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. 


Saturday, July 13

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Looking for Funny People

Our pals at Time Out Chicago are looking for the funniest person in Chicago. Are you that special one? Send in a filmed clip of your talent to TOC by September 20; the finalists will be subjected to online voting to determine the winner, who will get a bag of swag and bragging rights.

Bike Melee

Tonight's Critical Mass bicycle rally ended with police action, including some arrests. Bikers were turned away from the planned route to 12th St. Beach by police, who came by paddywagon, ATV, Segway and even bike to stop the throng. Visit CCM to upload your personal ride report.

Rolling the Tollway

Following the great success of Bike the Drive, the Chicago Bike Federation has somehow managed to persuade the Illinois Tollway to give Route 355 over to bicycle traffic on November 11. Six lanes, nothing but bikes.

Zone 6

Chicagoist answers a question I've been wondering the last week or two: What's up with the new "Zone #" stickers on all the parking meters?

Street Art for Kids!

A huge collection of Chicago's street artists have come together to raise money for a Cicero public school. Check out the show (and buy some art, will ya?) at the Grind Cafe in Lincoln Square. The show opens this Friday evening, and features artists such as Blutt, Codo, Sonny Rainclouds, Solve and more.

Jazzing in Up

We probably don't have to tell you that the Chicago Jazz Festival is under way; here's a schedule and guide if you need one.

Underneath Our Feet

The Sun Times posted a feature about the variety of restaurants, clubs and other points of interest underneath our fair city. You may also want to check out Alice Maggio's two-part feature on the Pedway.

Coming Soon... Cheese

A trailer for I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, starring Jeff Garlin, Sarah Silverman and the City of Chicago. (Thanks, Dubi!)

Labor Day Get-Together

Kick off the long weekend right: join Gapers Block staffers tonight at the Green Eye Lounge, below the Western Blue Line stop, from 9pm on for our monthly GB Get-Together. Details here.

New One Book, One Chicago Title Announced

The latest title in the city's "One Book, One Chicago" program was announced today: Arthur Miller's "The Crucible".

Free Darko

The prominent hoops bloggers at will be having their first annual Columbian Exposition, er meetup, tonight at 8pm at the Five Star. Afterwards, you should stay at the Five Star for Transmission Thursday.

News About the Other Mafia

The Trib profiled the Chicago Craft Mafia in today's paper, including GB's own Cinnamon Cooper. The article offers a bunch of tips for just-starting crafters toward the end.

On the Fly

If you've ever been down Ravenswood near Wilson, you might have seen the rather large stickered and logoed truck with bright red, yellow and black graphics that say, "On the Fly." The Chicago Traveler has the scoop: On the Fly is a mobile bike mechanic shop. Joe Ebervein and Rich Kwaitkowski will go where you are to get you on the road again.

Jazz Showcase Returns

Jazz Showcase, the late lamented venue, will rise again at Dearborn Station this winter. (Meanwhile, the old Jazz Showcase space on Grand is La Madia, an upscale pizza and wine place.

Transmission Feature: Ritualistic Review

Today in Transmission we've got a review of the just-released CD/DVD/book capturing the work of Greg Jacobson's Ritualistic School of Errors. It is an experimental time warp back a decade when Jacobson's performances around Chicago were just the kernel of legend. Top 40, this ain't, but it just might blow your mind. (Or at least give you the willies.)

Classes at the Threadless Store

Oh, indie t-shirt buyers! You can do more than support the economy when the new Threadless store opens on September 14. You'll also be able to take basic design classes and advanced design workshops conducted by Digital Bootcamp.

Most Eligible

No less an authority than Forbes Magazine names Jen Schefft and William Wrigley Jr. II as the most eligible bachelorette and bachelor in the city of Chicago. They also claim that the Chi is only the 5th Best city for Singles in America.

Mash That Map Up

Who doesn't love a mash-up? Ongopongo is a site that aggregates user's Google My Maps mash-ups. Check out Chicago Ongopongo maps, including vegan restaurants, 4 am bars and even area pinball machines.

Critspeak and Candid Discussion

The annual conference of the Association of Literary Critics and Scholars is scheduled to take place in downtown Chicago this October. There will be readings, seminars, panels (including one called "The Culture of Cities: Revising the Chicago Story") and a keynote address by James Wood. Email ALSC about volunteer opportunities if you'd like in on the action for free.

Florence Scala, 1918-2007

Sad news being reported today that community activist Florence Scala passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Read more here, here and here.

Super Happy Fun Slide

A couple in Lombard left their teenage son at home alone for a week earlier this summer. He and his friends took the opportunity to build a 60-foot waterslide in the backyard. Potential for serious injury aside, that's pretty frickin' cool.

Closer to a Chicago Anglican Bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has included the Very Rev. Tracey Lind as a top five nominee for the 12th Bishop of Chicago. Because Lind is a lesbian, her nomination once again sets up the potential for conflict with the more conservative Anglican Communion.

This American Wiener's Circle

An interesting look behind the scenes at The Wiener's Circle, courtesy of This American Life. Audio is most definitely NSFW, so throw on those headphones!

Give Me Beer, or Give Me Death

Like beer? Like beer enough to fight or even kill for it? Richard English at Modern Drunkard Magazine and Gregg Smith at provide brief, hop-filled histories of the Chicago Lager Beer Riot of 1855.

Why Fight?

Looks like city-wide WiFi isn't a go anymore. Contractors don't want to foot the bill for antennae construction, attachment to city street lights and lamp poles, maintenance, and operation, and the city doesn't want to pay any fees. Considering the city's surveillance-happy tendencies, maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Green Scavenger Hunt

Foresight Design is sponsoring a green-themed urban scavenger hunt, Explorago. The event, to be held next month, will "broach environmental business practices, waste, pollution, alternative modes of transportation, green space, urban design and architecture, and much more."

It's a Fave

Fave is a new "Chicago neighborhood browser." Unlike most search tools, this one is a downloadable browser that supposedly doesn't transmit your search to the Internet, which leads me to believe it has an internal directory -- so it's more like an electronic yellow pages, I guess? If you're curious, they've got a storefront at Clark and Fullerton where you can try it out and ask more questions.

Lakeview is Burning with Boredom Now

YoChicago magazine lays out what we've all suspected for years: Lakeview is losing its unique and quirky businesses thanks to the wave of condo development that has brought chains in to fill first-floor spaces.

Cross Your Fingers for Thumbs

Did you know that Siskel and Ebert copyrighted their thumbs up/down designation? And did you know that last weekend's airing of At the Movies took place without the use of those iconic thumbs? Turns out there's some kind of dispute between Ebert and the show's owner, and the renewal of the use of the thumbs is still undecided.

From Pseudonym to Lisagor Award

Chicago Magazine's recent profile of Jeff McCourt is not only interesting for its discussion of the Windy City Times founder's life but for its Chicago gay and lesbian history. [Thanks, Matt!]

New BP Ad Buy

Apparently seriously concerned about its public image, BP has taken to purchasing (regionally specific?) advertisements via google to tout its pledge to not increase discharge limits. This advertisement was embedded in a article about the Maison de Verre.

A Revolt Against "Quirk"?

This American Life and the "avatar of contemporary quirk," Ira Glass, take center stage in Atlantic Monthly's recent critique of the quirky side of pop culture. [via]

Lone Surfer of Lake Michigan

Detroit surfer Joe Bidawid landed safely in Chicago yesterday after paddling about 60 miles across Lake Michigan on his board. He did it to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Calling All LEEDers

Environmentally aware builders, architects, facility managers and other related folk will be pleased to know that Greenbuild 2007 will be held in Chicago this November. The show promises to address how greener construction and renovation techniques can tackle issues such as "climate change, water conservation, and improving human health." And if you're a student, volunteer and get in free.

Nerd Love

Nerds at Heart wants to help you find love! This crew throws singles events catering to a range of niche markets. Upcoming Nerds at Heart events will match regular ol' nerds, playful nerds, queer nerds and green nerds at locales around town. Check out their site to register in advance.

The Sun-Times' New Activism

Following the announcement that the Sun-Times is going liberal, it called for a boycott of BP gasoline. Editorial page editor Cheryl Reed was recently on On the Media to talk about the boycott call and the paper's future political orientation.

It Only Takes One Ticket to Win

After reading about the lone Powerball ticket worth $314 million that was sold recently in Indiana, I started dreaming about how my life would change if I had that much money, and wondered why I don't buy lottery tickets more often so that I can win and start my own Chappelle-like series of revenge missions. This Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing will be for a $250 million jackpot, so if you find yourself in a checkout lane with a dollar or two to spare, it might be your lucky day.

BREAKING NEWS: Serious Injury @ the Derby

Gapers Block just received word that Saturday night's Windy City Rollers bout was cut short by an incident that left Fury player Tahirah Johnson, aka Tequila Mockingbird, with a fractured cervical vertebra. She was rushed to surgery to relieve pressure and hopefully save her from paralysis. We'll keep you posted as details come in (below the break -- click on "More"); The WCR message board is another good place to watch for updates.

Update 8/26 afternoon: No news on Johnson's condition post-surgery, but we've been told that she regained some feeling and control over her left arm before surgery, so there's hope that it means she'll have an effective recovery.

Update 8/27: WCR released this statement today:
"We understand and are grateful for everyone's concern regarding Tequila's injuries. At this time we'd like to respect Tequila and her family by not releasing any information without their permission, but please know that Tequila is in the best of care at one of the top hospitals in the city.

"As soon as we have information to make available, including where folks can send well-wishes, we'll do so.

"Thanks again for your concern, and please thank our medical staff when you get the chance. They truly did an amazing job making sure Tequila stayed safe and cared for."


I suppose lightning striking the Sears Tower is a fairly common occurrence, but that doesn't make it any less cool to witness. Oh sh*t!

Blog and Business

Hey, score some brownie points at work and tell your boss that you want to attend the Blog Business Summit in Chicago this September 17-19. Check out the complete schedule for more info.

Don't Go (to) BP-Amoco

A few weeks after Pearl Jam's little environmental ditty "Don't Go (to) BP-Amoco" at Lollapalooza, the oil giant pledged that it wouldn't increase the levels of pollution it dumps into Lake Michigan (from its perhaps expanding Whiting, Indiana plant).

Dark Knight x Brachs Candy Implosion!

The Dark Knight which has been filming in Chicago on and off for the past few months is doing something big. The Brachs Candy factory will be imploded on August the 29th August the 30th between 10:30am and noon. The implosion will be later added digitally into the film for a building explosion. Details here. Update: Note the date and time change. New details here.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, a band named Fugazi regularly toured the country, providing great joy to children everywhere. Yet it has been five years since That Wonderful Band toured, and many of those children have grown up. Those Children of Yesterday may now buy a new pressing of Fugazi shows, such as that from Peoria in 1995.

Hef is Your Friend

Speaking of skin, Playboy has created a (non-nude) social network for colleges. Playboy U harks back to the good ole days of Facebook: a .edu address is required to join.

Skin Flicks

Chicago-based Mr. Skin is your number one source for who's naked in what movie; Business POV interviewed the founder, Jim McBride, and discovered it's also a $6 million-a-year moneymaker with 44 employees. (NSFW)

Downed Trees Everywhere!

So, today's weather produced a great deal of rain and wind, causing many trees to shed debris and/or fall in neighborhoods all along the north side. Click here for some current shots from Logan Boulevard, which took a hit this afternoon. And here's a link to photos tagged "chicago" and "storm" on flickr.

Of Boxers and Pit Bulls

The story of a former boxer and pitt-bull fighter from Freeport, IL. [via]

Rearview Submission Change

A quick notice to Rearview contributors and future contributors: Due to the high volume and tracking of submissions, we've streamlined the submissions to only one method — via Flickr. We are no longer accepting submissions via email. Please see the guidelines on our Submissions page. Thanks.

Conrad Noir

Noted without comment: Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk and columnist Jennifer Wells reflect on the Conrad Black trial. (Thanks, Charlie!)

The Chicago Colts

If you follow baseball (or don't, in my case), you're probably aware of the 30-3 trouncing the Rangers gave the Orioles last night. However, you may not be aware that the team who still holds the record for points in a game (37, back in 1897), the Chicago Colts, was a predecessor to the Cubs.

"Lock Up All Liberals at Gitmo"

Meet Richard Tisch, conservative jeweler with a sign.

Max! Meow? Woof?

Following the news that "Max" is the number one name for cats and dogs for the fifth year in a row, a weird pet name free for all has broken out at the Trib.

Ban? What Ban?

One year after the Chicago foie gras ban went into effect, NPR finds plenty of restaurants still serving the forbidden food. See also: stories on the ban at Chicago Public Radio and the Tribune.

Regional Fandom

Strange Maps reminds us that Cubs country is a bit bigger than White Sox country. Curse/Bless you SuperStation WGN!

Audition Mania!

This Saturday afternoon, open auditions for two reality shows that actually still hold my attention for more than three minutes will be held in the city. If you and a family member, coworker or friend are looking to lose weight, The Biggest Loser will be holding auditions at the NBC building (although if you can't make it, you can send in a tape by 9/4). If you are attractive and prone to rage, tears, or both, America's Next Top Model will be at the Crowne Plaza looking for their next contestants. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will also be looking for fresh meat at Medieval Times this Friday.

Saving the Point or Missing It?

Hyde Park's Promontory Point is the subject of much preservationist activism in the face of the Park District's plans to replace the limestone steps and lake wall with concrete. Hyde Park Progress looks at the changes to the steps and general upkeep since the Park Districts' plans were put on hold.

August: Osage County headed for Broadway

Steppenwolf's current production, August: Osage County, has not suffered from lack of praise, including this glowing review from the front page The New York Times Arts section last week. The play is set to close this Sunday, but not forever. The whole show, lock, stock and barrel, is heading to Broadway for a 16-week engagement. Previews start at the Imperial Theatre on October 20.


Chicago comic Kumail Nanjiani's autobiographical show, "Unpronounceable," which follows his life from his childhood in Karachi, Pakistan to college in rural Iowa, plays the Lakeshore Theater on Friday. His July show sold out, so you may want to buy your tickets ahead of time. Details in Slowdown.

Beautiful Mutilation

Chicago native Brian Dettmer uses a knife to alter pre-existing media - most notably, books. I've been staring at these photos for the past ten minutes now, and they're absolutely taking my breath away. He and artist Jen Stark do things to paper I never even knew were possible. [via]
//Edit: Some of Dettmer's work is currently at the Hyde Park Art Center. Thanks, Jessi!

Taxi Cab Confessions

HACK is a blog by taxi driver and artist Dmitri Samarov, created as a companion to his pretty amazing website. Check out his other "Hack," a minicomic about his day job.

Free Store!

Into freecycling? You're invited to The Free Store sponsored by Ausgang Gallery. To donate, email Melinda [at] To shop, visit The Free Store this weekend at 51st and Racine, from 11 am to 6 pm.

Nice Tomatoes!

Growing a coffee can tomato plant this summer on your sill? Bring in your best tomatoes to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for their "Show Me Your Tomatoes Festival" Saturday 8/25 and compete for a trip to Vegas. Details.

Transmission Ticket Giveaway

If you peek over at Transmission (where we love music and a good deal), you can read all about this Saturday's Queer Fest Midwest, and get the skinny on how you can win a pair of tickets to a full day's worth of awesome musical acts at Pulaski Park Field House.

More Simic Connections

The new U.S. Poet Laureate, Charles Simic, may currently live in New Hampshire, but he has strong Chicago roots. Amongst other connections, he spent "the most important year" of his life in Oak Park.

Virginia Is for Gangstas

The state of Virginia's tourism agency is striking out certain images from its latest Virginia Is for Lovers campaign, "Live Passionately." Why? Because the models are making a heart symbol similar to a gang sign usually flashed by the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples (also, Japanese schoolgirls... but apparently that's beside the point). A slightly creepify before and after image from the campaign can be seen here. Yep, that's gangbanger behavior if ever I saw it.

I do!

In what might be the most elaborately, delightful case of deception I've ever seen, George Aye asks Sara Cantor to marry him. Congratulations and kudos!

Marathon Mural

Keep your eyes trained on the new LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon mural being painted by the Kennedy right now. It's by local muralist Jeff Zimmerman, who incorporated the ideas of Chicagoans reacting to the fact that this year's race might be the last.

Bicycle Breathing Room

A new state law signed by Gov. Blagojevich this past weekend gives bicyclists something to be happy about: more room. The law allows bicyclists to move further into the travel lane to avoid getting cut off by right-turning cars. It also requires drivers to give bikers three feet of room when passing. To aid in communication, the new law allows bike riders to signal a right turn with the right arm (effectively letting you point to where you're going).

Art And Pilsen: Dialogo

Local bi-lingual paper El Extra has run an article about an interesting sounding exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Titled "Dialogo", this installation chronicles three artists reactions to discussions between mothers and daughters within the Pilsen and Little Village communities.

Is That a Ninja In Your Pocket?

Shawnimals is coming out with even tinier versions of its pocket ninjas, with a loop so you can have one guard your keychain. Sweet! In other art/craft news, two of Delicious Design League's Flatstock posters are now for sale on

Word Jazz Online

Movie trailer watchers and late night WBEZ listeners familiar with Ken Nordine may want to check out his website Word Jazz, which includes a blog with unusual poems starting with "Maybe the moment" and a podcast of his late night stylings.

Downtown Poshness Poolside

Apartment Therapy Chicago let us in on a cool option for a downtown getaway: The Hotel Intercontinental offers access to its amazing Roman Bath-style pool and fitness center for just $15. (Check out the virtual reality tour of the pool in the Amenities section of this {unfortunately all-Flash} site.)

Calling All Beyonce Ticketholders

If you're going to see Beyonce tonight at the United Center, don't forget the canned carrots! The Greater Chicago Food Depository is holding a pre-show food drive at the United Center, and the first 1,000 fans who drop off a minimum of three nonperishable food items before the 7:30 p.m. show will receive an autographed photo of Beyonce and a raffle ticket for a chance to win a seat upgrade.

A More Swedish Batavia

Batavia's doing well in IKEA's Small Businesses, Big Dreams contest, in which cities compete for having up to ten small businesses remodeled by the company. Check out their entry, vote for them and help them do even better.

Chicago's New Architecture

Chicago Magazine's current issue includes a feature on the state of Chicago's contemporary architecture scene, complete with a fairly interesting top 10 list, which includes gems like The Contemporaine. Check out their feature, then weigh in on your favorite and least favorite buildings.

Fab Labbers Confer in Chi-Town

Neil Gershenfeld's Fab Lab (check out his concept video from TED, and more background on "Personal Fabrication") will be in Chicago next week for a conference at UCHICAGO and the MSI. Rumor has it that a Fab Lab installation will be setup at MSI for public consumption, but nothing has been officially announced yet.

We're Tied for 9! We're Tied for 9!

The University of Chicago tied for ninth place with Columbia University on US News & World Report's annual list of America's best colleges.

Come and Knock on My Door

Quick, what was the bar in "Three's Company" called? That's right, the Reagle Beagle. And now you can visit it and the rest of the Seventies and Eighties, right at Michigan and Grand.

Pessimism Reigns Eternal

Got an overconfident Cubs fan in your midst? Here's a song to help bring them back to earth, courtesy of the Beachwood Reporter.


Toy Karma, an exhibit of the works of artists and designers inspired by classic Japanese toys, starts September 8, at the Rotofugi Designer Toy Store and Gallery. Adorably bizarre creations by folks like Alex Wald, Frank Kozik, and many others will be on display.

Have an "Unusual" Collection?

If so, make a short video about your collection and submit it to for a chance to win $20,000. At the time of writing, no one's submitted anything, so your odds are good at being an early front runner.

Vocalo Launches, the new radio station from Chicago Public Radio, just launched on the web and the dial at 89.5 FM. Vocalo is "a gathering place, on-air, on the web, and in the community. It’s also a new broadcast format that celebrates the cultures and communities of the Chicago region." Here's an inside-baseball look at what WBEZ is looking to do.

New Brew in Town

Half Acre Beer is a new brewing company in Chicago (although its beer is actually produced in Wisconsin). Looks promising; we'll track down a six-pack and review it in Drive-Thru.

Will Curtis Make Graduation?

Both 50 Cent and Chicago's Kanye West have new albums that are scheduled to be released on the same day. In a recent interview, 50 Cent is quoted as saying "If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11... I won't put out anymore solo albums." //Edit: Hm. Guess not.

Book Club: Peel My Love Like an Onion

It's been a hot, steamy summer and what better way to cap it off than read a story with a romance to match? Flamenco dancing, love triangles, betrayal and loss abound in Ana Castillo's Peel My Love Like an Onion, the September selection for the GB Book Club. Read the introduction here, then come join us on September 10 at the Book Cellar to discuss it. New members are always free to come by.

New Bottled Water Tax?

The national movement against bottled water is making further inroads here, where it looks like Mayor Daley will support a 10¢ to 25¢ tax on bottled water sales.

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

I hope this doesn't provoke a batch of psychosomatic scratching amongst Gapers Block's readership, but the Illinois Department of Public Health reports on a hundred or so cases of folks with tiny, itchy red bites. It might be an outbreak of tree-dwelling Pyemotes herfsi, better known as the itch mite, but officials won't know for sure until after they set up and inspect sticky traps in area parks.

Hot Neighborhoods Are Impoverished Too?

Crain's reports that retail doesn't always follow rapid development of new neighborhoods. Some spirited discussion of the article at YoChicago.

Justice for Murdered Dermatologist

A suspect has been arrested in the murder of David Cornbleet, a dermatologist who was murdered last October in his downtown office.

Our Lost Stuff on eBay

It looks like the state has the eBay bug and is going to sell unclaimed items on eBay. So if you still can't find that coin you lost, you may want to check out Cash Dash or their auction photos.

Gumtree in Chicago, England's answer to Craigslist, is launching in Chicago, NYC, and Boston today. Currently, it's an empty palette over at, so if you're sick of the white noise on Craigslist, this might be the chance to stand out.

Free Screening of "The King of Kong"

When I saw the Michael Moore dramedy Sicko a few weeks ago, a preview was shown for The King of Kong, a documentary about a fight between two total freakazoids for the top Donkey Kong score in the Guinness Book of World Records. The preview got a lot of laughs, so I think it will be a winner of a film. Ain't it Cool News is sponsoring a free showing of the film on Tuesday, August 21 (tickets are going fast, so get on this pony right quick). Click here for details and to RSVP.

Hundreds of Channels and Nothing On

A moment of web zen: "TV DX Photos by Channel seen from Macomb, IL Since 1983" -- in other words screenshots from stations seen with a long-distance TV antenna. [via]

Oh, Sh*t! Trapped in the Closet 13!

Set in Chicago, R. Kelly's over-the-top cult hit Trapped in the Closet needs to be seen to be believed. To date, there have been 12 chapters created; today marks the first of ten more (that's right, more) chapters with the release of Chapter 13. A video recap is available, along with a helpful character map. I'm still unsure whether he's a comic genius, or utterly insane. Audio is NSFW.

Poet Laureate Gets Start in Chi-Town

Charles Simic, the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States, started writing poetry "to impress girls" and was first published in the Chicago Review.


Spanning four venues and over 100 artists and musicians, A/V XPLO is a four day event running this Wednesday and through Saturday. Offering up a mixture of music, art, film and photography, there's a lot to keep the senses occupied. More info on the bands and artists in Slowdown, and at

Hacking the Menu

Over in Drive-Thru, we're wondering: what menu hacks have you come across?

Don't Jenks It

Despite the White Sox' continued suckitude, closer Bobby Jenks has been a bright spot. On Sunday, Jenks tied Jim Barr's all-time record of 41 consecutive batters retired. (Here's a great little profile from back just before Jenks joined the Sox in '05.)

Protecting Modern Architecture

With the recent demolition of Dart's Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Blair Kamin makes another call for including modern buildings in the city's architectural protections.

Sooner or Later, They All Come Back

Upright Citizens Brigade, the comedy improv troupe with roots in Chicago, will be coming back home for "UCB Presents," a weekly performance at the Lakeshore Theater. Teams from the Los Angeles and New York UCB theaters will perform each Tuesday, kicking off with ASSSSCAT, UCB's signature show, on September 11. Also in the works is an UCB improv training program (because Chicago doesn't have enough of them).

This Is the Pitts

The Illinois Department of Health inspected the gorgeous-inside-and-out, Art Deco Pittsfield Building last week and then sealed off floors 13 through 21 after discovering asbestos during remodeling. I assume the lobby is still open, and safe. If so, why not stop in and enjoy a nice "alfresco" tuna melt at the Pittsfield Cafe while gawking at the magnificent Gothic ostentatiousness of the Pittsfield's five-story atrium?

Music Is The New Cotton

The T-shirts of Lollapalooza.

Friday Fun: Astronaut

Our very own Felix has created a fun little time-killer: the Astronaut syncs random flickr photos to appear with key words from a song by Dan Frick.

Cry Havoc and Let Loose the Ducks of War!

The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby for Special Olympics Illinois just commenced, with several thousand plastic quackers released into the Chicago River's murky green waters.

It's Hot. Watch Movies.

Looking for some movies this weekend? There's a ton to see, and none of it involves a major cineplex. Saturday is another night of Movies in the Park and is Home Movie Day, and Chopin Theatre is hosting a tribute to director Ingmar Bergman on Saturday and Sunday for $7 a show or $20 per day. See Slowdown for details.

How Many Homeless People Live Downtown?

A controversial city census says that there are only 24 homeless people that live downtown.

Class Action Bathroom Suit

Two cousins at Paul Cuffe Math Science Technology Academy are filing a lawsuit because they were denied bathroom breaks.

What Not to do with your Wienermobile

Hot dog clogs major artery (and other assorted puns).

Chicago's Underground Railroad History Needs You

In 2 weeks on the 18th and 19th, the Chicago/Calumet Underground Railroad Effort will present the 2nd annual True North Underground Railroad Festival (see slowdown). The festivities occur at Carver Park (900 block of 134th Street at Ellis) and volunteers are still needed. If you are interested contact Naomi Davis at 773.569.4464 or email

Rally to Protest Police Shooting of Aaron Harrison

As posted on IndyMedia today, this Friday night (8/10) there will be a rally with speeches by Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr. and Harrison's mother, Ms. Annie Johnson. The action starts at 8 PM, Friday, August 10th rally at Wallace's Catfish Corner, 2800 W. Madison Street (at California). The rally will also demand an independent federal investigation into the Monday night shooting and the post-shooting campaign of police harassment.

Old Signs of Modern Times

Using old signs and discarded metal as his materials, David Buckingham creates pieces that are heavily influenced by both history and pop culture. What's particularly amazing is that all the colors in his works are from the original objects, as he uses no paint whatsoever. His work is currently at the Aron Packer Gallery until August 18th.

We're Now a One-Paperboy Town

The Tribune is going to deliver the Sun-Times.

The 38th Signal

The 38th Signal, "established 2007 in Angola", is parody of local web iconoclasts 37Signals. Includes "Wireframing with the blood of your enemies", "Phone tells you that someone has called", and "Screens around the house".

Extra, an Extra

Get a shot at your 15 minutes in the new Batman movie, and help out a local non-profit tutoring center at the same time. Just volunteer to be an extra from 6am-6pm Friday, Saturday or Sunday this weekend 8/24-8/26 for the latest Dark Knight flick and 826Chicago gets $50 for each day you're out there. Other bonuses: You get two meals, plus snacks; you get tickets for daily raffles and you get your mug in a big police funeral scene in the movie. If you're game, email by noon Friday, Aug. 10th with your full name, day or days you are committing to (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), age, race, if you're male or female and a phone number.

Lollapalooza Shenanigans

Apparently everything was going swimmingly for Pearl Jam at an AT&T site that carried their Lollapalooza set until Vedder sang "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home." AT&T swears it's a mistake, but Pearl Jam's now asking for other examples of artist political censorship from the company.

Transmission Feature: Common's Seventh is #1

Our Transmission feature this week reviews local son Common's latest album, Finding Forever, which, in its short time out of the gate, has landed the artist with a No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. Read all about it, then come out and tell us what you think at the 5 Star Bar tonight for Transmission Thursdays.

At School on Day One = Free Day at MSI

CPS students who make it to the first day of school (Sept. 4) will receive a family pass for a free day at the Museum of Science & Industry.

Lucy near Lake Shore Drive soon?

The world of archaeaology is blowing up over the secretive start of a tour of the fossils of Lucy, the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered in Ethiopia in the 1970s. Many are calling the tour a "dangerous gamble with an irreplaceable relic". The Field Museum is slated to be one of her stopping points.

Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

Smutty, Tony-winning puppet show "Avenue Q" is finally coming to Chicago...for only two weeks. Their national tour hits the Cadillac Palace from May 27 to June 7, 2008, even though other cities get longer engagements. I guess the organizers don't understand Chicago's love for dirty words and googly eyes.

Chicago Daily Observer Launches

Chicago Republican Tom Roser announces the launch of Chicago Observer, "a 5-day-a-week commentary from the center-right-with enough Democratic and liberal opinion to give it an edge".

"Who Do You Love? You Love a Car!"

As reader Pat says, "if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

Keep on Sheetrockin' in the Free World

Calling all drywallers: are you sick and tired of not getting the spotlight for your craft? Here's your chance for glory and a $5,000 prize through the "The Best of the Best Drywaller" competition, sponsored by USG, the folks who make Sheetrock. Qualifying bouts are currently being held at hardware stores all over the city, with the selection of the top drywaller taking place from 1pm to 5pm on August 19 at Harrison Park, 1824 South Wood.

Nice Shirt

I'm digging the Chicago Shirt from Rock'n Clothing.

That IS an Interesting Question

Today's Sun Times features an column by Anna Quindlen about a YouTube segment about a Libertyville, IL abortion clinic. The filmmakers asked protesters about the appropriate punishment for an abortion, if abortion were illegal. Not one of them had an answer.

Ping Pong Hype Machine

With a new comedy set to raise the profile of table tennis, it's good to realize that Chicago's own Killerspin has been making ping pong cool for years.

La Sardine, DesignRed, Lakeshore Theater

What do they have in common? They're all in Chicago Magazine's 2007 Best Of issue.

More Bad News for the Lake

As if the recent announcement from BP weren't enough to get worked up about, Illinois and Chicago were just rated as having among the most polluted beaches in the country. Park District personnel remind us we do more testing than most places. Ok, so we're polluted and other places are too.

No, She Was Not on "Law and Order"

Did you know that former Senator (and presidential candidate) Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri Kehn Thompson, is from Naperville? It's true. The Senator's wife is getting a lot of press due to her heavy involvement in his campaign as well as the fact that she's cute and is 24 years younger than him.

DorkCon '07

You can call it by its other name, Wizard World. This convention, the Midwest's largest, will feature legions of creators, fans, Suicide Girls, and that one stacked chick from "Battlestar Galactica." This Thursday through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Waiting... For a Cure

Local waitress (and performer) Jade Phillips had a bright idea: why not get Chicago's enormous service community to come together for a good cause, and bring much-needed attention to one of the deadliest forms of cancer that, also, affects only women: ovarian cancer. The result: Waiting For a Cure. On August 31st, waitstaff from across the city will pledge the night's tips to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). I know the service industry reps GB hard: why don't you take a second to get involved and spread the word about this unique way to raise money and raise the profile of a serious illness? Visit here to sign up, here to donate.

Parody Songs & Sculpture

Via the Beachwood Reporter, the somewhat bizarre year-end gifts of Sam Zell. (It's copyright Saltator Sepulcri, which translates roughly to "dancer [of/on] graves," so I'm gonna guess they're social satire, not real gifts.) UPDATE: They're real!

GB reader Paula writes, "I wish they were social satire, but they are real and he does give them out as gifts every year. A friend of mine works at a financial company in Chicago that works with Zell and every year they get a bizarre moving sculpture piece that has a button to activate the movement and the voice of Sam Zell pontificating about something important to him. In her front office they have them lined up on shelves and they drive her nuts because guests love to push the buttons, but there’s no off switch so once you start the monologue you’re stuck until it ends. Bizarre."

Viva La Local Latina Fashionista

I told you last week about local designer Anna Fong being in the top 20 for AOL's AOL's Latino Fashionista contest. She's in the top 5 and could use your vote before Saturday to push her into the top 3.

Chicago's Best Pierogi

Time Out Chicago enlisted Steve Zavesky, two-time pierogi eating champion, to check out the best pierogi in town. Gridskipper nicely repackaged a good portion of the article with a map. As always, other food deliciousness can be found in Drive-Thru.

Attn: T-Shirt Nerds

The Threadless store is FINALLY opening on September 14. To celebrate, the Chicago-based t-shirt concern will also be throwing a party at Metro featuring Hey Mercedes, White Hot Knife, DJ Mother Hubbard and more. To get show tix, stop by the Threadless store starting September 10. More details in Transmission.

Bloggers of the World... Unite?

Should bloggers unionize?

Things for Sale

FoGB Ron Slattery is selling some of his stuff. And what interesting stuff it is.

Do You See What I Don't See?

Cayetano Ferrer, who did a fascinating set of transparent Chicago street signs, recently applied a similar approach to a group of 30-foot trees in Daejeon, Korea. [via and previously]

Some Thoughts on a Music Festival

Didn't make it outside this weekend for Lollapalooza? Read some musings on the weekend over in Transmission. (Got photos? Load up to five of them in the Transmission flickr pool.)

J Crew Sweater: Corner of N Clark and W Belden

Lauri Apple's FoundClothing -- which is about, well, the clothes she finds on the street -- got a nice boost in yesterday's Trib.

Say Hey, Let Me Play Too

The Cubs are for sale, and Ernie Banks wants in. Mr. Cub made an offer last year, before the Cubbies were available, and has talked to three of the investment teams getting ready to bid.

All Full

Local food blog Eatchicago closes up shop after 3+ years of service. Farewell, Eatchicago! I'll always remember you for your great post about Chicago's authentic Mexican food.

Carpentersville: the New Waukegan

Alex Kotlowitz penned a very troubling article in today's New York Times Magazine that documents the growing tensions between suburban Carpentersville's "native" folks and its growing Hispanic immigrant community, which accounts for an estimated 40% of its population. Kotlowitz follows the successful efforts of two city Board of Trustees (who dub themselves "The All-American Team") to make English the official language of the city, which unravels a whole mess of legal and cultural problems along the way.

Cline Roundup

Police Superintendent Phil Cline had his last day on the job yesterday, capped by a $100 per ticket party over at the Hyatt. He also left behind a final PAX 501 and 54-page PDF touting his work over the last four years. Who's the next superintendent? No one knows. Daley asked the Police Board to go back to the drawing board. As usual, Second City Cop & commenters like to think out loud.

Self-Described Pedophile Boards Plane for Chicago

Not sure what Chicago-based television show this guy is going to be on, but the AP reports that Jack McClellan, a California man who says he is attracted to young girls but doesn't actually molest them, was issued a restraining order yesterday to stay at least 30 feet away from every person under age 18 in California. Only problem? He was served the order after boarding a flight to Chicago for a TV appearance.

Shooting Racism

A University of Chicago assistant professor in psychology has devised a videogame which tests racial bias based on whether you shoot black or white men holding cellphones, wallets or guns.

I Need to Borrow $99,000

80's mechanical icon Johnny Five is apparently being sold on ebay, and bidding starts at a cool $100,000. A special exo-skeleton, which controls all of the mechanical features, is also included. For an extra dose of nostalgia, check out the previously mentioned, newly available 1988 Siskel and Ebert review.

Look out for the Sky

Despite a loss the other night, the Chicago's 2nd-year franchise in the WNBA, the Sky, is in a playoff hunt. They play at the UIC Pavillion-- tickets here.

Wang Dang Sweet Ma Nuge

Noted drug-free, bowhunting, conservative minstrel Ted "The Nuge" Nugent recently dedicated a memorial to his mom, Marion Nugent, in front of Palatine's Durty Nellie's. The slightly grey-haired among us might remember when Ms. Nugent wrote the Ma Nugent's Mail column for IE.

The Outfit on Trial

The Sun-Times blog, "The Outfit on trial", written by Steven Warmbir, is a great example of what a newspaper blog can be. It's separate from their normal news coverage of the Family Secrets trial, chock full of large-format mugshots posted to Flickr and breezy, staccato prose with testimony and back stories of stranglings, skims, and juice loans. Seems Warmbir responds to every reader comment with more detail from the trial.

Chicago, City of Bridges

Let the fear mongering begin.

Scenes from a Movie Theater

Our former film critic Gordon McAlpin and his wonderful Multiplex comic got some attention from Boxoffice Magazine.

Feeling Safe

If you're not one to read Fuel, you might want to make an exception -- the current thread about what people do to feel safe at night is interesting and pertinent.

A Heat Wave by Any Other Name...

As good Chicagoans, we're all familiar with the deadly 1995 heat wave and Eric Klinenberg's lauded book on the subject. But what if we want to watch a play of it? Pegasus Players have our backs. PS If you're not a good Chicagoan, here's an interview with Klinenberg for some background.

A Body of Words

Dictionary editor and local blogger Erin McKean was the guest columnist for William Safire's "On Language" column in the NYTimes last weekend.

Pillow Fight Today

I'm ruining this a little by telling you, but there's a pillow fight flash mob happening in Daley Plaza at 2pm today. Grab a pillow (maybe one from the couch in reception?) and look for people in red shirts.

Transmission Feature: Lollapalooza 2007

Sunblock? Check. Water? Check. Ironic T-shirt? Check. Transmission Lollapalooza preview? Right over here. We've got some very hot choices for how to best rock your three days in Grant park this weekend. [Or if you still want to hug the a/c a little longer, head out to the 5 Star Bar tonight for Transmission Thursdays hosted by the very quotable Nilay.]

Get Your Work Out There

If you do documentary film work around Chicago, you may want to submit to the Chicago Reporter's John A. McDermott Documentary Short Film Fest. While you're at it, check out the new issue.

City of Chicago Website Link Roundup

Time for a look at some inscrutably long hyperlinks from circa 4 dozen free mp3s of the 2007 SummerDance Bands, this year's annual flying & floating military device festival will feature F-22 Raptors, and 12 newly-rehabbed low-income senior residences are ready for move-ins. Oh, and they also have your car.

Cop Schnozz Gets It Done

Seems a Chicago cop followed his nose right to a huge marijuana lab on Cicero and Armitage. Chi-Town Daily News gets the choice quotes, though: apparently there was a "foul, funky odor" and "a passerby told them the odor had been a problem for some time". One wonders how many times they just happened to be passing by. Second City Cop speculates that it's part of a trend.

Siskel, Ebert & Roeper Archived

Yesterday Roger Ebert announced that a couple decades' worth of video reviews from the Siskel & Ebert (and Ebert & Roeper) movie review programs would be available online to the public this Thursday. Well, the site appears to be live right now! Check it out: everything from Roger's killer take on 1994's North to Siskel's appreciation of Spielberg's Schindler's List. Roger Ebert fans will want to visit the site tomorrow evening, when Roger will answer fans' questions about any subject (submit your question now).

Police Now Link 4 Lakeview Attacks

Police are now connecting four assaults that have occurred since April in the Lakeview neighborhood due to similar descriptions of the assailant. These four, however, are not believed to be connected to Sunday's sexual assault on the 3700 block of North Lakewood.
The city and the 44th Ward alderman's office are currently adding more lighting to the area, but obviously, this will not completely eliminate the risk of walking alone at night. Free safety seminars will be offered by the area police and the 44th and 43rd Wards alderman's offices on Thursday and next Wednesday (details).

Your Attention Please...

The CTA Tattler runs down a list of some of the CTA's rules of behavior.

It's (Apparently) Not the Teachers...

In 69 of the 87 Chicago Public Schools that were deemed to be failing for two consecutive years, not one teacher's performance was rated "unsatisfactory".

CUFF 2007 Coming

The Chicago Underground Film Festival has updated its Website to include this year's schedule. Loads of interesting-looking films this year, including a documentary about Thax Douglas, a documentary about modern-era roller derby, and Orchard Vale, the debut film by local musician Tim Kinsella. See the CUFF Website for full details and to purchase tickets.

If I Had a Million Dollars...

Guy goes to a bar and a Miller Beer promo girl hands him a game ticket. It says, "Nobody Knows I... Just won a million dollars." Guy gets excited -- and Miller Girl takes the ticket away. Guy starts talking to a lawyer.



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