Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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


Monday, July 22

Gapers Block

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Bring a Book, Take a Book

Looking for something new to read? Well, new to you, anyway? The Reader Book Swap is tonight at Nick's Uptown. Details in Slowdown.

Big Money

The University of Chicago was just given $100 million -- anonymously. The gift will launch the new Odyssey Scholarships program, which will serve students from low- to middle-income families. Due to the size of the gift, almost a quarter of enrolled students will benefit from it at any given time.

Transit's Last Stand

It's a last minute scramble for cash down in Springfield and the Transit Riders' Alliance wants you, person exiting Chicago public transportation station, to "Tell Springfield that you ride transit!" Click through to tell your elected leaders to stand up and fight for transit funding.

Transmission Feature: Speaker Art

This week in the ole Transmission blog we've taken a sharp look and listen to an exhibit at the Hyde Park Art Center that melds art and music in a most unusual way — a handmade speaker you can enjoy from the inside out.

Elfman, Birds Want Terrorists to Win

Liberal bias exposer Newsbusters is outraged, OUTRAGED!, that Sun Times TV critic Doug Elfman made a joke about a bird defecating on the president's face, when in fact it only dribbled on his sleeve. And in case you missed it, you can see the bird's bombing run right here. Posted without bias, of course.

Probably Shouldn't Have Said That

Crain's reports that a Chicago-based attorney got a little fresh with a Miami judge earlier this month. "'I suggest with respect, Your Honor, that you’re a few french fries short of a Happy Meal in terms of what’s likely to take place,' William Smith, a partner with Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery LLP, said during a hearing".

Rally For Lakeshore Club

As previously reported on GB, the historic Lakeshore Athletic Club building is on the list of the 10 most endangered buildings in Illinois, and Preservation Chicago is planning a rally at the building (850 N. Lake Shore Drive) this Sunday, June 3 at 1pm to raise awareness of the historical value of the property.

Area Food Company Makes Bacon More Convenient

Onion-esque story on re: new resealable bacon packaging from Kraft Foods. Snip: "We listened to people's concerns about traditional bacon packaging and designed the Stay-Fresh Reclosable Tray to help solve those issues," Beth Goeddel, Oscar Mayer senior brand manager, said in a release. "We think our new packaging is the 'best thing since sliced bacon' and are thrilled to provide an innovative and practical solution that sets the standard for bacon product packaging."

Near Wrigley Field? Save Some Moolah!

The nice people at OutoftheBallpark, an online offering with tons of tips outside the ordinary Wrigleyville joints, are offering tasty discounts from local businesses. Just go to the 'Valuable Discounts' section and check out the tremendous savings at many of your favorite area shops and restaurants, and be sure to sign up to receive coupons, as well as new offers as they become available.

Downtown Red Line Rerouted After 9PM This Week

Just so you're not waiting for hours in the subway, note that the Red Line will be running on the El tracks temporarily between the Fullerton and Cermak/Chinatown stations on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights between 9PM and 5AM due to construction and maintenance.

Welcome to My Neighborhood

If you are new to Chicago, need to broaden your knowledge, or want to show friends or family around, hook up with a volunteer City of Chicago Greeter. This free service works with locals in the know to show folks around. Right now, you can choose from 'hoods on the North Side, but also Pullman, Little Italy, Hyde Park and more. You can also volunteer to be a greeter.

Get Yet Eat On

Can't keep track of the farmer's market day? The crew at Chicago Localvores is making it easier with this Google Calendar of all the markets in the Chicagoland area. BTW, ramps and morels so are hot right now.

Four Star Pie Chart

Chicago.Metroblogging's Fuzzy Gerdes has created our local entry into the very cool flags of the world as pie charts

Listen to Something New

Chicago Public Radio's new station,, is semi-live. DJs are streaming periodically on the site, and you can sign up to submit your audio clips.

ZIP Code Blue!

NU's Medill Reports blog alerts us to the results of the EPA's latest Toxic Release Inventory. To check your 'hood's Toxic Inventory with this handy ZIP-by-ZIP guide. Think you're so clean, Lincoln Park? Think again! The blog also looks at the City's top six most polluted codes.

A Locally Grown Hybrid

Car, that is. A couple of weeks ago, IIT's Armour College of Engineering entered a car in the student 2007 Formula Hybrid competition. They finished in 5th out of 6th in overall points, but more than doubled their previous speed record. They have their eyes on first place next year.

Family Photo

Remember that Little Village Discount Mall raid last month? The father of 22nd Ward Alderman Ricardo Munoz was taken in and charged by the feds today. He operated a photo store out of that mall that took pictures of illegals for use in fake documentation. Bad timing -- the younger Munoz has hinted in recent months he'll run for U.S. congress when Rep. Luis Gutierrez steps down.

40,000 Paint Splotches (Many More Coming)

Previously noted by Gapers Block, The Washington Post has picked up the story [registration required] about Chicago artist Wafaa Bilal's art installation "Domestic Tension."

One Heck of a Headline

Bloomberg's recent review of Johan Van Overtveldt's book about the University of Chicago Department of Economics has one heck of a headline, alongside some interesting information about the department. If you like what you see, you may want to catch his upcoming speech.

Does This Look Infected?

Drug-resistant staph infections are spreading through Chicago's population, thanks to the public hospital system, a study says. Yikes.


Hubwear has redesigned, and boy does it look good. Time to pick up a new travel t-shirt. (And speaking of t-shirts, Threadless is having another big sale this week.)

Free Water Taxis in June

The Chicago Water Taxi Company is offering two weeks of free service starting June 4th. The service runs from roughly the opera house to just past Columbus Ave on the North side of the river, with stops at LaSalle Ave. and Michigan Ave. too. (Of course it isn't free, but the kayak tour of downtown is pretty amazing too.)

Endangered in the City: Newsstands

Crain's reports on a vanishing feature of Chicago: sidewalk newsstands.

Hyde Park, Obama-Style

For North Siders scared to venture south of Congress Parkway, maybe Michelle Obama's tour of Hyde Park will inspire you. Mrs. O talks about where her fam likes to sup, the location of her first kiss with Barack, and more. There's even a handy PDF and companion guide.

Out of Exoskeleton, Into Belly

The cicadas are finally arriving, at least in some places (I haven't heard any yet). The Trib has a great, surprisingly creepy time-lapse video of cicadas molting, and Drive-Thru's own David Hammond and some friends are getting some press for a cicada dinner they've thrown. They'll be on the Jerry Agar show, WLS 890-AM, at around 9am this morning.

Another "Independent" Theater

Sundance Cinemas announced it will open a new eight screen theater in Chicago. It'll be located in the West Loop when it opens ... in Spring 2009.

School Lunch Program

The Reader takes a look at Chicago Public School's lunch program and efforts to improve it. You might also be interested in Lori Barrett's in-person take on the same, awhile back in Drive-Thru.

Haymarket Police Statue Rededication

A nine-foot bronze statue of a policeman at the Haymarket Riot is being rededicated with a new location and a new pedestal on June 1st at the Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan. The storied statue has had its ups & downs over the years-- it's caused traffic problems, been run over by a streetcar, and blown up by the Weather Underground (twice).


Two people in the Chicago area became ill after eating what was labelled as frozen monkfish, but which authorities suspect may have contained tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is found in the pufferfish—infamous gilled source of the dangerous Japanese delicacy fugu.

We're Four

We're pretty excited about our fourth anniversary party tomorrow night at the Hideout; you should come! For a little taste of the evening's fun, check out our musical guests the Heaven Seventies and Occidental Brothers Dance Band International on MySpace.

Pimp Bike Commuting Tomorrow!

The Mayor's Office of Special Events is looking for a few enthusiastic bike commuters to be rah-rah on camera during the NBC morning show. Show up at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning at NBC Plaza at Michigan and the River. Stick around for a couple hours or segments. Dress bikey and bring your bike, of course. RSVP to Anne Davis.

Let's Hear it for the Scholars

Here's a list of the Chicago-area winners of National Merit college-sponsored scholarships, otherwise known as "the kids everyone wants to sit next to in Science Lab".

The Journalistic Code

The Knight News Challenge has been kind to Chicago. Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism received a grant to create scholarships for programmer-journalists -- such as Adrian Holovaty, creator of, who also received a grant and has left the Washington Post to start EveryBlock. Geoff Dougherty of (recently redesigned) ChiTown Daily News also received a grant to continue his citizen journalism project. UPDATE: Also, Daniel Sinker, co-editor and publisher of Punk Planet, received a Knight Fellowship at Stanford (thanks, Mark).

Family Secrets Trial Links

The upcoming "Operation Family Secrets" trial is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is going to shed considerable light on the internal workings of the Chicago mob in the 1970s and 80s, naming names and giving up the gory details of close to 20 murders. Catch up on the initial indictment (PDF) here. Get a breakdown of the murders covered in the indictment over at content-rich Illinois Police and Sheriff's News site. Good compilation of current mob news here at the Chicago Syndicate Blog. Most chilling is the Fed's Santiago Proffer, an outline of the case presented before trial, complete with Sharpie-blackouts of tasty bits, including possible payoffs to high-ranking Chicago cops. The proffer is a PDF broken into two parts: one and two.

Transmission Feature: Lampo Turns 10

Click over and see in Transmission today we interview Andrew Fenchel, central organizer of Lampo. Just what is Lampo, you ask? Well, it's a little bit musical experimentation and a little bit of auditory magic, and they're about to have their 100th show.

Mapping the Invasion

While not everyone is seeing cicadas, some Chicagoans are, and at least some observers are adding their input to this handy Cicada Emergence Map.

Sing Us a Song, You're the Cabbie, Man

Ross Wolinsky interviews Ray St. Ray, the Singing Cab Driver, over at Jargon Chicago. Coincidentally, St. Ray was interviewed in the Columbia Chronicle not three weeks a year ago. (thanks for pointing out the inaccurate dateline, Mark!)

IML Starts Tomorrow

Hey, kids! The annual International Mr. Leather competition returns to Chicago for its 29th year May 24-28. The fleshy festivities include The Leather Market at the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe (open to the public), the International Mr. Bootblack Contest (they like it very much!) and the Black and Blue Ball to wrap things up on Monday. "Queer as Folk" star/comedian Hal Sparks is the headline entertainer. So lace up those boots and show 'em what you got!

At the Drive-In

Whether you're looking for an anachronistic viewing experience or a cheap excuse to cop a feel, then you should check out some of Illinois' remaining drive-in movie theatres. There's the McHenry Outdoor Theatre the Cascade in West Chicago, the Skyview in Belleville and more.

Third annual Chi-Town Kruze

Got a car you'd like to show off? It's not too late to register for this year's Chi-Town Kruze, scheduled for Sunday June 2. Billed as Chicago's Largest Outdoor Car Show, the Kruze is two things: a parade around a three-mile loop between Roosevelt and Randolph near the lake, as well as an outdoor car show in the south parking lot of Soldier Field. Admission to the show is $5, and if you have a car you'd like to show off (pre-1987 only), it costs $20 to register. Participation for the parade portion is free to both drivers and spectators.

"Harold's 6 Piece"

A musical tribute to Harold's Chicken Shack. [via]

Furniture for Easy Living

Wickes Furniture opens its first downtown store this morning at 2606 N. Elston, around the corner from Target. Go check out the "urban innovations" furniture displays by WNUA and LITE-FM deejays and other noted hip, fashionable people.

Englewood's Gonna Be Rich

Well, maybe not, but the MacArthur Foundation is investing $26 million for community and economic development in 16 Chicago neighborhoods, such as Englewood, Logan Square, Pilsen, and Woodlawn. View the community map and relevant organization listing [pdf].

Shooters on the Loose

Three bank robbers shot a security guard, a bank teller and a customer at the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan, 8700 S. King Dr., around 9:30am, on the city's South Side. The suspects are still at large as of 1:37pm. Police believe the robbers fled eastbound on 87th Street in a maroon or burgundy four-door vehicle. Call 911 with any info. Update: caught.

Lindsay, How Far You've Tumbled

An eccentric gentleman was just now Elmer's gluing these "great beautiful" posters en masse to the lightpoles of the Loop. Take a stroll down Jackson and you'll be hard pressed not to see a few of them.

Recycling Resources

If you're not lucky enough to live in one of those recycling bin pilot wards and if you hate the blue bag program, then you've got to go the extra mile to recycle. The Chicago Recycling Coalition helps you find places to recycle and donate stuff -- and also where you can acquire items for reuse.

Istanbul, Not Chicagstantinople

The Fifth Chicago Turkish Festival is taking place next week, May 30 through June 2, at the Daley Plaza. See whirling dervishes, enjoy Turkish food, shop for Turkish arts and crafts, and more.

A Single North American Currency?

At a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge hinted at the possibility of a regionally unified currency. Don't think it's going to happen any time soon, however, considering thickening "labor flows" are currently in the way.

Yet Another Googlemap, Duffer's Edition

Like golf? Crain's Chicago Business has the map for you, listing 191 courses in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Gin and Openings

Over in Drive-Thru, we've got a looong list of openings that have just happened or will in the next month or so. And Tim Lacey recommends opening up a bottle of gin.

Outsider Art Blog

Now you can stay on top of Chicago's finest gyros, lakefront, and Western Avenue signage and art at William Swislow's Interesting Ideas blog. You can spend hours here.

Win a Free Interior Design Consultation

Urban Source, a hip walk-in retail design studio offering fabrics and finishes formerly available only to the trade, is celebrating their two-year anniversary - and you're getting the gifts! Starting May 29, Urban Source will be giving away five free one-hour design consultations. Grab an entry at their showroom starting May 22.

Chicago Boy Done Good in Hollywood

The New York Times has an excellent back story on Chicago guy Anthony Pellicano, the famed Hollywood fixer who is an expert at wiretaps. One nugget: Courtney Love hired him and ominously flirted telephonically: “I need heavy-handed, baby,” Ms. Love said. “I like talking to an Italian.”

Expect a TSA Weapons Advisory

A man in Marquette Park died last night after being stabbed -- with a house key.

See Michael Crichton Speak on Bioethics

Michael Crichton will speak at the Chicago-Kent College of Law today (at 4pm) as a part of a free, open-to-the public biotechnologies and bioethics conference. The presentation will examine ethical, legal and social issues surrounding the latest (and emerging) biotechnologies, including human gene patents and other topics that used to be considered sci-fi. (His recent novel, Next, dives into this topic, too.) Preregister at WhoOwnsYourBody.

Master of Light Meets Light-Fingered Thieves

A 350-year-old Rembrandt etching, valued at 55 grand, was stolen from the Hilligoss Gallery on North Michigan Avenue—presumably by a well-dressed couple with, assumedly, good taste.

We Go Together...

Did you know that the musical Grease was set in Chicago? The movie version wasn't -- it's in California -- but hey, it makes a good segue to the fact that "Sing-Along Grease hits the Music Box Theatre starting this Friday. The film's songs are subtitled in case you forget the words (as if), and there's a goodie bag and costume contest before the show. Get your tickets now, because the weekend showings are sure to sell out.

The Lager Beer Riot of 1855

Learn about said riot and nine other bits of trivia about the Chicago City Council in this fine Trib article.

We're Number One...

in average gas prices. Um, huzzah?

Dead DuPage County Prosecutor Was Driving Drunk

Jane Radostits, a highly-considered DuPage County prosecutor who was killed in a car accident on Winfield Road near the courthouse last week, had a blood alcohol level of .25 when she died.

A Rigger at McCormick Place

Channel 5 covers the remarkable testimony yesterday of Nicholas W. Calabrese in the "Operation Family Secrets" trial. Calabrese has admitted 14 murders and is set to implicate his brother in about dozen of them. Hidden gem from the story: "Calabrese said little at the hearing. But when U.S. District Judge James Zagel asked what he did for a living, he said: 'Aside from illegal activities, I was a rigger at McCormick Place,' the large exposition hall on Chicago's lakefront south of downtown.

Google Buying Feedburner?

Interesting rumors are popping up about Google purchasing local RSS feed company Feedburner for about $100 million in order to move into the RSS ad market. GigaOm isn't so sure the deal makes sense.

More Bad News for Giant Chain Stores

On the heels of the news that the Uptown Borders is looking to bail, the Virgin Megastore on Michigan is also about to shut down. The store will close in July and be replaced by the saucy styles of a really, really big Forever 21.

Official Oprah Winfrey Week

"We can maybe take that week and show her how much we really love her." We can definitely take that week, apparently.

Sad Spring for Local Papers

Sun-Times Media Group continues to suffer, and is now considering closing or selling 25 of suburban weeklies it spent the last decade consolidating.

Jaslene Supreme on "Top Model"

A big, diva-esque mea culpa for not reporting on the news that Jaslene Gonzalez from Chicago is "America's Next Top Model." Jaslene beat out a mail-order Russian bride from Texas who repeatedly made out with her husband via telephone. For the ultimate in catty commentary on this Chi-town gal's big win, you've gotta check out Television Without Pity's recaplet.

Alt.Media Slam Jam!

At Schadenfreude's Rent Party tonight, a rare site: The Reader, Time Out, Chicagoist and Gapers Block duking it out in a three-round slam tournament. Just because we're all friends doesn't mean we can't bring it! Details in Slowdown.

Chicago on Google Patents, Catalogs, and Academic Papers

Plumbing the more obscure depths of The Google: Chicago patents, including "method for making stucco gypsum blocks and the like", Chicago catalogs, including Cubs Monopoly in Betty's Attic, and Chicago academic papers, including "Correlation between human sperm swelling in hypoosmotic medium (hypoosmotic swelling test) and in vitro fertilization." (NSFW)

Go Ape for Affordable Theater

Do you enjoy theater? Do you have extra bananas? Friend, you are in luck! Because a banana will get you a half-price ticket to "Poker Night at the White House," the mostly true and mostly hilarious story of how Warren G. Harding was the worst president far. It's got a life-size Harding puppet and H.L. Mencken. Also, there is a gorilla. The show runs through May 26 at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. Call 773-275-5255 for reservations.

CTA Doomsday

New face, same tactic. More rate hikes and service cuts are imminent -- as CTA Chief Ron Huberman is trying to scare Springfield into a $110 million bail-out.

Illinois Is Average America

Illinois is the state that most closely reflects the whole of America, according to US census analysis by the Associated Press.

Radical Educators Gathering

There is a good chance that some of you readers are educators or know an educator and that you've got some ideas about how your politics and your teaching could be better aligned. An impressive collection of leftist education organizations have banned together to produce this summer's Free Minds Free People: Education for Liberation and the deadline for cheap admission is coming up on the 21st. Be sure to check out the national conference June 21-24 here at the Little Village Lawndale High School.

Lurking in the Loop

Time Out Chicago's cover feature this week is a "Loop Survival Guide," and it's pretty good. The guides to dive bars and greasy spoons are of particular interest; the pedway piece isn't nearly as comprehensive as ours.

Blogging with Child

Thinking about parenthood? The recently Chicago Moms Blog should help give you a realistic look at life after kids.

Wow. Seriously? Wow.

R. Kelly crazy. Here's why! In the spring/summer issue of Hip-Hop Soul magazine, he says: "I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King." Where's Dave Chappelle when you need biting, R. Kelly-based mockery?

Transmission Feature: CIP Records

Today's brand-new feature on Transmission gives you a rare look at one of Chicago's lesser-known music labels: CIP Records. Check out our interview with founder (and musician) Blake Edwards, and keep an eye out for your chance to win some free CDs today, courtesy of CIP. [Bonus Transmission: Starting tonight, come out and check out our brand new Thursday night Transmission Event at the Five Star. Details.]

Everyday is Like Sunday

If you're interested in every last detail of Tuesday's Morrissey concert, check out the Morrissey Solo message board. Documented are the set list, crowd reactions, number of times people rushed the stage, merchandise quality, and, well, every last detail.

Free Architecture Tours This Weekend

Sure, there's more to it--like tomorrow night's panel discussion on innovation in social housing, activities for kids, and open access to intriguing indoor spaces--but the chance of a free Architecture boat tour may seem more compelling. Other tours get you inside some of the bridge houses on the Chicago River (cool!), point out Arab influences on the city, and discuss how restaurant decor and cuisine can go hand in hand. Click here for complete details; all tours and programs are free.

Ethanol B.A.?

Treehugger reports that Illinois State University's trustees recently approved a new undergraduate degree in renewable energy, specializing in either actual power generation or public policy issues.


Al Yeganeh, immortalized on Seinfeld as the Soup Nazi, will be opening a cafe in the Windy City. But don't push your luck, little man. Mr. Yeganeh isn't amused by the epithet.

Education Laughs, Onion Style

Today the District 299 Chicago Public Schools Blog collects some education-themed (including some Chicago specific) funnies from the Onion.

Happy Birthday, Louis Terkel

Today is the 95th birthday of Chicago author, broadcaster, and historian Studs Terkel. WFMT has even arranged it so you can leave the man many happy returns of the day.

Olympic Logo Woes

The International Olympic Committee has determined the Chicago bid logo violates the organization's rules. A new logo is now in the works.

My First Firearm Owner's Identification Card

A Daily Southtown writer procured a FOIC card for his 11-month-old boy, and in so doing, stumbled upon an interesting loophole. Oh, and the boy goes by "Bubba."

Boiling the Frog

The Virgina Tech shootings, in which 32 students were shot in one morning, caused immeasurable grief and a justifiable uproar. Curiously, less notice is given to the fact that 27 Chicago school students have been beaten, stabbed, shot, or suffocated this year alone.

Book Club: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

We're going sci-fi classic over at the Book Club this month, picking up one of the most widely known books in the genre. If you've seen Blade Runner then you already know what the story's about -- after all, this is the book on which it was based. I'm a big sci-fi fan myself, so I'm very excited to offer you the introduction to our June selection: Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I hope to see you all at the meeting next month.

30 Seconds of New Smashing Pumpkins

Here's a clip of "Tarantula"-- new song by Smashing Pumpkins, as recorded off of Q101.

Anger... Rising... Must... Fight...

Despite our huge number of highways and interminable construction, Chicago only ranks seventh in road rage, according to the annual In the Drivers Seat survey.

Remember Blair Holt

Make it a point today to read the Sun-Times' heartbreaking coverage of last week's murder of Julian High School student Blair Holt by a gang member while on a CTA bus. Annie Sweeney speaks to his father, a gang unit cop; Mary Mitchell's column writes with eloquent outrage; and Kate Grossman reports on the Julian High walkout in memory of Blair Holt.

Stop By The Farmer's Market Starting Today

The Federal Plaza Farmer's Market kicks off the Farmer's Market Season, today until 3pm. Daley Plaza Market is on Thursday, with the neighborhood markets starting a bit later.

It's Freedom from Self-Improvement Day!

Celebrate being exactly who you are today by eschewing the self-help aisle, loving those extra few pounds, and doing something that's absolutely unenlightening. It's the first annual national Freedom from Self-Improvement Day!

One in Four Chicago Women Lack Health Insurance

New research commissioned by the Chicago Foundation for Women (and performed by Health & Disability Advocates) shows a despicable lack of insurance for women in Illinois. One in six women (age 19 to 64) don't have health coverage; the number's higher in Chicago, where 25% go without. Latinas have it even worse: One in three aren't covered. Grr!

Estrogen Fest Starts Tomorrow

Estrogen Fest 2007: Back on the Fringe starts its 10-day lady-made extravaganza of performance/dance/theater/music/vaudeville/etc. Wednesday night at Prop Thtr., 3502 N. Elston. Watch people do stuff in the performances and panels, learn to do stuff in the workshops, and buy stuff at the craft fair (curated by DIY Trunk Show and featuring GB staffer Cinnamon Cooper). The All Est Fest Pass is $50, but you can see individual events for various prices.

A New Neighbor

Chicago, meet the Village of Campton Hills, our newest neighbor.

Shocking Looptopia Attendance

Did you rock Looptopia? If so, you were one of 200,000 attendees -- more than twice the expected turnout -- at last weekend's all-night arts and culture festival. What's even more awesome is that the entire event only cost $1 million to put on and local restaurants, theatres and hotels reported big increases in business. Also: Looptopia Missed Connections

Not in My 'House'

In a special Monday session called for by Mayor Daley.....the city council approved the mayor's affordable housing plan. Council members had postponed the vote, wanting to wait for the new, potentially more independent, city council to be sworn in. Insert stock quote here about how the mayor always gets his way.

Swap Met

Man, we were all set to tell you about the awesome Jay Ryan poster that went on sale yesterday over in's Swap Meat, but they sold out before morning. So instead, go check out the equally awesome Brendan Dawes C-prints of 2001: A Space Odyssey and all the other cool stuff.

Fr. Bruce Wellems: Making a Difference in Back of the Yards

The Sun-Times has a great portrait of Fr. Bruce Wellems, pastor of Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. He's helped start tons of programs-- Peace and Education Commission, the new Chicago location of Girls and Boys Town (“Casa Tepeyac” ), and even a Marimba ensemble.

Take a Class

Looking for something to do this summer? How 'bout a project? Classes start soon for furniture making, book and paper making, figure drawing and other arts.

Web Ascent Events from

Chicago-based writer Kristen Nicole of and Mashable announces Web Ascent Events, set for next month. Web Ascent is "a way to recognize the sprouting technology communities in places that aren't the Valley". If you are interested in presenting, sponsoring, or attending, her contact info is here.

Blue Cart Recycling Program in Seven Wards

Forget the oh-so-90s blue bag-- blue carts are all the rage now. That is, if you're one of the "pilot wards" for the new program to sort recyclables into blue-colored garbage carts. The city's goal is to cover seven wards (19, 5, 8, 1, 37, 46, and 47) by August 2007. Live there? Be a Recycling Block Club Captain!

14,100 Gallons of Water Per Minute

Now that the Buckingham Fountain is going full blast, maybe you'd like to astound your friends with some related trivia. For example, it opened on May 26, 1927, and its computer's name is the "Honeywell Excel-Plus."

Mature Audiences Only

A substitute teacher at a Chicago elementary school thought it would be a good idea to show the R-rated film Brokeback Mountain to an eighth grade class. Not surprisingly, the family of one of the students is now suing.

You Are Here

South Shore High School students were given stacks of paper and drawing utensils and the single question, "Which Chicago do you live in?" The maps they drew were reviewed to assess the kids' consciousness of their relation to space, perception of where they live beside where power resides (i.e., downtown), and more. The results were quite interesting.

Shutout in His Own House

Holy moly! The Bulls loss doesn't look so bad when you consider Blago took it on the chin 107 to 0.

GoogleMaps Has Traffic Now Too

Perhaps you've already noticed, but Google Maps has added a "Traffic" view to their maps. Handy if you're lazy like me and can't remember the official traffic maps web page.

Two Weeks Away

Gapers Block is four years old. Isn't that crazy? We're celebrating at the Hideout on Friday, May 25, with bands, giveaways and more — you should come. Details in Slowdown. (Oh, and check this out.)

Justice At Work ...Sorta

The jury took just one day to find Juan Luna guilty in the notorious Brown's Chicken Massacre case. Meanwhile, R.Kelly's child porn trial still hasn't started, five years after charges were brought.

So The Reverend Walks Out Of A Bar....

Sometimes the absurdist plays write themselves. From Thursday's Michael Sneed's column: "Trash talk show host Jerry Springer sprang from the dinner table to his feet when he saw the Rev. Pat Robertson, decked out in a green velour track suit with bodyguard in tow, exiting trendy RL eatery Tuesday."

The Influence of Chicago Dollars

Chicago Public Radio documents a town with more than 50% of its residents in the United States, many of whom are in Chicago. With the help of a Hometown Club (founded by a Chicago immigrant), for every migrant dollar donated, local, state and federal governments donate a dollar each. In this way, dollars from the United States fund town projects and are hoped to curb out-migration.

Foodies, Start Your Engines

...And head up to Devon Avenue: the first shipment of Indian mangoes has arrived.

Former Alderman Gets Indicted

We'll give you a second to guess who it is. Got your guess? Okay, it's Ed Vrdolyak, former alderman of the 10th Ward. When he was in office, "Fast Eddie" was known for wheeling and dealing in real estate. On Thursday, he was indicted for kick backs.

Say Goodbye to the DuPage Theatre

If you are at all sentimental about old-tyme movie theaters, or have a particular soft spot for the DuPage Theatre in Lombard, you better high-tail it over there, because a judge has just cleared the way to knock it down. If you can't get there, see pics at Google and Flickr. Want to be a friend of the doomed theater? Go here.

Fancy Fillet-work

That red snapper you got at the sushi joint? Possibly not the real thing, the Sun-Times reports. Tilapia and sea bream are nice, but that's not what we ordered. (D'oh! Link fixed.)

First Person Shooter

Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi-born artist, has set up a little target practice in Flatfile gallery -- and he's the target. Domestic Tension is an installation involving Bilal, a room and a motorized paint gun controlled by a webcam; line it up and try to shoot him. Follow his video diary and learn more on, or see it in person; the installation lasts till June 1.

More Bike Lanes!

As part of the Bike 2015 plan, the City of Chicago will be adding several green colored bike lanes at several new locations this summer, including at Dearborn and Chicago, Elston and Division, Halsted and Roosevelt, Lincoln and Webster and more. Get more info at Chicago Bikes.

Feeling the Blues

Carey Bell, harp player with Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, has passed away at age 70. Bell learned from the likes of Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Big Walter Horton, and played on the Delmark and Alligator record labels. Play on, Mr. Bell.

Transmission Feature: The Narrator

Check out what we have to say about Chicago band, The Narrator, in this week's feature in Transmission (for those of you who like to rock). They've got a new album out, and we even get a moment to talk to the frontman, who's also half of the hard-working local label Flameshovel.

City Workers Been Caught Stealin'

The Inspector General's office reports that foreman Kevin O'Gorman and Carpenter Anthony Pilas were charged today with official misconduct and theft for allegedly using city funds to obtain thousands of in unauthorized materials from Arrow Lumber, a company with a city contract. Some of their loot? Kitchen cabinets, power tools, custom counter tops, folding chairs, etc. etc. etc.

Scourge of the Suburbs

A revolt is underway in the suburbs. The target: new sidwalks. After all, with sidewalks, "who knows what you'd be encouraging to come through?" The Trib's online readers are having none of it, with approximately 90% saying sidewalks in neighborhoods are "a positive addition."

Chicago soldier killed in Afghanistan

Master Sgt. Wilberto Sabalu Jr. was killed by a "rogue soldier" in the Afghanistan army with a history of mental problems.

A Fresh Palette at "The City List"

The City List is a new city-focused, Digg-like community site that allows users to vote on the best food, nightlife, etc. in each city. The site just launched and currently only has content for Washington D.C., which leaves the Chicago portion completely open to manipulation– I mean contributions from PR people– I mean users.

Farm Project

Did you know there's a small organic farm on the edge of Cabrini Green? It's possible you've even eaten its produce at one of the city's top restaurants. [via]

That Was Fast

Remember the divorce billboard from yesterday? It was removed for permit violations before the end of the day.

I Just Need 100 More for My Yorkie Coat

Dognapping is on the upswing, particularly among the small, yappy cur set. Louis Auslander of the International Kennel Club of Chicago, among other dog fanciers, was interviewed in a recent Trib article, with warnings for owners of palm-sized pooches. Beware the man who wears a twitching and excitably yipping trenchcoat.

Chicago: America's Favorite City?

CNN and Travel + Leisure have teamed up to oh-so-scientifically poll Internet users about their favorite cities. Chicago is, of course, one of the "hottest cities" and is therefore included. Filling out the survey makes you eligible to win a vacation to America's favorite city in 2007! Just kidding; you win a trip to Australia.

Ira Glass Not Moving Back Anytime Soon

On the This American Life Website they report the good news that Showtime has picked up the TV version of the radio program for a second season. Production on Season 2 starts at the end of summer, and episodes will show up late next year.

Local Lit

City bookworms have another web destination in Literago, which intends to serve as "a portal to news and information about literary goings-on in and around Chicago."

37signals' Business Philosophy

Those familiar with 37signals will have heard a lot of this before, but Business POV's interview with Jason Fried gets to the heart of the company in a pretty succinct manner.

Bug Paper

Maybe we're going a little overboard with all this Cicada Mania, but if you absolutely can't wait till the end of the month for the emergence of Brood XIII, the Trib has the answer; cicadas in origami (PDF file).

"Life's Short. Get a Divorce.''

Fetman, Garland & Associates, Ltd. is getting aggressive with their new ad campaign. As one might expect, it's generating controversy.

Da Arts

Da Mare announced that the city, through the Department of Cultural Affairs, will again award Cityarts grants totaling more than one million dollars for the year of 2007. Of the 296 organizations receiving grants, 55 are new this year. Many of the grantees are arts programs for youths, but established groups are also included. Since 1979 the Cityarts program has awarded more than 13 million dollars in grants.

This Week In Nerdery

The Sun-Times TechVenue column reminds you that even if the world's Web 2.0, there's plenty of pure nerdery still to be had. To whit: This week's AIIT (?) meeting "The Face-Off Between The MFP's and the Scanners" is as exciting as a monster truck competition for... scanners. Scenic Itasca is hosting the 2007 Digital Signage Summit where the "who's who of digital media" meets to learn how to "align various pieces of digital signage solutions". (Some of us haven't even gotten over the blast that was the 2006 Summit. Itasca rocks!) And then there's these technology guys who meet and dress in chipmunk outfits...

Beyond Philanthropy

The BP Foundation announced a $1 million gift to the Morton Arboretum. That's the largest ever single donation in the Arboretum's history. So THAT'S where all my gas money is going!

That's Why They Play the Game

Don't tell Hillary Clinton Chicago is Obama-Land. The Park Ridge native and presidential contender was in town today and says she'll be a player here.

Nine Things I Know About You

Elizabeth, Illinois's favorite son, Andrew Bird, likes some things, dislikes some other things, and does stuff on occasion. Into which of those categories does Intelligentsia coffee fall? Grist knows.

The Artist's Guide to Making Money

1. Create art
2. Print guide
3. ???
4. Profit!

Classic Chicago on YouTube

Here's a few classic Chicago TV clips from everyone's favorite illegal video site: Malcolm X being rudely grilled on a Chicago talk show in the sixties, Siskel and Ebert review Blue Velvet, and a couple minutes from the famous Dec 31, 1988 "Fog Bowl" between the Philadelphia Eagles vs Chicago Bears.

Yummy In Your Tummy

And for all you adventure eaters out there let's not forget LTH Forum's topic with tips on how to cook your cicada feast.

Bug Watching Tips

Wondering about the best place to watch the 17-year cicadas emerge from underground? The Tribune's gardening blog has some helpful tips. You might also want to check out, which has plenty of info about the impending onslaught, and this map from UofI.

Are You Ready for Post-Postmodern Architecture?

George Jetson's high-rise order is nearly ready to be filled in Chicago, but not everyone's a fan of his new digs. If you're curious about similar projects, check out the bizarre Dynamic Architecture website.

Back to School

A quick update on Allen Lee, the Cary-Grove High School senior arrested for an essay: he's being allowed to return to class Monday.

Wednesday Wish

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation needs your help in making Chicago biking a little more friendly. On Wednesdays, when you encounter a fellow biker on the road, give a wave. It's that simple!

Glasner House Renewed

Newsweek takes a look at the renovation plans for Frank Lloyd Wright's Glasner House, with not one but three videos explaining what will happen. [via]

No Smoking Onstage, Either

The City Council decided today not to exempt stage actors from the smoking ban, even if the script calls for them to light up.

How to Open Someone's Wallet

How to Open Things is a new site that allows you to set up contests for ways to open ...well, whatever you want. The creator was recently interviewed on WindyBits.

Green Power in Hyde Park

A gang of undergrads at the U of C are building "an innovative wind turbine" with a grant from the student government. Follow their progress on their blog.

Chicagoans Dying Elsewhere

Odd news rash of Chicagoans perishing elsewhere: Jet crash kills 2 Chicago-area businessmen, Chicago triathlete dies, A second Chicago area teen dies at a Texas university.

More Evening News?

Following the Sun-Times' P.M. Download Edition, the Tribune is considering launching an online evening edition. At least in theory, the edition would be more focused on news analysis than summaries.

A Peck of This, A Pound of That

Our friends at Chowhound remind us that our bountiful Chicago farmers' markets will be open soon. What's your favorite place to pick up heirloom tomatoes or fresh Michigan berries?

Honest Abe's Illinois Shenanigans

While Calgon may not take you away, Abraham Lincoln has you covered.

Design Geeks Get Ready

At yesterday's Daley Urban Forum, Bruce Mau, the designer/futurist behind the MCA's recent "Massive Change" exhibit, confirmed that he's not only going to open an office here, but he's also moving his family down from Toronto. Why? He admires the city's energy and our talent pool.

Derby Day Approches

Saturday marks the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby (as well as Cinco de Mayo), and if you like double-fisting mint juleps and margaritas, there are plenty of bars that can accommodate you. If you want to get out to the track, but can't afford the bus fare to Louisville, however, you can take advantage of a coupon for free admission to Arlington Park racetrack in today's Red Eye, just outside the city limits, and on the Metra rail.
This week's Time Out also has an interesting article about the park's brand new state-of-the-art track, designed to keep the horses healthy (after several were fatally injured last year).

Transmission Feature: Internet Radio's Silencing

This week in Transmission, we delve into the hot topic of internet radio and the proposed hike in royalty fees that may end many small-scale broadcasts around the nation. Read all about the issue here, and if you've got an internet radio show and a story to tell about how you'll be affected by the fee hike, let us know at transmission (at) gapersblock (dot) com.

Soup's On

The latest in Chicago skull news. A 26-year-old man was discovered by police to have four human skulls in his apartment, with one boiling on the stove. In a strange turn, everything seems to be on the up-and-up since his job involves making anatomical models. I'd reconsider any dinner invitations for a while though.

Crispin Glover, Castrato At Music Box

Those of you who saw Crispin Glover last November at the Music Box Theatre when he was in town screening his film What Is It? will be interested to know that he's returning to town in a couple weeks to provide live narration for Canadian director Guy Maddin's latest film, Brand Upon The Brain! Alongside Mr. Glover will be an 11-piece orchestra providing music, a team of foley artists providing sound effects, and a castrato providing ... unique singing, I suppose. Tickets are definitely going to go fast for these performances, so go see the Music Box Website for full details and ticket links.

Attack of the Smileys

Several cars in Printers Row received smiley face makeovers last night. The Trib astutely predicts "if the taggers are caught, there will be no smiles."

Other People’s Baggage

This week is the start of a series of events spanning over 2 months about "making you feel good, about feeling bad." The group Feel Tank Chicago started several years to explore what they thought was missing in discussions about politics - discussion about depression and the relationship between feelings and political activism. Their new event series of lectures, performances and meals"Pathogeographies: Or, Other People’s Baggage" starts out on next week and lasts all month. The exhibition under the same name they are organizing opens at UIC's Gallery 400 next month (June 15-July 7).

Haymarket Monument Memories

In just a few hours, a walking tour of Haymarket history will take off from the Hull House, but yesterday former Chicagoan Josh MacPhee and a nearby Milwaukee art historian Nicolas Lampert spoke about that history on Berkeley's famous radio show Against the Grain Radio on KPFA. Their discussion deals primarily with the history of the monuments associated with Haymarket's contested history.

The Incredible Moving L Station House

Check out this mini-photo essay documenting the Belmont L station house move [window resizes].

Humanity Issues?

Apparently Chicago ranks dead last the Humane Index. The report characterizes the Windy City as America 's "most humanely challenged" urban center.

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

What happens when a group of bushy-haired rockin' dudes from Nottingham, England watch too many gangster flicks and decide to write a song about Al Capone? You get Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died," a geographically and historically confused account of gangland Chicago performed by guys who never set foot in the city. When the real Mayor Daley received a copy of the song from the group, he declared the band "Nuts." Yes, indeed!

Notes to the 1%

Tracy Letts, currently starring in Steppenwolf's Betrayal, weighs in on the company's blog with a very funny reprimand to "the 1%" of audience members who behave badly. I think he's being generous.

Save the Viking!

No, not the street artist -- the replica of the Gokstad Viking ship, which is weathering away in dry dock out in Geneva. It's on the Landmarks Illinois endangered list, and there's an international movement afoot for its preservation.

Petrillo Music Madness

The lineup for the Taste of Chicago musical performances has been announced. We'll all see each other at the Kenny Rogers show, I'm sure.

Shuttlecocks, Bowls and Wickets

Now that the warm embrace of spring has you snuggled close, it's time to think about some fun springtime sports. Like badminton. Or lawn bowling. But does anybody out there have a croquet hook-up?


The Illinois House of Representatives have approved a state-wide smoking ban in nearly all businesses. As soon as Governor Blagojevich signs it into law (as he is expected to) the ban will go into effect January 1, 2008 which preempts Chicago's ban by a good six months.

Not a Family Values Pick

Greg Olsen, the Bears' first round draft pick, recorded an amazingly sexist song with other students while a freshman in college.

Go, Go Chicago Architecture!

If you're a fan of Chicago architecture, you should definitely check out Great Chicago Places and Spaces 2007. Advance sign-up for more than 200 tours is only available online and starts today at noon.

Yet Another Lousy Day

Acclaimed monologuist David Kodeski brings his acclaimed monologue "Another Lousy Day" to life again this week at Live Bait Theater. The funny and heartfelt piece, based on diaries Kodeski found in a Clark Street thrift shop, details the daily life of a South Side Zenith factory worker in the early 1960s. Showtimes are Thursday and Friday nights at 8; tickets are $30 and proceeds will help Kodeski produce the show for the 4th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Call (773) 871-1212 for reservations.

Sports in Five Heats Up

If you haven't read Sports in Five in awhile, now is a good time -- not only does Chicago have two teams in the playoffs, but we've just added coverage of the Windy City Rollers to the mix. (Sky in Five coming soon, and if you're interested in covering the Force, we'd like to hear from you.)

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, 20 Years Later

Proving the steel-like endurance and cultural power of teen movies, the 20th anniversary re-release of Dirty Dancing will be shown tonight (and tomorrow) at 7:30pm at the AMC River East 21 (at 322 East Illinois). In addition to the visual treat of mid-career Swayze, you'll also get to see a documentary about the making of the movie, complete with cast interviews. Click here for tickets.

Return on Investment

At the beginning of April, the Tribune profiled baseball card collector Lionel Carter, who was about to put his collection up for auction, fearing for his safety after home invaders stole some of it. The portion he's auctioned so far has earned $1.6 million. NPR interviewed him yesterday.



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