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

Gapers Block

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Where We Started

Gapers Block went live on April 25, 2003, with a Merge post about the Berghoff adding seats in the bar. The first couple Fuel questions were kind of silly, but got down to business soon enough.

The oldest Slowdown calendar entry was on May 1, 2003. We went fully public on May 5, and on that day Shylo Bisnett's "A Dialogue Between KISS & ABBA" was our first Detour feature.

We launched Airbags, our collection of columns, on Sept. 2, 2003, beginning with Ramsin Canon's Revenge of the Second City, Alice Maggio's Ask the Librarian, Media Warm & Tepid by various authors, and Cinnamon Cooper's One Good Meal.

A couple things from the earliest days of the site are missing -- including the first incarnation of Transmission, a weekly mp3 from a local artist, shared in a box on the front page. It was hand-coded and uploaded by FTP, so there was no archive. And the first 14 months of Rearview were lost in a server transfer, so the earliest we have in the archives is from July 9, 2004.

It's good to look back at where we started, so we have perspective on where we are today, and where we're going from here. This may be the end of Gapers Block for now, but it's not the end of the incredible work being done by the writers who made the site such an invaluable resource for Chicagoans -- nor is it the end of independent journalism in Chicago. It will just be (temporarily, I'm positive) harder to find. The mission for you is still the same: Slow down and check out the city. Thank you for coming along on this particular ride.

Best of GB: The Lies

Early on, we ran fiction in Detour, our features section. One running series was The Critic, which was an Onionesque collection of "real reviews of fake things," such as restaurants, movies, musicals, fireworks shows and music festivals. They never failed to fool a few people.

Best of GB: Teaching You to Cook

Cinnamon Cooper's column One Good Meal spawned a cookbook, The Everything Cast Iron Cookbook. Try the roast chicken.

Best of GB: To Be Demolished

In To Be Demolished, David Schalliol's photo series documenting soon-to-be-demolished buildings throughout the city.

Best of GB: What No One Talks About

Danny Fenster wrote about the sex trafficking industry in Chicago, Joe Erbentraut wrote about the Transgender Day of Remembrance and the struggle for transgender equality. Rachel Rabbit White reported on senior citizens getting into BDSM and the underground ball scene, and Conrad Lawrence covered the BDSM scene back in 2004.

Best of GB: The Great Lakes

In 2006, Edward McClelland serialized excerpts of his book, The Third Coast, as he made his way around the Great Lakes collecting stories.

Best of GB: Vivian Maier

Kelly Reaves kept the narrative of Vivian Maier's discovery straight, and Julia Gray helped us break the story of the uncertain copyright ownership of Maier's work.

Best of GB: Ventra's Folly

Jason Prechtel did some amazing investigative reporting on Ventra, following the money and uncovering a history of bidding abnormalities and troubled projects by the system's creator, Cubic.

Best of GB: The Ass That Goes Pow

Shylo Bisnett's profile of Michelle L'Amour, then known as "Toots," remains a popular story to this day thanks to Google and people's love of butts.

Best of GB: Dining Out with Celiac Disease

Jenni Prokopy wrote about finding gluten-free restaurants before it was cool.

Best of GB: Blagg the Axman

Read if you dare the Tales of Blagg the Axman, Fuel commenter turned serialized storyteller. (Blagg, if you're out there, get in touch!)

Best of GB: American Girls

In 2004, Shylo Bisnett and Wendy McClure took a bootleg doll to American Girl Place for some shenanigans, and the story went pre-social media viral. In 2007, they took little Courtney to see "My Little Pony Live.

Best of GB: Drinking in Tap Rooms

All the way back in 2003, Mark W. Anderson wrote a love letter to tap rooms. A year later, Ramsin Canon outlines some drinking manners.

Best of GB: Breaking News

Over the next two weeks, we'll be highlighting some of the most significant, interesting and otherwise "best" of what's been published on Gapers Block since 2003. To start, one of the first bits of breaking news we published: an assault in Andersonville in 2004.

A Letter from the Editor

Gapers Block is going away soon. Please read this.

The Stars Align Wednesday

This Wednesday, Dec. 9, Stars Align, our monthly music series in which two artists who don't normally work together perform a one-night-only collaboration, returns to The Whistler with Yoo Soo Kim of Hemmingbirds and Jesse W. Johnson.

Here's a little taste of what you'll hear: Hemmingbirds' "Mess of Things."

And here's a brand new song, "American Dumpster":

Sponsored by Begyle Brewing. RSVP on Facebook. No cover, 21+

Kickstart a Film

Two very different video projects -- a documentary about women and online harassment and season 2 of "Cooking with Drag Queens" -- are days away from their deadlines and featured on GB's curated Kickstarter page. And a third, a documentary about paid family leave, is just getting started.

RIP Danny's

Danny's Tavern, a stalwart of Bucktown's nightlife, is closing by the end of November, another victim of gentrification. The bar hold many memories for Gapers Block as one of the first places the staff hung out together. I think we should do it one last time.

Now You Know

Looking for something to do tonight? Head straight over to Schubas for 20x2, a show where 20 people have two minutes each to answer the same question any way they like. The question this time is "When did you know?" Doors open at 6:30, and the show starts at 7. Better yet, it's all ages, so you can bring the kids!

Kicking the Habit

An adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in sign language, a Snuggie-like hoodie, a Christmas book for Shark Week fans and political dog treats are among the campaigns currently on the GB curated Kickstarter page.

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.

Tracker Free Since Forever

The Deck ad network, run by our friends and softball teammates Coudal Partners, updated their privacy policy to reflect the new ad-blocking reality. FWIW, we don't track you, either, although a couple of services we use may.

Kickstart a Thang

An app-connected white noise machine, teddy bears for refugees, a cookbook for parents of picky eaters and locally made cast iron skillets are among the campaigns currently on our curated Kickstarter page.

This City is the Best

The Reader's annual Best of Chicago issue hit the Internet today, with winners in such categories as best theatrical mob action, best peanut butter and jelly sandwich and best intimidating jewelry. Oh, and a certain website you're looking at right now won best local blog for the third year in a row!

Kickstart My Heart

A pop-up maker space, bro-y Descartes, a fighting card game, and gourmet jerky are among the campaigns on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

Talking 360° Video

If you watched The Grid's recent 360° videos and wanted to know how the immersive videos were made with six synchronized cameras, head over to A/C to read an interview about the process, and see the rig in action.

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.

The Stars Align Tonight

Join us tonight at 7:30pm for Stars Align at GMan Tavern. Our monthly music series sponsored by Begyle Brewing features a one-time-only collaboration between Cameron McGill and Angela Mullenhour. Best of all, it's free!

Cold Kickstarting it Live

A mobile guide to the art world, the expansion of the #SquirrelTruth ad campaign, a place to keep your coffee beans and a Pride Parade float for the TaTa bikini are among the campaigns currently on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

Kickstart a Commotion

Beef bacon, a micro-bakery, a cast-iron bread oven, a musical about the "Where's the Beef?" lady, and a book about living with chronic illness are among the campaigns on GB's curated Kickstarter page.

Kickstart to Warm Up

The You Are Beautiful public art project, a hummingbird feeder and a picnic cheese plate pack on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page might help you look forward to warmer weather.

Kickstart This Weekend

An easy-to-push snow shovel, culturally interchangeable chopsticks, a 20 year old film project and the guide to using drawing to work out ideas are among the projects on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

Kind Words

Belt magazine says some nice things about Gapers Block, and shares a great list of similar city publications from around the Rust Belt region.

The Grid: Arkansas Red and His Listeners

"Arkansas Red and His Listeners," the newest installment in our documentary film series, The Grid, listens in with Arkansas Red as he DJs his 30-year-old show, "The Blues Excursion" on WHPK.

Kickstart This Stuff

A picture frame for your Instagrams, split-section cast-iron pans, a documentary on modern burlesque and a movie app for kids are among the campaigns currently funding on GB's curated Kickstarter page.

Kickstart a Vision

A documentary on transgender faith leaders, an app for children's films from Facets, a 3D carving machine and the easiest cube puzzle ever invented are among the campaigns on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

Crawl Out the Barrels

Find out how they made that craft beer you're drinking on the Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl this Saturday, Oct. 11. We're visiting Lagunitas, Goose Island's Fulton Street brewery (which isn't officially doing tours yet), newcomer BreakRoom Brewery and finishing up at Begyle, where ManBQue is cooking us dinner. Get your tickets now!

Show Me the Way to the Next Microbrewery

We just announced the latest Gapers Block Microbrewery Crawl, visiting Lagunitas, Goose Island, BreakRoom and Begyle on Oct. 11. Tickets are on sale now!

Getting to the Bottom of Ventra

GB's own Jason Prechtel is suing the CTA for violating FOIA law by not providing documents related to the Ventra contracting process. Read his coverage of Ventra in Mechanics.

If it's Tuesday, it Must be Funk

Tonight at 7pm at Hopleaf, join us for the latest edition of Tuesday Funk, where Melissa Wiley, James Finn Garner, Gint Aras, Dustin Monk, and GB's own Jeremy Owens are reading.

The Grid: Open Gov Hack Night

"Open Gov Hack Night," the newest installment in our documentary film series The Grid, spends some time with folks trying to put civic data to good use.

Time to Kick It

A minimalist pour-over coffeemaker, a contemporary Korean restaurant and sockless shoe liners are among the projects currently on GB's Kickstarter page.

Our Heroes

We're so proud of the Gapers Block contributors who are Lisagor Awards finalists, including Jason Prechtel for his story about past issues with Ventra's parent company, and the team behind The Grid video series for their short documentary, "The Area."

Go Fund Stuff

A storytelling podcast, La Boheme in a bar, a webcomic in print and more are on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

Under the Pink Line

Today's Rearview photograph is of the same building pictured by Noah Vaughn on May 29 of last year.

It's Tuesday, Here's the Funk

Tonight at Hopleaf, Tuesday Funk brings together an eclectic mix of fiction, essays and poetry in the presence of very good beer. Forget the weather and come hear Mare Swallow, Cameron McGill, Tom Underberg, Chuck Sudo and Amelia Beamer read!

The Grid: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant

Want to know where your Thanksgiving meal went? If you stayed in the Chicago area, it probably ended up at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant. Stickney is the largest wastewater treatment plant in the world and the subject of our newest episode of The Grid.

Kickstart My Heart

A nightlight clock, an anthology of plays about bullying and a collaborative microbrewery are among the current projects on
GB's curated Kickstarter page.

Reminder: GB's Microbrewery Crawl is Saturday!

Gapers Block's Microbrewery Crawl is coming up this Saturday, Nov. 2, and there are still a few tickets left! Join us for brewery tours at Lake Effect, Finch's, Metropolitan and DryHop, where you'll get to see how each one makes their beers -- and enjoy samples of the finished product.

Sometimes You Kick

A documentary about Dr. Quentin Young, a lecture series about craft, a "wall-less" community center in Bronzeville and a line of liquor-infused spice mixes are among the campaigns on GB's curated Kickstarter page.

Kickstart, Flip & Pin

The documentary Sadermania, about a Chicago Hulk Hogan superfan who became best friends with his idol, is complete and ready to go, but music licensing and other legal fees are keeping it from distribution. Director Adam Gacka has turned to Kickstarter to make it over that last hump, and it's one of several new projects on GB's curated Kickstarter page. Take a look and lend a hand.

Get Your Hot Dogs Here

July is National Hot Dog Month, which is part of the reason we're throwing our Hot Dog Cookoff this Saturday (get your tickets here!) Meanwhile, Time Out put together a list of the city's best hot dogs.

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.

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.

This is to Kickstart You

Elephant-shaped coat hooks designed by eighth-graders, a magnetic bottle opener, a children's book about thunder and lightning and a carnival-themed art installation are among the projects on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

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.

Commerce & Camaraderie

Two things you should do after work tonight: Stop by Elusive Emporium's opening party at Block 37 from 5 to 8, and swing over to the Berghoff for the GB Get-Together from 6 to 9.

The Latest Kicks

A comedy about comedy, sketchbooks of repurposed paper, an amusement park art fair and a Logan Square beer hall are among the campaigns currently funding on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

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.

10 Years of GB: McClelland's Adventures

Chicago magazine has an excerpt from author Edward McClelland's new book, Nothin' but Blue Skies, about the lives and deaths of Rust Belt cities. In 2006, Gapers Block published a series of 10 excerpts from McClellands book The Third Coast, which chronicled his travels around the Great Lakes.

Read them in order:
1. Sheboygan & Manitowoc County, Wisconsin
2. Marquette, Michigan
3. Mackinac Island, Michigan
4. Grand Marais, Minnesota
5. Pays Plat First Nations Reserve, Ontario, Canada
6. Isle Royale, Michigan
7. Rogers City, Michigan
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Hamilton, Ontario
10. Hamburg, New York

Lolla's Schedule is Out

Lollapalooza released the schedule for this year's festival today. Stephanie Griffin has been highlighting some of the acts performing this year in Transmission: Father John Misty, Guards, Icona Pop, Jessie Ware and Wavves.

Join the Kickstarter Craze

Urban gardens in West Town and Pullman, a timely post-breast cancer surgery educational video, and the comedy film that Jason Prechtel wrote about today in A/C are among the local campaigns on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

GB at 10: Tap Rooms

Chicago Craft Beer Week begins this Thursday, highlighting the city's vibrant beer culture. In 2003, Mark W. Anderson wrote about the decline of tap rooms, the bars attached to liquor stores, for Gapers Block. Half Acre's tap room aside, they're still a dying breed; visit one today.

GB at 10: Blagg the Axman

In 2006, a mysterious figure appeared in the comments in the Fuel section: Blagg the Axman, a warrior for hire who would comment on modern questions through some wormhole to another world. He proved so popular as a commenter that we gave him his own column, Tales of Blagg the Axman, in which he told an epic story of adventure, deceit and redemption. His tale told, Blagg faded back into the mists of time, never to be heard from again.

"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.

Gapers Block is 10 Years Old

On Monday, April 28, 2003, Gapers Block made its official debut. We're 10 years old! Over the next weeks, we'll highlight some of the best of what we've posted over the past decade.

Gapers Block was founded in 2003 by Andrew Huff and Naz Hamid. At that time, there were very few city blogs anywhere in the country, and Gapers Block was the first in Chicago. Gawker and Gothamist also launched in 2003; Chicagoist launched a year later.

What do you call the slow-down in traffic that occurs when an accident or something else happens on the side of the road? Other places call it rubbernecking or a "lookie-loo"; Chicagoans call it a gapers block or gapers delay. We chose Gapers Block as the name for the site because it was an "insider-y" term that only locals know, and it fit our mission is to get people to slow down and check out their city.

Our intention was to create a website that provided a place for Chicagoans to find worthwhile news, interesting online projects and cool events. At the time, the city's mainstream media -- and even the alternative media -- had terrible websites. The Tribune's site required you to log in, the Reader didn't publish articles from the paper online, and let's not even talk about the Sun-Times. Meanwhile, the existing events calendars, Metromix and the Reader's listings, were a nearly unusable compendium of everything, often mixing drink specials and weekly DJ nights in with more noteworthy events.

Naz and Andrew invited around 15 local bloggers whose writing they liked and who we thought might share our love for Chicago and our enthusiasm for sharing it with the world and our neighbors. Happily, about a dozen agreed. Gapers Block launched on April 25, 2003, and garnered national attention from the blogosphere.

The original site included Merge, Slowdown and Rearview, which continue to appear on the front page today. In addition, Fuel asked readers a question every couple of days; Detour, a place for longer feature articles three times a week; Glovebox, a weekly sampling of things we were into at the time; and Transmission -- which at the time was a weekly mp3 from a local musical act. Transmission and Glovebox went away early on. Detour spawned a couple of regularly occurring features, such as "Ask the Librarian," which eventually turned into Airbags (archives here), our collection of first week-daily, then daily and more than daily columns.

Eventually, we added the first topical sections, Transmission and Book Club (which was once an actual monthly in-person book club), followed by Drive-Thru, A/C, Tailgate and Mechanics. Airbags and Detour were both discontinued as more emphasis was placed on the topical sections; each of the last group was anchored by one of the Airbags columns. Most recently, Fuel ended when the site was redesigned in 2012.

Over the years, nearly 300 people have been on official Gapers Block staff, and dozens more have contributed a story or two. The staff has always been volunteers -- bloggers, journalists, students, and people with boring day jobs (and some not so boring) looking for an outlet for their writing. (We're always open for new contributors.) Amazingly, a couple of the original writers are still with us -- Jim Allenspach, Ramsin Canon and Cinnamon Cooper.

Although GB launched on April 28, we started posting the week before, so that there'd be a backlog of posts when it debuted. The first post didn't include a link, and the second noted that the Berghoff had added seats in the bar for the first time in its then-100-year existence. The first new post on the 28th highlighted a "Made in Chicago" art exhibit at the City Gallery.

Stay tuned for more bits of GB history, and for details about further 10th anniversary celebrations. Thanks for reading!

Go Have Fund

A children's book about an anvil, a hydroponic planter and a documentary about undocumented immigrants are some of the current projects on GB's curated Kickstarter page.

Find Things to Kick

Campaigns for a bike GPS tracker, a new lightweight 4"x5" camera, a landing spot for the tamalespaceship and more can be found on GB's Kickstarter page. And World Business Chicago is helping community projects launch on Kickstarter with its own curated page, so expect even more soon.

Meet People from the Internet

Among your many options for activities tonight, our friends at Chicagoist are tending bar at Nisei Lounge for charity. Meanwhile, we'll be down in the Loop for a karaoke Get-Together of our own.

Curiosity Delay

Coudal linked today to the American regional dialect survey that included the question that helped us come up with the name Gapers Block 10 years ago: "What do you call a traffic jam caused by drivers slowing down to look at an accident or other diversion on the side of the road?"

Kickstarting in the Snow

An iPhone mount, improvements to the Comfort Station, and posters of Great Lake states are just a couple of the current campaigns on the GB Kickstarter page.

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 Grid: The Area

"The Area," the newest installment of our documentary film series, features Englewood residents who are struggling to maintain friendships and traditions while a freight yard is expanding into their neighborhood.

Last Thursday, Mayor Emanuel proposed that City Council approve the sale of 105 city owned properties to the company, Norfolk Southern, [pdf] for an average of just under $10,500 a parcel. While the press release trumpeted the creation of 300 jobs, it did not mention the remaining or displaced residents.

Get a Kick out of These

Bent wood furniture, a Pilsen tamale shop, a super-thin watch and a documentary about the n-word are among the currently funding projects on Gapers Block's Kickstarter page.

Kickstart These

A community center in Englewood, an "dirty architecture" zine, a documentary about the word "nigga" and a You Are Beautiful book are among the projects now funding on Gapers Block's Kickstarter page.

The Grid: Shine On

The newest installment of our documentary film series The Grid features Rev. Henry Isaac, journeyman window washer and preacher to two Chicago congregations.

Documentary Films & Comics Journalism

Vice talks with the filmmakers behind Scrappers -- who also produce GB's The Grid documentary series. Meanwhile, The Illustrated Press, who've also worked with GB, get attention from The Rumpus.

To be Demolished in the New Year

To be Demolished concludes its documentation of 100 threatened buildings with the planned demolition of former President Ronald Reagan's Hyde Park home and the historic Saint Boniface Church.

Fire Damage and Dereliction in the South and West

City-sponsored emergency demolitions make up the bulk of our second-to-last update to To be Demolished, including two fine North Lawndale buildings. A notable exception is a modified Old Town frame residence.

Demolition May Come Soon for Historic South Side Church

The Trib updates the status of St. James Catholic Church, an 1880s structure documented in GB's To be Demolished project whose protection in the city's demolition delay program is lapsing.

GB Gift Guide: Gapers Block Stuff!

Just FYI, today's your last day to order GB's new "Don't Call it That" buttons -- or anything else from our store -- for delivery before Christmas.

Kickstarting it Now

A flavored pasta of the month club, a new Rachel Barton Pine album, a microbrewery in Gary and more are currently funding on Gapers Block's Kickstarter page.

Kickstarting this Town

A brewpub, a suction-powered tablet stand, a reclaimed wood product line and a poster of ACME products are just a couple of projects currently funding on the GB curated Kickstarter page.

To be Demolished by the River

The latest entry in GB's To be Demolished is a former railroad control tower located by Lake Street and the Chicago River.

To be Demolished: Defunct Businesses

Among the buildings recently added to GB's To be Demolished project are a bar that burned, an early 20th Century sign company and a former currency exchange.

To be Demolished: Oddity Division

Among the buildings recently added to GB's To be Demolished project are a heliport, a meat packing building and a building whose owner seems to have been embroiled in a fast food feud.

Go To Jim's 6 Blocks

Clearly more to the story behind the graffiti on the latest building in our To Be Demolished series.


A documentary about a neighborhood hero, a no-spill cup designed by a teenager, and an amazing-looking video game are just some of the projects on the Gapers Block Kickstarter page right now. And over on Indiegogo, you might be interested in this comic book about bands or this touchscreen watch with a nonprofit mission.

Threatened, Saved, Lost

A building in our To be Demolished project, 2141 N. Fremont St., looked like it was going to be saved from the wrecking ball, but its demolition hold was re-released last week.

Church to be Demolished for Walgreens

The newest entry in our To be Demolished series is 834 W. Armitage Ave., the former Greater Little Rock The Lord's Church. Walgreens is currently planning to build a new store on the site.

Kicking it New School

A season of storytelling and potlucks, nice wooden toys and an international sculpture show are among the projects currently featured on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.

The Grid: Envision Arts Studio

The newest installment of our documentary series, The Grid, gets to know Envision Arts Studio, a branch of the social service agency Envision Unlimited that provides Chicagoans with intellectual and developmental disabilities a disciplined studio practice in a community setting.

Kickstarting Right Now

A movie about Mormons, an archive of improvised music and small-batch giardiniera are among the projects on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page right now. Give a hand.

Contest: See Avett Brothers Friday

The Avett Brothers play Charter One Pavilion on Friday, and we have three pairs of tickets to give away!

Enter by emailing with your name and phone number and the subject line "Avett Bros" by 3pm today. We'll pick three winners at random. Good luck! UPDATE: We have our winners! Congrats to James V., Claire S. and Ray P.!

Fuel For Your Soul

In Transmission, we take a deeper look at Chicago's thriving soul music DJ scene with a night spent with the Windy City Soul Club DJs, and the fans who love to dance.

White Sox Ticket Prices for Next 3 Series will be Dropped

The White Sox have announced that they will offer discount tickets throughout the next three home stands. Lower deck tickets aren't discounted -- but you can get them half-price on Sept. 13 through GB's own special deal.

Short-Term Crowdfunding

A kids' gig poster project, a comedy film festival and equipment for a beer CSA are among the projects on GB's curated page that end really soon. Give'em a hand!

The Grid: LAMPO

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid explores the experimental music and intermedia events of LAMPO.

Tell Your Story

Story Corps' recording trailers are back in Chicago today through Sept. 15 in Millennium Park and at WBEZ's South Side bureau. Read about Story Corps' first visit to Chicago in Detour.

The Unexpected Icon

Forty-five years ago, Chicago marveled and mocked a brand new Picasso sculpture. Ask the Librarian covered its controversy back in 2004.

Politics & Preservation in Palmer Square

In Mechanics, Jason Prechtel gives an in-depth overview of the battle between parishioners, preservationists and Alderman Colón over the future of St. Sylvester's rectory on Palmer Square. Meanwhile, Ben Joravsky reports in the Reader on another political preservation fight.

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.

Feed Me

If you're using RSS to read GB, here's another feed to add to your reader: Under the Hood, which delivers headlines (and excerpts) from all our topical sections. You might also pick up our Slowdown seven-day look.

GB has Redesigned

You may have noticed. Here's a little more info about what we've done.

Vince Jose Cancasci did the redesign, with technical assistance from Jim Allenspach, David Schalliol and myself.

The redesign is mostly confined to the front page. We've moved some things, changed the look of others and added some new stuff.

  • Rearview is larger.

  • Slowdown is now in the righthand column, and shows start times next to every event.

  • The new Under the Hood section in the center column shows headlines of the most recent stories in all our topical sections.

  • Two feature banners above Merge highlight recent articles of note.

  • A pullquote below Rearview showcases a choice line from one of our articles.

We've also widened the content columns on interior pages, and added links to GB elsewhere (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr) in the masthead, below the search box. And there's more to come -- stay tuned in the next couple weeks for additional tweaks and changes to make Gapers Block better and brighter.

If you come across something that doesn't work right or looks a little wonky in your browser, please let us know!

Our Pitchfork Top Picks

Going to the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend? We've got a preview for you in Tranmission.

No Chords and a Dream

The US Air Guitar Chicago Regional Championships are tonight at the Metro. Watch as National Champion Nordic Thunder defends his title -- and join us beforehand at the GingerMan Tavern for this month's GB Get-Together.

This Bright New Novel

The GB Book Club is hosting a book release party for Patrick Somerville's latest novel, This Bright River, Tuesday night at the Book Cellar. Join us for a a talk with Somerville and a chance to win a copy of the book!

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!

Take GB Out to the Ball Game

Gapers Block is going to a White Sox game Sept. 13, and you can come too! Tickets are half-price.

Rule the Galaxy as Father and Son

Not sure what to get the dad in your life for Father's Day? You could do worse than Darth Vader & Son by Jeffrey Brown. John Wawrzaszek interviewed Brown in Book Club ahead of this weekend's Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, where he'll be drawing a minicomic live on Sunday.

Chicago Kickstarter Roundup

Evil fortune cookies, an effort to save the Patio Theater (previously), Showgirls, the Musical, an oral history of Chicago hip hop, and a tool to keep your bike wheel straight while you lock up are among the currently funding projects on Gapers Block's Kickstarter page. There're many more here.

More Demolished than Standing

Our To be Demolished project is now more than half finished with a new set of published buildings, including derelict and not-so-derelict residences, alike.

Humor Me on This

Today in A/C, we debuted a new monthly podcast: Humor Me, featuring Nellie Huggins talking with folks from Chicago's comedy community. In its debut episode, Nellie chats with Kelsie Huff in the bathroom at ComedySportz.

An Experiment in Writing & Design

We hope you join us tonight at The Coop for the release of 8x8, a set of posters featuring collaborations by 16 local writers and designers. RSVP on Facebook!

Chicago Foods Abroad

Robyn Nisi and Laura Sant check out deep dish in San Francisco and hot dogs in New York in Drive-Thru.

Demolishing One Building for Another

Among recent additions to To be Demolished are a modern industrial building that will make way for a mixed-use development and a North Side house marketed as a teardown.

Cosplay, Pageantry & Fire Alarms

In A/C, Tim Rolph takes you inside Anime Central, an annual subculture convention that draws more than 24,000 people to Rosemont every spring.

Waiting to be Demolished

Several new buildings were posted in To be Demolished, including a Woodlawn rent subsidized apartment complex and a downtown parking garage.

The Grid: MUNUC at the Palmer House

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid explores the 24th annual Model United Nations weekend hosted by the University of Chicago's chapter.

Kickstart the Band

In Transmission, a look at some local bands' ingenuity when it comes to crowd-funding their albums, among other projects. What works? Take a look.

Funny Hats & Fabulous Dresses

In A/C, Kelly Reaves highlights some of the amazing fashions on display at the annual SAIC spring fashion shows.

The History of the Portage Theater

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks is considering landmark status for the Portage Theater, which a controversial church wants to convert into a house of worship. In A/C, Dan Kelly delves deep into the theater's history and its role as a cinema and community center.

Steve's at the Movies

In Steve Prokopy's latest column, he takes a contrary stance on the documentary Bully, and previews the new horror film festival Chicago Fear Fest, which starts tonight.

Creative Silence

In A/C, a profile of the Open Studio Project, an unconventional art therapy program based in Evanston with only one rule -- keep your mouth shut.

Giving Comics Journalism a Serious Go

Darryl Holliday and E.N. Rodriguez produced two illustrated stories for Gapers Block in A/C: Chess Records and Wedlock: Love and Marriage at the Cook County Jail. They call it "comics journalism." Now they're raising funds on Kickstarter to produce a whole book's worth.

To be Demolished for Strikingly Different Reasons

The newest entries in To be Demolished are products of both sides of the housing market. The 1930 multi-unit building at 7819 S. Kingston Ave. is being demolished after foreclosure and neglect, while the relatively new single-family home at 1957 N. Orchard St. is being demolished for what will likely be a considerably grander residence.

About that Festival...

In Mechanics, Joe Macaré delves into the Occupy Festival and its implications for the movement it's co-opted.

"Never Talking to You Again"

Greg Norton, bassist for Hüsker Dü, sat in with local cover act Hüsker Düdes this week and dished about Bob Mould's book about the seminal punk band.

To be Demolished on the South and West Sides

Among the recently posted To be Demolished buildings are a brick beauty in North Lawndale and a shell of a bungalow in West Englewood

Fighting for the 39th District

In Mechanics, Caroline O'Donovan profiles the campaign of Will Guzzardi, the latest challenger to the Chicago machine.

This Restaurant Looks Appetizing

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is going out to eat -- to examine how architecture and interior design influence our dining experience at restaurants with its new Appetite for Design series. Learn more in Drive-Thru.

Shining a Light on Chicago Hip Hop

InTransmission, read about (and listen to) up-and-coming hip hop artists that are defining a new Chicago music scene.

Fund Some Fun Stuff

A game made out of reclaimed barn wood, a children's book about Chicago history and student compilation CD from Intonation Music Workshop are among the recent additions to the Gapers Block Kickstarter page.

A Movie about Bootleg Booze

Gapers Block is premiering a documentary about Templeton Rye (both the one at the liquor store and the stuff Al Capone smuggled up to Chicago during Prohibition) at Mayne Stage on March 22. Details in Drive-Thru.

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A World of Classical Music in March

In our monthly classical music column, Pulling Strings, you can check out upcoming affordable concerts from composers around the world, performed around Chicago from grand concert halls to the Adler Planetarium. Read about it all in Transmission.

Announcing Bulls Hittin'

We launched a new feature in Tailgate today: Bulls Hittin', a biweekly video "for people who like sports and people who like to hate sports."

To be Demolished: South Side Foreclosures

Today's To be Demolished entries, 1448 W. 62nd St. and 8537 S. Escanaba Ave., are both victims of the mortgage crisis.

Food for Fat Tuesday

While the city freaks out for paczki today, Brandy Gonsoulin, Drive-Thru's resident Cajun, shows you how to make another Mardi Gras traditional food: gumbo.

To be Demolished in South Chicago

Today's To be Demolished entries are derelict residences located in South Chicago. Both 8522 S. Burley Ave. and 8554 S. Burley Ave. date back to the time when steel mills were rapidly expanding in the area -- and are victims of the region's economy collapsing.

Who's Going to SXSW Music?

We've got all the local acts doing official showcases at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival -- and some of the unofficial ones, too -- in Transmission.

The Grid: The Mediated Plant

The newest installment of our documentary series The Grid examines how The Plant -- Chicago's vertical farm and food business incubator -- has been represented in the media.

To be Demolished in Lincoln Park

Today's To be Demolished entry, 1951 N. Orchard St., is another orange-rated residence that is likely being demolished to make way for a mega-mansion.

To be Demolished Times Three

Today brings three starkly different entries to our series To be Demolished: a mixed-use building located at 8947 S. Commercial Ave., a derelict residential building at 6030 S. Wolcott Ave. and an orange-rated residential building located at 1950 N. Burling St.

Trading Housing for Parkland on the South Side

The latest building in To be Demolished, 5744 S. Lafayette Ave., is being demolished by Openlands. The organization is working with the city to level a cluster of residential buildings to create a new South Side park.

To be Demolished: 3040 N. Seminary Ave.

The newest building featured in To be Demolished is a brick residence located at 3040 N. Seminary Ave. An unusual building for the block, it has clearly been retrofitted to satisfy multiunit regulations.

Did Adbusters Bulldoze #OccupyChicago?

When Adbusters jumped on the NATO/G8 protest bandwagon last week, they did so without checking with #Occupy Chicago.

To be Demolished: 1340 W. George St.

The newest building featured in To be Demolished is a frame residence located at 1340 W. George St. The owner's address is identical to the owner's address for the first demolished building in the project, 3549 N. Reta Ave.

Snagging a Fish

The latest installment of The Grid short film series introduces you to "snaggers," the people who fish along the city's coastline.

Eat Up & Boogie Down with GB!

Gapers Block has two big events coming up in a couple weeks: First, join us at Club Lucky Feb. 4 for our first-ever BBQ Bowl barbecue competition. Then, on Feb. 12, get ready to boogie at our Valentines Dance-A-Thon!

New Section: To Be Demolished

Gapers Block is pleased to announce a new section supported by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation: To Be Demolished. Over the course of 2012 I will be producing a photographic portrait of 100 of the hundreds of buildings threatened with demolition in the city of Chicago. This week launches with five modest and monumental buildings from the "demolition hold" list. More information about the project is on the "background" page.

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.

The Chess Party

In A/C, meet some of the people who play checkers and chess at "the world's first folding chess table."

What Belongs in your Netflix Queue

Steve at the Movies sums up 2011 in film in his annual best and worst column over in A/C.

A Tribute to Bernie

In A/C, LaShawn Williams interviews Robert Small, the director of the upcoming Comedy Central documentary I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.

Questioning CeaseFire

CeaseFire's visibility increased this year with the release of The Interrupters, but is it effective? Michael Moreci reports in Mechanics.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 19

Shameless plug: The Gapers Block shop has a number of very nice gifts for men and women. Particularly if they like t-shirts.

Have a Rockin' New Year's Eve

If you're at a loss for plans for New Year's, now's a great time to make up your mind. In Transmission, we break down over 30 notable music venues and other spots with live music (and often a free champagne toast at midnight). You even still have time to brush up on your own singing skills.

Come to the GB Holiday Party!

Our holiday party will probably be much more fun than your company's. Join us at the Black Rock on Thursday, Dec. 15, 7-10pm for complementary cocktails (from locally made FEW Spirits and others) and plenty of good cheer. RSVP on Facebook.

Classical Hits Without A Hint of Nutcracker

If the flip of the calendar to December has you dreaming anything but toy dolls that come to life and fight rats (seriously), there are plenty of other classical concerts around Chicago to check out. We break down a few notable performances worth catching in our monthly "Pulling Strings" column in Transmission.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 2

For Cubs die-hards, Cubs self-haters and Cubs crazies.

Surveying Our Surveilled City

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon points out some serious privacy concerns surrounding the proliferation of surveillance cameras in Chicago.

Your November Classical Fix

Want to catch some live music from afar? Read our column "Pulling Strings" for the low down on this month's notable classical music offerings in Chicago.

Cheating at Scrabble

Gapers Block will be competing at 826CHI's Scrabble for Cheaters tournament on Saturday. If you donate to either Team Gapers Block or Team Bapers Glock, the teams can cheat more and money is raised for 826CHI's free student programming, which includes workshops and after-school tutoring.

Meet Move-Tastic!

The fifth installment of our short film series, The Grid, sprints through the city with "Chicago's premiere athletic moving force," Move-Tastic!

Take Our Reader Survey!

The Chicago Independent Ad Network, of which Gapers Block is a member, is conducting a survey of our readers so they can help us, you know, stay in business. Please fill out the short survey today -- you could win an iPad 2!

Helping the Kids of Albany Park

Alan Lake introduces you to Sherri Fenton, director of Asian Youth Services in Mechanics.

Drawing Jack

In Book Club, Rose Lannin profiles comic artist Tony Akins in the latest "One-Shots."

Get Your Cello On

We launched a new monthly column in Transmission today: Pulling Strings. In it, our resident classical music expert, Elliot Mandel, gives a rundown of classical shows you can catch in the coming weeks.

Focusing the Film Fest

"The focus of the festival has always been to bring the best film that we can to Chicago." Steve Prokopy interviews the programming director for the Chicago International Film Festival in A/C.

Seminary Co-op Bookstore at 50

In Book Club, Megan Doherty dives deep into the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, covering its history, its place in a changing industry and the stories within its walls.

"No coffee, no knick-knacks, just books."

In Book Club, Megan Doherty kicks of a three-part feature on the Seminary Co-op Bookstore with a look at its history as it turns 50.

Kathy Griffin Presale for GB Readers

Kathy Griffin returns to the Chicago Theatre again Jan. 21 & 22. Tickets go on sale Friday, but you can use the password GAPERS to get tickets during the presale, which runs Wednesday at 10am until Thursday at 10pm.

North Coast Best Bets

Headed to the North Coast Music Festival this weekend? We've got recommendations for you in Transmission.

Pinup Power

The pinup calendar Thought You Knew has launched a Kickstarter project to cover printing expenses. Now in its third year on the walls of bike shops and homes worldwide, TyK seeks to support a community of confident women who bike. Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page features this project, along with other exciting local ventures.

Mechanics on the Radio

No, not Car Talk. Gapers Block's political editor, Ramsin Canon, will be among the guests on Eight Forty-Eight's Month in Review segment this morning at 9am; listen live here.

Art & Food Inspire Each Other

Last week the Chicago Artists Coalition held an event at which four artists and four chefs collaborated to create food and art inspired by each other. We interviewed the artists and the chefs about the experience.

Growing Trend: Guerrilla Gardening

The housing boom led to a bunch of knockdowns -- and the crash left many of those lots empty. Robyn Nisi explores what happens when community gardens spring up on what is technically private property.

Little House in the City

Tomorrow night, come to Sheffield's for a Book Club-sponsored discussion with Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life -- if you need a refresher, you can read our review here. First 12 attendees receive a special prize!

Three Days of Sun, Sounds, and Hula Hoops

The Transmission staff writes about each of the acts playing the Pitchfork Music Festival which starts Friday afternoon. Read up and decide who will win your undivided attention this weekend at Union Park. Keep an eye on Transmission for reviews and interviews as the fest unfolds.

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.

Down but not Out

In Tailgate, Brian Livingston assesses the Cubs' chances of making the playoffs. Sure, they're practically nil, but there's always that glimmer of hope...

Schools as Canvas

In A/C, Alan Lake shares the story of Green Star Movement, an organization helping CPS students decorate their schools with murals.

Dangerous Discussions with Paul Hornschemeier

Read the review, talk to the author: Book Club's Jay Orbesen reviews illustrator Paul Hornschemeier's latest, Life with Mr. Dangerous. Come see Paul and discuss his work tonight at The Book Cellar.

Underground but Rising

In Book Club Rose Lannin interviews Nell Taylor, co-founder of the Chicago Underground Library, about the library's recent plight and plans for a new location. CUL is holding a benefit party at Beauty Bar tonight; our own Get-Together is around the corner. Go to both!

The Turkey is Compulsory

The menu at Just Turkey might remind you of a certain Monty Python skit, done with a healthier meat. Learn the backstory in Drive-Thru.

A Whole Lot of Bests

The Reader's annual Best of Chicago issue is out -- and among the many (many) winners, Gapers Block was voted runner-up for "best local blog," behind Bad Sandwich Chronicles.

We Be Slammin'

Chicagoist, Time Out, A.V. Club and GB will be duking it out onstage in the third (not at all) annual Alt Media Slam, part of Schadenfreude's Just for Laughs show at Beat Kitchen tonight. Don't miss it!

Here's a sample of what you might see:

Beauty & Braaaaains

If you haven't checked out Kristie Shanley's photos of the Zombie March Chicago in A/C, you're missing out. If you have, you might be interested in seeing more.

Chicago Live Music

The Live Music Archive is a treasure trove of recorded concerts. In Transmission, we've sorted through and listed all the Chicago venues and festivals in the archive for your downloading convenience.

The Dark Side of the City

In A/C, Andrew Daglas profiles a team of Flashpoint Academy alumni making an independent film.

The Grid: Community Supported Art at Threewalls

The newest installment of the Grid takes a look at a novel approach Threewalls is using to connect artists and collectors.

Sharing to Save

You may have noticed a new share widget on GB this week: local startup ShareApon gives you points toward coupons just for tweeting or "liking" stuff.

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.

Gapers Block in the Flesh

If you've ever wanted to meet GB staffers in person, this Thursday offers two opportunities. Transmission Editor Anne Holub is part of a panel discussion of music journalism at DePaul -- while other GB writers and readers are heading at the Art Institute's Modern Wing for our monthly Get-Together. Hope to see you there!

Living on the Streets

In Mechanics, Devin Katayama reports on the plight of older homeless youth in Chicago.

Take This as a Sign

...That you should get into the scrap metal business.


Early Warning: Hyperlinking Together

We're doing something a little different with our May Get-Together: We're cohosting a meetup with the Art Institute and Explore Chicago in the Modern Wing! Join us Thursday, May 19 at 5pm at Caffe Moderne for drinks and a tour of the exhibition Hyperlinks: Architecture & Design. RSVP on Facebook so we know how many to expect.

Not Enough Nurses

In Mechanics, Samantha Winslow reports on the perceived "crisis in emergency room care" on the South Side due to staffing cutbacks.

The Grid: Textile Discount Outlet

Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series, The Grid. "Textile Discount Outlet" roams the aisles in the Pilsen fabric destination. As fabric cutter Chris says, "Bring some trail mix and a bottle of water."

Get This Band Going

The Arts of Life Band is an inspired musical outlet for Chicago adults with developmental disabilities and they don't scrimp on the boogie or rock n' roll enthusiasm. Read all about this awesome program in Transmission.

Invisible Triumph

Chicago will host the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships this July -- details in Transmission.

Animating Valhalla

In Book Club, James Orbeson interviews producer Ruwan Jayatilleke about Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, an animated miniseries based on the graphic novel by Chicagoan Robert Rodi.

Goodbye, Cabrini Green

Demolition of the last Cabrini Green high-rise starts today. In A/C, we have video of an audio-visual farewell that occurred last night.

The Comics Professor

In Book Club, Rose profiles prolific indie comics creator Jeffrey Brown.

A Chicagoan in Japan

Our own Sheila Burt filed a touching report of life after the earthquake and tsunami in the small Japanese town where she's currently teaching.

Chicago Rocks Austin

Have you been following our coverage of the SXSW Music Festival in Transmission? It's all collected here -- stay tuned as Lisa White wraps up the last couple days of the fest.

The Grid: Congress Conducts El at Cal's

Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series The Grid. "Congress Conducts El at Cal's" explores the construction congestion at Congress Parkway through the music and activity at Cal's, a nearby hangout and liquor store.

Pulaski vs. Crawford

In A/C, John Greenfield shares his walk all the way up Pulaski Road, which once was known as Crawford Avenue.

Chicago at SXSW

Even if you're not going, you'll still want to peruse our massive list of the 90+ local acts and dozens more from nearby who are performing at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin next week.

Award-Winning Audio

Devin Katayama, whose interview with Sierra Leone refugees now living in Chicago was featured in A/C last week, is the winner of this year's Studs Terkel Scholarship from the Community Media Workshop.

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.

Profiling Indie Book Stores

In Book Club, we kicked off today a new series of profiles of independent book stores around the city. First up is Uptown's Shake Rattle & Read.

The GB Book Club Returns!

In person, that is. Join us as we read Joe Meno's The Great Perhaps and then discuss it with Meno himself at Sheffield's March 24.

Reopening the Patio

Portage Park's Patio Theater will soon reopen after 10 years. In A/C, Gordon McAlpin interviews new manager Demetri Kouvalis about what it's taken to bring the theater back to life, and what to expect when it opens. McAlpin also incorporated the Patio into the current storyline in his webcomic, Multiplex, starting here.

Political Programming Note

Our own Ramsin Canon will be on WBEZ tonight, and he will be a call-in guest on CAN-TV 21 tomorrow morning from 7 to 7:30am, discussing the election in both cases. Tune in!

Wisconsin Protest Field Trip

And speaking of Wisconsin, Mechanics contributor Micah Uetricht just posted a report from the protests in Madison.

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.

On Shooting Chicago's Boxers

In Tailgate, Jim Reedy interviews Jason Reblando about his photography documenting the city's amateur boxing clubs. See the photos up close at Harold Washington College through Friday. UPDATE: If you miss the show this week, Jason says it also will be at the Canale Art Lounge April 1.

Study the Cameras

Two never-released studies reinforce the notion that the Chicago Police Department's camera system is only effective in certain situations and can't be properly studied; one researcher recommends an improved approach. Shane Shifflett reports -- and provides interactive maps -- in Mechanics.

Introducing The Grid and Market Fisheries

Today GB is kicking off its new short film series, The Grid. Look for the documentaries throughout the site as well as in their own multimedia feature section. The first feature is a look at Market Fisheries, a South Side store that has been owned and operated by the Brody Family since 1957.

"A Slap in the Face."

Meanwhile, in Mechanics, Samantha Winslow reports on the controversial firing of Rick Garcia at Equality Illinois

Alfonso Soriano to Carlos Zambrano

In Tailgate, Jeff Brodsky predicts the Cubs' future from A to Z.

John Marshall Jones is Our Guest

In A/C, LaShawn Williams interviews John Marshall Jones about his film The Guest at Central Park West., which screens at ICE next week.

Residency, Access & Rahm

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon delves deeply into the Rahm Emanuel residency decision and what it means for this election -- and future ones.

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.

A Week Standing Up

Speaking of comedy, Emerson Dameron does a seven-day marathon of stand-up and lives to tell about it in A/C.

High School Hoops on the Rebound

John Lucas, a former minor league basketball star, has helped vault his alma mater to the top of its division. Etheria Modacure tells his story in Tailgate.

The Real Story of Vivian Maier

The discovery of street photographer Vivian Maier has gotten mounds of press, but is the story all it seems?

The Good, The Bad & The Nutcracker 3D

Our own Steve Prokopy offers his list of the best and worst films of 2010.

A Great Sounding New Year's Eve

If you're still on the fence for how to spend your evening this coming Friday, consult our NYE show round-up in Transmission for some great concerts. Yes, a lot of the big venues are sold out, but plenty of shows around town still have tickets available.

What We Ate

The Drive-Thru staff shares their favorite food experiences from 2010 in the first annual Eatacular. Share yours in the comments.

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.

Salvation, Low and Slow

In Drive-Thru, Alan Lake shares the story of his annual tradition of serving Christmas dinner, BBQ style, at the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center on the near West Side.

Forced Out of Cabrini

In Mechanics, Rory Fanning tells the story of one woman evicted from the last Cabrini Green high-rise.

The Front Lines of the Economy

Even the Maxwell Street Market is showing signs of struggle in this recession. But even at the bottom rung of commerce, there is optimism.

The Woman Behind Sylvia

In Book Club, Rose Lannin talks with legendary cartoonist Nicole Hollander about her early days, Sylvia and her re-emergence on the web.

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.

Meet Teacher Lara Lindh

On any one day, our latest subject in the Classroom Mechanics oral history project will find herself in a room with up to 20 children who may speak any mixtures of English, Spanish, Arabic or Polish.

Chicago's Indie Video Game Darling

In Tailgate, Fruzsina Uordogh interviews local video game designer Erin Robinson about her entry into video game design and getting more women involved in the industry.

Punching Up the Banjo

Native Chicagoan and professional banjo player Noam Pikelny talks in Transmission about his upcoming Lincoln Hall shows with the Punch Brothers, two Grammy noms, and receiving a unique award from Steve Martin.

A Rare Christmas Film

Don't like the typical Christmas flicks? Then Steve at the Movies has a special sneak preview just for you.

Unearthing Chicago's Emerging Fashion Community

Ambitious young fashion designers, unsatisfied with the glaring gaps in the production and advocacy of cutting edge fashion in Chicago, are taking matters into their own hands. Learn more in A/C.

Join Us for a Holiday Party!

Join the staff and readers of Gapers Block for a holiday party next Friday! We'll be at Black Rock Dec. 10 from 7pm to 10pm. We'll have free beer (while it lasts) thanks to Scared Panda, lots of free swag, and a roaring fire in the fireplace to help warm you up. RSVP on Facebook if you like, or just meet us at the bar!

Gifts that Sound Great

The Transmission staff has compiled their picks for the best holiday gifts for that discerning Chicago music lover. Whether you want to spend $5 or $300, we've got you covered.

Biodynamic Drinkability

In Drive-Thru, meet Shebnem Ince, a Chicago-born sommelier who specializes in biodynamic and organic wines.

Modern Day Geppettos

Chicago's indie toy-making scene falls into focus in A/C today.

Turkeys and Cheap Vinyl

In Transmission, we have your best bets for a thoroughly musical Thanksgiving week. Hit up sales in local record stores, venues, and labels, or take (or leave) your extended family to a slew of great shows.

GB at the Trunk Show

If you're headed to the DIY Trunk Show this Saturday, come say hi to Gapers Block! We'll be up on the stage in the Auditorium.

Rock You All Night Long

Transmission staff are culling together your best New Year's Eve concert options while tickets are still (mostly) available.

Short Term Shopping

In A/C, Amber Gibson explores the pop-up shop concept in its many forms.

From Omaha to Englewood

Our latest oral history from a Chicago school teacher is up in Mechanics; this week, a Spanish teacher at TEAM Englewood Community Academy tells her story.

GB Book Club: A History

The GB Book Club's discussion of Patrick Somerville's The Cradle marks our final Book Club meeting. Head over to the Book Club page to take a look back at everything we've read (63 books!) and join us one last time on Monday, November 8, at the Book Cellar. New faces, old faces, and everyone in between are welcome to join us and help say goodbye to what has been a wonderful time.

Call it Money Ball

We've got an examination of campaign contributions from the sports world in Mechanics.

Let's Talk Condoms

In A/C, Rachel Rabbit White talks with Prof. Paula Treichler about the history of prophylactics. Treichler gives a talk on the subject this Saturday.

The Musical Ice Age

"The music industry is dying, and Ice Age Records founder Kris Di Benedetto couldn't care less." Learn why in Transmission.

Secret Arts Society

In A/C, Kelly Reaves gives us a glimpse of the vibrant creative activity in Garfield Park, boiling away under the radar.

The Next Vote

Who is the next Chicago voter? Find out in Mechanics.

Introducing Classroom Mechanics

Today marks the start of Classroom Mechanics, a new oral history project in Mechanics, sharing the firsthand stories of teachers in Chicago schools. Micah Uetricht interviews a young teacher at Robeson High School.

Pairing with Pinot

Devon Seafood has a special dining deal for GB readers; learn more in Drive-Thru.

7 Years Bad Luck

In Tailgate, The Turncoat marks the anniversary of the Steve Bartman Incident.

Whose Boat is This?

Help solve an artistic mystery over in A/C.

The Necessity of Scrapping

Yesterday Roger Ebert gave 3 1/2 out of 4 stars to Scrappers, the documentary film about scrap metal collectors that is the subject of this week's A/C interview.

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.

The Best Time To Riot Is Now

In Transmission, we preview next week's always fun Riot Fest, bringing amazing punk music to a venue near you. Keep an eye out for our coverage of the fest all next week.

Friday's Art Crawl

Looking for another reason to come to our Chicago Artists Month kickoff party in Pilsen East? How about the Third Coast Festival's Listening Room, presenting winners from its Book Odds challenge. It's happening a couple blocks south of our event, at the Urban Art Society, making it a great pairing.

Drinking Up Chicago's Epitonic

In Transmission, we sit down and chat with Justin Sinkovich, original co-founder and current ressurector of (completely legal) mp3 share site Epitonic.

Kids Fighting for a Library

So far in the battle to save Whittier School's Fieldhouse, we've mostly heard from the adults on both sides. In Mechanics, Cinnamon Cooper finds out what some of the kids have to say.

Other People's Guide to Being Brown

In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon considers the consequences of identity politics.

Traitor Against Cubkind

Rick Abplanalp, Tailgate's Turncoat, is interviewed in this week's Time Out about his switch of allegiance.

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.

North Coasted

If you missed last weekend's inaugural North Coast Music Festival (or just can't remember), relive the magic from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's sets over in Transmission.

The Music Between Beats

In Transmission, our feature this week focuses on Michael Zerang, a Chicago musician whose rhythmic experimentation focuses on not only the sound of drums, but a lifetime of performance energy and experiences. Catch him today at two different performances.

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.

20x2: Who Knew?

This Friday's show at the Metro isn't the only event Gapers Block is sponsoring in September. We're also helping bring to Chicago Austin's 20x2, in which 20 people get two minutes each to answer a question -- this time around, it's "Who knew?" It's Sept. 17 at Martyrs', and tickets are on sale now.

Looking Back at August

Speaking of radio, our own David Schalliol was on Eight Forty-Eight's month in review segment this morning on WBEZ.

Start Labor Day Weekend Right

Join Gapers Block and CHIRP for a show at the Metro this Friday, Sept. 3, featuring The Hudson Branch, Camera, Reds and Blue and My My My. The show is free before 9pm and just $6 after if you bring along this flyer [PDF] -- and still just $9 without. RSVP on Facebook!

It's Critical

It's the last Friday of the month, which means Critical Mass hits the streets for tonight's commute. Kirstie Shanley examines the cultural phenomenon in Tailgate.

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.

Remembering the Marshmallow

If you missed out on the Neon Marshmallow festival this past weekend, Transmission writer Chris Sienko has wrapped up each of the four days of noise, destruction, and amazing sounds from the dark confines of the Viaduct Theatre.

The Wrong Kind of Change

In Mechanics, Michael Volpe tells the story of Mario Benitez, a legal resident alien from Chicago facing deportation for stealing $130 in change from a neighbor.

Agribusiness and Backyard Chickens

Drive-Thru writer Joanna Ericson has been telling her story to Anne Elizabeth Moore in Revision Street.

Neon Marshmallows For Your Ears

Fans of experimental music unite this weekend at the inaugural Neon Marshmallow festival at The Viaduct Theatre with nearly 100 sets of music over four days. Details and an extensive preview in Transmission.

Your Band in the Best Light

In A/C, concert photographer Kirstie Shanley shares thoughts on why bands shouldn't play in the dark.

Buy a Poster, Help a Back

To help Laura Park get her back fixed, we're donating $5 of every purchase of the awesome 3rd anniversary party poster she designed for us!

Does Watching Crime Pay?

Are "cop-in-a-box" police cameras cost-effective? A new study answers that question and raises others.

Transmission's Lolla Recaps

If you didn't make it to Lollapalooza this year, our recaps of Friday, Saturday and Sunday's shows will help you pretend you did. And if you did go, let us know what we got wrong -- or right.

Our Lolla Insights

Read and scroll through our Lollapalooza Stage Clash picks this year, so you won't end up on one end of Grant Park when a great band you're missing is on the other. Conveniently culled together from our week of previews in Transmission. (And keep an eye there for daily recaps!) And Everyone You Know

If you're headed to the vast empire of Lollapalooza, stay up to date with your friends' schedules and where to find them in the throngs of thousands with a new free app for smart phones called Details in Transmission.

Reminder: Call for Artists!

Artists, don't forget -- you have until Friday, Aug. 6 to submit work for our Chicago Artists Month exhibition, which will be shown at the opening party Oct. 1.

Literary Links

Bookmarks is a new Friday feature recapping Book Club highlights from the week -- it'll also often have new content that didn't make into the Monday through Thursday pages.

Blues Brothers & Bad Movies

Besides telling you whether Dinner for Schmucks is worth seeing, Steve at the Movies shares news of an awesome Blues Brothers screening at Joliet Prison, and a documentary about one of the worst movies ever made.

Your Thursday & Friday Plans

Doing anything tonight and tomorrow? Sure you are: You're joining GB and ExploreChicago at the Art Institute's Modern Wing for a Sound & Vision meetup tonight, and on Friday you're joining us at the Printers' Ball! Both events are free, and both should be lots of fun.

Giving Girls Creative Refuge

In A/C, learn about Ag47, a Logan Square nonprofit giving voice to girls who have a lot to say.

Summer Reading Suggestions

The current Fuel thread about summer reading reminds me to post an oldie but goodie: Coudal's Field Tested Books, to which several GB staffers contributed.

Call for Artists

Gapers Block is mounting an exhibition as part of its sponsorship of this year's Chicago Artists Month! Learn how to enter your work for consideration over in A/C.

Pitchfork in Pictures

Our intrepid photographer George Aye took some amazing shots over the weekend at Pitchfork, and we've put together his spectacular artist mosaics in an online gallery. If you haven't already listened to our artist interviews, or read our fest recap, what are you waiting for?

Feeling the Music

How do the deaf experience live music? In Transmission we explore just how Chicago's deaf community, and their advocates, work to translate more than just good vibrations.

The Pitchfork That Was

The Transmission team spent the weekend at Pitchfork Music Festival to bring you some amazing coverage, including interviews with artists, photos and reviews. And we're not done yet; keep an eye out for even more coverage over the next day or two.

Chicago's New Riot Girls

In Tailgate, learn more about The Chicago Riots, the new junior roller derby league in town.

Pitchfork Previewed

In Transmission, we give our $.02 on every act you can catch this weekend in Union Park at the Pitchfork Music Festival.

A Culture of Torture

In Mechanics, learn the story of Mark Clements, an alleged victim of the Jon Burge torture machine at just 16.

Join Steve at the Movies for a Double Feature!

Our film critic, Steve Prokopy, has a free screening of Spanish zombie films [REC] and [REC] 2 next Wednesday -- and you're invited! Details in A/C.

Remembering Fred Anderson

We've got details in Transmission about the public wake for saxophonist and Velvet Lounge founder Fred Anderson, as well as a round-up of remembrances.

Theatre Grows in Albany Park

The Albany Park Theater Project does much more than just put on plays. Learn more about it in A/C.

The Bluegrass Connection

Chicago's a city built on the blues, for sure, but what do you know of our thriving bluegrass scene? Educate yourself in Transmission.

Soccer is Poetry

We've got soccer on the brain in Tailgate right now -- especially a local program that teaches both teamwork and communication skills through a combination of soccer and poetry.

Just Swinging Bi

Writer Rachel Rabbit White takes us on a tour of Chicago's only all-bisexual swingers club in A/C today.

Bluesy State of Mind

In Transmission, we take a little time to consider the state of blues in Chicago. (Don't forget, the free Chicago Blues Festival starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday.)

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.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Socialist

In Mechanics, Micah Uetricht profiles Chicago author, socialist and LGBT activist Sherry Wolf.

Trying to Break Your Heart

If you missed our 7th Anniversary Party at the Metro last Friday, Time Out Chicago has a nice photo gallery of what you missed. (As do we.)

Surveying Our Readers

The Reynolds Journalism Institute is conducting a survey of readers of community news websites -- including Gapers Block. Please take a couple minutes to fill out the survey!

Contest Reminder: Show Us Your Neighborhood Landmarks!

You've got until midnight tonight to submit your entry in our neighborhood landmarks photo contest. Two winners will receive SWA travel vouchers to bring a friend to Chicago!

I Gaze, Nugaze

In Transmission this week, we explore the burgeoning Chicago nugaze music scene.

Coolness in Shortpants

This week in Book Club, One-Shots talks to comics artist by day, accordionist by night Sarah Becan.

Spent Fuel

We recently redid the Fuel archive page; have we really had 977 questions in seven years? Some highlights: bad dates, earworms, turn-ons and the granddaddy of them all: funny words.

Neighborhood Landmarks Contest -- Deadline Friday!

Don't forget to enter our neighborhood landmarks photo contest! You could win a ticket to bring a friend to Chicago this summer!

Drink Up

Looking for some foamy action? Chicago Beer Week kicks off today and runs through the weekend.

Contest: Show Us Your Neighborhood Landmarks!

In A/C, we're holding a photo contest with ExploreChicago: Show us your personal neighborhood landmark and you could win a Southwest travel voucher to bring a friend into town! Enter by May 21!

Daytrotter Days

In Transmission this week we take a daytrip out to Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, IL and explore this mecca of indie rock live sessions in words, pictures, and music.

They've Got Questions, They've Got Answers

Over in Book Club, a new column that that asks Chicago writers (this week, it's Billy Lombardo) to remember the funniest or strangest things they've been asked in a question-and-answer session, during a talk, or in an interview.

Hyperlocal News Grows

Two new hyperlocal news outlets launched this week: Adentro de Pilsen in print and online, and Austin Talks online only. Both are products of the Community News Matters grant that also funds GB's feature story program.

Keeping a Roof Over Their Heads

Fair housing activists are fighting to keep Carol Vialdores and her children in their Rogers Park apartment.

Ratcheting Up

Chicago's young jazz community explores new venues and new sounds with the Ratchet series.

Holy Cow, We're 7!

Gapers Block just celebrated its seventh anniversary (see April 2003) and we're celebrating with a party at the Metro! Join us May 21 for JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Blah Blah Blah, Hollows and Lasers + Fast + Shit. Tickets are two-for-one for $7 in advance! More details in Transmission!

The Row to Recovery

Recovery On Water and its forceful coach are kicking the crap out of breast cancer, one rower at a time. Learn more in Tailgate.


In Transmission this week we interview The Blind Staggers — hard at work at bringing "outlaw country music" to the beer halls and barrooms of Chicago.

Sports Radio on the Web

Today's noon Lunchbox chat on Vocalo is all about sports. Eat at your desk and talk Bulls, Blackhawks and baseball with Marcus Gilmer of Chicagoist, Rob Zibung of The Heckler, "Eight Forty-Eight's" Cheryl Raye Stout and our own Brian Lauvray from Tailgate.

The Inside View on Outsider Art

Art by untrained and unknown artists is celebrated behind the green doorway of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. It's this week's feature in A/C.

Chicago's Real McCoy

In A/C, LaShawn Williams interviews LisaRaye, South Side native and star of TV One's "LisaRaye: The Real McCoy," about her childhood in Chicago, her reality show and life after being the first lady of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Introducing: The Turncoat

It takes a lot to turn a Cubs fan against his or her team. But for Rick Abplanalp, enough was enough. Now he roots for the Sox.


Are your fingers dusty from crate diving on Saturday? Ours are! Read about our Transmission staff's celebration of Record Store Day 2010.

Record Store Day Approacheth

This Saturday, you might see a horde of bleary-eyed, band t-shirt wearing, anxious-looking folks hovering outside your neighborhood record shop. Don't worry, they just want to get their hands on awesome releases and special deals for Record Store Day.

The Lonely Spotlight

In Transmission we explore Chicago's open mic scene and our writer puts himself in the hot seat.

Economist Bull Talk

In Tailgate, Brian Lauvray talks with sports economist David Berri about the Bulls' season and basketball in general.

Behind the Comic Con

In Book Club, we've got an interview with Lance Fensterman, vice president of pop culture at Reed Exhibitions, about his love of comics and this weekend's Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.

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.

Great Places to Sit Outdoors

In Fuel, we're sharing our favorite beer gardens, patios and other outdoor seating areas for enjoying this wonderful weather. GB staffer Jasmine Davila is helpfully mapping them for your future reference at

Learning the Biz

In Transmission we explore Columbia College Chicago's Arts, Entertainment, & Media Management Program or AEMMP and the students' own label.

Something's Rumbling in Humboldt

Learn more about Humboldt Park's Rumble Arts Center in A/C today, and attend its Mercadito Craft Fair on Saturday!

Chicago Feels Haiti's Aftershocks

Chicago took a leading role in the days and weeks after the Haiti earthquake. Read about it in Mechanics.

Jazzfood Cooked Live

Tonight from 6pm to 9pm, chef and Drive-Thru contributor Alan Lake will be doing a cooking demo at the Kenmore Live Studio, 678 N. Wells. Come be part of the studio audience (and maybe swing by the GB Get-Together nearby afterward!) or watch live on Facebook.

Better Reading Through Sequential Art

Over in Book Club, Josh Elder (founder and executive Director, Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of comics in the classroom) talks about how comics play a crucial role in education. Also, Optimus Prime.

Capone at the Movies

Speaking of influential film critics, our own Steve Prokopy, aka "Capone" on Ain't It Cool News, gets some recognition in this week's Time Out Chicago.

Rotten Deal for Workers' Rights

In Mechanics today: Local grocer Pete's Fresh Market serves food deserts -- but does it serve its own workers?

Chef Week Menus

Each day during Chicago Chef Week, which runs through Sunday, we'll be sharing a menu from a participating restaurant in Drive-Thru. First up: Big Jones.

Week of White Mystery

This is a big week for White Mystery. They're playing multiple shows in Austin at SXSW (and blogging it for us in Transmission) then flying back for their debut record release on Saturday.

SXSW Sounds Like Chicago

If you don't know already, we're following the Austin adventures of White Mystery and The Hood Internet as they rock SXSW this week. Over in Transmission, the first updates from Alex White have just rolled in.

Detroit DJ City

Why should we in Chicago care what Detroit DJs are doing? Because they're a little bit awesome, and they're coming to our town, that's why. The full story in Transmission.

Reading into Things

If you haven't made it off the front page of GB in awhile, here're a couple articles worth making an effort:
• A/C: Why Washington Square Park is called "Bughouse Square."
• Book Club: Meet comic book cover artist Jenny Frison.
• Drive-Thru: Windy City Blogger Wednesday profiles Food on the Dole.
• Transmission: Preview the Hideout's annual SXSW send-off party.
• Mechanics: Why we shouldn't be surprised Illinois is in a budget crisis.
• Tailgate: Rick Telander talks about sports stardom, the Web and playground hoops.

Some Links Sound Good

Need something to stretch out the afternoon? Stop staring into the middle distance! Click on over to Transmission and check out our Friday Quick Links post — chock full of distractions.

Helping Bands Help Themselves

In Transmission, we explore how the Chicago Music Commission — an entity you may not have even known existed — is advising bands on how to spread their music, book better shows, and make it the music business.

Features Wanted

Last year Gapers Block was among the recipients of a grant to fund original local reporting -- and we're open to submissions. Got a story idea? Review our pitch guidelines.

Straight Outta tha Desert

In Transmission, we profile Tinariwen, a fantastic group from West Africa specializing in "desert guitar" mixed with '60s psychedelia playing at the Old Town School this weekend.

Chicago at SXSW 2010

If you're planning to attend SXSW in Austin next month, we've got you covered with this exhaustive list of Chicagoland acts playing the sprawling music festival.

The Legacy of Sam Cooke

In Transmission, we take a look back on the brief life of Sam Cooke and his contributions to not only Chicago's musical history, but that of the Civil Rights Movement as well.

Love is in the Air, Love is in the Food

We've got a round-up of some of the best Valentine's Day events and offers in Drive-Thru.

Listen/Read Primaries Coverage Tonight

From 7 to 10pm tonight, Chicago Public Radio will be running a group liveblog commenting on the primary election results in addition to its on-air coverage. GB's Andrew Huff and Ramsin Canon will be on at 7-8pm and 9-10pm, respectively, and plenty of other Chicago personalities and pundits -- as well as the candidates -- will be popping in. Tune in!

Bloggers on Ice

Are you a blogger? Do you enjoy sliding around with metal blades on your feet? Then Blogger Industry Night is for you! Gapers Block is co-sponsoring the event with Explore Chicago, the Printers Ball and the Chicago Publishers Gallery. Join other Chicagoland bloggers on the ice at the Millennium Park Ice Rink from 7 to 11pm Feb. 5, and warm up in the Park Grill with complimentary apps and a cash bar. More info and RSVP on Facebook. (We're also co-sponsoring a Flickr meet-up on Feb. 6!)

The Sounds from Underground

Everyone has a story. In Transmission this week, we offer a multimedia profile of three musicians you might have encountered while waiting for your train.

Dream Theatre

Pilsen's Dream Theatre Company breaks down walls and gives women good roles. A profile of the company is this week's feature in A/C.

Rock Out with Us at Metro 1/22

Gapers Block is hosting another show at the Metro next Friday, Jan. 22! We welcome Pet Lions, Post Honeymoon, White Mystery and Dirty Diamonds -- and it's free before 9pm, $6 after with our flier. More details in Transmission!

Tomorrow Never Knows

In Transmission, we previewed the upcoming slice of sunshine that is Schubas' annual winter jam: the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival. It gets started this coming Wednesday at both Schubas and Lincoln Hall.

Laugh at This

Sketchfest kicks off tonight, and Michelle Peterson has an interview with founder Brian Posen in A/C.

GB Loves Threadless

Our calendar editor, Rose Lannin, models two of Threadless' latest t-shirts.

And the Award Goes To...

We gave out superlatives to our favorite Chicago music moments over in Transmission.

Eight Forty-Eight's Year in Review

The Reader's Mick Dumke, Chicago Reporter's Kimbriell Kelly and our own Ramsin Canon joined Alison Cuddy this morning for a look back on the year that was. Listen here.

The City Needs a Slap Tax

"For $1 you can slap your alderman or one of the county commissioners. For $3 you get to slap the county board president. And for a whopping $5 you get to slap the mayor." A modest proposal in Mechanics.

Happy Holidays from Gapers Block

Just FYI, posting will be slow the rest of the week. Hope you're enjoying your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, Life Day or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year!

A Sharp Look at the Lounge Ax

In Transmission, we take another turn down memory lane to explore a venerable Chicago music venue of days gone by. This time, it's the Lounge Ax in Lincoln Park.

Your Thursday Night Plans

Just a reminder that the Gapers Block Holiday Party is this Thursday, Dec. 17, from 7 to 10pm at Black Rock. Come celebrate the season with us and complimentary Half Acre beer! RSVP on Facebook and bring your friends.

A Truly All-Ages Show

Chicago's own Justin Roberts leads kids with the ease of the Pied Piper, without the rage-inducing personality of Raffi. We sit and chat with him over in Transmission.

What Do You Do with a Big Ass Hot Dog?

Find out in the latest edition of The Dog Show, now in Drive-Thru.

Homolatte Showcases LGBTI Talent

This week's Transmission feature is served up a bit early, to give you a chance to see tonight's Homolatte performance at Big Chicks in Uptown.

Edgar Miller Revealed in New Book

In A/C, we feature a photo essay by Alexander Vertikoff taken from the new book Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home: Chicago's Forgotten Renaissance Man.

Internship Aftermath

In Transmission, we have Part II of our Chicago Music Interns feature where we follow up with some former interns to see where they landed after fetching coffee for summers on end. If you're stuck at an empty office today, this might bring you some solace.

Nourishing Neighborhoods

A nonprofit started by an award-winning chef is helping make fresh farmers market produce available in Chicago's low-income communities. Alan Lake has the story in Drive-Thru.

Take Our Survey!

Hey, fill out the Gapers Block 2009 Reader Survey and help us improve the site. As incentive, we're giving away a pair of tickets to see The Jesus Lizard at Metro on New Years Eve!

Mo Money

In Transmission, we profile Chicago rock cellist Helen Money and her latest album In Tune.

Stencils as Art

Ever wanted to learn how to make stencils? Christian Scheuer gives you some tips in A/C.

Introducing the Dog Show

We've got a new regular feature in Drive-Thru starting today: The Dog Show, an exploration of the city's hundreds of hot dog stands. First up, Superdawg.

We Love You, Please Change

Time Out's feature story this week is all about Chicago places and things they love except for one little thing. Tell us what you you love but would change about the city in Fuel.

Author Event & 2010 Book List

Have you been reading Travel Writing by Peter Ferry along with the Gapers Block Book Club this past month? The November meeting is coming up on Monday, and it will be a special event as author Peter Ferry joins us for our discussion. Get the details in Slowdown. Plus, find out what the Book Club will be reading next year -- the 2010 book list is revealed!

The Glue (Guns) of the Music Industry

In Transmission, we have a chat with a few local music industry interns who give us the low down (and sometimes dirty) truth about their jobs with some of our favorite Chicago labels.

Gapers Block, 11 Others Receive Community News Matters Grants

Gapers Block is one of 12 recipients of Community News Matters grants from the Chicago Community Trust and Knight Foundation. We're receiving $35,000 to expand our original local reporting, with a priority on stories about underserved communities and issues that affect them. More details in A/C.

Rock Proper

In Transmission, we profile Chicago netlabel Rock Proper, and how they're working hard to bring you great artists -- via download only.

Looking Back at the Republic Windows Strike

In Mechanics, Sheila Burt talks with author Kari Lyderson about her new book on the takeover of the Republic Windows and Doors factory by laid off workers and its place in labor rights history.

Garage Turned Pawn Shop Art Installation

Two local artists have turned a three-car garage into a mock pawn shop in which much of the stock is art. Kelly Reaves has more in this week's A/C feature.

Tell Us What to Read

The GB Book Club is putting together its 2010 reading list and wants your help.

Googlemapping the CHA's Plan for Transformation

GB's managing editor David Schalliol was frustrated that he couldn't find all of the CHA's mixed income housing developments on the agency's own map -- so he built one himself.

An Interview with Cheer-Accident

This week's Transmission feature is an interview with Alex Perkolup, bassist in the critically acclaimed progressive rock band Cheer-Accident. The band performs at Reggie's Friday night.

Olympic Free Zone

Gapers Block will be an Olympic news-free zone today. We figure you won't be able to avoid the coverage, so why not give it a rest? The two exceptions: Keep your eye out for a thumbs up or thumbs down (that's it) here in Merge, and share your own thoughts in Fuel.

Ready to Riot

Riot Fest hits Chicago for the fifth year next week. We've got a preview for you in Transmission.

Don't Go to Copenhagen

In Mechanics, the co-founder of No Games Chicago writes open letter to Obama about the city's Olympic bid.

Remembering Medusa's

Another in our series of remembrances of past Chicago music venues, we take a look at former Lakeview club Medusa's over in Transmission.

A Little SPACE in Evanston

In Transmission we profile a music venue just over the city line: SPACE.

Talking about The Echo Maker

Hey, have you been reading The Echo Maker by Richard Powers along with us at the Gapers Block Book Club? Our September meeting is taking place this coming Monday, Sept. 14, at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. Check out the sample discussion questions on our blog, and visit Slowdown for complete meeting details. Hope to see you there!

Bloodshot's Birthday

We give you the lowdown on every band playing Bloodshot Records' 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Q Saturday at the Hideout over in Transmission. Plus, a sweet Imeem music player featuring all the bands!

Art Map for Gallery Night

This Friday is one of the biggest in Chicago's art world as nearly every gallery kicks off the fall season with an opening. Fortunately John Lendman created a convenient googlemap to many of the openings over in A/C.

There You Are

Hey, did you get your photo taken by Ian from IDM Photography at the Gapers Block Party on Friday? If so, it's now posted in our Flickr account.

Be There at 8, Don't Be Late

Just a note: the doors open at 8pm for the Gapers Block Party at the Metro tonight -- which means you have an hour and a half to get in for free! But don't wait till the last minute to get in gratis, or you'll miss Panda Riot, who go on at 9pm.

Sweet Home Chicago

Chicago Public Library's "Sound Off" contest taps local musicians to express how their city inspires them. Details in Transmission.

Gapers Block Party -- Even More Fun!

You've hopefully noticed the ads and announcements about our big annual party this Friday at the Metro -- so you know we've got Nikki Lynette, The Hood Internet, Blane Fonda and Panda Riot. We have some other fun stuff planned, too, including a photo booth by IDM Photography, a found imagery slideshows by Big Happy Funhouse and Square America, giveaways and more! And did we mention it's free before 9:30pm? Yep. Tell all your friends!

Button Down Interview

In A/C, Lindsay Muscato talks with Busy Beaver owner Christen Carter about how she got started and the company's new store.

A Decade that Rocked

In Transmission, we have a guest feature from Chicago writer and radio personality James VanOsdol on his project to put pen to paper on the city's music scene in the 1990s.

Party with Gapers Block!

We've been teasing it on Twitter for a couple weeks, and we've finally announced it: the 6th annual Gapers Block Party! Next Friday, Sept. 4, we'll be at the Metro with Nikki Lynette, The Hood Internet, Blane Fonda and Panda Riot -- plus other fun stuff! Free before 9:30pm, $6 after -- kick off your Labor Day Weekend right!

Rob Ryan Adams

We were remiss in not pointing out Conor McCarthy's chuckle-worthy "Seven Crimes to Consider Before Music Piracy" in Mechanics on Monday.

Fill That Blank Spot on Your Wall

Hey! You have just a couple days left to purchase prints from the Gapers Block-curated "Chicago Week" on WallBlank. Prints by Dmitry Samarov, Sharon Parmet, Mark Hansen, David Schalliol and Clare Rosean are all still available.

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.

GB Book Club: The Echo Maker

Another month, another book for the Gapers Block Book Club. For September, we will be reading The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, the National Book Award-winning novel about the fragility and resiliency of the human mind. Read the introduction on the book club blog, and then join us at The Book Cellar on Monday, September 14, to talk about the book. See Slowdown for details.

Chicago Week Today: Clare Rosean

Our fifth Chicago Week feature, "Blue Mountain," by Clare Rosean, is now available in A/C. You can also jump straight to the print's page on Wall Blank.

Chicago Week Today: David Schalliol

Our fourth Chicago Week feature, "Isolated Building Study 42 (Chud's)," by David Schalliol, is now available in A/C. You can also jump straight to the print's page on Wall Blank.

Chicago Week Today: Mark Hansen

Our third Chicago Week feature, "Untitled," by Mark Hansen, is now available in A/C. You can also jump straight to the print's page on Wall Blank.

Chicago Week Today: Sharon Parmet

Our second Chicago Week feature, "Like an Asteroid," by Sharon Parmet, is now available in A/C. You can also jump straight to the print's page on Wall Blank.

Chicago Week Today: Dmitry Samarov

"O'Hare Staging Area #10," by Dmitry Samarov, is the first in a series of five works to be featured during Chicago Week, a collaboration between GB and Wall Blank. Each print will be available for one week through Wall Blank, with 10% of the proceeds benefiting Chicago Artists' Coalition. Check A/C every day this week for a new piece by and interview with a Chicago artist.

Show Photos

If you're headed to Lollapalooza (or any other Chicago music event), don't forget you can submit photos to our Transmission Flickr Pool. We might use them on the site!

The Final Preview

In Transmission, we round out our pre-festival thoughts on what's the best way to spend your three days at Lollapalooza this year.

More to (Lolla) Love

In case you hadn't noticed, our Slowdown section is bursting at the seams with music-related events this weekend. That's because of all the Lolla-sanctioned after-parties starring artists who'll be double dipping in Chicago. If you're not headed to Grant Park, you can hit a venue near home.

Service Announcement

Apparently the internet as a whole is going to suck today. DDOS attacks are all over, affecting Twitter and other websites -- including ours, thanks to another site that shares our server. Bear with us. :)

Still Clashin'

We're going full steam ahead with our Lollapalooza previews in Transmission — hitting you with picks for Sunday afternoon stage clash winners.

No No Sleep Till Brooklyn

We continue on in Transmission with our previews of the best sets at Lollapalooza with a look at Saturday night's performances (i.e. the night that was supposed to end with three MCs and one DJ).

More Stage Clashin'

In Transmission we continue on today with our previews of sets to hit and sets to miss at this weekend's Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park.

Stage Clash!

In Transmission, we're bringing you a week of previews on the best of what to expect at Lollapalooza this weekend, so keep an eagle eye on the page this week as we bring a new round of band vs. band set battles to you daily. You can check out Round 1 now.

GB on the Radio

Catch our political editor Ramsin Canon on Chicago Public Radio's "Eight Fort-Eight" this morning, discussing July's news on the Month in Review segment.

Taking the Trib to Task

The Tribune editorial board needs to get on the same page as its reporting, Ramsin Canon argues in his latest column in Mechanics.

"Chicago Week" Deadline Approaching

Don't forget: Friday is the deadline for submissions for the Gapers Block and Wall Blank "Chicago Week" visual arts competition, so get those paint brushes, vectors and camera shutters going!


In Mechanics, Ramsin Canon notes a couple instances in which Obama has proven breakable, despite being from Chicago.

White's Weather System

In Transmission, we profile Jack White's new project The Dead Weather in preparation for the band's Chicago debut next week at the Vic.

Still at Pitchfork in Our Minds

It may seem slow here on GB today, but there's an ongoing storm of posts in Transmission, wrapping up coverage of this weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival -- as well as elsewhere on the site. Click around and just try to keep up!

Weekend Forecast: Pitchfork

In Transmission, we let you know which sets not to be caught standing in line for the Porta-Johns during this weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival. And, hey, if you're out at the fest, make sure to come by the Gapers Block table in the CHIRP Record Fair tent and say Howdy.

The Green Hornet Rises

Remember that sighting of a film crew shooting what was believed to be a teaser for Seth Rogan's Green Hornet? We've got the scoop on the production and when you can expect to see it on a computer screen near you.

Mechanics on the Radio (No, not "Car Talk")

Ramsin Canon, editor of Gapers Block's Mechanics section, joins Josh Kalven of Progress Illinois every Wednesday morning at 8am on journalist and comedian Ray Hanania's Radio Chicagoland talk show on WJJG-AM. Tune in!

On Ramp: GB on ChicagoNow

We're launching a new Gapers Block blog today -- one that's not here on the site. It's called On Ramp, and it's part of the Tribune's new ChicagoNow project. It's a very different thing from GB proper, but in the same spirit: Each weekday we'll give you a run-down of the best and most interesting news, blog posts, photos and more from around the region, all on a specific theme -- Arts & Literature, Food, Music, Politics and Sports -- as well as a couple related events coming in the week ahead. Check it out and let us know what you think!

GB Book Club July Meeting

The Gapers Block Book Club is meeting this Monday, July 13, to talk about Every Crooked Pot by Renee Rosen. Every Crooked Pot is a sweet coming-of-age story about Nina Goldman, a young woman who was born with a disfiguring birthmark over one eye. She tries just about anything to fit in while growing up before finally finding self-acceptance. You can read the discussion questions on the blog, and find complete details about the meeting in Slowdown.

Rock the Written Word

Face it, there's only so much time you should spend this summer watching roadies switch out cables. Next time you're heading out to a show, take along one of these fine books about music recommended by Transmission staff.

Call for Artists: "Chicago Week" from GB and Wall Blank

Gapers Block is teaming up with Rockford-based arts purveyor Wall Blank to host a visual arts competition. Four winners will be featured on GB and have prints offered for sale on Wall Blank during "Chicago Week" in August 2009. Get the details in A/C.

Taking a Toxic Tour

The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization gives "Toxic Tours" of the neighborhood as a way to educate the community and others about the looming toxic presence of several industries right in their backyards. In Mechanics, Sheila Burt takes the tour and learns more about the sources of pollution.

Tipping Through Twitter

OK, so we're going to try a little experiment. We now have a Twitter tip line at @GBtips in addition to our main account. It's powered by Spotd, the retweet system behind the popular Tamale Guy Tracker. Learn how it works after the jump...

If you've got a Twitter account, you can send us story tips -- breaking news, interesting links, events, whatever -- to that account in the form of an "@ reply" and it'll be retweeted in the GBtips stream. We'll keep an eye on what comes in and possibly use your tip in posts on GB! And of course, we'll give you credit.

This is highly experimental -- it could become a huge mess, or die from disuse. We'll block anyone who gets abusive, vulgar or spammy with it. If you've got any feedback for us, DM us on that account or the main GB account or send us an email.

Crash Dance Contest

Crash Dance Theater is hosting its annual Keeper of the Floor championship competition this Friday -- and we've got a contest in A/C for two tickets to see it!

Reflections of a Pop DJ Duo

In Transmission, we feature an interview with the local DJ team that are TTTTotally Dudes as they mull over how a quarter-life crisis can fuel a great set of tunes.

[Server Issues]

Just a quick housekeeping note: Gapers Block switched to a new server overnight, and there are a few lingering technical difficulties remaining to be fixed. Please bear with us.

Thoughtful Interior Design

In A/C, Katherine Raz profiles designer Suzanne Trocmé, who's debuting a new chair at NeoCon this week.

Aural Assault (of the good variety)

This week in Transmission we give a listen to Chicago-founded group ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble) and their gift of beautiful and complex music to the ears of the Windy City.

The New News

The Community Media Workshop released a special report (PDF) today on Chicagoland's top independent and niche news organizations as well as the future of journalism, etc., and ranked the top 20 most influential news websites. Top three were Chi-Town Daily News, Windy City Media Group and yours truly, Gapers Block. Read more on Chicagosphere.

Rock Me Like a Metronome

Over in Transmission this week, we preview this weekend's Metronome Celebration in Logan Square — a brand-new music festival that's also going green.

One Last Spin: Off the Alley

The first in an occasional series revisiting Chicago music clubs of yore, over in Transmission, we talk to those who made the south suburban Homewood venue Off the Alley a second home.

Jay Bennett Dead

In Transmission, we're reporting on a developing story that former Wilco band member Jay Bennett is dead at age 45.

A Magic (Gallery of) Carpet Ride

In Transmission, we chat with Brian Zieske about Gallery of Carpet, the Chicago recording studio that lays down the tracks for up-and-coming artists like The Acadamy Is... and Snowsera.

The Third Largest Whole Foods

The new Whole Foods Lincoln Park opens next week -- but we've got a sneak peek in Drive-Thru. If you want more, there's a preview party Monday.

The Power of Low Power

In Transmission this week we talk with Jennifer Lizak of CHIRP about the Chicago Independent Radio Project's recent trip to D.C. to lobby for low power FM stations.

A Local Women's Health Hero

GB's own Jenni Prokopy is one of 20 2009 Women's Health Heroes. Congrats!

Multiple Transmissions

Busy day already over in Transmission, our music section: a review of Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash (a college music competition, if you missed it earlier), Rhymefest's new video for "Chicago" and a chance to win tickets to DJ C and Mashit's "Bouncement" show this Friday!

Fighting for Film Fair Use

In A/C, Lindsay Muscato writes about filmmakers' struggle to gain the right to quote from other films in the name of fair use.

So Cheap They're Free

Over in Transmission, we're still giving away tickets to Wednesday night's show at the Double Door: Dex Romweber, The Detroit Cobras, and Blackbelts. Poof! And now they're gone.

Laughing it up with Ha Ha Tonka

We sit down and chat with Ha Ha Tonka about the band and their debut album from Bloodshot Records in Transmission.

Population Counts

In Transmission this week we interviewed Damon Locks about his new music and arts site: The Population.

Photographing a Sketchbook

Collaboraction's annual SKETCHBOOK Festival, running now, inspired collaborations with photographers; the results are featured in A/C.

That's a Lot of Vinyl

Check out what our Transmission staff found at Chicago's record stores in celebration of Record Store Day 2009.

Record Store Day Approaches

In Transmission, we preview some of the cool things you're likely to find at your neighborhood brick-and-mortar record store this Saturday for the Second Annual Record Store Day.

Happy Birthday, GB Book Club!

Tonight is the GB Book Club's fourth anniversary! Hope to see some of you at the Book Cellar tonight.

Transmission Contest-a-rino

What are you doing Saturday night? We've got a groovy ticket contest going on in Transmission right now! Update: We have our winners!

The Erosion of Daley

In Mechanics, Ramsin highlights and magnifies the major points from the aforementioned Reader parking meter story, and predicts a severe backlash is coming.

An April Residency

In Transmission, we have an interview with singer/songwriter Ann Scott who brings a taste of Dublin's indie rock scene to Chicago just in time for springtime.

Grey Days Mended by Rainbow Body Records

In Transmission this week, we sit down with Chris Sloan who heads local label Rainbow Records and talk rock, pop, and the subtle rewards of a labor of love.

Weeklong Bender

WhiskyFest is still a week away, but the party starts tonight. Jill Jaracz rounds up your whisky (and whiskey) options in Drive-Thru.

Free Beer & Kid-Lifting

The GB Get-Together this Friday just keeps getting better. Not only will the first 150 attendees enjoy complimentary Radeberger beer, but we'll be hosting the big finale for Things My Beard Can Lift -- for which Eamon Daly will be picking up a 50-pound kid using only his beard! Details in Slowdown.

April Book Club: Then We Came to the End

This month the Gapers Block Book Club is reading Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, a debut novel that captures the highs and lows of the modern dysfunctional family--our co-workers. Although set during the dot-com bust of the turn of the century, the atmosphere of fear as characters try to avoid corporate layoffs at an unnamed Chicago ad agency has just as much relevance today. Read the complete introduction now at the Book Club blog.

A Lost Weekend With The Hood Internet

We'll be live blogging, er, tweeting in Transmission with The Hood Internet starting tonight and throughout the weekend while they perform all around SXSW.

A Four Pack from Thrill Jockey

In Transmission this week we take a long listen to four upcoming new releases from the venerable Chicago label Thrill Jockey. Read what we think about the latest from Lithops, Mountains, Extra Golden and Arbouretum.

Encyclopedic Performance

In A/C, Lindsay Muscato interviews one of the founders of The Encyclopedia Show, a new monthly performance series.

Plus Tapes

Over in Transmission this week, we take a peek at underground label Plus Tapes and all the excitement over that great tape hiss sound we've been missing for too long.

We're Gonna Build Something This Summer

Haven't you always wanted to build your own furniture? In A/C, Christian Scheuer shows you how to make a cool side table.

Music and Film Geeks Unite!

This week in Transmission, we give you the low down on an upcoming festival that's been missing from Chicago calendars all this time. It's the inaugural Chicago International Music and Film Festival which comes to town March 4-9.

The Polish Film School

In A/C, Beatrice Smigasiewicz previews a retrospective of films by Andrzej Wajda currently playing at the Siskel Film Center.

Boogie Down with The Uptown Sound

This week in Transmission, we have a little chat with JC Brooks, Kevin Marks and Ben Taylor of JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound about their upcoming album release, soul and how their music is a cross between Otis Redding and Fugazi.

Touch and Go Succumbs to Economy's Squeeze

In Transmission, we have the latest on the announcement by long-standing Chicago label Touch and Go that the company will be scaling back operations.

Shot Through the Heart with The Godfathers

Our Transmission feature this week is a trans-Atlantic interview with Peter Coyne, lead singer of The Godfathers. They'll be making a rare appearance at the Metro this weekend to celebrate everyone's favorite gangster-laden holiday.

"Writing Their Way Home"

In A/C, Lora Gordon profiles the Arab American Action Network's after-school creative writing program.

"Eastbound & Down" Screening and Contest

As if one contest wasn't enough, we also have 10 VIP tickets to give away to a screening of HBO's new series "Eastbound & Down" tomorrow night. Details in Tailgate.

Contest with No Reservations

As mentioned yesterday, we're running a contest in Drive-Thru -- if you caught last night's episode of "No Reservations," answer our trivia question for a chance to win!

Public Art for Public Transit

In A/C, we've got a report on Tuesday's meeting to choose public art for the Belmont CTA station. Uninvolved by certainly related: the Chicago Public Art Group.

Kings of Good Deeds

In Transmission, we talk about the benefit show Kings of Leon is putting on tonight Saturday night at the House of Blues, and also interview their opening band The Jakes.

Liveblogging the Inauguration

In Mechanics, we're liveblogging the inauguration festivities, from both Chicago and DC.

Participate in the Photo Swap and Show

As we mentioned back in December, GB and Calumet Photographic are inviting photographers of all experience levels to participate in a photo swap on Friday, February 6, and an accompanying show that will run from February 3-11. Details in A/C.

Tune in for Big Shoulders

Starting around 6pm, over in Transmission, we'll have live updates from the Hideout's Big Shoulders Ball in D.C.'s Black Cat club tonight. Check back with us after the sun goes down and bask in the glow of some of Chicago's favorite musical talent.

OFFICE Controversy

Over in Transmission, we got some time to interview Scott Masson of OFFICE and talked with him about the recent free release of their latest album, Mecca, and whether or not this is the end of the once skyrocketing Chicago band.

The Work of Comics

In A/C, Lindsay Muscato interviews Josh Elder, author of graphic novels including Mail Order Ninja.

Naked New Year

Over in Transmission, we get personal with Naked Raygun as they gear up for a couple of shows at the House of Blues this weekend.

Transmission Takes a Look Back

We peer back over our shoulders at 2008's best music over in Transmission. Take a look and let us know what you loved best about the year in Chicago music (and beyond).

NYE for Free

Not sure what you're doing New Year's Eve? We've got a contest in Transmission that might make up your mind: the Dandy Warhols at Metro!

Delmark's Half Century (+ 5)

We take a minute to review recent releases from Chicago's Delmark Records over in Transmission. What better way to celebrate 55 years of blues and jazz recordings than with a couple of sweet CD/DVD combos!

End of Year Rocking

Thinking about what to do for New Year's Eve? We've hand picked a few standout concerts in Transmission.

Land of Sweets Ticket Giveaway

Enjoy burlesque? Feeling the holiday spirit? You're in luck: we've got a tantalizing ticket giveaway for next week's performances of Land of the Sweets: the Burlesque Nutcracker! We've got a pair of tickets to each performance! To enter, email with your name and performance preference. UPDATE: We've got our winners!

A Tragedy 50 Years On

On this date in 1958, 92 students and three nuns died when fire ripped through Our Lady of the Angels School. In Detour, Drive-Thru editor Robyn Nisi recounts the tragedy and introduces a 2004 in-depth article about it, republished with permission.

Dive on In

We've got a roundup of our favorite rock dive bars over in Transmission as a part of our latest set of Chicago venue reviews.

Not So Sweet

Wicker Park's Sweet Thang lost its lease and moved to Roscoe Village earlier this year. Now it's closed again -- embroiled in the same strange scandal that swirled around the closing of Sweet Occasions. Read more in Drive-Thru.

And You Thought CBGB was a New York Thing

In Transmission, we're previewing the inaugural CBGB (Chicago Blue(G)rass and Blues) Festival, happening this coming Saturday at the Congress Theater. We're also giving away tickets. Happy Monday!

Staples Sings, We Listen

Over in Transmission, we check out the latest from legendary recording artist Mavis Staples, recorded right here in her hometown, at the Hideout.

Hanson: Why So Serious?

Today in Transmission, we check in with pop rockers Hanson as they swung through Chicago's House of Blues earlier this week. Turns out they're not just about "MMMBop" anymore, but are as philanthropic as the next celebrity family.

The 2009 GB Book Club

The Gapers Block Book Club is ready for another year of reading as we release our 2009 book club reading list. We have another great mix of classics, new titles, award winners, bestsellers and lesser-known works — all written by local authors. So check it out, and don't forget to join us this Monday, November 10, for our last meeting of 2008 as the Book Club gets together to talk about Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott. Details in Slowdown.

Election Coverage Continues

In addition to our ongoing election liveblogging, we've got reporter Sheila Burt on the scene in Grant Park, updating live throughout the evening.

Introducing Mechanics

We're proud to announce the launch of Mechanics our new section focusing on Chicago and Illinois politics. Headed by Revenge of the Second City columnist Ramsin Canon, Mechanics features contributors of every political stripe, all in one place. It's where you'll find our election coverage today, constantly updating throughout the day and into the night.

Historic Warmth

Today's mid-70s temperature may set a record, and makes me think of "Indian Summer." Read more about that term in Ask the Librarian, and a very heated discussion in the Fuel archives.

Transmission Freebie

We've got free stuff in Transmission, if you're fast enough.

On the Road (Again)

Transmission takes a minute out of the busy schedule of man of many talents, Ian Anderson. The PR guy, indie label owner, Minneapolis rock blogger and band member brings his group One for the Team to Chicago this weekend.

One Month, One Book: NaNoWriMo

Hey, thinking about participating in National Novel Writing Month? You still have a couple days to prepare, and the GB Book Club has some local ways to get involved or gain local support.

(S)Mashed with The Hood Internet

First, check out our interview with Chicago's favorite music mashup duo, The Hood Internet over in Transmission, download their latest mixtape for free, then head out to their show "Bootie Chicago" at Sonotheque tonight.

Pseudo Voyeuristic

The apartment of GB's creative director, Naz Hamid, and his wife Jen Schuetz is featured on Apartment Therapy today.

May a Lightning Bolt Caress You

In Transmission, we talk with Aleksandra Tomaszewska of Aleks and the Drummer about the duo's new EP and giving new life to Polish electronica.

Life in Chicago

The latest issue of Chicago Life magazine is out, featuring a cover photo by GB's own David Schalliol.

Round Robin

Today in Transmission we give you the low down on Dan Deacon's latest project: The Round Robin Tour which pulls its veggie bus into Chicago Friday night.

Call for Images: Transitions

GB is doing a photo feature for Detour on the theme of "Transitions," and we'd love to get submissions from readers. If you'd like the chance to be included, please add your photographs to our flickr group with the tag "Transitions" by noon on Saturday, October 18. More details are available in the group's discussion section.

GB Get-Together Tonight

The Wall Street mess and election craziness distracted us from promoting our own event this evening: the monthly GB Get-Together! We'll be at Clark Street Ale House from 8 to 11pm -- and yes, we'll make sure they have the debates on the TV. Come join us!

Interview with Calexico

Over in Transmission we sit down with Calexico's Joey Burns and talk about world music, and the band's free concert tonight at Millennium Park.

Girls Got Game

In Tailgate, our sports section, Ken Green interviews one of the producers of Girl/Gamer, a documentary examining the culture of women in video- and role-playing games.

Hideout Block Party Rundown

Planning on hitting up the 12th Annual Hideout Block Party this weekend? Still on the fence? Over in Transmission, we've got our picks for a good time this weekend as you rock out and send off summer with a bang.

Turning Trash into Cash

This week is recycling week at GB, with two features exploring what is typically perceived as the underside of the economy. In A/C, we take a look at Scrappers, a documentary film featuring the lives of three local scrap metal collectors. Over in Detour, we visit with Barry "Can Man" Woodson, leader of a street crew of recyclers in Wrigleyville. After reading the articles, you may want to check out the Scrappers fundraiser on Friday.

When You Get to the Bottom...

The Bottom Lounge is back, and the subject of a feature review in Transmission.

This Will Go Down On Your...

In Transmission, learn about Ukrainian Park's Permanent Records.

The Night Bookmobile

As Alice notes in the Book Club blog, The Guardian is serializing a new illustrated book by Audrey Niffenegger.

An Ex-cellent Collaboration

This week's Transmission feature is an interview with Andy Moor, guitarist for The Ex, on the Dutch punk band's collaboration with a legendary Ethiopian saxophonist. The Ex are in town for shows on Sunday and Monday; bone up on the new stuff.

"Master of Markets"

Ron Slattery, expert scavenger and past GB columnist, is the subject of this week's front page feature in the Reader.

Garden Party

Quick reminder: We'd love to see you at our GB Get-Together Friday. We'll be hanging in the beer garden at Moody's Pub in Edgewater; details here.

Transmission Feature: Lollapalooza Throwdown

Tired of fighting over overlapping sets at the 3-day Grant Park music extravaganza known as Lollapalooza? Well, over in Transmission, we're taking on the fight for you.

Transmission Feature: Atavistic 6-Pack

Take a moment over in Transmission to learn a little somfin' somfin' about six new releases from Chicago "out-there" label Atavistic Records. You just might expand your musical horizons, and that ain't a bad thing.

Trash to Fashion

GB's own Lauri Apple is interviewed in a piece about found and recycled clothing for Chicago Public Radio's "Chicago Matters: Growing Forward" series.

Transmission Feature: Previewing Pitchfork

Know what you're in for this weekend before you head down to Union Park and the Pitchfork Music Festival by reading about our favorites over in Transmission.

Transmission Contest: Pitchfork Tickets!

We're running a contest for a pair of three-day passes to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Transmission -- get over there and enter to win!

Transmission Feature: Bands You Missed

We trip down memory lane this week in Transmission, reminiscing about three Chicago bands that have up and faded away, despite their greatness. Click over and read all about First Coat, Breaking Circus and Tom Spacey.

Transmission Feature: Shape Shoppe

Working hard to produce exciting new music on the near-south side, Chicago's Shape Shoppe has become the favorite label of local bands as well as national ones. Read about their latest releases and their work to create a new performance venue in Transmission.

Free Wine at Tonight's GB Get-Together

Join us tonight for a very special two-part episode of our monthly GB Get-Together! We'll be at Mike Genovese's studio in the pedway beneath the Cultural Center from 5 to 7pm, then heading to Phaiz Gallery from 8 to 11pm for an art exhibit and free wine! RSVP for the latter here!

Transmission Feature: What's a Walter Meego?

Short answer: Two guys from the suburbs making great dance music, to much critical acclaim. Long answer: You'll have to read about them over in Transmission (and keep an eye out for some free goods).

The Art of Getting Together

It's time for our monthly GB Get-Together, and we've got a big evening planned for this Friday! Join us at artist Mike Genovese's studio in the pedway below the Chicago Cultural Center from 5 to 7pm, then follow us to Phaiz Gallery at 8pm for free wine and an exhibition of pop song-inspired art. The only catch: you'll have to RSVP to get in. Details in Slowdown.

Summer Reading Starts Now

The Gapers Block Book Club is reading Free Burning by Bayo Ojikutu for July. This dark novel tells the story of Tommie Simms, who loses his job at a downtown insurance firm after 9/11 and turns to selling drugs to make ends meet. Free Burning chronicles his swift descent and profiles a neighborhood ravaged by poverty, gangs and drugs, where everyone is a hustler. Read the book, and then join on on Monday, July 14 at The Book Cellar beginning at 7:30pm for our discussion. New members are always welcome.

Transmission Feature: Air Guitar Champs

The Chicago regional tournament portion of the 2008 Cuervo Air Guitar Championships gets down tonight at the Metro. Over in Transmission, we take a minute to give you the skinny on why so many consider air guitar a true competitive sport.

Advertising on the Cheap

Got an event coming up? Consider advertising it on Gapers Block! Our textads are a super deal -- just $35 gets you a week at the top of every page on the site. Learn more here.

Transmission Feature: The Collective Family

Faced with single voices shouting into the wind, young Chicago musicians are turning to a group approach to getting their music heard in the vast indie market. Read over in Transmission about burgeoning musicians' cooperative, The Collective Family.

GB's Fifth Anniversary

Don't forget, the party is this Friday! And we've got late word about a special guest performer that will make the techies in the crowd go wild. Here's a not-so-subtle hint.

Book Club: Naked

This month the GB Book Club takes a turn for the witty with the much acclaimed Naked by David Sedaris. Get to know the author as a nervous young boy, a disaffected youth, and an even more nervous adult in his collection of personal essays that are part memoir and part true comedy. You can read the introduction on the Book Club page now. We'll meet on Monday, June 9, at the Book Cellar to discuss the book -- new members are always welcome.

Stakes is High

Join Schadenfreude in celebrating their 10th year anniversary in Chicago with a series of shows at Chicago neighborhood dive bars. This week's show is at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, at 9pm tomorrow night. Special guests include Claire Zulkey (Funny Ha-Ha), Steve Delahoyde (filmmaker) and Tim Smithe (one of the Walter E. Smithe brothers), plus the the second annual "Alternative Media Slam," where members of Chicago's alternative media -- including Gapers Block -- rip on each other for respect and special prizes. Music all night provided by The Hood Internet and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. Tickets are $10; 21+.

Transmission Feature: Bin Diving so You Don't Have To

South-Side label Numero Group has been unearthing half a dozen albums per year that you weren't even aware were lost. Over in Transmission, we sit down with the founders and find out the ins and outs of the quest for long-lost music.

DJ Throwdown Tonight

Looking for some action tonight? Head to the Burlington where our very own DJ Lapple Pietunes (aka Lauri Apple) goes head to head with Chicagoist's Tankboy in a DJ battle. Free stuff from both Chicagoist and Gapers Block. The fun starts at 9pm and goes late into the night, with giveaways and more.

Transmission Feature: Looptopia's Return

It's all about second chances for Chicago's free all-night party, Looptopia, which returns to downtown Chicago Friday night. Can the Loop-illuminating festival charm the city with its musical lineup? Over in Transmission, we take a look at the slate.

Gapers Block Book Club May Selection

The GB Book Club is now reading The Grass Dancer by Susan Power for our May meeting. Find out more about the novel by checking out the introduction to the book on our blog. Then read The Grass Dancer and join us on Monday, May 19 at The Book Cellar for our discussion.

Transmission Feature: Fake Fictions

That noise you just heard didn't come from the other side of the world — it's the buzz pop musings of the Chicago band Fake Fictions, and their new album Krakatoa featured this week in Transmission.

Help Wanted

Do you like to rock? We're looking to add to our ranks in Transmission.

GB Book Club Turns 3

Congratulations to our very own GB Book Club, celebrating three years with tonight's meeting. Stop by if you can!

Monuments and Murals

Swing by A/C to check out this week's double interviews with muralist Augustina Droze and Carrie Hanson, choreographer of Monument, which is currently running at Ruth Page Center for the Arts.

Transmission Feature: Head of Femur

Chicago's Head of Femur has been on a roller coaster of a career ride. They've been praised by critics, asked to tour with superstars, and then had their label fold, leaving them in the dust. But now they've got a brand-new album, and they're once again garnering loads of lauds. Read the whole story in Transmission.

Transmission: What Are You Doing Monday?

Psst! We've got some free tickets for you over at Transmission.

Transmission Feature: Get Me Scotland Yard

If you've ever seen flyers promoting a show by the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, your first thoughts were probably way off base. The band is neither related to the famous British investigative unit, nor are they a robe-wearing religious singing troupe. What they are, in fact, are rising stars in the Chicago indie music scene, and they're about to make Schubas their home for the month of April.

New Sections, New Staff

If you've been exploring the new design, you may have spotted a new blog: Tailgate, our freshly minted sports blog. We're looking for writers, so if you're into sports (or know someone who is), get in touch. Conversely, if you're into arts & culture, we're looking for a few bright folks for A/C, too.

Not Really a Joke

If you haven't noticed, or the site looks a bit screwy (which is not the intention, mind you), we redesigned. You'll want to refresh your browser, clear your cache and remove any sticky remainders of the last redesign so you can see this one all fresh. Undoubtedly, there will be small kinks and details here and there. We're working on them. For now, enjoy.

This Week's A/C Feature: Sara Schnadt

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

Transmission Feature: En Espanol

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

Gapers Block, Twitterized

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

Transmission's SXSW Tour Diaries

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

Transmission Feature: School of Language

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

Book Club Meeting Tonight

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

Transmission Feature: The Acorn

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

Introducing A/C

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

Boardgames on the Brain

Apparently it's in the air: Chicagoist is holding its first-ever Commenter Trivial Pursuit Throwdown tonight at Sheffield's -- and we'd already announced that the GB Get-Together on Friday would be a boardgame night. Beer and trivia, always a good combo.

Transmission Feature: Venue Reviews #2

Over in Transmission this week, we're raising a critical eye to two Chicago music venues that have been bringing bands to town for nearly 20 years, The Empty Bottle and The Beat Kitchen. Read on.

Transmission Feature: Who Needs One?

Serving up tickets for Chicago music lovers while still resting in the shadow of a couple of ticket broker behemoths is a hard time, sure, but it's proving rewarding for a couple of online show tracking sites. This week in Transmission, we take a look at Oh My Rockness and Songkick — two young upstarts who are making it easier for you to get to the show.

Book Club Reading Fire Sale

The Gapers Block Book Club is reading Fire Sale by Sara Paretsky for our March meeting. Fire Sale is the twelfth novel in Paretsky's bestselling V.I. Warshawski mystery series, but also a great introduction to both the series and the character. For more information about the book, read the introduction on the Book Club blog. Then join us on Monday, March 10, at 7:30pm at The Book Cellar for our discussion.

Book Club Author Event

Have you been reading The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs along with us this month? If not, what are you waiting for? The February meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club is coming up this Monday, Feb. 11 at The Book Cellar, where we will be joined by Enchanters author Brian Costello. This promises to be a good time, so put your snow boots on and join us on Monday. The discussion begins at 7:30pm, and new members are always welcome.

Me? Advertise on GB?

That's right, dear readers. You can pimp your parties, sell your condos, or hock your hand-mades with a Gapers Block text ad. Look up to the top of the page and you'll see what we mean. They're just $35 for seven days and get pretty darn good results. Check out ads section out for more info.

Redesigned Blogs

Hey, we just launched a redesign of our topical blogs, Book Club, Drive-Thru and Transmission. Take a look!

Transmission Feature: Jazz by the Numbers

This week in Transmission, we take a look at three stellar releases from Chicago jazz label, Delmark. We've got small ensembles with big performances, big ensembles with even bigger performances, and sweet licks burned onto CD and DVD. So hot it'll melt your snowpants!

Local Sites in the News

Chicago Magazine's February issue features "171 Best Chicago Websites," a nice round-up for your reading pleasure. It's still not wasn't online, though, so Time Out took the initiative and created a linklist for you. Then Chicago Metroblogging created an OPML file of the list -- along with all the ones mentioned in Time Out's recent blog feature package -- that you can dump into your favorite feed reader. UPDATE: The Chicago Mag feature went online late today.

Yes, Gapers Block is mentioned in both the Chicago Mag and Time Out features. And, as Tankboy noted, we do get along with the folks at Chicagoist.

Transmission Feature: Music Venues #1

This week in Transmission we want to get you out of the house (yes, we know how cold it is) and into a nice, warm music venue. Read our first set of Chicago music venue reviews just one click over. This week: Red Line Tap and Schubas.

From "Chicago Tonight" to WLUP Tomorrow

Gapers Block contributor and FoundClothing head findatrix Lauri Apple will appear tomorrow, Jan. 24, on Jonathon Brandmeier's 97.9 FM morning show between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Apple will discuss her website, which was recently featured on WTTW's nightly news magazine.

GB Book Club February Book

For our February meeting, the Gapers Block Book Club is reading The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs, the debut novel by Brian Costello. Enchanters charts the life and death of a rebel band that shakes up its Florida suburb over one frantic summer, changing everyone's lives forever. Read the introduction to The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs on the Book Club blog, and join us on Monday, February 11 at The Book Cellar to talk about the book.

The 1930s Never Tasted this Good

This week's Drive-Thru feature opens the culinary time capsule that is the Chicago Daily News cookbook for your reading pleasure. Published in 1930, the book offers many surprising (as in surprisingly edible) recipes and other advice. And finally, a good recipe for Mock Possum for those times that you don't have a real possum to cook.

Transmission Feature: Flameshovel

This week over in Transmission, we're talking to Jesse Woghin and James Kenler of Chicago's Flameshovel Records. Come on over and see.

2007 Chicago Book in Review

This week the GB Book Club has its annual round-up of Chicago books published in the past year, including fiction by local authors and nonfiction books about our city. From mysteries to graphic novels, and from water tanks to horror movie TV shows, the list reveals another strong year for local talent.

New Year, New Book Club

As the Gapers Block Book Club heads into its fourth year, we have a full list of books to read in 2008, starting with our January selection, Never a City So Real by Alex Kotlowitz. Read the introduction to Never a City So Real on the Book Club blog now, then read the book and join us on Monday, January 14 at The Book Cellar at 7:30pm to talk about the book.

The Year in Review

Our own David Schalliol joined Steve Rhodes from the Beachwood Reporter and Margaret Lyons from Chicagoist on Outside the Loop Radio's 2007 "year in review" episode. Have a listen!

Worth More Than 1,000 To Us!

Congrats to GB staffers Lauri Apple and David Schalliol, whose photos were picked as part of The Reader's 1,000 Words Photo Issue.

Transmission Feature: It Sounded Good to Us

Next door in Transmission, we take a trip down memory lane, laying out the best music we heard in Chicago over the last year.

Transmission Feature: Some Sound Opinions

Today in Transmission, we have a dandy feature on the world's only rock n' roll talk show — Sound Opinions — which (lucky for you and me) is produced right here in Chicago. Not only have Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis conquered the printed word and the radio waves, but now they're breaking into movies! Well, kind of.

Transmission Feature: Thrill Jockey's 15!

Today in Transmission we help local label Thrill Jockey celebrate its 15 years. Of course, they're celebrating with music coming at you from every which way.

Food for a Good Cause

GB's Drive-Thru is participating in this year's Menu for Hope campaign to raise money for the UN World Food Fund. Check out our prize here, and the rest of the prizes at Chez Pim!

One Cookie to Rule Them All

In Drive-Thru, the tale of the seven-layer cookie.

Transmission Feature: Arkestra to Orchestra

Chicago jazz labels Atavistic and Delmark Records once again deliver some fine tunes to the table (and not just to the turntable). With two new reissues of albums by Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra from Atavistic and fine local contemporary jazz from Kahil El'Zabar's Infinity Orchestra from Delmark, your ears are sure to be burning hot even when it's cold outside. Check out what they're all about in Transmission.

Text Ad Deal

Gapers Block's text ad rates are increasing in 2008 -- to $35 for a week, up from $25. But if you book by Dec. 31, we'll give you this year's rates, no matter when the ad runs. Learn more here.

GB Podcast

In case you missed it over in Airbags, Gapers Block has launched a podcast! This first edition is a little rough; please check it out and give us some feedback.

Transmission Feature: Record Store Love

Today Transmission brings you volume seven of our ongoing series on local record stores in Chicago. Click on over and read about a North Side and a South Side shop you've just got to check out.

Photo Swap on December 6

The second Gapers Block/Calumet Photographic Photo Swap is a little more than a week away, so print up five 4"x6" photographs to exchange with other photographers. Of course, there'll be plenty of free food and drinks to accompany the swapping. Details in Slowdown.

Transmission Feature: You Weren't There

For your post-turkey internet surfing pleasure, we have a brand new feature all ready for you over in Transmission. Read about Chicago's historic punk scene, and the documentary taking a deep look at it that will premiere on Saturday at the Portage Theater.

Transmission Feature: Grace-ful Tribute

This week in Transmission, we reminisce about a simpler time when an album by a young singer/songwriter by the name of Jeff Buckley made everything seem a little sweeter. Chicago's Uncommon Ground is the site of this weekend's special 10th Anniversary tribute show to this sadly departed artist, along with the Metro who'll offer a rare second-chance venue for your nostalgia. Read on.

Transmission Contest: Going on a Mission

Who's free Friday night? (For one lucky reader, Mission of Burma, that's who.)

Transmission Feature: Rebis Records

This week in Transmission, we have a profile of another cool Chicago label you should check out: Rebis Records. Read all about this label, and their catalogue of acts, including Number None, Jazzfinger, and My Cat Is An Alien.

Candy Remix

Wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? We've got some ideas for you in Drive-Thru.

Transmission Contest: Pale Gents

Hey, what are you doing Monday? Peek over at Transmission and see.

The 2008 GB Book Club Reading List

We received your suggestions and counted the votes, and now we are ready to unveil the selections for the 2008 Gapers Block Book Club. Just for starters, next year the book club will be having a fire sale, visiting Sprawlburg Springs, getting naked with a contemporary humorist and going off to see the Wizard. Check out the full list at the GB Book Club blog.

Transmission Feature: What an Umbrella Fest!

Tired of being relegated to a few scattered stages around town, one group of talented Chicago jazz heroes took it upon themselves to create Umbrella Music and then the Umbrella Music Festival of Jazz and Improvisation was born. Read about it's second year on the calendar, over in Transmission.

Transmission Feature: Made in China

Over in Transmission, we've got a tale of how one Chicago artist is working hard to bring in some musical imports from China that are definitely good, and good for you.

Get-Together with Us

Members of the GB staff will be hanging out at the Green Eye Lounge tonight after 9pm for our monthly Get-Together. Show up in a Halloween costume and we'll buy you a drink.

Transmission Contest: 4 Bands 4 Free

Over in Transmission, we're running a little contest. Wanna see?

Root for the Home Team

Our very own Naz Hamid is playing Layer Tennis today; go root for him in the forums!

Listen Closely

This week's Transmission feature covers some local music blogs you may not have heard of.

Makin' Sandwiches

Over in Drive-Thru, we're talking about sandwiches. Come on over for a bite.

Fuel Fixed

After some delay, the comments in Fuel are finally fixed. No more forced moderation! And speaking of Fuel, Roderick posted a link to a hilarious sticker on a CTA sign.

Leaving the City

Over in Transmission, Craig talks with Rachel Ries about her new album and the possibility of leaving the city she loves.

Live-blogging "Top Chef"

Hey, if you're watching the finale of Bravo's "Top Chef" tonight, tune in to Drive-Thru too, where Shylo will be live-blogging with plenty of snarky commentary.

Transmission Feature: Rococo Records

Today in Transmission we take a nice, long look at Chicago's independent Rococo Records. They've brought you a rainbow of colors in vinyl from the likes of Les Savy Fav, Velcro Lewis and His 100-Proof Band and KK Rampage. They've also got a thing for penguins, but we won't judge.

Transmission Feature: OFFICE

At Gapers Block: Transmission we're not afraid to embrace music that has nothing to do with shoe-gazing. Read all about Chicago's own indie-pop phenomenon OFFICE, and get ready to have some songs stuck in your head all day long.

A Note of Business

Our text ad service is just shy of sold out into October -- $25 for a week's attention at the top of our pages is a good deal. Click on "more" for an even better deal for our last remaining September slot.

We like to have ads run from Sunday to Saturday, but next week we've got an ad ending on Monday. We'll cut a deal for whoever wants the remaining five days (Sept. 25-29): $15 and it's yours. First to email with their ad (no longer than 100 characters, including spaces) gets it. Sold. But we still have plenty of room in October -- get in there while you can!

Transmission Feature: Record Store Favs #6

Before you start only buying your music at Starbucks, don't forget the noble neighborhood record store is ready and willing to help meet your music needs. This week, in our sixth installment, we bring you an inside look at another one of our favorite Chicago record stores.

Transmission Feature: Rock the Block Party

Heading to the Hideout Block Party this weekend? Still on the fence? Click over to Gapers Block: Transmission to get your party preview on with our guide to the bands hitting Wabansia Ave. Friday and Saturday. (Planning on taking some photos? Load your best into our Transmission Flickr Pool when the weekend's done. Details.)

Labor Day Get-Together

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

Transmission Feature: Ritualistic Review

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

Rearview Submission Change

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

Transmission Ticket Giveaway

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

Hacking the Menu

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

Transmission Feature: Common's Seventh is #1

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

Some Thoughts on a Music Festival

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

Scenes from a Movie Theater

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

Feeling Safe

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

Transmission Feature: Lollapalooza 2007

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

Transmission Feature: Why We Love Chicago Music

Over at Transmission, we've got the imaginary cake smeared all over our faces because we just turned one year old! To celebrate, this week we decided to let you know just why we love the music that Chicago has to offer. Read our staffers' "Top 3 Chicago Music Loves" and then head out and raise a glass with us tonight at the 5 Star Bar, starting around 9:30pm.

Transmission Feature: WLUW

This week over in Transmission, we take an insider's look at the work behind the scenes at community radio station WLUW, which has made the news this week due to its current shaky relationship with Loyola University. Have a read, get involved, and have your say.

Pitchfork Rewind

We're a little tired, a little sunburned, but we've really got some things to say (good and bad) about this past weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival over at Transmission. Bonus: Pictures galore!

Transmission Feature: Pitchfork Picks

If you're an indie music fan in Chicago, chances are you're already well aware that the 3rd Annual Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off Friday night. A click away in Transmission (where we love to share) we've got our picks for great sets to catch and maybe a little of what to expect (or not) from your favorite artists this weekend. [And if you want to make it a 4-day weekend, start it out tonight at Transmission Thursdays at the 5-Star Bar at 9pm. It's good times!]

Photo Swap on July 21

The Gapers Block/Calumet Photographic Photo Swap is just over a week away. Show up with five 4"x6" photographs, hang out, have some food and drinks, and then go home with five photos from other people. Details in Slowdown.

Last Chance for Pitchfork

We're closing entries in our contest for three pairs of three-day passes to the sold-out Pitchfork Music Festival at noon, so get in there now! UPDATE: We have our winners! Congratulations to Elizabeth Monkus, Matt Avery and Bob Atkinson!

Tastes of All Kinds

Over in Drive-Thru, we've got some companion coverage geared toward the Taste of Chicago: Christine Blumer provides tent-to-tent recommendations on the drinks of Taste to go with Tribune reporter Monica Eng's ratings of all the food choices. (No really, she tried them all; it cost $1100.) And David Hammond offers up an alternative Taste of his own -- a guide to eating cuts not usually found on American plates.

Transmission Feature: Flosstradamus

Nothing's going to fix the fact you're probably back at work today, nursing yourself back to some semblance of consciousness, but we might just take the edge off that hurt with our feature over at Transmission. Check out our interview with sensational local electronica duo Flosstradamus.

Pitchfork Ticket Contest!

We've got three pairs of three-day passes to the Pitchfork Music Festival July 13-15, courtesy of Boost Mobile and Schubas, and we're giving them all away! To be entered in the drawing, send an email including your name, address and phone number to by July 9! Good luck!

Transmission Feature: Nihilist Records

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

Transmission Feature: Lesser-Known Labels

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

Transmission Feature: Favorites #5

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

Today's Secret Word Is...

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

Four Stars at the Five Star

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

Transmission Feature: Blues Fest 2007

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

Transmission Feature: Speaker Art

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

We're Four

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

Transmission Feature: Lampo Turns 10

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

Gin and Openings

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

Alt.Media Slam Jam!

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

Transmission Feature: CIP Records

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

Two Weeks Away

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

Transmission Feature: The Narrator

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

Transmission Feature: Internet Radio's Silencing

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

Sports in Five Heats Up

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

Transmission Feature: Some Sea and Cake

Today in Transmission, check out our interview with Chicago's Sam Prekop, frontman of the fabulous Sea and Cake as he dishes about the band and their new album, Everybody. [Also, won't you make some stickers or buttons for us?]

Bikes, Pillows, And Black Rocks

This Friday packs an unusual wallop of good fun: a monthly urban pillowfight (warning: myspace) is planned; Chicago Critical Mass heats up with its April ride, and then end it all with a beer and some friends at the Gapersblock get-together at Black Rock.

Transmission Feature, and a Bonus

Today in Transmission we warm you up with not two, not three, but four reviews of Chicago blues. It's not what you think, however. You may just have to read more to find out (hint hint). Also, today we launch a new semi-regular Transmission blog feature, Bands You Missed detailing the life (and death) of a local band. Check it.

Transmission Feature: Low and Loney, Dear

You could stay inside all day tomorrow and avoid spilling salt, black cats, and walking under ladders. Or you could head out to the Metro and check out Low and Loney, Dear. In the Transmission feature this week, we've given you a whole earful of reasons why these two groups' new albums are worth hearing, and why their live show will be worth the risk of venturing out on Friday the 13th.

You Got Your Indie Rock on My Sticker!....

...You got your button in my hip hop! We've announced details for our first ever Gapers Block: Transmission button and sticker design contest! The nitty gritty details are over here.

Transmission Feature: New Jazz

Today, brace yourself against the wind and get ready for some noteworthy new albums from some big names, new names, and old names in jazz just a click away in Transmission. We've got reviews of new releases from Atavistic, Concord Records, and one self-release by the band themselves. Check them out, and brighten up your day, one note at a time.

Getting You Ready for the Big Weekend

Still haven't figured out what to do for Passover or Easter? Christine Blumer has you covered with this week's Drive-Thru feature.

GB Around Town

Join Gapers Block editor Andrew Huff (me) and contributor Daniel Tucker (also of AREA) as well as people from Optional Events, the New World Resource Center and Polvo, tonight for a talk about event calendars and listservs at A+D Gallery tonight at 6pm; more info in Slowdown. Also, for those with drinkin' on their mind, we'd love to see you at the Black Rock tomorrow night for our monthly GB Get-Together. We'll be in the back room from 9pm on; see you there!

Transmission Feature: Arbouretum

Don't check the spelling, check the rock in our Thursday feature over at Transmission: Baltimore's Arbouretum. (Then check them out at the Empty Bottle tonight!)

Transmission Feature: 5 Reviews for You

Today we've got a fistful of new music by some of the best Chicago (adopted or native) artists around. Click on over to our favorite lil' music page, Transmission, and head on out to your favorite local music store to get in on all the fun between your ears.

Catch Up on Your SXSW Stories

In case you haven't been keeping up, we've now got a handy dandy one-stop link to all of the exclusive, drama-filled SXSW 2007 Tour Diaries from Chicago buzz bands Office and Catfish Haven over at Transmission. Scroll down the Transmission page just past Tape Findings, or just click here to get the dish from Austin, TX.

Reading A Chicago Tavern

This month the Gapers Block Book Club is reading A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream by Rick Kogan. Find out more at the book club blog.

Transmission: A Feature and A Diary

Today at Transmission (where we love to rock), we've got some fresh beats for you. Click over and read the first of many SXSW tour diary entries from Chicago buzzworthy band Office who've just arrived in Austin, Texas for some serious rockin' (keep your eye on the blog for more entries as the week goes on). Also, it's Thursday, so you know we've got a fresh feature for you. This week, it's an insightful interview with local spinner DJ Major Taylor. Click, dance, click!

GB Book Club Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder that the Gapers Block Book Club is meeting tonight at The Book Cellar at 7:30pm to discuss The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. Hope to see some of you there! Check out the book club blog to find out what else we're reading this year.

Transmission Feature: Record Stores #4

Hello, sunshine! How's it going? Want to check out some record stores that may not be on your beaten path? Head on over to Transmission (where we love music) to read about George's Music Room and Permanent Records, two of our latest reviewed Chicagoland record stores.

Last Chance to Win!

Hey! We're closing our reader survey tonight, so if you haven't told us a little about yourself, please take a minute to do so. You could win a $50 gift certificate to Threadless, who's having another $10 sale right now. (Or it could be for somewhere else if t-shirts aren't your thing.) It's anonymous except for your email, and if you're not interested in winning, even that's optional. UPDATE: Survey closed! Thanks for participating!

Help Us Get to Know You

(This is mainly for the benefit of our RSS readers.) Gapers Block is currently doing a demographic survey of our readership. Please help us out by spending a couple minutes filling it out. Thanks!

Quick, Book a Flight

Are you headed to SXSW? Or are you a big enough fan of the Metro and Chicago music to fly to Austin for a great concert? Then we've got a contest over in Transmission that's just for you.

What We're Reading

A Nobel Prize winner, a presidential hopeful, one of Chicago's most celebrated journalists, a graphic novelist and a late science-fiction writer whose works have been adapted for several major Hollywood films. What do all these people have in common? They are all authors of our upcoming books in the Gapers Block Book Club. Can you guess who they are? Visit the book club blog to see our new 2007 booklist.

Transmission Contest: See and Hear

We're doing a little DVD giveaway over in Transmission. Wanna win?

Transmission Feature: Chicago Classics

Today's Thursday feature in Transmission (our music-obsessed side) takes a gander at two CD/DVD combo releases from Chicago blues and jazz label Delmark. Legend Jimmy Burns gets the fire stoked hot at B.L.U.E.S. while the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble grooves out in their loft with some rather interesting production details. Keep a sharp eye out today in Transmission and you might just have some new music to hear (and watch) for free.

Reading Now: The Hummingbird's Daughter

This month the Gapers Block Book Club is reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. It is the fictionalized biography of Teresita, a healer who lived in late 19th century Mexico who many people declared a saint. She was also Urrea's real-life great-aunt. Read more about the book at the book club blog, then join us next month to talk about it at The Book Cellar.

Transmission Feature: Bobby Conn

Today in Transmission, besides the best Chicago music news and events coverage, we've got a review of Chicago's own wild entertainer Bobby Conn's latest album King for a Day. Make sure you keep an eye over there today for your chance to get a little somfin' somfin' from your buddies here at Gapers Block.

Drive-Thru Now Open

We're pleased to announce the launch of Gapers Block's newest section, Drive-Thru, devoted to the city's vibrant food scene. We'll be covering everything from restaurants and bars to businesses like Kraft and McDonald's to recipes to where to find some random ingredient. Oh, and foodporn, lots of foodporn. Be sure to check out this week's Detour feature, too, by one of the Drive-Thru contributors.

If that weren't enough, we've also redesigned the Gapers Block Book Club page, which has been quietly morphing into a blog on the Chicago literary scene.

Transmission Feature: Love for Vinyl

A week of sub-zero temps got you stir crazy yet? Check out this week's Transmission feature on two more of our favorite local record stores for some inspiration to get out from under the covers and get outside.

Tune Your TiVo to 11

Tonight's episode of "Chicago Tonight" will feature Chicagoist's Rachelle Bowden, CTA Tattler's Kevin O'Neil and Gapers Block's own, uh, me talking with Phil Ponce about news blogs. I can't promise it'll be riveting television, but tune in between 7 and 8pm tonight anyway.


Free stuff to be had over in Transmission.

Transmission Feature: Eternals and Skybox

Start your February off with a dose of Transmission! Today's feature's got not one, but two Chicago bands you should check out as soon as possible, The Eternals and Skybox. (And if you keep a sharp eye out today, we might just be able to hook you up.)

GB and You, Tonight, Black Rock, Be There!

In case you missed it, emblazoned across the top there, we're having our monthly get together this evening at the Black Rock (Addison and Damen) from 9PM onwards. We'll be likely in the back area enjoying a pint or two along with some fried mac n' cheese. Hope to see ya there!

Site Updates & New Features

Pardon our dust: we're making some small changes and rolling out some new features this week. First off, we've added an easier way for you to get to our blogs, Transmission and Book Club (and soon Drive Thru, our food blog!) You may need to refresh your browser to get it to show up correctly.

Second, we're proud to announce our new job board, part of the Chicago Job Board Network with, the Illinois IT Association and Chicagoist. Listings are free for the next 30 days, so be sure to try it out!

Help Found

A quick note to those who've contacted us wanting to join the GB staff: We're working our way through the many, many submissions, and will be getting in touch with everyone very soon. (If you think you've got what it takes to contribute but have been hesitating to apply, you've still got a little time! Details here.)

Transmission Feature: The Unheard Music

Your favorite place for Chicago music, Gapers Block: Transmission, gives you the lowdown on the best of Chicago's Atavistic music label's Unheard Music Series today. Tune it in!

Transmission Contest: Free plus plus

Who wants to groove out for free on Friday? Check Transmission for your chance.

Your Bloggy News Fix

Chicago Magazine did a profile of several of the city's newsblog type things, including GB, Chicagoist, Metroblogging, The Beachwood Reporter and CTA Tattler. Fun to see your favorite editors in pixel form!

Now Hiring

Yep, Gapers Block is looking for a few new staff members; details here. Also, you might want to check out Transmission, our music blog, which just got a major facelift.

Transmission Feature: So and So's

Transmission (our lil' local music blog) has all the details on the Indie Indy band Margot and the Nuclear So and So's who take the stage at Schubas tonight as a part of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival.

Slots in 2007

It's a brand new year and you've got a brand new (or existing) service, product or something to shout about. We've got the space for you to be seen. Slots are open for our Text Ads.

Annual Bloggies Plea

It's Bloggies nomination time again -- take a moment or two and nominate your favorite blogs! (May we suggest Gapers Block as a fine nominee for best topical blog and best group blog?)

Transmission Feature: A Look Back Over Our Shoulders

Over at our sweet lil' Chicago music blog, Transmission, we've got our best musical memories from 2006 laid out for you. Enjoy the nostalgia as we look forward to another great year in Chicago music, just around the corner.

Away in a Manger

Posting will be light(er) here on Merge for the next few days, as most of the staff is scattered to the winds, visiting family and friends. Hope you have a very happy holiday!

Transmission Contest: Who's a VIP?

The short answer is: you. The long answer is: whoever follows the steps over at Transmission.

Transmission Feature: Chicago Roots

It's not hard to think that Chicago's musical past is still very much actively influencing bands today, but the Chicago History Museum has made it much easier to explore that history in a new exhibit, "Chicago Roots Music." Check out the Transmission feature today to learn more about how everything from the pulpit to the street corner has influenced our local sound.

Transmission Contest: Utah Carol redux

pssst! Look over at Transmission. (In fact, you may want to keep checking all week long.)

Transmission Feature: Give This

The crunch is on for holiday gift giving, and what better to give to your Chicago music lover than Chicago music that they'll love? Check out the Transmission staff's picks for musical gifts for nearly every situation. Got a baby mama, a dub lover, a live music rocker or a Chicago noob on your list? We've got you covered.

Scrum Over Scrabble

Hey, just a reminder that GB staffers will be getting together at the Black Rock this Friday for the holiday edition of our monthly Get-Together. Now that we know that the bar exists solely to support a rugby team, we'll be putting together a quick scrimmage in the back room. Join us!

Transmission Feature: Chicago mp3 blogs

It's way too cold to leave the comfort of your computer today, so click over to Transmission to read about our favorite Chicago mp3 blogs. There's a plea for dancing, a tasty mountain, a love of jam (bands), cake, polka, sunsets, cover songs and links to lots of music you'll want to hear before everyone else does.

Local Product, Small Business, Xmas Season?

If you have any of the above, perhaps you might want to advertise here on GB on our new-ish Text Ads. We've got spots open for December, so why not get the word out about your goods or services, just in time for the holiday season?

Transmission Contest: For a Lucky Baker's Dozen

Check out our local music blog Transmission for your chance at a free pack of autographed CDs, (plus more!) from our featured band, Utah Carol!

Transmission Feature: Utah Carol

A "Utah Carol" is: A: The nickname for a gal from one of the western states. B: A song about a cowboy who dies in a stampede. C: A snappy singer-songwriter duo that you're not listening to (yet). D: All of the above. Get the answer now in Transmission's Thursday feature.

A Few Open Spots

Need high visibility, a great audience, intelligent readers and the kind of people you like to flock to your show/product/service? Well, we have just a few spots open in the upcoming week on our new Text Ads system. Come get one!

Transmission Feature: 5 for Review

Today, get a quintuple dose of music news you can use at Transmission. Two writers tackle five of the best new jazz and blues releases from two solid Chicago music labels. What longtime, now lost, South Side bar was the home to one of the best blues recordings? What prolific local jazz saxophonist is still churning out winners at an amazing rate? Check it out at your stop for Chicago music, Transmission.

Claim Your Spot

We're full up this week but in the next two weeks (and beyond), we have spots open in our new Text Ads calendar. Text ads? Yep, those, right up top there, on every page on the site.

Transmission Feature: Joe Pernice

Today on Transmission, and tonight at Schubas, check out Joe Pernice and his band, the Pernice Brothers. Plus, time to get something for nothing, just check Transmission for details.

New On GB

There's a new feature in Slowdown: We've teamed up with local startup Planypus to allow you to quickly and easily make plans with friends to go to any event on our calendar. It's sort of a mix of Upcoming and Evite; we hope you like it. Also, we've launched text ads -- see the top of the page? -- as an affordable way to advertise concerts, plays, shops, etc. Learn more here.

Transmission: Found Tapes

Lovers of cassettes, divers of dumpsters, lend us your ears! Starting today, and running every few weeks on Mondays, the Transmission blog will feature tapes found in and around Chicago by RJ Porter. Check out the inaugural Transmission blog's Found Tapes feature right now. (Got a cool tape to share? email us at transmission {at} gapersblock {dot} com.)

Transmission Feature: Record Stores 2

Which Chicago record stores do we love? Where can you buy records at 2a.m.? What store installed a drive-up window? More importantly, which one thinks they have the best looking employees? Read this week's feature in Transmission to find out.

Transmission Feature: Xiu Xiu

Read all about Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu's YouTube confessions, the group's "nothing is off-limits" approach to art, and how Weezer influenced their experimental rock in today's Transmission feature.

Transmission Feature: The Changes

Over at Transmission, our Thursday feature profiles young up-and-coming Chicago band The Changes. Learn about how they got not one, but two indie labels to represent them, their love of Color Me Badd and about their comparisons to The Beatles.

Transmission Feature: Lily Allen

Don't know the difference between what's Chav and what's Grime? Get schooled about it in this week's Transmission feature which is hot, now!

Transmission Feature: Bloodshot at 10

This week's Transmission feature takes a critical look at Chicago record label Bloodshot's 10th Anniversary DVD, due out on Tuesday. Check out our exclusive clip of one of the DVD's featured performances!

Transmission Contest: Branches and the Beat

Over at Transmision, we've got a lil' contest going. Who wants some free tickets and a CD?

Transmission Feature: Record Store Favorites

The Thursday feature in Transmission is just the beginning of our new monthly series of Chicago record store reviews. Check out our staff picks for some of the best local places to buy music. This week: Gramaphone Records and Laurie's Planet of Sound.

Tales of an Axman

One of the most popular figures from Fuel now has his own column in which to tell his sad story: Tales of Blagg the Axman makes its debut in Airbags today, where it will appear every other Saturday. He's asked that interested parties send him questions from which to draw inspiration -- his email's at the end of the column.

Transmission Contest: Bound Stems

Wanna hear our featured artist tonight for free? Someone's getting lucky. Details in Transmission.

Transmisssion Feature: Bound Stems

Gapers Block: Transmission has your local music fix. This week we interviewed Chicago's Bound Stems and talked all about how this great city has influenced their music on their very first full-length album, out now.

Transmission Feature: Smog Veil Records

Click over to the Gapers Block: Transmission page for our Thursday feature on Chicago's Smog Veil Records. Read about Ohio's punk roots transplanted, their green dream and a man named THOR.

At Transmission: What a Deal

Wanna see a great show at a cheap price tonight? Head on over to Transmission for the skinny.

Transmission Feature: Time to Hideout

Already got your tickets to the Hideout Block Party this weekend? Still wavering? If you need a lil' push, or just an idea of how to spend your time, read up on some of our highlights for the weekend's entertainment over at Transmission.

Transmission Feature: Talking Girl Talk

Hey, it's Thursday, which means a brand new feature over at our music blog, Transmission. Check it out!

Play Date on Friday

Just a reminder (and a heads up for our RSS readers): The next GB Get-Together is this Friday at Black Rock, and we're breaking out the boardgames at the suggestion of someone in last week's Fuel thread. Details in Slowdown.

Hockey in Five?

Anybody out there a hockey fan? Gapers Block is looking for a columnist to write Blackhawks (and possibly Wolves) in Five for our popular Sports in Five column. Email your application with a couple sample items to


Check out what's going on at Gapers Block: Transmission for a chance at free stuff!

Feed Me

Hey, you know we have RSS feeds for every section of Gapers Block, right? And as of today, "every" includes the Book Club and Transmission. Go sign up!

"How Hot Is It?"

It's so hot that our web host (which is in California, actually) had a generator catch on fire on Friday and a server meltdown on Monday. Sorry for the downtime; Gapers Block should be now back to its usual reliable self.

A Transmission from GB

Hopefully, it's music to your ears — Gapers Block is proud to relaunch our local music coverage in the form of Transmission, now with a shiny new home. There, you'll find plenty of music-oriented features, news items, previews, reviews and the head's up on what will be your new favorite band. This week: we give you our favorites to check out at Pitchfork Music Festival along with lots of other good stuff going on around town. Got a band/album/kazoo parade you'd like for us to know about? Send a note to transmission (at) gapersblock (dot) com.

August Book Club Intro

April Sinclair's Coffee Will Make You Black is the August selection for the GB Book Club and you can now read the introduction over at the the Book Club's homepage. Pick up the book and stop by the Book Cellar on Monday, August 14 -- we'd love to hear your thoughts! (If you can't make it to the meeting, don't forget that you can still join in the discussion by posting your comments and opinions in the forum.)

A Happy Get-Together

If you're not doing anything tonight, perhaps you'd consider joining a few GB staffers at our monthly Get-Together? We'll be at Happy Village from 9pm on -- look for us out back.

World Cup in Five

The US is out of the World Cup running, and our Fire in Five columnist is back stateside with some reflections on the national team and its surprisingly vocal fans. Read about it in Sports in Five.

The New Book Club Homepage

The Gapers Block Book Club has a new permanent home on the GB website. Now you can find out what we're currently reading and see all the latest book club news in one place. Plus, the new book club homepage also features a new weblog dedicated to the local literary scene, which will include news, events, reviews, profiles and more. So, go visit the new home of the GB Book Club and check back often.

Making Media Connections

The Community Media Workshop here in Chicago is holding a conference tomorrow and Thursday called "Making Media Connections". As they put it: "Join community leaders, nonprofit communicators and board members, mainstream and independent journalists, publishers, media experts and the general public to discuss getting our communities' important stories told." GB staffer and ChicagoBloggers curator, Brian Sobolak and myself will be joining Steve Rhodes of The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday from 1:45-245pm on Thursday, the only day left for registration at the door. We'll be discussing "Emerging Online News Outlets" but there are plenty of other events and discussions going on to pique your interest.

Mr. & Mrs. Huffencooper

It seems our own Andrew Huff and Cinnamon Cooper got themselves hitched down in New Orleans yesterday. How awesome is that?!

Two Great Tastes...

Our third anniversary is also the perfect time to announce our partnership with Chicago Public Radio's "848" news magazine. GB's Slowdown calendar is now available on the show's website. As they put it, "Slowdown is one of the best online resources for local events. Eight Forty-Eight has established itself as the preeminent radio program for all the details behind those events. Bringing the two sources together offers Chicagoans one stop for all the juicy details of the area's happenings." We couldn't agree more.

We're Three

This is approximately the 6,000th post to Merge, which puts our average at about 2,000 a year. That's right, Gapers Block is three years old, and in case you've missed the big banner at the top of the page, we're having a party tonight at the Hideout. In addition to some readings by staffers and some sappy speech from me, local favorites Canasta will perform, and so will Yooper Sycamore Smith, who was profiled in an excerpt from The Third Coast a couple months ago. We've also got short films by Steve Delahoyde and some exciting contests, so it'll be well worth your time. Stop by anytime after 9; we'll be glad to see you.

Sounds of the City

Chicago Public Radio's website now features "Chicago Amplified," a service that provides audio material from a variety of partner organizations, like the Illinois Humanities Council, the Field Museum and the Community Media Council. Stream or download usual suspects like Studs Terkel and Ira Glass, as well as more esoteric fare like authors on Auschwitz or the Underground Railroad. (Also new on the site, GB's Slowdown keeps Eight Forty-Eight listeners busy.)

The GB 3rd Anniversary Shindig

We've just announced our 3rd Anniversary Party, which will take place once again at The Hideout on Friday, May 26th. We've packed in more entertainment and bang for your buck and we guarantee a good, if not blatantly drunk time. Our sexy posters this year were designed by the brilliant Laura Park and we're pleased as punch. A limited quantity are available for pre-sale in the shop, but they'll be available at the party as well, alongside some other schwag to get your hands on. Come celebrate with us!

Have a Beer with Us

Does the current Fuel question have you thirsty? Quench it tonight by joining GB staffers at Chief O'Neill's after 9pm for our monthly Get-Together. Details in Slowdown; since it's supposed to be pretty cold tonight, we'll be inside instead of on their patio.

Redesign Ahoy!

Welcome to the redesigned Gapers Block! You may need to clear your browser cache in order to see it in its full glory. And those of you reading our feeds should come to the site and get the new and improved feeds. More details about what's changed and what's on the way in Detour, where you can also give us feedback and report any bugs. Thanks!

Party Tonight, Feel Foolish Tomorrow

Some Gapers Block staffers will be hanging out at the Black Beetle tonight after 9pm for our monthly GB Get-Together. Come join us! Oh, and just because it's on a Saturday doesn't mean April Fools won't be observed. Hint, hint.

We've Got Tickets for You

Hey, how'd you like to see the Guillemots at Schubas this Sunday for free, courtesy of Vice Records? We've got a pair of guest list spots reserved for the first person to email telling us what a guillemot is and a link to a photo of one. UPDATE: It pays to get up early sometimes. Reader Serandip wins!

Sports Ahoy!

It a big season for sports: the Cubs and Sox are in Spring training, March Madness is on the verge, and the Bulls... well, at least we have baseball to look forward to. Read all about it in this week's gigantic Sports in Five.

GB Gettin' Together

Our monthly GB Get Together goes down tonight at The Gingerman (next to the Metro). We'll be in the back. 9PM onwards — more details and such.

Call for submissions (all the cool bands are doin' it!)

Say you have a local band just cravin' some publicity and you need it fast. Fear no further, fellow musical-types; Gapers Block is here to help. "How so" you ask? We, the editors of Transmission, our weekly feature where we put a local band on pedestal for a week, are seeking submissions. If you have a friend of a friend who knows this guy who has a rockin' band, an alt-country band, an accoustic/jazz/fusion/death-metal band, or any musical act for that matter, email us with the info. If your band desires to be featured, let us know. We'll give you the details, toot suite. Support the Chicago-area music scene!

Augie's City

History and literary buffs alike may be interested in this week's Detour feature, in which GB staffers Brian and Alice visit the modern-day sites of many of the locations mentioned in The Adventures of Augie March. Not coincidentally, tonight is the monthly meeting of the Gapers Block Book Club, where Augie March will be discussed.

Ten is a Magic Number

You've seen ours; now give us yours.

Get It Together

If you're not already stuck at a holiday party (or two or three) tonight, come meet members of the Gapers Block staff at Trader Vic's tonight at 9pm. $5 mai tais! Look for the guy in the fez.

The Girls' Guide to Reading and Writing

A friendly reminder that our own Anne Holub will be moderating a panel discussion on the Chick Lit phenomenon tonight at Women & Children First. She'll be joined by an academic and an author, a blogger and a bookseller. All the details are here; as for the the most important among them: the event is free and starts at 7:30pm.

"I Promise I Will Try"

Much love and many congratulations to GB staffers Shylo Bisnett and Brian Sobolak who tied the knot last night in an unforgettable prom-themed wedding (this Gapers group shot gives you an idea of the highschool-style hijinks -- not too mention "Under the Sea" decor). Mazel tov!

Movin' the Get Together, but not far

While we've announced that this month's GB get Together was to be at The Hopleaf, space restrictions and private events have made that a no-go. We're moving just up the street a block or two to Charlie's Ale House. Same time, same neighbourhood, different bar.

A Few Good Bands

With our newest section, Transmission, we've been showcasing local musical artists and we're taking submissions. If you'd like to be considered, take a look at the section and send in some info to me at nh [at] gapersblock [dot] com.


Thanks to all who joined us at Inner Town Pub on Friday for our monthly Get-Together. It was a great time, despite the crowd and the fact that, contrary to our listing, Inner Town has no beer garden. The staffer who told us this (why did we believe him?) has been flogged -- he was mistaking Inner Town for Happy Village a block away, which does have an outdoor area.

Apparently, after we left around midnight, a flood of people showed up under the impression that there was a beer garden to be had, leading to occupancy issues and Inner Town was closed early by police. Sorry!

Get it together: August

And if you like beer gardens, low-key bars in popular neighbourhoods and hanging out with people who make websites and other good things in their time, well, the Gapers Block Get Together tonight might be right up your alley. At the Inner Town Pub, 9PM onwards.

Help Wanted

Gapers Block is looking to bring some new staffers on board. Think you have what it takes? Get the details.

We're looking for people with unique perspectives on Chicago who are interested in highlighting cool stuff going on in the city. If you've read the site for very long, you kind of know what we're talking about. We're particularly interested in contributors who live on the South and West Sides -- which, for our purposes, includes Wicker Park and Bucktown. (If you live on the North Side, though, that's cool, too.)

Staffers are expected to post a minimum of eight items a month to Merge (the blog) and/or Slowdown (the calendar). That works out to two posts a week, which ought to be pretty doable.

Interested? Email us at with some background on you (name, a site if you have one, why you want to be on staff) and a couple sample posts.

We are not looking for more columnists at this time, but if you have an idea for a feature article, email Andrew at

Thanks! Best of the Web: GB! just released their Best of the Web Directory and we've been fortunate enough to make it to their City Blogs list. Cheers all round!

Transmission: Greg Davis

"This is the sound of ghosts...The record annihilates the senses. Davis has made a completely engrossing book of echoes...and to see it in person must be a challenging and fresh experience." Experimental artist Greg Davis is featured in this week's Transmission, brought to you by the music lovers at Pixies Discs. And, yes, the MP3 is supposed to sound that way.

Huff on the make

If you can't get enough GB, you might be interested to know that Editor-In-Chief Andrew Huff is guest blogging for Coudal Partners this month. Expect things you won't see here over there. And, if that's not enough, Andrew's personal site, Me3dia has been redesigned by ahem, me.

Gapers Block & Chicagoist on Late Night Late Show

We know you've got a lot going on this weekend, but maybe you can add this to your list: Gapers Block editor Andrew Huff (me) will be a guest on ImprovOlympic's "Late Night Late Show" Saturday night at midnight, along with Rachelle Bowden from Chicagoist. We're supposedly talking about weblogs, but seeing as it's an improv talk show, chances are it'll be a bit wacky. Tickets are $5; for reservations, call the box office at 773-880-0199.

Fixie (and me) on the radio

A while ago, I was interviewed for a radio piece about fixed gear bikes for Studio 360, a WNYC/Public Radio show that gets aired everywhere across the nation in cities except Chicago. Funny since it was produced here. Fortunately, there's online radio and while thousands across the nation will hear me wax poetic about bikes, we in Chicago can listen online (lower right, Design for the Real World).

Radio, Live Transmission

We started Transmission a couple months ago now, and it's been going great. Thanks to the fine folks at Pixies Discs and Jewelboxing, we've been able to bring you new and exclusive music from artists like The Changes, Dolorous Canter, Warmdesk, Alicia Frantz, Mass Shivers, Atomly, and Zelienople. This week, we're happy to feature Chicago's very own Kate Simko. If you wanna see your music on GB, we'll surely give it a listen — simply email us at transmission at gapersblock dot com with a link and some words about why you should be included. Rock on.

Getting together today

For a change of pace and with so many things happening on the weekends this summer, we're trying something new with the GB Get-Togethers. To try to rouse up some mid-week relief and escape the post-work drudgery or vegging out on the couch with some AC, we're doing these on the last Tuesday of every month. And today's the first one. We're starting earlier, too -- 7pm -- so come out to Green Eye Lounge (right below the Western Blue Line stop) and have a drink with us. See ya later.

Huff on 848

If you're interested, you can listen to me babble on Chicago Public Radio's Eight Forty-Eight news magazine this morning. I'll be part of the panel discussing the month in review, which runs between 9:35am and 10am. Listen online (RAM) or at 91.5 FM.

GB Flickr Pool update

The Gapers Block Flickr Group has been in a really good swing lately. Lots of great Chicago stuff in there which plays well with Rearview here on the site. To make it easier for those of you considering or are submitting images for Rearview and who use Flickr, what you can do now is submit an image to the GB group and tag it with the additional "gbrearview" tag so we can use it.

Oh, the newer feeds

Christian wrote in to tell us our feeds are sort of wonky. They're not really — when we upgraded Movable Type, the feeds changed into several formats depending on which flavor you prefer. Before the upgrade we had made some custom changes to the old feeds which are no longer necessary with the upgrade. The best two you can use are the Atom feed or the RSS 1.0 feed for that full on flavor, in case you were using the lacking RSS 2.0 feed.

Visitation and Funeral Arrangements for Alicia Frantz

There will be a visitation on Tuesday night from 5-8 pm at Michalik Funeral Home located at 1056 W. Chicago. The funeral will begin Wednesday at 11am. Donations to the Alicia Frantz Memorial Fund will be accepted. More information will be posted on Alicia's website. A memorial bike ride is in the works and there is a collective desire to see the stretch of road near the Kennedy expressway improved. Eric Zorn begins a nice online memorial to her. Rodan was packed last night and it was good to see so many of Alicia's friends getting together. Gapers Block would like to thank the wonderful owners and staff of Rodan for opening up the space to Alicia's friends.

Now, in the shop: new buttons

The new buttons we mentioned earlier are now available in the shop. Complete your collection!

Alicia, Rest In Peace

A dear friend of the Gapers Block staff, Alicia Frantz died Friday morning when she fell off her bike on Division Street and was run over by a truck. Words can't express the loss we feel. Our thoughts are with her family and friends; she'll be sorely missed. Funeral and memorial arrangements will be posted here and on Alicia's website. Addendum: A memorial benefit and fundraiser will be held this Sunday, the 5th at Rodan all evening.

Get In the Party Line

The Futureheads will be playing an accoustic set at the Hard Rock Hotel bar before their show at the Metro June 10, and there are only two ways to get tickets: stop by one of the Swatch stores at Old Orchard, Oakbrook or North Bridge malls, or sign up for the Party Line, Gapers Block's weekly email newsletter. We'll be raffling off a pair of tickets -- along with a GB t-shirt -- to someone on the mailing list Wednesday night. Sponsored by the Swatch Paparazzi.

Button Contest Winners!

Those of you who missed the party on Friday missed the announcement of the winning designs from our Button Contest. Yes, that's right, designs -- two buttons were so popular among the staff that we went with both. Congratulations to Anthony Lewellen and Andy Matznick, who each won a $20 gift certificate to Reckless Records and 10 copies of their button designs. And thanks to all who entered, who will each receive a button set as consolation. The new buttons will be available in the shop soon, and you can see the designs by clicking on

Anthony Lewellen

Andy Matznick

Transmission Putters Along

New music from local electronic musician Atomly is up as this week's Transmission feature. Have a listen and, if you like, come hear him perform this Friday night at the GB 2-year Anniversary Party, taking place at the Hideout. Should be a good time, but only if you like to have fun. If not, well, you're outta luck.

Button Contest Deadline Looms!

Just two more days to get your design in for the Gapers Block Button Contest! Fame, honor and a $20 gift certificate to Reckless could be yours!

Transmission Launches

After a few months of preparation, and some communal laziness, we're proud to announce a new addition to the site! Entitled Transmission, this weekly MP3 blog is dedicated to exploring the music of up-and-coming Chicago artists. Sponsored by our good friends at Jewelboxing, this week features local favorites Zelienople. So, take a look under Slowdown, and come back every Tuesday for more free music.

Designers, Start Your Button Designing Engines!

See that ad just above this post? We're having a design contest for a new GB button! Go here to read the full details, and get your design in by next Friday, May 13, for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Reckless Records! The winning button design will debut at our 2nd Anniversary party on May 20 at The Hideout.

Hangin' with the Block

It's the last week of the month, which means it's once again time for the GB Get-Together. This Friday, meet us over at the Ginger Man Tavern, 3740 N. Clark (next to the Metro), from 9pm till midnight or so for some drinks and probably a little pool.

April GB Photo Roundup

So, you missed out on the inaugural installment of the Gapers Block Book Club? Didn't make it to the art and design edition of Influence? What about the last GB get-together? Well, lucky for you and thanks to Flickr, we now have a place to put photos from those events. Got a good GB-related photo to share? Send it our way: inbox at gapersblock dot com. That is, unless I'm in it.

Help for Naz

You may have noticed the initials NH missing from Gapers Block this week. Naz Hamid, our creative director, was in a bad bicycle accident on Sunday, and spent a couple days in the hospital -- click "more" for the details. Naz is uninsured, so we're collecting donations to help him with his considerable hospital bill. If you're interested in contributing, please PayPal money to workweightshiftnet. Thanks.

Naz was participating in a bike scavenger hunt on Sunday, during which he had to cross one of the steel bridges downtown. His front tire got caught in a rut and he went over the handlebars. He's lost a tooth and broke another, suffered a big gash above his right eye, and had bruising and blood on his brain from the impact. He also badly sprained his left hand. Three CAT scans and four x-rays later, he's home recouperating. Feel free to email him at nhgapersblockcom.

CTA Map 2055 on 848

In case you missed it yesterday, the audio of Craig Berman's interview (RAM) on Eight Forty-Eight about his CTA Map for 2055 is now posted online, along with a related interview (RAM) with CTA board chair Carole Browne the service reduction options facing the agency.

2055 on 848

Tune your radio to WBEZ (91.5 FM) tomorrow morning around 9:50-ish am and catch GB contributor Craig Berman on Eight Forty-Eight discussing his CTA Map for 2055, which appeared in Detour last week.

GB Book Club Launches

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Gapers Block Book Club, run by our resident librarian, Alice Maggio. Our first book is Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno, which will be discussed at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square on April 11. Read today's Ask the Librarian for more details.

GB T-shirts, now cheaper

Because we'd like to fund some upcoming projects and the bigger and better than ever annual Gapers Block party, we've dropped t-shirt prices to a scant $12 inclusive of shipping! You deserve one, so snap one up.

Begin Transmission

Are you a local musician? Do you enjoy sharing your work online? Gapers Block is launching a new section — entitled Transmission — to highlight up-and-coming Chicago talent. Every week, we'll feature an mp3 from an artist, band or label along with some background info and a link to their website. All you have to do is contact us at with a link to your stuff and some words about the music. If we like what we hear, we'll post the track for a week under a CC Music Sharing License. So, go on, get in touch!

Photos of a Get-Together

Due to a scheduling snafu, Hopleaf's upstairs bar was reserved for a Cheetah Gym party, so the GB Get-Together ended up next door at Konak. We put up signs, but we apologize if you came out and didn't find us. We did take some photos, visible here on our new GB Flickr account.

Photos and Drinks

Today's Detour is an exhibition of photos by frequent Rearview contributor Archie FlorCruz. It's the first of what will be a monthly "gallery show" for a featured artist, and you'll be able to buy prints of the exhibited works.

And speaking of purchasing, we'll have GB t-shirts available for just $15 at the GB Get-Together tonight at 9pm at Hopleaf. Come on down and have a drink with us!

2005 Bloggies!

If you really loved us, you'd nominate us for a Bloggie. :)

Any one (or more) of them will do, but for maximum effect, may we suggest Best American Weblog, Best Photography of a Weblog (Rearview), Best Non-weblog Content of a Weblog Site, Best Topical Weblog, Best Group Weblog, Best Designed Weblog, Best-kept Secret Weblog and, of course, Weblog of the Year. Yes, you can nominate us in more than one category.

A t-shirt deal of sorts

If you come to tonight's get together, not only would you get some free stickers, or a button, but you could purchase a t-shirt (limited quantities on hand of course) for $15 in person. Save $3 bucks! Otherwise, see you there, drink in hand.

Oh those t-shirts!

A big thanks to the first few people who've bought the new sexy GB T-shirts, we hope you enjoy getting comfortable in them and the vast accolades of how sexy you look that will soon come your way. We'd also like to thank the people who wrote in and noted a few ordering snafus — we've now made it easier to order the shirts by placing a drop down so you can select your size right there and then! So go ahead — maybe someone you know would like their stocking stuffed with one of these, Christmas is just around the corner...

Chicago to Los Angeles

You'll notice something different over there in Airbags on the right: a new column, "Chicago to LA." Sean U'Ren, one of the masterminds behind the Fast Forward Film Festival, has moved to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into the film industry, and will be writing an occasional column for Gapers Block relaying his experiences. The first installment is titled "How Am I Driving?"

"...any color so long as it's black!"

If you haven't noticed by the rather large ads popping up in the middle column over there, we finally got our t-shirts in. They look great, come in a variety of styles and sizes for women, men and everyone. Get yours today in the GB Shop (where we also have buttons, posters and free stickers!) Update: We apologize to those who've been trying to order shirts - our PayPal woes are now fixed!

GB Mail List, back in full effect

Many of you may have woken up to an email asking you to confirm your subscription to "The Party Line" our weekly mail list written by Brian (you really should subscribe, it's hilarious and poignant). When we moved servers a few weeks ago, we also decided to use a much better, faster, stronger mailing list system, and thus, you've all been asked to confirm your susbscriptions due to strict anti-spam policies. The Party Line is back this week and a glorious email will be sent out this evening.

Stop By Saturday

You were planning on checking out the DIY Trunkshow tomorrow, right? If you do, come see us -- we'll be in the "Cafe Room" upstairs, and we'll have the brand-new GB t-shirts for sale, along with the various other goodies currently for sale in the shop. See you then!

New Server, Slight Wonkiness

Hi everybody, welcome to our new abode! We switched servers over the weekend, and almost everything is back to normal, but there are a couple things still a bit wonky. Let us know if you find any bugs: email us at Thanks.


If you've ordered a button or poster from us in the past week or so, it's likely we didn't hear about it: PayPal has been having problems with its system(!) and is working on a fix. In the meantime, if you can't wait, just email us at inbox@ and we'll see what we can work out. (PS: We're almost done with our t-shirts! Yay!)

GB on LJ

Did You Know: If you've got a LiveJournal, you can syndicate Gapers Block's Merge section(the thing you're reading right now) by adding us to your friends list.

The Party Line

We're just about to send out the first GB mailing list digest, "The Party Line." By the time you read this, it may be too late to get this week's inaugural issue but you can always sign up here. Brian's done a swell job in crafting good times in your inbox so go ahead, drop your e-mail in there will ya?

On a related note, we've added the ability for you to remove yourself from the list at any time, you know in case you ever get bored of The Party Line. But we think you won't.

An earlier get together

You may or may not have noticed that we're holding our monthly get together early this month — it's happening this Friday instead of next and we're at Hopleaf this month, a bar/restaurant of fine and epic proportions. It'll also be an hour later than the usual 8PM. The festivities start at 9PM, perfect for you to get some grub and then come get nice and drunk with us where we'll tell you all our secrets. Maybe.

Fun in your inbox, Car Seat

It's finally here: The GB Mailing List is now up and running. Each week, Brian Sobolak (BS) will craft an email of scandalous, interesting and unique news and events, plus a preview of what's to come in Airbags. While we know what it's like to be inundated with email, we think this'll be a good one. It goes out Thursdays and rounds out the week that has been and will be. So go ahead, drop in that email address.

Also new this week is our Sunday column, Car Seat, written by returning GB alumna Alejandra Valera. Aimed at new parents, Car Seat will tell you the places to go and things to do with your newly expanded family.

A round of thanks

Deeply appreciated thanks to Eamon Daly and Jason Fried for their recent donations (you can donate too!) and many thanks to all of those who've bought lots of buttons, a poster or two and sent for their free stickers! All in the shop, folks.

Get your shop on

After, like, forever, the GB Shop is now open for business. We have buttons and posters for sale. We have stickers too and best of all those are free with a self addressed stamped envelope. We've also got t-shirts on the way and another nifty little thing which will be unnamed at this point, but suffice to say, it's pretty darn cool. So whatcha waiting for?

It's alive! But I'm dead. Tired.

We've worked all through the night (the site just went live one minute ago at 7:12am) and are in need of some sleep, delirious does not look good on me. However, we hope you like the new digs and take the time to explore around the site. There are a few unfinished sections that will go live this week and some rough around the edges corners, but we're all about growing up in public. More announcements to come.

Best Online Read!

Thanks to Chicago Magazine for naming Gapers Block the Best Online Read in their "Best of Chicago 2004" list for the August issue. They refer to GB's "witty reporting by young volunteers who are delightfully skeptical of the man." Isn't it "The Man," with capital letters? Anyway, thanks for the honor, Chicago Magazine. We promise we won't let you down.

A quieter, gentler GB on Sunday

A quick note: The site will be mildly unaccessible on Sunday evening sometime as the redesign is implemented, uploaded and brought live for your pleasure. There are quite a few goodies in store and we hope it's been worth the wait. Thanks to all for their comments, suggestions and feedback.

We're Back!

Thanks for your patience while we changed servers! Everything should be back up and working now -- let us know (inbox@gapersblock) if anything is awry.

One programming change to let you know about: Kim Conte's restaurant review column, Drive-in, now has a name that better matches its mission: Fork It Over. Stay tuned for other changes and additions coming soon.

--the editors

When it rains, it pours

It seems we're back after our hosts' service provider got hit with DOS attacks. In what seems like a multitude of issues, suffice to say, we will be moving to a new server/host soon. Thanks for your patience and support. There'll be some exciting stuff happening in the weeks to come so look out for that.

GB Chicagoist Smack-down

So, some of the GB staff got together last night for a quick meeting at The Handlebar, and who do we see at the next table? The Chicagoist gang. Well, of course we all sprang into action, testing each other's fighting skills. Turned out amicably though; they bought us a round of Schlitz and we put away the katanas.

Back, back, back.

Hallelujah! We're back in full effect y'all. Much rejoicing is being done around these parts as we're living la vida loca. It's been hellish with worry but now we're resting a little easy as we get columns, photos and new content to you as we speak. Thanks for checking in and we'd appreciate it if you spread the word. It's peanut butter jelly time!


We apologize to those that are trying to see the site but coming up with dead space. We're having technical difficulty — neither our host or us know what's going on. You can see the site, then you can't see the site. Apparently everything is kosher but we know the internet is playing a particularly twisted game of now you see it, now you don't. Your best best is to refresh.


Hi folks, sorry for the semi-downtime. Our hosting provider ran into a bit of a security snafu and the database was wonky. Things are back to normal.

Tattoo Turbulence on Taylor

If you read no other story on Gapers Block this week, read today's Revenge of the Second City. It details the plight of Taylor Street Tattoo in its struggle against the powerful University Village Association. Powerful stuff.

Technical Difficulties

Sorry, we were experiencing temporary server issues there for a moment, preventing us from posting and you from commenting. We're back up now, so back to your regularly scheduled GB. 

Again, thanks!

A big cheer, three hips, three hoorays to donor Pete Anderson. We're much obliged.

Thank you again!

A big hug, a happy dance and a "Boo-Ya!" to donor and supporter The Infinite Stitch. Thanks.

We thank you!

Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who's been reading, supporting and spreading the word about Gapers' Block. A big thank you from us! There are a few things we're planning in 2004, including another big party in February sometime. Details to be posted. A few changes to the site will be underway next month. Until then, be safe and enjoy tonight. Ride the el for a penny and be prepared for the fare increase tomorrow. And look out for the special Detour feature this Friday!

Recognizing a Blocker

Folks if you're coming out tonight for the little shindig, we'd love for you to be able to recognize us and therefore some of us will be wearing some stickers with the four stars and GB on them. Be sure to say hello! We'd love to chat, drink, take lots of photos with our little digital cameras and be merry.

Happy Turkey Day

Folks, hope you're having a good Turkey Day. Content in Merge will be a bit sparse over the next few days as everyone should be with family and friends. However, there is a new Ask the Librarian today, Airbags continues as usual, there will be a new Detour and some of the GB staff will still be posting for your enjoyment. Cheers!

GB on 'BEZ

Hey, listen in to WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight program Wednesday morning at 9:35 for an interview with Gapers' Block editor-in-chief Andrew Huff discussing the site and weblogs in general as part of the show's series on the state of Chciago's media scene. 91.5 on your FM dial or on the web (RAM).

Oh, boy!

IIT's Shlomo Argamon helped write the algorithm behind the Gender Genie, this week's blog meme. Enter a passage of text and the Genie predicts the author's gender. I entered several days of Merge, the Proprietors page and the current installments of Detour, Airbags and Fuel, and the results were unanimous: Gapers Block is a boy!

Thank you, again

Thanks to 37 Signals for their donation and support. Remember, you too can help Support the Block.

Renee models GB Button

Renee shows off her new cuff (larger). Undoubtedly, we're honoured around these parts since she's sporting one of our buttons. On a side note: the store will be re-opening soon, with posters, buttons and stickers and such.

What do you call it?

Harvard professor Bert Vaux conducted an extensive survey on dialects and word-usage across the country. This one is particularly interesting, no?

Donors again

Better late than never, but we've added the few folks who donated just a bit more at the recent GB party. Much thanks to everyone though!

Thanks, GB party people

Just a note of thanks to everyone who came out to Ann Sather's last night for the GB Party, it was quite a success. More notes and whatnot to come.

Hello My Name Is

Unsubstantiated reports inform us that there may be a rash case of "Hello My Name Is" stickers and nametags floating around at tonight's Gapers Block Party. We wonder if these rumours are true. Find out tonight.

Donation Thanks!

Big thanks to Miranda of for her generous donation!

The GB Party

So, the big thing has now been unveiled, the Gapers' Block Party (see the special anouncement on the right there), will be on the 18th of July as Ann Sather's in Lakeview. A private room has been secured, and a slew of festivities will happen as well as a chance to mingle, relax and catch up with some of your online friends. We'd love to meet some of you, and it'd be a great opportunity to thank all of you for reading and supporting us. Details here.

New feature, sort of

Just so you know, today's new Detour, Considering the Cross-town Classic, is written in a column-style, and we have comments turned on just for you folks who love to add your two cents. So bring it on.

Get yr red hot T-shirts!

Hey! Get yourself a cool new Gapers' Block T-shirt! Or support your caffeine habit with a mug -- both available in the store!

The eventual rip

While we expected this might happen, we didn't expect it this soon. Does this look familiar to anyone? We're flattered. ;) Addendum: Brockett has apologized, and all is well, though really, we weren't all that pissed about it to begin with. We were quite humoured.

First donors

We won't get into the habit of doing this on Merge but we'd like to formally thank our premiere donor, Jim Coudal and our second donor, Ian Clark. Wow. It is much appreciated. You can support us too, either here or buy a mug from the store. Wowee zowee.



GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15