Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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


Monday, July 22

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This Week's A/C Feature: Sara Schnadt

If you haven't already, head over to A/C and check out this week's feature, which is an interview with performance and installation artist Sara Schnadt.

Read my LIPS

There once was a man named Zorn,
Who looked at the Sun-Times with scorn.
"This must be a trick;
That's not a limerick!"
Thus the Limerick Integrity Preservation Society was born.

Chicago 1968 Reexamined

AREA Chicago's new 1968/2008 takes a new look at the cultural legacy of 1968 in Chicago: the Democratic National Convention, riots, Chicago 10, Daley's shoot to kill order, etc.

Chicago Plays Hosts to Conference on the ICC

It’s nearly the 10th anniversary of the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court in The Hague. While it’s had its critics, the permanent body seeking justice in places like Darfur has won support from 106 countries. (And no, not from the U.S.) This month, DePaul’s International Human Rights Law Institute is hosting a conference on the ICC, a rare opportunity for Midwesterners.

The Texture of the City

A collection of HDR photos of Chicago. (What's HDR?) [via, via]

Bud Burstin'

Want to help track the possible effects of climate change on area plants? You can sign up to be a part of Project Bud Burst. Chicago Public Radio has the story.

Serious Cash for Elementary Schoolers

Thanks to Ariel Capital, students at Ariel Community Academy get to practice investing with $20,000 that's given to each first grade class. Don't worry, they don't get to touch it until sixth grade.

Are the Friendly Confines Getting Feisty?

The NYTimes turns its attention to the hundred year itch on the North Side.

Ebertfest Line-Up Announced

On Friday the line-up of films for Roger Ebert's 10th annual film festival was announced. Unfortunately you latecomers won't be able to get festival passes for the event, but individual tickets for each of the films will go on sale this Friday, April 4.

Cougar Sighting?

No, not that kind of cougar. A wild cat.

A Darkened City

If you missed the view of downtown during Earth Hour, you can check it out in the GB flickr pool. The Trib also has photos and a video feature condensing the hour into a minute.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot Coffee Table Book

Throw out the horns for Crystal Lake's Stephen D. Jensen for his limited edition book of rock photography, Music Photography--Volume One. If it contained nothing more than his portrait of GWAR's Beefcake the Mighty, it would still be totally awesome.

Lights Out Tomorrow Night

Don't forget to turn off unnecessary lights between 8 and 9pm tomorrow night, March 29. It's part of Earth Hour, and Chicago is one of the partner cities. Do what you can to make the skyline go dim.

Zooey Gets Even More Famous

Zooey Deschanel graced Northwestern with her presence for a few years, then moved on to bigger and better things, like Almost Famous and Elf. Now, she's got a record.

More Pitchfork Additions

Dinosaur Jr, Mission of Burma, Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp) and Ghostface and Raekwon (from Wu-Tang Clan) have joined the lineup of the July 18-20 Pitchfork Music Festival.

Your To-From Cost

Wondering how much that cab ride is gonna be? Check with Taxi Fare Finder. [via]

Newest Fashion Craze: Walgreens Clothing

Walgreens, everyone's favorite fine fashion and apparel boutique, is rolling out a new clothing line next week. What's it called, you ask? Casual Gear.

More Blue Mondays

Starting Tuesday, the city will be swapping its look-alike orange street cleaning signs for a rainbow of fruit flavors.

Transmission Feature: En Espanol

This week's Transmission Feature takes you to the sides of your radio dial that you probably don't venture too often: Chicago's Latino music scene.

This Coffee Changes Lives

This week's Drive-Thru feature interviews a coffee importer in Chicago that is making meaningful connections with Ugandan farmers.

The 'Merc' of Distinction

When it becomes official, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's deal to buy Nymex (the New York energy exchange) for $9.4 billion will make the Merc the the largest financial exchange in the world, according to the Financial Times.

Coach Sicko

Ugh. A basketball coach at Walter Payton Prep School has been arrested for sexually assaulting two female students. It is alleged that George Turner, a married father of two children, used a vibrator on one student while in a parked car; he attempted to molest a second student in late February. The two students notified authorities together.

Bird Songs in the NYT

The New York Times has launched a new blog, Measure for Measure, featuring Darrell Brown, Rosanne Cash, Suzanne Vega and our own Andrew Bird, who gets pride of first post. (Thanks, Sarah!)

An Arresting Development

Over at Second City Cop, one of Chicago's Finest and some of his fellow officers vent about the proposed changes by new top cop Jody Weis (whom they sort of humorously refer to as "J-Fed"). Let's just say that they're not too happy.

Cooking by Podcast

Want to learn how to cook? Check out the CHIC Podcast with Chef Tom Beckman, one of the instructors at the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago.

BUSTing Out

BUST Magazine, that 15 year old feminist glossy, has just featured The Cool Kids in their "Men We Love" issue. Hi, BUST? We're Chicago. We already know.

Look, Ma, Still Growing!

The Chicago metropolitan area grew by an estimated 66,231 people during the last half of 2006 and the first half of 2007. It doesn't sound like much, but it makes us the seventh fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country.

WGN Newscaster Wally Phillips Dies

Wally Phillips, who hosted shows on radio station WGN for 42 years, died today after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 82 years old.

The "Top Chef" Train Rolls On

Missed tonight's "Top Chef" episode? We have your recap ready in Drive-Thru.

Radio on TV in Theaters

This American Life fans rejoice: May 1st is the date when you will be able to see the live stage show in NYC beamed to movie theaters across the country. Chicago fans will get to choose between two different theaters carrying the satellite feed of the show: City North 14; and River East 21. Tickets for the event will go on sale April 4.

City of Big Talkers

Overheard in Chicago = eavsedropping made easy.

Lincoln Square Inside Ravenswood Inside Lincoln Square

The Trib has a quick primer on the community areas and the neighborhoods within them that highlights some lesser-known locales, such as Jackson Park Highlands and the Villa District.

Hello, Motos

Motorola will soon be two separate publicly traded companies.

TOC: Trump On Chicago

Is TimeOut's calendar off by a week? UPDATE: Apparently it was convincing enough to fool Crain's. D'oh!

Mission To Mars

They didn't make it to Superdawg, but a Chicago political strategist and his trusty companion did manage to travel all the way to Mars. For naught, as it turned out.

There's a Social Network for Everything

Introducing MyCampFriends.

Political Donations by Address

Crain's has a nifty feature that allows you to map political donations by address, among other options. I discovered that of the $1.2 million in donations within four miles of my house, $46,845 went to Republicans. I guess the South Side is liberal or something...

Block Party, Anyone?

Want to plan a summer block party? Neighbors Project explains how, with videos of grilling experts, tips from aldermen's offices, and photos and stories from those who've done this before.

City of Big Procrastinators

We're No. 1... when it comes to putting off doing our federal taxes, according to Turbo Tax. Hey, figuring out how those bribes and kickbacks should be deducted takes time. Done yours yet? Didn't think so...

Trucks of Chicago

As Sara says, "I drive a lot."

Taped in Front of a Live Studio Audience

WTTW is developing a new show, called "IL-informed," starring sketch comedy troupe Schadenfreude, and its pilot is being shot tomorrow. If you've got the day off, you should head over and be a part of the audience! They're taping from noon to 4pm at the WTTW studios, 5400 N. St. Louis Ave. Contact producer (and ex-GB staffer) Paris Shutz to reserve your spot: or 773-509-5443.

Arts Building Shutdown Causes Controversy

The Three Arts Club, once a residence for women artists, is now directing its funds toward grant-making instead, and the building itself may become a schmancy hotel -- leaving former residents miffed and outraged at the board's decision-making. Over at the Reader, you can read the full story and reactions of those who loved this unique building and institution.

Drink Up!

On the local beverage front, Business Week profiles North Shore Distillery, an area company making high-end vodka and gin (they were previously featured in Drive-Thru), while Intelligentsia's Michael Phillips just captured the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition behind his speciality drink, an espresso version of a Mai Tai.

Green Meets Blue

Just in time for Earth Day and Arbor Day, local sustainability company Live It Green, LLC has gotten Gerber Bars to offer the Treetini -- a martini for the environmentally conscious -- during the month of April at Whiskey Blue, Whiskey Sky bars and Mexx Kitchen at the Whiskey. Every Treetini sold results in a tree planted in India.

Chicago Hope(s)

Baseball season kicked off today (yes, Japan no less) so it might be a good time to take a look at what one sports website thinks of the prospects of the White Sox and Cubs this season.

Chasing John Hughes

The LA Times looks for John Hughes, the revered director of such teen classics as Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, and comes up empty-handed: Hughes hasn't directed a movie in over 15 years, and lives in seclusion in the North Shore suburbs. Despite his absence from Hollywood, Hughes is still working, kind of: he came up with the premise for the new film Drillbit Taylor (which got so-so reviews).

Anatomy of a Blog

Actually more like a blog of anatomy: Street Anatomy is the website of Vanessa Ruiz, a medical illustration student at UIC. Check out her collections for anatomical street art and tattoos, too.

Save Your Fork, There's Pie

Spring is in the air, and The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus are back with an all-American show! Titled "Apple Pie," the chorus' tribute to Americana will be performed the first weekend in April at the Athenaeum Theatre. Details in Slowdown.

It Pays to be Todd Stroger's Cousin

Donna Dunnings, the recently named Chief Financial Officer of Cook County, celebrated her promotion with a stunning $17K pay raise that brings her salary to nearly $160K. Dunnings, who is a cousin of County Board President Todd Stroger, was previously the county's budget director. She took that position in 1999 after being hired by John Stroger; the position was never advertised, and Dunnings was the sole applicant. FYI, Todd Stroger will be seeking re-election in 2010.

Coming Earth Day: Organic Frangos

Starting on April 22, Earth Day, one will be able to purchase organic Frango mints at 70 Macy's locations, as well as online. Bonus: the Trib apparently believes the news to be so big it printed the last paragraph twice.

Everyone Is Famous

Chicago-based photographer Clayton Hauck goes to parties and clubs and takes pictures. Lots of them. So if you want some wonderful eye candy, enjoy his site (Note: a tiny few pictures are NSFW.)

Re-Cover the Fountain

The Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA is looking to redesign the winter cover for the Nelson Algren Fountain in the Polish Triangle. Further details here; download the RFP.


Threadless launched Threadless TV, a new weekly video show.

But I'm Already Eating Ramen

Chicagoans will probably spend an additional $260 on groceries this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, thanks to rising prices industry-wide. Just more good news to start your week.

'The Hat' is Back

Former Chicago aldermanic legend Dorothy Tillman resurfaced over the weekend at a speaking engagement in Gary, Ind. to promote her new book, Hang Onto Your Hats: A Pictorial Journey of Dorothy Wright Tillman. Yes, she was wearing a hat.

Chicago Lawyer to Defend Detroit Mayor

Chicago litigator Dan Webb has been named as the lead defense attorney in the case of Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and official misconduct this morning in connection with a whistleblower lawsuit by former Detroit cops who uncovered Kilpatrick's affair with his former chief of staff Christine Beatty.

But What About The Litterbugs?

The CTA has successfully sent a 24-year old to jail for two years for spray painting the outside of an El car back in December. I think vandalism sucks and all, but couldn't time and money have been better spent hiring some cleaning crews for the inside of the cars instead?

Chicago in One Take

An unusual movie begins shooting in Chicago today. The thriller Helix is set to be filmed in ONE TAKE beginning today, with several locations around town scheduled to be shut down to accomodate the unusual endeavor.

But the Schedule is So Accurate

CTA will be soon be unveiling the selected bus routes that will have GPS tracking ability, with riders able to track routes online by April 7. already has a list of the majority of the routes on hand, among them the Western 49/x49 line.

More Then & Now

Following in our footsteps, Joe M500 recreated several more shots from the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.

The Trials and Tribulations of a TV Host

Padma Lakshmi, host of everyone's favorite reality television chef competition, apparently has a dangerous job. Also, "out of principle," she won't say "pack your knives and go" to people on the street. So, um, don't ask her to say that when you see her walking around town.

A Different Kind of Blood

Six members of Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War protested the Iraq war during the Holy Name Cathedral's Easter Mass today.

Illinois-Shaped Corn Flake Sells on E-Bay

... for $1350!

New Moms, No Homes

So many people complain about the existence of teen mothers, but New Moms has been doing something about it. Until this last week, they've been housing about 20 new mothers and their young children, but a fire destroyed their facility and now those moms are in temporary housing. They're always looking for donations, but now would be a great time to help with a donation of $25, or more. (Hat tip to Veronica.)

Feathery Fun

Chicago's Pillow Fight Club celebrated International Pillow Fight Day today with a mass flying-featherfest in front of the Art Institute of Chicago on S. Michigan. If you didn't catch it, here are some photos. (Nice to see white stuff that isn't sleet or snow falling from the sky, isn't it?)

Big Brother Google is Watching

I wonder what's going on here at 3912 S. Vincennes Ave.? UPDATE: Google has taken the scene down; Gawker has the screenshots.

This Ball Is a Seed Bomb

Despite the recent snizzle storms, spring is here, and it's time to plant stuff. Even if you lack a lawn, you can still get into the gardening spirit by "seed bombing" your nearest vacant lot. This video, shot in Pilsen by locals Fresh Cut Media, provides a concise how-to and tips on the latest trend in guerrilla gardening. Seed bombs away ...

Hothouse in the Viaduct

The Hothouse announced today that all of its April shows will be performed at the Viaduct Theater, after being evicted from its space on Balbo last year. It's yet another odd chapter in the historically volatile music venue. Read the press release on A/C.

What Might Have Been

Lee Bey presents some fascinating, unrealized plans for the South Loop and the Cook County/City Hall building in the current Chicago Journal issue. As always, you can check out the Emporis unbuilt high-rise section for more crushed dreams.

Save Polaroid!

Last month the Polaroid Corporation announced that it would stop making instant film at the end of 2008. In response to the news, the Save Polaroid campaign was launched to help find a manufacturer willing to produce the film. There's also a Flickr group, not to mention our very own Polariod shots. Power to the people!

Funniest Weather Word Ever


100 Reasons

Why this will be the year for the Cubs.

America's Drive-In Coming to Chicago

Good news for you fans of Sonic drive-in restaurants; there are plans afoot to open the first Chicago area location in Aurora.

The Sagacious Don Guillote

Despite the snow on the ground, Baseball's Opening Day (the great ritual of spring) is only ten days away! Southsiders can get in the mood by catching up with Carl Skanberg's "Palehose8: An Illustrated History of Sagacious Don Guillote."

Getting Harder to Get Here plane, anyway. A week after they started flying to Gary-Chicago, SkyBus Airlines cut its service to Greensboro, NC (its only service) in half. Not to be outdone, AirTran is stopping flying between Midway and Minneapolis on May 5.

Easter Just Got Sweeter

Easter memories and Polish traditions are remembered in this week's Drive-Thru feature.

Record Chirp

The WLUW Record Fair is now the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) Record Fair, and it's just a couple weeks away. Get your turntables ready.

Carbon Emissions Grant Awarded to the City

Unfortunately, it's for $52,000, enough to reduce the emissions of 13 garbage trucks, among who-knows-how-many diesel trucks in the city's fleet. Well, every little bit helps!

The Sun-Times Video Contest Winner Is...

...a Tribune employee. The 22-year-old intern reimagined "We're Not Gonna Take It" in a video urging Sam Zell not to sell the naming rights of Wrigley Field.

Who is the Colonel?

Is the Trib really behind ColonelTribune?

Mythical Mystery Museum Tour

It's nowhere near Halloween, but you could fashion your own "paranormal" museum tour right now. Start at the Field Museum, where "Mythic Creatures" await, then head down to the National Museum of Mexican Art, where Chupacabras lurk. For extra credit, visit the International Museum of Surgical Science to creep yourself out with actual medical history.

"Sort of Like the City's CBGB"

The Sun-Times takes notice of Cal's.

Cooking Like Animals for Humans

Tonight's Top Chef: a visit to the Green City Market (which reopens May 14!), animal diets, and flower centerpieces. Read the full recap at Drive-Thru.

Bought a Calder Print Lately?

Two Northbrook men are among seven arrested in a bust of counterfeit art rings that sold thousands of counterfeit pieces to art buyers around the world.

Chubby Bunnies, Etc.

Some of the Brookfield Zoo's animals are turning into fatties, so the keepers have decided to put them all on a Weight Watchers points-system type diet. What on earth happens at those support meetings?

A Lesson in Numbers for CPS

A report by Catalyst Chicago finds that the Chicago Public School's faulty enrollment projections are leaving principals with a cash crunch/teacher shortage.

Gapers Block, Twitterized

Are you on Twitter? If so, start following us. It's mostly a feed of Merge right now, but we throw some bits from other sections in there too, and you never know when something special might pop up.

Burt's Reopening. No Joke.

So, as soon as I grew anxious about beloved Burt's Place being closed due to illness (turns out Burt was undergoing triple bypass surgery!), the word is out at LTH Forum that the pizza destination in Morton Grove will re-open to the public on April 2 (with a special LTH Forum/ RSVP-only night on April 1). (Thanks, Dan!)

Homeless Vets

When the troops finally do get sent home, will there be a place for them to live?

The Morning After

The New York Times gets Chicagoans' reactions to Barack Obama's instantly-legendary speech on race in America.

Ravinia Lineup Announced

Check out the Ravinia Festival website for the 2008 season lineup. Scheduled acts include Feist and...The Backstreet Boys? Yep. Tickets go on sale April 17.

Bursting Fantastical Bubbles

The Field Museum's new exhibit "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids" proposes zoological origins of the world's storied beasties. Cyclops? Just a pygmy elephant. More debunking in the Trib.

Book Club: The Kept Man

Head on over to the Book Club page for our review of Jami Attenberg's compelling second book, The Kept Man. Sure, it's a love story, but not the kind where the girl gets the guy and everything all works out in the end. Sometimes, that's just the kind of story you need.

Once Upon a School

Famed author Dave Eggers, the inspiration behind 826CHI, was one of the recipients of a 2008 TED Prize. His wish was for more people to become engaged with their local public schools, and they've launched Once Upon a School to help make this happen.

I'm #1, For a Price

If you're planning to ride in the May 25 Bike the Drive event, a few Ebay bids began today to buy Bibs #1 and #2 and to select your own unique bib number; the proceeds benefit the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. The auctions end March 28.

Give the Buttons a Haircut

I've always been a fan of Busy Beaver's collateral branding; glad I'm not the only one.

Wither Wilson Yard?

Vacant Lot Magazine takes a look at Wilson Yard, the 5-acre plot of now-vacant land next to the CTA tracks between Wilson and Montrose. [via]

Life After 'The Co-Op'

After the rumbling has died down, a former Hyde Park Co-Op Market shopper gives a (early) review of its replacement: Treasure Island.

Commodity Exchanges, A Timeline

Starting with the establishment of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1848, Reuters walks us through commodity exchange history.

I Am Hip Hop

There's an indie documentary being made about Chicago's hip hop scene, and a whole bunch of raw footage can be seen on YouTube.

Guilt-Free Electronics Disposal

A new pilot program from the U.S. Postal Service offers Chicago residents free envelopes for recycling small electronics and inkjet cartridges. "Small" means items such as PDA's, digital cameras and MP3 players; you'll have to go elsewhere to recycle that Atari 2600 you've had in your closet since 1984.

Sonic Booming in Aurora

Those ubiquitous Sonic hamburger commericals may finally have some relevance to the Chicago area when the company opens their first regional outlet in Aurora. All of which mean the two guys in the commercials, Chicago improv giants TJ Jagodowski and Peter Grosz, may finally be able to purchase some of the food they've been shilling.

Looking for Some Terra Cotta Eagles?

Architectural Artifacts and Urban Remains are selling salvaged pieces of art and equipment from the recently demolished Westinghouse Career Academy and the former Cook County Hospital. Dump Site ponders the ethics of selling salvaged items, but we can all breathe easily: at least these items weren't given the Lee Plaza Treatment.

What To Read Next

The spring 2008 selection for One Book, One Chicago: Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye.

Parking Spaces I Have Loved

Which Chicagoland parking garages are most notable?

"Gran' ol' river! Onhealthy, says ye?"

ClusterFlock casts a sideways look at the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal on this fine St. Paddy's Day.

City of Lights

Here's a beautiful view of the city from above, at night. (We featured a view from the north in Rearview awhile back.)

Senior Service

Wake Great Uncle Billy: Free rides for seniors began today on the CTA. Get the details on the program here.

Breaking the Mold

The New York Times profiles Capers C. Funnye, Jr., the first African-American member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and head of the Southwest Side's Beth Shalom B'Nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation.


The Tribune's website is now optimized for iPhone. (How long do you think it'll take for the Sun-Times to follow suit?)

Loving Chicago

Hey, Love, Chicago is back, now as an online-only zine about the city's music, food and indie culture.

Upwards and Onwards!

In what is clearly the most important sporting contest of the year, Chicagoan Jesse Lucas Berg won Seattle's Big Climb.

S2U3Re4 and Be2Ga4Ra3

What makes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day? No, it's not ground-up leprechauns. It's a vegetable-based dye. In the early days though it was a substance called Fluorescein.

Know Your Strategists

Political strategist David Axelrod is key to the Obama campaign -- as well as the campaigns of ComEd, Cablevision and AT&T.

Burt's Place Temporarily Closed

Driving up to Chicagoland pizza favorite Burt's Place last night, my heart nearly stopped when I noticed that the lights were out. Turns out that Burt is getting a "routine medical procedure" and has locked up the place until he's feeling better, probably for a few more weeks. LTH Forum has the skinny, and I'm lighting a candle for Burt.

St. Paddy's Pics

If you couldn't make it to the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown today, here's some pics.

A Long Time Coming, But a Bit Excessive

Obama sat down with the Tribune editorial board on Friday to flesh out the specifics of his relationship with Tony Rezko. The resulting coverage includes an article, an editorial, a column by John Kass and the transcript of the entire session, in case you've got some time on your hands this weekend.

Heading South

The Reader's profile of the South Loop is a great introduction to the neighborhood.

A Boarding School Without a Madeline in Sight

CPS is now considering public boarding schools for disadvantaged students.

Chef Quiz

How well do you know Chicago's top chefs? Thrillist has put together an excellent quiz, and the prizes aren't half bad either.

CHA Coming To Terms?

It's not good enough for the mayor's office, but term limits may be coming to the Chicago Housing Authority, which is reportedly looking at a plan to limit the amount of time residents can stay in public housing.

A Lighter Wallet = A Happier Eater?

This week's Drive-Thru feature gives the critical eye to dining experiences from Chicago Restaurant Week.

How to Market a Building Internationally

Given that the Chicago Spire is a speculative building, there's the question of how to raise the funds. Apparently one way is to host exhibitions in a variety of cities, such as Dublin, Hong Kong and Singapore, about which this release was written.

One Blue "PC" Per Child

Engadget points us to the fact that Chicago-based nonprofit Innovations for Learning is supplying 500 Chicago elementary schools with their $50 Teachermate PC over the next two years. Go ahead, get one.

A Dent in Their Plans

The marketing whizzes for the upcoming The Dark Knight (read: Batman) movie thought it would be a cool idea to promote the film's fictional district attorney Harvey Dent as a real candidate here in Chicago. The early returns weren't too good: police gave them the boot.

Transmission's SXSW Tour Diaries

In case you were hankering for some inside takes on the famous (or infamous) SXSW Music Festival going on this week in Austin, TX, click on over to Transmission where we'll be sharing tour diaries from a few Chicago music types who've trucked down their records and amps and love of last calls to the Lone Star State. The first installment from The Hood Internet is up now.

Living in (Green) Style

West Town residents and Art Institute faculty members Frances Whitehead and James Elniski make the New York Times Home & Garden section today for their elegantly styled, green tech-tacular pad. The couple's home features photovoltaic and thermal panels, geothermal desuperheaters, dual-flush toilets and other enviro-sound amenities.

Interesting Logic

Steve Delahoyde and Schadenfreude have been examining the logic of the Clinton campaign.

Transmission Feature: School of Language

This week in Transmission, we sit down for an intimate chat with David Brewis of School of Language. His new album Sea From Shore has hit the shelves, and he'll be hitting the Empty Bottle tomorrow night.

It's Getting Cold; Prepare the Beet Juice!

One anti-ice solution Chicago and surrounding communities are using this year is mixing beet juice with salt. Unfortunately, while it helps cut down on the amount of salt used, it has its own problems.

Good, I Hated Being Seen on the 54th/Cermak Blue Line Train

The CTA will be eliminating the Blue Line service to 54th/Cermak for six months beginning April 27, claiming that Pink Line service to the same terminus has gobbled up the rider share and made the 54th/Cermak Blue Line the least-used in the CTA network. Along with making several experimental bus lines (78, 170-174, 192) permanent additions to their schedule, CTA claims that it will increase operating hours and service on several bus lines, and up the Forest Park and O'Hare Blue Line train service as a result.

Top Chef Seen Through Drive-Thru Eyes

If you missed tonight's premiere of the Chicago edition of Top Chef, we have your recap ready in Drive-Thru.

Syphilis Really is Back

It looks like those "Syphilis is Back" advertisements all over the city are right. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in town yesterday that confirms the trend for the seventh straight year.

Improve Clybourn Corridor Transit

Speak up to improve access to transit, shopping and jobs. An initiative of the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development asks Clybourn Corridor residents for their thoughts in a March 26 meeting or an online questionnaire.

Bike Safety for Motorists: Now Required.

The City of Chicago's new Bicycle Safety Ordinance now requires motorists to take bicycle safety seriously. Mayor Daley, AAA Chicago, and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation supported the move.

Chicken and Waffles

Word on the street is that Rosscoe's Chicken and Waffles is finally open in Bronzeville. (Note the spelling: it's an imitator, not another branch of the famous LA site.)

Giving Kanye a Hand

A digital tribute to Kanye West and Daft Punk's "Stronger."

Good Design on the Cheap

The NY Times sings high praise for the relatively new and inexpensive buildings designed for the Hyde Park Art Center and the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. [Thanks, Jessica!]

Go Undercover for the CTA

The CTA is recruiting riders for its Mystery Shopper program. Good observational skills are required; trench coats and spy glasses are optional.

Deliver Me This

Just last night, I was wishing for someone to run to the store for me, and now, conveniently enough, there might just be a new addition to my speed dial. If it's late, and you've got a case of the lazies, or maybe you're just in no condition to travel, try NightOwl Deliveries. They'll deliver, for a small fee, from their growing list of participating restaurants and convenience stores. [via Daily Candy]

Deep Dish in the Lime Light

Featured on Top Chef tonight: Chicago's "great food tradition!!" And...molecular gastronomy.

Book Club: Middlesex

The GB Book Club's selection for April is the Pulitzer Prize winning Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Join us as we delve into three generations of Stephanides family history that ends with Calliope, born a girl in 1960, and Cal, reborn a boy fourteen years later. It is a grand story of gender, identity and fate and what all of these mean for one person. Read the introduction on the Book Club page now and join us on April 14 for our discussion at the Book Cellar. New members are always welcome.

A Director's Dark Vision

The New York Times tells us how Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan crafted his vision for the film, how "the messiness of reality can't be faked" and how cool it was to shut down Chicago streets on command.

Pushing All the Buttons

School of the Art Institute faculty member Wafaa Bilal's controversial video game/art installation "Virtual Jihad," in which viewers are supposed to kill U.S. soldiers, penetrate a bunker and assassinate President Bush, has been pulled from an exhibit by a Troy, N.Y. university. Bilal, born in Iraq, gives his side of the story on his website.

Foreclosure Lawsuits? 95. Years? 3.

The Sterling Private Residences can now claim the title of reigning Chicago Foreclosure King. Way to go! (If you are a premium subscriber to Crain's, you can read the full article.)

Chicago as Beacon of Hope for ... South Africa?

That's right, at least one commentator thinks we can be a model for reforming South Africa's corruption.

The Kids Are Alright

The Sun-Times' Jim DeRogatis profiles the city's newest upstart rock clubs, Reggie's and the (soon-to-reopen) Bottom Lounge, whom he says are giving the local music scene a much-needed kick in the pants.

A Century of Green

The Garfield Park Conservatory is celebrating 100 years of bringing botanical loveliness to Chicago with a yearlong series of special exhibits and events, many of which are free to the public. Check out the Conservatory website for more details.

Buy Our Newspaper ... I Mean, What an Interesting Study!

Reuters helps newspapers boost sales with a story about a flu pandemic study that used Chicago as a model. Oh-so-surprisingly, flu contagion reduction strategies would not be "like a snow day."

Mrs. Client-10 is Gonna Be *Pissed*

We all know who Client -9 is, but who is Chicago's own Client-10?

Black Mark for Blackstone

Don't count Tribune architecture expert Blair Kamin among the biggest fans of the newly rennovated Blackstone. While he applauds the effort, he manges to use words like "garish," "atrocious," "screeching," "psychodelic," "disconcerting tension," "jolting," "bizzare" and "grotesquely" in his review.

Book Club Meeting Tonight

Come one, come all, to The Book Cellar tonight for the March meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club. We will be talking about Fire Sale by Sara Paretsky. The discussion begins at 7:30pm, and new members are always welcome.

Rezko and Obama: the Basics

The AP's written up a primer on Tony Rezko, Barack Obama and what it all means (and doesn't).

Rushing to Recovery

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, whose district stretches from Bronzeville to Tinley Park, had a cancerous tumor removed from his salivary gland on March 1 and will spend the next few weeks recuperating.

CTA's Gum Busters

As Ron Huberman says, "Gum is the nemesis of transit."

Lots of Dudes and White Russians

The first annual Big Lebowski Festival took place this past weekend, with a screening of the 1998 film at the Portage Theater followed by (naturally) bowling at the Waveland Bowl. According to reports, people traveled from as far away as Texas to mingle with fellow fans.

Public Access T.V. Goes Postal

Chicago postal inspectors have created a new show on CAN-TV called "Don't Fall For It" -- urging viewers to beware of fake-check scams. Maybe this is one show you need to watch a few times in order to get truly hooked.

Craft Party!

Fans of Craft magazine will want to stop by The Needle Shop this afternoon for Chicago's release party for issue #6 of the publication. Details at the Craft blog.

Library Site Redesign

Looks like the Chicago Public Library redesigned their site. Searching is a lot easier than it used to be, and it does a better job of highlighting media that are not paper books.

Bathroom Fixtures for Your Neighborhood

Well, at least if you live in Logan Square or Wicker Park.

ATA Bails on Midway

Due to rising fuel costs, ATA will discontinue its domestic service at Midway Airport on April 14 and international service on June 7. If you have a flight that will be impacted by ATA's departure, you can visit the airline's website for refund information.

Rooftop Sprouting

The Gary Comer Youth Center's 8,600-square-foot rooftop garden is coming into its own.

School Cameras to be Linked to 911 Center, Everyone to be Watched

Mayor Daley just announced that the 4,500 cameras in 200 (out of over 650) Chicago Public School buildings will be connected to the city's 911 Emergency Center to give the city a "comprehensive school security plan." The Department of Homeland security is reportedly picking up the $418,000 bill.

Are You Happy?

The Sun-Times has a story on Inquiring Nuns, a 1968 film that follows two nuns around the streets of Chicago, asking people that very question. Think of it as a 1968 version of "You Are Beautiful". Inquiring Nuns screens this Sunday at the Chicago History Museum; details in Slowdown.

An Open Letter to the Chicago Tribune

Thank you for considering my impressionable mind when editing your fine paper, but you've gone too far. My first glimpse of over-editing was when you changed Shia LaBeouf's "asshole" to the goofy "nincompoop." I was then a little offended when you switched (what I assume was) Buddy Guy's "nowhere" with "[any]where." And then you edited Sarah Silverman's "f*cking" to "doing the deed with." As with my asterisk, if you must edit, could you please stick with the intended meaning?

Table for One...Plus More

Drive-Thru Lori Barrett explores the art of cooking for large groups in this week's Drive-Thru feature.

Transmission Feature: The Acorn

Since when does indie rock get inspired by the native music of Honduras? When it's played by The Acorn, that's when. Read about them over in Transmission before you check out their show at Schubas Saturday.

What About Lox?

A baker in Vienna may have invented the bagel, but it took a Chicago suburb to stuff it with cream cheese, flash freeze it, and sell it to you as a nutritious breakfast choice. Favorite quote: "The product is designed so that the cream cheese will stay cool even after long periods of heating."

Putting People Back in the Illinois Center

The Chicago Loop Alliance recently released redevelopment suggestions for the Michigan Avenue side of the Illinois Center. One sample idea: a "modern adaptation of the Spanish Steps in Rome."

Gum Park

Chicago Cubs Sell Stadium Naming Rights To Chewing Gum Company. Heh.

A Break for Bikers

City Council is now considering fines of up to $500 for drivers who endanger bicyclists. Apparently some aldermen also wanted equal treatment for "rude" bike riders. I'm not really sure how an irate biker and a carelessly life-crushing driver could be considered equally fine-able. But maybe that's just me.

Guilty Pleasures Revealed

In today's Tribune, local celebrities reveal their secret Chicago-related indulgences, including watching sea lions and eating soup. Scandalous!

If Thomas Jefferson Had His Way

We'd be living in the state of Assenisipia today!

Attention Hoosier Transplants:

Ball State University alumni magazine reports that Scotty's Brewhouse will be opening in Lincoln Park this summer. Thanks, Nicola!

Sit, Uno, Sit. Good Dog.

Uno, the first beagle to win the Westminster dog show, was honored by the Lt. Gov. in Chicago yesterday. That's right, yesterday was "Uno the Beagle Day."

TimeOut Refreshes its Website

It's a cleaner design, anyway.

Serious Politics Require A Serious Vocabulary

Though some might consider Hillary's ideas of a joint-ticket a dream come true, Democratic strategist Anita Dunn has a much harsher term for it: Tactical Silliness.

More Email!

Who else has been getting a ton of Facebook updates about Thrillist coming to Chicago? Apparently, Gawker Media is introducing its own dose of Daily Candy soon, but you can sign up now if your sweet tooth can stand it.

...And Everywhere

HereThere, a new webzine for "creative professionals," has launched.

Mai Tai Time Again?

The Chicagoist reports (by way of Every Block) that Trader Vic's is reportedly making a return to Chicago. I'm off to buy stock in tiny cocktail umbrellas and tiki lights...

The Politician from Illinois Wins Texas and Ohio Primaries!

No, not that one. THAT one.

Building Social Animals

Announcing CitizenPowered, a City-sponsored site designed to bring Chicagoans together for collaboration with each other and community organizations. Find a job, help a nonprofit or connect with your neighbors.

The CTA is Really Going to Get Better...

this year... really... we swear.

Looking for Work?

Crain's has posted their annual list of the best places to work in Chicago.

Upside-Down 'Cake'

Local jazz-infuenced art rockers The Sea and Cake discuss their upcoming inaugural series of concerts in the Land Down Under (um, Australia).

Save Your Pennies, Save Chicago

Chicago cheapskates rejoice: gives its members access to a database of discounts at local retailers, then kicks a portion of the proceeds from membership fees back to area nonprofit organizations. Plus they're offering a $15 Visa gift card for new members.

Student Inventors

BoingBoing TV visits U of I's student inventors during Engineers Week. That cassette tape wallet is pretty sweet.

Where We're Going We Don't Need... Landing Strips

Running late for his son's tennis game, a Lake Villa father did what any of us would do - hopped in the family four-seater plane and landed on the golf course adjacent to the courts. Police speculate that a trespassing charge is in the works, though what's a guy to do when the club's tower doesn't respond to a request for clearance?

Bienen retiring as President of NU

Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University since 1995, is stepping down. NU has set up a special site dedicated to his announcement and legacy.

CTA Gets Some Credit

A few weeks ago I had dinner with an insufferable visitor from New York who complained for five LONG minutes about how she couldn't buy a CTA card with her credit card. Well, someone from the CTA must have been seated at the next table and overheard her yapping: CTA announced today that they have installed "Express Pay" transit fare machines that accept major credit cards at several stations for a trial thirty-day period; if the program goes well, they'll install more machines at 55 stations all over the city.

Watch Those Red Lights

The city is about to install as many as 220 new red light traffic cameras. They've only announced six locations, but two are likely regular intersections for driving GB readers: Belmont and Lake Shore Drive along with Belmont and Halsted.

And Then There Were Two

The Bears won't have Brian Griese to kick around anymore. He's off to Tampa Bay, where at least he'll be warmer. That leaves Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton to duke it out for QB supremacy.

Political Donations = Zoning Changes

Reviewing 5,700 zoning changes confirms that developers' campaign contributions are linked to upzoning.

Once You Go, Black, You Never Go Back

Conrad Black, the former owner of the Sun-Times, reported to prison today. Apparently, he spent all weekend throwing dinner parties at his mansion in Florida. He'll serve six years for fraud.

Shiny New Metblog

Our friends at Chicago Metblogs have a pretty new look.

Hole II: The Revenge

The Little Village neighborhood now has a sinkhole to call its very own. Although lacking the massive proportions of January's Montrose Avenue hole, it still displayed plenty of attitude by swallowing a minivan this morning.

Embedded in Chiditarod

That massive 360° coverage campaign the Methods Reporter planned for last weekend's Chiditarod really paid off.

Introducing A/C

Gapers Block is proud to announce the launch of our latest section, A/C, covering arts and culture in depth. Don't miss the premier feature, a look inside the studio of artist Erik Newman.

What a Wrigley Name Change Could Mean

Trib architecture critic Blair Kamin warns about what Sam Zell's plan to sell naming rights to Wrigley could mean for landmark buildings across the city.

Documenting a Dying Profession

The Trib offers an article and some video features about the movie Floored, which is currently documenting the lives of the open-outcry traders on the CME.

Harmful Snark

The NYT is looking into whether nasty blog comments contributed to the suicide late last month of Paul Tilley, 40, the creative director of DDB Chicago.

Happy Pulaski Day!

It's the first Monday in March, and in Illinois that means Casimir Pulaski Day. If you're a Chicago Public School student, a garbage truck driver, a Chicago librarian, or a county court employee, you get the day off! Everyone else has to work.

Out With the Old

Dump Site covers the demolition of Cook County Hospital's former children's wing in three poignant, sad pictures.

Help Local Cop Imprisoned in Iowa

Second City Cop alerted us to the plight of Michael Mette, a Chicago cop who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence in Iowa for assault after an October 2005 fight at a party where he reportedly punched a person in self-defense; Mette's case has been a circus from the beginning, with his lawyer advising him that being from Illinois would give him less favorable treatment in court, a judge who did not disclose her political ties to Mette's lawyer, and the lack of evidence that Mette even caused physical harm to anyone that night. An online petition has been created in the hopes of getting the FBI involved in Mette's case, and Mette's family has started a website about his case.

Crazy Expert

Ex-alderman Dorothy Tillman was arrested in Alabama this morning for allegedly causing a ruckus at a hospital that was treating her aunt. She defended her behavior, saying, "I don't think I was screaming. I didn't go like crazy, crazy."

Peter Sagal, Blogger

Peter Sagal now has a blog in case you don't get enough when listening to his radio show. It's on his own site. (And Peter, the sound-on-rollovers is just tacky. I'm not sure what your marketing people told you, but they lied.)

Glimpses of the White City

Couldn't make it to the 1893 Columbian Exposition? Here's a Flickr collection of scenes from the big fair.

We're #1 in Sales Tax!

Toddler and the Cook County Board finally agreed on a budget late Friday night that comes with a 1% tax increase, which means that city sales tax will increase to a whopping 10.25% in November, the highest of any major US city.



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