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, June 24

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Up, Up, and Away

"Dean" and his female associate engaged in some hotel bed jumping at the Chicago Hyatt, as have many other people at hotels worldwide.

Four Bosnian Serbs Arrested in Chicago in War Crimes Investigation

Four Bosnian Serbs were arrested in Chicago for concealing information about their military participation during the Massacre of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 1995.

Illinoisans Make Great NPR Hosts

After receiving over 1,000 submissions, the Public Radio Talent Quest, a nationwide search for a new voice in NPR programming, has been whittled down to ten lucky semi-finalists, three of whom are from Illinois! You have until Monday, July 2 to vote for who of this bunch will advance to the next stage of the five-part contest, so visit the website and listen to their promising submissions.

Beanbags Away!

Don't know how I missed this yesterday: Cornhole, aka Baggo, makes the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

We're Moving to Joliet

Psych! GB is staying put, but someone's moving to Joliet. In fact, more than 35, 000 people moved there between 2000 and 2006, making it one of the fastest-growing in Illinois and one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.

The Old Latin Mass Is The New Thing

If you're still firming up your weekend plans and are looking for a hip Latin Mass (Tridentine) to balance things out, the Archdiocese of Chicago says you should look at: St. John Cantius (825 N. Carpenter) and St. Thomas More (2825 W. 81st).

CSz 20th Anniversary

Celebrate this milestone in the life of ComedySportz by attending a special line-up of shows from July 13-28. A highlight includes the "Funniest Friend Contest." To learn more, visit CSz Chicago.

Permits Please

The Mexican Fiestas Patrias (National Holidays) committee has been denied a permit to organize the Proclamation of Independence celebration in Millennium Park. The city says it's because a Celtic celebration is scheduled, the director of the committee has a different theory. La Raza online has the story in English which includes a history of dispute between the two organizations vying to be the primary coordinator of Mexican American festivities in Chicago.

Give or Take 500 Million

Accounting fraud is nothing new. I mean everyone knows its soooo turn of the millennium. Still this instance of a misrepresented hedge fund is notable for two reasons. One, the shear dollar amount missing, half a billion bucks, and two, the fund is run by the former chairman of the Merc.

Decorate Your Walls

Dan Grzeca (pronounced "Jet-sah") designs concert posters as well as fine art screenprints; he's now selling them on Etsy in addition to festivals and craft shows.

Hopefully, Freud Won't Slip

If you're near Columbia College today (600 S. Michigan), take a look up and you'll see something singular: Sigmund Freud, dangling from one hand off a steel beam. Entitled Man Hanging Out, this fiberglass replica by Czech artist David Cerny is being exhibited as part of Chicago's Prague Days celebration. The sculpture (ahem) hangs through August.

New Cop Blog Documents Unpressed Charges

Now comes a new entry in the burgeoning civil servant subdivision of the blog world: the "Cook County States Attorneys Denied My Charges" blog. Subtitled, "Wonderful Stories of our States Attorneys Not Approving Charges on Criminals." The laser-beam focus is on the real-life Law & Order relationship between police officers, who investigate crimes, and the state's attorney, who prosecute them. Sometimes they disagree.

Global Reduction

First there were the Cool Globes. Now there are Mini Cool Globes, basketball-sized globes designed by everyone from Sheryl Crow to Joe Lieberman. If you'd like to see them in person, head to the Wacker Lobby and the Jackson Pavilion of the Sears Tower.

Apparently People Don't Like the Police

Seems like it's a buyer's market for tickets to see the Police perform at Wrigley Field next week.

Queue Up or...Pledge.

Technofiles rejoice, here's your chance to both contribute to something good and avoid waiting in line overnight. Chicago Public Radio is giving away a free 4GB iPhone every hour between 6am and 7pm tomorrow, Friday the 29th. Pledge any amount and you're automatically entered into the drawing all day.

Hel Yeah

If you missed Helvetica (the documentary about the landmark typeface created 50 years ago) when it played this month at the Gene Siskel Film Center, you've got yourself a reprieve: the Reader's film blog reports that the documentary (the highest-grossing film in the Film Center's history!) will be back at the end of September.

Speaking of Tunnels...

The Tribune takes a tour of the tunnels below the Green Mill and other businesses at the Broadway/Lawrence intersection; watch a video here.

AMA Endorse RFID Implants in Humans

Barnaby Feder of the New York Times reports that the Chicago-based American Medical Association endorsed the idea of placing medical records on RFID tags inserted into people at their annual meeting here on Monday. AMA committee report here.

Transmission Feature: Nihilist Records

On this beautiful Thursday, go ahead and click on over to Transmission for our feature this week on Chicago's Nihilist Records. They're really churning out records that really make you think (visually and sonically).

Where to Stand in Line

A map of all the Apple and AT&T stores in Chicagoland: go get an iPhone.

As Seen on TV: the Oprah Store

If you want to hold an "O Baby" hat and mittens set before you buy it, you may soon be able to head to 57 N. Carpenter to visit the Oprah Store.

Doomsday Avoided?

The CTA is telling riders (and hoping Springfield hears) that they've done all they can to avoid rate hikes and service cuts. Workers and management have agreed tentatively on a deal regarding pension obligations. Next stop, a state bailout.

H4x0r5 in T|-|3 N3VV5

Chicago magazine profiles Jeremy Hammond, the hacktivist founder of Lots of links for further exploration in his Wikipedia entry.

Reporting in a City of Neighborhoods

Why does Chicago Public Radio need a satellite bureau a few miles from their home base? It's vital in part because Humboldt Park and Navy Pier can often seem like different planets. Last January reporter Chip Mitchell was set up in a mini office/studio at Division and Campbell, and the stories on his CPR bio page showcase the station's push toward community based reporting.
The first satellite bureau was opened in Chesterton Indiana in February of last year where Michael Puente reports and mans the controls. This summer a third was established in the Englewood neighborhood staffed by journalist Natalie Moore and plans for three more bureaus are in the works. Keep an ear on WBEZ for their reports and an eye here for upcoming open houses and other events.

Interested In Some Literature?

Mimi Smartypants comes up with the best response to a religious tract pusher I've heard in awhile (last item).

An Oldie but a Goodie

We've linked to this site about the old freight tunnels under the Loop before, but I just came across a 1933 article in Time about them. "Bowels of Chicago," indeed! (You might also be interested in the Central Electric Railfans Association.)

Three Pigs and the North Shore

A circuit court judge has upheld the right of a former member of the Walgreens family to keep her three pigs on her Lake Forest property until at least 2011. Her next-door neighbors and 300 other locals aren't pleased. The decision will be appealed.

Goodbye Girlie-Q

We just got a note from Bloody Belle of the Girlie-Q Variety Hour, letting us know that the infamous queer burlesque and variety show is no more. Is the timing coincidental to its usual home, the Hothouse, being in danger of losing its lease? Maybe, but more importantly Belle is moving to New York. She says a couple of performers, Backdoor Aly and Mae the Bellydancer, may be planning a new show, possibly to run in Hamburger Mary's upstairs cabaret. Stay tuned, and keep your eye on Ray's Guide for your general burlesque news. UPDATE 06/09: Girlie-Q is back!

Phone Reader

The Reader now offers its restaurant, film, music and event listings in a mobile version for your phone. Could come in handy the next time you're planning with friends who "dunno, whadda you wanna do?"

Save this Venue!

The Trib reports that HotHouse, the South Loop venue for innovative jazz and world music, is due out of its Balbo St. digs by the end of July because of funding shortfalls, management disputes, etc. You can donate to HotHouse here, or volunteer here.

Helping Our Allies

Kirk Johnson, a journalist whom we've written about before, has launched The List Project, an effort to help resettle Iraqi translators and others who have assisted American and British troops in the war and who are now targets of insurgents. (Thanks, Nate.)

Major South Loop Development

In the arithmetic of today, 8 acres = 3,000 homes + 1 hotel + (unspecified) stores + 1 marina. Now this developer needs to turn in its homework on time.

Grease Box Issues Shuts Down Michaels' North Restaurant in Old Town

Crain's reports the closing of the popular Old Town restaurant for, among other things, the vulgar-sounding violation of "failing to maintain a sanitary grease box". If you're wondering about your own favorite food haunt, don't forget about the City's imponderable food inspection lookup tool. Note to geeks with a Google Maps API key: please mashup this data, today. Thank you.

The CTA: What Might Have Been

Lee Bey of The Urban Observer directs our attention to a CTA study I've not heard of before. The Chicago Central Area Transit Plan made a case for tearing down the Loop's elevated lines and replacing them with subways that connected with the existing lines in the rest of the city. Unfortunately the project ended up $500 million short so it died before it ever got off the ground. But I think Lee is correct in asking if the city will ever dream that big again.

Produce Producer

The Grocer brings fresh veggies and fruits from the lab to the streets. With a recent nod from Juxtapoz, he's currently taking requests for new painting subjects. Street art never looked so tasty.

Interview with a Gravedigger

The Sun-Times has a pretty intense interview with the man who helped dig the graves of Kimberly Vaughn and her three children. Snip: "Spink said he knows few of the details surrounding the deaths of the Vaughns -- only that their lives were taken violently and that they were from out of town. 'It's just easy to pass away -- easier than you think,' Spink said."

Everyone Collects Something

And Kevin Corr, formerly a clerk in the Cook County State's Attorney's office, collects Chicago Police patches, medals, and insignia. There are several historical tidbits (There were 41 districts before Superintendent O.W. Wilson reorganized the department after he took the helm in 1960.) interspersed with collector-specific information about patches and what they mean. And like any good collector, Kevin has a Flickr site.

Striking in the Conference Room

Jack Flash, singer-guitarist for the local band Bang! Bang!, has been wearing thrift-store ties cut into lightning bolts for some time -- and now you can too. Bang Bang Ties are professionally tailored (not by Flash) and are available online and at Strange Cargo. [via]

The End is Nigh

The Tribune provides sign 15,347 that cicada fever is most certainly cresting.

Crown Fountain Gargoyle Humans Profiled

The Sun-Times has a story about the people featured in the videos at the Crown Fountain. Many have yet to see themselves spew their gargoyle water. Bonus: detailed PDF breaking down the fountain's architecture and innards, but no explanation of the cryptic fan fail error often seen on some of the glass blocks.

New York Swapping Times

Coudal Partners' awesome Swap Meat got a nice write-up in the New York Times Magazine. Its wild success has led them to keep the swap open till at least the end of the summer.

Samuel L. Jackson Look-Alike Busted for Box-Cutter Robbery

From the Checkerboard Chat, the Chicago Police blog: "In the preliminary report the victim stated the offender resembled Samuel Jackson, the actor." The officers "went to the YMCA at 30 W. Chicago and asked the security guard if any of the residence in the building resembled Samuel Jackson. The guard immediately said yes and gave up Richard Mason, M/B/49." He got fingered in the lineup. No word on who will play Mr. Mason in the movie version.

One More Radar Lover's Gone

Alderman Ed Burke wants to ban a certain kind of radar detector that tips drivers off about camera-rigged stoplights. Oh, not for safety's sake, but because it warns drivers about the lights, causing them to stop, and avoid the fines... which added up to $19.8 million last year. Put the pedal to the metal for financial solvency, and damn the pedestrians!

A What Reuben!?

Over in Drive-Thru, we're discussing questionable and strangely named menu items -- such as the ill-advised tilapia reuben and the disturbing Porker McGee. Join us, won't you?

If You Stray Past the Invisible Border, Your Electrified Collar Will Activate

Lake Forest has decided to make part of a mile-long stretch of beach a kid-free zone. Persons appearing to be under 21 will be asked for ID by parks and recreation Sandmen, uh, Stalkers, er... staff.

Dr. Moore Will See You Now

Filmmaker Michael Moore stopped by yesterday to promote his new film Sicko and stand in solidarity with Chicago nurses demanding universal health care. Counter-protestors were on hand at the film's Washington, DC, premiere, because Moore is a "controversial, polarizing figure" who thinks one of the wealthiest nations on earth shouldn't let its citizens be financially reamed if they're foolish enough to get sick.

The Blago-sphere

Apparently the irony of Blago spending $5,800 a day in taxpayers' money to fly to Springfield and back for budget talks is not lost on the rest of the country or across the pond. A google news search drummed up 235 reprints or references to the AP article, many in Illinois but plenty from other states and even the UK.

Oak Park, Leader in Transgender Education

The Illinois State Library provided funds for a $3,000 grant to the Oak Park Public Library to create the first transgendered-oriented public library collection in the country.


Hope you didn't try to fly out of O'Hare on United yesterday. Nearly all of the Chicago hometown's computer system crashed, bringing the fleet to a screeching halt. In today's Crain's, UAL COO Pete McDonald blamed it all on one guy. Wonder if his last name is "Bartman."

Pilsen On the Brain

Branch out from the downtown and Wicker Park gallery scene with a spin through Pilsen. Stop at Polvo, an alternative art space run by a group by the same name; art-pilsen, a community art blog; and the Chicago Arts District, coordinators of the second Fridays art fest.

What's Ozzie Thinking?

With the White Sox struggling mightily, the Onion gives us a sense of what might happen if we knew what Ozzie was thinking.

Going Out Tonight lands somewhere between Upcoming and Yelp -- a social network for actual socializing. They're throwing a launch party for their Chicago channel tonight at Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee, starting at 7pm. RSVP and more info here.

Transmission Feature: Lesser-Known Labels

See our wee Chicago music blog, Transmission, today for our brand new feature. This week, we sit down with two Chicago music labels you should really get to know better: Waterbug and Fundamental Records. Over the years, they've brought us folk singers Anais Mitchell and Rachel Ries along with the Butthole Surfers and Henry Rollins among many many others. (Oh, and if you're looking for a bit of a good time tonight, try our Transmission Thursdays at the Five Star bar, starting at 9pm.)

Cost of Teacher Turnover?!

SIU's study on New Teacher Attrition in Illinois (PDF) reports that "each time a teacher leaves Chicago Public Schools, it costs $17,000 to $22,000 to recruit, hire, process and train a replacement."

Just a Little Greener

As of today, Cheikh "Bamba" Dione is the first fleet-based hybrid taxi driver in Chicago. Oh, and if you attend the formal unveiling, you may be lucky enough to watch David Hudson receive CCC's Cab Driver of the Year award and then witness his hand print and signature rendered in wet cement for CCC's "Walk of Fame."

Norwood Park + Park Ridge = Norridge

Here's an examination of suburban naming trends in Chicagoland.

Welcome Home, Todd

Word is Cook County Board Prez Todd Stroger is back home after successful prostate surgery. Doctors expect a full recovery.

Foot-Powered Festivals

The Chicagoland Bike Federation has put together bike-friendly routes to a few summer festivals, including the Irish American Heritage Festival and Chinatown Summer Fair.

Illustrated Satire

And in more Ware news ... we'd forgotten how cool the Chris Ware-drawn cover of Voltaire's Candide from Penguin Classics truly is.

Son of a Preacher Man

Chicago magazine has an interesting profile of the least-known son of Jesse Jackson, Yusef, who recently moved into publishing by investing in the resurgent Radar Magazine.

Be Ware

T.S. Eliot allegedly said "Mediocre writers borrow; great writers steal." Applying that to artists, what is Flemish cartoonist Ief Claessen supposed to be? Come to think of it, what's up with that British Petroleum guy? (Scroll down.)

Ze Frank Replacement

People who miss The Show with Ze Frank should check out the Wheezy Waiter, a video blog by Craig, the lead singer of Driftless Pony Club. It's not exactly the same, but hopefully it'll help with your jones. [via]

Kill Your Automated Operator

Bringo is a Chicago-based web company that helps you find a dentist. Even more useful, though, it'll get you past those annoying automated phone trees. Awesome.

When is it Time to do a Squirrel Necropsy?

When they're dying along the banks of Oak Lawn Lake.

1,000,000 sq ft

A 50-story commercial building may soon be the capstone to the Chicago River. If built, it will increase the amount of new office space in Chicago by 20%.

Bat Suit Revealed!

As you know, the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is filming around town right now. An alert apartment dweller shot some photos with her phonecam of Batman doing some unsafe stuff on a back deck, revealing to the world the look of the latest costume. HollywoodChicago also has some video of filming in Buena Park.

Da Fifty Wards

If you haven't yet, check out the Reader's City Council graphic and get to know the fine aldermen (and women) of Chicago.

I'm Rubber and You're Glue...

In a classic example of hizzoner's debate style, Richard M questioned the Trib's environmental record when asked about a report which claims the city hasn't made good on promises to go green. The "debate" spread to "Chicago Tonight;" the Beachwood has excerpts.

Todd's Got Cancer

On Monday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger had his prostate removed as a part of his 10-month battle with prostate cancer. His father, former Board President John Stroger, also suffered from the disease, which strikes black men far more often than white men. More on prostate cancer here.

Off the CGI Pigs

Chicago 10 is a new documentary by Brett Morgen about the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial. In an interesting turn, scenes are either computer animations or archival footage set to a modern soundtrack (get a load of the taking of the Logan statue in Grant Park against the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage"). Who says you can't repackage rebellion?

A Zombie Invasion?

The Cook County morgue has a big problem: it's missing a body. Be alert.

Chicago Style Haute Couture

The Mayor, in his endless quest to make Chicago fabulous, today promoted the annual "Fashion Focus" event and a "Fashion Incubator" partnership with Macy's.

Beyond The Valley Of The Birthdays

The Facets blog reminds us that today is Roger Ebert's 65th birthday. Happy birthday, Roger, and get well soon.

Punk Planet Closing Up

Punk Planet is ceasing publication. The 13-year-old independent magazine has fallen victim to the same distributor bankruptcy issues (though a different distributor) as McSweeney's, and find themselves with no option but to close down. and the book publishing unit will continue on, but PP #80 will be the last.

See a Doctor if Condition Persists for More Than Four Hours

Due to high temperatures this weekend, the Jackson and State Street bridges were unable to close without receiving a cold shower of water from a Chicago River fireboat.

Where Have All The Patients Gone?

Crain's has an excellent analysis of an odd recent phenomenon: the dropoff in patients at Stroger Hospital. '"This is the first time we're not bursting at the seams," says Robert Simon, interim chief of the county's Bureau of Health Services. "It's a major concern because I don't think these patients are getting access to care elsewhere."'

Chicago, Coyotepolis

Our friendly neighborhood Quizno's coyote, Adrian, isn't alone as an urban explorer. Chicago coyote visits have increased from "perhaps a dozen" in the 1980s to 312 in the last three years.

Really Quick Review: 500 Clown Macbeth @ Steppenwolf

Just what it sounds like: a production of Macbeth put on by a bunch of clowns (three, to be exact--not sure where the other 497 are), and yet these bumbling, stumbling, profoundly earnest jokers manage to convey the major themes of Shakespeare's masterpiece. Terrific fun for adults as well as kids. Visit the Steppenwolf website for the schedule and to buy tickets.

Cutting Out the Middle Man

Jim DeRogatis examines the stranglehold TicketMaster maintains over tickets for concerts, theater, sports and other events, and points out that LiveNation, TM's biggest customer, recently began selling tickets for all local venues (all the way out to Alpine Valley) at the House of Blues box office, without a service fee. The Metro and Schubas have long offered the same option. (DeRo runs down the fees, and also reminds us that the war on TicketMaster started here in '94.)

Attention Zinesters!

Remember in the time before blogs how everyone had a zine? If you're one of those folks who still photocopies and staples your thoughts into little booklets, the Neo-Futurists would like a piece of you. They're creating a "tiny zine library" so that people waiting for shows to start have cool stuff to peruse. Send five copies of your zine to the theater at 5153 N. Ashland, 60640, and bring free joy (and, of course, your unique perspective on the world) to the huddled masses.

Preserve This City

Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois is holding a conference on preservation this weekend, starting tonight with free tours of the K.A.M. II Synagogue and Hyde Park Bank. Much more is planned throughout the weekend, and it's not too late the register.

Someone's Gonna Pay

I love seeing the rain cloud graf when I'm out and about, but the comish of streets and san doesn't share the sentiment: "drives me nuts...he takes all my light poles and does clouds with raindrops." The quote is from a Trib article detailing Daley's idea to make parent's pay if their kids are caught writing.

You're Suspect and Funny

Suspicious Clowns 9 is the current show at the Live Bait Theater and I hear it's good. Quite good. The Reader approves too. Friday and Saturdays all through June.

Skinema Signing

Chris Nieratko is one of those guys who most people view with a mix of disgust and awe. He's worked with the "Jackass" folks, written for such publications as the skateboarding mag Big Brother, Vice, and Hustler, and now he's published his bizarro collection in his new book, Skinema. Get your copy signed June 26 at Quimby's.

Air Guitar is Real

If you're still on the fence about going to tonight's Chicago Regional of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships, perhaps this preview from the Tribune will sway you. Details in Slowdown.

DIY Loop Tours

The Chicago Loop Alliance offers Loop the Loop, three free podcast tours of the Loop covering notable art, theatre and landmark destinations. Nice perspective renderings of key buildings, too.

"Let's Change The World"

The AP's feature on Chicago's own ShoreBank, chronicles the bank's success as the nation's first community development and environment bank.

Nerd Alert

The US Rubik's Cube National Open starts tomorrow at the Chicago Cultural Center.

"Stop. Killing. People."

This past Tuesday, hundreds of residents from Humboldt Park and Logan Square marched for peace. The rally, held at Humboldt Park boathouse, featured a high school band, hip-hop artists, and remembrances of lives lost to violence. Read the full take by the New Communities Program.

Messages from Space

Out in Palatine, there's a family whose baby monitor suddenly began picking up video from the Space Shuttle this week.

Goodbye, Beautiful

Fans of Chicago Public Radio's program Hello Beautiful! will no doubt be saddened by the news that host Edward Lifson has left the station. At least it's for a good reason: according to his blog, he was accepted as a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. And you thought he was just a radio host!

For Your To-See List ...

Who doesn't like a random museum? The Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum features history on, well, bridges and the Chicago River. Housed where bridgetenders used to live, the museum is located at Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive. It costs just $3 and is open Thursday-Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SummerDance Kicks Off

The 11th Annual Chicago SummerDance season starts tonight with an hour of dance lessons in Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden, followed by a couple of hours of dancing . If you can't make it tonight, you can also check it out Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And if you can't make it this week, no worries: Chicago SummerDance runs till 26 August. Click here (PDF) for a complete schedule.

Help Pay for the New Roof

If you live in a condo building, you might be interested in CondoPerks, a new service that lets condo association members earn money for the association by shopping online. Help defray that landscaping bill bit by bit!

Candidate's Lament

Today's New York Times has a lengthy article about the brewing Obama-Rezko debacle. It's an interesting overview, but the Beachwood Reporter's take on the piece is even more chewy.

Transmission Feature: Favorites #5

Hey hey, Thursday's here again, and we've got our fifth installment of our series on local record stores over in Transmission. Read about our staff's experiences in Borderline Music as well as the Record Dugout and start your day off right. (You can round out the night with Transmission as well, tonight at the Five Star Bar. Details.)

Julie Thoma Wright, 1958-2007

Julie Thoma Wright, a noted designer, passed away earlier this week after a battle with colon cancer. Thoma Wright, along with her husband Richard Wright, was known for being the force behind Wright, a Chicago auction house specializing in modern furniture and art. The Wrights were profiled last year in an article in The New York Times.

Sun-Times Wrap-Up

Some articles of note in today's Sun-Times: a puffy piece on Hill honcho Patty Solis Doyle; a breakdown of the congestion tax proposal; the Troutman indictment; and dirty, dirty cops.

Free For All

You should really check out Mess Hall, the Rogers Park-based "experimental culture center." This storefront at Morse and Glenwood is a gathering spot for random events and happenings from swaps to talks to screenings and never, ever charges admission or fees.To learn more, check out the Mess Hall manifesto.

Hideout Block Party: -Metro, +Bird

The Hideout Block Party is no longer being curated by the Metro; they've moved their big 25th anniversary shindig to an as-of-yet unnamed elsewhere. (No hard feelings between the venues, apparently, just a change of plans.) But the show will go on; so far Andrew Bird is the only confirmed performer. (Speaking of Mr. Bird, he'll be on Conan O'Brien tonight.)

Big Changes for the Lakefront?

In yet another public works project designed to win favor with the IOC (and area boaters), the Park District has released tentative plans to build three additional harbors. The Trib provides renderings.

No Fatty Liver for You!

A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Chicago's ban on the sale of foie gras is not unconstitutional Tuesday. You can almost hear the quacks of relief.

Art of Protest

An ordinance to privatize the selection of public art, among other things, proposed by Mayor Daley and the Department of Cultural Affairs is being considered by the City Council this morning. Artists and activists will be protesting the silencing of artists' voices at City Hall starting at 10am. You can help keep public art meetings open by calling or emailing your alderman's office -- look it up here -- or head on down and join them.

Psst. Wanna Get Married?

A Chicago man is accused of "leading" a ring in which U.S. residents would marry Eastern European immigrants for $5,000. In a stroke of brilliance, each of the "families" charged in the case attended each other's wedding ceremonies, making them oh-so-difficult to connect with each other.

Aloha, Mr. Coates

Jim Coates, the Tribune's computer columnist, said farewell today with a column looking back on how he spent the last 14 of his 40 years at the paper. Whet Moser and Scott Smith offer rememberances.

The Mystery of the Anti-Weatherman

The National Weather Service has enlisted the help of the FBI to track down a person who is submitting bogus weather reports in Illinois and Wisconsin. The reports have caused the service to issue erroneous storm warnings. If you can't trust weather reports, what can you trust?

Illinois GDP Like Mexico

This map renames US States with the country whose GDP is most similar. Illinois has a GDP like Mexico. As the author points out in the notes it's somewhat misleading as there's no sense of (population) scale, but it's fantastic nevertheless.

Time to Head Elsewhere

Norman Finkelstein, controversial professor of political science at DePaul, has been denied tenure. Read his collection of articles about the situation. UPDATE: He spoke on 848 this morning.

Jeff Citations Awarded

The 2006-07 Jeff Citations ceremony was held last night, honoring some of the best work in the city's vast non-union theater scene. The big winner of the night was The House Theatre of Chicago, with seven wins for the much-loved The Sparrow, followed by Bohemian Theatre Ensemble's Side Show with five, and TimeLine's Fiorello! and Eclipse's Blues for an Alabama Sky with four each. Full list of nominees and winners here.

Super Bowl Scuffle

Da Coach and his former Super Bowl Safety Dave Duerson are in a war of words. Ditka is again rallying on behalf of former players who are denied adequate health coverage in retirement from the league and the NFL Players Association. Duerson, a trustee for the NFLPA, says Ditka is a bit late on this issue.

Out of the Heartland, Into the Grid

Chicago magazine has redesigned its website, cleaning up the layout, doing away with their awful URLs and adding another blog: Jeff Ruby's Push, detailing his road to fatherhood.

IL out of the $$

The New York Times reports that happy days are here again for 40 surprised states, all of which ended up with more tax revenue than planned. The list ranges from Texas (nearly $7 billion extra) to South Dakota (a cool $7 million). Illinois? Nowhere to be found.

Bunch of Savages...

Patrick Tye is my hero. The man saw a baby left in a car alone with the windows rolled up. He waited for the owner to come back and reprimanded him. For his good deed he was promptly shot in the stomach. Fortunately Tye survived, and even lying in pain in a hospital bed, believes he did the right thing.

Today's Secret Word Is...

Gapers Block! So you go get Conky, and I'll show you the geographic distribution of the use of the term.

Inventor of Cheez Whiz/ French Fry Innovator is Dead

Edwin Traisman, food scientist for Chicago-based Kraft and McDonalds, died of old age last week.

Theater On The Lake

This week marks the start of the 55th season of Theater on the Lake, the Chicago Park District's program of re-mountings of great theatrical shows from the last year or so. This year they'll be putting on nine shows in nine weeks, and the schedule has something for everyone: a Second City revue; Gorey Stories, the musical based on Edward Gorey books; a Stephen Sondheim tribute; and Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! See the Theater on the Lake schedule for more information.

There Is Another Year Directly Behind This One

Happy birthday to The CTA Tattler! The blog celebrates its third anniversary today.

Who's the Boss? Definitely Not Tony Danza.

Tastefully tying in with the last episode of The Sopranos, Sun Times reporter Steve Warmbir speculates on the current boss of the Chicago Outfit.

Old Blue Bug Eyes Is Back

There's always room for one more cicada story, isn't there? A lad in Downers Grove found a blue-eyed cicada in his backyard, a one in a million find (among "hundreds of millions of cicadas," per a killjoy researcher).

Gotham City in a Garden

Batman is back in town! No, he denied the mayor's request to head up Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (word is, Bruce Wayne was up for that job too). But "The Dark Knight" goes into production tomorrow through the rest of the summer.

South Side Gang Maps

The District 299 Blog asks some good questions about "where exactly are the gang lines?" and follows them up with an even better link... to Southside Gang Maps. So now you know.

Better Than Hands Across America

Student Films Across America is a collection of, you guessed it, short films by students from around the country, including one from Chicago. Head to the Lakeshore Theatre tomorrow night at 7:30pm to see An Open Door by local film student Sean Jourdan and others, all for the same $10 you'd spend watching another lame Hollywood blockbuster.

Art for Procrastinators

Lee Mingwei's multi-part exhibit, "Impermanence" (at the Chicago Cultural Center through 1 July) includes a Guernica made of sand and a room containing multiple configurations of bed and nightstand; but check out the Letter Writing Project: an arrangement of three enclosures that invite you to write that letter you've been putting off. You can have it mailed or leave it for others to read; and reading other people's letters is no small pleasure.

Not Egregious

Chicago State University's President Elnora Daniel finally talked about their recent audit controversy (high travel expenses aboard cruise ships and heavy bar tabs on the state's dime), and generally dismissed the problems as not being egregious. Apparently, we can rest assured that sloppy record-keeping with state funds will not continue. She didn't say that we should go back to not paying them any attention, but might as well have.

Hounds Called Off

The Hoffman Estates-based Chicago Hounds United Hockey League team is closing shop after only a year in business due to issues with their home rink, the Sears Centre.

Turning the Alleys Green

NYC's Streets Blog summarizes a new pamphlet from the Chicago Department of Transportation: The Green Alleys Program [PDF]. Some interesting stuff in there.

Lost in Translation

それを持って来なさい. That is the loose translation for "Bring it on"(according to babelfish).Tokyo throws their hat in the ring for 2016.

Four Stars at the Five Star

It's Transmission Thursday again -- stop by Five Star, 1424 W. Chicago, after 9pm tonight for drink specials and DJ Brad Owen. Make sure to say hi to Nilay; he's got a sticker for you.

Dance Dance Party Party!

If you're looking for a new workout, look no more. Dance Dance Party Party is your new best friend. With no teacher, you can feel free to do what you want, like spin, jump, yoga, interpretive dance - who cares? "It's like being out at a club with your girlfriends without the expensive cover charge (only $5 per class!) and sweaty dudes grinding on you," say its organizers. Classes are at 6:30-8pm every Wednesday at Perceptual Motion Dance Studio (4057 N. Damen Ave.).

More Free Art and Live Jazz

This summer, the Art Institute of Chicago joins the Museum of Contemporary Art in offering live jazz al fresco on free evenings (Thursdays and Fridays, from 5 PM). MCA continues to serve live music on its terrace Tuesdays at 5:30 PM.

Our Younger Cousin

Our good friends at Chicagoist are celebrating their third anniversary tonight at the Subterranean. If you're looking for a way to escape the heat after work, you could do worse.

Transmission Feature: Blues Fest 2007

Already planning on hitting the Chicago Blues Festival this weekend? On the fence about whether or not to leave the couch at all? Either way, the next step you should take is to click on over to our feature in Transmission this week which gives you some handy-dandy pointers on festival going and blues music appreciating.

What Not to Say

A year ago, Michael Roth blew a stop sign in front of the Lincoln Park Zoo and smashed into Danit Steinbach and her daughter Maya and son Ben while her husband watched. Then, Roth took off, dragging Maya with him. He was later arrested. Wednesday, Roth was sentenced to eight years for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. In his grisly, inappropriate and callous statement, Roth said, "I just heard something in my car. It was like a little bit of a dragging."

At the Drive Thru

If you haven't clicked over to Drive Thru, our GB food blog, here's what you're missing: rhapsodic talk about the booze tasting cards at Whole Foods; updates on Dining Out for Hunger; and more incredible food photos. Gobble, gobble!

Lincoln Park Pirate Watch is a nearly real-time database of Chicago vehicle towing. Keep your eye on those pirates. (Thanks, Pat!)

Googlization at Midwestern Libraries

Google and the Midwest-based Committee on Institutional Cooperation announced an agreement to digitize up to ten million volumes from member universities. Local member schools include the University of Chicago, Northwestern and UIC.

Remember Why You Love Chicago

Feeling sad? Feeling blah? Then you really, really, really need to hop on the Water Taxi. It's free until June 17th and leaves every 15 or so minutes during the day. Take it from Wrigley to Ogilvy. Take a camera. Take a pause. After the 17th, it's just $2 each way. Also, look into Wendella Boats' Waves and Wine tours.

Another Billboard Controversy

A billboard for a spa in Glenview diagramming a woman's physical flaws (and their cosmetic solutions) is drawing fire from local women. "I don't want to sound like a chauvinistic pig, but this is a man's world," the spa owner said, refusing to take the ad down.

More Cheddar For Your Bread

In today's Sun-Times, the food section features a lengthy article about the rising cost of Chicago's food. Rising costs for fuel and ethanol demands mean we're paying 2.2% more for food than we did a year ago. Michael Swanson, an economist for Wells-Fargo, keeps in in perspective with this quote: "If people are willing to pay $4 for a Starbucks latte, then $7.50 for a good pound of sirloin shouldn't be that much of a stretch." And remember, you can always try the farmers' market.

That's Customer Service

The CTA may suck in a lot of ways, but at least there's one employee willing to retrieve the walkman you dropped on the tracks.

LGBT Center Open

Center on Halsted, the most comprehensive LGBT facility in the Midwest, is now officially open.

Take the Express to Niki in the Garden

If you're interested in seeing the new Niki St. Phalle exhibit in Garfield Park (more than 30 playful sculptures by the noted artist are placed amidst gardens inside and outside the Conservatory building) but the thought of long waits for the west-bound Green Line discourage you, click here for details about new express trains running between Randolph and Wabash and Garfield Park Conservatory Saturdays and Sundays.

Jake and Elwood Still at Large

The Methods Reporter site has pointed out an article by Taryn Luntz that reveals the city paid as much as $7 million last year settling lawsuits for police car accidents. Especially mind-boggling: $6 million of that went toward settling two separate accidents in 2001 and 2003.

Book Club Guide to the Printers Row Book Fair

The Printers Row Book Fair is upon us once again, spreading out around Dearborn and Polk this Saturday and Sunday for some great new and used book buys in addition to wonderful author events. Over at the Book Club page we've put together a little guide to help you get through this year's fair. Whether you've been keeping up with our selections or are simply overwhemled by the jam-packed literary schedule, we hope the guide will help you decide how to spend your time. Enjoy the fair -- you'll definitely see us there.

Chicago-on-Chicago Lit Love

The latest addition to Oprah's Book Club is Middlesex, by Chicago author Jeffrey Eugenides. More here.

Looking for a Creative Father's Day Gift?

This Father's Day, give dad something different -- like a comfy Cozy Blanket from Wilmette-based Nice'n Cozy. It makes a great gift for someone with arthritis or physical limitations, a dad recovering from surgery, or an avid reader. (It has handy arm slits so you can cover up and still hang on to books, remotes, beer, whatever.) It also functions as a nice travel blanket -- in place of those "who knows when they were last cleaned" airline blankets.

Collaged Clothing

Check out the very interesting textile artwork of Marcy Sperry, who also blogs about Rogers Park life at Thank You for Your Submission.

Not as Green as We Thought

Chicago Magazine has a nice feature dispelling a myth that has penetrated deep into our fair city. When it comes to city park space, we have the least of the "big nine", and third lowest of all 56 major cities.

Syd Lieberman's Storytelling Podcast

Evanstonian Syd Lieberman, who's been telling stories professionally for over 25 years, has a podcast. He's taken all his recordings -- fourteen CDs' worth of stories, mostly of his own creation, mostly about his and his family's life -- and is releasing them progressively, for free, over the summer. Two live albums are already online; the currently featured track is an amazing hour-long story he did for NASA about their recent rover mission to Mars.

CTA has Tissues for Your Issues

Starting tonight, the CTA will be holding a series of public hearings at different locations in the city to discuss proposals to cut service and/or raise fares. Click here for a schedule. To get some background on the dog and pony show that is CTA management, CTA Tattler has a nice discussion on their site.

Yet Another Googlemap, Posting Edition is already an interesting place to check for posts about Chicago, but here's another neat tool they recently added: blogger maps. Now you can check out which places we and other local blogs have been writing about.

Typeface vs. Font

Word from Kartemquin Films regarding their in progress film: "Kartemquin is currently working on Typeface, a documentary about cultural preservation, rural renewal and graphic design history in the Midwest.To support these efforts, we're holding a benefit on June 15th at the Center for Book and Paper Arts here in Chicago. Toad Hollow Vineyards is providing the bubbly, MJ Catering is bringing the sweets and a number of local artists (including Jay Ryan and Dennis Ichiyama) are donating original works for the silent auction." While the much lauded Helvetica opens the same night at the Siskel, it is a weeklong engagement. So, why not support the locals? Looks good to me.

Bardball: Reviving the art of Baseball Doggerel

Submit your baseball-themed poems and songs to, the site that "wants to resurrect the connection between baseball and poetry, between the love of the game and love of language." The site is run by two Chicago writers -- James Finn Garner (Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and the new book Recut Madness: Favorite Movies Retold for Your Partisan Pleasure) and Stuart Shea (Wrigley Field: The Unauthorized Biography and editor of Wrigley Season Ticket 2007.)

No Tank for 8 Games

The Bears' Tank Johnson has been suspended by the NFL for eight games next season as a result of his arrest on weapons charges last year. Which means, unless he gets time off for good behavior, we'll see him suit up for the first time Nov. 11.

No More Waiting Until 3pm!

The Department of Streets and Sanitation has a special treat for Bucktown and Wicker Park residents -- and, no, it's not the usual orange one. The city is testing out a new light program that will signal when it's ok to park on a street after it's been cleaned.

The Fastest Growing Firm In Chicago

According to Crain's Chicago Business the fastest growing company in Chicago(land) during 2007 is Convergint Technologies. Here's a look at the rest of the "Fast 50".

Calling All Political Printmakers

Chicago area based printmakers are invited to submit original prints and artist books for a joint group show being organized by The New York Society of Etchers, Inc. for the Loyola University Museum of Art on Michigan Avenue. The exhibition is scheduled for presentation in the fall of 2008. For the exhibitionl, "The Art of Democracy," they are seeking artist prints and artist books featuring the topics of war, domestic politics, constitutional rights like privacy an free speech, human rights, environmentalism and related areas of social activism.

Word to the wise re: Olympic Logo

Here's a cautionary tale for those who are now re-designing the city's Olympic logo: London Olympic logo triggers debate. Some choice quotes (familiar to pretty much any experienced graphic designer): "Hideous," "I could do better with my eyes closed," "makes me embarrassed to be English," and the old stand-by: "it could have been done by a six year old."

Sometimes an "S" Can Make All the Difference

Great lead in Andrew L. Wang's article on protests over the possible destruction of the Lake Shore Athletic Club: "They didn't have all the pieces at first -- the exclamation point was missing, as was a very important 's.' But when each person with a letter or punctuation mark inked on their shirt lined up in the proper spot, the message was clear: 'SAVE LAKE SHORE ATHLETIC CLUB!'" Guess which S is more important.

Bicyclist Hit by Brown Line Identified

The 27-year-old man struck and killed by a Brown Line train Sunday has been identified as Milwaukee resident, Lance Lemieux. Witnesses say it appeared the bicyclist did not realize that there were two ground-level tracks at the Rockwell station where the accident occured around 4:30pm yesterday.

Oops, Dad's Out of the Frame

Calling all family albums! The Tribune is seeking your bad vacation photos.

Pirate in Chicago

It turns out a Chicago man is partly responsible for some episodes of "24" floating around online before they aired. He didn't upload them but apparently just moving them from one site to another is enough to get him up to three years. I guess the FBI has nothing better to do.

What Precisely Is a Homo-sex?

Ruben Israel is a very vocal fellow, currently demanding the right to march, proclaim anti-gay rhetoric, and carry his apparently bottomless supply of tastefully designed signs in the Annual Pride Parade—something he's done streetside for years. Naturally, in being denied the ability to heap judgment and preach hellfire against folks all along the parade route, he feels he's being discriminated against.

Cubs, Cubs, Cubs

It's been quite the weekend for the Cubs with players fighting each other & the manager "Lou-sing" his cool. Also this week, the NYTimes published a video feature on "The Re-education of Kerry Wood".


The rumor is now official: Feedburner has been purchased by Google. Here's Feedburner's official announcement.

Radio On!

Radio Free Chicago alerts us to the fact that Hyde Park radio station WHPK has recently started Webcasting. Tune in to their audio stream for your daily dose of classical music, rock, folk, international, and public affairs programming.

Intersecting Cultures

Theatre, meet Radio: Chicago Public Radio's Sylvia Ewing has joined Steppenwolf as producer of "cultural intersections." The new position will oversee such projects as the CPR-Steppenwolf "Traffic" series of live performances recorded for radio, for which Ewing was one of the producers.

National Spotlight on Chicago

Two major news programs -- with very different slants -- anchored from Chicago yesterday. While NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams focused on lighter fare, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 reported on the disturbing string of murders of Chicago Public Schools children.

Halsted Pride

While the brand-spankin'-new Center on Halsted doesn't officially open until June 5, you can go ahead and mark your calendars with some of the events the Center is holding during Pride month, from Metropolitan Church services, GLBT career expo, and Youth Horizons Prom. Plus, take building tours on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and check out the rooftop garden and renewable energy features.

Obama's Political Hoops

The NYTimes details Senator Obama's hoops profile and it's potential impact on his political career. It turns out that Alexi Giannoulias (Illinois State Treasurer), Martin Nesbitt (Chairperson of CHA), and Arne Duncan (CEO of CPS) were part of his basketball clique. Of the four, it's only Duncan who has played hoops professionally (in Australia).

Whitey Strikes Back

On Wednesday, Q101 became the first radio station to play the new White Stripes album. Two hours later, a very displeased Jack White called the station.



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