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. 


Wednesday, February 8

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"I Need a New F***ing Job"

Craig's List's Rants & Raves section is usually full of petty namecalling and inane arguments, but every once in awhile, something truly great shows up. Like this screed from an anonymous Loop desk jockey. "Oh yeah, lunch drinking is back!"

Win a chance to buy Wrigley Field boxes

Over 200 box seats behind home plate were added to Wrigley Field for the 2004 season, and now Cubs fans can enter a box seats lottery -- not to win seats, of course, but to win a chance to buy seats.

Bike The Drive Registration Open!

Don't miss the third annual Bike The Drive. Once again, Lake Shore Drive will be closed to car traffic for this great ride on the Sunday before Memorial Day, May 30, from 5:30am to 10am. Be one of 25,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities to once again ride their bikes on a car-free LSD and enjoy gorgeous views of the city's skyline while breathing fresh air instead of exhaust. Riders must register in advance ($35) and registration is limited to the first 25,000 cyclists. Visit Bike The Drive, go into local bike or athletic stores for a brochure, or call 312-42-PEDAL for more info.

Cameras in Work Zones

Illinois could become the first state to target speeders in construction work zones. Similar to our system of catching red light runners, the state would mail a ticket to the car's owner. Speeding through a work zone currently costs $200 for a first offense and $350 for subsequent tickets. The new proposal would make the first offense a $500 ticket. Subsequent tickets would shoot to $1,000 apiece -- including $250 to fund more state troopers to patrol the roads.

This week in talk radio

In today's Sun-Times, Robert Feder reports that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is starting a talk show hosting gig on various Clear Channel station's including WGCI (1930 AM) in Chicago. The show, called "Keep Hope Alive," will focus on "issues of cultural, political and religious significance." And in other talk show radio news, the liberal talk radio network Air America Radio, featuring Al Franken, starts broadcasting today at noon. Chicago's WNTD (950 AM) is one of the five radio stations broadcasting the programming; it'll also be broadcast on XM satellite radio.

We'll all scream

The Tribune reports that, due to reduced milk production, prices for milk and dairy products are soaring, which will mean, among other things, increased prices in ice cream this summer. Already prices are starting to rise to record levels; at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the price of a pound of cheese was set at an all-time high of $2.02, and milk prices are likewise expected to soar to a record high next month.


Billy Jean King would be proud. The spotlight was on outstanding Naperville Central High School senior Candace Parker Monday night as she became the first woman to win the Slam Dunk contest at McDonald's High School All-American Game in Oklahoma City. Candace, who's headed to play for Tennessee next fall, joins the ranks of such stand-out college basketball stars as LeBron James, Vince Carter, and Jerry Stackhouse who all won the Dunk Contest before heading off to their college basketball careers.

Angela Davis Speaks

Angela Davis will be giving the key note speech at a conference at the University of Chicago. The talk is free and open to the public, and this is a great opportunity to hear an inspiring and powerful speaker.

Final days for Crow's Nest

GB reported back in January that the Crow's Nest music store at State and Jackson is closing up. Well, this is it, kids; the store closes its doors on Friday, April 2nd. They've been having a massive store-wide sale to get rid of their remaining stock, so if you find yourself near the downtown location, go check it out and say buh-bye to the staff.

Injury Won't Go Away

Cubs fans -- of which, apparently, there are many -- are starting to worry about the nagging achilles injury to stud pitcher Mark Prior The injury isn't going away, and may be leading to even more problems. Luckily for the Cubs, they have a gazillion very good pitchers.

NYC Looks To Us

In a curious package of articles in today's on-line New York Post, it is revealed that NYC's Mayor Bloomberg looked at CPS Elementary school promotion policies to try to improve achievement before kids move on to higher levels. They refer to the stricter standards, and elimination of "social promotion" as a South Side Success Story. The New York Times confirms this success. All this flattering attention coincides with another New York periodical reporting that perhaps the strict policy isn't what its cracked up to be.

Trouble For Bailey

Patricia Bailey, Mayor Daley's hand-picked State Representative from the 6th District, has had quite a rocky political career. After being asked to run for the seat by the Democratic Organization, she faced a spirited effort by community groups to get their own candidate elected. Then, this year she faced down former Death Row inmate Aaron Patterson. Now, the Election Board is accusing her of perjury for possibly lying about her address. Poor Ms. Bailey--she looks like a nice lady.

Radio Flyer Rolls into China

Another drastic move out of Chicago: following in the footsteps of too many Chicago-based manufacturing firms, Radio Flyer "finally succumbed to low-cost production overseas after determining its Chicago plant was too expensive to maintain". While the company will keep its headquarters on the northwest side of the city, they are halting manufacturing operations and releasing nearly half of its 90 employees. After shifting manufacturing to China, the company expects to have about 50 city employees.

Revamped Kedzie Blue Line stop opens

The Kedzie stop on the CTA Blue Line has been renovated and is back open for passengers. The station reopening is part of a $482.6 million reconstruction of the Cermak-Douglas Branch of the Blue Line, which involves the renovating of 8 stations. Kedzie was the 5th to reopen, and the remaining stations should be finished within 10 months.

Scott Turow on Barack Obama

Today at there's a profile of Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama, written by attorney and author Scott Turow.

One Good Thing

One Good Thing writer and Honeysuckle shop owner, Leigh Anne Wilson gets quite a nice write-up in Friday's Chicago Tribune. The geeky journalism student in me is jealous that I didn't get to write the lede. It's perfect.

Chicago To Go

The Chicago Historical Society has an excellent online store called Chicago To Go with some great vintage goods. The posters are nice, like this World's Fair one but it's the vintage black and white matte photo prints that take my heart. You might after all want to have Al Capone's mugshot above your fireplace.

Too Pretty to Eat

Morsels points us to Gems by Sarelle, incredibly detailed, kosher cakes by cake artist Sarelle Weiner. My stomach is rumbling.

Snarl-In on Michigan

If you work near the Water Tower, be prepared for a difficult lunch hour tomorrow: PETA is planning a "snarl-in" protest against Iams pet food for noon at the corner Michigan and Chicago Avenues. Why here and now? Iams executives are in town for the Petfood Forum conference -- which is at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 15 miles away.

Wrigleyville meter holidays cancelled

In response to complaints from businesses around Wrigley Field, Alderman Tom Tunney has removed the Sunday meter holiday from certain streets around the ballpark, which will hopefully prevent Cubs fans from parking at the meters all day. Enforcement will continue through the Cubs off-season, so be careful if you decide to go to a Sunday brunch at Ann Sather on Belmont.

CTA mag cards lose bonus

You still using those old-fashioned magnetic-stripe cards, granddad? You're gonna pay the price for not upgrading to the fancy-shmancy Chicago Card, as the Sun-Times reports that the CTA is finally phasing out the bonus dollar that you get whenever you put $10 on your card. As of April 1, only the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus will get the bonus money. If you don't have one of the newer cards yet, act fast; the CTA will also start charging $5 for the purchase of a Chicago Card on April 1.

Theatrical Props

We, of course, know just how good the local theatre scene is, but it's still nice to see a great profile like this in the national media. In addition to the standard Goodman and Steppenwolf shout-outs, Victory Gardens got some great coverage, too. [Thanks aae.]

Too Much Light makes Brooklyn

The current issue of Venus has a quick story about Chicago's Neo-Futurists theater group starting a run of its flagship show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, at the Brooklyn Lyceum (as previously reported in GB!), and includes the exciting information that the Brooklyn show starts next weekend, on Friday, April 2. You readers in the NYC area can get more information about the east-coast version of TML, make reservations (something you can't do at the Chicago show!), and have a gander at the Neo-Futurists who'll be entertaining you, at the Neo-Futurist Website.

Potlucks have a friend in Illinois Senate

The Illinois Senate, prompted by Sen. Dan Rutherford, approved legislation that would prohibit health departments from shutting down community potlucks. Apparently this is not much of a problem in Chicago, as Public Health Department spokesman Tim Hadec explains: "'Do we regulate potluck dinners in Chicago? No. What health department has the staffing to do that, especially in a big city?'' Well, thanks to Senator Rutherford, they need not worry about the problem anymore.

Virtual Benefit for Stage Left

Just in time for spring cleaning! Stage Left Theatre is having a "virtual benefit" during the month of April to raise money for its LeapFest series of new plays. How does that work, you might well ask? Well, you donate stuff that you don't want anymore (in good condition, please) to the theatre, and they sell it on eBay! Bring your collectibles, video games, books, bottles of wine, jewelry, toys, etc. to Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield, by March 31. Questions? Call 773-883-8830.

What're your n(k-1)/k favorite restaurants?

From the University of Chicago's Harris School, we get this charming little paper about the universal problem of a group of people trying to choose a restaurant, and how to apply the art of statistics and game theory to solving it. It's like that age-old cake-cutting puzzle on steroids.

On Our Best Behavior

Chicago ranks ninth on the list of cities with the best manners, CNN reports. The list, compiled for the last 27 years by a Kewanee, IL-based etiquette book author, puts Springfield, Peoria and the Quad Cities tied for second behind Charleston. (Maybe Illinois had home field advantage?)

Hip-Hop Summit

Head to the UIC Pavilion tomorrow for the Hip-Hop Summit, featuring a blockbuster line-up -- Russell Simmons, Damon Dash, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Common, Ludacris, Foxy Brown, Twista, Raz B, Doug E. Fresh, Layzie Bone, Shawna, Dr. Ben and more -- empowering urban youth and encouraging voter registration and participation. The summit runs from 9am to 3pm; you must register to attend. [via Visit Black Chicago]

Naperville: one big happy family community

Looking to raise a family? Move to Naperville. The Tribune reports that the western suburb was named the US city with the highest percentage of married, two-parent households by the Census Bureau. This may have something to do with the economics of the area; the median salary of Naperville residents is over $88,000, and the cost of living is high, preventing many single parents from living there.

Shop Chicago shut down by the city

It was to have been the second annual Shop Chicago event at the MCA's Hubbard Street warehouse. The idea was to have designers and local boutiques sell their wares, participate in a fashion show, and attempt to raise money for Gen Art Chicago's fashion program. Unfortunately, the caterer failed to obtain a liquor license, and so the Chicago police closed the event before it started. Boy, I sure hope that future organizers remember to get their liquor licenses for any public parties that might be happening (around, oh, say, April 16).

First Chicago eagles in a century

A pair of bald eagles is nesting in Chicago. The last nesting eagle in the Chicago area was seen in 1897, so this is a pretty big deal. The location of the pair is being kept secret for the time being, so that they can be left alone to make their nest and hopefully for the female to lay eggs.

Renegade II

Calling all crafters! Calling all crafters! The masterminds behind the Renegade Craft Fair have just announced they're starting to accept submissions for this year's show. They've doubled the pleasure and the fun by making it a two-day event.

More Shorter Delays a Fix?

The FAA has a plan in the works that will reduce the total amount of flight delays. However, this entails more short delays for commuters in order to ease the crowded skies. Airlines have agreed to take short delays or reroute flights in order to reduce overall delays in the air traffic system. For example, look at one of Chicago's situations: thunderstorms cause outbound flights to stack up quickly at O'Hare. Under the plan, airlines will delay for about 10 minutes flights that are bound for O'Hare. The backed-up planes at O'Hare could more quickly get into the air when the weather clears because the airspace will be less crowded. All air travelers flying in and out of Chicago would face fewer total delays with this plan.

This Old Cub

"This Old Cub" is a documentary of Cubs great Ron Santo' battle with diabetes, specifically his recent leg amputation. Directed by Santo's son, Jeff, this is a must-see for any die-hard Cubs fan. It opens in several local theaters tomorrow; check the Reader listing tonight for show times.

Illinois' most endangered places

The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois has released its list of the ten most endangered historic places. Of the ten, 7 are in the Chicago area, including St. Leo Catholic Church, the North Evanston Historic District, Palm Tavern, and Cook County Hospital (which was scheduled to be demolished this year). The issuing of the list, which started in 1994, is meant to focus public attention on deteriorating and neglected sites that are worth restoring and maintaining. (According to the Sun-Times, 28 sites on previous lists have been saved.)

Barbara's on Wells is closing

This week's Newcity reports that the Barbara's Bookstore on Wells Street in Old Town is closing this week. The store has been experiencing flagging sales since the Borders on North and Halsted opened. The Barbara's chain has been part of Chicago's history for decades; in 1968, some of the Yippies (including Abbie Hoffman) hid out in the Wells Street store during the Democratic convention. If you live nearby (1350 N. Wells), stop in and pay your respects to another disappearing piece of Chicago history.

Rock'n'Roll McD's Closing

The Rock'n'Roll McDonald's is closing! That staple of the tourist scene immortalized in a Wesley Willis song will be replaced with a two-story building containing offices and something touristy (but as-of-yet unrevealed). So get your fast food while you can at this dubious cultural institution.

What's that Sound?

In case you haven't heard, Sound-Bar is finally set to open this weekend. After a year and a half of licensing delays (perhaps Da Mayor's got something against trance music?), the mega-club promises they're going to open their doors, for real this time, no kidding, Friday night. I was lucky enough to attend the preview night in October 2002(!) and I can tell you it's worth checking out for the space alone; the design is beautiful. So good luck on the opening, but frankly we'll believe it when we see it.

Wander your eyes over here

Like rock n' roll, do ya? Like your singer-songwriter types, and you like 'em local? Then you might want to check out Dylan Rice and the Dynasties Friday at Martyrs'. Northwestern grad Rice headlines a CD release party for his excellent debut album, Wandering Eyes. KB and Bartley Fritzsche also perform. Details in Slowdown.

The Peep Bus Is Coming!

What's yellow and coming to a city named Chicago? Why the Peep Bus of course. If you're worried you'll only have one day to see the Yellow Peep Bus, don't fear: they're staying for awhile and will be here in April too. No word on the official hotline as to where the Peep Bus is actually going to visit - but never fear, I'll keep you posted.

Pritzker Prize Awarded to Zaha Hadid

After 25 years, an Iraqi-born Briton who has pushed the boundaries of design for a quarter-century, becomes the first woman to receive the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, awarded by Chicago's Pritzker family. Often deemed too radical early on, Zaha Hadid is now in the midst of a flood of commissions. In winning this year's prize, she challenges the notion that architecture is a man's world. Unfortunately, there are no current plans for any Chicago work, but hopefully that will soon change.

Rolling Into Spring

The weather's warming up this week, so here's a few things to get your bike groove on.

  1. Critical Mass is this Friday. Celebrate the end of winter with a nice, leisurely neighborhood ride. 5:30pm, Daley Plaza.
  2. Looking for a longer ride? This list of all rides in Illinois gives you a chance to keep in shape and get out and see some of that countryside us city dwellers hear so much about.
  3. If you're looking for more intense, training style rides, check out some of the offerings of Chicago Cycling Club.
  4. If you want to see the latest in cycling stuff, check out the Chicago Bike Show happening this weekend at Navy Pier.
  5. Need a map of how to get around? Where to go? The City's Bike Page has an online bike map of Chicago that shows where the bike paths are and what streets are best to take if you can't find a path.


Ikea is looking for a site for its second store in the Chicago area, and the southwest suburbs are high on the list, the Tribune reports. Ikea officials have expressed interest in Bolingbrook, but other suburban cities have not given up the fight yet. Matteson, Country Club Hills, and Tinley Park are just some of the cities that have expressed interest in providing Ikea's next location. You're not likely to see an Ikea in Chicago any time soon, though; the company has tried three times to build within city limits, and each time the deal's fallen through.

Blithe House Quarterly

Author Aldo Alvarez is currently residing in Chicago and is the executive editor and publisher of the Blithe House Quarterly, an online literary magazine of short fiction by gay, lesbian and bisexual authors. Started in 1997, the Quarterly just released their Spring Issue featuring stories by Patrick Roscoe, Trebor Healey and Dawn Paul to name a few. Definitely worth checking out.

Art on the Radio

WBEZ is looking for local artists for an upcoming series on 848 and Arts. In particular, they're looking for people in their early 20s who are "pushing the boundaries of music, theater, art, and previously unheard of new forms of culture." Get the full details by clicking on

Friends, colleagues,

Are you hip? If not, do you know anyone who can help us?

We're looking for people creating a fresh and original buzz in the local cultural scene. Folks around 20-24 years old.

We're looking for young, talented, trailblazing artists and others in the process of redefining an art form -- or inventing new forms of expression. People pushing the boundaries of music, theater, art, and previously unheard of new forms of culture.

Why? To complement Julia McEvoy's 'Next Generation - Chicago Matters' series, Arts and 848 will air a week of programming on Local Artists: The Next Generation.

The 5 days of programming are scheduled to air May 10 to 14, from 10:06 to 10:30.

We want to present a diverse group of people who have made at least one mark on the scene, but who are at the beginning of their output, and who will bring us fresh perspectives.

We want to hear from them about culture - what culture is to them, what it means to them, where they encounter or experience or create it, how they create or experience it, what the obstacles are, what the satisfactions and joys are; what they think of previous generations etc.

First we'll convene the group of young people who fit the above description, and hear from them at the outset of our planning.

That will help us shape our series.

So, we need your help. If you know anyone who could give us interesting thoughts on how and what we should present in our series, please have them e-mail me at

We expect our series to be recorded roundtable discussions, full of music, produced profiles, theater scenes, essays, writing passages, visits to cultural venues and studios and a lot more.

Thank you,


Edward Lifson
Arts, Architecture and Culture
Chicago Public Radio
91.5 FM WBEZ
Tel. 312.948.4731

This Old(est) House

The Clarke House, the city's oldest house, dating back to 1836, is getting a rehab. The home will be restored to approximate the look it had in the 1850s, including era-appropriate roofline, trim and color. Work is expected to be completed this spring. Tours of the house, located at 1827 S. Indiana, are offered every Wednesday afternoon by the Glessner House Museum.

Seems a little sketchy

Collaboraction's fourth annual Sketchbook opens tonight at the Chopin Theatre. Sketchbook comprises 16 new short plays, performed in a different grouping of 8-10 each night. The theatre will also feature the work of 14 visual artists and 10 sonic artists as part of the sketchbook environment. The show runs 13 consecutive nights; the closing night finale, April 4, will show all 16 plays beginning at 3pm.

Giant sock monkey on nationwide rampage!

The sock monkey was invented in 1890 by John Nelson, owner of Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, IL (maker of the distinctive red-heeled socks used to make the dolls). To celebrate this indelible contribution to popular culture, the city of Rockford has crafted a seven-foot sock monkey named Nelson, who's travelling cross-country as an ambassador for Rockford. Godspeed, Nelson!

Here comes Ted!

United's low-fare carrier, Ted, is coming to O'Hare. Tickets go on sale Saturday, and flights will start May 24th. The Ted destinations from O'Hare: Las Vegas, Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Phoenix.

Just a Little Tease

Looking for a good resource for Chicago's burgeoning bulesque scene? Look no further: Ray's Guide to Chicago Area Burlesque has you covered -- or uncovered, as the case may be.

Fannie May leaves Chicago airports hungry

The Sun-Times reports that O'Hare and Midway airports are trying to fill four concession stands that were vacated by Fannie May. The airports are losing quite a bit of money due to the vacancies ($17,000 a month at O'Hare and $11,000 a month at Midway), so they're trying to fill them as quickly as possible, but the bidding process for the stands could take as long as eight months, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Chicago chefs among the best

Two Chicago chefs are among the finalists in the prestigious 2004 Bocuse d'Or USA contest. The chefs: Rick Gresh from the Caliterra Restaurant at the Wyndham Hotel and Fred Ramos from Pili Pili. The US finals for the contest will be held in May at the 85th annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (held here in Chicago!), and the winner of that contest will represent the US at next year's international Bocuse d'Or World Cuisine Contest in Lyon, France.

City park renaming redux

As reported previously in GB, the Chicago Park District is mulling over plans to rename 9 city parks to honor various women from Chicago's history. One of the women, Lucy Ella Gonzales Parsons, was a 19th century activist whose husband was hanged for his purported role in the infamous Haymarket Square bombing of 1886. This choice was not appreciated by the Chicago police union, which is protesting the choice of a woman who may be considered an anarchist. But district spokesman Julian Green says that Parsons was chosen for recognition because she "promoted women's labor and civil rights in Chicago. She was highly regarded by Jane Addams and other social reformers."


AWP (the Association of Writers and Writing Programs) brings its annual writing conference to Chicago this year which means hordes (literally!) of writers young and old will be descending on Chicago starting Wednesday. Look for plenty of action in the Loop, where the four-day event gets going at the Palmer House Hilton (if you want to attend, check their website for registration details). But do not despair if you can't attend because there's going to be plenty of writer spillover into area bookstores, bars, clubs, and coffeehouses (psst...check out our Slowdown section) as writers from far and near get their word on through Saturday.

Words + Sounds = Rock

Like poetry? Ok, not so fast...Like rock? Yeah, that's what I thought. Either way check out Bob Mehr's article on local bands meet poetry (and poets!) in the Chicago Reader and then attend the Aquacade I show at the Empty Bottle sponsored by Chicago's local record label Drag City and BigSmallPressMall (see the Slowdown, too, for more info).

Skybox to be blocked from Wrigley view

The Cubs have reached agreements with 12 out of 13 nearby rooftop businesses that were named in a December 2002 lawsuit to prevent these businesses from charging patrons to see the game on their rooftops. The one remaining business, Skybox on Waveland, will have its view of the field blocked by the Cubs in some unknown manner. Screens? Big balloons? A huge Harry Caray statue? Time will tell...


The Untitled Project is a series of Chicago photographs that have had all visible words stripped away in order to "explore the nature of communication in the urban landscape as a combination of visual and literal signifiers." Plus, they look neat. (Via Kottke.)

Bloggers in the Trib

The Chicago Tribune finally gets around to covering last month's Gapers' Block/SPEC Chicago reading at Uncle Fun in today's Q section. The paper version includes pictures of Mimi Smartypants, Shasta MacNasty and other "digital beatniks" (seriously).

My Chicago

The Chicago Historical Society has launched a new website aimed at kids aged 6-12 that "uses the symbols and design of the Chicago flag to explore the city’s rich and diverse history." Although the site is designed for children, the rest of us can have fun here staving off boredom for a few minutes, too. My Chicago features several games including an interactive Chicago flag that lets you create your own flag and a Chicago Fire game in which you "match photographs of objects that were found after the fire and try to guess what the objects were before they were melted." You can also create your own poem about Chicago in the Chicago Refrigerator Poetry game. Yes!

Funny money

Police say two students tried to pass $120 in conterfeit money at Von Steuben High School. The school cafeteria is not where I'd go to spend $120 -- that's a lot of sloppy joe -- but long ago I gave up trying to understand today's youth.

Coming to Chicago: soup!

Simply Soup, a Madison-based restaurant, is bringing its line of some 200 varieties of soups to Chicago. Four to six stores in the Loop area will be open by Labor Day, selling soup (as well as grilled sandwiches and salads) to Chicago patrons.

Three Rings

"Clowns and Cotton Candy" is a whimsical play about class warfare among the circus people of another time and place. Playwright Tim Nordwind also happens to be the bass player for OK Go. "Clowns" receives its world premiere by Greta Mae Productions, opening at the Theatre Building Friday, March 26. Tickets are at 773-327-5252.

Chris Saathoff Benefit Show

Tonight at 10pm at the Empty Bottle there will be a special benefit for The Chris Saathoff Foundation featuring: Chris's band, Chin Up Chin Up, New Black, Rollo Tomasi and Paletazo. As previously reported, Chris, a prominent and beloved member of the local music community, was killed on February 13th after leaving a show here at the Empty Bottle. Tickets are $8; the proceeds raised will be donated to a foundation in his name.

Artists Respond to Gentrification

A group of 17 local artists have created an exhibit which tackles the issue of gentrification. "Tu Casa Es Mi Casa: Artists Respond to Gentrification" runs through April 10th at the Polvo Art Studio in Pilsen. The exhibit hopes to bring awareness of the changes that are occurring in neighborhoods that are considered low-income areas, while residents are being displaced and pushed out. Some even attribute gentrification to the artists themselves, and here they get a chance to respond.

Keep the Chief

U of I students were asked to vote this week on whether or not to keep the controversial team mascot Chief Illiniwek. The results: a resounding vote to keep the Chief, albeit from a mere one-third of the student body.

Chicago curfew back in effect on Saturday

Attention minors! The curfew law, which had been suspended since last month, goes back into effect on Saturday. From now on, you can break curfew if you're going to, or coming back from, a political rally, church or errand for a parent.

Make your own FOUND cover

If you haven't already picked up a copy of FOUND Magazine, you really should. If you are familiar with it and love it to death like we do, then perhaps you can help. FOUND is having a Make-A-Unique-Cover party this Sunday at Open End Gallery from 11am - 6pm. All the found items that did not make it into issue #3 will make it on to personalized covers that will be sent out to subscribers worldwide. That means that someone will have your very own handiwork in their hands. All necessary craft-making materials and found items will be provided. Nifty eh?

Dan Ryan to shoulder CTA burden

The Sun-Times reports that the CTA will be running El track directly on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan Expressway in areas of the South Side branch of the Red Line route, so that CTA workers can have free access to repair areas of track that are currently plagued by power outages. This project begins on Saturday, and is expected to run through October 2006. (The Dan Ryan portion of the project is supposed to be done by the fall.)

The Corgan Rides Alone

Billy Corgan will play his first solo show on April 19 at the Metro, Billboard reports. Tickets are not yet on sale, so if you want to go, you better keep your eye out -- they're likely to sell out in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, Corgan writes on his blog (3.12.04 entry) that he's planning a unique form of fan appreciation: visitors to his site will be informed of a place and time to show up, present ID that they're over 18, and will then get to sit in on recording sessions the week prior to the premier concert.

Mrs. Wrigley-Field?

How much do you love the Cubs? Ever think about changing your name to show your love? Well, one student at NYU doesn't have that problem. Her legal name is Elizabeth Wrigley-Field. Oddly enough, it isn't an homage to a favorite sports team! Here's where her name comes from: Her mother's last name is Wrigley and her father's is Field. A few years ago, she had the name legally changed to Wrigley-Field. She has never even been inside Wrigley Field, though she stood in front of it once when she was 7 and went to Chicago with her family. Read her story here.

Voters Say Bring our Troops Home

The people of the 48th Ward voted in a non-binding referendum that the U.S. government should relinquish control in Iraq. The margin was 77 percent to 23 percent, with 66 percent of the precincts counted. Additionally, in a city-wide vote, voters agreed by 5-to-1 ratio that people who make more than $250,000 a year should pay more taxes. The money would go toward education funding and tax relief for property owners.

FundRace Neighbor

The FundRace Neighbor Search allows you to search the 2004 presidential donor lists by address, ZIP code and name. Some interesting finds: Jerry Springer gave $2,000 to fellow Ohioan Dennis Kucinich, Bank One CEO James Dimon gave $2,000 to both Dick Gephardt and George Bush, and Cubs sportscaster Steve Stone liked Joe Lieberman.
The site also draws an interesting map of the city's political leanings. The residents of 950 N. Michigan Ave. have given the most to any party: $20,750 to the GOP. With $11,800 in contributions, 161 E. Chicago Ave. is the building that has given the most to the Democrats. (Figures are only through the end of 2003.)

To the pub with ye!

Sure, you had a green beer last weekend. You went to the parade down in Beverly. But the true St. Patrick's Day celebration is tonight. Head to your favorite Irish bar, fake or otherwise -- pick one off this list or use this map by KIPlog if you don't have a favorite, or take a look at Metromix's guide -- and order yourself a Guinness.


Need to find the address of a good local bakery? Want to know how many dry cleaners are in your zip code? Try Google's new Local search. The results may be a little strange (searching for "blog" turns up an odd pairing of businesses and blog references) but we'll all probably become as reliant on it as we are all Google's other services. [Thanks Ian]

Time's up

The city has passed up a chance to purchase a valuable collection of 1,500 watches and clocks amassed by Rockford industrialist Seth Atwood. The collection, many pieces of which had been on display at the Museum of Science and Industry, may be sold in auction as early as this October. The city was hoping to collect $25 million to purchase the collection, but raised only $761,000. On the bright side, the collection was on display for a while at the museum, where it was seen by thousands of visitors.

Wanna bet? Try Rosemont

The city of Rosemont won a highly coveted gambling license this week, and is planning to build a casino with the help of the company Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. But now state officials and Wall Street investors are taking a second look at the business practices of the company, which has generated a large debt from aggressive growth strategies. Even if the company passes scrutiny, it may still face hurdles on the path to building a casino in Rosemont, in the form of Illinois officials who aren't happy with the choice (and would have preferred runners-up Waukegan or Des Plaines) and a very long approval process.

Barack in National Spotlight

Seeking to become just the 3rd African-American U.S. senator in a century, Barack Obama knows he has a long, hard fight ahead. But, with national attention pouring in, Obama is shining in the spotlight. Obama's early opposition to the war in Iraq drew the attention of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Now the endorsements he received from many of the state's newspapers as well as his strong showing downstate Tuesday seem to indicate that he can reach beyond the left wing and replace retiring GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

St. Paddy's Day in Chicago

We do St. Patrick's Day so well here, San Jose Mercury News and the New York Times both covered it. Are they jealous?

Recipe request

The friendly, and aromatic, folks at The Spice House are looking for recipes from the customers to add to their online database. Got a tasty recipe that you just can't share with enough people? Click on their "Submit Recipes" link and tell them your culinary secrets.


The latest rumor in the Sun-Times fire sale: Crain's reports that Jesse Jackson's son Yusef has made a bid. He's only interested in the Sun-Times, so all the various other Holinger properties are still in the air.

Chicago DJ Bumps Britney

Britney Spears was knocked off the top of the UK singles charts yesterday by a novelty song written eight years ago for an aerobics workout. Britney's Toxic was bumped by Cha Cha Slide by Chicago's DJ Casper. Casper -- real name Willie Perry -- climbed one rung to the top slot with a number he first created in the 1990s as a workout for a gym trainer.

Art in the Garden

Something to help you get through the cold weather and snow flurries of this week: the Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Park District is working with a handful or artists to create living works of art made of flowers, decorative grasses and other plant materials. The displays in the "Art in the Garden" project will be located at a number of parks in the city, including Grant Park, Lincoln Park, Washington Park and Douglas Park. The artwork gardens are scheduled to open to the public on June 15.

Green Roofs Lead the Way

In a bit of coast-envy, suddenly Chicago is at the forefront of an environmental movement. As Californians move to catch up to this growing phenomenon, even they acknowledge Chicago encourages living roofs on most new public buildings, and is nudging private developers to do the same. It started on the top of City Hall, after a visit to Germany by Mayor Daley in 1997. Green roofs can reduce heat needs inside the structure and capture rainfall before it gushes into larger drainage systems, keeping as much as 70 percent and filtering the rest. In addition, the green rooftop is estimated to save $10,000 per year in energy costs for the building.

Rating the Judges

Wondering more about the long list of judges on the ballot tomorrow? The Chicago Council of Lawyers offers their recommendations (in Word or PDF but no html).

Apply for the Brunch Bunch

Do you love brunch? Do you have a great group of friends that love eating out? If so, Metromix wants you! Tomorrow is the last day to apply for the next reader review project, the Brunch Bunch. Find yourself part of a diverse group of five friends? If so, apply for the position online. However, "every person in your group must be available the weekend of March 27, every weekend in April and the first weekend in May. No exceptions." Good luck and happy eating!

The City in Pictures

There's a new web mag for the city's film industry, just in time for the resurgence of filmmaking here: This isn't some dry trade journal, though -- features like a profile of the Fast Forward Film Festival and recordings of Spike Lee's recent talk at DePaul make it interesting for anyone interested in movies.

Rat Patrol

The Department of Streets and Sanitation's Bureau of Rodent Patrol houses the city's unsung heroes, fighting an endless battle to keep the city safe from the dreaded Norway rat.

Are You My Voting Booth?

In case you don't know where your local polling place is, check out this site run by the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago. It'll let you know if you are in fact registered to vote, and where you can (and should) go tomorrow (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to pull a lever for democracy.

Who stands where

Courtesy of the Sun-Times: a handy-dandy listing of the Senatorial candidates vying for Pete Fitzgerald's seat in tomorrow's primary election. Looks like most of the candidates are pretty much in agreement, at least within their own parties, but you do get to see the priority issues of each candidate (jobs, education, health care, war on terrorism, etc.). Don't forget: the election's tomorrow! Vote or be unaccounted for!

Traffic cameras target red-light runners

At various accident-prone intersections in Chicago, the Transportation Department set up cameras to catch people running red lights, and as the Sun-Times reports, in just four months they've issued over 5,000 tickets to red-light runners. The cameras were installed in particularly troublesome intersections to attempt to bring down the number of accidents, and it appears to be working; the number of tickets issued at one intersection, 55th and Western, are down from 55 a day in November to 33 a day in February.

I Read it for the Art!

Sunday, March 14th the Hyde Park Art Center presents "I Read it for the Art: Chicago, Creativity and Playboy." The show, which runs through April 24, brings together 20 Chicago artists from the Playboy collection. An opening reception begins at 4 p.m. at the center, 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd. For more information, call 324-5520.


City officials recently unveiled plans for a $42 million new park development at 47th street. Unable to decide between building a beach or a peninsula, planners compromised by creating a hybrid "Beach-insula." Neato.

Broadway in Chicago season

Broadway in Chicago, the producing organization that books touring shows for the Shubert, Oriental and Cadillac Palace theatres, has announced a particularly bland 2004-05 season. Aside from the pre-Broadway Monty Python musical Spamalot, which we await with cautious optimism, the season includes a revue of Disney film music, a musical built around Elvis tunes, another Jackie Mason rehash and yet another iteration of Evita, plus the frightening prospect of Sandy Duncan in The King and I. We're also getting a return engagement of the fluffy ABBA musical Mamma Mia, which played here three years ago on its way to New York.

CTA super-station coming soon?

The Tribune reports that the CTA has plans to turn the downtown block known as Block 37 into a new CTA station that would connect the Red and Blue lines, as well as provide express trains to O'Hare and Midway airports. The block has previously been eyed by developers, who have wished to build condos, office towers and hotels on the site, as well as WBBM, which expressed interest in building a media center there. If the CTA's plans are approved by the city, the station could open in 2007.

Phair Play

Liz Phair will be performing free at the Apple Store, 679 N. Michigan Ave., tomorrow at 2pm. You'll probably want to get there early. (Hey! Parking is free with the purchase of a CPU! What a deal!) [Thanks Nate]

Art Interchange Collective

The Art Interchange Collective is preparing to host it's second annual event "Word Division" at the end of March. This incredibly unique and inspiring event brings together a variety of creative individuals for one night of art swapping. Make a lovely piece of art, bring it to the event, drink, be merry, dance, and leave with someone else's wonderful artwork to show all your friends. The evening will be featuring the soothing sounds of DJ Kali followed by the delectable tunes of special guest, NYC's Lution. The interchange will be taking place on Saturday March 27 at the Happy Village (1059 N. Wolcott) at 8pm (be sure to arrive at 8 if you've got art to swap). The actual art exchange will be at 10pm. The Art Interchange is open to all. Even if you choose to not participate in the Interchange, please come and show your support. Don't miss this event!

Meals for Metra riders

The Orland Park Metra station will soon be offering ready-made meals for commuters, provided by Palermo's of Chicago. Train riders would order their meal in the morning at the train station, or during the day by phone, and pick up the meal at Orland Park's 153rd Street station. Now if only the CTA would pick up on this idea...

Riverboat gambling ... in Rosemont?

On Monday, the Illinois Gaming Board will decide what site in Cook County could possibly be the next location for a casino. The current front-runner: Rosemont, which appeared to have the best bid this week for the proposed riverboat casino. Rosemont will have to best at least two other cities: Waukegan and Des Plaines, which also put in competitive bids in a gambling license auction that ended early Thursday morning.

Would you like that gift-wrapped?

Hot on the recent news of Marshall Field's possible sale by Target, MetLife Inc., the former owners of the Sears Tower, disclosed yesterday that they are selling the building to a group of what the Sun-Times called "prominent but secretive Manhattan landlords." MetLife did not disclose the price of the deal, but did say that they would get a $90 million after-tax gain.

Do you really want to hurt him?

No you don't, and you certainly don't want to make him cry, so you'll show up Friday night when Boy George DJs at Zentra. Mr. O'Dowd was originally scheduled to perform last Halloween, but some Broadway musical got in the way. Presale tickets are available by calling 312-787-0400, or you can add yourself to the second-priority guestlist at the link above.

"Blog Jogging?"

The Rise of the Chicago Blogs continues: the Colorado Springs Independent writes up Mimi Smartypants for her book based on her site and Wendy McClure for her book deal based on hers. They don't know what the headline means either.

Golden Apples handed out

The Golden Apple Foundation has announced its winners of the 2004 Golden Apple Awards. The Sun-Times reports that the 10 winners were selected from a field of 681 nominees, and each winner will receive a fall-term sabbatical at Northwestern, an Apple computer and $2,500.

Batman coming to our Town

It's been discussed here previously, but reports filming on the latest Batman will begin in July and continue through August. Cast includes Christian Bale in the lead role, with support from Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes and Michael Caine, to name a few. This isn't the first big budget coming our way, thanks to Brenda Sexton's hard work leading the Illinois Film Office. So far this year, producers of four major films - The Weatherman, Ocean's 12, Batman, and Ice Harvest - have sealed deals to film in Chicago.

Irma, tell us

David Kodeski isn't the only local author who's turning found diaries into new literary work. This month, author and independent scholar Ellen FitzSimmons Steinberg publishes her new book Irma: A Chicago Woman's Story, 1871-1966. A look at Chicago life over a century ago, the book was pieced together from a number of diaries Steinberg stumbled across in a Chicago used bookstore. They told the story of Irma Rosenthal Frankenstein, a struggling author who was keeping notes and writing for a book which she eventually hoped to publish. While Irma's final project was not realized during her lifetime, Steinberg has fashioned a biography for her that documents a distinctive woman's life in turn-of-the-century Chicago.

My Asian Friends

Are you Asian? Do you want more friends? Well then, the Asian Social Network is for you! Actually, it's more of an event calendar for the city's Asian community, listing anything from a " Pink Slip Wagering with The Donald" party to a talk on "Filipinos in the Diaspora."

The Doors not to close?

According to this week's Newcity, rumors of the imminent closing of the Double Door are greatly exaggerated. DD band booker and promoter Phil Kosch, quoted in the article: "Double Door will live on. That's the word from the owners. Nothing is going to change."

The latest in cigarette technology

Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would like to see the cigarettes being sold in Chicago to have a self-extinguishing technology that prevents the cig from burning all the way down. The aim of the technology, already required in the state of New York, is to decrease the 900 fire deaths, 2,500 injuries and $400 million in damages caused each year by smoking-related accidents. If passed, the law would go into effect on January 1, 2007.

Climbing up the walls

Want to go rock climbing? There are only three places to climb legally in Illinois, but some other spots too. There are plenty of indoor walls you can climb, or you could just head on up to Devil's Lake.

Field's on the block?

Target announced Wednesday that it's looking into selling Marshall Field's, which it's owned since 1990. No word yet on possible buyers, although some analysts have said in the past that the May Company, which runs Lord & Taylor among other chains, might be interested.

Organ failure

Northwestern has cut its organ and church music degree programs due to a lack of interest in the program (a total of 8 students have enrolled in the program in the last 8 years). The cut was criticized by NU music school students, who say cutting the program (which dates back to the 1890s) will harm the school's reputation in the music world.

The sweetest-smelling exhibition

Spring may not quite be here, but this weekend you'll get a respite from the recent cold weather and snow flurries, as the 10th Annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show kicks off at Navy Pier. Gardening exhibitions, presentations by gardening experts, and free advice from "plant doctors." In short, if you're a gardener, you gotta be there. The exhibition runs through Sunday, March 21st; see the Website for times and ticket information.

Found It!

The new phonebookFound Magazine is here! The new phonebookFound Magazine is here! Find yours at Quimby's and Chicago Comics today, or Unabridged and 57th St. Books on Saturday.

Read This, Everybody

Finally, the Chicago Public Library's choice for the One Book, One Chicago program -- you know, where we all read the same book? -- is actually related to the city: The Coast of Chicago, by Stuart Dybek. (Actually, last year's A Raisin in the Sun was set here, too.) A list of activities here. [Thanks Jamie]

Red line repairs, and so much more!

The CTA is starting a $282 million makeover of the Red Line with a series of repairs to the tracks between 95th and Cermak. Trains will be running, but you should expect delays. In case you're wondering what else might be going on that'll impact your daily commute, check out this press release at the CTA Website, which includes details on Red and Blue Line repairs, as well as a list of bridges that will be closed for repairs and testing.

Bikin' and Streakin'

Do you often find that car drivers are completely free to drive naked while you, the disgruntled bicyclist, are not? Did you assume that Burning Man was the only place your bum could touch that naked saddle? Stand up for your naked bicycle rights as part of a worldwide day of protest: The World Naked Ride. The Chicago chapter is just getting organized, but the date, June 12th, has been set. Let's make this year's naked ride the best ever!

(Nearly) Free Motorcycle Lessons

Just a $20 deposit reserves your spot in U of I's Motorcycle Rider Program, which begins enrolling "sometime in the second or third week of March." Classes fill up quickly, but there are also throughout Chicagoland, so if you don't mind heading down to Kankakee or out to Palatine -- and you can predict when enrollment begins -- you should be OK. [Thanks Armaghetto.]

City parks may be renamed for women

The Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Park District is considering the renaming of 9 city parks to honor various women from Chicago's history. Currently, only 27 of the district's 555 parks are named for women. Some of the women to be honored under the proposal: gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and Poetry Magazine founder Harriet Monroe.

No More Monkey Business...

Monkey Business, the little shop/gallery space on Chicago Ave, will be closing at the end of April. All of the items in the store are currently 30% off. If you've never been to visit them, Monkey Business carries an assortment of unique artwork, craft making supplies, books, jewlery, shirts and candy! There's an opening reception this Saturday March 13 (8-11), showcasing the latest batch of art pieces, including work from Quang Hong. Throughout April the store will be renting out space to outside vendors flea market style. Contact Monkey Business for more info, or call 773.269.3133.

Kerry's in town

Presidential hopeful John Kerry is in town. He's hosting an Election Night Party tonight at Union Station in the Grand Hall on 210 South Canal Street in Chicago, IL. He'll be here for the next few days. [ Thanks Dan. ]

Start reading

The Chicago Public Library has named its new "One Book, One Chicago" selection: The Coast of Chicago, by Stuart Dybek. The sixth annual citywide book club will culminate during National Library Week, April 18-24, with a free public program by the author at the Harold Washington Library.

Historical chalkboards

Recently workers at the Board of Trade building made a very interesting discovery: dozens of old chalkboards which were used to display the changing stock prices to traders on the floor. Some of the boards date back to 1930, and still have chalk streaks on them. Obviously, they're of great historical interest, and the building's vice president, Kevin Lennon, says that some of them will end up over at the Chicago Historical Society.

Pastry anyone?

Some of you have entertained the thought of attending culinary school. Perhaps as a patissier? If you'd rather live vicariously, then take a peek and read what it's like at Pastry School, written by Meg, who's currently attending here in Chicago.

Bloggin' in the City

The Daily Herald ran a mini-series on weblogs in yesterday and today's papers. In the first, Sour Bob beats groupies away with a stick; in the second, the reporter blogs about his love for Mimi Smartypants. (Disclosure: GB's editor was interviewed for both stories. His quote in today's article was taken out of context.)

Trenyce Alert!

American Idol non-winner Trenyce stars in Not a Day Goes By, based on the novel by my homeboy E. Lynn Harris, at the Arie Crown Theatre tonight through Sunday. Bonus: the play also stars Jackée "Soooooooondra" Harry! Check out today's Sun-Times story on "the chitlin' circuit".

Topless grills in northern suburbs!

A dastardly criminal is striking fear into the hears of cookout fans in the northern suburbs! Yes, there's a BBQ grill lid thief on the loose in Skokie. Beware, take care.

You can have your book and eat it,too

Those wacky kids at Columbia College's Center for Book & Paper Arts want you to make or eat a book.The 5th International Edible Books Show is April 1 from 6pm to 8pm at the Columbia College Library, 3rd Floor. If you make a book you can attend the show for free but do RSVP Melissa Jay Craig (312/344-6635) by March 26 with the title of your piece, name and ingredient list. Maybe you'd rather chow down on Dante's Inferno? Well, that's cool too. Just RSVP Michelle Ferguson (312/344-7384) and bring 10 bucks with you. All proceds go to the bindery equipment fund.

The Doors to close?

The Double Door that is. This article in the Sun-Times points out a dispute between the owners of the building and the operator of the Double Door. A $9000 dispute -- the difference in their current rent ($3K) and their proposed rent ($12K). [ Hats tipped to Jennifer. ]

Gray into Black

Actor/monologuist Spalding Gray is dead. His body was found in New York's East River. He was most well-known for monologues like Swimming to Cambodia and Gray's Anatomy, and had performed in Chicago frequently.

Top 5 restaurants for February

The Chicago Citysearch Website has released a list of the top 5 most popular restaurants for February. The way they tallied the popularity of these restaurants was by tracking the keywords the people were searching on at their site, so this list reflects only the dining habits of Citysearch users. And their dining habits seem to be pretty pricey, as their list includes such expensive places as Nine Steak House, Japonais and Michael Kornick's MK. What, no Demon Dogs?

Tribune Ethics Scandal

Uli Schmetzer, a retired bureau chief turned freelancer, set off a scandal at the Tribune when he quoted a fictional person in a story about Australian race relations. Weblogger Tim Blair broke the story, and the Trib promptly fired Schmetzer and began an investigation of all of Schmetzer's stories.
Read Editor Don Wycliff's column about the incident. Schmetzer didn't exactly help his case in a letter to Jim Romenesko (no permalink, you may have to scroll down) in which he alluded to changing sources' names as a matter of practice.

Chicago Rules!

There's a lot to do in this city, which is probably why there are so many places to get info about your options. Chicago Rules is one such place -- currently in beta -- compiling restaurant and club reviews, as well as a concert calendar.

You too can be a school council member!

With about 6,000 local shool council seats open for election this year, but only about 2,000 candidates signed up to run for them, the Tribune reports that Chicago Public Schools officials are calling on the community to recruit more applicants. If you're interested, you can find an application at your local school, library or post office. The time commitment for the position: between 5 and 10 hours a month.

Karma on two wheels

The third annual Ride for AIDS Chicago is looking for riders, crew volunteers and pledgers for a two-day, 200 mile trip between Chicago and Lake Geneva to take place the first weekend of June. Each rider is expected to raise $1000 in pledges, 100% of which is returned to Test Positive Aware Network and BEHIV.

Beetle quarantine area extended

Because of a single Asian longhorn beetle found outside the current Chicago quarantine area last year, the state has extended the area to cover the Gold Coast and Cabrini-Green, the Sun-Times reports today. But that was the only live beetle found last year, so things might be looking up. Another good sign: quarantines were recently lifted from parts of Addison and Summit, which had been under quarantine since 1998.

Titties and Clowns!

What goes best with naughty nude ladies? Circus people! The Midnight Circus has joined Lavender Cabaret's successful neo-burlesque revue, Femme TV. The Sugarbabies will now share the stage with acrobats, jugglers, and even a dog act (get your mind out of the gutter, sicko!) every Friday night at 10:30 at Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway.

Chicago Fire: Comet-induced? re-states a claim made first in 1883 that the Chicago Fire may not have been started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow. The Great Chicago Fire claimed 300 lives and destroyed most of the downtown area in 1871. But does this cow deserve the blame? The Discovery Channel says no. Instead, Robert Wood, a retired physicist, claims it was a fragment from Biela's Comet which also induced blazes north of Chicago that burned millions of acres of farm and prairie lands. Wood speculates the main body of the comet crashed into Lake Michigan, with peripheral fragments causing the fires in Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan.

I-90 Woes

Another dubious honor: Our local stretch of Interstate 90 is number three on a list of the top five worst freeways. Woohoo! (Thanks Ian.)


If you've been thinking that it is time you started supporting local artisans and crafters, you've got wonderful timing. The second DEPART-ment show takes place this weekend. Tonight begins with a reception, similar to what you'd find at a gallery opening, but with lots more pieces you can afford. Local people will be selling their handmade creations (clothing, cards, jewelry, toys, artwork, food items, etc.) at 2000 W. Fulton (near Damen and Grand Ave) tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a lot of fun and a wonderful way to support your community.

Chicago style sleeping?

A British company is marketing a bed aimed at those who prefer to consume their television in a fully reclined position. A Flat panel screen is attached to the foot of the bed, providing access to reality programming, sports, and for the adventurous - soft core pornography. The name of this innovative sleeping arrangement? The Chicago.

Terkel honored by book critics

Chicago author and historian Studs Terkel was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the National Book Critics Circle yesterday. Terkel is also to appear in a performance of the play "Trumbo" at Steppenwolf on March 29th, where he will also talk about his own experiences with the play's subject, Dalton Trumbo.

Play ball

It's not often that I'm happy to hear the voice of Ron Santo, but now is such an occasion: The Cubs are at this moment playing their first spring training game. Tune in at WGN (AM 720) or online.

When Beers Stop Being Polite...

If you're up for an ale-soaked weekend, try making it through Chicago's Real Ale Fest. The now scaled-down event was created in 1996 by Ray Daniels and the Chicago Beer Society to celebrate brews that have that smooth, non-commercial flavor. Festivities start tonight with a feast, then on Friday, "Chicagoland Real Ale Day", there's a pub crawl, and on Saturday, a real food tasting at Goose Island in Wrigleyville.

Mile by Mile

Holy crap! Mile by Mile has to be seen, right now! "This is the web version of a set of photographs that map chicago's famous and rarely-comprimising grid into 212 4"x6" snapshots." Right here, right now. [ via the Coudal Family ]

Essential Reading

WBEZ 848's List of Essential Reading about Chicago. Time to settle in.

Check the size of yr tubes

Scale images of the world's subway systems. The CTA doesn't quite match up to New York, Tokyo, Moscow ... even Singapore looms larger than our puny El system. But we're totally huger than either Vienna or Barcelona. Take that!

But wait! There's more!

If you miss the Chicago history discussion tonight, but you want more info on the Popeil empire, head on over to the Chicago Cultural Center this Saturday to see the opening of Isn't That Amazing!: The Appeal and Spiel of Ronco and Popeil, a huge exhibit of the products that have been marketed by the Popeil family over the years, including 150 gadgets and compilation albums. Events scheduled to happen over the next couple of months to coincide with the exhibit include Chicago chef Frankie J. giving a demonstration of various kitchen gadgets at the Chicago Cultural Center on March 25th, and a "Popeil Disco Party" on May 12th in the exhibition gallery. See the link for full details. Act now! Operators are standing by!

167 years young!

Today is the 167th anniversary of Chicago being incorporated as a city. If you're not quite up on your city history, you can check out this timeline of events put together by the Chicago Public Library, as well as this Chicago-themed reading list put together for the WBEZ program "Eight Forty-Eight". For a more lively history lesson, try going over to Maxim's: the Nancy Goldberg International Center tonight at 6:00 for a discussion of Chicago and several of its more lively citizens, including Ann Landers and the Popeil family (yes, that Popeil family).

Senate Debates

The Democratic candidates for the US Senate seat will have a debate, sponsored by the prestigious City Club of Chicago, on WTTW-11 tonight at 7pm. Tune in!

MiMi on TV

The Mimi Smartypants, our local blogger celebrity, will be interviewed on Channel 2's 10 o'clock news tonight. ('Twill be interesting to see if the famously anonymous Mimi will show her face.)

Small and Beautiful

Local artists are hard at work. There's lovely new redesigns and fresh updates over at Small and Round and You Are Beautiful.

Guinness Tales

Got a good story involving Guinness? The BBC wants to hear it. The Chicago Report passes on word that a BBC3 film crew will be at Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade, interviewing people with interesting stories relating to hte classic Irish pint. More info here.

Supersize Downsized

Bowing to pressure about the unhealthiness of its menu, local corporate giant McDonald's is discontinuing Supersize fries and drinks. By the end of this year, an unstained Supersize Fry container will be a collector's item.

Chicago's Oldest House gets a Facelift

The Clarke House, the oldest house in Chicago and the earliest example of Greek Revival Architecture, is currently being restored at a cost of $780,000. The house was designated as a Chicago landmark in 1970, and is located in the south loop in the Prairie Avenue Historic District. Visitors can tour the house and see what life was like for a middle class family in Chicago, when the city was in its formative years before the Civil War.


The Network of Casual Art is a loose organization founded by Michael Wolf to support local artists by providing A/V equipment and small "Bloody Tool" grants. They also create some art themselves -- you may recall this poster from post-chicago's collection.

O'Hare last in ontime flights

O'Hare Int'l Airport ranks dead last in on-time flights, according to a study by the US Department of Transportation. Well, at least the food is good...

Movieside @ Heaven Gallery

Back by popular demand are two of the main programs from the sold out Movieside Anniversary show! Jim Jarmusch's Favorite Shorts and Melvin Goes to Dinner (directed by Bob Odenkirk from Mr. Show) will both be screening at Heaven Gallery this Friday March 5 and Saturday March 6 at 8pm. If you missed either program, or just want to see it all again, it's well worth checking out. It's only $7, one admission for both! Visit the Movieside website for more details.

Quimby's Anew

Well lookee here! Quimby's has a brand new website and an online store so you no longer have to be embarassed to walk out with your 3-foot pile of comics, your mini-shrine to McSweeney's or that pile of fetish and erotica books. A new notable section is Live at Quimby's, a selection of audio recordings of speakers and readers such as Al Burian, Chip Kidd and Amy Fusselman. The downside is that you have to use crappy Real Player (I'm not even going to link that!).

Chicago to Host Gay Games

We beat out the competition from Los Angeles, as the Federation of Gay Games announced today that Chicago will host the 2006 games. Gay Games VII are predicted to host 20,000 participants and 250,000 spectators at dozens of local venues, bring more than 10,000 visitors to Chicago and generate up to $50 million in revenue. Chicago Games submitted a $6.1 million bid that focuses only on athletic events. The proposal dropped plans for an arts and humanities festival in Millennium Park, and reduced the number of sports organizers guaranteed to 22 from 30.

iPods in Chicago

Proving that there are geeks of a higher order in Chicago, the iPod Lounge sports a number of Chicago photos in their remarkably extensive iPods Around the World gallery.

Equal marriage rally

A group calling itself Equal Marriage Now will hold a rally for same-sex marriage rights Thursday at noon. It's at 118 N. Clark (the County Building side of City Hall), across from Daley Plaza.

1st Local Organic Trade Show-Chicago

On March 3, Sustain's Local Organic Initiative is holding the first ever trade show for local organic food in Chicago. Fifty farmers and farm cooperatives from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana, representing nearly 500 organic farmers, will have the opportunity to create new business with Chicago area retailers, restaurants, distributors, and processors. The goal of the event is to help these producers create new sales in Chicago's $300 million market for organic food. Currently most organic food consumed in the area is imported from California and beyond. The event is not open to the public; Sustain hopes the media will attend to spread the word!

We're #1 (in cardiac testing)!

The Tribune reports that Carmel High School's football team, after winning its first state championship last fall, is trying to make strides in another field: echocardiograms. The team all took the heart tests, which can detect heart problems that may cause sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes. All team members received a clean bill of health.

Skyway for Sale?

As construction began Monday on the elevated Skyway, a groundbreaking agreement could possibly mean higher tolls and better service. The mayor took the first steps towards privatizing the Chicago Skyway this week. City Hall will issue a ''request-for-qualifications'' to private toll operators to gauge interest in the 7.8-mile roadway connecting Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Several dozen bids are expected. The Skyway's $2 toll, last increased in 1993, is likely to be raised, under an agreement that would ''set forth parameters'' for future increases.

Not quite a holiday

Happy Pulaski Day!

Comedy with PowerPoints?

What would Del Close have done with Flash animation? That's something to ask yourself, as Studio Z, "Chicago's first arts organization dedicated to integrating multimedia and Chicago-style improvisation," presents their new show File Not Found, described as "a multimedia improv review featuring digital video, graphics, and audio." What does this mean? We'll find out. It's Friday and Saturday, 8pm, at the Breadline Lab Space (1801 W Byron); $10 suggested donation.

Is it a man's man's man's world?

Annika Sorenstam, Billy Bean, Lindsy McLean, Katie Hnida: just a few people who might have something to say on the subject of Erin McCarthy's lecture this week. Dr. McCarthy, a history lecturer at Columbia College, will present Sport and Sexuality: (Nearly) the Last Bastion of Sexism and Homophobia at 6pm Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center. It's part of the Intersections series presented by Columbia and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Admission is free.

It's right outside your window

Not If But When, the photography of Chicago photographer Brian Ulrich. People and places that look so familiar that it might even be you. Nice eye candy on a dreary Monday morning.

Up the Hancock!

How long would it take you to run up the 1,632 steps of the 94 floors of the Hancock Center? In yesterday's Hustle Up The Hancock fundraiser, the winning times were 9 minutes 49 seconds (male) and 11 minutes 10 seconds (female). The event raised $500,000 for the American Lung Association.



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