Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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


Saturday, May 18

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Award Winner Quilter

Jane Sassaman designed a quilt named Willow that was named one of the top 100 quilts of the 20th century and was featured on PBS's A Century of Quilts.


Want to hear how much a Chicago accent differs from Milwaukee or Minneapolis? The International Dialects of English Archive is a web repository of speech samples in MP3 form. The archive, hosted by the University of Kansas's theatre department and intended for use by actors, has several Chicago samples.


Quite possibly the reason why Illinois has no In N Out Burger restaurants. Viewing this is total gapers' block. Hungry anyone?


The first convention of Segway owners takes place this weekend at McCormick Place. Two Chicago area residents organized the event, which expects up to 80 Segway owners to converge on the lakefront this weekend. The inventor will give a speech, maintenance tips will be offered, and owners can show off their ballroom-style synchronized Segway routines before a group ride along the lakefront. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Slaughterhouse 9

Rev up your scooters and shine those sunglasses. Slaughterhouse 9 is going on all weekend long. Scooter rally-ists will be put-puttin' around town. You can keep up to date at 2StrokeBuzz and get in touch with some folks at Scooterworks for a good ride or contacts or get in touch with my main scooter man PJ who's involved in all of this in some intricate web-like fashion.

Svengoolie after dark!

Robert Feder reports that Chicago's very own horror movie TV host, Svengoolie, will be moving his program from Saturday afternoons to Saturday nights, where a horror movie host belongs.

Midwest Internet use flatlining

An article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune reports on the results of a study that show "Midwesterners use the Web slightly less than people in other parts of the country" (56% versus the national 59%). This latest report from the Pew Internet Project, one of the first to study differences in regional Internet use, also shows that Internet use in the Midwest has leveled off. According to the study, "the same proportion of Midwesterners access the Web now that did two years ago." The Tribune also talks to Lia Londrono, a local librarian, about her observations regarding Internet use and the digital divide. [trib login: gapers/gapers]

Feed Me

Localfeeds is a new blog aggregate service that incorporates GeoURL; any site that offers an XML/RSS feed and has GeoURL coordinates is picked up once an hour and collected on one page. The service is still fledgling (~500 blogs tracked), but Chicago's page is a promising start.

Cubs Win!

The Daily Gusto asks, "Will virgin Cubs fans get lucky this year?" (Only a virgin would ask such a question.)

Sorry, Virginia

(A local guy named) Santa Claus is dead.

Eyewitness News

Normally Bonne Marie Burns writes poetically about all things knitty. But occasionally she writes eloquently about her life as a television news camera operator. Today she writes about her experience filming live during Chicago's first multiple workplace shooting since February of 2001.

Something Funny in Bronzeville

A new Second City theater in Bronzeville got a step closer to reality, as the City Council approved plans for the 7,000-square-foot complex in the "47th Street Jazz and Blues District." The plan calls for a performance space and several classrooms.

Barsoom Rising

Mars Mania is gripping people from Belfast to Bahrain as the Red Planet gets closer to the Earth than it's been in over 60,000 years. The window when the center of the earth is closest to Mars has passed - but currently Mars is closer to Chicago than it's ever been in the history of the city. You can check it at The Adler, but surface thermals and long lines there mean you might have better luck at The Ryerson Observatory.

Pimp Juice

Feeling low on pimp-tacity? Try drinking some Pimp Juice, a new energy drink created by a company with Nelly as the chairman. "Pimp Juice’s artificial coloring gives it a smooth neon green glow, while its 10 % apple juice content adds a natural sweetness to its taste." Um, yeah.

G5 on Michigan Ave.

Only a complete loser would periodically call the Michigan Avenue Apple Store to see if the new G5 machines had arrived. That said, they've just put a unit on display. My lunch hour is now spoken for.

Got Pierogi?

Nothing says summer to me quite like a pierogi eating contest. Ok, maybe not, but the annual "Taste of Polonia" (pdf) festival is happening this weekend in Jefferson Park. Some big names in the local polka scene are going to be there: Eddie Blazoncyzk's Versatones, Stas Golonka and the Chicago Masters, among others. Throw in an Elvis impersonator, a ZZ Top tribute band, and lots of beer, and I'd dare say you can't go wrong with this festival. Lawrence and Milwaukee on Sat., Sun., and Monday.

The Last Seminar

Seminar, Chicago's longest-running drum & bass weekly, has its final rinse out tonight. Join the Bass by the Pound crew and the junglist massive for the last session, with Shy FX and an open bar from 9-10. Big Wig, 1551 W. Division, 21+, $10.

Red Line Series?

With both the Cubs and the Sox currently in first place in their divisions, some are already whispering (on MSNBC, no less) about a cross-town World Series. In the meantime, there's a Chicago third team in first place that's not getting nearly as much attention: the Fire.

Chicago Web Cams

EarthCam is a directory of webcams from all over the world. Check out these views from the Sears Tower courtesy of ABC7Chicago; a view of traffic on the Michigan Ave. bridge thanks to WGN; the continuing construction of the new Soldier's Field from the Chicago Bears website; or, finally, this lovely view of First & State streets in suburban Geneva (Why?). Addictive, pointless, timewasting fun. Enjoy.

Rebel Sigh...

Years after Generation X, "White Wedding" and all that jazz, everyone's favorite smirker, Billy Idol, is in town tonight (08/27/2003) at the House of Blues. Go and feel angry, spiky and nostalgic all at once.

White Sox Ticket $ale

Psst! The White Sox are having a web special on tickets for the Tuesday, September 2 and Wednesday, September 3 games against the Boston Red Sox. Sale Bleacher tickets are only $10, and Upper Deck Box and Reserved tickets are $5! This special is available through August 31 and only at White Hmmm...pretty big of a Cubs fan to pass this little nugget of info along, I say.

DIY Trunk Show

Do you make a lot of cool stuff that is cluttering your apartment and you'd really like to sell it? You're not alone. Hop over and take a peek at the requirements for the DIY Trunk Show. It will take place at Pulaski Park on November 15th. There are still lots of spaces available, but they'll probably disapper quick so get cracking!

Thom Yorke likes the cheese

Craig of Fueled By Coffee stopped by the Mars Cheese Castle recently and guess what he found? Thom Yorke (of Radiohead, come on now!) likes the cheese (scroll down a little to read and view the photo). Ah, Mars Cheese Castle will now be full of emotional hipsters fawining over the penmanship of their über-idol.

Attack of Bridezilla's Mom

Did you hear about the mother-of-the-bride who attacked the stripper at her daughter's bachelorette party? Seems the guy was "the wrong man at the wrong time" -- he was running late and filling in for a buddy -- and didn't pay enough attention to the bride. He was hit over the head with a bottle, scratched and punched before escaping and calling police. Mom got 30 court supervision and a $2,500 restitution bill.

Rear Window:

Sure, you could worry about the rain, or how your friends and neighbors are dealing with the heat, but wouldn't it be better to head out to Grant Park for a screening of Hitchcock's Rear Window, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, the staggeringly beautiful Princess of Monaco?

Hot Hot Heat

Today will be hot, humid and wet. Or so the weather says. A high of 98 degrees is in the works with a thunderstorm or two in the afternoon supposedly. Heat indexes to rise to 104 degrees! Best you be careful and stay in the shade if you can, stay hydrated and check on loved ones who don't have the luxury of air-conditioning. Especially any older friends and neighbours.

Bloggers in the News

The press just keeps on coming for Chicago bloggers. Wendy of Pound, Erin Shea of Lose the Buddha and Paul McAleer of Big Fat Blog all got mentioned in a New York Times article about diet/weight issue blogs. Our Toledo correspondent tells us that Ms. Shea will be appearing on Tuesday's Good Morning America.

Local, Independent Radio

If you're like me, you get tired of hearing the same forty songs over and over so you probably don't listen to the radio very often. But, there are two radio stations which provide hours of commercial-free, varied programming. WLUW located on the Loyola University campus in Rogers Park, pumps out hours of music that isn't overplayed, commercial rock. WBEZ is located on Navy Pier and is the only Chicago station that provides National Public Radio programming. Both stations fiscal year ends on Sunday. WLUW needs to raise $25,000 and WBEZ needs to raise $346,000. Go give them a hand and a couple bucks.

Chef's Collaborative

Since Chicago is surrounced by farmland, you'd think it would be easy to eat local, seasonal produce, but there are few grocers and restaraunts that focus on keeping it local. Chef's Collaborative has a mission of encouraging local, seasonal, and sustainable produce purchases by restaraunts. Their Illinois list is small and I think incomplete. But they explain how to choose sustainable fish and seafood, why grass-fed vs. grain-fed isn't the only factor in getting quality meat, and they have a list of suggestions from farmers to chefs to increase the quality of their menu. Even though the website is directed at chefs and restaraunt owners, it helps to stay informed about what you're putting in your body. The Audubon Society also has a wallet card you can print and carry with you to ensure you aren't eating endangered seafood.

Chicago Artists Coalition

The Chicago Artists Coalition is a nonprofit group supporting the arts and artists in the area. Check out their mARTketplace and pick up some great art for yourself.

Cabrini land raises Heirlooms

Interesting article in today's NY Times (login required) that mentions a farm experiment on an acre of land near Cabrini-Green. I hope this isn't the only place that an experiment like this occurs - any attempt to improve the quality and flavor of the tomatoes in this city must be supported. Oh, and that whole sustainable living thing too.

Chicago Underground Film Festival

The 10th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival runs August 27 through September 2 at the Landmark Century Center Cinema, 2828 N. Clark. This year's highlights include "Scrabylon" (about -- no shit -- the "cutthroat world of tournament Scrabble"); documentaries on Rockets Redglare, Tribe 8, and feminist porn; "Value-Added Cinema," a 45-minute montage of product placement shots from 70 films; NewCity film critic Ray Pride's piece on the antiwar protest that shut down Lake Shore Drive; plus all the odd, experimental, and non-commercial stuff you just won't see anywhere else.

Fun garage sale

Nothing says "fun" like Uncle Fun! And next weekend you can get your inflatable robots, plastic baby parts, '70s TV show lunchboxes and other pop-cultural detritus for cheap at their annual garage sale. August 30-31, 10 am - 4 pm, 1338 W. Belmont.

Chauncey in Supreme Court

It's common to hear Academics - and particularly theory heads - dismissed as living in an ivory tower pursuing obscure pursuits unrelated to 'the real world'. Turns out that that sometimes the ivory tower can pack a punch. Turns out UofC prof George Chauncey's historical brief was more or less decisive in deciding Lawrence vs. Texas.

Wesley Willis RIP.

Alternative Tentacles is reporting that perennial Wicker Park rock'n'roll star Wesley Willis passed away on Thursday, August 21. Rock over London, rock on, Wesley. We'll miss you. Give God a head-butt for us. (Note: the AT server seems to have gone belly-up, no doubt because a million bloggers linked to the story. I've got the full text of their announcement on my blog.)

A one, a two, a throooetby!

By now you have probably heard of Ozzy Osbourne's "heart warming" interpretation of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" he performed Sunday at Wrigley Field during the 7th Inning Stretch. But now, you can actually read the exact words he sang. Classic!

Radiohead DJ Q101!

While you're listening to your favorite band, have you ever wondered what they listen to? This afternoon from 5 to 6pm, Radiohead will play DJ on Q101 (101.1 FM on your radio dial), spinning whatever they want off their mp3 players.

CTA Strike?

Despite pleas from CTA board chairwoman Valerie Jarrett and the mediation efforts of Rev. Jesse Jackson, CTA drivers are giving serious thought to a strike. On the way to work today, a driver told me that they plan to leave work this coming Monday. You may want to give yourself plenty of extra time for the morning commute, or arrange another means of transportation.

Murder in Lincoln Park

Brad Nelson Winters, the artistic director of Terrapin Theatre Company, was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday. He had been strangled and stabbed several times, police say. [Trib login: gapers/gapers]

Her Majesty, Mayor

At least Daley would never try this (or would he?): The mayor of North Chicago, Bette Thomas, put a photo of herself on this year's city vehicle stickers. The city council is up in arms, and has drafted regulations to ban images of living people from city stickers.

Tuvalu in Trouble

Is global warming causing Chicago's mild summer? Hope not, 'cause it's also screwing over tiny little Tuvalu. Can coral atolls grow as fast as water levels rise? Probably not. Don't worry, .tv domains will still be for sale (after all - Tuvaluans have to have some way to pay their UN dues). It's just that all the DNS will end up being managed in New Zealand.

Hot Doug's specials

Bookmark alert: Hot Doug now updates his specials page every morning, so you can check to see when the duck and foie gras sausage or spicy Italian with vodka marinara, basil, and fresh mozzarella comes around. I already know today's lunch: kangaroo. And for the vegetarians, his veggie dogs rock.

Say hello to Mars

Mars is the closest to the Earth in years and by the end of this month it will be within 34 million miles of us. Woo! Stop by the Adler Planetarium tonight to join in Mars Madness. Take a date and make her think you're one of those nerdy intellectual types we really fall for.

Chicago vs. California.

This week's Newcity includes an amusing editorial on the CA governor recall campaign, with an interesting comparison of the state and our city. "Once upon a time, everybody in California was from Chicago; now, everywhere in Chicago you can find Californians. We are your lost children, California. We are California Libre. With Kaos seizing your statehouse, we are your populace in exile."

"Queen of Breast Cancer"

The Avon Foundation and the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation are the two main groups in the U.S. who raise funds for breast cancer research by hosting walk-a-thons. Charles Storch, a Chicago Tribune staff reporter, presents a pretty good critique of the problems with the walks and the competition between these two fundraising organziations. They both bring in a lot of money, but a great deal of that money goes to fund the walks, and not the research people think they're raising money for. In my personal opinion, if you want to support an organization, it is best to just send them a check, and not support something like this, which comes across as more of a publicity attempt. However, there is a positive emotional element to the walk for survivors, fighters, and family members to connect with others like themselves. [Trib login: gapers/gapers]

Art of the City

Interesting Ideas, a phenominal website by William Swislow, features several collections of Chicago signs, including The Gyros Project, the Western Avenue and Vicinity Gallery, and the aforementioned Lakefront anonymous art gallery.

Chowhound in need

Chowhound's Chicago message board is an incredible repository of local food knowledge, exploration, history, and restaurant and product reviews. The user interface may be a bit of a beast, but it's worth wading through to gain access to vast amounts of information. Unfortunately, it takes a lot to keep at site like that running. Lately, times are especially tough. So if you value Chowhound as much as I do, please consider donating, or otherwise supporting the site.

Ring Found

A Hoffman Estates High School grad lost his ring in a forest preserve back in '78. In 2000, a retired couple found it with the help of a metal detector. The Daily Herald took a picture and told the story recently, a friend noticed and the guy got his ring back, 25 years later.

Wrigley Field Tours

Did you know that you can tour the friendly confines of Wrigley Field? The 90 minute tour includes the dugout, field, press box, security room. And proceeds of the tours benefit the many programs of Cubs Care. Call 773.404.2827 for more info. Tours run until September 7, 2003.

LOTR: The Two Towers on DVD

As I am sure you are all aware, the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers DVD comes out on Tuesday, August 26th. Can't wait! Can't wait! But what you may not be aware of is that I have seen the movie 10 times and know every line by heart (even the stuff in Elvish). I am one sick puppy.

A Steamy Proposition

If you like to sweat, Chicago's got a steamy option for you. Metromix gives a detailed look inside the Russian and Turkish Baths. This Wicker Park sweatbox features separate male and female facilities, spa services, and a cafe.

Tent Sale Sans Tent

So American Science and Surplus, the world's best place to buy monkey butler tables (as well as random motors, sea monkees, test tubes and a wide range of other really cool things) is having a tent sale this weekend. There will surely be lots of great deals on stuff that's already cheap. Oh, and as the secret email told me, they won't have a tent either. But you should still go.


Tribune columnist Eric Zorn launched "Breaking News," a Tribune-sponsored and -hosted weblog today, marking the first official "Triblog." He's had his own website for years.

Giant Blue Sopranos

Remember in The Fifth Element when that huge blue woman sings that awesomely beautiful opera aria and then does the running man? While Diva Plavalaguna's body may have been Maiwenn Le Besco and her voice was Inva Muler-Tchako, the music was pure Donizetti. This year the Lyric Opera will be staging Lucia de Lammermoor, the opera from which Plavalaguna's aria was taken. And singing it will be none other than uber-coloratura Natalie Dessay who should blow the pants off of Plavalaguna. Meanwhile, those of you interested in the electronica/opera aspect of Serra's music would best be served checking out Eric Whitacre's new opera Paradise Lost.

Kids tour prisons

"Bad" kids in public schools will soon be targeted for prison tours as a way to discourage them from future criminal lifestyles. The CPS was not consulted before the specified bill was signed by Blagojevich yesterday. [Trib. login gapers/gapers]

Chicago 1930

Action Vault posts a two-part interview (1, 2) with the designers of "Chicago 1930," an upcoming videogame based on the prohibition days when the city was ruled by mobsters. Players choose whether to be on the side of the Mafia or the police.

Ben Hecht

All but forgotten by most Chicagoans, journalist and Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht told stories of the "lay life," everyday people and events in the 1920s and '30s. Read a sampling of his book 1001 Afternoons in Chicago.

Save Your Breath

We're experiencing Ozone Action Days this week due to warm weather and light wind. In this weather, vehicle emissions and VOCs cause increased levels of ozone which can be harmful to those with respiratory problems. Partners for Clean Air has some tips on how you can help. Also be sure to check out the HazeCam.

Happy little demons

DePaul University has the happiest students in America, according to the Princeton Review. (Trib login: gapers/gapers)

IIT is Segway-friendly

Authorities at the Illinois Institute of Technology say the school on Chicago's South Side has become the nation's first Segway-friendly campus. The school announced a partnership yesterday with the New Hampshire-based company that makes the two-wheeled battery-powered transportation devices.

Windy City Wiffleball

Despite receiving shockingly little media coverage, Chicago's littlest league, the Windy City Wiffle Ball League soldiers on. Your next opportunities to see the powerhouses of the plastic bat will be at the Wifflehouse Invitational August 26 in Essexville, Michigan.

Return of the Dress Code

Call it a sign of the economic times: Bank One has instituted a dress code. The new uniforms -- black pants and shoes, blue top -- are worn by all 18,000 branch employees, from teller to manager.

In Dusty We Trusty

Riders of the Red Line may have noticed this phrase on a porch near the Addison stop: In Dusty We Trusty! Now you can get the T-shirt.

Elvis Lives!

The 26th anniversary of Elvis's "death" is Saturday, and to celebrate, Mark Hussman, Chicago's number one Elvis impersonator (and AOL's too!), is performing at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage with a cavalcade of stars, including the Ann Margrock Dancers and Barefoot Hawaiians. Show starts at 7:30 -- get there before Mark leaves the building!

Bush League Teams

You know, the Cubs and Sox aren't the only baseball teams 'round here. The minor league Kane County Cougars, Schaumburg Flyers, and Gary Southshore RailCats all put on an excellent game. The names are more interesting, too: the Cougars play the Lansing Lugnuts this weekend, while Schaumburg and Gary duke it out against the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, respectively.

Feral Monk Parakeets!

Chicago got Fark'd recently for an article on exotic wildlife. Duh. Hyde Parkers have lived under the threat of Feral Monk Parakeets. But did you know they have extended their unholy rule from Seattle to San Francisco to Connecticut. Beware the Parrots!

Fab Four Freakout

The Fest for Beatles Fans (formerly the more snappily named Beatlefest) drags itself to the Hyatt Regency O'Hare this weekend with bootlegs, collectible kitsch, and a desperate celebration of all things Fab. Barrel-bottom scraping special guests include Donovan (who wrote an unreleased song with Paul McCartney), Denis O'Dell (who was mentioned in a Beatles song), and Larry Kane (I have no idea). Expect a tribute band.

Sex and Beer

Pat McCurdy is a funny, funny guy. You can hear him play (and marvel at the rabidity of his loyal fans) at the Beat Kitchen Monday night for the next two weeks. $5.

Knit-Along For Peace

The American Friends Service Committee is registering knitters (and crocheters, too) to knit baby blankets which will be included in Infant Care Kits being sent to Iraq as part of a larger humanitarian effort. AFSC will also be accepting donations of cash to defer shipping, soap, hairbrushes, and washcloths for babies to complete the care kits through October at their office.
They're also looking for a graphic designer, a web developer, and interns.

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS/ARTISTS NEEDED Currently, we are in particular need of professional graphic design assistance. We are in the process of expanding the Memorial for Victims of the Iraq War and need the assistance of a designer or artist experienced in designing and producing large-scale exhibitions. We are also need immediate help designing several new flyers and tri-fold publications. If you are interested in assisting with any of these projects, please fill out the volunteer form above or email
WEB DEVELOPER CONTRACT WORK AVAILABLE AFSC is seeking to contract a web developer for a short-term project creating interactive, database-driven webpages. PHP and MySQL experience is required as well as experience customizing FileMakerPro and Ebase databases or similar database systems. To apply, email a resume, contract fee requirements, and availability to
PEACEBUILDING INTERNSHIPS NOW AVAILABLE A limited number of full-time and part-time internships are available in the Peacebuilding Division of the American Friends Service Committee-Chicago this fall. If you are serious about promoting peace and justice while learning valuable career skills, this is the internship for you! Interns are sought in a variety of skills areas -- research, writing, web design/technology, graphic design, fundraising, and more. Training is provided with most positions. If you would like to receive credit for your internship, we will assist you in making the appropriate arrangements with your university. To request an application or for more information, email

Jeff Zimmerman at MCA

Local muralist Jeff Zimmerman is being featured in August at the MCA in "12x12: New Artists / New Work."

Vegan fox fur stole

Ever wanted the glamour of a fox stole, but not wanted a dead animal around your neck? If you knit, you're in luck; Knitty provides a pattern and directions for knitting a faux-fox stole. Also on the knitting tip: afghans for Afghans.

Missing diamond ring

If you've recently lost something valuable, it could be the diamond ring in the tip jar at a Barrington Starbucks. Since the news of the $5000 find has spread, Detective Roy Watson received a number of calls: "It's amazing how many people have lost diamond rings." [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Them's Fightin' Words!

Ted Nugent on all us Illinoisans: "They are spineless, apathetic, embarrassing wimps."

That's One Long Benefit Name

This Friday at the Empty Bottle, go to the "Bridge Magazine Benefit Night of Weirdos, Rock Bands, Video Projections, Awesome Raffle Giveaways, and a Creeping Suspicion That You May Have Been Hypnotized," a rock show and more, featuring bands Elvin, Apartment, and New Boss as well as a showing of Eric Fensler's "G.I. Joe Public Service Announcements." Doors open at 9pm, $10 admission. Call 773-276-3600 for more info.

Automated grilling

A Chicago innovation that doesn't seem worth bragging about: McDonald's is testing an automated grill that dispenses burgers periodically, with the hope of reducing labor. It's already in use at the Romeoville location.

Stir. Pour. Chop.

Ever thought about cooking school? The Tribune has put together a fine rundown of Chicagoland culinary instruction. Schools, stores, and shops are currently offering classes perfect for any palate. [Trib login/password: gapers/gapers]


McDonald's is rolling out wireless internet access at 60 stores in Chicago and Milwaukee. Cost is $4.95 for an hour, or $7.95 for an all-day pass; "for a limited time" you can get a free hour with the purchase of an extra value meal or premium salad. Just last week, Panera Bread announced its own WiFi service -- for free -- in 16 Chicagoland stores.

Happy Birthday Carlos Cortez

Wood s lot reminds us today is the birthday of long-time Chicago activist/poet Carlos Cortez. You can find his reflections on UIC's takeover of Halsted on-line, curation of his work, an interview, and of course, pictures and poetry.

Typographic Signage Project

Students at Loyola University Chicago in the Department of Visual Communications created this website as part of a photographic survey of signs in the Chicago area. The Typographic Signage Project includes examples of many different typefaces including distressed and historic. Recognize any of these locations?

It Takes $ To Look This Good

Forbes has ranked Chicago as the eighth most overpriced city in the US. "These are the places where the cost of living is expensive, and job and salary growth is grim." Ouch.

Free "Jokes"

The Neo-Futurists are taking their 2001 smash-hit extravaganza "Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious" to the New York International Fringe Festival this weekend. But before they go, they're giving one last performance before a Chicago audience, and it's FREE FREE FREE! Thursday, August 14 (that's tomorrow!), 8 PM, at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. See it, or see it again. Because it's great, and it's FREE!

Beer and Music, Music and Beer

Sure, there's the Goose Island Fest starting this Friday at the Finkl Steel plant, and sure they've got some hott acts like Guided By Voices and the Psychedelic Furs. But just imagine all of those... people! For the demophobic who'd like some live music and local brew, may I suggest singer-songwriter and Chicago magazine Hot Single Dylan Rice, performing at the Wrigleyville Goose Island brewpub Friday night.

Get Your War On

After a bit of an extended hiatus, Get Your War On has returned.

Saturnine Detractor

The Saturnine Detractor is "an online magazine featuring journalism of a narrative variety, reviews, opinion, fiction, and artwork," created by UofC alums.

Talk about a wrong turn!

The Black-Tailed gull, a bird native to Japan and Syberia, somehow ended up on Montrose Beach much to the delight of bird watchers in the city. Hopefully, the tough city gulls won't kick its butt and it will stay for a spell. Tribune login/password: gapers/gapers

GI JOE: Remix

Eric Fensler, a Chicago based filmmaker, has remixed the 'Knowing is Half the Battle' PSA spots that appeared at the end of each and every episode of GI JOE. So funny, I nearly lost bladder control. [link via MeFi]

North Branch Docks in Jeopardy

Private piers and docks along the North Branch of the Chicago River may be torn down soon if the Water Reclamation District has its way. A lawsuit has been filed, and property owners are fighting back. Meanwhile, Friends of the Chicago River wants your help to continue cleaning up the waterway.

Gerber/Hart Library

The Gerber/Hart Library in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood is the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender circulating library in the Midwest. Founded in 1981, the library now holds over 14,000 volumes, 800 periodical titles, and 100 archival collections focusing on LBGT subjects. Their website also includes a great collection of links to other LBG libraries, archives and organizations. In order to borrow items, you must be a member. Contact the library for more information.

It's a Bird, Plane....

The 45th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show swoops into town this weekend. Get some ear plugs, head to the lakefront, and look up. Special guests include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

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?

Flugtag results

Didn't make it to Flugtag on Saturday? The winners are up on the event site, plus Archie and Mark have posted their pictures of the day.

What's that bug?

Is there a bug in your garden you want to identify? The U of I extension site allows you to search area pests by name and picture, or where they appear: produce vs. flowers or trees, for example. The site also offers a list of area U-picks, where you can harvest your own fresh produce.

Make a Wish

Tomorrow night the moon is scheduled (pdf) to rise at 8:45pm, and it's a full moon. Certainly worth checking out; last night it was beautiful, almost full and well, luminous. Sadly the moon's lovely light is going to block one of my favorite parts of August, the annual Perseids meteor shower. I'm sure some will be available, and besides, who really needs an excuse to stay up watching the sky on a beautiful summer night?

Chicago Anthropologists Unite!

The newly reformed Chicago Association for the Practice of Anthropology holds its first meeting tomorrow at the DePaul University from 7-9 pm in Levan Hall, room 306 (2320 Kenmore). Nahlyee Van Brunt of the Urban Anthropology Project will be on hand to discuss his foundation, which provides cameras to children in the Cabrini Green housing projects and several other communities around the world so they can document "the emotional fabric of their lives--what they liked, what they hated, what they feared in their surroundings everyday."

365 Day Project

Otis Fodder's fantastic 365 Days project posts daily MP3s that fall within the Dr. Demento/Ironic Hipster spectrum of novelty tunes. While my favorites include The Chromalox Song and the masterful Orson Welles frozen pea out-takes, there are some there are some wonderful Chicago-centered ones, including Chicago Policeman and a transvestite-centered calypso tune sung by Louis Farrakhan.

Pistil Magazine

Pistil Magazine is still accepting submissions for its fall issue. The theme is public/private, their premiere issue may still be on magazine racks and is dedicated to Chicago. If you're interested in expanding your writing horizons, give these people a submission. We creative folks gotta stick together if we're going to outshine the coasts, y'know.

SWA Solicits Stories

Southwest Airlines wants your travel-related story for Airline, a new show debuting soon on A&E. The stories must be related to Southwest Airlines travel into or out of Los Angeles World Airport and/or Chicago Midway Airport.

Neil Gaiman in BookPage

BookPage profiles Neil Gaiman in the August issue, looking at his new forthcoming children's book, The Wolves in the Walls. A few lucky Chicagoans, myself included, heard Gaiman read this book when he appeared at the Printer's Row Book Fair in June.

Lakeshore Art

One more reason to preserve the shore of Lake Michigan as it stands: the limestone that lines the lakefront contains hundreds of anonymous carvings, painting, drawings and other art.

Gay Naturists

Have you ever said to your self, "there just aren't enough gay men in this city who like to get together and be naked"? Well, the Chicago Area Naturist Sons and the Windy City Gay Naturists are willing to show you how wrong that assumption is.

Objects Appear Smaller in Person

While minding my own business, nose in my book, waiting to pay at the State Street Border's book store, who is patiently waiting in front of me? None other than ABC 7's own Linda Yu. And might I say, she is quite a petite woman. Just lovely.

Ashtray Boy on the Air

Those of you who can't wait 'til Sunday to hear Ashtray Boy at the Empty Bottle, don't forget that you can tune in today (8 Aug 03) to WHPK at 88.5 on your FM dial. They'll be doing a live show at 9pm this very evening. Who says the stars never shine in Hyde Park?

Northhalsted Market Days

Well, this weekend is the annual Northhalsted Market Days, but you'd never know it from the online editions of the two gay weeklies. The Windy City Times doesn't mention it, and though events calendar. I guess they just figure everyone knows about it. Meanwhile, Metromix gives it prime coverage.

Clinical Trials

You've probably heard about some friend of a friend who got paid a ton of money to sit in an exam room and smoke pot while hooked up to a brain wave monitor. If you were jealous, and you think it could be fun getting poked with needles and getting paid for it, or if you're just desparate to cover the difference between your unemployment check and your rent payment that was due a week ago, consider signing up for a clinical trial in your area.

Exito -> Hoy

New York's Newsday reports that the Tribune Company is transforming its free Spanish-language weekly, Exito, into a 25-cent daily, to be called Hoy. No doubt it'll be modelled off of the Red Eye, it'll run Monday-Friday with an initial circulation of 60,000 (Exito's circulation was 120,000).

GB Selling Out?

"Who doesn't want to make money off their art?" When asked the GB Staff says: No thanks. We're not Thomas Kincaid. With everything from checks to real estate Kincaid was once America's most popular painter. Now, however, it looks like people are coming to their senses. The lesson: GB will probably do just fine without an 'opt-in email list to generate buzz'.

ATM + CTA = Bliss

Great news for those of us tired of ensuring we've got cash before loading up our Transit Cards: the CTA is going to install BankOne ATMs at 11 El stations. It makes so much sense, it almost hurts.

Number 1 Stud

Sexy, sexy single ladies of Chicago! We all know that dating is a hopeless, soul-grating endeavor. All the good ones are taken, and the ones who aren't are never the ones trying to get you ripped on Jaegermeister whilst discussing current events with your cleavage. But there's hope! Just fill out this application and just maybe you could lay claim to sensitive poet and generally sharp-dressing guy, Alan Studowski, Chicago's very own Number One Stud! You can't win if you don't play!

Bud Billiken parade

The Chicago Defender (which doesn't seem to have a website) began the Bud Billiken parade in 1929 to reward the children who delivered their newspapers. The name comes from a Chinese legend where a billiken, a guardian angel, would protect children. It is the largest parade in the city and the second largest parade in the country (the Rose Bowl parade takes first place.) Last years parade lasted for 5 hours with more than 250 participants. Central City Productions has a promotional video you can watch online. And, Edward Marshall's dad took his son's plea to be King of the parade to an internet forum hosted by his church.

Le Francais Closed

Fans of Le Francais in Wheeling will be crying in the burgundy tonight: the Daily Herald reports a deal to reopen the internationally famous French restaurant has fallen through. The restaurant suffered in the two years since founding chef-owner Jean Banchet sold it, and it was closed in late June.

Peeing is art is an interesting website with, well urinals. From all over the world. Some Chicago ones in there, including The Mutiny (a rock show venue) and the Congress Plaza Hotel. Hat tip to our Coastal neighbours, Gothamist.


Chicago 2600 is a site for Chicago-based hackers, focusing on the community's "ethical perspective [on] technology and politics." White hats only, please.

Fray Day 7

Fray Day 7 is set for October 5 at the Noble Fool Theater. Check the Fray site if you're an interested party.

Boulevard Tour

You can now register for the 15th Annual Lakefront Boulevard Tour. An easy 25 or 35 mile ride with rest stops, it's a great way to see parts of Chicago and its history you might not otherwise explore. Helps support the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the people behind a lot of the bike lane advocacy and bicycle safety training in the city.

Food Blogs

The Making of a Restaurant and KIPlog's FOODBlog got some press in a St. Petersburg Times article about food weblogs. (As Paul from KIPlog noted, "poor Jes once again doesn't get a direct link because of her 'in-your-face title.'"

Ebert Undergoes Cancer Treatment

Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert will undergo treatment for a malignant tumor in his salivary gland. This is his third bout with cancer, having survived previous tumors in his thyroid and salivary gland. He says he'll continue to watch and review movies while undergoing treatment.

Our State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is about to begin. Trek down to the capitol August 8-17 and enjoy some meats on sticks. Be sure to visit the Fair's icon, the Buttercow, a 500-lb butter sculpture. Eddie Money, Boston, and Lisa Marie Presley are a few of the musical acts they've rounded up for our listening pleasure. Or are you more into tractor pulls?

Tony Bennett @ Ravinia

Just a reminder/head's up that Tony Bennett will be performing at Ravinia on August 30 at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $65 - Pavilion and $15 - Lawn. (Lawn seats are expected to sell out, so get yours today!)

Fillet of Solo

Live Bait Theater's eighth annual "Fillet of Solo" features one-person performances showcasing both new and old work by several playwrights. The festival runs August 1 through the 30 at the theater located at 3914 N. Clark in Chicago. Tickets are $10 or you can purchase a festival pass for only $30. Call 773.871.1212 for reservations or online.

West Side Garden Club

Hey, all y'all on the west side sportin' green thumbs and looking for some similarly green-thumbed homies, there is a West Side Garden Club so bust a move, yo!


Dude, you're totally naked. You really should put on a t-shirt, at the very least. Pop over to threadless, our local designer tee emporium and pick up something to cover up that bare-ass chest.

Book and Paper Arts classes

Columbia's Center for Book and Paper Arts has published their fall schedule for community classes. Make use of the great facilities and reasonable tuition to learn various forms of papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress and pinhole photography at night.

Richard Dent Back with Bears

Richard Dent, star defensive end for the '85 Bears, has returned to the team -- as a defensive line coach. Nothing like bringing back a little former glory to inspire a team, right?

Palatine Police

Village Confidential: Palatine Police chronicles "a tale of deception, conspiracies, murder, bombings, low-level blackmail, organized crime operations, and behind-the-scenes politicking in Palatine, Illinois and surrounding areas." Painstakingly research, the sit takes you from 1954 all the way up to the capture of the Brown's Chicken Massacre suspects in 2002.

Wizard World 2003

Wizard World 2003 is taking place this weekend, August 8 - 10, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Come out and meet Jim Lee, Joe Quesada, Alex Ross and Kevin Smith. Tickets are $20 for a one day pass and $40 for a 3-day pass. Advance Ticket holders will get in a half hour early on Saturday and Sunday. Be there, or be square. Oh, wait....nevermind.

You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful is an art theme/project/installation/message that simply rocks. You can help spread the word by sending a SAE and get some stickers in return. Inspiring stuff.

Elvis 5k

Elvis season, the entire month of August, is one of my favorite times of year. Shame then that I won't be able to participate in the Elvis Is Alive 5k at Diversey Harbor this Saturday. Race is late in the evening, they have a beer tent, and a prize for the race participant who has the best Elvis look. And a kids Elvis impersonator contest too! Wouldn't Junior look great in a jumpsuit?

Look, I Hit The Castle

You want a list of Chicagoland's mini-golf courses? (Say yes) You got it!


A possible unexpected side-effect of our mild summer: giant swarms of gnats.

Gothic Chicago

If you're all about the American Gothic in the Goth sense, then you should take a look at the well-done site, The site is a portal for the Goth community for Chicago featuring events listings, photos, Goth-friendly clubs and more. You can buy some nifty gear at their sister site, SpookyInc and if you're bored of all those bland Hallmark e-cards, send your loved ones a GothCard instead.

All Aboard the Party Train!

For $1200 you can throw your next soiree in an El car (or a whole train.) Choo! Choo!


Escaperail, the Chicago based online gallery of fire escape photography, has been updated. A new gallery, featuring photos from around the world. has been added.

Buskerfest '03

Going on now: Buskerfest 2003 at Illinois Center Plaza.

Sunday Brunch

The Drake Hotel's ridiculously lavish Sunday Brunch (11:30 am- 2:30 pm) is a Chicago tradition for fancy folks, and the rest of us who just like to pretend. At $35 for unlimited champagne, bloody Marys, and.. what else? right, food like you wouldn't believe, it's practically a bargain (if you drink enough.) Check it out.


Come down to Hyde Park Sunday at 6pm for a carillon concert at Rockefeller Chapel. The carillon is a huge, ancient instrument which appears to be made out of bells of varying sizes. Expert players from around the country and the world will be taking turns playing the insturment every Sunday this summer. The concert is free, and immediately before the concert guests are invited to climb the bell tower to see the instrument (and the stunning view) firsthand.

Red Line Bars

Metromix has a list of good bars near Red Line El stops. Thing is, New City did it much better back in '99.

Beach Closings

Think beach closings have been up this year? You'd be right. But officials aren't sure what's causing the increase in dangerous E. coli blooms.

Unauthorized Chicago and elotes

As part of their recent series on the suburbs, the Trib [login: gapers/gapers] has republished Unauthorized Chicago. The article first appeared last August, and does an Ok job of running through aspects of the city that tourists might miss out on. Because it's a compilation by several writers there are a few contradictions within, particularly on the subject of whether one should try elotes: the mayonnaise, cheese, lime, and cayenne pepper-slathered corn sold by street vendors.

Sox Surge

Don't look now, but the Sox have come on strong since the All Star Game, climbing to within a game of division leaders Kansas City after sweeping the Royals yesterday.



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