Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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


Monday, June 24

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A Tale of Two Cities

In a NYTimes op-ed, Megan Stielstra juxtaposes tonight's Chi-Town Rising event, which was once free but now costs $99-150 to attend, with the protests that are bringing people together for a very different reason. Meanwhile, Rick Perlstein writes in the New Yorker about "The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel."

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015

I'm stealing the headline from FoGB Veronica Arreola, because it is perfect. There are so many Best of lists at this time of year, but if you want to know 15 (thankfully there are far more) women who did awesome stuff in Chicago this year, then go read about them. They're all awesome.

"We can do this here. And we can do this now."

Scott Smith writes in the Beverly Review about why fighting racism and encouraging diversity is an ongoing effort.

No More Blue Bags

Speaking of new rules in the new year, here's a guide to new recycling rules that take effect on Jan. 1.

1 for You 19 for Me

Quite a few taxes are taking effect in Chicago on Friday. If you're a litigious, gun-toting, vaping, Uber-taking, Netflix-loving property owner, things are going to get pretty expensive for you.

How Safe Are We?

Chicago magazine talks with a security expert about whether a Paris-style terrorist attach could happen here.

Staring Down the Barrel of a Gun

Musician and programmer Erik Cameron tells the story of being held at gunpoint by police while walking on Wabash Avenue near the Billy Goat. It took 10 cops to figure out that the tea in his hand wasn't a gun. "Pointless escalations like this are exactly how people get shot for holding cell phones, half full cups of tea, and so on," he says.

A Letter to Santa

Edgewater residents Caro D'Offay and Laura Gilmore put up an oversized letter to Santa from "Bobby" in their front yard. It's on Norwood Avenue between Broadway and Glenwood if you want to stop by.

Further Change Needed at CPD

City Bureau talks with retired black police officers about their experiences on the force and the need for a more representative police force. It's now also a good idea to review and revise the police union contract.

There Goes the Neighborhood?

Jefferson Park residents are fighting over whether the neighborhood should become more urban or remain the semi-suburban enclave it currently is.

Water, Water Everywhere

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District posted a cool time lapse video of water filling into their new Thornton Reservoir.

Learn more about the reservoir and the Deep Tunnel -- and see lots of pictures -- in David Schalliol's tour this summer.

Keeping Kids Safe

For years, Diane Latiker has memorialized children murdered in the city with a stone paver. There are now 574 stones. Latiker tries to give kids safe options through her organization Kids Off the Block.

What We Lose Keeping Refugees Out

Cities like Chicago were built by migrants and refugees in wave after wave. The Chicago Reporter reports on how the most recent wave is reshaping the Southwest Side.

Are Vowelss er Goe-wing Dahn

Chicagoans are losing their distinctive accent, along with much of the rest of the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region.

Rent (out of ) Control

Recall hearing earlier this year that median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago was $1,920? That seemed pretty high -- and Daniel Kay Hertz explains why it's totally inaccurate.

United States of X: M4F Edition

Vox shares analysis of 10,000 CraigsList missed connections, and finds that Mondays, Wednesdays and Sunday mornings see the most posts in Chicago, among other trends.

Homeless with a Roof

Homelessness doesn't always mean living on the street, the RedEye reports. And with the City dictating what homeless people can and cannot have in shelters, many opt for other accommodations.

Guns Come Here

The Trace visualizes the flow of guns into Illinois from neighboring states. (Previously.)

Tyshawn & So Many More

As police question suspects in the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, the Tribune makes it clear he is far from alone, putting on a map 965 victims under the age of 17 killed since 2011.

People of Chicago

Photographer Mike Gugliuzza took pictures of people from every community area in the city. The project took two months and helped him get to know neighborhoods he'd never been to.

Flip that Place

Four zip codes in Chicago and one in Berwyn are among the top 10 best in the country for house-flipping. Crain's Dennis Rodkin was on "The Morning Shift" yesterday to explain why.

Wiener's Circle to Let its Soul Glo for Halloween

The Clark Street hot dog stand will be known for its golden arcs this weekend as it transforms into the fictitious fast-food knockoff McDowell's from the 1988 Eddie Murphy movie "Coming to America." I wonder if King Jaffe Joffer will show up looking for his son.

Chads & Trixies in the Crotch

Time Out asks whether Wicker Park has become the new Wrigleyville.

Driving While Black

Black drivers in Chicago are five times more likely to be pulled over than whites, according to a NYTimes analysis. But police are more likely to find drugs and other contraband in cars driven by whites. [via]

Can Chicago Claim the Polish Diaspora Top Title?

Chicagoans have long been used to hearing that we're the second largest Polish city after Warsaw -- but is it still true? Curious City examines.

Winter is Coming

You can get discounts from energy companies [PDF] including People's Gas and ComEd for doing things like switching to a smart thermostat.

Collected to Death

ProPublica analyzed the rate of wage garnishment for unpaid debt in Chicago, St. Louis and Newark, NJ and found that black neighborhoods are disproportionately affected. See a sample of Chicago's data.

Mayo Hazard

Mayonnaise is a healthy part of your daily sandwich -- but Little Village residents worry that planned expansion of the Hellman's plant in their neighborhood may bring more pollution.

Clearing the Tent City

This summer, Chilean journalist Mathias Meier documented protests against the City's efforts to clear the homeless out of Uptown.

Chicago's Heights

Speaking of maps, Curious City explains why some Chicago suburbs have such lofty names, despite Illinois being the second flattest state in the Lower 48.

How to Stop the Violence

As politicians, the police and everybody else debates how to curb the violence in the city, the Chicago Reporter looks at what research says works and what doesn't.

Rental Red-Lining Persists

Landlords seem to think that it's OK to ignore the Fair Housing Ordinance (PDF) and discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders and minorities in CraigsList ads, WBEZ reports. (Need assistance against a bad landlord? Contact the Metropolitan Tenants Organization or Illinois Tenants Union.)

Nom Nom Nominate

Nominations for this year's Jean Banchet Awards are open.

Duck Down an Alley

Chicago has more than 1,900 miles of alleys, more than any other city in the country. Curious City explores how the alley system came to be, and their importance in making the city livable.

Funding Cut for Tourism, Violence Prevention

The state budget stalemate has meant cuts all over -- and the latest belt-tightening comes at Choose Chicago, which is laying off staffers. CeaseFire has also seen its state funding frozen, and so it's shutting down even as its services are more and more needed.

Any Opinion you Want, Just Pick the Right Statistics

Just days after the Washington Post ran a data analysis showing the Chicago's murder rate isn't as bad as it seems (though still bad), the Daily Beast slices and dices the numbers to compare the per-capita murder rates of single neighborhoods to those of entire countries atop the world homicide rate list.

To Serve & Protect the School

Juliet Eldred is documenting the borders of the University of Chicago Police Department's patrol coverage, photographing and categorizing where university of police will and won't go.

Urbs in Solis

This Saturday, the Illinois Solar Tour lets you into homes and buildings running on solar and other alternative energy sources. Here's a list of Chicago spots to visit.

Southwest Side's Mag Mile

Crain's published a guide to Chicago's other major hub of commerce, Little Village's 26th Street.

Weeds Still Illegal in Chicago

A federal appeals court ruled that Chicago's weed law stands, and property owners who allow weeds to exceed a height of 10 inches may be fined.

Making it 100

The Chicago Foundation for Women just launched The 100% Project, an effort to "increase women's economic security and put an end to gender bias in metropolitan Chicago by 2030."

Where Do You Live?

DNAinfo has been working for weeks on a project I've always been curious about: the perceived borders of neighborhoods, as defined by their residents. They just published the results.

Designed for Visiting

Dig into some hip Chicago neighborhoods with On the Grid, a design-minded guide to the city -- and several others.

Best of the Other Half

South Side Weekly has delivered up the Best of the South Side 2015, its picks for great stuff in neighborhoods that usually get ignored by such lists.

Rising Through Art

The Economist looks to EXPO Chicago, among other things, as evidence the city is experiencing an artistic renaissance. Our own critic, S. Nicole Lane, was less impressed.

The Grid: Circus School at Aloft Loft (360°)

"Circus School at Aloft Loft," the newest 360° installment in our documentary film series, The Grid, goes up in the air with adult circus performers and enthusiasts.

I Don't Practice Santeria... OK, Maybe I Do.

Firefighters responding to a fire in a Chicago Lawn botanica discovered charred bones, prompting a call to the morgue; they were determined to be chicken bones.

Gapers Block's documentary series The Grid visited botanicas in 2013.

Cycling Through Tickets

How heavily do the police enforce Chicago's traffic laws when it comes to bicyclists? Curious City finds out.

Another Body Murdered

The collected tweets of Tribune reporters Megan Crepeau and Alexandra Chachkevitch describe what it's like covering the crime beat when there's a murder nearly every hour.

The People that you Meet in Your Neighborhood

If your neighborhood happens to be Rogers Park, anyway. People of Rogers Park profiles regular people who live north of Devon and east of Ridge.

Anti-Crime Doesn't Pay

A paper titled "Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago" caught the attention of Freakonomics Radio.

News Flash: Chicago's not Cheap

A new report ranks Chicago between Tokyo and London as the seventh most expensive city in the world. The good news is, we're also 11th in terms of purchasing power. Whet Moser takes a closer look at how UBS arrived at their numbers.

How Bizarre

Bizarre Bucktown tours the Northwest Side neighborhood's history, mysteries, and ghosts.

Chicago's Most Dangerous

#24 on NeighborhoodScout's list of the country's most dangerous neighborhoods is at the intersection of S. Pulaski Rd. and W. Adams St. in West Garfield Park. Four local areas made the list back in 2013.

What We're Talking About

Hear what a wide range of Chicagoans have to say in South Side Weekly's Interview Issue.

Who's been sleeping in my bed?

A West Town man found strangers in his condo after his tenant/roommate listed the owner's room on Airbnb without the owner's permission or knowledge.

Welcome Home

New to the city? Get settled in by finding a new local hangout, exploring the neighborhoods, and networking with locals.

Two Sides of the Same City

People who live on the North Side tend to pretend the South Side doesn't exist, even though it's full of rich history and great places to visit, writes Evan F. Moore.

Gender Feud

Two local comedians retold their experience last Sunday of being in an audience of over 2,000 men who were recruited by comedian Steve Harvey for a daylong taping of his talk show, the theme being "What Men Really Think." Harvey referred to women as "meat" and "traps"; one of the warm-up comics made a comment onstage that the room was getting too "rapey," and the event turned into a group of women onstage getting catcalled and harassed by the audience.

Swinging Steel

Chicagoans are rediscovering medieval martial arts by learning how to wield a longsword and other old-school weaponry.

How Rude

Chicago ranked 15th in Travel + Leisure's ranking of the Unfriendliest Cities in America.

The Fourth City?

Chicago may lose its position as third-largest city in the country to Houston by 2030, according to a study.

Rhyme Your Way Home

Cape Horn Illustration has put together a nice poem to help remember major streets.

Born into Violence

The Tribune tells the story of one Back of the Yards family's story as a way into the neighborhood's history of entrenched gangs and ongoing violence.

Hard Costs

Take a look at the cost of incarcerating residents of each neighborhood on a map which argues for spending more on programs in those areas to save money later.

Integrating the 'Burbs

More affordable housing is coming to the suburbs as governments combine resources to give low-income people a chance to move to safe neighborhoods with good schools.

Defining Citizenship

This year's Chicago Humanities Festival explores the idea of citizenship and how it's experienced in the age of the Internet.

Chicago's Best

Chicago Magazine's experts pick the city's best of everything from art restorers to dog whisperers.

Stable 'Hoods

People on the North and South ends of the City are less likely to move away, according to an analysis by DNAinfo.

"Rent" is a Four Letter Word

Homeowners in the rapidly-gentrifying West Loop don't want many low-income or rental units included in new developments.

Desegregating the City

The Washington Post takes an in-depth look at segregation in Chicago as President Obama prepares rules to reduce segregation in U.S. cities.

Still Working on that Fifth Star

While a few Chicago flags with five stars do exist, every proposal to commemorate another event in the city's history has failed.

Mug-mas in July

Looking to complete your Christkindlmarket mug collection? They'll be selling overstocks from past years online beginning at 9am this Wednesday.

More for a Dime

Pot is getting cheaper in Chicago, but $300 an ounce on average is still 10 percent higher than national figures, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

Submit to the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award through 7/1

Submissions to the 22nd Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award are being accepted through July 1. Run by the Guild Literary Complex, this poetry award has a cash prize of $600.

Swipe Right

Chicago Magazine highlights the city's most eligible singles.

Southwest Side Rising

While the majority of Chicago neighborhoods are facing declining populations, parts of the Southwest Side are growing as they become the new entry points to the city, Chicago Magazine reports.

Big, Scary City

Chicagoist's writers share the things they're most scared of in the city. Over at the Beachwood Reporter, they say their worst fears have already come true.

Cooped Up

Beverly residents are turning their backyards into mini chicken farms.

What's Up With Lunch?

Jerry Seinfeld made the first Chicago appearance with Steve Harvey (meh) of his web series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," grabbing coffee and pastrami sandwiches (and unheard-of table service) at Manny's Deli.

Lobbying for Change

African American activists in town for a social justice conference say they were racially profiled by security while sitting in the lobby at the Congress Plaza Hotel.

Rent Smart

If you're renting, remember your rights as a tenant include withholding rent for repairs, receiving a security deposit receipt, and more.

Make a Difference

The City's revised One Good Deed Chicago is a searchable site for finding local volunteer opportunities.

Bloomingdale Trail Opens with Three Mile Long Festival

It took Chicago a few years to build it, but this weekend you can celebrate The Bloomingdale Trail and the associated 606 park system. Details for the festival abound at the 606 website. There will be food, art installations, a ribbon cutting and dance lessons just to kick things off.

#WearingOrange to Stop the Shooting

The parents of Hadiya Pendleton are calling on the community to wear orange Tuesday for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

A 'Hood by Any Other Name

Developers want to rename an area on the Near North Side to "NoCa" (North of Chicago Avenue).

Choose Wisely

You can nominate your favorite parts of Chicago, from burgers to theater companies to yoga salons, for Chicago Magazine's Readers' Choice Poll.

A Good Deal for Everyone?

Not all festivals in the city pay to use public land, as the City waives fees for events like the NFL Draft, Taste of Chicago, and Blues Fest because they're free and provide a "public benefit."

The City That Rents

The majority of Chicagoans now live in rented homes, although rents remain relatively reasonable here.

Get Weird with Science

Chicago Science Fest is giving adults a chance to geek out with events starting tonight and running through the weekend.

Visitors' Guide for Locals?

Not for Tourists' new Guidebook to Chicago highlights lesser-known local spots, although we're pretty sure tourists would find it useful too.

Super Imposing

TimeOut shows how Chicago's size compares to other large cities.

Slow Growing

Chicago's population grew by just 84 residents from 2013-2014, according to the census.

Three 360° Videos from The Grid

Today GB's documentary video series, The Grid, features three 360° videos shot with a special six-camera rig. The videos, which let you point the "camera" in any direction, are about the April 28th demonstration at the CPD headquarters, droning in the Chicago Park District and the Art Institute's recent MFA show.

Defining "Chiraq"

Chicago Magazine credits South Side MC King Louie for coining "Chiraq" back in 2009 before a track by Nicki Minaj and Lil Herb took the term mainstream in 2014.

Deep-Dive into Humboldt

Get a compelling glimpse of the history of Humboldt Park, as told by eight current and former residents to the Illustrated Press.

"I've never heard of anything like it."

In a Q&A on The Marshall Project website, University of Chicago Crime Lab co-director Harold Pollack compares recent events in Waco, Texas, with gang violence in Chicago.

Sounding the Dead

The City will use radar to search for thousands of bodies possibly buried in a forgotten Dunning cemetery before rebuilding a street that now passes over the site.

Stuff it Yourself

DIY taxidermy? That's just one of the unique trainings offered at The Niche Lab.

Putting It All On the Table

Chicagoans are coming together at On the Table events today to share a meal and ideas for improving the community; join us tonight at the Hideout for soup and a conversation about ways to bring neighborhoods together.

Living in 3D

Are you a maker of industrial 3D objects or would you like to be? If so, and if you live on the north side, then you're likely to be thrilled by the opening of the Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center. Their grand opening is Monday, and they'll be expanding to fully serve people who work with wood, metal, casting, and digital fabrication. I got a sneak peek a few weeks ago and it seems very promising.

The Struggle is Real

A resident of Trump Tower dishes on the culture of living in a high-end building where the security is tight, the dishwashers are loud, there's no party room, and the parking garage is a punishing eight minutes away from your apartment.

Diverse But Divided

While Chicago ranks high in diversity, it's also the most segregated major city in the country, reports Nate Silver.

Ready for the End

Chicago Magazine profiles doomsday preppers who stock their suburban homes with supplies -- and guns -- to prepare for when "shit hits the fan."

Murder is Hip

Logan Square is tied with North Lawndale, Roseland and South Shore for third deadliest neighborhood so far in 2015.

200 First Dates

Thrillist asked 100 men and 100 women on Tinder where they would go on a first date.

Back to ComEd

The City will stop buying electricity for residents this fall, ending a two-year program with Integrys Energy that was intended to deliver better rates than ComEd.

Moving is the Worst

RedEye has some advice for making your transition to a new pad a little less painful.

Take it Off

City Council is considering a measure that would allow topless dancers at strip clubs that serve alcohol.

Building Buzzwords

Chicago tourism officials are appealing to national audiences with an "epic" campaign.

Mental Health Behind Bars

VICE News assesses the state of the mentally ill in Cook County Jail, documenting their path from under-resourced communities to the criminal justice system.

But Do They Chip in for Rent?

One lucky Lakeview resident has some new neighbors living on his balcony: a nesting pair of peregrine falcons. Check out his Instagram for video and pics. You can also watch falcon cams around the city and suburbs.

They Think and They Act As One

Sisters Danielle and Tiffany Puterbaugh have been a comedy duo since they first learned to finish each other's sentences.

A Time Capsule, for Rent

A Wicker Park building whose upper floor apartments have been vacant for almost 40 years will be rehabbed and available for new tenants next year.

No Napping on the Dance Floor

Thrillist rounded up some of the weirdest laws on the books in Chicago, including bans on drinking beer from a bucket, flying a kite, and fishing in pajamas.

Don't Diss Your Fans

Do you remember last year, when a fan convention named Chi-Fi was cancelled due to accusations that hotel staff was rude to the fans attending the conference? Well, the conference took place this last weekend at the Palmer House Hilton. But, it appears that this first-time event wasn't very successful, at least not in the eyes of fans who paid to attend the convention. h/t to Darlene of Do Bats Eat Cats?

Finding the Runaways

The Cook County Sheriff's Child Protection Response Unit helps track down kids missing from state-run foster care and group homes before they end up in a gang or get picked up by sex traffickers.

Nowhere to Go

The City has been borrowing from funds earmarked for affordable housing to pay pensions and other projects, while 280,000-plus people are on the waiting list for homes.

20 Years After the Towers

Twenty years ago, the City began dismantling the Henry Horner Homes and other CHA public housing projects. The Chicago Reporter looks at the legacy of that decision and what the near West Side is like now..

How We're Living

In other real estate news, Chicago magazine's real estate issue is online, including a tool for checking on roughly how much your home is worth.

Emptying Lincoln Park

North Side neighborhoods are losing population unnecessarily due to strict zoning laws and smaller households living in apartments, says Daniel Hertz.

Pricey Nights Out

Chicagoans spend more when they go out than folks in Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even New York, according to Eventbrite research. We're also more likely to go to foodie events.

Giving a PAWS-out

PAWS Chicago is going door-to-door to see how pets and animals are faring around the city, bringing services to the streets instead of just building another animal shelter, writes blogger Vanessa Smetkowski.

Get Your Geek On

Trekkies, LARPers, and geeks of all stripes can get together and nerd out at the Chi-Fi convention next week.


The CHIditarod's positive spirit was sullied by two members of a "too-soon" themed team, who wore blackface as part of their Bill Cosby and Jackie Robinson West costumes. Organizers apologized for letting them participate.

Must... Open... Door...

Commuters passing through Union Station couldn't resist opening a random door, unleashing a flood of plastic ball pit balls, courtesy of prankster Blake Grigsby.

Mushing for a Reason

Cheer on costume-clad teams as they race shopping carts through ice, snow, and crowds of inebriated onlookers (that could be you!) at the Chiditarod this weekend.

Happy Birthday, Chicago

It's the city's 178th birthday today. (Funny, it doesn't look a day over 177.) Celebrate at the Chicago History Museum, or later tonight with the Chicago Urbanists.

"It's been been everything for me."

Oprah's closing up shop (a.k.a Harpo Studios) and moving west . . . to West Hollywood, that is. She recalls, "We were here when there was nothing but hoes and rats on the street, and now it's one of the hottest neighborhoods."

Putting Rats on Birth Control

Not the pill. The City is testing a "milky egg cream" that inhibits sperm production and causes egg loss in rats, with the aim of slowing the rodents' rapid reproduction rate.

Cheaper to Rent

Rents were up an average of 3.3 percent across the country in January, but they fell half a percent in Chicago.

Living Well Downtown

The Near North Side, Loop, and Near South Side ranked as the most livable neighborhoods in a list by, where most areas fared well relative to other cities.

Pilsen's Been Coming Up for a Long Time

The gentrification debate has been going on in Pilsen "for probably 50 years, according to 25th Ward aldermanic candidate Roberto "Beto" Montano. Don't know about that, but we've been covering it since 2004.

Was JRW a Victim of Gentrification?

A column in The Nation last week was titled "Gentrification Is the Real Scandal Surrounding Jackie Robinson West." Daniel Kay Hertz argues that no, gentrification is not the issue.

No More Sweeping Away the Homeless

The City promised to be more respectful of homeless people's belongings when they clean Lower Wacker Drive and other common street sleeping quarters, after reaching an agreement with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, which had threatened a lawsuit.

The Old Familiar Places

Time Out highlights some of the few bits of old Chicago left around town.

Put it On the Table

The Chicago Community Trust celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and it's honoring the occasion by organizing another On The Table event on May 12. Thousands of Chicagoans will come together to talk about ways we can make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic through collaboration and philanthropy. Consider hosting a meetup yourself -- I am.

Chicago's Safe

Chicago ranks fifth in North America and 16th in the world in The Economist's Safe Cities Index. The white paper notes that there's a 27 point difference between how safe the city is and how safe it's perceived as being -- a bigger gap than any other city in the world.

Beating Beardy Blockage

Sean Buino has some tips for unclogging a drain stopped-up by beard (or other) hair.

"A Latin Beat"

The New York Times visited hipster Pilsen.

City of Safe Words

Sex site rated Chicago the fourth kinkiest city in the country.

The New Hot Hood

Andersonville is the hottest neighborhood for home buyers in Chicago and the 7th most popular in the country according to real estate site Redfin.

Chinatown's Boom

The ethnic Chinese population living in Chicago's Chinatown is growing, unlike most major cities where it's on the decline, writes The Chicago Advocate.

Help Fight Off the Cold

The American Indian Center of Chicago's boiler broke down during the deep freeze last week and can't afford the repairs. Consider donating if you can. [via]

Pants. Toiletries. Knife. Kid.

Megan Stielstra recounts in the NYTimes what she grabbed before running for the door when her apartment building caught on fire.

Library Locations (Officially) Revealed

The University of Chicago's proposal for the Obama Presidential Library would build it in Jackson Park or Washington Park, hoping to spark development on the South or West side.

Way Beyond Lawn Chairs

Curbed commissioned Michael Conway to create a dibs bingo card for your next search for parking. Don't worry, it includes a free spot.

Where Change Doesn't Happen

While some parts of the city have become less segregated and others have become more so, the predominantly black South and West sides have remained almost exactly the same. Daniel Kay Hertz looks at why.

Murders at Historic Lows

Murders were down again this year, back to 1960s levels, though shootings were up 14 percent.

The Low Plane Rumble

Just how bad is the noise for folks living under O'Hare's new flight paths? Pretty bad, reports Rod O'Connor in Chicago magazine.

How Pilsen is Doing

City Lab's look at Pilsen's economic outlook is worth reading, though it might be dangerous to generalize the fortunes of the Southwest Side based on its most prosperous neighborhood (assuming you even include Pilsen in the Southwest Side).

Where Not to Eat... Maybe

Data analyst Brandon Harris dug through the City of Chicago Data Portal to find the "dirtiest" restaurants in Chicago -- dirty being defined by number of failed health inspections, which commenters have pointed out often include "failed" visits from before a restaurant is even open. So, you know, caveat emptor.

Life in a Booming 'Hood

While high-rise housing in Logan Square may provide new places to live, current residents are afraid rising property values (and rents) will force them out.

The Ramp Rules

There are workplace rules everywhere -- even if your "workplace" is asking for spare change on highway ramps.

Love the City

Time Out's Love Chicago Awards came out today, divvied up by city side and category.

Furry Convention Interrupted by Chlorine Gas Leak

Among those briefly evacuated overnight from a Rosemont hotel due to a deliberate chlorine gas leak were the attendees of Midwest FurFest, a convention celebrating anthropomorphic animals. Police are investigating.

Black in America

Northwestern professor Alexander G. Weheliye reflects on the complicated realities facing black Americans in the era of Barack Obama and Michael Brown.

Buy It Yourself at the DIY Trunk Show

The cold and the snow are true signs that winter is approaching. And with the start of winter comes the holidays and the beginning of the holiday craft show season. The DIY Trunk Show returns this year with more than 130 craft, art and handmade vendors, food sold by Wishbone, free beer donated by Lagunitas and Brooklyn Brewery, live music and several djs from CHIRP Radio. So grab your list and get a jump start on gift buying tomorrow at the Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway) from 10 am to 5 pm.

Hear Something? Say Something

Local legislators are collecting noise complaints about O'Hare Airport. Leave yours at, at State Senator Kotowski's website or by calling 800-435-9569 or 224-585-9153.

Best Desks

The Tribune ranks the best places to work in Chicago.

Living on the Edge

One in three Chicago residents are living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a survey by Springleaf Financial.

"How do you tell the story of death without a body?"

The Daily Beast profiles the anonymous--and controversial--crime photographer Spot News, who documents murders in some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.

Get a Slice

The Local Tourist's Ultimate Pizza Guide is about as comprehensive a listing of pizza places in the city and suburbs as you can find.

How Do You Do College?

In "Freshman Year Sucks--and That's OK," University of Chicago junior Eleanor Hyun explains how expectations and the "immense pressure in TV and movies to have college be the best social experience of one's life" made her first year on campus a difficult one.

Graffitti Along the Tracks

Graffiti removal requests to 311 are the densest along the Blue, Pink and Orange Lines of the CTA, tracing diagonals through the Northwest and Southwest sides.

Holiday Spirits Are Stirring

The City of Chicago has selected its official tree for Daley Plaza and Christkindlesmarkt is being built downtown.

Welcome to O Block

The Sun-Times profiles "O Block," an area around the Parkway Gardens housing development, where Michelle Obama lived as a child. Nineteen people were shot on the block between June 2011 and June 2014.

Kitties on Demand

Uber is offering 15 minutes of kitty playtime delivered wherever you are through their app, today between 12pm and 4pm, with the proceeds going to local shelters.

Watch Chicagoland Spread

A video from the NYU Stern Urbanization Project shows the spread of the Chicago metropolis from 1850 to 2000.

The Milwaukee Canyon

Curbed maps all the development along Milwaukee Avenue -- much of it much taller than what's currently there.

A Bug's Life

Meet the flesh-eating beetles that turn carcasses into skeletons for study and display at the Field Museum.

Street Art

The comic Compartment 13 illustrates the impact of anti-homeless measures taken by the City, which includes installing sloped barriers beneath the Kedzie Underpass to force the people who slept there to move.

Shoot First

Truthout investigates the Chicago Police Department's "culture of impunity" with regard to using deadly force.

No More Red Xs

You know those red X signs that mark buildings that might be hazardous to emergency workers? They're going away, because the grant that funded them ran out.

Keep Your Compliments to Yourself

An anonymous "West Loop-living Secret Admirer's" tips for how single ladies should act so he can give them uninvited compliments on the street sums up the attitude that makes women feel unsafe in public, writes Kara Brown in Jezebel.

South Side Rocks

South Side Weekly is absolutely the best arbiter of the Best of the South Side 2014.

Look Where You Sit

The blog Toilography documented public bathrooms across Chicago, commenting that they had never "seen washroom as grungy" as the one at the Empty Bottle. [via]

Young & Poor

The age of people living in poverty varies by neighborhood, with more young and middle-aged poor on the West and Southwest sides, and more elderly poor in the north and far south.

1-Benjamin Weekend

Seth Kugel's $100 Weekend in Chicago column for the NYTimes is pretty solid, and actually makes it beyond the typical neighborhoods.

Hollow Beats Needed

In the RedEye, Hector Luis Alamo argues that Chicago needs the Bucket Boys.

A Quirky, True Community

Claire Zulkey writes a farewell love letter to her soon-to-be-former neighborhood of Edgewater.

How Long is the Line at Hot Doug's?

So long that yesterday they cut it off at 10:30am, when the restaurant opened, and still didn't close till well after the 4:30pm posted closing time. It's long enough that a couple planned and held an impromptu wedding while in line. So long that you can now identify types of queuers. So long that not even Doug will wait in it.

Seeds & Weeds on the 606

Martha Bayne writes about the Bloomingdale Trail and the battle between planned and unplanned nature.

The Segregated South Shore

"I don't feel like Chicago is more segregated than any other city," says Aaron Griffin in the Illustrated Press' latest journo-comic," I just think the South Side is more segregated than any other city."

River North's Tech Renaissance

Businessweek traces River North's evolution from a rough industrial area to a booming neighborhood full of technology companies.

Protecting the Pollinators

The short documentary The Pollinators covers the role of native plants in keeping pollinating insects alive.

The Hard Work of Helping

Politicians lined up to congratulate Jackie Robinson West on their Little League World Series trip. But none of them were there when one of the players was revealed to be homeless. Scott Smith examines why.

Counting the Absense

Steven Vance analyzed demolition data and found that tear-downs are on the rise again. See also David Schalliol's To Be Demolished project. (Thanks, AJ!)

Looking for a Halloween Costume with Impeccable Provenance?

The Lyric Opera is hosting a sale of more than 3,000 of its costumes next week.

Chi This Way

Time Out suggests 16 rules of living in Chicago, two of which are about what to call the city. (Gapers Block kind of goes both ways on "Chi," because hey, we're complicated.)

White Flight Replaced with White Avoidance

According to a new Harvard sociology study, the blacker the neighborhood, the less likely it is to be gentrified in Chicago.

MSM Who Bites

In one of the weirder altercations at Lollapalooza this past weekend, Ben Lenet was minding his own when he was attacked and bitten by a stranger. Police suspect the biter might have been high on PCP or bath salts. Lenet posted photos on Reddit in hopes that the man who bit him comes forward. So far, Lenet says, he hasn't developed any taste for brains.

Troubles at Lollapalooza

After his (great) set at Lollapalooza last night, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange took to Twitter after he and his girlfriend were assaulted by the festival's security staff; posts to Lollapalooza's Facebook page about the incident are promptly being deleted.

Parasols in the Park

Chicago's Goth Lolita scene had a day in the park recently.

Straightening Boystown

Boystown is becoming less gay, as are other historically gay neighborhoods around the country, according to a new study. [via]

"This is us."

Fifth graders at Bradwell School of Excellence in South Shore write in the Tribune about how they view their neighborhood.

Still Not the Murder Capital

Crain's is the latest to remind Chicagoans that the city is not and has not been the "murder capital of America," despite the violence the last couple years.

George Lucas Announces Architects For Lakefront Museum

George Lucas selected two world-renowned architects, Chicago's Jeanne Gang and China's Ma Yansong, to design the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Northerly Island.

Gem of Chicago or the Next Big Fiasco?

Mariano's is planning a new store for the former South Works place, and a developer is working on a gigabit fiberoptic network. But some worry that it's the 2016 Olympics all over again.

Go Inside the Pink Hotel

The Reader takes a tour of the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan and Bryn Mawr.

Good Times if You can Get It

CHA provides "supervouchers" to a lucky few low-income families so they can rent apartments in some of the priciest buildings in the city.

The Bed Bug Defense

Residents of the Milshire Hotel SRO argue bed bug contamination is so bad that evicting them from the building would be a threat to the public health.

A City of Other Neighborhoods

"It makes no difference that a crime has its roots in 'another neighborhood,' and to suggest otherwise is to embrace an attitude that thwarts progress against violent crime." Bill Savage on Chicago's violent crime denial.

The Horrors of Home Ownership

Maybe your basement flooded once or twice this summer due to all the rain. But you probably didn't have to deal with maggots like Calumet Heights resident Lori Burns.

Fourth of July's Crime Spree

Elliot Ramos of the Wall Street Journal produced a map of every crime committed over the Fourth of July weekend this year, labeled white for crimes against property, red for crimes against people. [via]

crimes in Chicago 4th of July weekend 2014
Click to embiggen in a new window.

A Family We Picked

Chicago has the most active sister city program in the country, connecting residents and immigrants here with 28 different cities abroad.

Clearing Out the Gutter Punks

Wicker Park's population of homeless "rail riders" seems to be smaller this summer, which some residents are attributing to increased police pressure.

Not Just Austin

Daniel Kay Hertz slices and dices demographic statistics to figure out where Chicago's black middle class lives.

Subcultural Black America

For Vice, Britt Julious discusses GHE20 GOTHIK, hood futurism and the state of African-American subcultures.

"Blood in the Streets"

The RedEye's Ernest Wilkins, writer and policy advocate at The Center for Popular Democracy Josie Duffy, senior editor Jamilah Lemieux, and author Kiese Laymon participated in a roundtable on Chicago's violence at Gawker.

The Taste of Chicago Cancels Saturday Event

Much to our dismay, the Taste of Chicago has cancelled their event for the entirety of Saturday due to inclement weather, including the sure-to-be-phenomenal concert at 4pm, featuring Chicago favorite Jeff Tweedy and legendary Lucinda Williams.

Another Angle on Englewood

GB Managing Editor David Schalliol writes about his attempts to show multiple sides of the Englewood neighborhood depicted in "The Area" through his photography and film.

Losing Some, Gaining Some

Mayor Emanuel and others are backing efforts to stem the loss of SROs to developers like FLATS Chicago. Meanwhile, a City program is turning sketchy condo conversions back into rental apartments.

So Sad You Have to Laugh

Laugh all you want about the air in Chicago being 75 percent bullets, but 82 people shot over the holiday weekend is no joke. Superintendent McCarthy lay blame on lax gun laws, and Mayor Emanuel said the police need help from the community.

Fireworks or Gunshots?

The Second City Network has a helpful guide to identifying whether that loud noise was gunfire or firecrackers.

Mid-Century Racing Stripes

A Chicago Sojourn examines the Mid-Century architectural design trend of adding stripes to buildings.

Englewood Asana

I Grow Chicago executive director and Englewood resident Tameka Lawson is teaching yoga as a means of reducing violence in her neighborhood.

Body Pride

A float from this year's Pride Parade sponsored by Chicago Liposuction is facing criticism for messages seen as body-shaming, including: "Say NO to man boobs!"

Shot in the Storm

The Sun-Times' Homicide Watch shares a harrowing, sorrowful first-person account from one of the paper's a freelance photojournalist of the death of a young man shot during Monday night's storm,.

Deadbeat Donors

Justin Kaufmann offers some creative ways to make your way into street festivals without paying the suggested donation (although technically you can just walk by).

Hipsters Have More Fun?

USA Today's got a "hipster guide to Chicago" that reads like a weekend I want to have.

The Chosen Ones

The Sun-Times is reporting that the Lucas Museum will be coming to Chicago.


Find out which Chicago neighborhood you belong in with a quiz put together by TimeOut.

Think Twice About That Tag

City Council is considering doubling fines for graffiti, from $750 to $1,500.

Mean Streets

StreetScore, a project from the MIT Media Lab, assigns a perceived safety score to images from Google Street View. The Chicago map reveals some of its limitations -- such as Navy Pier and Buckingham Fountain getting low, dangerous scores.

Sharing Our Stories

StoryCorps has already had a permanent spot in the Cultural Center where people can record true stories about their lives. Soon it will also have an exhibition space to help share those stories.

Our Man At Gunpoint

Lifelong Chicagoan and "Our Man in Chicago" blogger Scott Smith shares his experience being robbed at gunpoint for the first time near his home in Beverly.

Having Nun of It

A group of nuns in Stone Park filed suit to get a strip club located next to their convent shut down, saying the bass and flashing lights disturbs their worship.

Fighting White Flight

"Home equity districts," formed decades ago to calm white residents' concerns of property values going down as diversity increased in their neighborhoods, are still collecting money- and doing little else, WBEZ reports.

Twitter Treasure Hunters

@hiddencash will be hiding $2,000 dollars in envelopes scattered around a park somewhere in Chicago on Sunday.

The Best in the Land

Women & Children First is one of WhereTraveler's 10 best independent bookstores in the country.

Get "Real"?

Crain's reports that the production company behind reality TV stalwart, "The Real World," has designs on a location in the West Loop.

Still "Saving" Neighborhoods

Chicagoans in certain neighborhoods are still paying taxes set up in the 1980s to stem white flight, WBEZ's Natalie Moore reports.

Another Go Around

Spin Nightclub may be gone, but two new businesses--one an old-school saloon, the other a gay nightclub--are set to open in its place.

Opening Night Notes

The 2014 season of the Grant Park Music Festival kicks off Wednesday, June 11, with a Tchaikovsky Extravaganza.

The Thin Maroon Line

The Gate examines the effect of University of Chicago Police in keeping the university and Hyde Park safe -- and separate -- from neighboring communities, for better or worse.

Talking About Chicago & Reparations

Whet Moser talks with Ta-Nehisi Coates about his Atlantic article on reparations in the face of ongoing housing discrimination and segregation.

Better Fest Oversight Demanded

The Wicker Park Advisory Council rejected an offer from organizers of the Green Music Festival, citing numerous problems with the festival in previous years. In related news, five West Town community organizations called for greater transparency from festival organizers and chambers of commerce regarding the finances of neighborhood festivals.

Give Peace a Chance

Chicago went 42 hours without a gun homicide over Memorial Day weekend, and some of the credit is going to the #SaveChicago campaign backed by Chance the Rapper and his father.

There Vents the Neighborhood

In the RedEye, Britt Julious wonders whether sites like EveryBlock and NextDoor are making bad neighbors.

Englewood's not All Bad

Journalist Rashanah Baldwin took Huffington Post on a tour of the positives in Englewood, her home neighborhood. Baldwin hosts a show on Kennedy-King College's WKKC-FM called "What's Good in Englewood."

Natural Buzzkills

Chicago's beaches open on Friday but it will probably be too cold to soak up the sun. You could grill out instead, but those delicious crispy bits might give you cancer.

Still not Equal

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates makes the case for slavery reparations by way of introducing us to Clyde Ross, a Mississippi-born son of share croppers who settled in North Lawndale, and Chicago's ongoing problems of segregation. You may want to save this one for weekend reading.

A New Museum on Campus?

The proposed site for an interactive museum spearheaded by George Lucas would place it nearby Soldier Field and the Field Museum downtown.

Love & Money

Harrison Martin and Bret Hamilton interviewed people in River North/Gold Coast and Pilsen to get their thoughts about love and capitalism. [via]

Love and Capitalism from Harrison Martin on Vimeo.

Spread of Emptiness

Watch as 18,000 vacant properties pile up around Chicago on this map put together by the Chicago Reporter.

Remembering Lost Friends

The Tribune teamed up with the Mash, Truestar Foundation and the Chicago Bureau to produce Lost Friends, a series of videos by high school journalists talking about violence in their lives.

Miles and the Chair

The Illustrated Press tells the story of Miles Turner, a high school linebacker stuck in a wheelchair after being shot eight times in the back while trying to protect a cousin.

Building a Hub in Humboldt

After buying all four corners where California Avenue and Augusta intersect, developer Gino Battaglia plans to bring more restaurants and community spaces to the neighborhood.

Up to the Highest Height

As green shoots emerge from the ground, kites return to the skies. So maybe Spring is finally here.

It's in the Water

The water from a pump in the Schiller Woods Forest Preserve is said to have magical powers. Curious City investigates.

Mayor Emanuel apparently isn't too worried about going slow near schools and parks. His chauffeured SUV has been caught by speed and red light cameras 20 times in the last two and a half years.

Popping Up in the Loop

Hoping to get workers to stay in the Loop, the Chicago Loop Alliance is turning the area's loading docks, alleys, and other neglected spots into cool places to hang out.

A Big Year for the Bean

Nearly 47 million people visited Chicago from around the country, setting a new all-time record, although they still tend to stay downtown and by the lake.

Drunken Jerk Vortices

You probably already realize bars and bar fights go together. You might be surprised just how many crimes occur in the city's nightlife districts.

More Force

WBEZ reports that Chicagoans are almost six times more likely to be shot by police than New Yorkers.

A New Road to Chinatown

Mayor Emanuel introduced plans to connect the Loop and Chinatown with a $62 million road project. The Wells-Wentworth Connector would extend Wentworth Avenue over the South Branch and up to Wells Street.

Prove You're Here

Time Out has a list 49 "rites of passage" you must pass as a true Chicagoan. (It is unlikely you will complete them all.)

Hot Town = Crime in the City

Brian Keegan, a former Northwestern student now in Boston, crunched Chicago's crime numbers and compared them to such factors as temperature and the concealed carry law. [via]

How Beverly Stayed Diverse

Curious City turned its attention to Beverly and its concerted effort to remain racially integrated in the face of white flight.

Some People Have All the Luck

A Chicago man scored three winning scratch-off lottery tickets in three weeks.

Gone Trashless

Lakeview restaurant Sandwich Me In has gone two years without generating any waste. [via]

Killing Our Kids

While homicides are down in Chicago this year, the percentage of victims aged 25 or younger has stayed the same.

Hard Feelings

North of Howard resident and former CeaseFire interrupter "thechiraqi" shared some honest feelings on EveryBlock about how life is for young men in his part of town, whether they're part of a gang or not.

Choose Or Lose

The Chicago Reader's Best Of Chicago 2014 ballot is now live. Vote from now until May 12.

The Buildings on the Corner

Take a walking tour of Albany Park with Chicago Patterns. [via]

A Millennial Mecca

A study by the website Niche identifies Wicker Park as Chicago's best neighborhood for millennials, while also ranking Chicago as the fourth best city for that generation. [via]

Top Ten for #2

Hotels dominate Thrillist's investigation into the best bathrooms for dropping a deuce downtown.

Patio Theater to Close in April

DNAinfo's story on the closing of the historic theater cites construction/maintenance issues. Read our story (and see the great photos) about the Patio's return in 2011.

Questionable Charity

A group collecting donations from drivers in Edgewater and elsewhere on behalf of a veterans organization may not be connected to any charity, according to DNAinfo's Benjamin Woodard.

"Racial Grass Divide"

Minorities -- particularly African-Americans -- still make up the majority of small-time marijuana busts, even after the semi-decriminalization of recreational amounts.

We're Up All Night to Get Lucky

A study by the University of Chicago found night owls have more sex and are less likely to be in a committed relationship.

Cheat City

A website that helps people in a committed relationship cheat on their significant others found Chicagoans are more active on the site than users in any other city, spending 25 percent more time there than the national average.

The Great American City

Jackpot in the West Productions provides a little midweek inspiration. [via]

That's The Ticket

Thalia Hall, a landmark building turned public hall in Pilsen, is officially open for business, and so is their box office.

Beverly's Chicago Mix

WBEZ's Curious City reports on how Beverly became racially integrated -- and stayed that way.

Sun Times' 25 Facts

In response to Buzzfeeds list of "50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Chicago," the Sun-Times Blog retaliated with a list of "25 Things You Actually, Probably Didn't Know About Chicago."

Rahm and the City

No one wants to live in the suburbs anymore, according to Mayor Emanuel. What do you think?

Zoom In On Everyday Life

The video series City on the Make takes an artistic look at ordinary moments in popular places across Chicago.

City on the Make - episode 9 from BOTTLE ROCKET MEDIA on Vimeo.

Poetry Magazine is a Finalist in National Magazine Awards

Poetry magazine, published by Chicago's very own Poetry Foundation, is up for two National Magazine Awards 2014.

Tilling the West Side profiles Urban Till, an urban farm in Austin.

Urban Orienteering

Scientist Seth Kadish checked the orientation of all the streets in 10 US counties to see whether they adhere to the compass. Cook County is pretty close to dead on, angled streets aside. [via]


Leave Your Resume at Home

The casting call for the 30th season of The Real World is coming to Chicago this weekend.

How Much for a Million Dollars?

In Chicago, about 6,173 square feet of home. Business Insider puts national home prices in perspective.

Vacant Lots for $1?

Chicago wants to offer city-owned vacant lots to homeowners and nonprofits in Englewood for $1. It's been done in Gary, and Chicago is hoping this would put some of over 5,000 current vacant lots to use.

Where Should You Live?

Chicago magazine picks the top 12 neighborhoods (as well as 12 suburbs).

Good Snowmaritan

After nearly 35 years of plowing his neighborhood's sidewalks on his own, South Side resident Albin Hoffman is calling it quits.

Green-shirted Men Fighting on the Street

Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown compiled the fury unleashed by St. Patrick's Day revelers on Wrigleyville over the weekend.

A New/Old View of the City

A garage sale find revealed a beautiful 1940s-era film about Chicago produced by the Board of Education, narrated by sportscaster Johnny Neblett.

Green Water

The river will be dyed green earlier than usual, at 9:30am, this Saturday to make it easier to get the St. Patrick's Day Parade started on time. Whet Moser reveals why the tradition started in the first place.

Welcome to Chi-Pitts

The "Chi-Pitts" megalopolis is the second largest of the US mega-regions, with economic output equal to Brazil.

Every Picture Tells A Kwento

The Field Museum gathered 10,000 artifacts from the Philippines between 1907 and 1910. Now the Museum is inviting Filipino-Americans around the web to be "co-curators" and help identify these objects through the site 10,000 Kwentos.

The Weight of White

Trib writer Matthew Walberg calculated he's shoveled about 25 tons of snow this winter. If you've got a driveway, you might have come close.

Pull the Plug

I know it was cold, but the ComEd bill for the GB office went way up in January. And it's going to get higher.

A Decade of Dancing Puppets

The cute and vaguely creepy Puppet Bike is celebrating ten years of bringing improvised performances of tiny puppets to Michigan Avenue and the city at large.

The Way We Move

A mesmerizing animation gives a satellite's-eye view of where Chicagoans travel throughout the day.

Supermarket Sweep on the Streets

Costume-clad teams with shopping carts in tow careened through the streets of the Northwest Side for this year's Chiditarod, an annual food and fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Wear Chiberia Apparel Under Your Six Coats

A Chiberia t-shirt has been created to commemorate the harsh Chicago winter that won't quit. The shirts run for $25 and sales will be donated to help those who hurt the most this winter: the homeless.

Marlin the Dog: Shedd Aquarium's Current Star

The Shedd Aquarium announced the arrival of their fourth adopted dog, Marlin. Marlin, a chocolate Lab mix (possibly with a little Boxer and a little Great Dane) will be one of the canine ambassadors at the aquarium. Each canine ambassador at the aquarium came from a local shelter and are all named after Finding Nemo characters.

Chicago vs. New York Infographic

An infographic compares the nation's two most fast-paced and busy cities, Chicago and New York, on a variety of aspects of city culture, from sports to airports to tourists, and of course, the ever-lasting pizza rivalry.

Claim of Racism at McNally's

A member of a blues band says that McNally's Bar in Morgan Park closed early last Saturday because there were "too many black people here" for the apparent owner of the bar, a Chicago cop. If the man was in fact the bar's owner, he may be in violation of several CPD rules of conduct.

Joe Walsh Calls LGBT "Constitutional Terrorists"

Chicago radio host and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh called the LGBT community "a group of constitutional terrorists" on Twitter Tuesday, in reference to the Arizona bill allowing businesses to deny services to LGBT customers. Walsh's tweets continued, as he said he felt forced to respect other people's constitutional liberties but others don't respect his.

Tips for Tourists

No one goes to Navy Pier, no one lives in the Loop, and never underestimate the Tamale Guy are just a few of the truisms out-of-towners should learn about Chicago, according to Thrillist.

More & Less

Chicago's inequality between the richest and poorest citizens ranks eighth in the country, according to a study by the Brookings Institute. (Thanks, Dee!)

"Designed in Chicago, Made in China"

China's urbanization process will be facilitated by Chicago architects, as the "boom country of the 21st century" will be home to nearly 1 billion people by 2030. In a series created by the Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin and photographer John H. Kim, the two reveal how remodeling China's cityscape impacts the most crucial pillars to urban life.

Chicago CTA Bar Map

Since drinking on the CTA is not (yet) legal, a map has been created correlating the "best and closest" bar to every "L" stop. Each stop on the map has been replaced with the correlating bar.

One Moment in Time

Longtime Rearview contributor Andy Marfia was out photographing the lake on Feb. 9, and stumbled upon a lovely moment as a couple (he thinks) got engaged at Osterman/Hollywood Beach. He'd like to give them a copy of the photo. Anyone know these adorable huggers?

Spin Cycles

A longtime fixture on Chicago's gay scene, Spin nightclub is up for sale.

Losing the Area

The latest in GB Managing Editor David Schalliol's series for BagNews Notes about the Area on the South Side examines the destruction of the projects and its effects on the neighborhood and city.

United States of X: Pleasant Edition

Chicago comes out somewhere in the middle on this map of "pleasant" weather. [via]

Chicago Born & Bred

A lot of people who live here are from here. But Curious City finds that it's not all that unusual.

Life without a Hijab

A Chicago woman whose hijab was completely covered by her winter hat and scarf found her reception by both Muslims and non-Muslims changed drastically -- for the better and worse. [via]

Where We've Come from, Where We're Going

Curbed takes a look at US Census data about where Cook County gains and loses residents.

The Last of Cabrini

How should the City finish redeveloping Cabrini Green? It's still up in the air. [via]

Chicago Sandwich Bracket

An online tournament of sandwiches has begun in Chicago, and is being called an "edible version of March Madness." The bracket currently consists of 64 sandwiches of various types all around the city. Participants who agree to the challenge eat the sandwiches, take photos and blog to the group's Google Docs.

The Commute, Mapped

Transitized's Chicago Commute Map shows you the predominate mode of work transportation throughout the city. Surprising how few of us carpool. [via]

Any Roof in a Storm

Chicago's very basic cubicle hotels offer a brief, inexpensive escape from the cold for many people with nowhere else to go.

Make Pullman a Park

The efforts to turn Pullman into a national park got a major boost last week from the National Trust for Historic Places. [via]

Shot for Being Black?

"Chicago police have long been criticized for interpreting the Constitution in different ways depending on which neighborhood they patrol." The Reporter backs that compliment up with data showing blacks far more likely to be shot by police in Chicago.

Explore the Great Indoors

DNAinfo put together a map of the Loop's Pedway system showing how to eat, drink, and shop without heading out into the cold.

Starting the Drill

Vice's Noisey began an eight-part documentary on "Chiraq" this week, visiting Englewood to learn more about Chief Keef, the rise of drill music, and its connection with gangs.

Giddyup, New Year

New celebrations of the Chinese New Year are coming to Chicago, with lantern celebrations, fireworks, and vendor fairs planned to attract international tourists and help residents celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Horse.

Stay Warm Where You Can

As the temperature drops to zero and below again, the city's warming centers will be in heavy demand. WBEZ's Curious City learned the centers' limits.

Work with the Stars

The Adler Planetarium is hiring a Sky Show Operator. "The premise of the show is that it's the year 2096 and a company called Space Express Tours conducts guided excursions into the Solar System. After viewing a brief pre-flight movie in the Welcome Gallery the visitors are met by their tour guide, Jesse, at the entrance to the Grainger Theater and enter the theater to begin their journey."

What a Dollar Rents

See the median rent price per square foot in your part of town -- and compare it with median income -- with Kwelia's heat map.

Humboldt's Hot

Real estate site Redfin named Humboldt Park the 10th hottest market in the country for 2014. (Last year Logan Square was eighth.) [via]

Chi-Fi Freakout

Organizers of the science fiction Chi-Fi Con decided to cancel this year's event, saying staff at the River North hotel where it was going to take place called attendees "freaks."

A Chair for the Right Occasion

When will someone here take notice of how Pittsburgh handles their dibs problems?

LBJ's Legacy

It's been 50 years since the War on Poverty began. How are we doing?

More Dibs

Share the dibs on your block on this handy Tumblr site. (Previously.)

Getting Sketchy

Chicago Sketchfest kicks off Thursday, with Siblings of Doctors, featuring Community's Danny Pudi, likely to be a top draw, and over a thousand other funny folks set to take the stage. [via]

Dibs for Sale

Lawn chairs are cheap this time of year!

Crowdsourcing History

Online voters selected "Chicago Authors" as the topic of a future exhibition at the Chicago History Museum as the result of its first-ever crowdsourced exhibit search.

No More Chiraq

Natalie Moore thinks the nickname "Chiraq" needs to go now that the city is less of a war zone.

The High Price of Property

Illinois' property taxes are the second highest in the nation, and people may be moving away because of it.

Boystown is the Best

Out Traveler voted Chicago's Boystown the Incomperable Gay Neighborhood of 2013. [via]

Murder, Crime Down in 2013

Chicago's homicide rate declined in 2013, totaling 415 after two shootings on New Year's Eve -- lower even than 2011, before last year's surge. Rates for other violent crimes also dropped.

"Black Twitter" IS Twitter

African Americans in Chicago are 54 precent more likely to tweet than other adults, according to a new study.


The city's single room occupancy hotels are disappearing, leaving their longtime residents with few options.

The Murder Rate is Down

Chicago's murder rate is on track to be the lowest level since 1965, a 17 percent drop from 2012. The rate was similarly low in 2011.

Kindle Your Holiday Spirit

Have you been down to Christkindlmarket yet? We know it's touristy, but there's something special about drinking mulled wine and eating strudel beneath the skyscrapers downtown; you have until Thursday.

Horse on the Loose!

On her morning bike commute today, reader Kathleen King was passed by a horse on Wells Street, presumably on the loose from Noble Horse Theatre. Horses escaped from the theater's stable exactly one year ago, too.

King says the horse was "heading north on Wells, before turning right on North Ave. I hope all (including horse) are safe."

UPDATE: The Sun-Times' George Siefo fills in more of the story.

Protecting the Corner

"Excuse me you need to take your cameras off this corner. It's Safe Passage." Te-Nehisi Coates visited the West Side with videographers for the Atlantic, and had an interesting interaction with police.

America's Most Lesbionic Cities

Chicago's number six on Autostraddle's list of the most lesbian-friendly cities in the US. [via]

Home for Hard Drinkers

The Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra takes a few nostalgic sips at the Loop Tavern & Tap Room- a "slashie" found a few miles away from the Loop in West Town.

Preparing for Hurricane TBOX

Wrigleyville businesses and residents are bracing for the hordes of Christmas sweater-clad bar hoppers set to stumble through the streets during this weekend's Twelve Bars of Xmas pub crawl.

GB Gift Guide: 2014 Live Lit Calendar

The live lit series That's All She Wrote has 2014 live lit calendars for sale featuring over 40 listings for Chicago live lit events each month, and post-it note portraits of everyone who read at TASW during its inaugural year. They also have note cards. Calendars are $12, sets of cards are $10, and can be shipped.

Connecting the Violence

Whet Moser points to the research of Andrew Papachristos and others who are examining the social network theory of gang violence.

That Dangerous B&B Clientele

Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, Ald. Will Burns shut down Jennifer Pritzker's proposal to buy and rehab two Wright houses in South Kenmore and make them B&Bs after neighbors objected that they'd bring "transients" to the residential block. At least one resident took notice of the tone.

Dye the River Red

There will be even more of the walking dead on the streets during St. Patrick's Day weekend next year when the Walker Stalker Con for fans of all things zombie comes to Chicago.

Glorifying a Gangster

Yolanda Perdomo compares Capone tourism here with the potential for Pablo Escobar tourism in Colombia.

More Than a One-Off

Plate magazine's Project: Blackbird gets the oral history of the founding of the iconic West Loop restaurant 16 years ago.

Teddy Turkey Returns

Kicking off downtown at 8am on Thursday, Chicago's Thanksgiving Day Parade is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

Put Turkey on Their Table

Hip hop shop Exclusive 773 is giving away 1,000 turkeys to needy families today at the store, 857 W. 87th St. Young Chop, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Durk, Co-Still, Twista and other local rappers have sponsored hundreds of turkeys, and there's still time to donate a couple yourself.

We Are Young

Chicago is the sixth best city in the world from a "youthful perspective," ranking between Paris and London, according to the 2014 YouthfulCities Index. [via]

No Boot for You

The Christkindlmarket returns to Daley Plaza next week, with one notable absence: no ceramic boot mugs. This year's souvenir gluhwein mug is a skinny cylinder shape, and has some boot fans, well, bent out of shape, to say the least.

Hippest ZIPs

Looking for "hipster" neighborhoods ideal for real estate investment, a new study ranks three Chicago ZIPs- 60625, 60647, and 60642- among the top 25 in the nation.

After the Loss

Nortasha Stingley, who lost her 19-year-old daughter to gun violence, tells you how to survive a shooting in this week's Reader.

Unfriendly Skies for CPD

After Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy expressed an interest in using drones, new legislation was proposed to ban law enforcement's use of the unmanned flying machines in Chicago.

Busing it in Fresh

The Fresh Moves mobile produce market, built inside an old city bus, will reopen Nov. 23, in time to supply folks in food deserts with fresh ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner.

We're Kinda Smart

Fast Company lists Chicago as #9 on its list of the smartest cities in North America, citing the commitment of developers to green building, open government efforts, and growth in broadband and other technologies. [via]

Kids with Guns

Mark Konkol explores how the city's gangs put guns in the hands of children in a two part report.

Unfriendly Neighbors?

Coya Paz recently attended a contentious meeting of the South East Lake View Neighbors about the Broadway Youth Center, and was shocked at the bigoted comments made by attendees. She talked about it on Vocalo's "Morning AMp" Thursday.

Still Stanley's

Back of the Yards watering hole Stanley's hasn't changed much since it started serving factory workers back in 1935, writes DNAinfo's Casey Cora.

End of The Area

City Council gave final approval of expanding TIF districts needed for the Norfolk Southern railroad to build a $285 million expansion of its rail yard in Englewood (previously).

Living in the City

Renters are eclipsing buyers in Lincoln Park and Logan Square is booming, according to a breakdown of how the city's neighborhoods changed since 2000 by Chicago Magazine.

Empty Homes

Crain's explores the vacant home crisis in Cook County in an interactive feature.

Tweeting Their Dirty Laundry

A pair of twentysomething Chicagoans are sharing their lovers' quarrels with the world on Twitter. [via]

Capturing an Absense

On BagNewsNotes, GB's own David Schalliol asks, how do you photograph the emergence of nothing? Related: The Area.

Deer Next to Zebra Lounge

A pair of deer were spotted in a Gold Coast courtyard next to Zebra Lounge yesterday, while trick-or-treaters passed by.

Housing as Crime Prevention

With studies finding 48% of people in Chicago's homeless shelters are convicted felons, advocates are looking for ways CHA and other groups can get ex-offenders off the streets.

Your Neighborhood Sucks

If it's a popular one, that is. And Thrillist is trying to troll you.

No Boundaries for BYOB

From beauty salons to mechanics, technically any business in Chicago can be BYOB if they want to- and some local leaders are looking at ways to regulate the tradition (or at least get some money from it).

Chicago's Live Lit Scene Gets a Nod from P&W

There are currently more live lit events in Chicago than in New York or San Francisco according to Poets & Writers magazine, which published a piece featuring Ian Belknap of WRITE CLUB, Dana Norris of Story Club, and Keith Ecker of Guts & Glory.

Business as Usual

What's Chicago's heroin market like these days? A junkie files his report.

Beware, Users of the Bloomingdale Trail

Now that the Bloomingdale Trail's construction is well underway, the police warn they will actually arrest people who head up on the tracks.

Pop Up the Question

In what could be a defining moment for nuptials in Chicago, a local man got help from the ever-present Puppet Bike when he proposed to his girlfriend. Can this be the beginning of a new tradition?

Historic Bronzeville Apartments to be Renovated

DNAinfo Chicago reports City Council approved $125 million in tax incentives on Wednesday to renovate Bronzeville's Rosenwald Courts apartment building that once housed Nat "King" Cole, Quincy Jones, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

When a House Isn't a Home

Despite efforts to hold property owners accountable and provide money for improvements, the Tribune finds that vacant buildings are still a growing problem in many Chicago neighborhoods.

Is Gentrification Always Bad?

GB alum Britt Julious answers, which Curious City examines the role of corporations in neighborhood redevelopment.

Beyond the Books

While printed books may be in decline, libraries are in the midst of something of a renaissance in Chicago and across the country, offering new digital services like access to 3D printers and online tutoring.

The Spooky Season Begins

Haunted Houses are set to open in arenas, corn fields, jails across the Chicagoland area.

Take Back the Parks

The police are organizing community actions to retake parks and playgrounds from gang violence.

The Migration Patterns of Hipsters

Hipsters have been haunting Chicago's neighborhoods since the 1890s. Aimee Levitt tracks their movements through history in this week's Reader.

First-Person in Syria

A man from Morton Grove traveled with two Syrian friends earlier this summer to see the civil war in Syria firsthand.

Monetizing "People Plazas"

The mayor announced plans to transform around 60 of the odd lots created by angled streets and other grid oddities into public plazas -- with money-making potential through ads and sponsorships.

Finding Hope

After Meagan Lane's cell phone was stolen while she was riding on the L, she found herself reconnecting with the people of the city.

This Old 'Hood is Pretty Good

This Old House lists Bronzeville as one of the best old house neighborhoods in the country for its classic, affordable stone homes and rich history. [via]

Chicago's Bang Bang Again

Chicago magazine takes a look at how other countries' media is reporting on Chicago's violence.

Multiple Victims, Mapped

The Tribune has put all 547 of 2013's multi-victim shootings on an explorable map.

Thai Town Has Him Now

Arun Sampathavivat, chef-owner of Arun's, is hoping to transform a few blocks of Pulaski Road north of Montrose into a new Thai ethnic neighborhood.

Department of Manhole Covers

After months of complaints about an open manhole near 58th and Blackstone, a sign went up explaining that "a few crappy pieces of wood hastily nailed together and light enough for any curious eight-year-old boy to move is sufficient to guarantee everyone's safety." We'll see if that spurs some action by the Department of Water Management.

The New Cuteness

The olinguito, a newly discovered species of small, teddy bear-like raccoon, is now on display at the Field Museum after sitting undiscovered in a drawer for decades.

Mass Matchmaker

Steve Harvey is aiming for a new world record by bringing 654 singles to Navy Pier for a blind date that will include an appearance by crooner Michael Bublé.

A Day in Chicago

Over Labor Day weekend, Brandon Nicklaus shot a gorgeous time-lapse video of the city from Lake Point Tower. [via]

Litterbugs Beware

A new ordinance passed by City Council increases fines up to $1,500 for throwing trash from car windows and gives police the ability to impound vehicles of drivers caught littering.

Early Warnings of Section-8 Foreclosure

When privately owned subsidized housing goes into foreclosure, the owners often neglect the property -- and the CHA isn't informed. WBEZ and Chicago Reporter investigated and found a predictive trend between CHA inspection failures and foreclosure.

Back to Mexico Without a Net

The latest issue of the Chicago Reporter focuses on what happens to illegal immigrants after they're deported.

This Onion is Serious

The 25th Annual Onion City experimental film and video festival starts today at the Gene Siskel Film Center. [via]

In Rogers Park, Neighborhood Moves You

Moving snafus forced Aimee Levitt to spend a night in the alley behind her new Rogers Park apartment, giving her a front-row seat (on her own couch) of the area's late-night happenings.

Reenacting Steeterville's Roots

Streeterville: The Play, which depicts the neighborhood's foundation by the controversial Cap Streeter, will be performed in its namesake area for the first time later this month.

"Awws" Strike Local Zoos

Local zoos got a bit cuter recently with the births of an endangered black rhinoceros and white-cheeked gibbon at Lincoln Park Zoo, and a snow leopard at Brookfield Zoo.

Logan Square, We Hardly Knew Ye

Julia Thiel makes the case that Logan Square's influx of cocktail bars and restaurants means Wicker Park-like gentrification is just around the corner.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

WBEZ looks back on a century of refuse, comparing modern waste management with that of the 1900s.

Walk This Way

Signs from Walk Your City were recently spotted in Lincoln Square. Where will more pop up?

Guess Where the Cops Live

Whet Moser maps the safest neighborhoods -- and the most dangerous -- in the city, and it's probably exactly the ones you suspect.

Vacant Building Maintenance Law Loses Teeth

A judge has ruled Fannie May and Freddie Mac don't have to follow the city ordinance that requires owners of vacant, foreclosed buildings to maintain the properties. The mortgage lenders own 258,000 loans in Chicago. [via]

Live in the Loop

There are more apartments downtown than ever -- but are there people to fill them?

Nike Doesn't Run Bucktown

An ad promoting the upcoming debut of a Nike running store in Bucktown featured the phrase "We Run Bucktown," which angered residents who thought it came off as arrogant, based on its double-entendre. It's been changed to "Nike Running Bucktown."

Documenting School Closures

Local filmmakers including Kartemquin Films, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, Media Process Group, and The Kindling Group have teamed up to make a documentary about the aftermath of Chicago Public School's recent decision to close 50 schools. Students with Free Spirit Media will help with post-production.

What's that Smell?

Curious City tries to track down the sources of some of the city's smells.

No More "This is my rape"

Women shouldn't have to feel afraid of what might happen if they take public transportation, says former GB contributor Niki Fritz in the RedEye.

Graphic Violence

The Tribune photography department put together a stunning feature chronicling violence in the city. Spend some time with this, and have a tissue handy.

Documenting "Chi Raq"

Protein TV sent Will Robson-Scott to Chicago to document the violence. The result is Chi Raq, a short film and zine. [via]

Chi Raq by Will Robson-Scott from Protein® TV on Vimeo.

The Inequality of Murder

Daniel Hertz breaks down how Chicago's murder rate in recent years compares to the early '90s -- and how the violence has become more concentrated in certain areas over time. [via]

Chicago's Best Neighborhood to Live in

Lakeview is Chicago's best neighborhood to live in. It also has the highest robbery rates in the city

Will the Real Bridgeport Please Stand Up?

There's a battle for the hearts and minds of Bridgeport going on -- on Facebook. After one too many racially and politically charged arguments on the Bridgeport Chicago IL group, two neighborhood residents created The REAL Bridgeport and Bridgeport Neighborhood groups as hate-free zones; at least one group formed in response has already been closed.

Iron Chef Japonais

Japonais is getting a reboot this winter -- with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at the helm.

"Minden Day, 1 August 1759"

Every year on Aug. 1, since 1967, six red roses arrive at the British embassy in Chicago, accompanied by a note in memory of the Battle of Minden. [via]

You, Me and Tig

Comedienne, Taylor Dayne fan and cancer survivor Tig Notaro just booked a one-night-only show tonight at UP Comedy Club (8pm, $15). You should go.

Dealing with Death

Crain's this week explores "the business of life and death" at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, one of the oldest African-American funeral homes in the country.

All the Parks are a Stage

Chicago Shakespeare in the Park is bringing free performances of the Bard's A Comedy of Errors to green spaces around the city all summer.

Looks Like it was a Blast

With a camera mounted above his head, one fruit hurler caught a unique perspective of the Tomato Blast this weekend at Soldier Field. Have video to share? Throw us a link on Facebook or Twitter.

Tomato Blast 2013 from ActionBooth on Vimeo.

Murder Capital? No.

Eric Zorn would like to remind you that Chicago still isn't the "murder capital of America" and backs it up with a few charts. Whet Moser examines why we keep getting beat up in the national media.

Movin' On Up -- Or Not

Children of poor Chicagoans are not very upwardly mobile, according to new research into economic opportunity. The children of rich folks don't move much either. NYTimes has an interactive feature.

Take the McCormick Place Busway

Neil Steinberg takes a ride down the "magic road" that takes politicians (and, ostensibly, conventioneers) from McCormick Place into the center of the Loop.

10 Years of Guns

As Illinois falls in line with the rest of the country on concealed carry laws, legislators voted to strengthen gun laws in Chicago and Cook County. WBEZ took a look at gun crimes over the past decade, from 2002 to 2012, and created an animated .gif of the maps.


Walk the Beach in Edgewater

Morry Matson thinks Edgewater needs a boardwalk along the beach. Check out his proposal.

There's a Crack Problem in Wicker Park

A major crack in the sidewalk in Wicker Park has been a hazard for seven years, despite calls to the Park District to fix it. For more, see the Chicago Stumbler (previously).

A Safe Place to Live

The Chicago House TransLife Center, the first transgender housing center in the country, opened its doors Monday.

Pier of Knowledge

Whet Moser says you can learn a lot about on Navy Pier, and not just about tourist behavior.

Chicago's Death Toll

DNAinfo, which has been tracking murders in Chicago all year, just launched an interactive timeline view that introduces you to every person killed.

Shedd Aquarium Welcomes Baby Penguin

The Shedd Aquarium announced its newest zoo baby, a tiny Rockhopper penguin chick. The young penguin is healthy and thriving with its parents, on exhibit at Shedd's Polar Play Zone.

Urban Arbor Retreat

I had a treehouse -- a couple of them, actually. None were as cool as Alex Gabbard's treehouse in Bowmanville.

An Eviction in Englewood

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about endemic poverty on Chicago's South Side in the Atlantic.

Crumbling Home

The CHA has expanded Section 8 housing subsidies over the past decade to house former residents of the projects, but more than half of Section 8 buildings have failed inspections in the past two years, with slumlords picking up the government check.

Farming on the Green

Modern Farmer profiles Chicago Lights Urban Farm, which grows fresh produce in Cabrini Green. The farm was recently sold to the CHA.

The Wrong Place, Period

Nineteen-year-old Keith Warfield talks about gun violence in his Englewood neighborhood as part of Huffington Post's national series.

GB at 10: Knocking Down Buildings

More than 300 vacant buildings have been demolished so far this year, under the City's effort to curb violence and crime; some say it will hurt the city more in the long run by hampering economic recovery efforts. Last year, David Schalliol documented 100 buildings on the City demolition list, and followed it up this year with a look at an entire neighborhood being bulldozed for a new rail yard.

Porch Collapse: 10 Years Later

On the night of June 29, 2003, 13 people died and more than 50 were injured when a wooden porch collapsed during a house party in Lakeview. RedEye takes a look at the aftermath, 10 years after the tragedy.

Dig Deeper

WBEZ's Curious City explains the five levels of tunnels beneath the city.

Tour Englewood & Avondale by Bike

Two bike tours this weekend give you an intimate look at two very different neighborhoods: on Saturday, Ald. Toni Foulkes leads a tour of Englewood, while Forgotten Chicago takes a tour of Avondale on Sunday.

Uptown & the Hillbilly Highway

As SROs die out and talk of gentrification swirls, Whet Moser shares the story of the long-forgotten effort to establish Hank Williams Village, an Appalachian planned community in Uptown.

Watching the Murder Rate

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert analyzes media coverage of Chicago's homicide rate, which continues to get national attention despite being down from last year.

Tough Biz in Chatham

It's tough running a business at the 600 block of East 79th Street. RedEye's Tracy Swartz talked with some of the local owners.

GB at 10: Walking the Streets

John Greenfield took a walk up Elston Avenue for NewCity. John walked several venerable streets for GB over the years, too.

Halsted Street
Archer Avenue
Grand Avenue
63rd Street
Kedzie Avenue
Belmont Avenue
79th Street
Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

Making the Second City First

Crain's got a variety of civic and cultural leaders to suggest ways Chicago could improve its standing with international tourists.

Chicago: Less Bang Bang

Chicago's murder rate is down 34% compared to last year -- and compared to Prohibition when Capone and the Outfit ruled the streets.

Fighting for the Lerner Theatre

Efforts are under way to save the Leo Lerner Theatre in the former Hull House Association center in Uptown, which was sold in foreclosure after the organization filed for bankruptcy and closed. The building is slated to be converted into condos; a petition on seeks to get aldermen to stop that.

Busking as a Business

Curious City asked how much panhandlers and street musicians how much they made in a day.

Diss in the Form of a Slideshow

Here's another "Chicago sucks" article to get pissed off about, this time from Business Insider.

The Grid: Botanicas de la Villita

"Botanicas de la Villita," the newest installment in our documentary film series The Grid, spends some time among the folk remedies and spiritual practices in two Little Village botanicas.

Festival Season is in Full Swing

Do-Division and Maifest are this weekend, and coming up are Clues Fest, Humidapalooza and Pitchfjord.

Rock On, Chicago

Today would have been Wesley Willis' 50th birthday, so in honor of the man, watch the rock-u-mentary Wesley Willis's Joy Rides. And then peruse the archives of Wesley Willis Art to see some classic examples of the man's drawing style. [via]

Where the Sidewalk Cafes End

WBEZ maps outdoor seating in Chicago, and explains why it's nearly absent on the South Side

Homing in on Housing

The NYTimes examines Chicago's housing crisis and the work of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. Whet Moser supplements with some New York comparisons.

As if Those Were the Only Two

People are calling the intersection of North, Damen and Milwaukee "Six Corners," and proponents of the original, officially designated Six Corners in Portage Park are getting pissed.

The Rise of an Urban Prairie

GB's David Schalliol talks about The Area, the neighborhood he documented in a short film for The Grid as well as in To Be Demolished, in Bag News Notes.

Slow-Growth City

Chicago grew the slowest of any major American city last year, new census data found. We added just 10,000 people between July 2011 and July 2012.

More Food Stamps

Food assistance programs have seen a surge in usage recently; Whet Moser breaks down why.

Rising Violence in the LGBTQ Community

The Windy City Times has begun a series focusing on violence in the LGTQ community. Victims are sometimes found through "pickup" ads in the paper and online, or just targeted on the street.

Members Only

Step inside the Turkish Cultural Center, a private social club, with the Center Square Journal.

Why Celebrate the Fire?

In October 2014, the City will debut The Great Chicago Fire Festival featuring the Redmoon Theatre, on the banks of the Chicago River. The Reader's Deanna Isaacs asks, do we really need this?

Extra Security

Spotted outside Gary's Cycle Shop in Edgewater yesterday: Someone's very protective of their bike.

duct tape bike

Putting a Price on Violence

Every murder costs the city $5 million, and shootings cost $1 million, according to research cited by Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

As Time Goes By

You can see a timelapse gif of how Chicago's landscape has changed over the last 28 years, courtesy of Google Earth Engine.

Is Chicago Addicted to Guns?

If so, what's the treatment? Mick Dumke explores some of the approaches being taken to reduce gun violence.

"Becoming a Man" Class Works

A recent economic experiment found that at-risk minority teens in Chicago who took a weekly workshop on improving judgment and decision-making stayed in school more often and had fewer arrests.

Helping the Belles of the Ball

Last weekend, the Glass Slipper Project held its last "boutique" date of the 2013 prom season, during which it provided hundreds of prom dresses, shoes, makeup and accessories to needy teens free of charge. If you have a donation to make for next year, get in touch.

The "Chicago Blaccent"

After delving into the Chicago accent and its origins last year (previously), Curious City is back with an examination of the African-American accent in Chicago versus elsewhere.

Shifting Populations

Since 1950, the neighborhood with the most population growth is Ashburn, while Fuller Park has lost the most. NBC5's Ward Room breaks down the numbers for all 77 community areas.

Pet Care Fail

City-run animal shelters are so understaffed that dogs and cats aren't being cared for or fed properly, a new audit by the City Inspector General finds.

Chicago's Most Dangerous Places

Four intersections on the West and South sides made Neighborhood Scout's 2013 list of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America: Halsted & 77th streets (fourth) and Ashland Avenue & 76th Street (16th) in Auburn-Gresham, Homan Avenue & Roosevelt Road (13th) in North Lawndale, and Indiana Avenue and 60th Street (25th) in Washington Park.

View Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods in a larger map

At least this year they're all legitimately crime-heavy places. In 2010, out-of-date data resulted in two areas that once but no longer held public housing complexes were included on the list; one was an empty field.

You're Soaking in It

Foodie culture is deeply entrenched in Chicago -- so much so that it can be easy to miss what a luxury it is.

"You're Going to Dunning"

On Curious City, Robert Loerzel tells the history of Dunning, a legendary insane asylum and potter's field on Chicago's Northwest Side that eventually gave its name to a neighborhood. In 2009, Gapers Block's Dan Kelly took a look at what the Dunning neighborhood (and nearby Schorch Village) is like today.

PS: Listen to Loerzel talk about this story -- and to me talk about Gapers Block's 10th anniversary -- on "The Afternoon Shift" on WBEZ at 3pm today.

Carry the Bed with You

An Australian inventor gave the Night Ministries 40 of his backpack beds to distribute to homeless in Uptown.

Media Burn Video Feature: Blind Arvella Gray

Today marks the first of a series of featured videos from the Media Burn Independent Video Archive. This clip is a 1978 performance by Blind Arvella Gray at the Maxwell Street Market, originally from A Tribute to Chicago Blues. Watch more from the feature on Media Burn.

The Penthouse Life

CBS's "Sunday Morning" show this week took viewers on a tour of an East Lakeview penthouse and the unfinished residential unit on the 89th floor of the Trump Tower, which has been for sale since May of last year for $32 million.

Mark Each Murder

The Sun-Times has launched Homicide Watch Chicago, "dedicated to the proposition that murder is never a run-of-the-mill story. Attention must be paid to each one, not merely a select and particularly tragic few." It's modeled off of Homicide Watch DC and is produced in partnership with Medill.

A Time Machine with Style

A DeLorean traveling down I-90 yesterday was a subject of several photos (taken at the same time) posted to Reddit.

Energizing Englewood with Transit

The CTA's Red Line South Project, which gets under way May 19, will close three stations in Englewood for several months, but there are other projects that aim to bring more transportation options to the neighborhood and hopefully boost the local economy.

More Walkable Greektown

Peoria Street turns into a pedestrian bridge over I-290; here's a plan to make it pedestrian-friendly for another block, north to Harrison.

Where do We Put this Sh*t?

As the rains wreaked havoc on our drainage system, Whet Moser wrote a history of Chicago's struggle to figure out where to put water and sewage.

Long Read on Trash Collection

The City's new garbage collection map greatly simplifies Streets & San's job and eliminates a vestige of Machine politics going back a hundred years.

Water Everywhere

Chicagoist is doing a good job of rounding up photos of flooding, sewer geysers and the like thanks to all this rain.

Congress Theater May Be Shuttered by City

Citing unresolved building violations, the city is moving to immediately close Logan Square's Congress Theater. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning in Cook County Circuit Court.

Poverty & the Train

Inspired by the New Yorker's map of median income along subway lines, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira made one for the CTA, and did a little digging into why the Sedgewick stop is so complex when looked at through this lens. [via]

A Gay Hotel in Boystown?

Owners of The Out NYC, a "straight friendly" gay hotel in New York, want to build a 10-story hotel on North Halsted. Neighborhood reaction was mixed at a community meeting last week.

Secret Squirrel Space

The Chicago Academy of Sciences, which runs the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, stores a vast collection of animal specimens in an unassuming building in Ravenswood.

March Murders by the Numbers

Last March, Chicago saw 52 murders. This year there were only 15. RedEye shares some analysis.

A Good Saloon is Hard to Find

Peter Balla laments the death of "saloon life" in ChicagoNow. Mark Anderson covered similar ground regarding tap rooms for GB back in 2003.

More Blue Jays Fans

Chicago is now only the fifth largest city in North America, having been edged out by Toronto. We've got 2.71 million people to their 2.79 million. (Thanks, Dee!)

The City is Blue Tonight

The skyline will be lit blue tonight in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.

The Neighborhood is not "Me"

Britt Julious writes about how neighborhood stereotypes help to limit our knowledge of the city as a whole.

Check out the Library

The Galewood-Montclare branch of the Chicago Public Library is in danger of closing due to a lack of activity, so neighborhood residents are taking action -- by checking out everything in the library. Stop by at 5pm to help out.

Wrong Side of the Block

Why do neighborhoods sometimes vary from block to block? WBEZ's Natalie Moore attempts to answer.

Bring Back the Magikist Lips

Mary Schmich profiles Mike Perrone, a graphic designer whose love of the old Magikist lips (last seen in 2004) has driven him to make a t-shirt memorializing the signs -- and to buy one of the signs in hopes of getting it put back up somewhere in the city.

Scheherazade of the City

1,001 Chicago Afternoons picks up where Ben Hecht left off, collecting 1,001 stories of life in Chicago.

City Sells Off the Area

City Council approved the sale of 105 vacant city lots in Englewood to Norfolk Southern so the railway company can move forward on the expansion of its 47th Street Terminal. The expansion will eliminate an existing neighborhood, as documented in The Grid earlier this year.

The Trauma Care Desert

In These Times details one of the contributing factors to Chicago's high murder rate: the dearth of trauma care units in South Side hospitals.

Hot From the Kitchen

Zagat's released a list of the city's "30 Hottest Up-and-Comers Under 30" list.

Paws Love

Love animals but don't have the time, money or landlord permission to care for one? Consider volunteering at Animal Care and Control; they need your help, and it's a fulfilling experience.


PTSD affects police officers, too, and the pressures of work took the life of Officer Ryan Healy recently.

Cold as Last Year was Hot

March 2013 has been almost the exact opposite of March 2012, meteorologically.

No Love for Teh Kittehs?

Cook County Commissioners are meeting tomorrow to discuss changes to the Managed Care of Feral Cats ordinance [PDF] that opponents say would hurt efforts to keep cat colonies healthy.

It's a Crapshoot

Chicago magazine's Whet Moser breaks down the stats on illegal gambling in Chicago.

Google Time Machine

A Redditor spotted an interesting anomaly on Google Maps: take a step forward from this spot and watch one of the last Cabrini Green towers disappear.



And Boom Goes the Dynamite

Our fair city's most unexpected comedy offspring, Amsterdam's Boom Chicago, is gaining in size and stature.

Help Harper High

If you've listened to one or both of the "This American Life" shows related to Harper High School shooting during last school year, and felt yourself thinking "Man, I wish there was something I could do to help." Well, rest easier because now you can. The school's administrators have started a fundraiser. They'd love to get $2 million to provide ACT prep classes, after-school programming, transportation assistance, college tours and more.

Bronzeville's Thriving Arts Scene

Medill takes a multimedia look at Bronzeville's arts-filled past and present, including three galleries: Gallery Guichard, Blanc Gallery and Faié Afrikan Gallery. Another important area gallery is Milton Mizenberg's gallery and studio.

Help ID John & Jane Does

The Cook County Medical Examiner has posted photos and other info about unidentified bodies from the county morgue in hopes of learning their identities and possibly connecting them with loved ones.

A New Life for Edgewater Hospital

The abandoned Edgewater Hospital on the edge of Andersonville could become a retirement home for gay senior citizens, if a proposal by graduate student Vea Cleary and the Friends of West Edgewater moves forward.

Welcome to the "Mega-Loop"

Crain's makes a case for a more broadly defined city center -- one that is the most prosperous in the nation.

Fellas on My Left, Lawmakers on My Right

A White House petition is being circulated to change the national anthem to R. Kelly's 2003 hit "Ignition (Remix)."

Tonight is the Night for a Snowball Fight

If you're looking for a reason to enjoy the weather, might I suggest tonight's SNOWBRAWL?

Save the Date: The Chicago Music Summit

Coming in September, a new music-oriented team with the City is planning the first-ever Chicago Music Summit to promote local music.

Our Least Deadly Month

Chicago in February sees the fewest murders. Whet Moser wonders why.

Drug Arrests Down, but not Evenly

The Reader's Mick Dumke goes over recent drug arrest data, and relates it to his excellent story about the New Breeds gang last week and our new Public Enemy No. 1, Joaquín Guzmán Loera -- who the LA Times reports may have just been killed.

Balmier Winters Ahead?

Illinois winters have warmed 0.88 degrees over the past four decades, making it the 12th fastest warming state according to research by Climate Central.

My Money's on Beeno

The trailer for the upcoming episodes of R. Kelly's neverending story Trapped in the Closet has been released.

More on The Area

Lee Bey interviews GB's David Schalliol about his short documentary for The Grid about a neighborhood in Englewood that's being torn down to make way for a Norfolk Southern railyard.

The New Breed of Dealers

The Reader's Mick Dumke dissects a West Side heroin ring, starting with its leader.

All the Single Ladies

Guys, if you're looking for love, start your search in Woodlawn, which has the highest proportion of single women in the city. (Ladies, you should look in Washington Park.)

"No Degrees. None of them."

"Just a few years ago, I had no idea what cold felt like, and no way to know how to prepare for it." A-J Aronstein talks about February in Chicago in the Paris Review.

The Who of Guns & Gun Control

WBEZ's series "Our Guns" introduces you to people for whom guns are an important part of their life and identity. Meanwhile, in Mechanics, Jeff Smith notes that attitudes about gun control are "as much a geographic and cultural divide as anything else."

Happy Paczki Day

Huffington Post gives Chicago-area Paczki Day options the slideshow treatment.

Break Up the Pride

Beginning this summer, Lakeview's Pride Fest and the Chicago Pride Parade may take place on separate weekends due to congestion concerns.

What the Baby Boom did to Chicago

Bill Rankin of Radical Cartography created maps of racial distribution in Chicago and the suburbs during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, in connection with a journal article on how the Baby Boom affected population here.

Basketball Diplomacy on Gun Violence

A Chicago high school basketball star himself, former CPS chief/current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan connects to Chicago's gun violence and its toll on the city's youth through basketball, as Rick Telander tells it, and he's enlisted friends Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to help formulate a plan to combat it.

Thinkers & Doers Live Here

The Atlantic Cities mines census data to figure out where the creative class -- and the service class -- live.

$86 Million in the Pocket

In 1999, Gary Comer, the founder of Lands' End, began investing in his childhood neighborhood of Pocket Town. Chicago magazine takes a look at what $86 million has done for the tiny South Side neighborhood.

Recording Hip-Hop History

Chicago is a city marked by the spirit of entrepreneurship and independent vision. Here, dedicated, innovative thinkers reinvent the collaborative processes that elevate ideas from daydreams to reality. So close, yet so far from the shiny Magnificent Mile, artists like Alexander Fruchter, owner and operator of local hip hop record label Closed Sessions, challenge traditional practices to make way for more exciting forms of magnificent creative expression.

Closed Sessions creates not only music but short documentary films, shown on their website, that give insider peeks into the stories behind these local artists. Fruchter says they are "genuine about wanting to capture the story in this historic period." They just signed their first flagship artist, Alex Wiley, who will perform Feb. 9 at 4pm at Reggie's Rock Club for just a dollar.

The Murder Toll Marches On

Rick Kogan interviewed Shirley Chambers, the woman who lost four children to gun violence in the city, on "The Afternoon Shift" yesterday. Meanwhile, a woman was shot while driving a van on the ramp from Lake Shore Drive onto I-55 this morning. Police Chief Garry McCarthy appeared on Channel 7 this morning to talk about efforts to stem gun violence.

Check into the Best

What do Portillo's, Longman & Eagle, Hub 51 and Millennium Park have in common? They're all top spots on the "Best of Foursquare Chicago" list of places locals check into the most. [via]

Where Are the Guns From?

The Chicago Police Department has recovered 50,000 guns in the past 12 years, and they've tracked down their origins.

January Beats Last Year for Murders

The Onion's satirically upbeat story aside, Chicago has already had more homicides in January than last year, tying 2002's record with two more days to go.

Changing Times

A Reddit user has made a nifty GIF of how the city's race demographics have changed over a 90-year span.

Very Close to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza

Google Street Scene, which reframes scenes from movies using the mobile street cameras of Google, captured a moment from the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

Just for yucks, here's that same intersection according to the real Google Street View:

Eat a Light Lunch, Go to Ramova Room Tonight

Chicagoist's "Ramova Room" soup kitchen event is tonight at 6pm at Benton House. Get down there to sample soups from some of Bridgeport's best chefs. With more than 200 RSVPs on Facebook, it's going to be quite a party.

The Square is Hot

Logan Square is the eighth hottest neighborhood in the country, according to Redfin's analysis of real estate prices. [via]

2012's Human Toll

DNAinfo has created a timeline of 2012's murders that tells you a little bit about each victim's life, going beyond the statistic.

Neighborhood Identity

"I am where I live and where I Iive is who I'll always be." Our own Britt Julious writes about how one's home neighborhood informs one's identity on WBEZ

Where Nobody Died

As RedEye's map (previously) demonstrated, Chicago's 513 murders last year were not evenly distributed throughout the city. Fifteen neighborhoods had no murders in 2012 -- and Mount Greenwood has been murder-free since 2007.

Where They Died

The RedEye's Tracy Swartz breaks down 2012's 513 murders in a map and infographic. We're up to 16 so far in 2013.

How Chatham Made It Through

While many Chicago neighborhoods faltered during the recession, Chatham has rebounded well. The NYTimes reports on reasons why.

Fewer Cops are on the Beat

One of Mayor Emanuel's first acts in office was to assign 1,000 more police officers to patrol the streets, but the Sun-Times found that there are actually fewer cops on the beat now than a year ago. Commentary on Second City Cop is enlightening.

Know Your Wintertime Rights

If you're a renter and your building has poor heat, the law is on your side to make sure your landlord is kept in check.

Resetting the Murder Meter

The murder count for 2012 stopped at 506 (although some claim it was higher), and 2013 got off to a quick start, with at least 15 shot and three dead on Jan. 1.

Bronzeville's Coming Up

The gentrification of Bronzeville runs counter to the usual gentrification story -- in that the gentrifiers are black, and not all of them are moving in from other neighborhoods.

CTA for Cheap Tonight

All CTA rides will be a penny starting at 10pm tonight until 4am, courtesy of MillerCoors.

Chicago Reaches 500 Homicides

The city passed the 500 murder mark on Wednesday, according to RedEye's Homicide Tracker. The Trib shares the story of the man who may have been number 500.

Where is the Diversity?

The newly updated Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook shows you.

Should've Known Better

WBEZ's Justin Kaufmann and Richard Marx traded barbs over Twitter over the singer's cancelled appearance on yesterday's "The Afternoon Shift."

Tracing Segregation

What was the geographical distribution of minorities changed in Chicago and other cities before and after the Fair Housing Act of 1968? Pro Publica shows you.

The Young Victims

While the deaths of 20 young children in Newtown, CT has caused a national debate over gun control, 270 children have been killed by guns in Chicago since 2007, notes Hoy's Jeff Kelly Lowenstein.

Lend us Money for Coffee

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters is planning a new location near the Merchandise Mart, and is hoping to crowdfund a loan via local startup LendSquare.

A Museum Introspective

The Field Museum's new president and board are exploring how well it's meeting its mission, as it prepares to cut staff and limit research scope due to budget shortfalls.

Don and Dawn

WBEZ's Curious City delves even deeper to dissect the Chicago accent, complete with thorough audio breakdown.

Coming to America

Local photographer Jon Lowenstein's photographs of South Side immigrant families were the launching point for a new series about Latin American immigration featured today on the NY Times' photography blog.

Getting into the Crib

Every night, LGBT youth line up for a chance at one of 20 beds in the Night Ministry's shelter, The Crib.

Protection from Abuse & Deportation

Immigrant Connect tells the story of Carla, an immigrant from Ecuador who recently qualified for a U Visa, a special class of visa for victims of a crime.

GB Gift Guide: "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!"

If someone on your gift list listens to WBEZ's news quiz "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!", consider buying them tickets to the live taping, where they can hear all of Carl Kassel's saucy quips that don't make it to broadcast. Thursdays at 7:30pm at the Chase Bank Auditorium, $24.75.

Our Lives in Refuse

One of the best ways to know a city is through its trash.

Snow Dusting a New Record?

There's snow in the forecast for today, but if the flurries don't fall Chicago will set a record for the longest time between measurable snowfalls.

Save the SROs

Activists are advocating against the City's efforts to close single room occupancy hotels, which are often the only housing option for low-income residents.

CTA in a Day

Tracking software charted CTA bus and train movement over one day last month. It's awesome. [via]

For the Love of Skin

The annual No-Pants Subway Ride will be January 13; check here for info on the Chicago event.

Fast Building, Fast Food

A Logan Square resident has been chronicling the (alarmingly fast) construction of a neighborhood McDonald's.

Saved from Tragedy

Chicago's murder rate made news this year, but it's not nearly as bad as in years past. And while hundreds have died this year, many more have been saved.

Chicago is Family Friendly

Chicago earned a 95 on Human Rights Campaign's new Municipal Equality Index, a measure of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, released earlier this week. Eleven cities received perfect scores of 100.

Inside the Swastika House

DNAinfo visits the "swastika house," one of Englewood's neighborhood tourism spots.

Warm Tidings

Yesterday was the second warmest Thanksgiving on record in Chicago. And of course today we're back to the usual chill.

Stopping the Mob

Time Out learns what the police are doing to combat organized shoplifting.

Volunteer or Donate to Help a Child Stay Warm this Winter

Looking for a way to "pay it forward" this holiday season? Give the gift of warmth to a child in need by supporting Dorger McCarthy Group's annual coat drive and holiday party for children whose families are currently living in homeless shelters. Coats and volunteers are needed for this annual event, which happens Dec. 8. Email to sign up to volunteer.

Where Do You Live if You're Out and Old?

The LGBT community is aging right alongside everyone else, but finding housing has been a challenge. New developments in Boystown and elsewhere hope to change that.

Go Southeast, Young Man

The Urbanophile argues that Chicago should take better advantage of Northwest Indiana.

Farming the Urban Green

The future of the South Side could be acres of urban farms.

Take that, NYC.

We love Nate Silver, and it turns out he loves us back.

Nothing But Luvvie

When you've got a name like Luvvie, you just have to see the world as a place full of love. And for Chicagoan, activist, writer, Red Pump Project creator and humorist Luvvie Ajayi, her world is most recently full of love from Women's Media Center where she received their Social Media Award. Hopefully for Luvvie, the love doesn't stop.

Is CeaseFire Curing Violence?

The Sun-Times reports that CeaseFire, now known as Cure Violence, has had "no significant success stories" in the three months since being given $1 million by the City to help curb gang violence.

Gapers Block has covered CeaseFire extensively over the years, both positively and more skeptically. Most recently, Jason Prechtel questioned the decision by Vice magazine to run a documentary about CeaseFire as part of a marketing campaign for a revenge-themed video game; Vice has since removed the documentary from the marketing campaign site.

Where the Wild Things Went

Chicago has its share of odd public works, but well known are John Kearney's metal animal sculptures. This weekend, his work in Lakeview was removed by their owner after he sold the property on which they sat. Residents will now have to get used to a world without their favorite large chrome giraffe to welcome them home.

John Kearney Giraffe
Photo by Michael Lehet.

Festival Fatigue

You're not imagining things, there are more neighborhood festivals than ever -- and organizers are looking for new ways to fight for their sliver of attention.

When Hip-Hop and Gang Violence Collide

Chicago's high level of gang violence is nothing new, but its increasingly popular "trap" rap scene, featuring juvenile rappers that rhyme about guns, "bitches" and drugs, is adding more fuel to the already out of control fire. Many wonder who is responsible for the epidemic, the misguided teens or their parents? Chicago blogger Alexander Fruchter explores this troubling trend in an editorial for Ruby Hornet.

Painted Boobs Cause Controversy

Logan Square's Real Tenochtitlan was forced to cover up the bare breasts in a painting hanging in the restaurant after a patron complained about "obsenity." Eater spoke to an employee, "Yes, it's art, but to some persons they are a kind of pornography and that's what they understand."

Studying Inner City Youth

The NY Times reports on the Northwestern Juvenile Project through the eyes of one of its field interviewers.

Billboard Swap?

Mayor Emanuel wants billboard companies to tear down five traditional billboards in the city in exchange for permission to build digital billboards on City property all over the city -- including, potentially, within neighborhoods where no billboards currently exist.

O Tannenbaum! O Tannenbaum!

ABC News says we just got our Christmas tree. Is it too early to be thinking about the holidays?

Cars, Bikes & Carriages

Mobile Phenomena is a book by Temporary Services detailing some of the many ways people convey themselves and their things through this world.

435 Dead

Chicago officially tied 2011 in homicides overnight, with two more months to go.

Pooches on Parade

If you aren't into wearing a Halloween costume this weekend, a lot of dogs will be getting into their favorite (or tolerated) costumes and patrolling the city for your entertainment. You can find pet parades in Lincoln Square, Andersonville, Logan Square, the South Loop, Avondale, the Gold Coast, and even the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Chicago Talk

WBEZ's Curious City investigates the Chicago accent and how it came to be. Submit your own speech sample.

The City that Sees, Clicks & Fixes

Chicago's 311 system is now integrated with SeeClickFix; as of today, the City will be monitoring services requests made on that site as well as its own avenues. You can also track your 311 service request online.

The Death Count Slows

The city's murder rate has slowed down.

Neighborhood not Pawned Off

Mick Dumke has an update on his story (previously) about 18th Ward residents fighting against yet another pawn shop: the neighborhood won.

Best of the Worst

Sorry, that's not fair. Gadling Travel has compiled a list of the 10 Chicago suburbs that don't suck. Bonus: Olde Schaumburg Centre: America's Least Impressive Historic District?

4880 North & South

On the excellent Calumet 412 tumblr, a mystery has been spotted: what connects 49th and Union with Ainslie and Marine Drive?

4880 S. Union Ave., Chicago

Here's a Google Streetview grab of approximately 4880 S. Union Ave. The I-beam fenceposts are gone, or at least hiding behind the wood fence, but that appears to be the same house, remodeled. Wonder how long the photo on the North Side has been there.

This post originally referred to Calumet 412 as a project of Forgotten Chicago. I've been notified that they're not related.

Ready, Set, Crawl!

Connecting families across the city, the first annual "Strollers in the Front" 5K Walk & Run on Sunday, Oct. 28 welcomes walkers, runners and strollers alike. With a Kids Dash and a Halloween Finish Line Family festival, this family oriented race is the first of its kind to make its way to the city, so register your strollers now and be a part of crawling to the finish line!

Chicago Aims for a New Target

Target has announced its plans to open another store in Chicago in October 2013. The new store will be located on west Division and north Larrabee streets, on the old site of Cabrini-Green.

Put Down the Binoculars

Everyblockers in Edgewater debate what to do when you spot a peeping tom in the building next to you.

Black Magic on Devil's Night

Tuesday, Oct. 30 is the night that Anthony Moser and the Fat Tones Blues Band performs at Buddy Guy's Legends. Come in for a spell at 9:30pm for the show -- and as the "witching hour" approaches, get ready for Black Magic beginning at 11:30pm.

Cultural Plan: Then and Now

With the release of the 2012 Cultural Plan, Chicagoist found a copy of the 1986 version and compared them.

The 1986 Chicago Cultural Plan

CHA on a Demolition Path

The CHA has approved plans that would lead to the demolition of 1,800 public housing units in Lathrop Homes, Altgeld Gardens and the Cabrini rowhouses. The plans now head to Washington for HUD approval.

Apple and Oranges: Streetside

Streetwise has partnered with Neighbor Capital to start Neighbor Carts- a social business that funds fruit carts, providing both job opportunities and access to healthy food. [via]

Our Cultural Blueprint

The final version of the city's 2012 Cultural Plan is now live. If you're looking for a quick read, here's the direct link to the pdf executive summary.

Or just read it here:

Final City of Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 - Executive Summary

Wabash Stories

Elena Rodina, a diamond merchant, tells tales from Jewelers' Row in NewCity.

A Word from the Bird

In honor of Chicago Ideas Week, the city turned to Twitter to ask users their opinion about the best way to get guns off of the streets. They received over 300,000 responses, varying from stricter parenting to looser gun control.

Weekend Closure of Noyes Street Station

Noyes Street Station, one of the northernmost stops on the CTA Purple Line, will be closed for repairs this weekend. Commuters traveling to or from Evanston will not be able to access the station between 10pm on Friday until 4am on Monday.

Help Out Your Furry Buddies

The Logan Square Dog Park could earn a much-needed $500k donation if you take a minute to vote in a nationwide contest sponsored by Purina.

A Quiet Island in the Stream of Traffic

The Chicago Journal explores an "urban island" on the near South Side, cut off from the rest of the city by the Stevenson and Dan Ryan to the north and south, the Red Line and Amtrak tracks to the east and west.

View Larger Map

From Jane Addams to Oscare Wilde

The Legacy Walk, a series of plaques from The Legacy Project that honors heroes from the LGBT community, will be unveiled on Halsted Street in Boystown today, National Coming Out Day. Download a PDF walking map.


Video Gambling Legal in Illinois

With an estimated 280 machines live across the state as of yesterday, video gambling is legal at bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal organizations. And just when I thought I'd never find a way to fund state improvements while playing poker by myself at a truck stop.

Where the Bottom Fell Out

Crain's maps the condo collapse.

Black on the Inside

The African American Cultural Center Gallery of UIC's upcoming exhibition, "Black/Inside: A History of Captivity & Confinement in the U.S.," posits that "mass incarceration has replaced segregation as a form of social control for black people." The exhibit opens Oct. 23 and runs until Nov. 21.

Lakeview Residents Don't Care for Panera Cares

CBS Chicago reports that some Lakeview residents are complaining that the pay-what-you-can Panera Cares on Diversey is bringing an "unwanted element" into the neighborhood -- aka homeless people. As Chicagoist notes, it's not the first time Lakeview residents and businesses have tried to exclude people.

Pawning Off a Vacant Lot

The Reader this week tells the story of 18th ward residents' fight against yet another pawn shop in their neighborhood.

Find Your Way on the Pedway

Will Vaughn has created a very thorough map of all the pedways in the Loop. (They're a bit out of date, but you might also enjoy our pedway tour: part one, part two.)

Wide Open for Business

Crain's reports that Chicago's suburban office parks are the most vacant in the country, with enough available space to fill the 110-story Willis Tower almost eight times over.

Tweeting the Guns Away

If you'e got an idea about how to get illegal guns off the streets, and can sum it up in 140 characters or less, the city's listening (if it has the hashtag #whatifchicago). The best suggestions will debated October 11 with police Superintendent Garry McCarthy at a Chicago Ideas Week panel.

Writing to Stay Alive

Students in the Columbia Links program produced Don't Shoot, I Want to Grow Up, a collection of essays reflecting on this summer's violence

Where the Gangs Are

WBEZ puts the latest gang territory data from CPD on a Google Map, and compares it with locations of schools and homicides.

Free Wifi & the Broadband Challenge

As of this morning, Millennium Park features free wi-fi -- the first of Emanuel's push, which plans to include all parks and public spaces in Chicago. The City is looking for everyone's help in designing the network via The Broadband Challenge.

Rolling with "Pretty Boy"

The Sun-Times rode along with an undercover cop in Englewood.

Breaking News: Wicker Park is Hipster, says Forbes

Forbes magazine, which deals in "information for the world's business leaders," has determined that Wicker Park is the fourth best "hipster" neighborhood in the country. Glad they let us know.

Drama in the Theaters

The Chicagoist recaps the Congress Theater/Portage Theater fiasco, and it's gotten a little ugly.

The City That Runs

Darcy Phillips began a quest earlier this year to run on every block of the city. You can follow his journey via Facebook.

Turning a Daley Park into a Daley Park

The two and a half year reconstruction of North Grant Park is now underway, during which Daley Bicentennial Plaza will be transformed into Maggie Daley Park. Three renderings of the park are available on the construction website (Tip: Open each rendering in another window to see the full resolution version).

Don't Rent, Buy

During the recession there was a lot of talk about how the housing bubble made it cheaper to rent than own. According to Trulia, it's now cheaper to own again, in Chicago and every other major city in America.

Suburban Color

We know the city is diverse, but what about the suburbs? [via]

Roosevelt to 13th

Ever wonder why streets on the South Side are numbered, but North Side streets aren't? WBEZ's Carrie Shepherd decided to try to find out.

Violence as an Infectious Disease

CeaseFire is now Cure Violence. Hear more about the name change from Gary Slutkin.

Trees to Grow in Logan

The Chicago Rarities Orchard Project is actually moving forward in Logan Square.

Making a People Place

Voting is now open for Placemaking Chicago's "Space in Between" competition.

Talking About the Violence

Speaking of CeaseFire, the organization is cosponsoring a forum on community violence tonight at the Chicago Urban League at 6pm. Details in Slowdown.

Further Interruptions

In "Chicago Interrupted," Vice magazine followed two members of CeaseFire, Tio Hardiman and Ameena Matthews, as they went about the daily business of keeping fights from escalating into more serious violence. The first part of the video series was posted yesterday. [via]

Stay tuned for more in the series.

Gapers Block has covered CeaseFire a number of times over the years, profiling Tio Hardiman back in 2008 and more recently digging into criticism of the organization's tactics as it rose to prominence with the release of the documentary The Interrupters.

Ravenswood Metra Station

A new development around the Ravenswood Metra station began construction last week. Highlights of the project include covered platforms and warming shelters, and a planned Mariano's and L.A. Fitness.

Open the Door to 150 Chicago Places

Open House Chicago's 2012 website is now live, including this map of the locations open on October 13 and 14.

Gang Beef in a Rap Setting

Further thoughts Whet Moser and Miles Raymer on Chief Keef, Lil JoJo and the bleakness of Chicago's teen rap scene.

How We'll Walk

CDOT released the Chicago Pedestrian Plan, a document aimed at "improving all aspects of the pedestrian experience and increase pedestrian activity."

Chicago Pedestrian Plan

Free Science, Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is hosting its Illinois Free Days: no admission charge for all residents (with ID) on weekdays Sept. 4 through 28.

Congress Theater Getting a Facelift

According to the LoganSquarist, the Congress Theater will soon undergo renovations and build a storefront community center.

The Signs on Irving Park

Irving Park Road Signs is exactly what it sounds like.

CPD Adopts Policy on Transgender Detainees

The Chicago Police quietly adopted a new transgender policy last month. You can read it online.

Chicago Crime, Redux

Crime in Chicago is a new site from the Tribune that provides crime maps, statistics and other useful info for each of the city's 77 community areas.

Get More Cops on the Street

Emanuel and McCarthy's anti-violence strategy gets poor reviews from residents of the neighborhoods that are affected, where they're calling for even more of a police presence. Meanwhile, 50 officers were sent to the Democratic National Convention.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer Meets Anger & Hostility After Another Shooting

Sixth ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer tried speak with concerned citizens after a shooting in his South Side ward. He was told, "Ya'll can't do nothing" by a teenager who was the brother of the shooting victim.

Lupe Fiasco: Chief Keef Scares Me

Lupe Fiasco recently gave an opinion on the "Trap Rap" phenomenon. Fiasco also discusses the influence local rapper Chief Keef has on the Chicago hip hop scene.

Gangs & Guns

The police cracked down on gangs this weekend in an effort to curb violence, arresting 300 people and confiscating more than 100 guns. And speaking of guns, UofC Crime Lab researchers determined that most guns recovered by police in crime investigations are purchased in the suburbs -- one in five was bought at a single Riverside Riverdale gun shop.

Meatless Fine Dining

You can can eat well at Alinea even if you're a vegan.

A Little Bike Culture History

Whet Moser puts the current culture clash over bicycles into historical perspective by looking at Chicago in the 1960s.

Dying Poor

The Reader's Steve Bogira delves into statistics that show that poverty is Chicago's deadliest killer.

Gang Signs Linger

If it seems like graffiti in your neighborhood is staying up longer than usual, you're not imagining it -- the Graffiti Blasters' funding has been cut back to save on the City budget.

Is Chicago a Global City?

The Urbanophile runs down several ways to look at cities globally and marks Chicago's status against them. Meanwhile, London's World Cities Culture Report left Chicago out (though it did limit itself to one city per country, so only NYC ranks in the States.)

Blue Island is Neither Blue nor an Island

The Trib notes some of the street, town and business names around Chicagoland that can make travel for visitors confusing.

Celebrate Your Seoul

Among the many events this weekend is the Chicago Korean Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday on Bryn Mawr between Kedzie and Kimball. It's probably your only chance to see traditional Korean wrestling (ssireum) this year.

Beauty's Where You Find It

In 1992, a young, suburb-dwelling Shaun Sperling achieved a major feat: he did the entire dance accompaniment for Madonna's "Vogue" video for the people at his Bar Mitzvah party. It's 100% awesome, and I hope he still has the shirt.

"World's Deadliest" City" -- but Why?

Gawker turned its eyes to Chicago's murder rate yesterday, but as Whet Moser notes, the sensational "world's deadliest city" headline glosses over the reasons behind the statistic.

Where the Foreclosures Are

The Woodstock Institute shares data on foreclosures in Chicago, including an interactive chart that lets you compare trends in your community area to others around the city.

Muralizing Rogers Park

Speaking of art, the murals to go in Rogers Park underpasses (previously) have been chosen; the styles range from graffiti-inspired to realist to an iteration of You Are Beautiful.

The murals will go up on the Chase, Estes, Greenview/Sherwin, North Shore and Rogers Avenue CTA underpasses and the Birchwood, Estes, Farwell, Morse, Rogers and Touhy Avenue Metra underpasses.

Chicago 1955 by Aaron Wooten

Tour the Suburbs

If you're intrigued by suburban companies moving back downtown (including today's United announcement), you may be interested in Forgotten Chicago's "Corporate Kings of the Suburbs & Stern Pinball Tour," which will visit several midcentury suburban corporate campuses. Their upcoming Hyde Park modernist walking tour looks promising too.

Not That You Should Litter, But...

Streetwise vendors don't just sell magazines. They also clean the streets and upcycle trash into handmade gift items, like these cool photo frames made from recycled CTA cards.

Once In a Blue Moon

Starting August 20, the Chicago Public Library will be offering amnesty for overdue books. No fines, no questions, no nothing -- for three whole weeks. So if you've had a copy of Tropic of Cancer checked out since junior high school, now's your chance to return it.

One Danger of Being Internet Famous

The stars of the local show All About Chris had quite a time during last weekend's Bud Billiken Parade, particularly because they were being hounded by their female fans throughout the parade route. One swarming event is after the jump.

Celebrate the Battle of Fort Dearborn's Bicentennial

Speaking of the military, September 8 commemorates the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Fort Dearborn (it's represented as one of the stars on our city's flag, in case you didn't know) with a reconciliation between Pottowatomi tribe members, military reënactors, descendents of soldiers in the battle, Mayor Emanuel and other dignitaries. The celebration will be part of the the 6th annual Festival on Prairie Avenue sponsored by the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.

Who's Hitting the Beach?

Crain's maps beach-going frequency throughout the city.

Moldy Old Town

If your nose is stuffed up and your sinuses are aching, there's a good reason: Chicago's mold count is the highest on record this week.

Go Traipsing Around the South Loop

Buff up on your Chicago history with a South Loop Historical Society walking tour of Northerly Island next Tuesday, August 14.

A Growing Case

Get caught smoking a joint and it's a $250-500 ticket now. Get caught building a marijuana farm inside a South Deering house, and it's going to be a much bigger headache.

A Beer & a Brawl

The RedEye has mapped out bar brawls across the city. Either the North Side likes to fight more than the South Side, or the police just don't get called as often south of Roosevelt.

Meet Our Sister Cities

The Chicago Sister Cities Festival runs through Friday in Daley Plaza. Get out of the office and explore the world on your lunch break.

Good Times, Good Timing

The new law allowing police to ticket people for possession of half an ounce of pot or less goes into effect on Saturday -- which is convenient for a certain segment of Lollapalooza attendees, Ward Room notes.

Murder Rate Slowed in July

Chicago's murder rate went down in July, according to Supt. McCarthy; we only had 49 homicides, compared with 55 in 2011. McCarthy says this means the CPD's gang violence reduction strategy is beginning to work. Need I mention that Second City Cop and crew disagree?

Call it Daddy Warbucktown

Chicago's segregation isn't just along racial lines, but income lines too. Interestingly, Bucktown is on the rise, as the only area outside Lincoln Park where more than 30 percent of residents make more than $200k.

Sorry, Kiddos: No More Fake 'n' Bake

A new city ordinance prohibits children under 18 from using tanning equipment. Looks like they'll have to get their ultraviolet radiation fix the old-fashioned way: at the beach. Swim at your own risk, though: city officials have decided that they'll only close beaches when the lake's been contaminated by overflowing sewers.

Playing Chicken Sandwich

Tomorrow is Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day (also Chik-Fil-Gay Appreciation Day), and the Chicago Republican Party is celebrating by holding a press conference at City Hall announcing the filing of civil rights complaints over Ald. Moreno and Mayor Emanuel's comments about the chain's opposition gay marriage. (On that note, read Ramsin Canon's thoughts on the matter.)

40 Acres of Meadow

The expanse of empty grass and trees you see to your right when you cross under the Stevenson on Cicero headed toward Midway was once LeClaire Courts one of the many housing projects shut down by the CHA in recent years. It's completely gone now.

Although it's gone on Google Maps' satellite view, you can still drive through the emptied buildings on Streetview:

View Larger Map

We Party Separately

Chicago's racial segregation extends, perhaps not surprisingly, to our nightclubs.

Devon's Parking Nightmare

WBEZ reports on the ongoing saga of City Parking Lot #47 at Devon and Rockwell.

Singing Station to Station

Darren Calhoun explains how he got an entire L car to sing "Lean on Me" in NewCity.

Speaking for 2.8 Million

Jason Prechtel already had some reservations about the draft Chicago Cultural Plan. Participating in one of this week's town hall meetings didn't make him feel any better.

Murder Myths & Truths

Psychologist and criminal justice professor Arthur Luringo discusses five beliefs about homicides in Crain's.

Crime is Trending

Crime in Chicago is a new site that helps visualize crime trends by ward and date.

Riding to the Poor Part of Town

Poverty as a CTA map, showing each station's placement on the hardship index. [via]

And In This Corner...

What's the best neighborhood for families? The Huffington Post invites you to vote for one of eight qualifiers in its Neighborhood Showdown. (An earlier version of this post linked to HuffPo's original article, which used the term "neighborhood deathmatch." After receiving feedback about the use of that phrase during what's almost certainly the city's deadliest summer, the editors removed the phrase and renamed their voting tool altogether.)

If It's Not Good Enough for The Muppets, It's Not Good Enough for Logan Square

First Ward Alderman Joe Moreno and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are joining the outcry against Chick-fil-A.

Move Over, Food Trucks.

Time Magazine takes a look at "pop-up grocery stores," with an emphasis on Chicago's Fresh Moves, a mobile produce market on a repurposed CTA bus.

The High Cost of Character

The facade of an Art Deco building at the corner of Milwaukee and Spaulding will soon be removed and replaced with (less distinctive) brick. The building, which dates back to the 1930s, was first owned by the Hump Hairpin Manufacturing Company.

Peeping Toms in Transit

Do you peek into apartment windows and backyards as you trundle past on the train? You're not alone.

One Saved from the Depths

In NewCity, Galen Leonhardy recalls his role in saving a woman from drowning in Belmont Harbor. He wasn't able to save her friend.

Out & Outcast

The Reader's cover story this week explores the dangerous world of LGBTQ homeless in Chicago. (Related reading here on GB: It's not Easy Peeing T; Lessons from Death; Hanging on by a Sequin)

Hmm... Beekeeping or Euchre?

At Learnapalooza Chicago, you can study everything from origami to harm reduction.

Read 'Em and (Don't) Weep

After a controversial budget in January that reduced library hours (previously), Mayor Emanuel announced that neighborhood libraries will reopen on Monday mornings.

Continued Cultural Planning

The latest draft of the Chicago Cultural Plan was released today. Your next opportunity to share thoughts is at a town hall meeting July 24 at Malcolm X College.

Right, That's the Problem.

According to columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, Chicago's rising murder rate is due to too many "illegitimate" children growing up without fathers at home. "Solve that, and find out where the plethora of guns is coming from, and train more women to say no to unmarried sex and more men to say yes to fatherhood -- and you'll solve the murder problem."

Know When to Hold'em

Edward McClelland goes inside one of the city's underground poker rooms.

Do you find EveryBlock too... inclusive? lets you create a private social network for your neighborhood, where you can bitch about the neighbor's uncut grass in peace.

Celebrating the Subcontinent

The Eye on India Festival returns to Chicago starting today.

House Centipedes Everywhere!

The RedEye notes that there's a rise in the number of scutigera coleoptrata scaring the bejeezus out of Chicagoans this summer. Don't worry, they're almost entirely harmless to humans.

Video via Boing Boing.

Who's Using the Library?

Whet Moser puts Chicago Public Library usage on a map.

CHA Leaving Apartments Empty

Eighteen percent of CHA's public housing units are vacant, despite around 40,000 families being on the waiting list for an apartment. Part of the reason is the future of the historic Lathrop Homes complex is still undecided.

Riding Around the 1st Ward

John Greenfield and Andrew Bayley (previously) biked the perimeter of newly redrawn 1st Ward, highlighting the tortuous shape it's been twisted into in the name of political gerrymandering.

Get Fixed Up

Want to celebrate your independence by going on a date? Newly launched Project Fixup's first batch of events start Friday.

Sunrise to Sunset

J. Harley created a gorgeous timelapse video of the city.

Love Letter to Chicago from j. harley on Vimeo.

Boundaries That Aren't Blurred

Racially segregated neighborhoods on the Red Line, as illustrated by time-lapse video.

The Spaces In Between

Placemaking Chicago is running a contest for projects that temporarily turn vacant lots in the city into something more productive.

"Where are you from?"

Columbia College professor Teresa Puente shares her experiences being a Chicana in America and abroad.

Paying for the CTA

Abogo recently put together a breakdown of where your $2.25 fare goes, as well as an infographic explaining where the rest of the budget comes from.

What to Do in Lakeview is a new arts and entertainment blog showcasing all the fun and interesting things to do in Lakeview. It's a partnership between the Lakeview and Lakeview East chambers of commerce, Brown Line Media and Gapers Block. Check it out!

Record Attendance for Pride Parade

Speaking of the Pride Parade, the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications estimated a record-breaking 850,000+ revelers turned out for yesterday's celebration.

Celebrate Pride from Inside

Gay Chicago TV is streaming today's Pride Parade live if you're interested.

Violence is Expensive

Chicago could save $5.3 billion a year by reducing violent crime, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress.

The Economic Benefits of Reducing Violent Crime

Who's the Best Library Mascot?

Chicago Reader's ready with its annual round-up of the city's best.

Prepare for the Pride Parade

The Pride Parade is running a different route this Sunday, and that's not all that's new this year. There will also be a stronger crackdown on public alcohol consumption. You could always watch it live from home. (Time Out has some other makeover suggestions, too.)

Put the Barf on My Credit Card, Please

New taxi rules -- which, as we reported in January when Mayor Emanual first proposed the reform regulations, were not without their share of controversy -- go into effect July 1. The good news is, all cabs must have credit card processing equipment and the fuel surcharge is going away. The bad news is, the flag pull rate goes up -- and there's a new $50 vomit clean-up fee.

The "Treasure of Polonia" Turns 75

The Polish Museum of America turns 75 this year, and just mounted a new retrospective exhibit. It's looking for more support to stay open, though -- give a hand if you can.

Your Local Pooper Scooper

Ravenswood-based sells biodegradable, compostable bags for cleaning up after your dog.

Welcome to the Near North

Connect Near North is a new site covering, you guessed it, the Near North Side.

The Time of Death is Now

Thirty-four people were shot, five killed this weekend. The Tribune spent Saturday night in the trauma center at Stroger Hospital documenting the experience.

"We gotta believe it."

Scott Turow reflects on Chicago's second city syndrome and its urge to be considered world class.

The Chocolate Shake Gets Melted

Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visit the Wiener's Circle.

Redacted No More

Last night's Redacted, a benefit at the Hideout for 826CHI that was sponsored by the A.V. Club, brought out the nation's best comics. Pics after the jump.

The lineup:
Dan Telfer (who also hosted)
Cameron Esposito
Eddie Pepitone (whose documentary The Bitter Buddha opens tonight at the Siskel)
Amy Schumer
Kyle Kinane
Pete Holmes
Patton Oswalt
Janeane Garafalo
Brian Posehn
Hannibal Buress (appearing Saturday at Chicago Theater)
Aziz Ansari (performing two shows tonight at the Chicago Theater; tickets still available sold out)

In short, it was brilliant.


Aziz Ansari


Patton Oswalt


Amy Schumer

Street Sweeping Alerts

For those tired of getting street sweeping tickets, it's worth checking out TktTxt, a free reminder service that notifies you by text or email about upcoming cleanings. It's currently operational for two wards, with more being added this week. (There's also SweepAround.Us.) [via]

"Chicago is two cities."

So says Mary Schmich in her latest column, on the violent summer we've had so far.

This Is (Midwest) Living

Hyde Park, Roscoe Village/North Center and Logan Square get shouted out as three of the city's must-see (and shop, and eat) neighborhoods.

Speaking of Faltering...

Chicago may be losing ground, but Mayor Emanuel's trying to shore up the city with the help of a non-profit board that'll seek private investors for public works projects.

The Faltering Second City

Chicago's renaissance in the 1990s and early 2000s has slid considerably in recent years. The Urbanophile, Aaron Renn, breaks down some of the reasons in City Journal.

Beware the Rabbit in the Shrubbery

Out in Galewood, kids know how to have a good time -- by staging a backyard production of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, for instance. [via]

Grailwood: Actors realizing audience is armed with water balloons

Photo by Bryan Bedell. The show was staged by EDGE Youth Theater.

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Claire Zulkey has a great neighbor, and it's a bar.

Fresh Fruit: Coming Soon to a Curb Near You

Even though the term "food desert" has been the subject of some debate lately, the City Council's decision to allow mobile produce trucks has got to be good for folks who don't have easy access to grocery stores -- or who just want a really, really ripe peach.

Southwest Wasteland

Crain's shows which wards have the highest number of vacant homes. Compare that with the economic hardship map we linked to earlier this week.

Groupon Selling Taste Tickets

A change to Taste of Chicago's free open seating policy for concerts and chef events: this year, the City has chosen Groupon as the exclusive ticket retailer for both, concert tickets going for $25 apiece, and Celebrity Chef du Jour tickets for $40. Advance sales start 10am Friday, on the Taste's website.

Putting the L in "Old"

Today commemorates the 120th anniversary of the first L system.

Times are Tough, but not All Over

The richest and poorest neighborhoods are basically where you'd expect: the Near North and Southwest Side, according to new hardship data.

Andersonville: It's a Good Thing

Martha Stewart visits.

Howard Brown's Controversial CEO

Time Out's Novid Parsi tells the tale of Jamal Edwards' tumultuous rise to power at the Howard Brown Health Center.

Help Them to the Car

Toyota is running a Facebook competition called 100 Cars for Good. There are a bunch of non-profit organizations in Illinois competing for your votes to win a car, including several in Chicago: the Japanese American Service Committee, La Casa Norte, Open Books and Streetwise.

Power v. People

A.V. Club Chicago interviews Dominic Pacyga, author of Chicago: A Biography, on Chicago's history of anti-protestor violence.

Balfour is not Englewood's Fault

William Balfour was found guilty of killing Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew on Friday; Natalie Moore writes in Ebony that Englewood is not to blame.

NATO Diplomats: Ignore the Guides

Patrick Reardon recommends you see the "real" Chicago instead, by driving down Western Avenue or wandering Avondale or Woodlawn.

The Sun Sets on the Outfit

While gang activity has been on the rise, the Mob has been in decline.

Picking Up the Grid

The week of June 11, the 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th and 50th wards and most of the 40th and 44th will move to a grid system for trash pickup.

CPD Ignoring Police Misconduct?

A Chicago Reporter investigation discovered some startling stats: more than a third of police misconduct cases involved officers with multiple complaints, and just 1 percent of the police force was responsible for more than 25 percent of payouts in misconduct cases. Read more in the current issue of the Reporter.

It'd Be Faster to Ride a Horse than the Red Line

Chicago Mag's got a cool photo retrospective of CTA cars.

NATO's Fact Check Fail

Chicago is hosting the NATO summit this month, and to educate world leaders on the rich culture of the city, a video was released on YouTube. The video featured sweeping shots of the Bean and McCormick place, and such egregious errors as naming Chicago the capital of Illinois, and claiming Barack Obama grew up here. The video is now listed as "private" on YouTube.

MANIFEST: Columbia College's South Loop Extravaganza

Today Columbia College presents Manifest, its annual celebration of student work now in its 11th year. The event kicks off with what they are calling the Great Convergence, a spectacle that is to include a collaborative effort from many of the college's performing and fine arts disciplines. The festivities turn the South Loop into an sprawling outdoor extravaganza. Manifest begins at noon at 1001 S. Wabash Ave.

The Gift that Kept on Giving

Hyde Park's Big Girl Makeup Bar and Spa has a fun connection to Oprah; the company's owner was one of the recipients of the legendary car giveaway episode in 2004, and rather than keep the prize, she sold it and used the proceeds to fund her business.

Remembering Ingrid Bergstrom

Grub Street expands on the obituary for Ingrid Bergstrom, matriarch of a long-gone gathering place for Chicago's Scandinavian community.

"Come on Down the Central Lakeview"

Inspired by the new Chicago anthem, every neighborhood in the city is getting its own awkward theme song! The Central Lakeview Merchants Association gets it started.

Cool Place by the Tracks

Apartment Therapy offers a peek inside one of the gorgeous apartments in the Substation Lofts North in Edgewater.

Meet the City's Newest Harbor

The Public Building Commission posted a pretty comprehensive photograph set of the brand new 31st Street Harbor.

Somewhere Over the Rainbo

"Wicker Park in 1990 was in the earliest stages of gentrification, and it had features familiar to anyone who'd grown up in a crumbling Rust Belt town: Decay, limitation, the creativity demanded by making do." Zoe Zolbrod explains how the old Wicker Park made her fall in love with Chicago.

NATO Awareness

Chicago Magazine has assembled a "NATO Weekend Survival Guide," going over closures, protest zones and where you can get involved.

Reducing the City's Glow

The Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting is trying to reduce the amount of light pollution produced in Chicagoland and other parts of the state. Dim Your Lights offers some easy ways to make nighttime a little darker.

For Sale by Neighorhood

Local home prices rose in February. Chicago magazine totes up home prices and trends by neighborhood.

Gang Diversity in Rogers Park

The ethnic makeup of gangs in Rogers Park is as mixed as the neighborhood itself, a police audit finds.

Love Hurts Sometimes

NewCity shares a story of painful love and sexuality. (If you like that, you might enjoy these stories of Chicago's fetish scene and BDSM among senior citizens from our archives.)

The New East Side?

Crain's asks, is the "New Eastside" a real neighborhood? (As opposed to the original East Side, which has been a neighborhood for a very long time.)

The Greek Parade Crisis

The annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Greektown on April 22 may be smaller than usual after a year of organizational turmoil.

Spring is Here, and So Should You

Whether you just arrived from somewhere else or you've been here your whole life, Chicago is ripe for discovery and adventure in the spring. Don't be afraid to be a local tourist; take that Ferris wheel ride at Navy Pier and have that sunset Champagne at the Signature Room...but don't forget to explore the road less traveled too. Check out these touristy but oh-so-fun springtime activities and then, after you rested and recharged, put on your walking shoes and enjoy a few of the less obvious treats that our city has to offer. Now get out there and enjoy!!!

Remembering Ricky Bradley

Todd Diederich (previously on GB) reports on the murder of Ricky Bradley in K-Town for Vice. More on his blog.

Blue Carts for All

The City will expand the Blue Cart recycling program citywide in 2013, Mayor Emanuel announced yesterday.

Shoes on a Wire

The Atlantic explores the phenomenon of shoes thrown over telephone wires via comments on a Rogers Park Everyblock thread.

Go Green Cheaply

Do you look at your yard and think about putting in trees or plants and then get overwhelmed by the price? Do you like the idea of having a compost bin or rain barrel, but not the idea of buying what you need? Let the city of Chicago reimburse you for half of your cost.

Chicago's 25 Douchiest Bars

Craving the worst of the worst of Chicago's thriving nightlife? The good people at Complex Magazine have compiled 25 of the Windy City's worst bars/clubs. Presumably, they did that so, hopefully, you won't have to. I used the City Life/Cultural tag, but, yeah, "Cultural."

Da Hist'ry a Dat Dere Accent

Whet Moser digs deeply into how the Chicago accent came to be.

Give This Man a Dollar

A panhandler with an excellent idea: set up next to the State Street preacher and add a little commentary.

A Death at Montrose Dog Beach

Mondog, the Montrose Dog Beach community site, reports the death of one dog in the jaws of another, and its owner's apparent remorselessness about the killing. The owners of the deceased pet are trying to contact the killer dog's owner, who snuck off instead of taking responsibility.

Birthday on the Make

Today marks what would have been author Nelson Algren's 103rd birthday.

Victorian Redone

Designslinger takes a closer look at Theophil Studios, one of the artist-reworked homes on Burton Place in Old Town. View additional images of the building and others by the artist in our gallery of photographs from a book about his work.

Chicago's Top 10 Lesbians

Fantastic Chicago-based Lesbian website The L Stop, (aka "the one stop for everything lesbian in Chicago") just published their list of the 10 Chicago Lesbians to Look Out For.

Obama's Neighbors

Ever wonder what it's like to live next door to the leader of the free world?

Myths Busted at the Museum of Science and Industry

An interactive exhibit based on the Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" opened at the Museum of Science and Industry today.

Armstrong's Park District Position

Former Bulls star and current agent of the reigning MVP, BJ Armstrong, has been appointed to the city's Park District Board. "One of Armstrong's duties will be to oversee a renovation project of 100 outdoor basketball courts around the city," the Tribune reports.

Remember When Taste of Chicago Concerts Were Free?

If you want a seat in the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park during Taste of Chicago this year, you may have to shell out $25 due to a new ordinance being introduced by Mayor Emanuel. The lawn is still free though!

Singles Event with a Twist

What do single cancer survivors have in common with millions of other singletons in the United States? They also braving the ocean of the dating world looking for some love, except they often have a way more interesting life stories to share. Check out MeSoFar's Me vs. Cancer event and hear the stories of 10 single cancer survivors and mix and mingle after the show. Added bonus, all proceeds benefit Imerman's Angles. The event is on April 7th at Den Theater. Buy your tickets here.


In what can only result in days of "No Soup for You" headlines, The State of Illinois is a vote away from banning all shark fin trade in the state. Between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed annually, and while most are consumed overseas, Illinois is one the the country's largest consumers.

Bust-Your-Own Myths

Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition will be at the Museum of Science and Industry from March 15 through Sep. 3, and looks like a lot of fun. Chicago Magazine has a look at one of the 14 interactive exhibits.

Fundraiser for Susan Stursberg @ Gold Star Bar

Help one of Chicago's most beloved bar owners: Susan Stursberg of Gold Star Bar (1735 W. Division) was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A GiveForward campaign has been launched on her behalf to help with medical bills.

Chirish All Year Round

Why head to Beverly except to hit up the South Side Irish Parade? The Chicagoist starts you off with five reasons.

Becoming a Chicagoan

The Huffington Post wants to know what the moment was when you knew you were a Chicagoan. Assuming, of course, that moment wasn't birth.

Com Ed Offer to Save Money by Recycling Appliances

Got an old refrigerator, freezer or air conditioner you've been putting off getting rid of? Save money by recycling these items. Com Ed is offering a free pick up service to its customers and offering upwards to $50 per item (limit two). To get green for going green, schedule a pick up before May 31.

Security Blanket

In light of the NYPD's recently revealed spying efforts on Muslims, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy promised that the department "does not and will not conduct blanket surveillance and profiling of any community in the city of Chicago."

Happy Casimir Pulaski Day

Schools, county and city offices and the libraries are closed today; apparently we're just lucky we TadeuszKościuszko is hard to pronounce.

Birthday, Interrupted

A celebration of Chicago's 175th birthday with Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago History Museum was interrupted by a group protesting the closure and consolidation of city mental health clinics.

Happy 175th, Chicago

Chicago celebrates its demisemiseptcentennial (or dodransbicentennial) today. Neil Steinberg lists 175 years of inventions and innovations born in Chicago.

Happy Birth Incorporation Day

There's a lot of buzz going around about the city's "birthday" this Sunday, including a daunting list provided by the Sun Times filled with ways to celebrate it. However, because March 4th marks city's incorporation rather than the day it was founded, it's arguable that Sunday better resembles the day it got its first job.

Homeless Away from Home

Among the last stories published by the Chicago News Cooperative as it suspended operations was one about the fate of homeless undocumented immigrants.

New Opera from Chicago

The Lyric Opera announced it will host the world premiere of "Bel Catno," as part of its Renée Fleming Initiative. It will be the seventh premiere the Lyric has commissioned since 1961.

The Not So Great State of Illinois

Illinois is second only to California in unpopularity, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic Party-affiliated polling firm. [via]

Kids Make the Darndest Accusations

The Skokie Public Library is hosting a DIY Lie Detector Machine workshop for students on March 6. Sorry, adults; you have to be between grades 6-12 to participate.

"A Dead Person Smell"

Claire Zulkey writes about death in the city on The Hairpin.

10 Rappers on the Rise

Complex magazine has compiled a list of ten rappers to look for in 2012.

Common's Freestyle Flow at Park West Theater

Hip-hop artist Common joined Johnson publishing CEO Desiree Rogers at Thursday night's 28 Days program hosted by AT&T. He wrapped up the evening with a freestyle over the "Sweet" beat off of his album, The Dreamer, The Believer.

It's Not the Green Tom Show

Comedian, talk show host, and oddball actor Tom Green will be at Zanies, 1548 N Wells St., tonight and tomorrow at 8:30pm. There will be a second performance at 10:30pm; tomorrow only. Check the Slowdown Calendar for ticket information after taking a look at one of his earlier visits to the city below.

Secretary of State's Secret Celebration Today at Noon

The secret's out: The office of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is celebrating African-American Heritage Month at 12pm today at the State of Illinois Building, 100 W. Randolph, with a musical program featuring Chicago hip hop star Lupe Fiasco, jazz vocalist Dee Alexander, radio icon, V103's Herb Kent, Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child) and others.

The City's Culture Needs Your Input

Want to help influence the Chicago Cultural Plan? There's one last meeting tonight from 6pm to 8pm at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Tweeting for Change in Uptown

ChicagoTalks examines how social media is being used in Uptown to keep residents safe and help each other.

The Loop Gets Colorful

This year's Art Loop installation will be Jessica Stockholder's "Color Jam." The installation will involve wrapping an intersection on State Street with colorful sculptures, paintings and possibly even fabric. [via]

MacArthur Rewards Local Creative & Effective Institutions

Community Investment Corporation and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest are two of this year's recipients of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Under Downtown

Newcity takes a "subterranean safari" through the city's underground pedway network- an odd, sprawling area littered with shops where the city's own map is out of date. (Our own two-part pedway tour could probably use some updating, too.)

New Tumblr in Town

If you love old photos of Chicago as much as we do, new blog Chicago Past looks extremely promising.

175 Reasons Chicagoans Love Chicago

Here's a brief video asking 35 locals why they love Chicago — and which is part of the "175 Ways to Love Chicago" project.

Is Beverly Ready?

City Hall is questioning whether the organization bringing back the South Side Irish Parade is really able to handle it.

LGB or T and looking for Monogamy!

MeSoFar is hosting its very first LGBT event on Feb. 19th at the Den Theatre! The event will feature 10 single "presenters" who will each give six-minute slideshows about themselves to 50 other single audience members. Speakers and listeners mingle during and after the presentations. The speakers are already lined up but there are still some spots open for listeners. Sign up soon!

Abused Dog to Begin New Chapter: Are You the Author?

Isis, the Shepard/terrier mix in East Garfield Park whose owners were charged with animal cruelty after casting her off and leaving her to be beaten by neighborhood kids, will be available for adoption soon; Animal Care and Control (2741 South Western) will be accepting applications this Saturday from noon to 6pm. CACC also has many wonderful animals available for adoption as well; come by and get your next pet!

Here's a recent pic of Isis:

Wards Old and New

The Tribune's new Maps & Apps bit lets you see the old and new ward maps side by side, as well as check if your address will end up in a different one.

Help Culturize Chicago

The City just announced the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012, and it's looking for your input online or at a series of town hall meetings later this month.

Cute and Nerdy Men Wanted!

Where's a nerdy guy or gal suppose to find love post-college these days? At the Oak Park Library of course! The library is hosting a "Shaken and Stirred" speed dating and online dating panel on Sat. 11 February. The list is full of lovely ladies but some book-loving men are still needed. Sign up today!

Between Two Worlds

What's it like being a bi-cultural resident of Chicago? Brazilian-American artist Bia Gayotto asks in her latest piece, Somewhere in Between: Chicago, 2011.

Somewhere in Between: Chicago, 2011 from Bia Gayotto on Vimeo.

A City Still Divided

Chicago remains one of the most segregated cities in America, a new study finds, but it also saw the second-largest decline in segregation between 2010 and 200.

Organic Beats in Oak Park

Chicago hip hop artists Sev Seveer and Defcee launched Organic Beat Market, a youth-mentorship organization set on "breaking down stigmas around the culture by working with parents and teens directly." Two of the program's participants just released the organization's pilot project, The Promse EP.

Shit Chicagoans Say, Take 2

Another "Shit Chicagoans Say" video was just released, just a little behind that other "Shit Chicagoans Say" video. If you're a North Sider, this one probably sounds more like it to you.

We had a "You might be a Chicagoan if..." thread in Fuel back in 2007; it's interesting to see how many of the bits from that thread showed up in both of these.

Bueller? Bueller? Back for the Super Bowl?

Bears aren't in it, which mutes much of my interest in the game, but the commercials still got a shot at tuning me in. I caught wind of this 10-second teaser, featuring the hometown '80s icon and all time favorite bad influence Ferris Bueller, who looks ready for some mid-life madness.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Bedbugs (But Were Afraid to Ask)

The Reader's cover story on bedbugs is terrifying for a number of reasons- one of which is that the species is on the rise in Chicago.

Can We Name it After David Lee Roth?

The Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and the Trust for Public Land invite you to help design a future park at Milwaukee and Leavitt that will be an access point for the Bloomingdale Trail. The meeting is tonight at 6:30pm at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley.

Hull House Closing Friday

The Jane Addams Hull House Association, which last week announced that it would be forced to close by the end of March, will in fact be closing tomorrow.

Give Ultimate Props

If you know someone who makes a difference in small ways and large, nominate them for placement in Facing History's upcoming Choosing to Participate exhibit.

Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Happy [belated] Chinese New Year! Parade and activities will be held in Chinatown on the 29th of January. Activities begin around 11:30am, the parade steps off at 1pm.

Jellyfish Looking for Bumblebee

Time Out Chicago tries to decode a mysterious flyer hung around town. (Does that say "Louie" under the bee?)

Life on the Street

The RedEye reports that, despite rises in a few neighborhoods, homicide rates were down 2% overall in 2011 from 2012. Check your specific area here.

Technology Follows Us Home

Eric Fisher, who created the cool map of locals vs. tourists on flickr a couple years ago, made a new map of Chicago showing people going home, via their tweets.

Is this the structure of Chicago?

Via Twitter (of course), Fischer said, "[The map] is paths from one geotagged tweet to the next by the same person, routed along the most heavily geotagged path in between." In a comment on Flickr, he clarified, "Keep in mind this is trying to be a map of travel from locations to other locations, not of individual tweets. The individual tweets are just to guide the paths. I think what you are seeing here is mostly a lot of travel between O'Hare and the Loop, not a particular tendency to tweet while driving on that route. (Also, the Edens is hardly represented here at all. Those two big routes to the north and northwest are Clark Street and Milwaukee Avenue."

Flashback Footage from The Blizzard of 1979

WGN-TV footage from the city's fourth worst blizzard in history, that brought down nearly 19 inches of snow from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 1979.

MTV's Underemployed Shoots This Spring

From writer Craig Wright (Dirty, Sexy Money, Lost, Six Feet Under), director Troy Miller (Parks And Recreation), and the channel that used to show music videos, comes, yet another scripted series, that is scheduled to shoot in the city this April.

Sidewalk Law

Domu put out a series of articles, one of which is a comprehensive guide to snow removal on city sidewalks- where the legal responsibilities fall and Illinois law regarding liability in the event of an accident.

Feeling Saucy?

It is Dolly Parton Day in Illinois, after all.

Exploring Ways to Love Chicago

For the next 35 days, ExploreChicago is sharing "175 Ways to Love Chicago." And if getting to know the city is your new year's resolution, ExploreChicago has your back with neighborhood tours.

South Side Irish Parade Is Back

The Sun-Times broke news this weekend that the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade would be returning after three years' absence. But not everyone is thrilled, and many are skeptical that the organizers will be able to keep public drinking away from the parade.

A Touching Tribute

At the close of last night's "Saturday Night Live," castmember Vanessa Bayer wore a shirt printed with a picture of Mike Enriquez, a veteran Chicago improviser who died last week following a battle with cancer.

Enough to Make Your Head Spin

Just happened upon some footage that features some of the best bboys, or breakdancers, in the city, battling it out at the Alternatives Youth Center back in November.

Pit Bull Pride

Chicagoist profiles Chicago SociaBulls, a walking club and community for owners of pit bulls and other "bully breed" dogs founded by the blog Two Pitties in the City.

Your Love Song {Here}

Submit your favorite love song at by Feb. 10 and you might win a place for it in this year's V-Day playlist on State Street's Lightscape, a choreographed song and light show in the Loop. The winner will also receive a romantic getaway package at theWit. Contestants may also tweet songs to #LIGHTSCAPE or text "Lightscape" to 33938.

WPB Gets a New Site

The Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce has relaunched its website, with event listings and a special deal section.

$45 Million Mess

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security looked at Project Shield, Cook County's security measure which outfitted squad cars with cameras able to send live feed, amongst other things. Though installation began in 2005, the recent investigation found that everything that could go wrong, well, did.

More than Comiskey & Schaller's Pump

It's about time you explored Bridgeport (assuming you don't live there).

Helping Prostitutes Get Their Wings

WINGS, a Cook County Court program aimed at rehabilitating prostitutes, is barely a year old, but already it's having an effect. In Mechanics, Sarah Ostman shares the story of the first woman to go through the program.

Sort of Celebrity Sightings

What's the expiration date of celebrity status? The Tribune features a collection of photos that, while including some Chicago greats, goes into a debatable realm of relevance in terms of the people that still pass for famous.

Drop Me Off in Uptown

Uptown won the 2011 Curbed Cup for best neighborhood.

So Much for Shit

As his resolution for 2012, Mayor Emanuel is giving up his cherished set of four-letter words, admitting, "I'd like to do something about my potty mouth." Whether or not he can be the same Rahm is up for debate, with one aide commenting, "It's gonna be like Samson losing his hair."

Weekday Art

Through Feb 10, weekday admission to the Art Institute is free for all Illinois residents.

Bare Strangers on a Train

The annual No Pants Ride on CTA takes place this Sunday.

Now That Winter is Here...

Last winter Google engineer Brian "Fitz" Fitzpatrick shared his advice on how to survive winter in Chicago. It's always good advice.

Cobbling Together Work

A UIC student tells Mashable how she picks up odd jobs to make ends meet while going to school.

"Muslim Christmas"

Cab driver Yousef C. tells a touching tale of filling in as Santa for an injured passenger. [via]

Fitting Twist for Team's Logo

The street-wear shop, Leaders, carries crewneck sweaters featuring the city's favorite bull masked for either the blistering cold or an old-fashioned mugging. Its title suggests the latter.

Monday is a Holiday, Too

Just a reminder, more than a few businesses and government offices will be closed today, including City and state offices, post offices and Chicago Public Libraries.

Newcity's Top 5

For the list-inclined: Newcity's annual Top 5 of Everything. Maybe the only time you'll find mentions of Sherwood Schwartz and watermelon mojitos in the same place.


Yes Virginia, there are Latino nerds.

Zoo Lights: Not Too Late, Get Into the Holiday Spirit

Still looking for some holiday activities, go out tonight and enjoy the Zoo Lights at either of the city's zoos. Brookfield Zoo Lights runs from the 26th through the 31st. Regular admission fees apply with lights on from 4 to 9pm. Lincoln Park Zoo Lights runs nightly through January 1. Admission is free to the public and lights begin at 5pm until 9pm. Both are closed the holiday weekend Dec 24-25th. Don't forget to dress warm!

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 32

You can think outside the box and outside the season with Weird Chicago's gift certificates for either its ghostly, or gangster tours.

Daley, Clark & the Christmas Clowns

Footage from a 1960s Chicago Christmas parade shows the city's 48th mayor Richard J. Daley, the legendary Dick Clark, and curiously enough, some creepy clowns in cars.

Chicago is Great; Illinois Hates Us

Chicago was named the fourth most economically powerful city in the world by The Atlantic. Meanwhile, the idea that the rest of Illinois should separate from Chicago is still getting play. The Huffington Post Chicago sums up the dramatics nicely.

While we're on the topic of city cred, Chicago ranked 26th in the Mori Memorial Foundation's Global Power City Index this year, we're the fourth most walkable city in America (previously), and came in sixth in the Chicago Council of Global Affairs' 2010 Global Cities Index (previously). So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Foodstuffs of Fictional Old

Happy lunch time. A local graphic designer is eating his way through "A Game of Thrones."

Exploring Underground

Redditor Raidicus shares the story of exploring the tunnels beneath his North Shore high school. (If this piqued your interest, you might want to check out the urban exploration Meetup group.)

Furries on Parade

WBEZ's Jason Marck and Eilee Heikenen-Weiss went to Midwest FurFest. Here's their report.

And here's the The Fur Suit Parade!

Santa in the Subway

Never thought about it before: the CTA Holiday Train goes through the subway, not just up on the elevated tracks. CTO John Tolva caught Santa arriving in the Blue Line tunnel this weekend; he'll be jingling down the Red Line tracks today and this weekend.

Intelligent Design

A new website catered to "major design cities," is a social networking site that helps you keep track of design events, resources, and the people behind them.

Chads Before Bros

Gawker declared "Chad" to be the new term for the stereotype heretofore known as a "bro." Yet another example of New Yorkers thinking they came up with something Chicagoans have been doing for years. (Wait till they find out about Trixies.)

Welcoming New Americans

As part of his goal to make Chicago the most "immigrant friendly city in the world," Emmanuel established the Office of New Americans. WBEZ spoke with the office's head, Adolfo Hernandez, about how he'll meet that goal.

Representing the Hood

Presenting The Chicago Neighborhoods, because "we can agree that a neighborhood with a logo is better than a neighborhood without." [via]

Be a Benevolent Benefactor

Benevolent is a new Evanston-based crowdfunding site with a twist: it's oriented toward individuals in need, who are "validated" by a nonprofit. The campaign goals are usually low, so even small pledges make a big difference.

Vote for Chicago's Heroes

It's time to vote for next year's city stickers. The theme this year is "Chicago's Heroes."

Wide Open Spaces

The city has 500 more acres of public open space than it did in 1998 -- but there's more to be done.

Short-Flip This House

If you thought house flipping ended when the real estate bubble burst, you'd be wrong. WBEZ explains how short sales became a flipper's tool.

Climb a Trojan Horse

And enjoy other maybe slightly less interactive exhibits such as Meet Homer and The Marathon, at The National Hellenic Museum, set to open to the public on Dec 10.

Feasting on Uncertainty

While discussing the One City, One Food Drive campaign, Emmanuel announced, "One in six Cook County residents is food insecure, or uncertain of where their next meal will come from." If the surplus on your table so moves you to donate, find out how with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Surveying Our Surveilled City

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon points out some serious privacy concerns surrounding the proliferation of surveillance cameras in Chicago.

State Street Gets Artsy with Xmas Lights

The Chicago Loop Alliance is ditching white Christmas lights in the trees this year in favor of a light-based art exhibit called "Lightscape" that will blast holiday music from speakers mounted in LED-lit, 9-foot-tall "prairie grass" stalks. The installation will remain up year-round for five years -- presumably not playing the music the whole time.

Chicago Loop Alliance: Lightscape Behind the Scenes from Nick Brazinsky on Vimeo.

Leaving Chicago

Chicagoist takes a look at population comings and goings in Cook County.

Staying Secure?

The latest issue of the Chicago Reporter focuses on the impact of the Secure Communities initiative on local immigrant communities.

Lap of Luxury/Air Mattress in the Hall

Curbed Chicago makes its picks for the best and worst AirBnB options in the city.

What's Your Neighborhood Like?

Explore the city through NabeWise, a site that sort of acts like a Yelp for neighborhoods.

Kevin Byrne: Exhibit-in-Residence

The Tribune's Steve Johnson spends some time with The Museum of Science and Industry's contest-winning month-long tenant, Uptowner Kevin Byrne.

No Smooching on the Bus

A CTA bus driver allegedly tried to kick a gay couple off the 146 for kissing, according to Windy City Times.

Let's Hear It For the Store

Matador Records has a keen blog piece gushing about the emergence of awesome indie record stores while others are sadly closing. They give some love to Chicago-area stores Saki (Chicago-Logan Square), Cyklopx (Forest Park), and to Permanent Records' expansion out west from Chicago.

Top 5 To-Do

Chicago Magazine picks their best events for November.

Tickets for Not Shoveling Actually Being Written

With the advent of several infrastructure tech upgrades ("mobile electronic ticketing"), it's no longer a hassle for your alderman to write you up for the small stuff. Which, at $50 to $100 per offense, quickly becomes not so small. (See also: remove all your old city stickers.)

Freedom to Ride

The Associated Press visited the Blackstone Bicycle Works, which gives South Side kids an opportunity to work and gain the "freedom" of a set of wheels.

Chicago Ranks 3rd in Trick-or-Treat Index

Based on number of children 5-14, median household income, walkability and "creative spirit," Chicago-Naperville-Joliet is edged out by only New York-Northern New Jersey and Bridgeport-Stamford.

"Smoking Out" Gangsters

How do you keep gang members from hanging out on your street corner? Try a cookout.

Occupy Chicago in the Fall: Sure. But in the Winter?

Time Out Chicago speculates on whether the protests can survive a less pleasant set of conditions. Also provided is a short list of tips on how to participate without being arrested.

Get That Dog a License

He may not be able to drive, but your pooch still needs a dog license in the City of Chicago, and less than 5 percent of Chicagoans have been buying them. Starting next year, you'll get fined unless fido has a bit of official City jewelry on his collar. Licenses range from $5 to $50.

The Parade Needs People

With Thanksgiving only a month away, organizers for the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade are still looking for volunteers to do anything from carry banners in the parade to, um, cleaning up after the horses as part of the "poo crew." Visit to learn more.

Ain't 'Fraid of No Ghosts

Eric Lutz goes touring the haunted countryside in NewCity.

The Great Reverse Migration

Why are blacks leaving Chicago and moving back to the South? Trymaine Lee reports.

Vote for the Official Chicago Christmas Tree

The three finalists for the Official Christmas Tree of the City of Chicago have been chosen. and now it's up to you to vote for your favorite. The tree will of course sit in front of Daley Plaza this holiday season so make your vote count.

"Helping" Through Fraudulent Means

Scam artists prey on illegal immigrants in a variety of ways -- including exploiting the confusion between licenciada and abogado.

Hope She Hasn't Been Snacking on Security Guards After Hours

Sue the T-rex was a lot heavier than originally thought. About three tons heavier.

Working Lunch

While City Hall works on trimming the budget, some Water Management workers were grilling burgers in a construction site.

Why's the Power Out?

The Tribune has assembled a searchable database of all significant ComEd power outages in Illinois since 2008 with, most interestingly, the cause of the outage. From the looks of it: bad PR for trees.

Angels in Boystown

The Chicago chapter of the Guardian Angels is considering Boystown for its headquarters. The organization hasn't had a central office in more than a decade.

Let Them Think About It

The Pro Bono Thinking Society wants to help you with your problem. Meet'em for drinks next Tuesday.

Imminently Walkable

Speaking of Walk Score, Chicago was recently ranked fourth most walkable city by the service. (Thanks, Dee!)

Pullman is Great

Historic Pullman was named one of America's great neighborhoods by the American Planning Association. [via]

Drugs & Shenanigans & Glitter

Cameron Esposito talks about a bizarre proposition at 2am outside Berlin.

Cafeteria Nation

Jamie Oliver wants to know about your kid's school lunches. Fresh and healthy, chemical-laden, or somewhere in between, upload your photos and rate others' contributions here.

#occupychicago Launches Live Video Feed

A live feed has been launched for #occupychicago, the solidarity protest movement for #occupywallstreet.

You, Me, Them, Art and the L

Local film director Jack C. Newell is gathering information for a large public art project that would incorporate the Loop L tracks, and he wants your input.

Murder, Matrimony & Magic Markers

Over in A/C, we've launched our "graphic journalism" feature series. The first story follows a Chicago woman through her marriage at the Cook County courthouse to her fiancé, an inmate at the county jail who will eventually be tried for first-degree murder.

#occupywallstreet Breeds Chicago Protest Effort #occupychi

The social media-driven economic and class protest effort known by the Twitter hashtag #occupywallstreet has bred its own Chicago version under the similarly tagged #occupychi. Support for the so-called "99%-ers" has most recently drawn the attention of Keith Olbermann.

Guilty in the Eyes of the CHA

The Chicago Reporter's latest issue tackles the CHA's "one strike" policy, which evicts tenants after a single arrest -- sometimes even if there's no conviction.

The Buffet Rule in Chicago

The Reader's got some numbers on how many in the city would be affected by Obama's proposed tax on those making more than a million dollars.

Watching Wicker Park

Security cameras are coming to Wicker Park, the park, after one too many costly acts of vandalism. Ald. Moreno blames the damage on "disrespectful trust-fund babies who think it's cool to be homeless."

Outta that Car!

Tomorrow is the Active Trans Alliance's Car-Free Day--instead of driving, try taking mass transit, or walk/bike to your destination(s). I donated my last car to WTTW a few years ago, which was a relief for me and my beloved wheels--perhaps it's time to get rid of your jalopy?

Blue Lights on Crime

The Urban Institute released a study today find that Chicago's "blue light camera" program helped reduce crime in one neighborhood but not in another. GB took a look at the blue light cameras in Mechanics back in February and found their effectiveness to be similarly inconclusive, and wondered if the cost justified the program.

All Aboard the Groupon See-Saw!

According to a report in The New York Times, Groupon seems to have overcome its recent SEC problems and fears of market volatility, and appears back on track to move ahead with its IPO.

Chicago to Pioneer New Online Crime Data-Tracking Initiative

Starting today, Chicago will pioneer the release of data on crime for the city, including information dating back to 2001, over 4.6 million incidents.

How Sexy are You?

Time Out wants to know.

Living Underwater

One quarter of all mortgages in Chicagoland are underwater (i.e., owe more than the property is worth).

Return of the Chicken Ban Quest, 18th Ward Version

The Chicago News Cooperative has Alderman Lona Lane back at her seemingly otherworldly need to ban the raising of live chickens, this time only seeking approval of the ban in her home ward.

Local Ag Wins!

Yesterday, Chicago's City Council passed a well-supported urban agriculture ordinance. The Mayor's proposed ordinance expanded limits on community garden plot size to 25,000 square feet, allow limited produce sales in residentially zoned areas, relax rules on fencing and parking for large commercial urban farms, and allow aquaponics outdoors in hoop houses.

New Developments in Chicago Casino Bill Debate

New developments via CNC's New York Times section outlines advances in state legislators' position on a bill for a proposed Chicago-owned casino. House sponsor Representative Lou Lang (Democrat, Skokie) states that further delays by Governor Quinn will spur a presentation of the bill as is, barring any outline of "his concerns 'in short order.'"

Taboo Tabou Launches Burlesque Series

Sex toy boutique Taboo Tabou has announced the first in a monthly burlesque performance series starting this Tuesday with a showcase featuring Scarlett Deville and the Deville-ettes, Titty Perkins and Ruby Dee. The action starts at the Belmont store location at 8pm. $5 suggested donation.

Cook County Pot Possession Rules Now More Enforceable

Possession of more than 10 grams can now get you in real trouble, reports the Sun-Times. No, seriously: you might even get a ticket.

Rahm on the Parking Meters

The Reader pieces together a timeline of his statements about the meter-lease deal, showing a bit less consistency than most of us would probably like.

Resistance Movement to 2012 Chicago G8 Summit Forms

A small but growing resistance movement has begun to form in response to the G8 Summit scheduled to take place in Chicago May 15-22, 2012. Organizers have recently launched a Facebook page with extensive information on the meeting. A Wikipedia entry with additional information is also available.

Phyllis' Musical Inn After-Openings Art Dance Party

Looking for the cool after party this Friday night? Weary art-goers will find refuge from the drudgery of making the citywide gallery circuit at the Fourth Annual After-Openings Dance Party at Phyllis' Musical Inn. Hosted by artists and local art world mainstays John Phillips and Nevin Tomlinson, the action starts at 9:30pm and rolls on until 2am.

Hyde Park's Op Shop Expands into S.H.o.P.

Op Shop honcho Laura Shaeffer recently announced the expansion of her art-as-community-building project into S.H.o.P., the Southside Hub of Production. Made possible by a one-year lease at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago's Fenn House, a detailed call for involvement is up at CAR. The space is open Saturdays 10am-6pm until the grand opening on Oct. 1. More information is available at the S.H.o.P. website.

39 Kinds of Work

Check out a different, beautifully lettered definition of work on this labor-centric day in the form of Impractical Labor's "39 Kinds of Work" pamphlet. Sold through local online store Half Letter Press.

Spend Labor Day Learning About the City That Works

Head to the the Chicago History Museum tomorrow, open from 9:30am-4:30pm. Exhibits include Out in Chicago (150 years of LGBT history), Lincoln's Chicago, Unexpected Chicago, and more.

Vote for Chicago to Become "America's Most Natural City"

Safeway's sponsoring a contest and awarding the winning city $20,000 for its parks and recreation dept. Vote on Facebook through Sep 16.

Make No Small Plans

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau made a new commercial a couple years ago featuring Chicagoans (some famous) reciting a quote from Daniel Burnham.

Little-known fact: "no small plans" was one of the names Naz and I considered considered when we founded this site, before settling on Gapers Block.

Illinois Among Priciest Pot in the Nation

I'm clearly overpaying for my weed. According to the Huffington Post via Chicagoist, Illinois' weed prices are among the highest in the nation, with the average cost in Chicago of "a high-quality eighth of marijuana" clocking in at "just under $60." There's even a nifty interactive map called Price of Weed that will calculate your area's weed prices based on crowd-sourced data submitted by anonymous buyers.

More Guns = Less Crime?

John Lott looks at crime statistics before and after the gun ban overturn.


Last year, noise and tech and new media and those who love them came together in the form of the GLI.TC/H festival. For five days, the strange and wonderful ways data can be corrupted were celebrated with videos, art, coding and more. Although a success, the people behind GLI.TC/H need more than pops and errant flashes to bring it back to life. Head to their Kickstarter page to make it happen again.

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Or maybe not- turns out police lineups might not be worth all that much. Studies suggest almost one third of witness identifications are wrong. Scary numbers for cities eager to put criminals behind bars. Earlier work in Chicago helps lead the way.

The Bunny Returns to Dearborn

Maybe encouraged by buzz surrounding the upcoming show, Playboy Enterprises plans to open a stand alone Playboy Club, the first in decades, just blocks from the original.

The Effects of a Red Line Extension

In Mechanics, Christopher Gray takes a look at the impact on neighborhoods near the proposed Red Line extension on the South Side.

Exit Art Co-Founder Ingberman Dies at 59

Jeanette Ingberman, co founder of the New York's influential Exit Art Gallery with artist Papo Colo, died yesterday at the age of 59 reports the New York Observer. Given Chicago's rich history of alternative practices, Exit Art has long been a valuable entry-level resource and oasis for up-and-comers from the city and around the world.

Maria's Community Bar Celebrates Makeover Anniversary

Bridgeport favorite Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar announces a celebration of the one-year anniversary of its makeover on September 3 at both the bar and art space Co-Prosperity Sphere down the street.

MDW Fair To Return in October, Opens Call for Proposals

Chicago's breakaway-spirited MDW Fair will return this October to Bridgeport's Geolofts, and has announced that proposals for the sophomore installment are now being accepted.

Lynwood's 2008 Baggy Pants Ban Still Under Fire

With tickets being written for up to $750, you might have to sell your entire suspenders collection to pay.

Windy City Confidential

50 more "unusual" things to hit up in Chicago - not your standard guide book recs.

Strange Finds

An employee at "a junk shop in a far North Side neighborhood" chronicles some of the more unusual objects that have passed through. Example: a VHS tape labeled simply, "Secrets." Oh yeah.

Uptown Clean-Up

After 29 arrests in late July, "Operation Uptown Girl" has sent 11 to prison on narcotics charges. This follows "Operation Sugar Magnolia" in January as part of an effort to combat a rise in gang violence and drug sales in the area.

Nathan Lane, Brian Dennehy to Lead in Iceman Cometh

And with a cast that good, how bleak can it be? Coming next April to the Goodman Theater.

Competition is Fierce

The Reader's cover story this week is about Chicago's gay ball scene; for another perspective, read our own feature from January.

Grant Park Still a Mess From Lollapalooza

And with festival damage the worst it's ever been, it might not get better for another month.

Watch Where You Walk

The city's crosswalks aren't safe: that's where most pedestrians are when they're hit by vehicles, according to IDOT research. The map tells the tale.

The Youth of Chicagoland

The Tribune mapped US Census data on children under 5, and color coded it by ethnicity.

Losing the Orange Glow

The sodium vapor streetlights that bathe the city in orange are being replaced with new, more energy efficient lights that also have a more natural color.

chicago night
Photo by Kai Schreiber

No More Overnight Aid for the Homeless

The City is ending its overnight emergency services for the homeless as a result of a halving of state funding for the program. The Beachwood Reporter has a letter you can sign and send.

When Whiskers or Rex Goes South on the West Side

Chicago Animal ER, a new 24/7/365 animal emergency hospital, has opened up in the Medical District neighborhood.

Not so Cheap Rent

Apartment rental site surveyed its listings and came up with graphs of the average asking price of apartments in the 15 most popular neighborhoods. Perhaps not surprisingly, River North and Gold Coast turn out to be pretty bad deals.

A Sober South Side Irish Parade?

Beverly residents met last night to discuss whether to bring back the South Side Irish Parade for St. Patrick's Day next year. Organizers said if it comes back, there may be a "zero tolerance policy" against alcohol to avoid a repeat of the 54 arrests and public drunkenness that led to the parade's cancellation this year. Share your thoughts on the matter in Fuel.

A ydych yn Gymro yn Chicago?

Translation: Are you a Welshman in Chicago? If so, the Chicago Tafia Society is for you.

Where's West Town?

A.V. Club digs into just where West Town is. Dangerous territory.

The Video Channel of Ordinary Thought

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance launched a YouTube channel with profiles of their members and other Chicago writers.

Shooting to Kill

Chicago police have shot and killed more people so far this year than in all of 2010. Superintendent Garry McCarthy was on Eight Forty-Eight this morning to discuss police shootings.

Chicago's First Protected Bike Lane

Chicago officially completed its first protected bicycle lane on Kinzie Street between Milwaukee and Wells on Monday. The lane separates cyclist traffic from vehicle traffic by using flexible posts and painted pavement signals; read about early reactions to the lane in Tailgate. Next continuation plans are expected for Jackson Street between Halsted Street and Damen Avenue.

When it Rained, it Poured

The storm Friday night/Saturday morning dumped nearly 7 inches of rain on Chicago, breaking previous records and helping make this the wettest July ever.

Live Where You Work

Interested in a live/work space? Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st ward) is sponsoring a new ordinance set to go before the city's Zoning Committee to expand opportunities for business owners to live where they work.

Boystown Still Boiling

Tensions remain high in Boystown following several assaults in recent weeks. The alleged racial profiling isn't helping.

Call it McAllister Acres or Culkin Estates

Even though the actual Winnetka home used in the Home Alone movies is still for sale, a building company has given it a modern update and is selling a new version of its design for mass production.

We're Number 1...08

When you're gearing up to complain about how much that club sandwich costs just remember that at least according to one survey Chicago is only 108th most expensive city in the world.

Parlez Vous Français?

For the past 25 years, an endlessly changing group of francophones have gotten together every week to chat in French. Learn more in A/C on this fine Bastille Day.

Downtown Puzzle Hunt, Anyone?

If you're a dungeonmaster who is worth his weight in geldings, I shall see you next Saturday.

Presidential Maki

Hot Woks Cool Sushi's Obama-nami roll boasts a diversity of fish, a "hint of green pepper" and a political message amidst the rice and vinegar.

Want to Play at Pitchfork?

...and by "play," I mean "sell." The CHIRP Record Fair at next weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival is looking for a few more craft-sellers, record vendors, and retail oddities to join their ranks.

But Does the Carpet Match Them?

Local jewelery designer Ashley Scott's new line, "Drapes," is currently featured on fashion blog, Refiney 29.

Rockets' Red Glare

In case you missed the fireworks and don't have a lot of time to catch up, here's a video of 30 minutes of neighborhood fireworks in 30 seconds, looking west from Western and Armitage. [via]

Attacks in Boystown

A man was beaten and stabbed by a group of young people on Halsted in Boystown Sunday night; the incident was caught on tape. Ironically, a "positive loitering" rally had been held the night before, after two similar attacks in recent weeks; the rally generated controversy itself.

Storm Portal

Doesn't The Bean look like a vaguely ominous gateway to a parallel dimension? [via]

Theater on the Lake This Weekend

The Chicago Park District's Theater on the Lake presents Dental Society Midwinter Meeting. This comedic drama focusing on members at a dentistry conference, will bring laughs, unlike your last visit to the dentist's office. Theater on the Lake is located on 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive. This show opens tonight and runs through the weekend.

Sticker Shock

Bad news: your city sticker expires today. Good news: you get a 15 day grace period and have a few days still to purchase one online.

"You're playing with people's lives"

A look at the mixed income housing "experiment" that is Parkside of Old Town.

Wrigleyville Block Party

'Tis the season for outdoor festivals, even the Cubs decided to get into the act. This weekend, July 1-3, the Wrigleyille Block Party will bring food, entertainment, and Cubs fans together. Set on the east side of Clark Street between Addison Street and Waveland Avenue, the fest is open from 11am-8pm.

Mayor Showing Off?

Okay, so not only do I need to compete with all the fit runners taunting me on the Lakefront, but now the mayor is bragging about his fitness routine?!

Inferno of Pizza Comes to Logan

The western end of Logan Square's getting a new, spicy pizza place. Offering slices and BYOB, Dante's Pizzeria comes courtesy of Georg Simos (High Dive, The Rocking Horse) and a few people from Santullo's and Piece.

City Rewards Your Green Thumb with Some Green

Chicago residents that have created environmentally-friendly landscapes in their yards can see how they can earn up to 50 percent off their next local purchase of tress, native plants, compost bins, or rain barrels. See how this applies and download rebate forms for all products at the Department of Environment's website.

Some People Have No Pride

The tires of several 51 floats for today's Pride Parade were slashed last night at a storage facility at 48th and Halsted.

Friday Night is for Screen Printers

Still looking for something to do tonight? Head to the Daily Planet Rock And Art Poster Party at 720 North Franklin: it's showcasing some of the city's best screen printing artists, their posters, and beer from Finch's Brewery. You've got four hours, go!

Pop-Up Park

Last week Joe Baldwin helped turn a Logan Square street into a temporary grassy park for a day.

Kids + Restaurants = Evil?

A candidate for the best kid-friendly restaurant award in The Reader's Best of Chicago issue is kicking up some dirt with its readers. Learn more over at Drive-Thru.

Good, Messy Summer Fun

School's out -- what's next? Chicago Parent has some fun ways for your kid to spend the summer that let them get hands-deep in grubs, paint, plants and more.

Credit Where Credit's Due

Most Chicagoans may not think about fishing or the far Southeast side very much, but the connection of these two men to the area and our waterways, as chronicled by the Chicago News Coop, will compel you to do both.

Dude, Where's My Car?

FoGB Scott Robbin created a great app from City of Chicago open data that I hope I never have to use. Was My Car Towed works online, or from your smartphone browser.

The Cycle of Violence

Sun-Times reporter Kim Janssen was covering the memorial for one teen murder victim when someone started shooting, nearly claiming another victim. UPDATE: Police shot and killed a man with a gun in the vicinity of this incident; he turned out to be a friend of the murdered teen.

Are You a Very Important Neighbor?

EveryBlock is holding a contest looking for "very important neighbors"; be helpful on the site, earn thanks and you could win $1,000 toward neighborhood projects.

The Landscape Out There

The Cultural Landscape Foundation catalogs historic designed landscapes throughout the country in their What's Out There database. This weekend, you can check out what's out there throughout Chicagoland with their series of free guided tours around parks, ponds, gardens, boulevards, and all sorts of other sites.

A Lunchtime Conversation with David Simon and Wendell Pierce

The keynote speech at the U of C's symposium on the arts and the city is a conversation between David Simon and Wendell Pierce of "The Wire" and "Treme" fame. Watch the conversation live on facebook now.

Uptown Moves Up

The Red Line Project tackled gentrification in Uptown -- and generated the sort of controversy you'd expect in the comments.

Old School

Archaeology students (and DePaul University Associate Professor Jane Eva Baxter) unearth the remains of an 1840s schoolhouse in the Edgebrook neighborhood.

Fireworks Fizzle

The City canceled the official fireworks this year, leaving July 4 to Navy Pier.

Not a Small Affair

Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel will preside over the civil union ceremonies of 30 same-sex couples today at 10am at Millennium Park.

With this Ring, I Thee Civilly Unionize

City Hall is bracing for the first day of civil unions for both same-sex and heterosexual couples in Illinois. The Cook County Clerk of Courts opens at 7:30am this morning, and the first couples in line will be showered with gifts. UPDATE: Janean Wackins and Lakeesha Harris were first in line this morning.

Put it on Your List

Not sure what's on your bucket list for this summer, but Refinery29 has some suggestions. Twenty-nine, in fact.

Get the Maifest Down-low

Maifest takes over Lincoln Square on Thursday, and Center Square Journal is your destination for breaking beer bash news.

Love a Man in Uniform

Memorial Day Weekend may mean Fleet Week in New York, but it means International Mr. Leather in Chicago. Check out the full calendar here.

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

Sonny Fischer tells the story of the founding of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary a week from today with a conversation between David Ritz and Aaron Cohen, as well as readings by members.

Rock Around The Park

Not rain, not wind, not even a drummer's broken ankle will keep the show from going on tonight as everyone's invited to the launch of the always free Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays series. Music kicks off at 6:30pm with Eleventh Dream Day, followed by Bonnie "Prince" Billy featuring The Cairo Gang. More information on the whole series in Transmission.

Gaylords on Film

And speaking of the Gaylords, the entirety of Great American Youth a 2006 short documentary on the gang by Daniel Wojack, is online on YouTube.

Gangs of Chicago

There are a couple sites devoted to Chicago's oldest gangs: the Gaylords and Stone Greasers; for more recent gang lists, check out

Urban Orchards

Help a Chicago neighborhood win fruit trees, courtesy of Edy's Fruit Bars.

Nerds Helping Non-Profits Overnight

Are you a non-profit looking for a better website, or a developer, designer, or project manager (or master copywriter or QA genius) with a desire to help non-profits get present a great online face to the world? Check out The Nerdery's Overnight Website Challenge -- August 20-21, the web development shop is organizing a great opportunity for non-profits and nerds of all stripes alike. Non-profits register by June 30, volunteers by July 15.

Co-operative Creativity

In A/C, Kelly Reaves profiles Co-op Image, a nonprofit teaching kids to do everything from blow glass to make their own hot sauce.

Through the Eyes of a Child

Finish up Rahm's first day on the job by heading to Jane Addams-Hull House Museum tonight (6-8pm) for the opening of Visions for Chicago, a book composed of public art done by local high school students in response to the question "What is your vision for Chicago?"

"Horses" isn't Cutting It

The Field Museum's attendance is down 50% compared to 2006. Crain's says "evolve or die."

CFD Holds the Line

Fire Department staffing levels have remained steady for more than a decade despite a marked decrease in fires, the Chicago News Cooperative reports. Some wonder if reductions are in order to help cut the city's budget.

Living on the Streets

In Mechanics, Devin Katayama reports on the plight of older homeless youth in Chicago.

Daley Over the Years

If you want to get a fascinating look at the (soon to end) Daley Mayoral Dynasty, WTTW's new documentary, "Like Father Like Son," will be airing several times through Monday.

Chicago Gets GOOPy

Gwyneth Paltrow recently visited an old boyfriend here in Chicago; here's her guide to where to go.

A Mission to Film Missionary Kids

Over at Denizen, Laura Polk interviews Julie Englander, a journalist and filmmaker working on a documentary about the children of missionaries and their experiences upon returning to their "home" countries. You can help back the film on Kickstarter.

13 isn't a Lucky Number

A disproportionate number of homeowners on the far South and West sides are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Chicago Reporter finds.

May the Fifth be with You

Adentro de Pilsen has your Cinco de Mayo Festival guide.

Putting UChicagottabad on the Map

Tomorrow night is University of Chicago's annual Scavenger Hunt; this year's list [PDF] of tasks includes " a glass of red from Osama Zin Laden vineyard" and " Origami Bin Laden." Those crazy kids.

What Spring?

If you've been thinking this weather sucks, you have historic evidence to back you up.

A Bicycle Built for Two

Two people, one bike, and a possible third wheel(?) make their way down the street in this short, kind of amazing clip taken in Logan Square.

Orange Belongs on Fruit, Not Windowshields

If you live in the 1st ward, could you use a phone reminder for the next street sweeping in your neighborhood?

A Haze of Pride

NU student, rapper and celebrity spawn Chet Hanks Haze took a moment today to give us "the most epic twitpic of all time" after tweeting a series of really deep thoughts on Bin Laden's death.

And the Flowers and the Trees

Brian Houck, Director of Horticulture at Lincoln Park Zoo, just joined Twitter

Art Around Town

On the Make did a great job with their annual weekend Art Guide this year. Check it out if you want to see some art this weekend. The sheer volume of events is flabbergasting.

They're Both Entertainment

A potential juror for the Blago trial wants to get out of the gig because she has Oprah tickets in May.

Someday Our Spring Will Come

It's looking like a still-cool, faintly overcast weekend. Utilize the power of literature and positive thinking with The Poetry Foundation's selection of spring poems.

The $20,000 Dating Game

Time's Joel Stein spent a day at Chicago-based dating service Selective Search, playing matchmaker for well-heeled individuals.

Leveraging the Power of Social Networks

A pizzeria owner tracked down five guys who allegedly attacked him after recognizing one of them in his son's hockey picture; the rest were tracked down via facebook.

Well, They're Shiny

Yvonne Domenge's new, shiny and colorful sculptural installation at Millennium Park's Boeing Galleries get attention from someone who's not a tourist in this week's issue of ArtSlant.

If You Build It, They Will Come

The Arts Engagement Exchange published this interesting article last week about "overcoming cultural barriers" -- basically a history of public arts programming in Grant Park and how Millennium Park is carrying on the tradition of tricking people into listening to music they wouldn't normally seek out.

Large-Scale Recycling

According to this report by WBEZ -- old municipal buildings never die, they just turn into theaters. Next in line? Griffin Theatre Company -- they just bought an abandoned police station near Foster and Damen for one dollar. When your neighborhood police station gets replaced by a theater, well, I think that's a good sign.

Not Your Grandpa's T-Shirts

Rock & Roll apparel, etc. company Assault has come out with a line of old-timey gangland Chicago-themed, highly-detailed graphic t-shirts. Every order comes with a free mixed CD featuring local bands. Check them out here.

Rumble's in Trouble

Humboldt Park art and community center Rumble Arts is (once again) in danger of closing its doors because the family-owned pawnshop that provides its primary source of funding is in danger of being replaced by a Cash America. Show your support for Rumble by attending the townhall hearing tonight at 6pm at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse.

A Jumble of Art

The Dorchester Project tries to bring some hope to Grand Crossing through the arts.

Smackdown: Skydeck vs. Observatory

Travel blogger Amanda Williams writes a head-to-head comparison of the Willis Tower Skydeck to the John Hancock Observatory like only a tourist could. (Locals know what beats both: The Signature Lounge, which offers nearly as good views as the Observatory for the price of a martini.)

One Face of Foreclosure

In Mechanics, Chris Gray tells the story of Zabrina Worthy, whose Marquette Park home was foreclosed upon and boarded up without warning.

Integration Through Segregation

Chicago is the third most segregated city in the country, but Ted McClelland found another side to segregation while working for the Census last year.

Summer of Piano, Aerobics, Printing on Clay

Registration for the Park District's summer programs begins today.

United States of X: Income Edition

Chicago is an Industrial Metroplex on this map of "the 12 States of America."

Watch out for Bedbugs

YoChicago has a proper rant about apartment-finding services, and offers a list of ones not to call.

Dog Park and Jazz Finally Together

A new South Loop dog park may be named after jazz icon Fred Anderson.

West Wing on the South Side

Chicago magazine takes you inside Chatham's Blue White House, yours for considerably less than the average presidential election campaign.

A Ride into Enemy Territory?

Are Chicago police dropping gang members off in opposing gangs' turf? A video discovered by WBEZ seems to indicate there's truth to the rumors. UPDATE: Our own Micah Uetricht spoke to Humboldt Park residents about the video and more.

Get to the Museum Campus Later than Usual

This week the Shedd switched its hours to its spring schedule, and next week will bring a special round of 8pm closings. If water isn't your thing, Adler After Dark should keep you busy on Thursday from 6-10pm.

Fight the Empire at McCormick Place

Local plush maker Steff Bomb's created a soft-yet-deadly Han Solo blaster, so well-made any intrepid hero would be proud to have it at their side. Pick up one of these limited edition stuffed sidearms this weekend at C2E2: 2301 South Lake Shore Drive, Booth #1026, 2pm-3pm. Did I mention it comes with a holster?

Meower in the Tower

Quasimodo, or "Modo" for short, is the Chapel Cat at the U of C's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

DIY Refuses to Die: Chicago Zine Fest Year 2

Check out our new feature story in Book Club, a weekly interview and essay leading up to the Chicago Zine Fest -- get educated, get some zines, get that much more out of the celebration of independent publishing.

Pulaski vs. Crawford

In A/C, John Greenfield shares his walk all the way up Pulaski Road, which once was known as Crawford Avenue.

Too Close for Comfort

There are registered sex offenders living all over the city -- and many live closer to children than the law allows.

Planning Going Forward

CityForward, which we've posted about before, gets some attention from WSJ's Digits blog.

History and Birthday Cake

Chicago turns 174 today -- celebrate with free cake and performances by the Tony Do Rosario Trio, The Latin School Band, and a Native American drum band at the Chicago History Center.

From Sierra Leone to Chicago

Mohamed and Fatima no longer shovel snow into garbage bags to throw out. Hear more about their adjustment to their new home in A/C.

Baba Marta to Arrive Next Year

Baba Marta, (aka Grandma Marta, a Bulgarian character who changes her mood quickly, just as March changes weather rapidly) will get a Martenitsa tree next year. Bulgarians living in Chicago, home to the largest community in North America, are sharing red and white tassels with each other today to wish each other health, fortune and happiness. Next year, Bulgarians will be able to tie their martenitsas to a tree to welcome Spring. In case you can read Bulgarian, check created a run by a local resident.

Chicago: "Finally Hip"

Food writer Raymond Sokolov apparently did a quick Google News search and cobbled together some ramblings on how Chicago is "finally hip" for Newsweek. (He seems to think Andrew Mason moved here from Pittsburgh expressly to start Groupon.)

United States of X: Travel Edition

Illinois comes in 15th in the US (including the District of Columbia) in percentage of population with a current passport -- which, at 34.88 percent, drops us into the second tier on this map.

Drink Early and Often

With a new Mayor-elect in the wings, one ponders if the city can be unified by a crowdsourced alcoholic beverage. Chicagoans, the choice is yours. (h/t Joe)

Rahmbo Pride

Those voting for Rahm Emanuel tomorrow may want to wear Shrink Boutique's Rahmbo shirt to the polls.

Steampunk Tonight

In just two hours, the Abbey Pub will transform into an industrial, whimsical world of yesteryear through Clockwork Vaudeville: A Steampunk Circus Extravaganza.

Bad Week for Oprah

First; athlete Michael Vick abruptly cancels an appearance on her show, possibly fearing a James Frey-style beatdown for engaging in dogfighting; then a (pre-Stedman) boyfriend pops up to tell his tales of eating stuffed mashed potatoes with her (recipe, please!) and getting coldly dumped; and finally, a student at Winfrey's South African all-girls school was hospitalized after giving birth in secret (and possibly suffocating the baby to death).

Under the Bridge No Longer

Approved today, the Navy Pier Flyover seeks to eliminate the lakefront path's most notorious choke point.

La Cueva Hangs by a Sequin

La Cueva, a historic Latino LGBTQ bar in Little Village, struggles to stay open in the face of opposition from suspicious conservative neighbors. Learn more in A/C.

Let's Go Uptown

Time Out focuses on Uptown this week, including Ald. Helen Shiller's legacy.

The Shrinking City

In the wake of the census population numbers, Lee Bey ponders urban density and the problem of Houston.

How to Lose 200,000 People

The official 2010 Census numbers demonstrate that Chicago's population declined 200,000 people between 2000 and 2010. The African American population declined 17%, Latin Americans gained a little over 3% and non-Hispanic whites slightly declined.

Two Parks, Miles Apart

The Reader's Steve Bogira takes a look at two of the city's most homogeneous neighborhoods, Edison Park and Washington Park, as a means of examining how little progress has been made in combating racial segregation. He discussed the story on Eight Forty-Eight this morning.

Gentlemen, Get Groomed For Your Valentine

The James and John Allan's invite Chicago's menfolk to partake in "mini services" (trims, nail buffs, mini massages, shoe shines) Friday through Sunday from 4p until 7p. In addition to free business center services, complimentary morsels and cocktails will be served by David Burke's Primehouse and SVEDKA. Contact John Allan's directly for reservations.

Of Graft, Cheese, and Sport Peppers

Lexicographer Mark Peters discusses the meaning of the words "Chicago Style."

No Music at Taste of Chicago?

Mayor Daley has proposed a way to keep Taste of Chicago free without incurring losses on the festival: do away with the music programming.

Book Club Blogroll

The Book Club's compiled a list of notable, local literary blogs -- go check it out, and say something if you feel they've left someone out.

Getting Older in Chicago

The ratio of Chicago residents over 65 to everyone else will climb from 1 to 9 to 1 to 6 over the next 20 years. Crain's looks at the effects of the demographic shift.


Jake Zalutsky gave the blizzard a bear hug with his board last night. Insane? Awesome? Or both? [via spigumus]

Bad Snow, Bad Drugs, Bad Headline

Who is to blame? "A bad trip occurs when the euphoria of an LSD trip changes into something more sinister and frightening."

What to Expect

The Tribune gives you a sense of what to expect regarding transportation, utilities and hospitals today.

Taking a Stance on Dibs

At this time of hard shoveling, mayoral candidates weigh in on parking space dibs to the Trib's John Kass.

Thundersnow is No Joke

If you heard thunder and saw some lightning tonight, here's why.

Texting the Bus

If you have to use mass transit and your phone doesn't have web capability, I have a fix for you so that you don't have to go outside until it's time.

Hotels Looking to Make Your Snow Day Cushy

Whether you're a grounded visitor or you're just looking to ride out the blizzard in style, Kimpton's four Chicago hotels have you covered with a $99 "Stranded in the City" rate though this Friday.

Regenerating the City

Have ideas about how to make Chicago most sustainable? ChicagoREgen is a place to share them.


Marissa Garcia tells the story of becoming a woman the Latina way.

Still in Vogue, Underground

In A/C, Rachel Rabbit White explores the world of Chicago's LGBTQ balls, where competition is fierce and self-expression is at the forefront.

Walker, Nelson, Anderson, Thomas, Martin, Miller

Those are apparently the most common names in Chicagoland.

Keep Animals Warm When it's Cold

With tonight's weather turning painfully cold, the Anti-Cruelty Society has some nice tips for caring for your pet in cold temperatures. And if you see an animal left outside or roaming about town, call 311 to report it.

Mommy and Daddy Must Be So Proud

A student at Oak Park River Forest High School could face expulsion for creating a list of the 50 "most attractive" girls at his school (complete with pics, comments on their perceived sexual promiscuity, and numerical rankings) and posting it to Facebook; he then passed out copies of his fine research at school and began yelling "Women are trying to take over the world!" and "Women are the future, unless we stop them now" in front of a cheering group of students.

Into Fish

There's a fishtank in the GB offices, and in it is an African cichlid. If I'd known about the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association sooner, I might have been able to keep it from killing all the others.

Let this Meat Divide and Unite Us

The NY Times visits the Brat Stop, the Kenosha restaurant that attracts the love of both Bears and Packers fans.

Low-Cost Pet Vaccinations Tomorrow

If your cat or dog is missing a needed vaccine, head down to Chicago Animal Care and Control Saturday for their Low Cost Vaccine Clinic. From 9am-noon at the shelter, 2741 S. Western, your beloved pet can get a DA2PPL and FVRCP vaccine for $7; the rabies vaccine is $15. While you're there, adopt another pet! They've got loving animals waiting to hang with you and yours.

Book Buying

A new monthly feature in Book Club profiles local literary purveyors of titles new, used, and varied, starting with Andersonville's Transistor.

On the Ropes

Ever wonder what it's be like to a pro wrestler's girlfriend?

Home Abandoned Home

It was bad enough when homeowners were walking away from homes, letting them slip into foreclosure. But now banks are walking away, too.

Bare Legs Everywhere

If you're out and about on CTA Sunday, don't be surprised if you see hundreds of pantsless people.

Oo-oo, Ah-ah, Gibbon a New Mama

Vast quantities of dawwwww were manufactured yesterday when a white-cheeked gibbon was born at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Fewer CAPS Meetings

The CPD is cutting back on CAPS meetings as it puts more officers on the street instead of in administrative duties. Meetings will now by bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the beat.

"You Wonder Why There Aren't More Civil Revolts"

While discussing the recent parking meter fare increase with an NBC5 reporter, a man feeding a fare payment box downtown looked over to see a Traffic Management Authority clerk ticketing his car on camera.

No Pets, No Smoking

The Kingsbury Plaza apartment complex began transitioning to non-smoking on Jan. 1 -- as in, no smoking even in your own apartment, under penalty of fines. The 15 percent of current residents who smoke have a year to either quit or get out.

Rump Shaker

A Winnetka woman was able to get a SWAT team to surround her husband's workplace for three hours yesterday after she received an accidental "butt-dialed" cell phone call from him that led her to believe he was being held captive. He was actually listening to rap music while talking to a coworker.

Bad Economy = Busy Library

Art Daily reports that last year, the Chicago Public Library circulated 8.8 million items and provided 2.8 million free computer sessions. A less cheery statistic: librarians reported that 60 percent of their time with patrons involved helping them look for jobs on library computers.

A Guide to Devon Avenue

Chicago magazine helps you explore the center of the city's South Asian community.

Chicago's Shifting Culture

The Chicago News Coop digs into US Census data to see how the face of Chicago is changing.

Last of the Great American Cities

Kara VanderBijil prefers Chicago to Los Angeles. Despite the cold.

The City Green

Re-nest, Apartment Therapy's green home blog, put out a green guide to Chicago last week.

What to Do With the Tannenbaum

You can recycle your live Christmas tree into much-needed mulch at any of 23 Chicago Park District sites through January 17.

A Penny Saved Comes in Handy Tonight

CTA starts its annual penny rides starting at 8pm tonight through 6am tomorrow.

Helping New Arrivals

In A/C, Iya Bakare profiles Casa Aztlan, a 40-year-old community center and nonprofit organization in Pilsen that's helping recent immigrants find a life in Chicago.

Ring in a Reasonable New Year

Want to do something more special than TV and beer, but can't afford New Year's Eve specials hovering around three digits? Metromix and the Reader have some ideas to get you started.

Cultural Curiosities on the Cheap

Merry Christmas from Chicago Detours and Groupon: tomorrow, their indoor walking tour of the city is just $9 (normally $20). Watch for it!

A Well-Oiled Bloated Machine

Chicago is a big city. We have more residents than a handful of states. Big cities require big government. But I don't think I had any idea how big until I saw this list of all the departments that exist in Chicago. (Thanks, George!)

Renter, Git Yer Shovel

Think just cause you rent an apartment you don't have to shovel your walk? Well, the city's "Snow and Ice Removal" ordinance says otherwise. Essentially you have three hours after the snow stops to remove it. At least you only have to shovel a 5-foot swath down your sidewalk. (thanks, Sam!)

Anti-Gay, Pro-Sodomy

The Reader's Whet Moser points us to the, er, interesting Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment, an anti-gay group based in Downers Grove.

Forced Out of Cabrini

In Mechanics, Rory Fanning tells the story of one woman evicted from the last Cabrini Green high-rise.

Greasy Fingers and Good Conversation

Eric May -- artist, proprietor of Roots and Culture and food enthusiast -- has set out to start up a "Mobile Culinary Community Center."

Stop Violence Against Sex Workers

Today is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and the Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago is observing it with a discussion, film screening and vigil at Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St., starting at 6:30pm.

Culture Clubbed

The Department of Cultural Affairs laid off 20 employees on Friday, bringing the number of total layoffs since October to 29. The functions handled by those laid-off employees are going to be transferred, along with the appropriate funding, to the non-profit Chicago Tourism Fund (which is, by the way, hiring). UPDATE: Dan Morgridge adds some perspective in Transmission.

Exploring Lawrence Avenue

Lawrence is one of Chicago's most culturally diverse streets. John Greenfield recently walked the length of it for a feature in A/C.

Clear the Sidewalks

Uptown Update reminds you what to do if the sidewalk by your home isn't shoveled.

NewCity's Number Ones

Cultural weekly NewCity gives us their 2010 top picks in vintage TV shows filmed in Chicago, food trucks, indoor make-out spots, and many more.

You Got to Spend Money to Make Money

Cash Cab has come to Chicago. But apparently contestants aren't as randomly chosen as you'd think.

Foreclosure Maps

Want a visualization of foreclosures in the city? Turn to Google Maps. (More what you're looking at.) [via]

Movie Houses Remembered

A gallery captures the grandeur and elegance of the Granada, Uptown, Adelphi, and other Chicago area "lost palaces" -- movie theaters that recall a bygone age. [via]

Chicago's Coyote Custodians

NPR's Robert Krulwich delves a bit deeper into the story of Chicago's coyote pest control team.

Only 40?

From street food to Common to the iO, Chicago magazine's got 40 reasons to love Chicago.

One Last Look at Cabrini

Just ahead of the last Cabrini Green high-rise's closure, Residents Journal spoke to a three-generation family about their time in the project as they prepared to move out. The Chicago Reporter has another perspective.

A "Millennium Park of nature"

Later today the Chicago Park District will unveil a long-term concept for Northerly Island, and it's a looker.

Come Together, Go Forth and Create

Next Friday, head to the Evil Olive for Reply All, a gathering of artists, designers, writers and more -- anyone who likes to make, do, and drink.

Driving in Circles

Don't forget: Overnight Parking Restrictions begin early tomorrow morning.

Think Globally, Learn Locally

The Academy for Global Citizenship -- a charter school on the South Side with 80% of students under the poverty line, and a kitchen that serves three organic meals daily -- got profiled in the Atlantic.

This is Why I Love Public Television

My fantasy best friend Geoffrey Baer (he just seems so nice) unleashes his newest WTTW documentary Biking the Boulevards tonight at 7:30pm. We have an interview with Baer in Tailgate.

Reflecting on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

In A/C, Joe Erbentraut examines the challenges facing Chicago's trasgender community.

A Delicious Debate

The U of C's annual Latke-Hamantash Debate is tonight at 7:00 in Hyde Park. Admission to the debate is free, though $5 buys you admission to the post-debate tasting reception.

Farming in the City

Eight Forty-Eight paid a visit to the farm at Altgeld Gardens on the far South Side.

Gangster Death Mask

At an auction of historic Chicago memorabilia on Thursday, the death mask of gangster John Dillinger sold for $3,600.

Don't Forget to Visit the Gift Shop on Your Way Out

Today is the last day of Kate McGroarty's month-long residence at the Museum of Science and Industry.

It Gets Comically Better

Lucy Knisley shares her "it gets better" story in comic form.

I Skate, You Skate, We All Skate

It's getting colder, but you can actually enjoy the winter weather while gliding around on a smooth sheet of ice (and I don't mean while driving down your street). Up Chicago has a great little roundup of local (mostly free) ice skating rinks, which do exist outside of the Loop, you know. (via)

Slow and Steady

Need some help taking it easy today? Check out this footage of turtle racing at likable Ravenswood dive Big Joe's.

Old Buildings, New Green Tricks

Some ambitious, architecturally and environmentally minded people are delving into vertical farming and industrial reuse, right in the heart of the New City neighborhood.

The Even More Fascinating IMSS

If you haven't visited the International Museum of Surgical Science lately, you can visit to catch a bunch of upgrades and a new exhibit.

A Message for Lauren

Some missed connections are too important for Craigslist.

DiCaprio Does Devil in the White City

Leonardo DiCaprio has taken on increasingly challenging and complex roles in recent years, and his latest project is no exception. Set to produce and star in a film adaptation of Erik Larson's best-selling novel, The Devil in the White City, DiCaprio plans to play none other than H.H. Holmes.

In the Dark

Vandals are knocking out streetlights all over the city.

Tour the Underground

Now that the crappy weather has returned, it's time for Chicago Elevated's pedway tours to recommence. Go find out how much has changed since we published our guide back in 2004!

Another Neighborhood Comes Back to Life

Pilsen's Resurrection Project is expanding to Melrose Park.

We're Sorta Smart

Chicago's in the middle of the pack in The Daily Beast's list of the country's smartest cities. [via]

Stay Classy, Metropolis

Metropolis Coffee has been nominated for the Stay Classy Philanthropic Business of the Year Award. This year, the father-and-son-owned coffee company started working with Aspire of Illinois, a nonprofit that offers services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. (Aspire's also a finalist in two other categories.) If Metropolis wins, they get $10,000 to donate to their charity of choice. You can vote for them (and Aspire, and other local nominees) here.

Many Books, One Mayor

Despite his flaws, Julia Keller points out a particularly nice thing Daley did: he built 59 public libraries. Not all by himself, of course, but you get the idea.

Stick It to Education

The City Clerk's office is accepting entries for its annual vehicle sticker art contest. This year's theme is "Education Is Key." The winning entry will be displayed on over a million windshields next year, and will net its designer a $1,000 savings bond. (Nine runners-up will receive savings bond prizes, too.) The contest is open to Chicago high school students and runs through Nov. 5. For official rules, entry forms, and ideas on how to get started, click here.

Free Chicago Guide

Explore Chicago just launched a free ebook called Eat, Play, Love Our Neighborhoods. You can probably guess what it's about.

Bad Luck for Puppet Bike

Who hates the Puppet Bike? Apparently at least one hoodlum, who trashed the bike late last night -- right on the heels of someone stealing a large piece of art from owner Jason Trusty. If you'd like to help, for now Trusty requests that you buy some of his artwork, displayed on his website. UPDATE: Damage to the Puppet Bike was not as bad as previously reported. I guess "trashed" is a relative term.

Walking King Drive

In A/C, John Greenfield walks Martin Luther King Drive, the first major road in the country named after the civil rights leader.

Storefront Studio

Apartment Therapy profiles Chicagoan and production artist James Wurm's industrial and practical, yet attractive and welcoming kitchen-studio-living space, created in a Pilsen storefront. It's worth checking out for the chandelier alone.

Kate at the Museum

The winner of the Museum of Science and Industry's Month at the Museum has been announced --- it's Kate.

Cricket to Fund Community Projects

Cellular company Cricket has launched the Chicago Community Voices, a fund granting up to $2,000 to 10 people or organizations for community-based projects, four times a year. Apply here.

The "Nation's Most Dangerous Neighborhood" Made Up?

A neighborhood supposedly named "W. Lake St." is allegedly the most dangerous in the country, according to research by commercial real estate site However, a look at the area on EveryBlock shows a smattering of recent crime -- but quite a few new businesses.

CBS2 notes that the area used to include the Henry Horner Homes, but that notoriously dangerous CHA project was demolished in 2005. Another "neighborhood," called 4000 S. Federal St. in the report, also made the top 25 list. Half of it is a field.

Belmont Is For Lovers

Based on a scale called the Train Romance Index Score Total (how Kinseyian), the CTA Belmont stop (Red, Brown and Purple lines) is the most romantic place on the El.

Walk with Care

NewCity checks on the state of pedestrian Chicago in this week's cover story.

5 Steps to Greatness

Nathaniel Whitmore has some thoughts on how to make Chicago the next great innovation hub.

Bacon Blog

And other food, too: the 2nd place winners for Judges' Choice in the Chicago Bacon Takedown have a blog, The Green Chalkboard, where they explore porky and non-porky (or even meaty) delights.

Something to Crow About

Depending on who you ask, urban chicken farming is either a major trend or less common than the media would lead you to believe. Nonetheless, poultry-possessing Evanstonians are putting pressure on their aldermen to legalize backyard chicken keeping. And the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts are sponsoring Hen-apalooza [PDF], a tour of 15 of the city's backyard coop locations, on October 3.

Book by Book

If you've been following the progress of the parents at Whittier Elementary School in Pilsen, then you know that a group of moms have been fighting for seven years to get a library. They've occupied the field house that Chicago Public Schools wants to tear down to turn into a soccer field. The Chicago Underground Library believes in their fight and is starting a book drive and asking librarians to get involved to help them build a library, book by book.

That's One Tall Cactus

The Garfield Park Conservatory has had a major breakthrough...literally. An agave plant has grown tall enough to burst through the roof of the building. Glass was removed in anticipation of the plant's rare bloom; it will contain as many as 100,000 blooms.

Don't Worry, Bi Happy

Celebrate Bisexual Day today at the Center on Halsted. [via]

Summer, Sped Up

Today is the beginning of autumn, so it's the perfect time to quickly look back at the summer of 2010.

Worst. Macy's Display. Ever.

Oh look, the Little Mermaid is ...swimming... or dead. In the snow. (Taken at the downtown Macy's on State Street.)

Color Divide

Check out this map, whose hues spell out the geography of Chicago's racial and ethnic makeup. Based on the Radical Cartography map we linked to back in August. [via]

Heavy Greenery Parking Lot

Green spaces will be constructed for one day only today in a parking spots all over the city as part of Park(ing) Day 2010, an international event dedicated to turning normally cemented and exhaust-filled space into something a little less polluted and more relaxing. Stop by and sit for a spell!

How Healthy is the City?

Not in terms of our waistline -- this site provides a look at the civic health of Chicagoland.

The Sun Shined on the Disability Pride Parade

Camaraderie ran, walked and wheeled rampant at the 2010 Disability Pride Parade downtown last July. Ruthie Kott reports in A/C.

The End is Just Beginning

In preparation for the Monday premiere of Oprah's 26th and final season, you can create yourself in her image on her website. I did, and since then I've opened my own successful business, lost fifty pounds and found the man of my dreams. Live your best life!


The Irish American Heritage Center is seeking nominations for its Irish American Hall of Fame. Uh, not that anyone asked, but I do qualify... Cough.

Pass the Squishy Ball

Chicago ranks [shakes magic 8 ball] as the eighth most stressful city in the United States. Debt, congestion and cold winters are apparently the cause.

Ronnie Woo-Woo for Mayor

Or Scott Waguespack. Or Bill Murray. Or Alpana Singh, Ron Huberman, Mike Ditka, or "Chicago cab driver extraordinaire" Mike Foulke. Nominate or cast your ballot for a candidate for Next Chicago Mayor. In true Chicago election style, vote early and often -- ten votes are yours to spread around, or throw at one worthy nominee.

Walking in Chicago

John Greenfield reflects in Time Out on his penchant for walking the city's important streets. He's walked several for GB, including Halsted, Archer, Grand, Kedzie, Belmont, 63rd and, most recently, 79th Street. Check out his blog, Vote with Your Feet.

Berwyn, the Next Boystown?

Berwyn is attempting to woo gay and lesbian couples to move to the near west suburb.

Want to See Some Fish for Free?

The Shedd is offering free admission to the first 80 visitors to the aquarium each day in September.

In Prison at 17

A Chicago Reporter investigation found that the majority of 17-year-olds convicted of felonies in Chicago are guilty of non-violent crimes. Many of them plead guilty in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, but at what cost?

Shifting Chicago Avenue

In A/C, J.R. Williams tells the story of the nebulous gentrification of a colorful strip in Ukrainian Village, through interviews with its small business owners.

The Old Masters

Freelance writer Rachel Rabbit White has a feature up in A/C about her visit to The Sins Center, where liberated grandmas and grandpas go to explore their BDSM fantasies now that they've got some free time on their hands.

Creepy Crawly

We're #3 in bedbugs -- what is a bedbug, you might ask. And how can I get rid of them? [via]

The City in Color

The city's ethno-racial populations are made clear in this map on Radical Cartography.

Get a Taste of Serbian Culture

St. Sava, the Serbian cultural and arts center in Lakeview, has begun hosting shows in its basement club, The Cave -- and not just for Serbian bands -- and also screens Serbian films with English subtitles, too.


The Butter Cow, now on display at the Illinois State Fair.

Art in Motion

Fear no ART Chicago just released their newest webisode: an interview with 3 Blondes & a Bald Guy, winners of the 2010 Art on Track A.W.A.R.D.

Chicago is Global

Perhaps the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a little biased, but we come in at number six on Foreign Policy magazine and their2010 global cities index.

Your Sketchy Weekend

Illustrator Jose Garibaldi helps you visualize your weekend plans.

Cutting the State Fair

The 157th Illinois State Fair officially opened today, but some are skeptical about an expensive tradition that doesn't exactly rake in returns.

Boulevard of Unbroken Dreams

The Public Servant Blog nominated Chicago's boulevard system as number four on its list of the top 20 urban planning successes of all time.

Chi-town Shucking

What do you get when you combine 60,000 people, a carnival and 50 tons of sweet corn? The 2010 Mendota Sweet Corn Festival, of course! The weekend event begins tomorrow, and don't forget the free Del Monte sweet corn on Sunday afternoon.

Does Watching Crime Pay?

Are "cop-in-a-box" police cameras cost-effective? A new study answers that question and raises others.

Walking on the South Side

In this week's A/C feature, John Greenfield and friends take a walk along 79th Street from the western edge of the city all the way to the lake.

Your Favorite Places

Placemaking Chicago's "What Makes Your Place Great?" contest voting is now open: Check out the flickr set and then vote for your favorite place here.

Black Women's Expo Tests McPier's New Rules

The Black Women's Expo this weekend is the first at McCormick Place under new rules intended to reduce costs for conferences.

It's Hip to Be Involved

If you live in the Magnolia Glen section of Edgewater, your block club isn't just involved, it's EPIC.

A Dinner of First Names

Barack had a birthday dinner at Graham Elliot with Oprah and Gayle. Some other people were there.

We're Good for Teens Young Adults

Chicago ranks in the top 10 "cities for young adults" according to

Decorate Daley Plaza ... for Free

With your winning Christmas tree, that is.

Hecho en Chicago y Más

Show some love for your parents, grandparents or ancestors and your hometown with Formula Werks' "Made In" shirts, giving you five ways (English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Ukrainian) to say you're "Made in Chicago."

Pakistani Community Torn by Terrorism

Chicago's Pakistani community is struggling with its identity in the face of terrorist plots and concerns about security.

Japanese Anime People of Chicago

Into anime? JAPC is for you -- and their next meeting is this weekend.

Rooftop Decks and Backyard Barbecues

Looking into the effects of gentrification on the cultural identity of Pilsen.

Local Jobs Help Locals

It shouldn't be a surprise, but jobs close to home help make neighborhood safer.

Chicago's Recycling Blues

Mick Dumke describes just how screwed up Chicago's recycling program is, and why it probably won't change for quite some time.

You Wouldn't Like Us When We're Angry

Respected research and abs development journal Men's Health has decided that we're the 11th most angry city in America. They can go f*ck themselves.

Another Sign Oprah's Gone

The big "Oprah Winfrey Show" sign that stood outside Harpo Studios in the West Loop has been removed. A source inside the studio says the sign is gone for good, but will be replaced by "another sign," not for the show.

A Queer Margin of Error

Chicagoist takes on a survey in the Daily Beast claiming that Chicago doesn't make the cut in "America's Top 20 Gayest Cities." Survey guru Richard Florida apparently only used the proportion of same-sex couples, a flaw that the Chicagoist claims is problematic because it misrepresents Chicago's gay and lesbian community -- the nation's third largest.

No Justice for Hit & Run Victims

Hit-and-run accidents accounted for 40 percent of pedestrian deaths last year, but almost none of the drivers are ever found. WBEZ's Chip Mitchell looks into why.

Things My Burglar Told Me

A 19th District police lieutenant emailed the Chicago News Cooperative with a list of simple crime tips and tricks-of-the-trade, all apparently provided by convicted burglars, a security consultant and criminology professor for a book called Burglars on the Job. Does that qualify as a self-help book?

Doesn't Look A Day Over 30

Be nice to your parking payboxes today, however much you despise their insatiable hunger for all of the change in your pocket--it's the parking meter's 75th birthday today!

The Most Annoying Ringtone

Have you always wanted to hear Rod Blagojevich's voice emanating from your pocket every time you get a call? Well, you're in luck--the Springfield Journal Register is offering downloadable mp3s of all of Blago's wiretapped calls which you can easily make into ringtones for your phone. Surprise your friends, amuse your family, and irritate everyone around you on the train!

Today in Depressing History

On July 13, 1995, with a high temperature of 106 degrees, Chicago was experiencing the hottest day of the horrible heat wave that resulted in 700 deaths.

Happy Bastille Day

Once upon a time in Revolutionary France, a mob of peasants stormed a fortress-prison, sawed off the defenders' heads and paraded them on pikes. Thus we celebrate Bastille Day with our Parisian sister city every July 14. TimeOut Chicago lists the local cheese-tasting, crepe-wrapping parties going on tomorrow for all those Jacobins at heart.

One Man and His City

If you haven't already voted, One Man Chicago has selected 20 handsome finalists in the competition to find "the one man in the Chicago area who represents the best of Chicago from the perspectives of community involvement, personality, intelligence, and fitness." The gay community is well represented.

Deep Cover on the Set of Transformers 3

The muckraking bloggers at have uncovered a new set of wheels gracing the set of Transformers 3. It appears that Optimus Prime and his Autobots will be joined by two new steel beauties, "a gorgeous red Ferrari 458 Italia and a not-so-shabby blue Mercedes-Benz E-Class." Let's hope Ironhide doesn't get jealous.

A Greener Neighborhood

Today marks the start of Andersonville's Green Week, with seven days of cool and informative activities for residents and shoppers. Events include t-shirt recycling, shopping discounts, LEED home tours, eco-storybook making, free stuff, and more.

What to Do with Your Kids

It's summer. The kids are driving you nuts. Crazy Kids Chicago might help you find a way to deal.

Gardeners in a City

New City digs into the resurgence of gardening in Chicago.

Art Talk

The summer interns at the Art Institute have started a twitter account where they post funny things they overhear patrons say in the museum. The results are hilarious and sometimes adorable. Oh, and they have a blog now, too.

Our Latest Meaningless Rankings

Chicago came in fourth place for best US and Canadian city according to Travel+Leisure -- but just seventh for "manliest city" by the makers of Combos.

Summing Up the City

Crain's 2010 Market Facts helps put everything in perspective.

All Lit Up

Time Out takes us on a tour of some of Chicagoland's best neon signs.

Fighting for Their Homes

As West Side residents fight against foreclosure, Bank of America is finding itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Read our own coverage of the issue in Mechanics.

An Extension of Pride

You thought the Pride Parade was over a week ago? A festival was held July 4, 2010,to celebrate gay pride in the black community on the South Side.

Not Going to Work

Chicago's South and West sides have some of the highest rates of chronic unemployment in the country, the Chicago Reporter finds.

A Loaf for All Seasons

Leah A. Zeldes of Dining Chicago argues that meatloaf really is a summer food, and passes off a simple, delicious-sounding recipe from Chef Alfredo Anaya does at Dine in the West Loop. [via]

Meta City Guide

A.V. Club Chicago reviews city guides to Chicago, and offers its own advice.

Whole Body

The Gold Coast branch of Whole Foods brings back their Yoga on the Rooftop summer series: every Tuesday at 6pm, professional yoga instructors will help you increase strength and flexibility from the rooftop of 1 W. Superior. BYOYM (bring your own yoga mat).

Illusionists in Illinois

Fascinated by feats of illusion, trickery, and sleight of hand? The Elmhurst Historical Museum explores Chicago's connection to the world of magic in "The Magical History Tour," running through September 12.

Where are Travelers Going for the 4th of July?


A Sporty Pride Parade

As promised, the Stanley Cup visited the Pride Parade yesterday. Fausto Fernos of Feast of Fun talked with Brent Sopel, the Hawk who made it happen, at the parade. More photos here, here and here.

Not Everything Shrinks in a Recession

Chicago's population is a notable exception to the recession's downward figures.

Buy a Puppet, Help a Puppet Bike

Chicago's beloved mobile street entertainment known to one and all as Puppet Bike will offer up a little piece of itself on eBay starting next week. Owner/Creator Jason Trusty is "retiring" several older puppets and you can take them home, if you're the highest bidder.

Potter Palmer IV Tours His Great-Grandfather's Hotel

The Palmer House Hilton offers historic tours of the hotel. Crain's Shia Kampos took the tour with Potter Palmer IV to get his impressions.

Dress that Underpass

Chicago-based artists can submit a design for one of 12 CTA and Metra underpasses needing some beautification in the 49th Ward (Rogers Park). Applications (PDF) are due by July 16th.

The Cup & Cubs in the Pride Parade

The Stanley Cup will make an appearance at this weekend's Gay Pride Parade -- as will Boystown neighbors the Cubs. The boys in blue will run a float for the first time ever, and Ernie Banks will be on it.

Tasting Chicago on Your iPhone

Before you head to the Taste of Chicago this year, you may want to download its pretty darned good official app [opens in iTunes].

Telling Pilsen's Story

StoryCorps is recording stories in Pilsen until June 26. If you or family/friends live in the neighborhood, you can register to tell your tale now.

No Winners Here

Lincoln Park's Wiener's Circle, described as "a microcosm of segregation in Chicago" and ranked 56th in journalist Catherine Price's highly subjective (nothing's unpleasant in France, really?) but admittedly entertaining 101 Places Not to See Before You Die. At least it beat out New Jersey's Grover Cleveland Service Area?

There Should Be a Nerd Museum. Wait, Aren't They All?

MuseumNerd tweeted his/her way through a plethora of Chicago museums this weekend. That's right: a whole PLETHORA. [via]

Tomorrow is June 19th

How are you celebrating Juneteenth tomorrow?

Free Concert Alert

Head down to Millennium Park this evening for Beethoven's Mass in C major.

America's Deadliest

Chicago is a violent town, as the nightly news reminds us. But did you know that if the South and West sides were separate cities, they'd be the murder capitals of America?

Nudity in Loop Gallery

If you haven't come across this week's Chicago Reader cover, it's an impromptu performance indeed by performing artist Joseph Ravens.

Historic Argyle

West Argyle Street is now on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition as an entry point for generations of Asian immigrants.

It's Like the Lollapalooza of Learning

Learnapalooza spreads its tendrils of free classes across the city this Saturday. Mexican cooking, self hypnosis, independent publishing, and butchery will all be covered amidst the event's 70 workshops. You can RSVP here.

To and From Chicago

Forbes maps movement to and away from Chicago, showing which counties gained or lost people.

Just Swinging Bi

Writer Rachel Rabbit White takes us on a tour of Chicago's only all-bisexual swingers club in A/C today.

Making the Home Team's Big Night

While the city was celebrating the Blackhawks win, taxi drivers weren't always in the best of spirits.

Your Secret Place

The Metropolitan Planning Council is once again holding its Placemaking Chicago What Makes Your Place Great? contest, this year in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Share your favorite "undiscovered" public space and you could win!

I Love a Parade!

If you're into cheering for major sporting victories, head downtown Friday morning for the official Blackhawks celebration parade. The jubilation kicks off at 10:30am at Wacker and Washington.

It's a Boy (Zebra)!

There's a new Grévy's zebra colt at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the first born since 2001. More really cute pictures and videos here.

Tell Us a Story

Like telling stories? Like listening to them? In A/C, learn more about the city's storytelling scene and the many opportunities you have to tell your own.


The Museum of Science and Industry is offering free admission through Friday. Time to check out Science Storms and then complete your collection of Mold-A-Rama's!

Goobye Cabrini

With the systematic closure of the Cabrini Green housing projects come sad tales of eviction -- like this one, from longtime resident Dirrthea Smith.

You Don't Value Oprah Enough, Chicago!

Oprah Winfrey's longtime (and often silent) boyfriend Stedman Graham told Fox Chicago News that the city takes the talk show host for granted, and that "a prophet has no honor in its own town."

Nine and Counting

Chicago-based artist Krista Wortendyke just launched a blog chronicling her efforts to photograph the sites of every homicide that takes place in Chicago this summer. Since Memorial Day, she has already posted details and Google Maps shots of nine murder scenes, and with over three more months to go until she finishes her project, her records are, unfortunately, likely to continue to grow.

Foursquare Ferris

Get a little creative with your best Ferris Beuller movie reenactment ideas, and you could win a couple of tickets to fly friends into town to have a great "day off." Explore Chicago is sponsoring this Ferris Foursquare mission today and tomorrow. Leave your ideas on this Foursquare Facebook wall post to enter.

Glacier Envy

So apparently the Tribune wants to start up a photographic, chest-thumping competition between Illinois residents and those who live in Montana. Isn't that like getting involved in a land war in Asia?

Make Your Free Film Plans Now

Even though the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival has been canceled, you can still enjoy a free movie in a park near you thanks to the city's Movies in the Park program. Check out the schedule now [pdf]. UPDATE: Chicagoist notes a googlemap mashup of all the Movies in the Park locations.

Officially Summer

Forget the "real" official start of summer -- as far as Chicago's concerned, the opening of the city's beaches is it. And today's the day! Follow @chicagoparks for closure info.

Genderqueers Have a Field Day

Genderqueer Chicago, a support and discussion group for people who don't identify with strict male/female gender types, is holding a picnic and field day in Humboldt Park tomorrow.

U.S. Cities Didn't Even Make the Top 30

Chicago was ranked 45th on Mercer's quality of living survey of international cities, beating out Seattle, New York, and Madrid, the last three cities in the top 50. The top US city? Coming as no surprise to anyone is Honolulu, at 35th.

20 Best Neighborhoods & Suburbs

Is your neighborhood on Chicago magazine's list?

Shuttle to Adler?

Chicago didn't get the Olympics but it might get Atlantis. It's been discovered that the Planetarium is endeavouring to add one of the soon-to-be-retired space shuttles to its collection.

Olympic Spirit of 70.6

$70.6 million, that is. That's the final tally on Chicago's Olympic bid spending.

Wheeling Most of the Farm to You

Archeworks' most recent unveiling is the Mobile Food Collective "Urban Farm Tool," a hub for the creation and support of urban community farming.

Professor, What's Another Name for Pirate Treasure?

And have you been looking for it?

How Long Will it Take Her to Floss?

Sue the tyrannosaurus rex is getting gussied up for her 10th anniversary at the Field Museum. Sexy T-rex bathing photos can be found here.

A Rosemont Horizon By Any Other Name...

...Would just be corporately sponsored and smell just as sweet. The Onion's AV Club reviews the naming history of several big marquees in the Chicago area. Of particular note: The Chicago Marathon for three years was sponsored by G. Heileman Brewing Company and was known as the Old Style Chicago Marathon.

Meet Joe, Meet Other People

Want to meet some new friends? Joe is here to help.

Live Like Hef

Well, sort of: an apartment in the original Playboy Mansion is for sale.

A Literary Look

There's just one week left to enter Chicago Public Library's annual poster contest. Check out the details and submit today.

Chicago the Diversified Giant

That's our designation on a new metropolitan map from the Brookings Institution. [via]

Hello Hotdish

What some would call a quintessentially Midwest food is now available through Le Cordon Bleu graduate "Johnny Casserole"'s delivery service.

Tiny Home Showdown

Apartment Therapy's annual Small, Cool apartment contest is on, and there are several Chicago entries, particularly in the "tiny" category. Vote for a Chicagoan today!

Chicago! Bang Bang!


Mmmm... Beer-ains...

The third annual Zombie Pub Crawl is this Saturday, at 2pm in Andersonville hosted by Lakview improve theater company, pH Productions. So, crawl, stumble and reanimate on down, even if you need tips on looking undead.

Vegetarians Can Double Down

Don't eat meat, but still want in on the latest fast food abomination? A local young lady and her boyfriend help you out with their meatless version of the KFC sandwich.

Food and Memories in Faber-Castell

Local comic book artist and hot dog aficionado Lucy Knisley gets interviewed in Book Club as part of the ongoing series One-Shots.

An Epic Battle in Geekdom, Who Will Survive?

Chicago Comic Con (AKA Wizard World) has had quite a stake in Chicago's fanboy circles, but this week, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (AKA C2E2) has made an impact as well. Meanwhile, check out C2E2 photos in Book Club to see what all the hype is about.

The Improv Festival and the Volcano

The Chicago Improv Festival kicks off tomorrow, with 70 acts on 12 stages across the city. While this typically brings in acts from all over the world, that pesky Eyjafjallajokull, er... Icelandic volcano, creating chaos throughout European airlines, is keeping many acts grounded.

Happy Global Social Media Holiday

It's Foursquare Day -- connect with your fellow Mayors and badge-unlockers, and enjoy special deals at participating businesses when you check in.

Support Boys & Girls

This Saturday, come to the Little Village Boys & Girls Club's Sidewalk Sale -- your purchases help fund the oldest stand-alone Boys & Girls Club in the city. 2801 S. Ridgeway, 10am-2-pm. They are also accepting donations: call (773) 277-1800 for more info.

Tom Waits Put It Best

"There's a big dark town/ It's a place I've found/ There's a world going on/ Underground"

Mission: Do Cartwheels

It's a pretty spring day. Do cartwheels. Report back.

Beyond the Bleachers

With Wrigley Field and its surroundings in the news so much recently, perhaps it's worth remembering what the Sheffield Avenue rooftops looked like in 1987 compared to what they look like now.

Comparing Hot Properties

Former Chicagoan Nate Silver recently wrote about the most livable neighborhoods in New York, his new home. On his blog, he explains his methodology and compares NYC housing costs with Chicago.

The Outfit Lives On

Never believe them when they tell you the Mob is dead.

Canadian Club

It's not just sparkling water here in Chicago.

Birthday Brow Wax

Men born in April to the end of the year, you're in luck: Halo [for Men] offers select free spa extras on your birthday (such as as shampoo or brow wax) with the purchase of another salon or spa service.

Park Appreciation

The Infrastructurist gives Millennium Park props as one of the Best New Urban Parks in the U.S. Now get out there and enjoy it! [via]

Frank Lloyd Wright's Crazy Vision of the American City

Chicago architectural icon had a dream: an America covered with "little villages" all connected by super highways as an alternative to "megacities." It, uh... it didn't go over well.

Sleep(walk)ing around River North

Ever watch the Amazing Race and think you could do it -- if it weren't for the jetlag? Take part in the River North Sleep Around Challenge, and you won't even need to leave the 312 area code. The Challenge Starts at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza and ends up at Martini Park. Along the way, there are stops at seven hotels that will provide challenges and refreshments. Lots of prizes will be offered. Tickets available from the River North Business Association.

Nudists Get a Moment in the Sun

Chicago Fun Club is a newish nudist social group in town. Karl Klockers attended a recent meeting for Time Out.

Chicago Puppy Love

One Tail at a Time rescues unwanted dogs and finds them new, loving homes. The organization runs without a shelter, relying on crackerjack foster dog-parents to care for animals until they're adopted. Last week they raised $1,000 in just days to offset medical expenses for a rescued dog named Pinecone. Check out their fundraiser this weekend or apply to foster a pup.

85 Tours in 365 days

Chicago Architecture Foundation's Jennifer Lucente has tasked herself with a challenge: participate in all of the CAF's 85 tours over the course of one year. Best part? You can join her (or at least watch from the social media sidelines).

Getting Healthy, Panel by Panel

Local comic book artist Sarah Becan chronicles getting healthier in a sort of sequential weight loss diary. Good for anyone who likes beer and delicious food but is trying to slim down, and/or enjoys sweet, autobiographical, journal-style comics.

5040 Greenwood Sold

The Obamas' have some new neighbors moving in next door. The Kenwood mansion sold for a paltry $1.4 million.

Windowshopping for Art

It's a case of making lemonade out of the lemons of vacant storefronts. The New York Times recognizes Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood and Evanston as leading the way using that space for art displays.

Night at the Museum

A special After Hours tour of the new Matisse exhibit will have DJ's, cocktails and performances take over the Art Institute on Friday, April 9 from 9 to midnight. Then there's the intergalactastic "Superhero" themed Adler After Dark the following Thursday, April 15 at the Adler Planetarium at 6pm.

Sex Trafficking in Chicago

In Mechanics, Danny Fenster tells the story of Maria, a young woman pushed into prostitution by her boyfriend, and one organization that's trying to help women like her.

Bundles of Money

Care to delve into Chicago's spending habits?

Divvying Up the State

The Straight Dope Chicago gauges how Chicagoland and the rest of Illinois would be if they divorced.

Chicago Feels Haiti's Aftershocks

Chicago took a leading role in the days and weeks after the Haiti earthquake. Read about it in Mechanics.


In case you missed it, check out Alison Cuddy's expose on Radio M last Friday about local artists who are also musicians. Or is it musicians who are also artists? It's all art anyway, isn't it?

Get Your Building STACKD

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) gives a nod to new global resource STACKD which lets people connect via their workplace. It's a great opportunity to "Act Local" and connect with others outside of that excruciatingly silent morning elevator ride.

Who Decides What is Art in This City?

TimeOut looks into who carries clout in the culture of this city. Looks like one famous critic stands out, surrounded by local powerhouse venues, bars, celebs and blogs (Gapers Block among them) [PDF].

A Little Legal Help for Cyclists

It won't make everyone good drivers overnight, but anyone who bikes our city's streets should be pleased by a bill that passed the Illinois Senate almost unanimously last week. Bill 2951 would make hurling something towards, crowding or otherwise threatening a cyclist a Class A misdemeanor.

Googlemapping the Census

Google is helping with the 2010 Census by mapping responses as they come in. Take a look here. [via]

Driving Toward the American Dream

ChicagoStorytelling tells the stories of three cab drivers trying to get by in the city.

From Poles and Beyond

How well do you know Avondale?

A New Tradition?

If you didn't get a chance to see the Chicago River dyed green last weekend, you may still be able to relive the glory of a (not so) lovely green pool in Pilsen.

Fitting In

The 2010 Census will start filling our mailboxes soon, but will your identity be truly counted? The Tribune looks into how mixed races might be erroneously counted with local Chicagoans.

Still St. Patrick's Day To-Dos

While the parades are over, there's still tons of St. Patrick's Day partying to be had. Whether you're looking for must eat/drink places, kid-friendly activities, Irish pub spots or Boystown happenings.

Chi City Web

The City of Chicago's website got its first overhaul in almost a decade today. Check out the new (which seems to run on a similar template to and see if you can navigate it any easier.

Beaver Brew and Aardvark Ale

Local artist Phineas X. Jones is creating a new, fauna-centric labeling system for the tanks at Half Acre Brewery.

How Do You Define a Neighborhood?

The Chicago Journal's AmySue Mertens lives in Greektown, Skid Row, West Loop, West Loop Gate, Community Area No. 28, the Near West Side ... and a "principality" of the West Loop.

The Chicago Chicken Community

Despite concerns about Chicago law that allows residents to keep chickens and roosters, chicken enthusiasts persist.

City of Free Agency

The Metropolitan Planning Council asks what asset Chicago should "sign" from another city, à la the NFL.


Englewood's Urban Prep Academy for Young Men is celebrating because all of its seniors have been accepted to a four-year college.

Celebrate Chicago's 173rd Birthday

Take in musical performances from the Latin School Jazz Band and have a slice of Bleeding Heart Bakery's Chicago-style birthday cake for free at The Chicago History Museum--where else? The festivities begin at 10:30am, March 4. And, if you share a birthday with the Windy City, you'll receive a special certificate signed by the mayor.

Goodbye, M

Lee Bey bids farewell to the CPD's M license plate with some references to it in popular culture.

Happy Pulaski Day!

In honor of Casimir Pulaski Day, city and county offices and municipal services will be closed Monday.

Live in Chicago? There's an App for That

Explore Chicago has just launched an online gallery of free and cheap Chicago-oriented smartphone apps (mostly geared to you iPhone users, though some work on Blackberry and the like). You can keep track of shows at Broadway in Chicago, menus on GrubHub, get the latest Bears rumors, or locate nearby LGBT businesses through the Gay Cities Guide.

Being Bookish for a Cause

Open Books is having their very first Open Boxes Book Sale this weekend with more than 10,000 literary donations being sold for a dollar each for softbound, $2 for hardbound. Or, fill a tote bag to the top for $25. Festivities start Feb. 26 to help fund Open Books' literacy initiatives.

Show Your Colors at Art Institute's Flash Mob

Represent your school at the Art Institute of Chicago's flash mob. Just show up wearing your college or university's assigned color -- Columbia is yellow and Northwestern is blue, for example. All the colors of the rainbow, get it? It's tonight at 6pm on the front steps.

Why Not Hyde Park?

Time Out Chicago takes a closer look at the similarities between Hyde Park and Evanston and why the former hasn't taken off the way the latter has.

Hailing Cabs is sooo Last Year

Sick of waiting in the cold, only to be overcharged and/or harassed by a sketchy cab driver? Here are some tips to help you get where you're going quickly and safely.

A Colorful Past

Rob Cartwright, manager of The Blackstone, wasn't always so hoity-toity. His life is like a mullet -- business in the present and party in the past.

This Old Neighborhood

North Mayfair is one of North America's best "old house" neighborhoods according to This Old House Magazine. [via]

Hanging in There

Despite being hit hard by the economic slump, the Art Institute is hanging on-- they're even able to offer free admission during February, as always. How? Hipsters, among other things.

Chicago Gang Tags Explained

Not sure which gang is tagging your neighborhood? This flickr group should help.

Chicago Dream Wedding

Have a great Chicago proposal story? Eligible engaged couples can enter to win a wedding through the Chicago History Museum.

New Logo for the MSI

The Museum of Science and Industry's logo is the latest transformation for the museum during its $205 million Science Rediscovered campaign. Here's the old logo for comparison.

Furry Love that Lasts Forever

Want to spend Valentine's Day with someone who will always be happy to see you? Chicago Animal Care and Control (2741 S. Western) is holding a special adoption event from noon to 6pm this Saturday and Sunday for you meet that special dog or cat. Refreshments, a souvenir photo for adopters and an on-site pet boutique will be on hand as well.

Ethnic & Cultural Mix

Former GB contributor Ted McClelland gives the New York Times a guide to "funky" Rogers Park.

Walking Dead Breach Chicago Suburb

The zombie flick A Chance in Hell is set in 1944 Germany, but is currently being filmed in 2010 Elgin. Braaiinnns and Nazis and staggering undead hordes, oh my!

Homeowners Still Need Help

In light of the news that Chicago suffered record home foreclosures in the final quarter of 2009, the city and the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago will hold six Fix Your Mortgage events this year.

Who Says it's Worthless?

Newcity has a new review of a show at DePaul that features reject art. The art will be sold from its collection to purchase more desired pieces, but visitors can still cast their vote on what they think is good, bad or just plain ugly.

First-hand Fashions, Second-hand Materials

Swap-O-Rama-Rama, a DIY fashion workshop/ resource, is returning to Chicago in March and seeking submissions for their competitive re:MAKE Fashion Show. For volunteers and beginners, there are regular meeting and events (the next on Feb. 4).

Better Than Chocolate

Valentine's Day approaches: show your love with heart-shaped pizza, available at a surprising (surprisingly awesome) number of locations.

If Unmarried, Accessorize with an Air of Desperation

If you wear a wedding dress or tuxedo to the Field Museum on February 13, admission is free and you'll be eligible to win prizes. I'd say "Insert Miss Havisham joke here," but Sue already did.

Comics and Local Politics

Not that you need another reason to vote in Chicago's elections Tuesday, but Challengers Comics offers a 15% Civic Duty Discount to to anyone who can present a voter receipt.

Art on the House

Just a reminder, the Art Institute is free (and full of events) throughout the month of February.

Go Jump in Lake Michigan

The Lakeview Polar Bear Club is taking their annual dip in Lake Michigan Sat., Jan. 30. So, head on down to Oak Street Beach (then, um, sign a waiver [PDF]) and take the plunge. Funds raised from the event and after party at Galway Bay go towards needy families.

Haven't Seen the Modern Wing Yet?

No more excuses-- The Art Institute will be free the whole month of February.

Monets and Zebras See Increase in Attendance

Well, so to speak. Chicago museums and zoos caught a break in this year's sluggish economic downturn, seeing a 7 percent increase in attendance in 2009. The free-admission Lincoln Park Zoo; the Shedd Aquarium; and the Art Institute, who opened their new Modern Wing last summer, topped the list, with significant utilization of the attractions' free days. Here's the Local Tourist's free days list.

Kids Behind Bars

WBEZ will spend the next six months exploring Illinois' juvenile prison system in a project called Inside and Out. Radio stories, supplemental media and a community discussion are featured on the project website.

Good Chicago Reading

Chicago: A Biography, a new history of Chicago by Dominic Pacyga, is given a positive review by Harvard economist Ed Glaeser at The New Republic's online literary review, The Book.

A Familiar Look

A WBEZ report examines the CHA voucher program and finds that instead of provinding low-income tenants with more opportunities, it's actually creating more of the same.

The Height of Exclusivity

Are you of above average height? There's a club for you.

Are We Really That (Bleeping) Angry, Idol?

Looks like Chicago had a low showing of talent on yesterday's "American Idol" auditions -- only 13 made the cut. While showcasing our wild and foul-mouthed side, "Idol" has Chicago Breaking News wondering how some Windy City contestants were filmed in front of palm trees and the Amway Center in Orlando.

Helping Haiti Here

Crain's Chicago Business lists 10 local ways you can aid the relief effort for Haiti. [via]

Tips for CHA's Next Ad Campaign

Megan Cottrell debunks seven myths about public housing.

Middle Ages in East Irving

WindyCitizen blogger FruzsE points out some medieval graffiti.

Shapely New Publication

The Center Square Ledger, "your definitive neighborhood guide to North Center, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood Manor," launches today. Read more about it in Mechanics.

The Most Eligible Fish in the Sea

Every year, Chicago Mag puts out an eligible Chicago singles issue. And this year's is coming up: Applicants must be over 21, single, accomplished, photogenic and somewhat interesting. Supposedly you can nominate yourself, if you're so inclined.

Welcome to Historic East Village

It may sometimes get confused as part of Wicker Park or Ukrainian Village, but the neighborhood of East Village is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stabilizing the Neighborhoods

Chicago received $98 million from HUD -- more than any other city except LA -- as part of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program, intended to help communities affected by the mortgage crisis.

A Look Into Giving Back

TimeOut takes a look at the good (a great place to hook up), the bad (the tougher gigs) and the ugly side (the horror stories) of volunteering in Chicago. And just in case you wanted to know what it's like to be a volunteer Planned Parenthood escort: "I've been told I'm going to hell more times than I can count."

Chengdu to Chicago, Fashionably

Windy City Times talks to Chicago resident and Project Runway contestant Ping Wu about knitting, Tim Gunn, and designing for frigid climes.

The Case for Handguns

The Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit against the City of Chicago next month which will determine whether local governments can legally ban ownership of handguns. Chicago Mag recently discussed the case and profiled the plaintiffs, who may not be what you'd expect.

Bad Girls Casting Call

Oxygen Network's "The Bad Girls Club," a reality show exploiting, er... documenting party girls is holding a casting call Jan. 16 in our fair city.

Smoked Out in 2010

Hookah lounges fall victim to tight no-smoking ordinances enacted in some Chicagoland municipalities.

Free to Learn

Staying on budget should never mean missing out on Chicago's magnificent museums. Thankfully, The Local Tourist has compiled a handy list to help you get the most cultural bang while saving your bucks in 2010.

Bare Legs on CTA

Want to ride the train without your pants on this Sunday?

Like A Raisin in the Sun

What was Chicago like in the mid-century for the city's African American community? Unknown Chicago takes a look at the fast-growing and segregated "Black Belt," and the harsh housing conditions.

Altarventions in the Suburbs

The Piñata Factory recently installed street altars created by young people from Humboldt Park and South Chicago to raise awareness of violence. The installations are at various locations around the north suburbs. Take a look at their creation and the finished products.

No, We Don't Want a Pony

Illinois' Christmas Wish List.

God Jul!* Now Drink Up...

The Sun-Times raises a glass to the glogg being served up at Simon's Tavern in Andersonville, as owner Scott Martin gives the inside scoop on the tradition. * "God Jul" is Swedish for "Merry Christmas."

Riding Through the Snow

Curious (or irate) about some of the CTA's winter policies? [via]

"Star of Wonder" Darkening

After more than 70 years of projections, the Adler Planetarium will be closing its "Star of Wonder" show for the last time on January 3.

Show Us Your Schubies!

Be a part of the First Annual Schubie Awards by casting a vote for your favorites in music, food and web content.

Urban Planning in the Age of Sprawl

As the city celebrates the centennial of the Burnham Plan, On Earth examines how urban planning has played out in the suburbs.

When the Lights Go Down in the City

Chicagoans appear to be imbued with holiday spirit and decorating like mad fools. Local retailers report that decorative lights have been flying off the shelves this season.

West Loop Chic

Local writer Tiffany Meyers gives Canada's Globe and Mail an overview of Fulton Market's mix of fashion, design and food.

The Neon Glow of the City

Forgotten Chicago takes a look at some of the city's most memorable neon signage. (Further reading about Lincoln Avenue's famously neon-lit motels in our archives.)

Go West, Young Man (And Dog)

It's not exactly B.J. and the Bear, but a former Chicago and his animal friend are on a journey west for fortune and charity.

More Senseless Violence

Sadly with so many news reports of school age children dying violently in Chicago there is seemingly little novelty in the latest such tragedy. However the the DCFS director happens to be the victim's former baseball coach and he makes some very insightful comments about the issue in general.

A Cool Deal

Some of you have probably given Jamba Juice a lot of your money over the years. Now the company will give something back to Chicago: free skating at Millennium Park this Saturday (for the first 200 people).

Free Chicago Bloggers' Holiday Parties

Chicago blog aggregator Windy Citizen is throwing "An Ugly Christmas Sweater Party" this Thursday, Dec. 10 at Black Rock Bar. Meanwhile, Chicago culture blog Chicagoist is having their Holiday Party/ Canned Food Drive the same night at Sheffield's. Maybe make it to both via the Brown Line? Ours is the following Thursday, Dec. 17, also at Black Rock Bar, so mark your calendars.

Check It Out: Library Hours Being Cut

In these lean times, Chicago Public Library usage and circulation is up. Unfortunately, the hours at many facilities are being cut back.

Chicagoland in Silhouette

Chicagoland (the whole metropolitan area, not just the city) comes in a clear third in this set of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country. [via]

Neighborhood Watchers

Interested in knowing more about crime and problem spots in your neighborhood? You may want to sit in on a CAPS meeting, a monthly opportunity for citizens to trade information and report issues within each police beat in the city. (Inspired by a comment by Mary in our current Fuel question about gang activity.)

Don't Miss Out on Another Concert

Tons of new artists and bands just listed shows coming to Chicago, according to the Reader's Early Warning concert listing (a lifesaver for any concert-goer), including Alice in Chains, Bowling for Soup, Jack's Mannequin and why not, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, to name a few.

17 Gay Youths Attacked (That Were Reported)

Hate crimes are on the rise for LGBT youth in Chicago's south and west sides (in neighborhoods such as Englewood and Roseland) when Youth Pride Center members come home from the Hyde Park-located community center. Chicago Free Press looks into this unsettling trend and how it's related to LGBT legislation's prominence in the news.

A Great Big Sky

The Adler Planetarium unveiled today a 4-foot by 180-foot mosaic made up of more than 800,000 images of the Milky Way. It's the world's most detailed picture of our galaxy, and it's now on permanent view at the museum and online. [via]

We Are The World

The cover of the new World Almanac and Book of Facts 2010 has a decidedly Chicago feel, with Barack and Michele Obama and White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle (he of the perfect game) on the cover.

How Bad ARE They?

WBEZ web editor Justin Kaufmann is looking for Bears jokes (as if the team's play wasn't enough of a joke itself.) If you've got some, share then here. OK, two Bears walk into a bar...they forgot to duck. Hey-oooo!

Is Nobody Home?

Remember how earlier this month when that 872 area code took effect, it meant that you had to start dialing 11 digits no matter where you lived? Well, if your condo or apartment buzzer is hooked into your telephone, that callbox needs to be reprogrammed to reflect the change. Not only can this cost a chunk of change to fix, but it also means that your package and food deliveries can be derailed.

Get Yourself a Furry

While you're bellying up to the turkey (or just at home, eating pizza), consider making this the day you adopt a cat or dog! Chicago Animal Care and Control is open for adoptions today (and tomorrow!) from 4-7pm at 2741 South Western.

OTL Celebrates Anniversary With Live Taping, whose Chicago-interest audio magazine podcast and WLUW radio show is celebrating its third year on the air, is hosting a live taping Friday, Nov. 20 at Toons Bar and Grill. The event is free with some quite interesting guests stopping by.

Changing its Name to Goldley Park

BusinessWeek thinks Tinley Park is the best place in America to raise your kids. Last year they thought it was Mount Prospect, so I guess they just really like Chicago suburbs. (Thanks, Dee!)

"Rigoletto" on the Red Line?

If you're standing there waiting for a subway train and someone busts out with "E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca, this might be what's going on.

Chicago Cheer

The holidays are coming, and what better way to show your spirit for the season and the city with these charming Chicago Flag Snowflake cards from local paper good entrepreneurs 16 Sparrows.

America's Next Top... Elf?

Santa and the John Hancock Observatory are having a mini casting call, of sorts, on Nov. 14 and 15. All you have to do is deck out your kids (11 and under) in their best elf outfit for a chance receive four VIP Radio Disney passes to meet Mitchel Musso during The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

Worth Their Weight in Comic Gold?

Second City reunion tickets going for $1800? That's no joke.

Hunnert or Tao-zin?

How do Chicagoans describe street addresses? Is Armitage "two-thousand" north or "20 hundred"? Straight Dope tries to figure it out.

An Odyssey in Business

If you've enjoyed the Audissey podcast tour of Chicago or recommended it to a tourist in your life, check out their entry in the Forbes Boost Your Business contest.

Chicago's Pretty Toxic

Thought not the most toxic city in America, according to Forbes. That honor belongs to Atlanta. (We're tied for third with Houston, behind Detroit.) [via]

Wall of Death

Imagine a wall with the name of every person from your neighborhood who had died for decades. Imagine having to walk past it everytime you went to the grocery store. Now imagine how you'd feel if the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation would result in the wall being torn down.

Still Not for Tourists in 2010

The 2010 edition of the Not For Tourists guide to Chicago is out, but you can download PDFs of the various sections for $1.50 each.

"You Will Like Des Plaines"

Revitalize Des Plaines! will be of great assistance if you're interested in our northwestern neighbor's politics, history and, in one case, amazing sheet music.

Retelling Tales of Tsavos

Man-eating Tsavo lions at the Field Museum? Great story, but exaggerated, says a new study.

CPS Shakespeareans on NBC Nightly News

During tonight's 5:30pm broadcast, NBC Nightly News will profile CPS Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare Theater's annual program where students and faculty from local public high schools perform one of Willy's plays--this year's production was A Midsummer Night's Dream.

A "Good-bye" to Washburne Trade School

In other demolition news, the water tower at the Washburne Trade School has been demolished.

Redeemable Spare Change

Stopping to give money to someone on the street could make anyone a bit nervous, but as the temperature drops, Chicago's homeless community becomes more apparent. So, Chicago Shares offers a solution: Vouchers to hand out in $1 increments, redeemable for food at area merchants.

A New Way to Find Art

The folks who brought you Art Talk Chicago have created a website dedicated to comprehensively mapping out and showcasing gallery events around the city. There's even a handy little interactive map.

Redmoon, White House

The Obamas will have some interesting local flavor performing at their Pennsylvania Avenue digs this Saturday.

61st Street Garden Coverage Expanding

The imminent closure of the 61st Street Community Garden is getting a lot of attention from the media, with the Trib and Sun-Times augmenting weeks of coverage in the Hyde Park Herald and the Invisible Institute's Garden Conversations.

Maybe Chicago Needs an "Entertainment Complex"/ Casino?

While the City Council chambers are buzzing with potential revenue sources, one solution is frequently brought up: casino gambling. Meanwhile, some alderman are hoping to make use of the formally proposed Olympic Village grounds. Here's what you said the last time this was considered.

Liar's Club is Spoooky

Last night's "Ghost Lab" on the Discovery Channel featured the (alcoholic?) ghosts of Liar's Club.

Chicago's Next Top Scarecrow

Voting for your favorite scarecrow could win you a gift certificate worth up to $250 for any business in the Clark Street Special Service Area. Visit the displayed scarecrows (a list of participating businesses is posted here) and vote before Wednesday, October 28 at 5pm to qualify.

9pm is Scarier than Midnight

Well, as far as violent crime is concerned, anyway. Red Eye analyzed police crime statistics and found that more assaults, murders and rapes occur between 9 and 10pm than any other hour in Chicago.

Grant a Zookeeper's Wish

The Lincoln Park Zoo has posted a wish list, with items costing $1 to $200. It's a great way to support our local menagerie, one of the last free zoos in the United States, and at the same time know exactly where your money is going--for example, a lovely nest basket for one of the McCormick Bird House's laughing thrushes--a bargain at one dollar.

Ooooh, Geeky Date Night Idea

"Adler After Dark," The Adler Planetarium's nightclub/stargazing event launches this Thursday, Oct. 15 and continues every third Thursday night of the month. The first night of cocktails and peeks through the Doane Observatory telescope is free, so why not?

Gangs Are Terrorists

Michael Salmonowitz makes a case for why Chicago's gangs are like Al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, another fight broke out at Fenger High School while Arne Duncan and Eric Holder were in town to discuss youth violence.

Murders by Neighborhood

The Red Eye is a mapping all the homicides in Chicago this year on a googlemap, as well as an easier-to-read map of murders by ward.

A Unique Museum

Chicago's Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial is the only Cambodian museum in America.

Tricky Olympic Electricity

Near the Loop tonight? Check out the Aon Center's nifty lights as it finishes its 16-day countdown to the Olympic announcement. Evidently, "1" is harder than it looks.

10 Years of Transformation

It's been 10 years since the CHA began its Plan for Transformation. WBEZ's Natalie Moore takes a look at the process, its successes and criticisms -- and our own David Schalliol contributed a slideshow of photos from public housing projects around the city.

Cheer/Boo the Olympics Announcement

Watch the Olympics 2016 announcement on Friday at 11:30 am at the Daley Plaza rally, or at a few local bars/restaurants with special deals.

Beauty on 47th Street

The mosaic under the 47th Street Metra station is finished, and it is lovely. Hyde Park Progress has pictures.

And the Hits Keep Coming

You know that $13.7 billion the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid team says the Olympics will pump into the city's economy? Yeah, no. A new analysis to be released today says it will be only a third of that amount.

Study Your Maps

Ukrainian Village vs. East Village. [via]


Chicago Weekly alternative weekly now has a blog which will cover arts, culture, news, and opinion on the South Side. This student-written blog is based at the University of Chicago.

Raised to Fight

The BBC goes inside Chicago's underground dog-fighting scene. [via] Tio Hardiman, who is working to stop dog fighting, was profiled on GB last year for his work against guns.

Green Monster

A tree 7-foot marijuana bush grows in Brooklyn Rogers Park.

The Water Taxi Calls

If it's been a while since you've been on a water taxi, here's a reminder about how great they are.

Looking for Somewhere New to Go?

The Pilsen Community Market will be hosting a community garage sale for the next two Sundays on a vacant lot at 18th and Peoria.

3 Bedrooms/2 Baths/1 President

Bill and Jacky Grimshaw, next-door neighbors of the Obama family in Kenwood, are selling their house. [via]

McDonald's Needs You...

...To volunteer for its Thanksgiving Day Parade! They have something for everyone, from tech crew, to gift bag stuffer, to poo crew. And since it's aired live, you might even get on TV!

Helping the Needy Find Help

A new website,, helps the needy find social services including food pantries and soup kitchens.

The Oprah Bounce

Say what you will about what the recent Oprahpalooza on Michigan Ave. did to your morning commute, some of the retailers in the area are saying that having Ms. Winfrey on their street worked out well for their bottom line.

Want to be Background Talent for Oprah?

Are you interested in being a background dancer for the Black Eyed Peas' appearance on Oprah's season opener this week? You have to attend a rehearsal tomorrow (and the taping on Tuesday).

Sweet Home Chicago

Chicago Public Library's "Sound Off" contest taps local musicians to express how their city inspires them. Details in Transmission.

No Crashing Allowed

Man! If my prom had been as much fun as the Chicago Messenger Prom, I may have gone to it. And if you love hamming it up, photo-booth style, then I'm sure we'll see you on Friday night at the Gapers BlockParty where Ian Merritt will have a photo booth set up. Did we mention it's FREE before 9:30?

A Chicagoan's Thoughts on DC's Yuppie Scene

An opinion column in RedEye picks up on the "What can you do for me?" mentality of DC residents that makes it our nation's political hub. In the District, it seems nowhere is safe for a Chicagoan who just wants to enjoy a beer in peace, without being "networked" to death.

Walking East Woodlawn

The Woodlawn Wonder of "I Hate My Developer" takes Joe Zekas of YoChicago for a walk around the Wonder's neighborhood.

R.I.P. Philip Blum

Philip Blum, a cellist and, after 54 years, the longest-serving member of the CSO, passed away yesterday at the age of 77.

Granta Magazine Celebrates Chicago

For only the second time in 120 years, London-based Granta Magazine is devoting an entire issue to a single city: Chicago. And we're reaping the benefits, including a literary-star-studded kick-off September 14 hosted by Chicago Public Radio's Steve Edwards and featuring local authors Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project). The issue features 26 other locals; check Slowdown for more details.

Tony Addresses

Kenilworth comes in at #62 on Forbes' list of the most expensive zip codes in the US -- a list whose numbers have come down a bit in recent years. Six other suburbs make the top 500. (Thanks, Dee!)

85% Beef, 15% Lamb, 100% Tasty and Free

Don't miss out on a free gyro tomorrow, courtesy of our very own Kronos Foods, Inc (thanks for the tip, Jough).

Fresh Off the (College) Boat

The Straight Dope offers advice for incoming students new to Chicago.

Serenade Your City

The Chicago Public Library is hosting the ChiPubLib Sound Off Music Contest, where the city's musicians are challenged to compose an original, Chi-town-inspired song and upload video of their performance of it to the Not What You Think Vimeo group. A celebration of the winning songs will be held at Pritzker Park in October.

Chicago Rocks

The Society of American Travel Writers has named Chicago #5 on their list of "Top 10 Cities for Live Music." The voting writers noted that Chicago kills for live blues, and that music is "all here, all the time." Nicely put.

Chicago Magazine's 2009 Best of Chicago

It's probably time to rename this annual feature "Best of Chicagoland," considering a large portion of the list is out in the suburbs. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Over the Ledge

You've seen plenty of views of and from the Sears/Willis Tower's "Ledge," but here's a new one: filming it from the outside. [via]

Shambling Through the Second City

We debut a new occasional feature in A/C today: Chicago Revenant, which sheds light on some of the lesser known neighborhoods of the city. First up, Dunning and Schorsch Village on the Northwest Side.

Anti-Violence, Anti-Shiller

The anti-violence protest in Uptown last night effectively derailed a discussion of the Olympic bid and chased Alderman Helen Shiller out of the room, and garnered a ton of coverage.

City Mostly Closed Today

Monday, Aug. 17 is a "reduced services day" for the City; it's really the one we'd normally see on New Year's Eve, apparently. Only essential services remain open: fire and police -- and, interestingly, meter maids and boot vans.

Good Answers to a Non-Question

This Ask MetaFilter multi-part question from a recent newcomer to Chicago is chock full of great info, especially if you don't understand The Grid.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Love em' or hate em' (and their fans), this site answers a question relevant to irate Wrigleyville dwellers, Cubs devotees, and many more.

Up! Up! But Not Away!

Visitors to Navy Pier could get the chance to take a 15-minute ride in a hot air balloon (that would remain tethered to the ground, alas) as early as this year. [via]

What Makes a Place Great?

Placemaking Chicago asked that question earlier this year, and now they're asking you to vote on which photo and video is best.

Number One Drug

Chicago ranks first in the nation for the number of people arrested while under the influence of drugs.

Triple H Weekend

No, not that Triple H. It's going to be especially intense weather-wise this weekend, (hazy, hot and humid), so take care of yourself!

Northside Pride

Oh, the trials and tribulations of the Wrigleyville-resident Cubs fan. If only there were a new site dedicated to their plight.

Meet the Real Don Draper (Not Dick Whitman)

One of the inspirations for the Don Draper character in the AMC show Mad Men was Draper Daniels, who was the creative director at Leo Burnett in the 1960s. His wife talked to Chicago Mag about her life with him.

25% of the City Won't Read This

A quarter of Chicago doesn't use the Internet, a new study finds. The number is more like 39 percent in the Spanish-speaking community. [via]

Walk in the Street

Walkers, bikers, strollers and the like enjoy free reign on a network of boulevards between Logan Square and Little Village tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The route temporarily closes to motorized traffic in order to make room for Chicagoans to come together. The event, Open Streets, is free, and is modeled after Bogota's Ciclovia, where 1.5 million residents come out and enjoy their community.

Good Cop, Bad Cop?

Over at ChicagoNow, Chicagosphere creator Mike Doyle reports on two wildly divergent blogs, the decidedly pro-CPD Second City Cop and the highly-CPD-suspicous Chicago Copwatch.

Not Getting the Message

A pro-immigration mural in Pilsen painted by local students has been defaced by someone who's clearly projecting.

The Laundromats of Fullerton

Well, the ones west of Western, anyway.

Sweeping Out the Homeless

As noted in Mechanics, the City is doing "sweeps" of homeless people living in the parks in Edgewater. Not everyone is pleased.

Heavy Petting

As part of the Shedd Aquarium's re-opened marine mammal pavilion, visitors can now spend $200 to play with and pet a whale. Those who ante up get to wade into the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat, help trainers give behavioral instructions, and scratch some whale tongue.

Home Field Security

F-16s buzzed the city at 1am last night, and helicopters are stirring up dust by landing on a baseball field in Lincoln Park. Guys, the Air & Water Show isn't for another couple weeks. UPDATE: Seems the choppers are practicing for an Obama visit.

We Do It A Lot

Apparently Chicago is the seventh most sexually active city in the country -- but we're the fifth most sexually satisfied. Aww, yeah.

Sears Tower: The Final Word?

As our Fuel question demonstrates, when it comes to the Sears/Willis Tower name change, people either lament the loss of another piece of "Chicago" or you think it's much ado about nothing. Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin falls on the side of the former and tries to put the whole thing in perspective.

Sears For One More Day

Today is the last day the Sears Tower will officially be known as, well, the Sears Tower. Tomorrow it become the (ugh) Willis Tower. We're toasting with a highball in its honor. Let us know what you think in Fuel.

Tragedy in Rogers Park

A Rogers Park family faces eviction from a Section 8 housing complex after the matriarch passes away. UPDATE: A vigil is planned for Tuesday night in support of the Bledsoe family.

Cooking With John Kass

Although it's not hard to catch him smoking in front of the Tribune Tower or having a burger at Billy Goat, 100 lucky Tribune print subscribers will schmooze and make beer-can chicken with legendary columnist John Kass Aug. 1 at the Cantigny Golf Club in Wheaton.

Chicago is in the Soul

Does living in Chicago make you a Chicagoan? Jeff Ruby thought so but now he's not so sure.

What Makes Your Place Great?

There's just a few short weeks left for you to nominate your favorite places in Chicago for MPC's Placemaking contest. We wrote about this great project when it started, but now's your chance to share your favorites.

We're #2! We're #2!

The Architects' Journal ranks Chris Ware's Chicago second in its list of Top 10 comic book cities. Go vote in their poll -- we're currently tied with a few other inked metropolises. (Thanks, Twitterer and fellow comic book aficionado DovBee!)

The Wrong Neighborhood

Greektown's home values have dropped by 50 percent in the past year, making it one of the fastest-falling neighborhoods according to Forbes. (Thanks, Dee!)

Olympic Fever

As the final cut nears in October, the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid team is working it. The team is using a new promotional video featuring our Chicagoan commander in chief talking up the city. The bid team is also planning a ward-by-ward promotional push in the next months to shore up city support.

Cooler by the Lake

Are early summers in Chicago getting chillier? The Straight Dope runs the numbers.

Hold da Mustard

July is National Hot Dog Month -- and why wouldn't it be especially significant in the Windy City? Nothing screams "National Pastime" quite like tube-stuffed, processed chicken, beef and/or pork trimmings. So, go out and celebrate.

The Ledge Beckons

The new "Ledge" finally opens tomorrow at the Sears Tower, and will allow visitors to stand in an enclosed glass box and look down 1,353 feet. Depending on who you are, that means either the heights of euphoria or stomach-churning dismay.

Poetry With An Attitude

The Examiner takes a look at one of the granddaddies of the Chicago open mike poetry scene, the raucus Monday night poetry night at Weeds. Featuring (as host Gregorio Gomez puts it) "some of the best, some of the worse and some of the most indifferent poetry in Chicago."

Taste, the City's Olympic Dry Run

The Windy Citizen takes a look at how the City is using this year's Taste of Chicago to demonstrate its preparedness to host the 2016 Games.

The Diagonal from Addison to Lawrence

That's the stretch of Lincoln Avenue that runs through North Center and Lincoln Square, the subjects of the Reader's latest neighborhood feature (with a little Budlong Woods thrown in, too).

Police Plan for Safe Taste

Going to Taste of Chicago? Worried about more than the heat, sweaty tourists, and the cash you'll need? Chicago police have announced their security plans to ease your mind and prevent a rerun of last year's violence.

The Art of Rogers Park

This past weekend was Rogers Park's annual Artist of the Wall festival, when local residents paint new murals on the long concrete bench along Loyola Park's beachfront. Here's a video walking a good portion of the wall.

Free Harry Potter Packs a Punch

Free admission, a Harry Potter exhibit, and a 76th anniversary was an epic combination for the Museum of Science and Industry last week. On June 19 the museum packed in 19,955 guests, the highest single-day attendance in more than 10 years.

Places Not to Visit

Chicago has four of the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, according to a study of FBI crime statistics by Automotive arson aside, you'll want to avoid 55th and State in Washington Park and three spots in Englewood.

Idol Worship

The usual collection of semi-talented, questionably-talented and what-the-heck-are-they-doing-here talented braved the early morning rain to audition for American Idol at the United Center.

On the Verge

The Hyde Park Urbanist takes a look at the verge - "that strip between the sidewalk and the street" - on a stretch of East 57th Street.

Puerto Rico on the Plate

To celebrate tomorrow's Puerto Rican Independence Day Parade (kicking off from Columbus & Balbo at noon), we are chowing down on traditional dish Mofongo over in Drive-Thru.

Free Fish Fun

General admission to Shedd Aquarium is free through Friday, and the Oceanarium and Wild Reef are discounted. [via]

Only The Brave

Time Out Chicago's website has links to photos and video clips of the Chicago version of the World Naked Bike Ride held over the weekend. We're guessing it's NSFW.

Unique License Plate Ground Zero For Tickets

Yeah, might be cool to have a unique license place number. Then again, it might not.

'Hornet' Creating Buzz in Chicago

Word is that there's a web series based on the Green Hornet being filmed in or around the Uptown Bank Building these days, a sort of prelude to the movie being filmed starring Seth Rogan (?) and Kung Fu Hustle star Stephen Chow (though we really wished those "Jet Li as Kato" rumors were true).

What Makes a Nerd?

The answer varies depending on the times -- and who exactly you're talking about.

His Kind of Town

We're Johnny Depp's favorite U.S. city. But the star of the upcoming Public Enemies, filmed here, isn't leaving the south of France anytime soon to move into a bungalow on the Northwest Side.

A Taste of the Taste Before the Taste

The Taste of Chicago preview event used to be the dirty (greasy?) little secret of local VIPs and intrepid reporters looking for "the inside story" -- as well as a chance for free food. But now they're thrown the doors open to the public.

Donations for Deliveryman

The plight of the pizza deliveryman in Evanston who was beaten and had his car hijacked and wrecked has touched many readers of the Chicago Tribune, who saw the story in today's paper. Here's the website if you wish to donate.

Schwa Shares

312 Dining Diva points us to the first cameras reaching the inner sanctum of Schwa: NBC Chicago's interview with Schwa chef Michael Carlson. The interview includes a mini-rant against celeb-chef culture, reveals why your reservation calls are never returned, and shows some mighty facial hair.

What Makes Your Place Great?

Come up with a good answer and you could win some pretty cool prizes from the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Take A Neighborhood Vacation

Explore Chicago's new game Chicago Neighborhood Express allows you to wander through different neighborhoods on-line.

The Name Game, Pt. II

We told you previously about the website run by the feds in Chicago that lists the unusual nicknames given to local bank robber. Add another SUV-influenced name to that list.

Valet Bike Parking Chased out of Millennium Park

The nifty bike valet at Millennium Park is in jeopardy of closing this summer due to chief underwriter Chase Bank's "refocusing on business matters."

Why Chicago Is The Best City, Period.

Because Lupe Fiasco performs concerts pro bono here.

Is Rogers Park as Dangerous as People Say?

Straight Dope Chicago: "Short answer: no. Slightly more nuanced answer coming right up."

Old-time Summer Fun

Celebrate the opening of Chicago's beaches with these photos of vintage beachy activities from the Tribune archives.

It's Bleep'n Golden!

Have you been seeking additional information about Blago Shampoo? This CNN report has all you need.

Kiddieland No More

After years of rumors to the effect, the iconic Kiddieland Amusement Park in Melrose Park (8400 W. North Ave) will be closing its doors after this season, barring some last-minute reprieve.

Newest Terrorist Threat: Stealing Flowers

"The man stuffed 17 yellow, purple and turquoise pansies into a navy blue suitcase" and was promptly arrested.

Moving from the Bench to the Boards

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will take to the stage appearing as the Ghost from Hamlet as part of a Shakespeare and the Law conference in Hyde Park.

Why is Chicago so Corrupt?

Cecil Adams considers this question for The Straight Dope Chicago. Meanwhile, R. Kelly's defense team is joining Team Blago.

A Sweet Deal on the West Side

A deserted Sears parking lot on the West Side has become a training ground for Chicago's next generation of entrepreneurs. Their stock in trade: honey-producing beehives.

For That 'Just Indicted' Look...

Your job may not be &*@#!*&# golden, but your hair can be. It's "Blago" shampoo and conditioner. Only your hairdresser and bagman will know for sure.

Wilson Yard Suit Tossed

A judge threw out an Uptown residents group's lawsuit against the Wilson Yard project, saying it was filed seven and a half years too late. Uptown Update has posted a copy of the suit, and FixWilsonYard will be meeting to discuss next steps this Saturday.

Scavenging on the Radio

WBEZ's The Annoying Music Show got mixed up with the U of C's annual Scavenger Hunt this weekend when teams submitted songs for broadcast. Though Team Ragnarok won the challenge, Mendicant Cingulata came in first in the hunt.

A City Guide Relaunched

I didn't realize MSN still had their City Guides, but they apparently just relaunched their Chicago edition.

Rainbo and Metropolis

Author Aleksandar Hemon tells the Wall Street Journal about a handful of places around Chicago that are meaningful to him, in connection with the release of his short story collection Love and Obstacles.

Depart-ment Departs

After six years of helping to create a thoroughly connected craft community in Chicago, Depart-ment is calling it quits. The organizers explain how they regret the decision to disband the show, but considering the extreme time and cost that goes into organizing the show, it's not surprising even though it is sad. Thankfully a few of the organizers are helping to keep the movement alive with Coterie Chicago. Their first show is at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival.


Living with Pride is a halfway house for GLBT addicts restart their lives after getting sober -- and it's caused a controversy in its quiet North Center neighborhood.

Be a "Trainiac"

Saturday, May 9, is National Train Day. Celebrate with a visit to Union Station, which will feature exhibits and entertainment from 10am to 3pm.

Studying Iraq from Chicago

The Field Museum and Oriental Institute have some interesting visitors from the National Museum of Iraq. The Iraqis are taking the opportunity to brush up on contemporary archeology and conservation techniques they were unable to study at home during the Hussein regime ... and apparently during the ongoing war.

One Way or Another: The Beautiful Chef

As if all the accolades for his, you know, cooking talent weren't enough, chef Paul Kahan of Blackbird gives us another reason to feel inadequate. He's named as one of People's 100 Most Beautiful 2009 ... or not. [Thanks for the update, Dan!]

EveryBlock in Your Pocket

EveryBlock now has an iPhone app, so you can check on crime stats of the very corner you're standing on. (And restaurants nearby, too.)

Punkin' Donuts to Polish Broadway

John Greenfield walks the length of Belmont Avenue in this week's A/C feature.

I Envy the Fool Who Appeared for Jury Duty this Past Monday

Because you probably met Mr. T. That's justice.

The "Chemistry" of Art and Science

The Goodman is doing the unholy/impossible/fascinating: Pairing art and science. As part of the ongoing Science Chicago initiative, the Goodman will offer three free readings from Tom Stoppard, Richard Rhodes and Caryl Churchill, exploring their scientific themes. Readings take place on June 8, 15 and 22, with post-play discussions. Call for reservations: 312.443.3800.

Bike-By Shooting

Chicago News Bench reports on a bike-by shooting that occurred in on Broadway Uptown Sunday. Seems the FBI may be involved in the investigation, which would be pretty unusual if it's true. [via]

Happy Secretary's Day

Celebrate by taking a look at saucy Chicago secretaries of yesteryear.

The Wind Through Our Hair

We're the 11th best hair city in America, according to Total Beauty. (Thanks, Dee!)

Cruising Effortlessly

Decider checks out Chicago Segway Tours.

A Projects Project

Reader Ryan Flynn writes, "Here is a site I've had up for awhile now, documenting the transformation of the Cabrini-Green neighborhood in pictures, paintings, comments and news."

The Bees' Needs

While there is an apiary in the city, most of Chicagoland's honey production is done in the suburbs. Lake Bluff's GazeboNews profiles a group of retirees who've taken up beekeeping as a hobby.

(Cupcake) Life After Butter

Natalie Slater of Bake and Destroy interviews former vegan and baker extraordinaire Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery on baking philosophy, butter alternatives, and making that perfect vegan chocolate cupcake.

Beeps and Flashes

The system of signals behind CTA farecards is more complex than you might think.

It's Parkour Kids!

It seems not everyone is impressed with the Chicago parkour scene. [Thanks, Dubi!]

Olympic Bid Clears Another Hurdle

According to ESPN, Chicago is getting high marks from IOC officials following their visit to our fair city. The news is bound to make fans of the city's 2016 bid very happy. Others...not so much.

Outdoor Films Announced

Get set for Tuesdays at Butler Field with your favorite stars of the silver screen. This year's Outdoor Film Festival features have been announced, and they sure don't disappoint. Full list after the jump.

This Year's Films are Sunset Boulevard (July 14), Duck Soup (July 21), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 28), Born Yesterday (Aug. 4), Psycho (Aug. 11), Young Mr. Lincoln (Aug. 18) and Tootsie (Aug. 25).

Fill 'Em Up!

As part of their Adopt-a-Side-Street series, WBEZ learns how folks can fill potholes themselves from Elce Redmond of the South Austin Coalition.

New Neighbors for the Bean

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Burnham Plan, Millennium Park will enjoy two new pavilions come June 19. More in A/C.

Walk This Way

Yet another survey telling us where we rank as a city in various categories. This time we're the fifth best "Walking City", whatever that means.

Welcome Wagon of Flame!

A car on fire across the street is not the usual way we greet out of town guests. [Thanks, Marc!]

Pillow Fight!

The feathers flew this afternoon in front of The Art Institute for World Pillow Flight Day. That is, at least, until the CPD appeared.

Bike Like in Europe

Chicago will soon have three retail shops for fine European city bicycles, including cargo bikes. De Fietsfabriek USA, literally "the bike factory," opens Saturday in Old Town at 1309 N. Wells, just blocks from Dutch Bike Chicago, which opened last October on Armitage. Meanwhile, Copenhagen Cyclery plans to open soon in Wicker Park. It might just be time for a slow bicycle race.

Moving for Milton

The Invisible Institute takes a look at the 61st Street Community Garden and its troubles, now that the University of Chicago and Chicago Theological Seminary are planning on using it as a staging area [PDF] for the construction of CTS's new building. CTS is moving to make room for the Milton Friedman Institute.

The Love Train

Yeah, riding the CTA train sucks sometimes (thanks to Miss Bags-On-The-Seat and you, Mr. Block-The-Door, among others). But maybe you'll run into The Nicest Train Operator In Chicago and everything won't seem so bad, even the guy yakking on his cell phone from Grand to Berwyn, for crying out loud.

City of Big Laughs

The Trib's Maureen Ryan has the details on a "very funny" festival: Just For Laughs, a TBS-sponsored comedy event taking place in Chicago June 17-21.

AskMen, They'll Tell You ranked Chicago number 1 in its Top 29 Best Cities survey, just ahead of Barcelona and San Francisco.

Chimp-less at Lincoln Park Zoo

Visitors to the Lincoln Park Zoo's Regenstein Center for Africa Apes may notice the lack of chimps over the next several days. That's because zoo staff is monitoring six chimps who've come down with a upper respiratory infection that also killed another chimp earlier this week.

Gator Parade

Words of wisdom from The Woodlawn Wonder: "You can always tell the weather is changing by how many candy colored men's gator shoes you see on the street."

Introducing the Illinois Holocaust Museum

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center will be opening in Skokie on April 19. You may request tickets to the public grand opening ceremony or get a sneak peek by purchasing tickets for the Inaugural Gala on April 2.


WBEZ's blog has some pictures from the Chicago regional spelling bee held last Friday. Kira Gallancy won with the word "nominative". She will go on to compete in The Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

A Life in Layers

Can't make it down to the Oriental Institute but want to learn more about mummies? The University of Chicago Magazine created an interactive mummy dissection that combines photographs, CT scans and interviews with researchers to examine the Institute's 2,800-year-old dummy -- without cracking the seal.

The Annoying Becomes Political

Several gay bars in Chicago are putting an end to allowing bachelorette parties, saying that comically flaunting one's impending nuptials in front of those who can't legally marry is insulting and inappropriate.

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

Hopefully an apartment this bad isn't even on your radar, but to make sure you don't end up spending time in a place with bedbugs, check out this map of known infestations, and lend a hand locally. (Thanks, Kaylee!)

A Tradition Worth Reviving

The Trib has a historical photo essay of the Back of the Yards Free Fair, a month long celebration once held at the intersection of 47th and South Damen.

Trained Cat Strut

The Tribune profiles the Rock Cats, "Chicago's only trained domestic cat show."

How Green Is a Green Chicago River?

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the annual dyeing of the Chicago River from an environmental aspect, with an interesting note that at any time of year, the Illinois Department of Public Health doesn't recommend eating too many fish from its waters.

Small On Size, Big On Soccer

Tailgate's Steve Gillies continues his excellent series on the city's best soccer-watching bars to get your footy on. Today: The Small Bar.

The Water's Green with Money

If you saw the Chicago River get dyed green this Saturday, your fun cost somewhere around $133 per minute.

"Let Friendship Shine"

That's the new motto of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid. It replaces "stir the soul" which sounds more like a Campbell's Soup tagline. It's definitely an upgrade.

Shape the Polish Triangle's Future

If you live in Wicker Park or West Town, you may have visited the Polish Triangle once or twice without realizing that was what it's called. You could help decide its future March 21 & 22, if you so choose.

Remembering Old Chicago Mall

I never visited Old Chicago Mall, but a massive mall with "rides, a concert venue and circus performers--all under a glowing 16-story dome" sounds like a little kid's dream. If you have memories of the mall or want to read other people's recollections, Paul Drabek's roller coaster website collects them.

Seeing Stars

I.C.Stars is a program working to develop 1,000 community leaders in Chicago by 2020. Learn how to get involved here

The High Price of Art

The Chicago Park District's Committee on Programs and Recreation approved a measure to increase general admission prices to the Art Institute by 50%. If passed by the board, prices will jump from $12 to $18. Seniors and student prices will also increase from $5 to $12.

Barker Law Reconsidered

Ald. Ed Burke reintroduced a bill requiring mandatory sterilization of dogs and cats yesterday. The Chicago and Illinois Veterinarian Medical Associations both oppose the legislation.

Driving While Brown

A study finds that Latinos are being pulled over more frequently by police in some parts of Chicagoland. Read more in this month's Chicago Reporter.

Close, But No Cigar

Where can a guy puff away on a good Macanudo in Chicago? Since the citywide smoking ban took place, not too many places it seems, as one dedicated stogie fan finds out.

It's Your Special Day, Chicago

Happy Day-You-Were-Incorporated.

$2.5 Billion

That's how much the U of C's Crime Lab estimates gun violence costs Chicago every year.

The Real Pirates of Cook County

The Whydah, an 18th century-era slave and (later) pirate ship, has docked at the Field Museum beginning today until October 25.

Do Ya Think I'm Vegan?

Hoping to dispel whatever myths and stereotypes are out there concerning vegans (think sensible shoes, biking everywhere and some article of clothing made of hemp), PETA is sponsoring a "Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door" contest and a Hyde Park resident is carrying the banner for Chicago. You can vote for her here.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with Donuts

Come celebrate the Polish tradition of Paczki Day with Illinois State Rep. John Fritchey at the Jefferson Park Blue Line Stop, 6:30-8:30am.

60 Years of Hyde Park in 15 Minutes

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2009. Earlier this week at HPKCC's anniversary kick-off event, James Withrow of Hyde Park Urbanist covered the last 60 years of Hyde Park in just 15 minutes. Read it here.

Leading Indicators: Prostitution on Craigslist

When it comes to "erotic services" posts in the Housing section of Craigslist, Chicago lags far behind Vegas, LA, NYC and SF. Maybe that's why Forbes thinks we're so miserable. [via]

With Friends Like These...

This week's Reader feature investigates the financial troubles threatening the eviction of Loren Billings, the 89-year-old widow who lives in and runs the Museum of Holography.

Back On Track

The Chicago Defender reports on one of Chicago's original dance shows, Soul Train, getting a long-overdue salute from one of the city's newest dance shows, Chic-A-Go-Go.

Chicago's Oldest Woman Dies

Chicagoan Virginia Call, whose family claimed she was 115 and records indicate was about 111, has died. She was also Chicago's oldest registered voter, supporting Barack Obama after a 20-year registration lapse.

Hips And Salsa

With the weather expected to take a dip this weekend, what better way to heat up than with salsa. No, not this kind, this kind. The International Salsa Congress is expected to draw the top dancers in the city and beyond. And they'll have lessons as well, so it might be a useful Valentine's Day destination.

Behind Stockton and Memphis

Chicago is America's third most miserable city, according to this throwaway story. Go ahead, be outraged.

Shaping Hyde Park

Hyde Park Urbanist remembers Realtor and activist Winston Kennedy, who it credits as one of the people who helped shape the current neighborhood.

Rattlers, Bluebirds & Parakeets

The Chicago Academy of Sciences is cataloging its collection of indigenous animals.

Undocumented, Unlucky

Help is difficult to find for illegal immigrants in need of health care, unemployment or other services. And the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's deportation policies mean asking for help from the wrong person might send them back to a country they no longer know.

Despite Steady Attendance, Museums are Hurting

The recent news of steady 2008 attendance is only half the story. Many museums are laying off staff and restricting visiting hours.

The Secrets of Canvassers

The Trib asked a group of canvassers from organizations like Greenpeace to a men's suit company about their jobs, the people they interact with and their futures.

Might as Well Pay It

The Expired Meter reports that budget cuts have led to a huge backlog on traffic and parking ticket court hearings. If you're not up for the hassle, you can pay your ticket online.

Art Institute Free for February

Just a reminder, the Art Institute of Chicago will be free of charge and the Edvard Munch exhibition, which opens 2/14, will be half price.

Bean Vandalized

A couple of morons decided that Millennium Park's Cloud Gate sculpture wasn't complete, so they etched their names into it. It's art, not Gino's East, people.

Chicago Gay History

If you're looking for information about the history of Chicago's LGBT community, Chicago Gay History is the place to look. The site has published everything from all of the biographies in the Chicago Gay History Project to a range of detailed information about specific topics.

Has Noble Horse Run Its Course? (which should probably know about these things) reports that the unique Noble Horse Stable might be closing its doors after 138 (yes, 138) years of operation. The facility, which in addition to providing downtown carriage rides also houses a horse-themed theater, is a victim of too much competition, says the owner.

Museum Attendance Still Strong

Ever wanted to know how many people visit Chicago museums? Last year, the Shedd had the most, with 1,864,886 visitors, while the whole Museums in the Park group had 7.7 million patrons.

Get Out of the House

Here's some inspiration for the sled-dog days of winter: a list of free days at all Chicago's museums.

Shoes on a Wire

The City received 1200 requests to remove shoes dangling from power lines last year.

The Playboy Next Door Again

Playboy is moving its operation back to Chicago, where Hugh Hefner's empire was started.

Looptopia No Longer (As We Knew It)

Looptopia, our two-time dusk-to-dawn cultural celebration, is being refashioned into a series of 5 mini-Looptopias each running from 4 to 11pm.

A Regular-ass Flag

The story of a popular tattoo.

Park (your bicycle) Inside

The bike parking rooms and shelters planned for four CTA stations are now open. Combining bicycling and transit to get around is now even easier.


The Obama inauguration poem gets critiqued by people who should know...the fans and members of The Poetry Foundation based here in Chicago. Judging from the comments section, not everyone was enthralled by the piece.

Little Village, Little Parks

Little Village may be getting some new "pocket parks" thanks to proposals by alternative design school Archeworks and Neighbor Space.

Bike to Work for Coffee

Tuesday's Winter Bike to Work Day encourages us to use our bicycle to get around town. To celebrate, Active Transportation Alliance serves free coffee and hot cocoa at Daley Plaza to bicycle riders from 6:30 to 9 a.m. After last week's sub-zero freeze, tomorrow may feel almost balmy.

Making Monday Count

If you're looking to get involved with a volunteer project as part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, you can find events in your area.

Serving the Southwest Side

About the only time the Southwest Side gets press is when there's a fire or a crime. The Southwest Observer aims to change that.

WWWelcome, Tourists!

The City invites you to ExploreChicago on its newly relaunched tourism site.

Not Orphan Annie

Poor Little Rich Girls aims to help young women in the city live a chic but budget-friendly lifestyle.

The City That Never Sleeps?

And you thought it was the relentless winter weather, skyrocketing cost-of-living and hit-or-miss public transportation that was putting you on edge here in Chicago. Nope. Turns out we're the third most caffeinated city in America. Step away from the Coca-Cola...

Every Single Block

EveryBlock has introduced a feature that allows you to see neighborhood trends right down to individual blocks. Still no pothole data, though -- not that they're not trying.

Marina City Civility Unraveling

Remember when the Marina City Condo Association decided to ban photos of the iconic buildings without their permission? That was just the beginning of the crazy -- and it's gotten worse over the years, Chicago Journal reports. Dig deeper at the watchdog/online newspaper Marina City Online.

Free Coal Mine Ride!*

The Museum of Science & Industry is offering free general admission through the end of January. [via] UPDATE: Actually, apparently the coal mine is closed for maintenance. You do still have to pay for special exhibits such as the U-boat. (Thanks, Carlotta!)

Start the Year Off Pants-Free

No Pants 2K9, a nationwide project run by NYC-based Improv Everywhere (remember them from This American Life?), makes a stop in Chicago on January 10. If you're willing to brave the CTA in your bloomers, hop aboard.

Ice, Ice Baby

You weren't the only one who was having trouble negotiating their way around town over all that ice. A few other people did their share of slippin' and slidin' too.

Campus Guardians

No matter how cold the weather, the University of Chicago gargoyles remain ever vigilant.

The Mall-fication of Wrigleyville

Did you know there's a huge "mixed use mega-complex" in development for the southeast corner of Clark and Addison? Addison Park on Clark would take out all the businesses on the east side of Clark Street all the way down to The Irish Oak.

Pervs on the CTA

Unfortunately sometimes public indecency is a fact of life on public transportation. CTA Tattler has a good post exposing one particular lowlife and some suggestions on what to do if you become a victim.

Chicago Works Its Magic

Add one more to the list of things to look forward to in the spring. The Museum of Science and Industry scored a coup of sorts last week, beating out institutions around the world for the chance to premier "Harry Potter: The Exhibition" next April. Tickets already available online.


Empire Today has collected videos of its classic carpet commercials at Sing along!

Touring Chicago by iPod

Audissey Guides has made its iPod tour of Chicago, narrated by local hip hop poet Kevin Coval, a free download.

Blast From The Past

The "unique" local political scene gets yet another national dissection. This time, it's The Atlantic. And this time it's from October, 1930. The more things change...

Watch it Come Down

WGN collects webcams on one page so you can watch the city get blanketed in snow.

Ain't Nobody Here But Us...

The latest hip urban trend? Raising chickens in your backyard. Says one owner: "They're like pets with eggs." Yeah, but most pets don't have their young eaten by the owner so, you know, not quite the same. (Here's a classic from our archives.)

Douglas Park: Now Perfect for BMX Biking

It may be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but Chicago 2016 has already made some changes to the proposed schedule of events for the summer Olympics bid.

Be a Secret Santa

Speaking of people helping people, Resurrection Healthcare's Homebound Elderly Program is in need of volunteers to help bring holiday cheer to homebound senior citizens in Chicago. Help out if you can.

'Dear Santa' Letters Need Santas

Head down to the main post office and answer a child's "Dear Santa" letter. Sure things are bleak: The record unemployment. Our dear ole gov'na in shackles. But... 'tis better to give than to receive, right? Letters are available in the post office lobby; sift through and find one that tugs your heartstrings. More info.

Helping Humboldt Park

There are many reasons to give. (And even more citywide.)

A Gentleman's City

GQ has named Chicago its city of the year, thanks to its politics (though not directly Obama), film (The Dark Knight), literature (yay writers!) and architecture (the on-hold Spire).

The Ugly Truth

A while back we asked if Chicago had the ugliest house in America. Well, the verdict is in and the answer is ... yup, sure do.

CTA Rolls Out Hybrid Buses

The CTA unveiled new hybrid buses today that plug into an electrical outlet at night and run on battery power for most of the day. The move is estimated to save the CTA almost $7 million annually in maintenance, labor and fuel costs by retiring aging buses.

City Sticker Winner Announced

Beware the giant dog attacking the city next spring! That's my impression of the image that won the most votes in the Chicago City Clerk's vehicle sticker contest. Congrats to Denise Ferguson, the artist, who's a senior at Corliss High School.

Car Wars

It will cost you considerably more to park at a meter in the near future. But don't worry: You probably won't be able to move your car from in front of your house anyway.

There's a Club for Everything

Even flutists, scanners and jitterbuggers. Even tax enthusiasts.

So What's The Point?

Hyde Park Progress take a new look at the future of Promontory Point (aka "The Point") in light of one of the area's most famous (former) residents moving to D.C.

That's The Ticket

Tired of dodging the city tow trucks thanks to that fistful of parking tickets you've collected? The Department of Revenue is giving you a break.

Striking While the Iron is Hot

Thousands of taxi drivers reportedly stayed home from work today to show support for the United Taxidrivers Community Council's proposal for a 16% fare hike to take effect January 1.

Signs of Snow

Hopefully you remembered not to park on snow routes tonight, because whether there's snow on the ground or not, Chicago's winter parking regulations go into effect at 3am Dec. 1 -- very late tonight or very early Monday morning, depending on your perspective. Hope you don't wake up to a missing car!

Make a Wish, Grant a Wish

The Parkways Foundation wants to know if you'll grant Buckingham Fountain a wish.

Piven Had to Be Behind This

If you TIVOd the newest (season finale) episode of "Entourage" this past Sunday, pay attention to scene change footage between minutes eleven and twelve...what is supposed to be a quick shot of gritty New York is actually a pre-construction view of the CTA station at Belmont and Wilton. Good work, film editor.

Voices of Hope

So what were you doing when you heard the news? The Chicago Reporter wants to know your reaction when you first heard that Barack Obama had won the election as part of their upcoming "50 Days/50 Voices" project. Video, audio and essays are all welcome.

Taylor Made...and Demolished

The ever-vigilant architecture critic Lee Bay looks at the rise and fall of the controversial Robert Taylor Homes on his blog. He even includes a link to video clip of Mayor Daley the Elder speaking at the grand opening.

Good Dogs Get to Ride in the Car

Vote now for your favorite design for next year's Chicago vehicle sticker. It's theme is "Dog Friendly Chicago" and all the stickers were created by Chicago Public School students.

...And Cingo Was His Name-o.."

Know a University of Chicago student or alumnus? Know two or more? Print out these U of C-centric Bingo cards for them to enjoy during the holidays. Then stand back and watch the geek-tacular fun ensue.

Embracing 'Paseo Boricua' take a look at the Puerto Rican community in Chicago and its staunch supporters who once again try to stave off gentrification.

Windy City Renaissance

The New York Times on Chicago's "moment of renaissance": "Well before Mr. Obama was elected as the nation's 44th president... Chicago was experiencing one of its most blossoming periods in food, fashion and the arts. Now, people around the country and the world are simply noticing." Um, yeah, thanks for noticing. Again.

Image Is Everthing

Image Chicago magazine, a "lifestyle" publication with a heavy emphasis on clubbing and fashion, celebrates its third anniversary. You can flip through the latest issue, a dual "hers and his" type of thing, here.

Reverse Mugging

Watch your pockets. A creepy guy in a mask might just stick something in them.

Feminine Wiliness

"Chicago Geek Girls is a network of groups devoted to supporting the work & play of women who identify as geeks."

Roll of the 20-Sided Die

Chicagoland gamers, welcome to the Dice Doho.

Shadow Catcher meets the Kwakwaka'wakw

Photographer Edward S. Curtis' 1914 silent film In the Land of the Headhunters was the first to exclusively star Native North Americans. It was recently restored and will be shown at the Field Museum on Sunday and Monday mornings. Stick around afterwards for a discussion with historians and descendants of the Kwakwaka'wakw nation, who are featured in the film. More details in Slowdown.

Terkel Gets Steppenwolf Send-Off

To celebrate the life of Studs Terkel, Steppenwolf will present a free staged reading of Terkel's book "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" this Monday, featuring Steppenwolf company members, director Joyce Piven, the Tribune's Rick Kogan, and that guy from "Friends."

A Parking Ticket Plan We Can Believe In

See, things are already changing after Barack Obama's election victory: Mayor Daley wants to give parking ticket scofflaws a break on unpaid tickets issued before 2007. The amnesty period would run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 14.

On the Road Again

All day long at Columbia College, there's a marathon reading of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, happening at 1104 S. Wabash. Pop in during your lunch hour or after work; the motion embedded in Kerouac's words fits beautifully with this bright fall day and the change in the air. Apple pie served at 4pm.

The Ringer

Could last night's historic election results affect Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid? Tokyo thinks so.

Affordable Undersea Adventures

If you love pregnant seahorses, endearingly floppy manatees and cephalopods like I do, you'll be excited to learn that every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday during the month of November (except Wednesday, 11/26), the Shedd Aquarium will offer free general admission and discounts on inclusive packages.

Saul Bellow's Chicago

After months of "Barack Obama's Chicago" in seemingly every media outlet, it's time for a change of pace. This time, Saul Bellow gets the treatment.

Fest for Less

The Sun-Times reports that the city will be reducing the length of Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, and other city celebrations for 2009. These reductions are because of Mayor Daley's spending cuts in the 2009 budget.

Sun, Sand and Spare Change

Bring some quarters along with that sunscreen when you go to the beach next year. The Chicago Park District will charge for all 4,000 parking spots along Lake Michigan, specifically $1 an hour. In addition, they won't open beaches until 11 a.m. to cut down on lifeguard expenses.

Keeping Score in Chicago

Sun-Times writer Mark Konkol and former Q101 DJ Todd "Fook" Fooks have launched a podcast.

Move Over, Miami

The Second Annual Chicago Latino Fashion Week kicks off next Monday with a host of spicy runway shows and post-catwalk parties to satisfy any (color) palette. Each event will feature top designers from across Latin America, including a number of locals showcasing their caliente collections.

Behind the Scenes at the MSI's Model Railroad

If you've ever wanted to know more about the miniature model of Chicago and the full model railroad at the MSI, sit down for a talk with Daddy Nature.

Season of Discontent

The city's soup kitchens are gearing up for a busy winter, the Chi-Town Daily News reports.

Hyde Park Profiled by the Post

As a South Sider, one of the fascinating outcomes of the election season has been the increase in attention this side of the city is getting. The Washington Post chips in with a four page profile of Hyde Park. [Thanks, Spencer!]

If My Mentor Could See Me Now

If you were watching the Today show around 7:30 this morning, you may have caught Robyn Okrant, the Chicago-based proprietor of the Living Oprah blog that has gotten a lot of media attention for her year-long experiment to live all things Oprah, being interviewed. If you missed it, we have a video for you.

Vote for the Best

NewCity's Best of Chicago voting is open.

Pseudo Voyeuristic

The apartment of GB's creative director, Naz Hamid, and his wife Jen Schuetz is featured on Apartment Therapy today.

Peninsula Stands Out

If the stock market dive hasn't eaten up all of your cash, you might consider a stay at the Peninsula Chicago. The luxury hotel was just named the top hotel in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler.

City On The Move

Big doings at City Hall today: Not only is Mayor Daley planning on laying off more than 900 city employees (including cutting some garbage crews from two men to one) to help balance the city budget, but his hand-picked top cop Jody Weis is announcing a major shake-up in the CPD.

Cars Carry City's Budget Answer

Cars, whether parked legally or illegally, appear to be the answer to the city's budget shortfall, according to Mayor Daley. To close the $420 million gap, he's raising the city parking tax, preparing to privitize parking meters, putting in more red-light cameras and revising his Denver Boot plan.

No More Texting & Driving

City Council has banned texting while driving. It'll be a $75 fine, rising to as much as $200 if you get into an accident.

Desktop Tour

Care to take a Googletour of Chicago and the suburbs?

That's Some "Overhead Projector"

Staff at the Adler Planetarium were surprised to make the presidential debates, particularly when their sought-after projection system was ridiculed by McCain.

City Hall 'Sting'

"Roof Top Honey" may sound like some sort of upper-level illicit rendezvous, but it's actually the name of the sweet product harvested from beehives on the rooftops of City Hall and the Cultural Center and sold online and at The Farmstand at 66 E. Randolph St.

Sunday Parkways

Chicago closes certain boulevards to car traffic this Sunday so that you can enjoy the street with your bicycles, strollers, and walking shoes. Look for activity stations with salsa dancing, yoga and basketball, plus a taping of Chicago's dance show Chic-A-Go-Go.

The Qi to good Za

Study up on your two-letter words for Scrabble Night tonight at Andersonville's The Coffee Studio. It's for experts and newbies alike -- there'll be match-ups and prizes for the former, and tips and tricks for the latter. More details in Slowdown.

(No) Soup For You? It Depends.

Groupon, a Chicago startup, will offer daily coupons for local events, services, hotels, eateries and more. The twist? You only get the deal if enough people sign up for it. If not - well, you know.

Mock Vote Early, Real Vote Later

In an effort to engage CPS students to register to vote when they turn 18, voting began yesterday for a mock districtwide presidential election that is being touted by CEO Arne Duncan as the largest in the country. FYI, early voting for the real election begins October 13.

No Cash, More Trash?

In an effort to cure the city's budget woes, Mayor Daley says the city may layoff 1,000 workers, possibly resulting in (among other things) reduced garbage collection.

And the Winners Are...

The Third Coast International Audio Festival has just announced the winners of its 8th Annual TCF/ Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. Click here to listen to excerpts from the winning audio documentaries.

A Novel Idea

Well this should make Ben Joravsky happy. Due to lack of support from the governor we all love to hate, Daley and friends have decided to shut down the central loop TIF only a year and a half after its original expiration date. So we can actually see where some of our money is going? Amazing.

A Dive in the Times

Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap in Hyde Park is profiled in the fall travel section of the New York Times.

Burnham's The 'Face' of Chicago

The Tribune's "Skyline" blogs discusses the impact of Daniel Burnham, not only on the look and layout of the city but the 'burbs as well.

Image Is Everything

According to Chicago 2016 Commitee Chairman Patrick Ryan, the main goal of securing the Olympics is to change the city's image. Really? Are we still all Al Capone and Michael Jordan to the rest of the world?

Middle of Nowhere, Chicago

There are few places as isolated as the Altgeld Gardens-Murray Homes CHA development, the Defender reports.

Where Do We Stand?

Somehow we ranked third in public-trans/walkability but only 16th in friendliness. See this and dozens of other rankings in Travel + Leisure's city survey.

Right On 'Cue

Chicago native Scott Johnson barbecues for a cause: to fight cancer. He donates his winnings in national competitions to a cancer research foundation. That's nice, but his reasons for getting into barbecuing might tick a few people off: he points to "the lack of quality barbecue cuisine in his native Chicago." Ahem...

Chicago's Female Founding 'Fathers'

It wasn't just the Marshall Fields and the Potter Palmers who rebuilt Chicago after the Great Fire. WBEZ-FM reports on the women who helped raise the city from the ashes.


The City of Chicago will text you in the case of an emergency if you sign up for their new service NotifyChicago.

Where We're Missing Our Connections

Very Small Array has produced maps based on Craigslist Missed Connections, showing the most likely place to "miss" someone in general and by sexual preference as well as age, hair color and other breakdowns.

Maxwell Street 'Flea'ing Again

Once again, Chicago's historic "Maxwell Street" is on the move, this time relocating from Canal Street to Desplaines Street. Even if you don't need tube socks, you should probably go see it. Something says this latest move might be its last.

Livin' in Beverly Hills (& Morgan Park)

I love finding blogs about Chicago's less in-the-news neighborhoods: check out

Meet Some Dead Women of Influence

The Chicago Architecture Foundation will kick off a new tour soon featuring influential women in Chicago's history. The "Women of Influence Tour" will meet at Graceland Cemetery on select Saturday mornings starting September 6, and for the meager price of $10 (or free, if you're a CAF member) you'll learn about women who fought for civil rights, conducted the Underground Railroad and broke up the plot to kill President Abraham Lincoln...and see some pretty cool tombstones.

Is Your Trash Worth $10?

The city of Chicago may require a $10 garbage collection fee to close a $420 million budget gap, according to the Sun Times, The Post-Tribune reported earlier this month that council members endorse the pick-up fee.

Careering Through Chicago

A brazen careerist explains why she lives in Chicago.

Doggone Catty?

In this day and age of promoting shelter adoptions of animals, a Tribune article reveals that getting into an Ivy League school is easier than taking that tabby cat you saw at the shelter home with you.

Not Breathing Easy

Chicago's air quality isn't the best. No surprise there.

Red Means Stop

Cyclists, beware! Cops are set to start ticketing for bicycle moving violations like riding on the sidewalk, not wearing a headlamp at night, and riding through red lights and stop signs. And you didn't think those were rules.

Chicago's Family Ties

Tracing a Cook County politican's family tree is pretty easy: just look at his successor. For the rest of us, there's the Cook County Genology Online, which was unveiled this week. Medill Reports has the story.

Chicago: A Labor of Love

For the third year in a row, declares Chicago the top destination for the Labor Day weekend. And if you do choose Chicago as your vacation destination, a New Zealand travel site tells you the best way to spend 48 hours here.

The Embiggening of Chicago

From four-story condos to Calatrava's tower, Chicago is getting bigger and taller. Unfortunately, there's likely nothing you can do about it should that huge new development loom over your yard.

Light Up

Mayor Daley's Bicycling Ambassadors installed free bicycle headlights tonight to those riding dark on Milwaukee at Damen, thanks to help from the Wicker Park Bucktown SSA. A friendly Chicago bike COP was in attendance. Expect more and more events to promote bicycle safety.

Little Green People

No, not aliens -- a podcast on green living in the city from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Founder of Green City Market Dies

Abby Mandel, founder of the 10 year-old Green City Market and a longtime food columnist for the Tribune, has died.

The Aftermath of Tragedy

Chicago Magazine has an excellent article looking back at the 2005 accident/failed suicide attempt that claimed the lives of three local musicians, and its effects today.

Peaceful Sunday Streets

To get an idea of what Chicago's upcoming Sunday Parkways is going to be like, look at the "giddy sort of excitement" that New York saw on Saturday. Sure, it won't be quite like the impeccable brick walkway that was Park Avenue before 1922, but it will celebrate our tree-lined Boulevard system. Perhaps Chicago's new Dutch bike shop will open just in time. In the meantime, here's a video with safety tips on bicycling in traffic (ad plays first).

The City in HD just launched with a HD Video library of the city's neighborhoods. It's aimed at Realtors, but we can enjoy it too.

Nine Dogs, 17.8 Miles

According to their website, Bike The Dog is "Chicago's Premier Gastronomic Cycling Challenge." They're inviting bikers of any skill level to join them on September 13th for an almost-eighteen-mile trek through the north and northwest sides, sampling the wares at nine quintessential Chicago hot dog locations. It's a pledge-based event, with raised funds benefiting the family of Stella Ackerman, a two-and-a-half-year-old living with a rare blood disorder. More info.

Qué Bien

When it comes to construction, we're used to seeing Hispanic workers in certain roles. An article in Crain's, however, shows some Latinos in Chicago are cutting through the stereotypes and the community is rallying around young folks who wish to do the same.

Death in the City

The police confirm what we've already figured: murders are up 18 percent over last year.

Gettin' Nowhere Fast

Apparently the Tribune doesn't think booting folks for two tickets is that bad of a policy. Steve at the Beachwood Reporter has a different opinion and airs some grievances with parking and the El. Then again Da Mare is riding the Beijing subway to figure out how to fix ours. He could've saved himself a ticket and jumped on an ancient Blue Line car; one waft of the smell of piss and burnt wire-sheathing would inspire anybody.

Watering the City

Chicago Public Radio's Chicago Matters series takes a look at our water system, and how it gets from Lake Michigan to our faucet.

Eight Oh-eight Oh-eight

With the news of border raids, censorship and pollution dominating the Olympic experience so far, the competing athlete's stories are a little lost in the noise. Chicago has more than a few locals carrying the torch. They include a diver from the family that owns Cubby Bear and the only Mexican national team wrestler with a Polish name. The SunTimes has a round-up.

What's Happening to Our City

The New Republic points out a "demographic inversion" trend happening here and in some other cities.

Nice to Know We're Happy

Chicagoans beat out New Yorkers, Londoners and even Parisians in a survey of the urbanites most fond of their city, conducted by Veolia Environment, a French environmental-services company (which happens to have 1,000 employees here).

Sum of a Beach

The Sun-Times gives a summary of the best beaches in the city. Funny, none of their capsule assessments mention anything about actually getting into the water.

Western Stories

The Tribune is launching an occasional series about Western Avenue, declaring it the city's blue-collar core. Take a trip down our longest street at 480mph.

Roseland Festival Tries To Make a Difference

Tomorrow's Roseland Peace Festival at 115th and Halsted will marry the fun of your typical Chicago neighborhood festival with the very serious message of putting an end to gun violence. The festival, whose theme is "1 Moment Affects 1,000 Lives", will feature a Memory Wall dedicated to the victims of gun violence. More details in Slowdown.

Path of Destruction

Prompted by a Red Eye story on the lakefront bike path congestion, architecture critic Blair Kamin resurrects a 1998 column of his which shows that nothing much has changed. On your left...

Do-It-Yourself Superhero

Since the cast and crew of The Dark Knight didn't leave any of their cool equipment lying around after they filmed here, the Tribune tells you how to become a real life Batman. And looking at the total cost, no wonder Bruce Wayne was a millionaire playboy.

Smile, You're On Red Light Camera

The city has 104 red light cameras. They plan on installing 25 more. They expect to collect more than $50 million in fines because of them. If gas prices weren't enough to make you ditch the car, this might do it.

Chicago Ranks in Top 5 of Most "Walkable" U.S. Cities

Suddenly, “walkability” is all the rage. Nobody wants to drive their car. Everyone’s looking for alternatives to their God-given, U. S. of A. right. What, did we lose a war? Oh, right …

Blog Wars

An online brouhaha is brewing in Hyde Park, where Hyde Park Progress takes aim at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club's focus, while the Hyde Park Urbanist questions the Hyde Park Progress' sources. Did we mention the words "Hyde Park" enough in this blurb?

Walk Like A Man...

Chicago Carless goes REALLY carless this time, detailing his extensive walking jaunts around the city. Made us tired just reading about it.

$125 for Your Gun

In the face of rising gun violence in the city, Raymond Figueroa, former alderman and judge and the owner of a Humboldt Park liquor store, is taking a stand.

Chicago's 'Hidden' Lakefront

The Washington Post gushes about our miles of beaches and advises tourists to start taking more advantage of them. Gee, thanks Washington Post.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Turns 100

Chicago-based Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first sorority started by African-American college women, is turning 100. It's celebrating in D.C. with the "largest banquet style dinner in the history of conventions." Mattel's even commemorating the anniversary of the group with the AKA Centennial Barbie.

Weis On The Hot Seat

The Tribune's "Clout Street" blog is giving updates on Police Superintendent Jody Weis' grilling by the City Council today on the city's expanding crime/gang problem. Weis said he plans on contacting other cities to find out how they've handled it.

Uptown Takes Diversity Crown

In a new study by DePaul's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, Uptown beats out Rogers Park, Hyde Park and the rest for the title of most diverse neighborhood in Chicago. Read the study here [PDF].

Convince Them to Move

Trying to get friends to join you in our fair city? Live Here has your back.

Blues Clues?

As noted, the Canadian Press seems to think that the blues are dying in Chicago, save for a few tourist traps. But a Tribune article refutes that with a peek at the vibrant South Side scene.

Listening to the City

What does your neighborhood sound like? Share it with Chicago Public Radio's Soundmarks project.

Maps of Heart & History

Notes for a People's Atlas of Chicago continues to collect homemade maps of how individual Chicagoans experience their city. As you stroll around town this summer, make your own.

Life During Surveillancetime

Yesterday’s City Council meeting yielded a new proposal from Mayor Daley that would add cameras to six street sweeper vehicles. The cameras would snap pics of cars in locations on street sweeping days where those orange no-parking signs are posted, and feed them to the City to issue a $50 ticket. The idea is to reduce calls to police to come and write the ticket.

Chicago: Gotham City's Stunt Double

Sure it looks cool on film, but all of those explosions and crashes in The Dark Knight, filmed here in Chicago, required the assistance of a lot of city agencies, as this Reuters story explains.

In Illinois, We're Sittin' Pretty

You can relax now: The list of "America's Best Public Restrooms" is out and, yes, Illinois has two of the top 10 spots, including one in Chicago. You can vote for the No. 1 place for No. 1 (or 2) here.

Home for a Million Bucks

Maybe you were thinking of snagging that darling condo in Pilsen, but just in case there's extra cash in your pocket... Here's what a cool million dollars will buy you in Chicago.

Chicken Crossing

Someone dressed as a chicken will be crossing Milwaukee Avenue Wednesday evening. Portage Park residents are reminding motorists that they need to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. You can join in.

City of Smells

For years, the southeast corner of State and Hubbard used to smell like banana Laffy Taffy. The smell is gone, sadly, so it didn't make it on this map.

Foreclosures Affect Renters Too

The Chicago Reporter highlights the plight of renters caught up in their landlords' mortgage troubles, and offers tips should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Welcome to Lincoln Square

How 'bout a tour?


Ten people Twitter'd Navy Pier's annual July 3rd fireworks display.

Who Are the Panhandlers in Your Neighborhood?

Jeff Ruby picks his favorites in Chicago Magazine.

Remembering Maxwell Street

As the Sun-Times asks Chicagoans for their favorite memories from the past, no doubt many would include the one-of-a-kind Maxwell Street. A new DVD looks at the history of the cultural crossroads and includes a 1964 documentary on the street, vintage recordings of some of the blues legends who plied their trade on the street and a 38-page booklet.

Taste(less) of Chicago

Professional curmudgeon and columnist Thomas Roeser absolutely trashes the Taste of Chicago experience as "a sad trampling of civility" and says that it reduces the dining experience to "ashes and banal barbarism." But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I Can See Clearly Now

Attention all "playas": You may want to think about removing the tint from the front window of your "hooptie" (do they still call it that?). The city is considering raising the fine for having a tinted front car window from $25 to $250. Now as for that booming bass...

Sweet Dome Chicago

Chicago's own Tiffany dome, thought to be the largest in the world, is back on display at the Chicago Cultural Center after a brief restoration. More in A/C.

We Bet He'll 'Say Anything'

Evanston native and actor John Cusak swears he bleeds Cubbie blue...but he's learned to be flexible about liking the White Sox, especially after 2005. But we'll cut him some slack on being a "switch-hitter", especially since he has a connection to the Sox, cinematically speaking.

Our "Latino Quarter"

The New York Times visits Pilsen. (Thanks, Michael!)

They're the Best...Around

Kill some time perusing the Reader's annual Best of Chicago feature.

"Weirdest Thing I've Ever Seen in Chicago."

What in the world is it?

Are There AARP Cards For Apes?

Keo the ape turns 50 today and the Lincoln Park Zoo is throwing a party for its elder statesman, one of the two oldest male zoo chimps in North America. If you have time, go over to the Regenstein Center for African Apes and show him some monkey love... um, or something like that.

I Want to Take You to a Gay Bar

Well, more like the history of Chicago gay bars, actually.

Checking Out The Scene

The always-interesting Urban Observer (aka Lee Bey) offers serenely beautiful shots from around the city, as well as a visual tour of the underappreciated John W. Farson House (The Pleasant Home) in Oak Park.

Suit Man Revealed

Meet Vincent Falk. C'mon, you know him... the guy with the crazy colored suits? Hangs out in the Loop? Yeah, that guy.

Driven To Respond

The subject of a Sun-Times article in today's paper, who complained about the hardships of not having a car, gets a bit of a dressing down by (naturally) the author of the blog Chicago Carless.

"Will We Be Unwelcome in Bronzeville?"

A white couple from Uptown asks whether they'll be out of place or just fine in Bronzeville. The answers are interesting.

Feel the Wind in Your...

If you like to ride bikes and be naked, might we suggest an activity for this Saturday night?

An Eventful Debut

The Chicago version of the activity-planning website kicked off today, which lets users search, set alerts for and buy tickets to thousands of local events, from concerts to street fairs to discussion groups. You can even add your own events to the listings.

The Bucket Brigade

An entertaining slice of urban life or a pain in the...eardrums? Either way, the "bucket boys" are a familiar sight in Chicago and North by Northwestern has an article/video on the ubiquitous street performers.

Stephanie Wins!

Proving that a woman's place is in the kitchen (whuh?), Chicagoan Stephanie Izard wins this season's Top Chef, which was lovingly filmed in Chicago. Get your recap over at Drive-Thru.

Latest Belushi Gets Serious

Another Belushi, Jim's son Rob, joins the line of entertainers from that famous Chicago family. But this one is going for the dramatic roles, currently rehearsing for The Lion In Winter in Glencoe's Writer's Theater.

CTA Superstation at Block 37 Could Be Super Screwed

If TIF money doesn't come to the rescue this week, an unfinished CTA station located underneath Block 37 that is designed to connect the Red and Blue train lines (and has already cost $200M to build) will be "mothballed."

No Olympics Yet, But Big Deals Underway

After months of discussion, Michael Reese Hospital will likely close this fall, clearing the way for massive Olympic redevelopment plans.

Nice Pipes

The pipe organ and bells at Rockefeller Chapel in Hyde Park will sound again this weekend after a year-long restoration process. Forty-six of the 72 bells in the carillon had to be shipped to the Netherlands for maintenance, and the pipe organ was completely dismantled, sent to Ohio for repairs, and reassembled in Chicago.

"I Colonize"

A personal perspective on gentrification. (Thanks, Emerson!)

A Conservative View of History

P.J. O'Rourke previews the Field Museum's new Ancient Americas permanent exhibit for The Weekly Standard.

What Can Evanston Teach Hyde Park?

Plenty, apparently, particularly when it comes to redeveloping HP's Harper Court, as Hyde Park Progress points out.

Celebrating Sisterhood, Chicago Style

The 3rd Annual Chicago Sister Cities International Festival holds court on Daley Plaza (at Washington and Dearborn) all this week from 10am - 3pm daily. The festival will showcase food, merchandise and lunchtime performances from Chicago's 27 sister cities such as Shanghai, Athens and Mexico City, just to name a few.

City of Big Thinkers

Business Week's Mike Nussbaum calls Chicago "the most innovative big city in America".

Find Any Crystal Skulls Yet?

Undergrads from the University of Chicago have launched the first archeological dig of the site of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, aka the "White City." The students are following in the footsteps of another famous U of C archeologist who's been in the news a lot lately.

A Full Bike to Work Week

Bike to Work Week runs June 7 through 13, with Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's commuter stations serving complementary coffee and snacks starting Monday, June 9. Celebrate a fun, healthy, environmentally conscious, and cost-effective way to commute by bicycling your whole way or combining with CTA, Metra and Pace. Sign your office up for the commuter challenge and compete for prizes. The week wraps up at Mayor Daley's Bike to Work Day Rally on Friday, June 13 from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Missed My Train Connection

Post your subway crush here.

Take That, Other Global Cities!

While our trader and hedge fund manager readership already knows we're the best city to live in as a trader, now it's official -- again.

Chicago, Welcome Saint Death

The Roman Catholic church may not recognize Santa Muerte, but her presence is growing in Chicago.

Happy Birthday, Studs

Author and radio host Studs Terkel, the quintessential Chicagoan, turns 96 today. WFMT-FM (98.7), which hosted Terkel's interview show from 1952 to 1997, will feature special programming dedicated to the author of Working, The Good War and Division Street all day long.

Crime On The Move?

The Medill News Service analyzed data and concludes that the demolition of the Chicago Housing Authority projects has resulted in crime migrating to nearby areas.

Rapping at Warp Speed

Chicago can once again lay claim to being the hometown of the fastest rapper in the world, as confirmed by the Guiness Book of World Records. The title was previously held by Twista.

That's The Ticket

Received an unexplained overdue parking ticket notice in the mail? Stop scratching your head. This might explain it.

Not the Taste of Chicago

Details are still murky, but the Illinois Restaurant Association and the city are planning a gourmet version of the Taste.

In Search of Barack's Haircut

The annual University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt kicked off over the weekend, sending hundreds of Maroon-ers out to the streets in search of (among other things) a Obama-styled haircut at the senator's very own barber shop and a disgruntled beekeeper. As of Monday afternoon no winners had been named yet. Here's the offical report and blog, though.

Coffee With Harold

Kind of appears that the Chicago Public Library is looking for someone to run a coffeeshop at the Harold Washington Branch downtown. Bravo! It can only make a neat place even better. (Now, if they added a wine bar at Sulzer, that wouldn't be a bad idea either.)

Culture Those Young'uns

The 2008 Children's Humanities Festival has been running all week and ends this weekend. Tonight, see original stop-motion animation (about insects!) combined with the dreamy stylings of singer Mirah and the instrumentals of Spectratone International. Includes a dash of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Appropriate for high-minded hipsters and wonderment-loving children alike. Details in Slowdown.

Good Bike News

In positive cycling news, Andersonville's annual Bike Week starts on Monday and runs May 12-18th with discounts at local retailers, bike-related art and photo exhibits, free spinning and pilates classes, and a "historic bike tour". Start planning your bike-friendly good times here.

Hyde Park Goes Wild

As if wild parakeets weren't enough, Hyde Park now is home to a band of feral cats who have set up shop in an alley near East 62nd Street. No reports of cougars in the HP, though... yet.

Ukie & East Ville

The Reader's neighborhood series hits Ukrainian Village and East Village.

Arguments and Inedible Crostini

The cheftestants become chefzillas in the wedding reception edition of this week's Top Chef recap over in Drive Thru.

Chicago Music's Starting Line-up

New City names the 45 Chicago performers who are keeping the city on the front burner of the national music scene.

It's a Mitzvah

Oy! Chicago is a relatively new site for "Jews in the Loop," featuring articles, interviews and events. The latest feature profiles Web2.0 companies Planypus and 37signals.

Blue Bags Go Out With the Trash

After thirteen years and heaps of criticism, Chicago will can the blue bag recycling program this summer, with plans to expand the blue cart program city-wide by 2011.

Reader's Best of Chicago

The Reader has begun to solicit nominations for their annual Best of Chicago issue. The categories range from the standard, like Best Theatre Actor and Best Pizza, to the more original, like Best Dead Architect and Best Building for Wandering Around in Before Security Asks What You're Doing There.

'Hell' Coming to Chicago

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, of "Hell's Kitchen" fame, is set to open a restaurant here in Chicago. Will it have yelling and non-yelling sections?

Alright, Stick 'Em Up(town)

Uptown Update has the lowdown on some of John Dillinger's hangouts in Uptown, including his last stop: the neighborhood funeral home.

Our Kind of Guy

Chicago blues icon Buddy Guy gets the tribute treatment when he's honored during the Great Performers of Illinois Festival July 20 at Millennium Park. Grammy winner Jimmie Vaughn will headline the free (yes, FREE) concert as part of the three-day music festival.

This Mother’s Day, Make Mom Proud …

And, more importantly, show up your siblings, by eschewing the half-wilted, unsustainably harvested bunch of red carnations you always get her, in favor of a beautiful card showcasing Chicago’s community gardens. Your $25 donation to NeighborSpace, a nonprofit urban land trust that protects many of Chicago’s urban oases, gets Mom the card and an invitation to a fall tour of city gardens. Slackers, take note: card orders must be received by Tuesday, May 6, at 10 a.m.

Weigh In On The Region's Future

Urban planners project that Chicagoland will be home to approximately 2.8 million more people by the year 2040. They'll have live and work somewhere. The agency in charge of deciding how to accommodate this growth wants your input over the next year for the development of their official plan, which will start to be implemented by 2010. 2009 is also the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago.

The Repercussions of Prison

Catalyst and the Chicago Reporter both focused recently on the effects of incarceration on the families and children of prisoners.

Watching Uptown

Two sites have their sights set on Uptown: Uptown Update and the Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter. The former looks at events both positive and negative in the neighborhood (although sadly, it's mostly negative), while the latter acts as a near-realtime tracker of criminal activities, pulled from eye-witness reports and police scanner activity. (Thanks, Amy!)

Cleaning Up In More Ways Than One

Chicago is on track to become the first city to have a street sweeper-mounted camera system. As the sweeper moves down the street it will take a take a photo of any illegally-parked vehicle and a second image of the license plate, relaying both automatically to the Department of Revenue. Strictly for traffic flow purposes, you understand.

Let's Hang in Our Earth-Friendly Alleyway Tonight

The New York Times gave props to Chicago in its Green Issue for its Green Alleys ongoing program to resurface the city’s alleyways with environmentally friendly materials such as permeable asphalt and light-reflecting concrete.

$100 to Carry

The president of the Chicago Crime Commission explains how gangs get kids involved in the drug trade.

Rent Relief ... in as Long as 10 Years

Given the overwhelming shortage of Section 8 housing vouchers in Chicago, the CHA's plan to hold an additional lottery is welcome news.

What's Your Wicker Park Look Like?

Volunteers with the WPB's Community Open Houses asked the people of Wicker Park/Bucktown what they wanted to see in their neighborhood. Their responses were collected in a series of photographs on Flickr: here, here and here. A quick survey indicates a big push for a more bike-friendly area. Oh, and a toy store. Don't feel left out of the process, though, you can submit your thoughts too. [Via]

Planning Ahead

2020 isn't all that far away now, so the clock has been reset to go to 2040. More about it in the Business Ledger.

Elston to Wiggle

CDOT is looking at reconfiguring the accident-prone Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection with a new Damen-Fullerton intersection that Elston would wiggle around.

Fish Food

Rationally, there's no reason these two businesses can't coexist.

Step Away From The Bird Feeder!

A suburban couple ran "a-fowl" of the law when they tried to provided sustenance for their fine feathered friends. One of the offenders compared the situation unfavorably to Communist Russia.

Your Weekend Just Got Cooler, Less Expensive

The Chicago Cultural Center will be showing the premiere of Movin' On Up, a documentary about Chicago native and music icon Curtis Mayfield Friday and Saturday night at 7pm. Never before seen footage, past performances are featured in the film and on Friday, a post-movie Q&A with director David Peck and surviving Impressions members Fred Cash and Sam Gooden follows the screening. The event is free.

Zipping Along

How does your zip code compare to the others around you? Here's 60660, 60657, 60622, 60621 and 60615.

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.

More Blue Mondays

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

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.

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.

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.

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...

'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.

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 ...

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.

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.

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.

Senior Service

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

St. Paddy's Pics

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

Heading South

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

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.

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.

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.

Guilty Pleasures Revealed

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

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.

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.

Out With the Old

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

Dwelling in Ukie

Dwell Magazine takes a walking tour of Ukrainian Village, hitting a range of the expected and the lesser known in art and commerce.

"Argyle Street Looked Like Death."

The Methods Reporter takes a look at how far Argyle Street has come in recent years -- and how far it has to go.

Empty Lots

You may know Sean Parnell from his Chicago Bar Project. He also tracks abandoned lots.

The Other Outfit

Chicago's mafia isn't all Italian anymore. It's Eastern European, and they spell it "mafiya."

Chicago Fashion Incubator is a Go

Six local designers have been selected to hawk their fashions in the Chicago Fashion Incubator at the State Street Macy's store starting March 11. According to the application for the year-long Incubator program, the chosen designers will pay Macy's $200 per month for office space and showroom rental, and in return attend lectures and get mentored by Macy's "merchant team." What a deal?

User Generated Guidebooks

Wikitravel is now publishing travel guides that are updated every month, ensuring you're getting the latest info for your upcoming trip. And the project's first guidebook happens to be about Chicago.

It's Curtains for the Dolly Show

American Girl Place will be canceling its run of the The American Girls Revue theater show as of September 1, citing a need to find "new entertaining experiences for our guests." As if creepy, overpriced plastic dolls and their endless accessories weren't entertaining enough.

Free Water

Free admission to the Shedd Aquarium all this week.

Ivy Licensing

Noted in this interview with EveryBlock founder Adrian Holovaty, Chicago has a business license designation of "Wrigley Field," which applies to the rooftop decks on Waveland and Sheffield.

A Pretty Thought for Valentine's Day

As you're opening valentines and being all lovey-dovey today (and possibly tonight), take a moment to reflect on the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, which took place 79 years ago today. If you're looking for something non-VD (but still poignant) to do tonight, Chicago Hauntings will be offering a tour of the site of the famous massacre (which is now a parking lot, but whatevs).

The Blackstone Rides Again

The New York Times trumpets the rebirth of the historic Blackstone Hotel and ties its return to the housing/building boom in the South Loop.

Developing Vultures

There are still people desperate to make a bundle in the now-busted housing development boom. So desperate that they harass senior citizens to get them to sell their homes, the Chicago Reporter finds, leading to an exodus of older residents out of the city.

I Love a Parade

Wondering what Saturday's Lunar New Year Parade on Argyle St. looked like? Well, wonder no longer -- here's some photos of the festivities, taken by this GB contributrix.

Hole Lot of Trouble

As the plethora of rim-busting, tire-flattening potholes grows around the city (and we wait for them to be repaired), you can optimistically report the ones you come across by alerting the Department of Transportation at the City of Chicago website. There's one form for streets and another for alleys.

Lunar New Year Crosstown Classic

A quick reminder that Chicago's lucky enough to have more than one bustling Asian community all geared up for celebrating the arrival of the Year of the Rat this weekend. On Saturday, head up to Argyle Street in Uptown for a parade and specials from area merchants including Thai and Vietnamese restaurants (read about some delicious Lunar New Year treats at Epicurious). On Sunday, head down to Chicago's Chinatown for a parade and even more festivities. Details in Slowdown.

Gents, Throw Away the Razor

826CHI's Moustache-a-Thon is approaching, so now you have an excuse to stop shaving in the name of philanthropy. The event benefits 826CHI's creative writing programs for city children. Registration for the event ends February 18, the opening ceremony is February 20th @ 826CHI, and "tracking parties" will be held February 27 and March 5, 12, and 19 to chart your lip hair evolution. Email 826CHI for info and to register.

South Side Parakeets are Tougher...

Despite the blinding snowstorms and below zero temperatures of late, the famed Hyde Park parakeets are hanging tough after more than 30 years in the area. However, a University of Chicago professor who is delivering a lecture on the birds on February 20 says this winter was expecially rough and may thin out their ranks a bit.

Bike the Drive Opens Registration

Even though I write this from an igloo, note that registration is now open for the May 25 Bank of America Bike the Drive, the ultimate car-free bicycling event (everyone should do this at least once in their Chicago lives). You can save $5 if you register before midnight on February 10.

Hole is in Your Extended Network

The Montrose Ave. sinkhole now has its own MySpace page, where it promotes its own beauty and compares itself to the Grand Canyon. If you're looking for a way to throw some love its way, you're invited to join the rally outside the Montrose L station on Tuesday afternoon, to protest the city's ruthless plan to fill it it back up.

Not a Dumb Idea, But a Dome Idea

"Rock over Chicago," as Wesley Willis used to sing. How about "winter dome over Chicago?" (Don't laugh -- Moscow's getting one.) Andrew Mason of local start-up The Point -- which applies the principles of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point to enable people to organize fund-raisers, boycotts and other campaigns for change -- estimates the collapsible weather shield would cost "$10 billion." Campaign contributors won't pay a dime until the project reaches its funding goal.

Creating Access

The Illinois Department of Tourism recently teamed up with the Open Doors Organization to develop the "Easy Access Guide to Chicago. Developed by locals for disabled tourists visiting our fair city, it's bound to be a boon to disabled Chicagoans as well.

Messing With Your Head

Controversial psychology professor Richard Shweder likes to pose tough cultural and ethical questions as part of his effort to reshape the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism. See if you can figure out the answers when he speaks tonight, 6:30 p.m., at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of their "Starting From Scratch" lecture series.

Neighborhood Newspaper Shuffle

Sun-Times Media Group announced plans this week to shutter three of its neighborhood newspapers at the end of the month. Now it looks like Oak Park-based Wednesday Journal is swooping in to save the Skyline, Lakeview Booster, and News-Star from imminent death.

Cold Streak

For those of you that don't like to stand out in the cold, much less run through it naked (read: are normal), you can experience the grand finale of UChicago's annual winter celebration Kuviasungnerk through photos, and video. Neither one of which is remotely safe for work.

Chicago Burlesque 101

Centerstage Chicago just compiled a list of all the places to catch the racy and talented ladies of Chicago's burlesque scene.

Chicago's Newest Green Home

Starting May 8, you'll be able to swing by the Museum of Science and Industry and visit Smart Home: Green + Wired, a new exhibit featuring