Out for That Sand Trap

Custodians at a Mundelein golf course discovered a skull and assorted bones at and around the 14th tee. The varmint responsible has yet to be identified. [Warning: The last two links are noisy.]

Chagall Fans, Take Note

It's been a rough few years for Chicago's Chagall fans. His beautiful America Windows has been off exhibit at the Art Institute because of construction on the museum's new wing (and won't be back till 2009). And in 2005 one of his paintings was sold to a private collector. However, we still have the Four Seasons, and there's a new biography. Its author, Jonathan Wilson, is discussing it tonight up in Evanston. Slowdown has you covered, or visit the Nextbook website to buy tickets.

Thoughtcrimes and Misdemeanors

It's been on YouTube for two weeks, but the video mashup of Hillary's "conversations" with the famous Ridley Scott "1984" Mac commercial, purportedly made by an anonymous Obama supporter, has made worldwide news since it was picked up by the Drudge Report this weekend. Obama's camp is disavowing any involvement, but I imagine internally they think it's pretty awesome.

Who is Attending the Best CPS High Schools?

If you guess that it's the Chicago Public School kids who did the best, you'd mostly right. Crain's reports that 17% of the students who were accepted into the 8 Selective Enrollment High Schools last year attended private schools rather than CPS Elementary Schools. Needless to say, this is creating more than some tension for "CPS Lifer" parents who'd like some leg up for loyalty (and might fuel a few residency investigations).

Spike Press Relaunch

Spike Press, one of the best silkscreen poster shops in a city crawling with them, has just launched a new website.

Blue Bag Blues

The kind folks at the Wicker Park Food Co-Op have penned a tune that fairly sums up just about everyone's frustrations with the city's recycling program: The Blue Bag Blues. (Warning: it's an mp3 download.)

A Home Turf Challenge to Boeing

Plane watchers will be pleased to hear the Airbus A380 will definitely visit O'Hare tomorrow.

Put It in Your Little Black Book

Want to see a movie tomorrow night? There's an advance screening of Black Book, a WWII period piece set in Nazi-occupied Holland, tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7pm at Landmark Century Center Cinemas, 2828 N. Clark St., courtesy of Nerve.com and Sony Pictures Classics. It's free, but you have to RSVP here to get in.

Convention Watch: Association of Paroling Authorities International

Keeping track of the City's conventions so you don't have to. The APAI's annual conference is in town this week. Theme: "We Know What Works: Moving From Research to Policy to Practice". No word on what the clients of all these parole officers will be up to while their POs are here in Chicago.

Catch Up on Your SXSW Stories

In case you haven't been keeping up, we've now got a handy dandy one-stop link to all of the exclusive, drama-filled SXSW 2007 Tour Diaries from Chicago buzz bands Office and Catfish Haven over at Transmission. Scroll down the Transmission page just past Tape Findings, or just click here to get the dish from Austin, TX.

Yet Another Googlemap, Gangsta Edition

In connection with the current Fuel question: If you don't know what gang claims your neighborhood, you should check out the handy googlemaps on the invaluable ChicagoGangs.org. I just found out that the kids in red and black on my block are members the Almighty Black P-Stones.

Reading A Chicago Tavern

This month the Gapers Block Book Club is reading A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream by Rick Kogan. Find out more at the book club blog.

Carson's Still Interested in the City

Now that the flagship Carson Pirie Scott store is closed, word has it the department store is interested in opening a new location in the South Loop.

In Case You Missed It

Simeon defeated O'Fallon 77-54 last night in the Class AA boy's basketball championships. Long-time high school sports beat writer Bob Sakamoto called them, "the greatest Public League team of all time". That's saying alot.

So Green Architecture isn't a Passing Fad

Someone smart at the Tribune asked its arts and architecture critics what prompted them to reevaluate artists in their disciplines. Some second looks include the Trap Door Theatre, William McDonough and Walker Evans.

Living Kitchen: New Urban Food Workshops

If you've never gotten a chance to join local artist-gardner-ecologist Nance Klehm's urban food workshops, you are in for a treat this spring. Klehm has just announced a new series of "Living Kitchen" workshops that will include foraging for food in the urban landscape, cheese-making, pickling, sourdough and medicine. According to Klehm, "Living Kitchen is about direct experience with what is living and growing around us, new tastes, simple food-making processes, and sharing with others."

The workshops are often free, though some cost as much as $70 to cover supplies, tastings, take homes and expertise. Space is limited so get in touch. Questions? Contact: Nance Klehm, nettlesting@yahoo.com or 773-762-0277
4/11, Wednesday 6-9pm - $50, 3 way pickling kimchi and pickles
3/15, Sunday 1-4pm -$50 wild sourdough wild starters and bread making basics
3/20, Sunday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
5/6, Sunday 1-5 pm - $70 raw cheese
5/12, Saturday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
5/27, Sunday, 1-5pm - $70 Raw Cheese
6/16, Saturday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
6/24, Sunday, 1-5pm - $50 local medicine herbal tinctures/salves/syrups/lozenges and teas

Craft Racket: Round 2

Are you a crafty business owner looking to learn better ways of doing things? Have you found the better way and you're hoping to find people to listen? The Chicago Craft Mafia would love you to join them at their 2nd Craft Racket, a networking event geared toward small business owners (especially those that are crafty). Details in Slowdown, or course.

NYT Calls Out the CHA

In a stark take on the remaining public housing near Halsted and Division, the New York Times says, "the Plan for Transformation, a national model in its scope and original ambition, is off schedule and in need of more money."

Licensed Public Way Contractors

From the bowels of the much-maligned City website comes a current (as of March 8) list of licensed public way contractors. If you see someone putting a hole in the street and they're not on this list, call 311.

Moz Mopes in Midwest

Put in your order for gladiola now. Morrissey's playing a slew of dates across the Midwest this May, mostly in smaller theatres. This extended tour augments his November appearance at the Aragon -- which was totally amazing.

Sweet Sour Home Chicago

Over at the Beachwood Reporter, Don Jacobson has been collecting and evaluating songs that namedrop the city that works. Unsurprisingly, few of the tunes are happy-go-lucky toe-tappers. Subjects include blood, drugs, ghettos, guns, and elevator repair.

Puss Pummelling

In last night's surprising game between Duke and VCU, former Glenbrook North High standout Jon Scheyer took one hard to the face. Duke was ousted, Scheyer was bloodied, and lots of betting pools were hosed. (Awesome bloody photo here.)

That Doesn't Belong in a Milkshake!

Oak Brook's very own McDonald's seems to be having some trouble on one of its British websites. (Unfortunately, the item on the original website is in Flash, so we can't link to it.)

Second Life in the Second City

Like any newly emergent virtual world, Second Life can encompass both wickedness, and virtue, but what it definitely is not, is irrelevant. The 3rd annual RL (real life!) Second Life Community Convention is taking place this August at the downtown Hilton. With program tracks including Education and Business/Future of the Metaverse, its sure to host some interesting events. It may be months away, but once you log on you'll see that's barely enough time to get a good skin, let alone your bearings in SL.

March Merger Madness, Global City Style

The merger of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange may be derailed by a new offer from Atlanta's Intercontinental Exchange. The good news for Chicago is the Atlanta folks want to come to us, so the city will retain the CBOT, regardless.

Chicago's CFO Resigns

The city's chief financial officer, Dana Levinson, resigned today to take a job with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Even as he leaves, however, he insists that taxpayers won't be on the hook for the 2016 Olympics if we get it.

St. Patty's Shopping

Once you've had your fill of green beer (or better yet, beforehand), head over to the Empty Bottle for this month's Handmade Market, where you'll find everything from soaps to jewelry to accessories made of recycled bike tires. Details in Slowdown.

Plug It In, Plug It In!

IIT is about to boost the Chicago Department of Fleet Management's Green Fleets Action Agenda [pdf] with a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The city will decide whether it wants more of the cars after a four to six month trial.

Apprentice Alert

As if the Trump Tower wasn't bad enough by itself, now Chicagoans may soon have to deal with the possibility of seeing its namesake hanging out around town. The Sun-Times is reporting that The Donald and crew will probably be shooting the next season of The Apprentice here. This latest report has The Wind gearing up for its impending showdown with The Hair.

Accessible Chicago

Accessible Chicago is a site that "takes the guesswork out of traveling in Chicago with a wheelchair." Their five-star ratings and reviews give their take on degree of accessibility.

Polish Up the Doomsday Clock

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a nominee for a National Magazine Award for general excellence, in the smallest circulation category.

Transmission: A Feature and A Diary

Today at Transmission (where we love to rock), we've got some fresh beats for you. Click over and read the first of many SXSW tour diary entries from Chicago buzzworthy band Office who've just arrived in Austin, Texas for some serious rockin' (keep your eye on the blog for more entries as the week goes on). Also, it's Thursday, so you know we've got a fresh feature for you. This week, it's an insightful interview with local spinner DJ Major Taylor. Click, dance, click!

CTA to Add Flight Departure Info at Clark & Lake

The CTA will be installing Flight Departure Info Displays at the Clark & Lake station for flights leaving from both O'Hare and Midway. Precisely what you need to stay calm and relaxed while waiting for the train.

Sun-Times Gets Social

Not sure when this feature was added, but every article on the Sun-Times website now has social bookmarking links from a service called Add This. Careful with your clicking-- the "share" links are just above the ad in the right-hand column.

And That's Elvis in the Bush Behind Him

Salt-stain Marys? Please. That's so 2005. All the cool kids are seeing Jesus Christ in a southwest neighborhood tree now. What? Well, maybe you're not squinting hard enough. Here, try practicing on this grilled cheese sandwich.

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

They are the Oscar's (not Golden Globes) of education. Today six of the area's finest teachers were presented with Golden Apple Awards for excellence in teaching. Way to go! Pssst...post-awards party in the teacher's lounge.

You Just Missed Him!

According to S-T columnist Bill Zwecker, sexy bringer-backer J. Timberlake took advantage of the MCA's free day yesterday. He was spotted lunching at Puck's Cafe on the terrace after checking out the Stingel exhibit. And this is hot on the heels of J. Simpson skunking up Mich. Ave. a few weeks ago.

Money for Something

Congratulations to Charles Taylor, NU Philosophy Prof, for bagging the world's biggest monetary prize awarded for research into spirituality; and it's a big'un. The Tribune has the story.

NARC!

From the Wheaton Sun comes a story of a 16-year-old who works with the cops to bust suburban convenience stores who sell cigs to kids. 53 businesses (including that most American of establishments, Wal-Mart) bit and were fined $200 a pop. Okay, fine. But we wonder just what this kid got busted for that he had to work this sting.

A Noteworthy Community

The Chicago Classical Music community covers multitudinous classical music happenings, musicians, composers, and directors in Chicago and elsewhere. No one can accuse them of having too many notes.

Do Not Feed Gum to Your Dog

Don't be distracted by Wrigley's announcement that it will launch a sensory "invigorating" gum called "5" this summer. Their Product FAQ offers so much more, including an important dog related item.

Freeloader Alert

It seems that the Millenium Park Metra Station (nee Randolph St. Station) is now complete. To celebrate, Metra's giving free coffee to commuters at that station on Friday.

Conrad Black is Darth Vader?

Today's Sun-Times contains a brief, meaty letter from publisher John Cruickshank on the subject of Lord Conrad Black's "fallen empire." The former CEO's fraud trial kicks off today and while "feelings of resentment ... are still quite inflamed," the paper promises to provide scrupulously fair coverage.

Cicada Love

"It started out as a harmless fling. He was a male cicada in love, she was a female cicada with needs." Could this possibly be from a real newspaper? Find out now.

Wine, Words, and Song

More than 40 of Chicago's top storytellers -- along with some DJs, live music, and lots of vino -- converge on the top floor of Webster's Wine Bar for Serendipity Theater Collective's second annual 2nd Story: Story, Wine & Music Festival, April 26-May 13. Each night centers around a different topic, like community, fear, heartbreak, or learning from strangers, with a handful of monologists taking the stage throughout the night as patrons enjoy food, sponsored wine flights, and music. Tickets go on sale March 15.

Fill Out Your Bracket

If you haven't yet read this week's Hoops in Five, it's mostly about the NCAA Tournament. For those interested in that sort of thing (and who doesn't fill out a bracket, really?) join the Gapers Block pool. The winner will be announced on the site, and receive both my admiration and a moderately exciting prize!

But Will They Play "Roxanne"?

The Police will not be here to create disorder, the Police will be here to preserve disorder. Better start looking for a parking space now.

Yours Truly, Jack the Reporter

The Whitechapel Club is a strange bit of forgotten Chicago lore. A late 19th Century gathering of Chicago journalists who wet their whistles at a local tavern and named themselves after the London slum terrorized by Jack the Ripper, the group eventually held meetings in a room decorated with skulls, nooses, and other grisly artifacts. Guest speakers were invited to address the club, only to be insulted away from the podium, and the subject of death was routinely lampooned. Alas, it lasted only five years, but the Newberry Library holds the club's remaining papers.

Attack of the Red Eyed Monsters

If you're planning on attending concerts at the Ravinia Festival this summer, you may want to check the schedule [pdf] extra early this year. Why, you ask? Cicadas.

Missed Connections Report

Okay, not sure what was in the air at last week's Scissor Sisters concert, but there's a bunch of Missed Connections related to it on Craig's List. Let's hope this weekend's drunken St. Patrick's Day festivities are equally productive.

Excerpts From "End of Watch" by Ed Burke

Alderman Edward M. Burke and co-writer Thomas J. O'Gorman are set to publish End of Watch: Chicago Police Killed in the Line of Duty 1853-2006 tomorrow. The book "examines the remarkable sacrifice of 526 sworn officers of the Chicago Police Department". Tons of chilling, detailed excerpts over at the Sun-Times, from 1919 through the 70s.

State Education Report

After being delayed by wack technical problems for months, results of the Prairie State Achievement Tests finally reached Chicago schools. Parents, students and educators are furious at these delays, which prevented them from doing informed prep for next month's test.

Controversy About Poetry

The New Yorker recently published a piece on Chicago-based Poetry Magazine and its recent large gift from Ruth Lilly. Commenting on the article in this weekend's NY Times is David Orr, who raises the question: despite the New Yorker's criticisms of Poetry Magazine, why does the poetry in the New Yorker suck so badly? (Whatever you think of Poetry Magazine, they are having a lot of readings around town, if you're interested.)

Metro Celebrates 25 Years at the Hideout

Regard this as your early invite: The Metro has announced it will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the annual Hideout Block Party, September 7-9. Bring your dancing shoes, and check the venues' websites for more information.

Is this Heaven? No, It's the South Side

This weekend's South Side Irish Parade was reportedly a festive, green, tradition, beer & Little Caeser's-filled kick-off to the spring season!

How Much for a Really Nice Week?

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange will be adding weekly weather futures in April. I'll take 15 degrees above average in Chicago for next week, please!

Whole Foods In Sauganash Delivers Grocery Innovation

There are many reasons not to go to the newly opened Whole Foods at Peterson and Cicero: it's hard to get to, the parking lot is a pain, it's crowded because it's a new grocery store in place that had few options. But there is one fabulous reason to go there: YOU CAN DRINK BEER WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING. Sorry to shout, but this is one idea whose time has come. Seriously. Saunter up to the "Sauganash Grill", order a pint, and enjoy shopping and drinking. (For the budget inclined, you can get low-priced tastings of wine too.)

GB Book Club Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder that the Gapers Block Book Club is meeting tonight at The Book Cellar at 7:30pm to discuss The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. Hope to see some of you there! Check out the book club blog to find out what else we're reading this year.

New York vs. Chicago Pizza Throwdown

TV cooking queen Rachael Ray is laying down the yeasty gauntlet with the NYC v. CHI Pizza Throwdown. Vote for one of the Chicago choices or add your own write-in.

Did You Get that Letter I Mailed You?

While the Chicago mail service may no longer have 200 pounds of burning mail in Englewood, it's still the worst in the nation.

Roadway Plant List

While you're out there in the garden considering plants, take a look at the 5th edition of the Chicago Department of Transportation's Roadway Plant List (PDF)-- an intense list of plants, trees, flowers, shrubs, vines, etc. with info on how well they hold up against road salt and other indignations on Chicago's medians and roadways.

Urbs in Horto Bloggius Maximus

Despite being a dingy grey urban hellhole here and there, Chicago has a number of blogs run by backyard gardeners trying to bring a patch of green to the city. Mr. Brown Thumb is one. Sweet Home and Garden Chicago is another, as is My Chicago Garden.

Andy Sidaris, Pioneer of the Honey Shot, is Dead

If you ever watched a televised sporting event and saw the camera linger over an attractive female attendee in the crowd, you have Chicago native Andy Sidaris to thank. He died at 76 in Los Angeles. Later in life he specialized in making action films with Playboy Playmates under the "Bullets, Bombs, and Babes" label. Take a look at his nsfw website, YouTube profile, and MySpace.

CHI-TONW: the New Black?

Hey, remember the tattoo artist who misspelled "CHI-TOWN"? Well, several other local tattoo artists have apparently intentionally had the misspelled word tattooed on themselves, as a show of support for the artist. If that sounds like a good idea to you too, stop by Jade Dragon Tattoo on Sunday, and you can get a "CHI-TONW" tattoo for free.

Work For Bikes

Love biking? Want to advance the cause? And get paid or valuable work experience? The Chicagoland Bike Federation wants you to know about a few key opportunities. Apply to be a bike ambassador, design and marketing intern, bikeways planning intern, and more. Put your wheel where your, um, mouth is.

Animated Olympics

See a 4-minute Second Life-style video animation of proposed Olympic sites.

The Viola Project: Shakespeare for Girls

The Viola Project (named for Twelfth Night's cross-dressing heroine) is the braindaughter of Reina Hardy and Ellie Kaufman, two local actors who noted the disparity between the number of young girls interested in theater and the number of female characters to play. So the team decided to get girls aged 8-18 interested in Shakespeare by letting them play all the roles, even Hamlet. Coming up this spring, there's a day-long Antony and Cleopatra workshop in April, a "Sonnet Slam" in May, and a week-long MacBoot Camp in June culminating in a performance of the Scottish Play.

The South Side Chicago Board of Tourism

Convert your currency to South Side dollars while enjoying an unusual White Sox website.

Help Solve a Cold Case

The Chicago Police has a new section on their website for cold case investigations. Includes images, death stats, and chilling summaries of the victim's fates. You can submit any info you have anonymously or call (312)746-9690.

Dalai Lama-Rama

The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, The Dalai Lama, will be in Chicago on May 6th. Tickets are still available for his afternoon address on "Finding Inner Peace in a World of Turmoil" at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Auditorium.

Pay No Little Bills pt. 2

Electric rates went up. Way up. Are natural gas rates next? Thank God it's nice out.

Pay No Little Bills

For they have no magic to empty men's wallets. Don't worry, the city will only pay if the 2016 Olympics lose money. We promise! And it's a measly $500 mil. Practically nothing! And even that's if private investors and insurance companies wimp out.

Check Your Email Before You Fly

O'Hare and Midway now offer a service that will email or text you with up-to-date flight information. That'll help, right?

Passage to India

Crain's Chicago Business sent a team to India to examine how outsourcing and the rise of South Asia in the business world will affect people here. Great team coverage.

Local Girl "Most Naked"

Need a new volume for the "booty corner" of your home library? Everyone's fave Chicago burlesque diva Michelle L'amour is releasing her book "The Most Naked Woman" featuring artistic nudes from some of the country's most celebrated photographers including Bettie Page shooter Bunny Yeager. Get it now or see Michellel at G Boutique on April 7.

Windy City Rollers Announce Bout Dates

The Windy City Rollers, Chicago's first all-girl flat-track roller derby league, has announced bout dates for the 2007 season. All bouts are held at The Stadium in Cicero (1909 S. Laramie). Check here to buy tickets, or for a list of ticket vendors.

* April 21 * May 19 * June 16 * July 21 (playoffs) * September (championships - date/location TBA)

You Gotta Pay to Play

We all know how it goes. The parking authority always gets their man. Apparently one of the ducks Sen. Barack Obama got in a row before entering the race for president was paying off some old parking tickets from his time at Harvard; four hundred dollars worth to be exact.

Lawsuit, a Sign of the Times?

A small blurb was posted on the Tribune's website last night about Chicago anti-war activist Andy Thayer filing a federal law suit against the City of Chicago. According to the article, the suit alleges infringement upon Thayer's 1st, 4th and 15th Amendment rights. A quick search of Cook County's Clerk of the Circuit Court website finds a case where it appears the charges have been dismissed.

What's interesting is that, Thayer was arrested in 2005 for staging a street-side news conference to discuss the fact that organizers were not granted a permit to protest. The following year, however, a permit was granted and again a permit was granted this year for a march on Michigan Avenue March 20 at 6 p.m. It's unclear whether Thayer's actions or involvement played any role in the city's sudden reversal on permit granting, but it's been a long time since any Chicago anti-war activist received the recognition they deserve.

New Style or Old Style?

Earlier this month we mentioned the new ads in the outfield at Wrigley. Baseball parks have sported ad signage since the turn of the century, but if you really loved those green doors, you can join the other petition signers at Savewrigley.com.

These Roller Girls Need Shirts

The Windy City Rollers need new shirts and they want you to design them. That's right, enter your design idea for a new WCR League shirt before March 21st and you could win a butt-load of prizes, not to mention be responsible for helping our own bad girls of the flat-track look their best.

Visit Beautiful Woodstock

Northwest suburban Woodstock was named one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2007. [via]

Spam Poetry Slam

Northwestern graduate student Kristin Thomas' spam poetry is getting attention. "Flesh Hungry Dogs, Jackhammer, Circuit and Chocolate," indeed!

One Station Opens, One Station Closes

CTA Brown Line renovation update: the Francisco stop re-opens tomorrow morning one week ahead of schedule, and the Southport station will close on April 2 for up to one year of work.

Transmission Feature: Record Stores #4

Hello, sunshine! How's it going? Want to check out some record stores that may not be on your beaten path? Head on over to Transmission (where we love music) to read about George's Music Room and Permanent Records, two of our latest reviewed Chicagoland record stores.

A Neighborhood's Tribute to Barack Obama

You're probably overwhelmed by articles about Barack Obama by now, but if you're still interested in learning about his local roots, you may want to check out the Hyde Park Herald's special Obama issue. The entire 24-page issue is Obama-centric, including a lengthy article about his wife, Michelle.

Fun With Headlines

Seems the headline writers over at Crain's had a good time with this one: "Sex therapist's firm lines up cash infusion".

5 1/2 Years of Chicago Prosecution

In the wake of recent federal prosecutor firings, the Tribune/L.A. Times is running a short profile of Chicago's current prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald. You may recognize him from a certain high-profile trial.

Macbeth, Three Feet Tall

The Italian marionette performance company Carlo Colla e Figli begins its run of "Marionette Macbeth" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Tuesday. Additional details are available in Slowdown.

One More French Chef In Town

While other French chefs are undecided on moving to Chicago, the Reader's food blog notes that the Persian restaurant Noon-O-Kebab, experiencing huge popularity since its appearance on WTTW's "Check, Please", has hired a French chef to handle a second kitchen in the restaurant for take-out, delivery and catering. Look for the new kitchen to open up in a couple of months.

Keep Watching the Skies, er, Ground

Blogger Dan Telfer points out that after the snows melt and the temperature rises, we'll have to deal with the chitinous grossness of the 17-year "locusts" (though, actually, they're cicadas, not locusts). Not to worry though. The crunchy little buggers are apparently quite tasty. You first.

Pulaski Passes, Pierogi Plummets

Bloomberg reports that, in spite of Chicago's historical allure to Polish immigrants, recent immigration from Poland has decreased significantly. Nevertheless Chicagoland still boasts the 2nd largest population of residents of Polish descent (behind only Warsaw) in the world!

Last Chance to Win!

Hey! We're closing our reader survey tonight, so if you haven't told us a little about yourself, please take a minute to do so. You could win a $50 gift certificate to Threadless, who's having another $10 sale right now. (Or it could be for somewhere else if t-shirts aren't your thing.) It's anonymous except for your email, and if you're not interested in winning, even that's optional. UPDATE: Survey closed! Thanks for participating!

Irish Pugilism

The annual tradition of Irish men beating each other up is just around the corner. Undefeated Chicago light heavyweight "Irish" Mike Nevitt will face fellow Irishman Shawn Hammack in the main event at March Mayhem, "Chicago's annual St. Patrick's Day professional boxing event" on Friday, March 16th, at Cicero Stadium. Full card details in Slowdown.

Farwell Farewell?

Get ready for another fight over the Farwell Building: it's back up for review by the Landmarks Commission tomorrow. This time the odds of preservation are a bit slimmer, as the city's planning officials are throwing their support behind the plan to gut the building and slap its façade onto a new Ritz Carlton hotel and condo high-rise. Once again, Preservation Chicago and Lynn Becker are pushing for people to protest the proposal; the fight isn't just for the building now but for Hanig's Shoes, the ground floor tenant that will close after 30 years if the project is approved.

Beasts! I Tell You

Several local artists contributed illustrations to the new book, Beasts!, and many of them will be at a release party/book signing at Quimby's this Friday. Read Kara Luger's preview and interview with Madison, Wisconsin's Little Friends of Printmaking over in the Book Club.

Tax 'N Spend

Governor Blagojevich will float his budget before the Illinois General Assembly tomorrow. The proposal calls for gigantic increases in health and education spending, financed by a proposed new tax on large businesses.

Serial Fingerpicker

John Hasbrouck is a local guitarist who just can't stop joining bands. There's his "jugless" jug band Hardscrabble, local band Cracklin Moth, his mandolin accompaniment to songwriter James Curley, the countrified stylings of the Lawrence Peters Outfit, and others. Hurry up and see the fleet-fingered Hasbrouck before he drops dead of exhaustion.

The World's Game in Our Town

Sure LA has whats-his-name on the way, but let's not forget Chicago is home to the US Soccer House, and now, will host the CONCACAF Gold Cup semis and finals.

Look the Part

If you took our suggestion to heart and are trying to find ways to look the part for the US Olympic Committee's scout team, you might want to head over to Marsh...er, Macy's and check out the new official "Chicago 2016 Shop".

Camp Jinx: Not Your Average Family Videos

Today I stumbled across Camp Jinx, a video blog that's the recreational side of local family-run video production company Picture Show. Of course, since the blog is run by video professionals, you're not just going to find home movies on Camp Jinx. You'll also find, for example, video of the dad interviewing stars at the Golden Globes, and The Wrens performing live in a family member's apartment between Chicago gigs. It's too bad that all families can't be as cool as the Leonard family, but at least they're willing to share the experience.

Hello, Sports Racers

The second annual Chiditerod was this past weekend, and there are lots and lots of photos and video. Check them out here, here and, of course, on flickr. (Not to mention today's Rearview.)

Olympic Committee In Town

Quick, everybody, look athletic! A scout team for the US Oympic Committee is in town on a two-day visit to Chicago to hear city officials' arguments as to why we should host the 2016 Olympics. On April 14, the committee will vote between Chicago and Los Angeles, and then the winner of that vote goes on the short list of world cities in the running (a list that also includes Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid), and then the actual winner is announced in October. Of 2009. That's right, the Olympic committees still have two more years of looking at cities, but at least by April we'll know if Chicago is in the finals.

That's My $9.2 Million Home on N. Astor

If you're looking for the toniest neighborhood for your next real estate purchase, maybe you should check the Chicago Business High End Homes section. The feature includes maps, photos and sale prices for the most expensive homes in the region in 2006.

Parenting 2.0

Chicago Parent magazine has redesigned its website, which now includes a whole bunch of blogs covering a variety of aspects of parenting, from feminist childrearing to being a working mom to just being a dad.

The P is for Pearl Jam

Lollapearljamalooza?! It sounds as if Chicago's own Lollapaooza will feature Pearl Jam (fronted by Evanstonian Eddie Vedder) as the headliner. If you'd been reading Transmission, you'd already know this.

Quite a Building

Via Coudal and Edward Lifson: 360° VR photos of the Elks Veterans Memorial Building in Lincoln Park.

Happy Pulaski Day!

If your city or county bank, library, public school or government office is closed today, it's in honor of Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski. However, you will get mail and, sadly, you must feed the meter.

Jump to the Front of the Line

No more waiting around outside for your cheap tickets. Hot Tix, the half-price ticket agency run by the League of Chicago Theaters, now offers ticket sales online.

Presidential Towers Sold

The grand-daddy of West Loop upward mobility, Presidential Towers, is being sold. For those who don't remember the particulars of early '80s local politics or the Ways and Means of Dan Rostenkowski, read how this real expensive real estate went from skid row to a row of towers.

The King of Chicago

Hard though it may be to believe, the remains of the last king of Yugoslavia--and likely the only kingly bones buried on American soil--rest in Chicagoland. King Peter II is currently interred in Libertyville's Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Sava--but not for long if his heirs have their way.

YouTube at the Bar

Tap.tv, a Burr Ridge-based technology company, has set up a YouTube-esque video jukeboxes at several area bars. To use LiveBar.net, you upload videos to the site, then text a code to the service when you're out at, say John Barleycorn or Moe's Cantina. The jukebox will then switch from whatever random video it was playing to yours, all for free. So far it's almost entirely commercials and "Family Guy" scenes.

New Direction for MCA

Robert Fitzpatrick, the Museum of Contemporary Art's Pritzker Director, will step down in 2008. His ten years in the job were marked by considerable change at the institution, including the acquisition of $16,000 worth of GAP t-shirts. So polish up your résumé and keep an eye on their job page!

WBEZ2.0

Chicago Public Radio debuted a clean new website design this evening.

Everything But The Burden?

It should have come as no surprise that the slings and arrows would be in action before Barack Obama even announced a possible Presidential bid, and the past month has borne that out. Perhaps the strangest and most muddled discussion has been the one about whether the Junior Senator is "black enough" for some folks. Sure, "identity politics" were bound to be an issue at some point. It's interesting to note, however, that some of the most thoughtful and level-headed punditry on the whole subject of Obama's cultural steet cred has come from music journalists. It seems that Touré anticipated the issue back in 2004 when he published his reflections on Obama and Colin Powell in the essay "Ships Passing In The Night." Some of the points Touré made were echoed last month by hip-hop critic Oliver Wang in his think piece over at the website Poplicks.

"Sure Is Nasty Out..."

If you're going to talk weather, at least know some trivia. Now you know, for instance, that on this day, exactly 53 years ago, Chicago witnessed the seventh greatest calendar day snowfall total in its recorded history (!). Check out March 4, 1961 while you're there. Crazy.

Help Us Get to Know You

(This is mainly for the benefit of our RSS readers.) Gapers Block is currently doing a demographic survey of our readership. Please help us out by spending a couple minutes filling it out. Thanks!

Driving a Bus Seemed to be a Great Way to Meet New People

Or so recalls Mary Wallace, the CTA's first-ever female bus driver, who has just retired after 33 years of keeping people on the go. Thanks to Wallace's trailblazing, today 24% of the CTA's bus drivers are women.

Spot Ira

If you're taking the Kennedy north from Downtown, make sure you look to your left near the Diversey exit. You'll see the one and only billboard in America for This American Life: The TV Show. This long-time public radio staple makes its debut for cable on March 22.

Oosp!

The worst kind of typo is one in a tattoo, and that's what happened to Michael Duplessis. He's suing Jade Dragon Tattoo because they gave him a tattoo that says "CHI-TONW".

Bomberman

Authorities think the man that's been sending letter bombs to investment firms for the last two years might be local. The Tribune has the story including a police sketch of a "person of interest."

Skates Alive! It's a Derby Design Contest!

Have you always wanted to be on a derby girl's chest? Don't be silly -- of course you have. And here's your chance. Chicago's own babes-on-skates, the Windy City Rollers, have announced a t-shirt contest. The winning t-shirt design will be featured WCR merch and sold at the 2007-08 bouts as well as online. But the sweet goodness doesn't stop there. Check here for all the guidelines and specifications and a full list of the booty. Deadline for entries is March 19 at 10am.

Death Penalty Awareness Week

Even as National Death Penalty Awareness Week (Feb 26 - Mar 2) winds down, there are still some Chicago area events being sponsored by Depaul University. FYI: Depaul has been the Chicagoland university most actively involved in National Death Penalty Awareness Week.

George Lucas Shows Chicago(an) Some Love

Best-ever gossip blog Ohnotheydidnt reports that Star Wars creator George Lucas is dating Chicago executive and Good Morning America correspondent Melody Hobson

Don't Tour This Store

Medill News reporter Brad Flora took a tour of The Boring Store, 826CHI's new "not a secret agent supply store," and was nice enough to take photos.

124 to 123

No one is declaring victory yet, but North Chicago Alderman Shaunese Teamer may have lost the primary to her challenger, Bobby Allen, by one vote.

Another Bird to Check Off the List

Chicago birders will be pleased to hear that a Black Headed gull is currently visiting the Montrose Avenue Beach.

e-Abby Ryan

Just in time for the second phase of I-90/94 construction, Google Maps has launched real-time traffic information for several US cities, including Chicago.

Chicago Area Buildings on Endangered List

The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois has produced its 2007 list of the 10 most endangered buildings in Illinois, and 4 out of the 10 are in the Chicago area: Lake Forest's Sacred Heart Chapel; Cedar Court in Park Ridge; the Lakeshore Athletic Club building on Lake Shore Drive; and the Lathrop Homes on Diversey & Damen. Also on the endangered buildings list: a ship! A 19th century Viking ship which sailed from Norway to Chicago for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the vessel now resides in Geneva and is in dire need of restoration.

 

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